Thursday, January 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday #4: Two Years Ago

I am putting the finishing touches on the Second Annual Team Gab Virtual Race! Announcement tomorrow, but I'm so so sosososo excited for this year. Check back tomorrow for details on registration, giveaways, and how you can help make a difference in stories like Gabby's.

But if you're in a hurry, you can always CLICK HERE to make a donation today.

Continued from here, TTT #3....

Three Things Thursday
Baby's port was de-accessed yesterday. Good - she's not tied to an IV, and she no longer resembles Iron Man. Bad - if we don't get released today, she's gotta be re-accessed tomorrow, which involves needles, which always result in tears.

After Gab's pneumonia was resolved, we were moved to a regular, shared room. Gabby was there for another 10 days, while we went through 2 or 3 roommates.

One of the roommates, Screechy, was ROUGH. I actually thought, at first, that she was also on the Dex, but turns out? Nope, just obnoxious. She really wanted pizza one night, and one of the nurses brought her some from her own lunch. Screechy threw it at her mom, and demanded fresh pizza. Her mom went and got her fresh pizza.


The roommates that came and went were all admitted for a simple fever. With the port in their chests, any fever gets immediate admission for 48 hours, or until the fever is gone. They can't risk an infection in the port lines.

Gabby was pretty unpleasant the entire time, and got more and more withdrawn and horrible the longer we were there.

I felt so bad for her, I admittedly let her call all the shots. She wanted to watch movies non-stop, that's exactly what we did. Lame, I know, but I was paralyzed.

We brought her some real clothes, once, to try to get her to go play in the child life room, or go for a walk (she had ONLY walked to/from the bathroom pretty much this entire time), but this was the result.....

We ended up forcing the child life room on her a few times, but it was never very successful.

She started losing her hair before we left the hospital...

She was released on the 20th, and we were sent home with a shopping bag full of chemo and other medicines to give her, and a 2" binder of home care instructions.

Bringing all of this home, with so many different types of meds, was TERRIFYING. As grateful as I was to be bringing her home, it was completely overwhelming.

Luckily, The H was a medicine genius, and managed to keep everything under control, administered at the right times, and smoothly running.

We had been, pre-leukemia, a pretty comfortable 2-income family. Gabby went to pre-school near my office, The H worked, the older 2 went to school 3 blocks away, so it was safe for them to walk home.

Upon Gab's diagnosis, she had to be withdrawn from school. The H quit his job and became a stay-at-home dad. It cut our income by a third, and things were... tight, to say the least.

On Saturday, we couldn't take any more of the hair shedding - it was EVERYWHERE, and Gab was losing her mind that there was constantly hair in her food.

And there was a LOT of food. The oncologist's prediction that Gabby would be a non-stop eating machine came true - Gabby would wake up at all hours of the night, and demand to be fed. She was famished, all day.

Thanks to Facebook timestamps, I know that this picture was posted at 5:18am. She would routinely eat at least 3 or 4 breakfasts, every day.

It was SHOCKING, honestly, the amount of food she took in.

At one point, we brought her back to the cancer clinic, because her stomach was upset.

Um. It was upset because SHE COULD NOT DIGEST ALL OF THE FOOD SHE WAS EATING FAST ENOUGH. She just couldn't keep up with her hunger. That was the craziest thing I've ever seen.

A month after diagnosis (and she's clearly off of the steroids by the time this picture was taken, because she's smiling for the first time in weeks)....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Gabby's "homework" includes a weekly journal, where she can write about anything, and draw a picture to illustrate her journal entry.

Apparently, I run with a bow on my head, holding a giant flower, and with cascading blue hair.

I kind of like the blue hair idea....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That was... falling with style! (and future race plans)

Hold on to your hats.

I did yoga last night.

I fell, a lot, because I suck at balancing (why can't I balance?!), but otherwise, it was 45 minutes of silly, stretchy, muscley shakey goodness.

Silly, because Gabby and her BFF joined me in the living room, while I did a couple YogaDownload programs.

I've been doing (well, by been doing, I mean, have done in the past, and should do more frequently) the Yoga for Runners, this 10 minute hip opening flow, and sometimes the 25 minute restorative yoga. They have a ton of others that I haven't tried - I liked these, so I've stuck with them.

I always forget how much I loooooove doing yoga. It takes such a small amount of time, to feel so great. How do I bottle that up and keep it for the days I feel extra lazy?....

I also spent some time digging into my calves with a tennis ball, and  (un)shockingly, my legs feel a bazillion times better today than they did after Sunday's terrible ten.

Lesson: Sometimes, laziness does not pay off.


I finally got around to hanging up my medals from #runalltheDisneyraces January....

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Are we instagram friends? hmgiraffy

I'm considering my next medal hanger purchase, and leaning towards a dedicated Disney hanger? Is that weird and/or crazy?? Who am I kidding, I don't care if it is.

In other race news, I've updated my Come Run With Me! page up there ^^.

So far, this spring I've got a local 5k in March, Eugene Marathon in April, PCRF the following weekend, the local 5k with all the delicious food June 1st, San Francisco something June 16, and Dumbo Double Dare Aug 31/Sep 1.

Things I'm contemplating:
  • Full or half at SFM? I originally wanted to do the 1st half this year, to start the Half it All Challenge (and Club 52!), but I just really loved the full course!!
  • I really wanted to do Shadow of the Giants, but the timing just won't work for me this year. Because I'm committed to San Francisco Marathon (being an Ambassador!), the date change June (don't worry, it will be back to it's regularly scheduled July date for 2014!) makes Shadow of the Giants a tough scheduling break. So, I'm in the market for a 50k. Dun dun DUN.
  • Harding Hustle is at the right time, but it could be blazing hot, and I'm not a huge fan of blazing hot.
  • Mammoth Half Marathon is inaugural this year, and the course looks stunning. Plus, it's the weekend the kids get out of school, so we'd be able to make this a trip, and I've been dying to head back to Yosemite....
  • I'm not really digging the idea of running IMS Arizona, so I'm 96% sure I'm DNS'ing. Womp, womp.

So that's the schedule. I feel like it's pretty light, but I'm having a harder time picking races this year. I'm so indecisive!

Any tips on a 50k, preferably in SoCal, perferably in late May/June time frame??

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Running sucks, man." PFTW

So, CLEARLY, taking almost a full month off of any training (unless I'm training for the "eat everything" contest) is not ideal. I assumed, foolishly, that I would probably lose a little speed, but by running 2 halfs and a full marathon within 8 days, I would retain some endurance.

That is an incorrect assumption, as it turns out. SURPRISE.

Last week:
Tuesday: 3 very, very bad miles on the treadmill*
Thursday: 6 not TERRIBLE miles with Angry Julie.
Sunday: 10 terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, SLOW miles.**

*The only reason I even managed to eek out THREE miles, is because I was busy irritating a girl in the gym, when I would not succumb to her evil eye-ing me and stalking back and forth across the room. She was on the treadmill when I got there, walking leisurely (like, under 2mph) IN SANDALS, but then stood behind the stupid bike until I got off. After I got on the treadmill, she did the creepy eyeballing thing. I don't know if she had treadmill-evacuation-regret, or what, but I wasn't budging. Thanks, weirdo, for pushing me to three miles?

**This was so so so awful. SO AWFUL. My splits were consistent - 11:21, 11:19, 10:45, 11:37, 11:05, 11:12, 11:32, 11:28, 10:42, 10:22 - but it sucked. The only reason the last two are decent, is they were DOWNHILL. That was the best I could do. LAME.

I also did zero cross training last week. Why, me. Why. :(

I joke a lot about being lazy, but man. Now I'm remembering why lazy is a bad idea. UGH.

Plan for this week....
Monday: Yoga.
Tuesday: hopefully (ha) I can eek out a tempo run. But 6 miles, either way.
Wednesday: Yoga/cross training
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 14 easy

In addition to being slow, my legs are tired and cranky and TIGHT feeling. I am assuming this is the result of 1. not running or doing ANYTHING for weeks, and 2. not doing anything for recovery between races.

I'm hoping some easy yoga and maybe some hiking will be the cure?

Otherwise, I might amputate and try my luck with that.

Woe is me.

Anyway, the trail is looking green and... like it's got a river? {It's called the San Diego Creek trail, but really, it just happened to be raining all week, so there's some water in there now}. I AM lucky to have access to this trail right outside my door. I should really take advantage of that more often.

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Crows. Bad omen, man. As seen at mile 9.

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Lest I be all doom and gloom....

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Here's to this week sucking less, I guess.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday #3: Two Years Ago

Continued from here

"What is important in life is life..."

"Baby's steroid makes her cranky. She's in general pretty bull-headed, and feisty. But this is so much worse. She caught Snork grabbing a french fry (that she wasn't even eating), and about melted down. She told her sister she can't watch tv in her room. It's frustrating, because I don't really know what to do. I mean, I'm generally a pretty consistent disciplinarian, but... How do you discipline a kid on a drug that makes her act unreasonable?"

You can CLICK HERE to make a donation to Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.


We spent the first several days in the hospital in the Oncology ICU. The nurses told us we could start hanging up Gabby's artwork, so we knew it would not be a quick visit. In addition to the leukemia, her liver function was concerning the doctor, AND she pneumonia. She was a tiny, tiny person to take in all of that.

Trips to Xray were really annoying to her - but she grew more accustomed to them, and would lie still for the radiologist.

On the 5th day, she went into surgery to insert her port. CHOC, her hospital, is adjacent to St. Josephs, and they bring the kids to St. Josephs for surgery. We were wheeled all around through underground tunnels, and by the time we got to the surgery center, I was LOST.

We weren't allowed to be with her for the surgery, so when they put her under, we were promptly kicked out of the way.

2 years later, watching the anesthesia hasn't gotten any easier.

We managed to find our way outside to a coffee cart in the front of the hospital, and I ordered a chocolate raspberry flavored coffee. I spent the rest of our stay trying to find that damn coffee cart again, and never succeeded.

After her port was inserted, she was able to get the IV's removed from her arm - all of the tubes were  inserted through her port, instead. After the surgery, she refused to wear a shirt for DAYS.

We were moved to the oncology department after the ICU, to an isolation room. Because of the pneumonia, they didn't want to risk exposure to the other kids. Chemo - and cancer - suppresses the immune systems, so until Gab's lungs cleared out, we had a giant room to ourselves.

We spent A LOT of time doing crafts....

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Because Gabby's blood pressure was elevated (due to the kidney issues), she was put on a strict low sodium diet. We tend to eat pretty well at home, and being in the hospital, all she wanted was her favorite things - french fries, mac and cheese, etc. But she couldn't have them.

We started on our daily meds - fourteen in total at the beginning. Some chemo, some for her blood pressure, some for her kidneys.

One of the meds we were warned about - The Steroid.

The oncologist and nurses referred to it as "The Dex". Sounds so ominous. They warned that it tastes vile, everyone has a hard time getting their kids to take it, and the side effects are brutal - they said it would make her mean, unreasonable, and HUNGRY all the time.

When they explained these side effects, I thought there was no way my child would be telling me what she was eating when, and NO WAY she would get away with just being rude. Ha.

We tried to give her the pills - Dex comes in either a super gross liquid form, or super gross pill form - but she had never had to swallow a pill, and it was awful. We tried crushing them up and adding them to delicious things. Pudding, ice cream, both failed. We ended up giving her the liquid, and just getting it over as fast as possible.

With all of the meds, there were so many restrictions on them - this one with food, this one on an empty stomach, this one without citrus, this one 2 hours after eating. So any delay on her part in taking them threw everything off. It completely stressed me out and made me crazy.

It was compounded by her suddenly terrible attitude. If you've met Gabby, you know that she's a nice kid - she's just NICE. She's sweet and thoughtful - and I know everyone wants to think that about their child, but it's actually true.

She turned into a pretty unpleasant creature pretty quickly after the Dex was introduced. Which made the medicine giving tricky. For a small person, she was remarkably difficult to force feed.

After the blood pressure was resolved, she was allowed back to a regular diet. Apparently, that regular diet consisted of string cheese and donuts. Lucky.


The H and I spent our time divided - during the day, we stayed with her, then we'd swap out who got to go home. We tried eating in the cafeteria once, and it was terrible, so a LOT of fast food was consumed. A LOT.

During the weekends, I tried to get the older girls out for a bit - we spent the day at the Discovery Science Center on one Sunday, another day wandering a mall down the street. But most of my days were spent at Gab's room, watching VHS tapes non-stop. She refused to go to the Child Life room. She barely interacted with the volunteers who came to play with her. She was pretty rude to friends that came, even when they came bearing gifts.

That might have been the worst thing of all - that she was always SO kind and sweet, that it was like an entirely different tiny person, being so rude and obnoxious.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Disney World Tour de Cupcake

On Saturday, after the Disney World Half Marathon, we did something that I'd been looking forward to for MONTHS.

Thanks to this blog here, I found this AMAZING thing....

The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cupcakes. I KNOW.

We started by taking the bus to Magic Kingdom, and the ferry to the Polynesian (have I ever mentioned that I LOVE the Disney transportation system?? It's true, I really do), where we had lunch (grown up grilled cheese - delicious!), and started Tour de Cupcake with this...

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Chocolate Beer.

Initially, we were not really feeling any of the choices - there was this one, peanut butter and jelly, and something else. But how could we skip our very first stop!? That would be lame. So we sent L in to investigate, and she brought out the Chocolate Beer option.

Verdict: Delicious. It didn't really taste beer-y, but it sure was chocolatey. Topped with chocolate covered pretzels.

After Poly, we walked over to the Grand Floridian. Of all the deluxe hotels, this is the only one that never seemed like fun. It looks so stuffy! (My favorite deluxe options: Contemporary, Beach Club, Poly, and Wilderness Lodge a distant 4th).

Grand Floridian was also almost a disaster - we couldn't find the cupcakes! Luckily, we are cupcake detectives, and found them in the refrigerator case. Phew. Crisis averted.

At GF, we picked the S'mores cupcake.
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Verdict: Pretty good. The beer cupcake was moister, and the graham cracker was kind of damp, and I really like burnt to a crisp marshmallows, but these were only lightly toasted. But it was still a good cupcake, and the chocolate ganache on top was SO GREAT. I guess it's really hard to go wrong with chocolate.

After wandering around for a bit, we took the monorail over to the Contemporary for our last stop on the Tour.

I picked the Red Velvet (which Becka had been dying to find) and the Pineapple Rum (pineapple is my FAVORITE).
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Verdict: I didn't love the Red Velvet. I think I took a bite, and passed it on. But the Pineapple Rum was my FAVORITE of the day - the cream cheese frosting on top?? Yum. I should have gotten another one to take back to the room with me.

I'm a little sad that we didn't expand the tour to the other resorts, but without a car, the logistics were kind of tricky - we just did the monoral loop. Plus, we were pretty stuffed (we only ate kids' meals for dinner HOURS later). If you've got lots of time to digest all the baked goods in between stops, I'd suggest you keep going. And bring friends, because it's easier to share that way :D.

The cupcakes are all $3.99 - not bad at all considering the size and deliciousness. Casey's Cupcakes near my house charges $3.50, are smaller, and are not surrounded by Disney magic.

Also, the cupcakes change seasonally, so what is available now may not be available when you go. For example, at Contemporary, I was really hoping for the dos leches cupcake, but they didn't have it - but they had pineapple, which isn't on the infographic. Oh well. Another time!

Resouces for planning your meals at Disney World:

  • Dining - full menus with prices at every eatery in the World - counter service, kiosks, you'll find it all here. This is an excellent resource for budgeting, and I use it A LOT when we were deciding between going with the meal plan or not. (unrelated, they also had an unofficial "aid station" set up outside of Hollywood Studios during the marathon, and gave me some DELICIOUS pretzels - THANKS!)
  • - this dude seems to spend all of the time in the universe wandering the parks, the resorts, the rides. It's kind of dry and mundane, but I dig that kind of detail. And he has the most pictures ever. He ALSO has pretty accurate (in my experience) crowd predictions to help you plan out your days - there are always parks that are busier than others, and he'll help you navigate the best options by day, with an explanation of why parks are recommended or not. Ideally, the unvierse will let me win the lottery, and I can have this job for the rest of my LIFE.
  • - reviews of everything you can imagine to eat in Disney World.

Other desserts I've sampled around the world and really, really suggest you try: 

  • The white chocolate elephant at Animal Kingdom, in the Kusafiri Bakery - excellent, and GIANT
  • Chocolate caramel at Epcot in Karamel Kuche at the Germany pavillion in World Showcase
  • Creme brulee, eclaires, napolean... basically, EVERYTHING in Boulangerie Patisserie at the France pavillion in World Showcase
  • Creme brulee at le Cellier at Epcot in Canada
  • Ice cream cookie sandwich at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom

Monday, January 21, 2013

Goofy Weekend - Goofy Recap

First, are you ready for this???

Last week:
Monday: Gluttony
Tuesday: Recovery
Wednesday: felt good, thought about running, then declined
Thursday: considered running. Watched tv.
Friday: Made pizza instead.
Saturday: Catfish marathon
Sunday: Tink Half!

Plan for the week...
Monday: Yoga/Cross train
Tuesday: 5 miles, 4x800 (rude)
Wednesday: Cross train
Thursday: 5 miles strides
Friday: Cross train/yoga/rest
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 10 miles

It's been awhile since I paid any attention to my plan. I ran 5 terrible miles on January 1st, and was sick for almost 2 weeks after. I ran Goofy. I ran zero steps last week. And then I ran Tink Half yesterday.

So basically, all of my January running has been runDisney.

I'm kind of worried that I won't know how to run without someone handing me water or finding a character stop. Risky business I'm embarking on!

Anyway, it's been real, laziness, and I'll miss you.


Goofy Recap - notes for people considering running Goofy

This is just kind of a random collection of thoughts on my Goofy experience. If you have any specific questions - about Goofy or runDisney events - please feel free to leave them, and I can do a separate post for them.

First, I need to add the disclaimer that I LOVE Disney. I grew up close to the parks, and I remember going when the parks were CHEAP. I remember almost losing a jelly shoe on my first trip through Space Mountain. I remember when the characters roamed the parks freely, and it was a treat to find them. I remember Epcot being edgy and new.
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Still my favorite.
Not everyone feels the same way about Disney, and that's cool. If you don't LOVE Disney, Goofy probably isn't the race for you.

If you want to PR, (IMO) Goofy probably isn't the race for you. I know it's been done (ahem, this lady), but I don't think this is a good place to go for a PR - for one, you probably wouldn't be stopping for character pictures, and that would make me sad. Second, unless you are FAST and RIGHT UP FRONT, it is a large race, it's crowded, and a LOT of the race is narrow. IF you won't be sad running past lost picture opps, and start right up front, it is, in theory, a good PR course - a lot of energy, a lot of spectators, and flat.

If this is your first marathon, Goofy probably isn't the race for you, IN MY OPINION. First, if it IS your first marathon, it's pretty intense to take on a half and immediately followed by your first full. Second, the full distance is a tricky thing - you never know what to expect until you're doing it. I know, with experience, how tricky things can play out in your mind, and it's good knowledge to have. My first marathon, my brain broke at mile 16, and I barely moved after that. My second marathon, my brain broke at mile 12, but that time, I knew it was just my brain being dumb, and kept going, and ended up PR'ing by 20 minutes. The experience in the distance helped me get through the tougher miles without freaking out. I would not have wanted to have my brain break at Disney.

As I said in my other recaps, I would probably not run either the half or the full independently - but I'm taking into account the time investment in getting to Florida and other expenses tied to me traveling there. I WOULD do the challenge again, but neither race was so amazing that I would do just one of them. (Interestingly, I WOULD repeat Princess, and want to do Wine and Dine - Princess because it was my first race, and I want a do-over).

If you want to run the races FOR FUN and stop for pictures, be prepared to be incredibly frustrated when it's time for you to actually move. We for real ran ALL of the half, and almost all of the full outside of picture stops, aid stations, and breaking for a real bathroom. But it was somewhat difficult in the narrow roads to maneuver between the groups walking, without them thinking we were assholes. One chick commented that we shouldn't even bother running because we were all moving so slow, as she walked leisurely, three abreast. I'm assuming it didn't occur to her that we were running slowly precisely because of people like her.
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JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE AT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN DISMISS ALL RUNNER ETIQUETTE. Honestly, there were a LOT of rude people. I DO understand that a lot of people at these events are NOT runners normally, and do not really train, they just want to be a part of the Magic. And that is GREAT - they are still out there, they are still participating. There was a LOT of weaving, and that's to be expected with all of the stops we made for pictures. The weaving is not what was frustrating. But if people are running past you, and announcing that they are on your left, don't be a dick. They aren't disparaging YOU, they are just being polite.

Have a plan for the races, be flexible, and be prepared to modify your plans. We initially planned to stop for all pictures, both days. After the first day took us 3:32 (remember, we ran everything but pictures and aid stations!), we reconsidered day two. We knew it was going to get HOT when the sun came up, so we decided to run as far as we could before the sun came up, stopping for pictures we had not gotten done the day before - no repeats. That helped us a ton.

Read the course map, and know what you're getting into. Because I read the maps, I knew there were no aid stations from after the Speedway, until we got to Animal Kingdom - if I hadn't known, that would have been a long stretch of time with no aid. But I knew, so it wasn't a huge deal.
That said, I knew the course map really well, but was still super sad at the not-in-the-parks parts. It just seemed like SUCH a long time between parks, that it was kind of discouraging to my marathon-brain. Obviously you KNOW you can't really run ONLY in parks for 26.2 miles - they are far apart, you have to get there somehow - but the stretch between AK and Hollywood Studios seemed like AGES. Once we hit Hollywood Studios, though, the energy from the spectators was great. Epcot is my favorite place on earth, so running through the entire park was probably my most favorite race experience, ever - even more than running through my favorite castle.

If you are running for fun, actually run for FUN. Stop and do fun things - like ride a roller coaster. Want a coke? Buy one. Take silly pictures. If you're not in it for time, relax and just enjoy it.
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Like I said in the marathon recap, my parents live semi-close, and we arranged to meet up at Epcot after. They were there early and watching for me. And, having spectators in my FAVORITE place, waiting just for me! was the best. I have never had someone come out to a race just to watch meeeeee, and it honestly doesn't bother me (with three kids, I'm just grateful my husband doesn't discourage my racing, I wouldn't ask him to drag them out with him). But it sure was FUN!

Overall, it was a great experience. runDisney puts on the most well organized races that I've seen. For ME, it is worth the money to do Goofy - there are characters out that aren't normally out, you get to see some behind the scenes backstage stuff that's normally hidden, and I love that stuff (someone else mentioned that it kind of ruined the "magic" for them, so YMMV).

I said at mile 17 that I wouldn't do Goofy again, but I say that every time I run anything. I would probably not run it just any old year - I'll likely stick to anniversary years. It is EXPENSIVE and incredibly time consuming for me to get to Florida for a race, so I have to prioritize - a regular year Goofy isn't as interesting to me as an anniversary year (luckily, Goofy anniversary is 2015!).

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After the half, we did Tour de Cupcake, but this post was already really long, so I'll cover that separately tomorrow. Plus Tink Half recap. That too. #runALLtheDisney

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon - Recap

We woke up for round two at the luxuriously LATE time of 3:11am. I know, we live on the edge. Somehow, it took us a billion minutes to get ready, and we got on to one of the last buses to leave, at 3:59 am. Danger is our middle name!

I finally got to see Dee (@deefsu) just before we headed over to the corrals. Dee and I went to high school together our freshman year, and did a lot of bonding while we skipped PE. TWENTY (oh my GOD) years later, we run marathons. HILARIOUS. Dee pretty much saved our bums and gave us awesome cooling towels for the hot hot hot day ahead (THANK YOU again!!).

We headed over to the corrals, and had our FIRST picture opp with the Fairy Godmother.

She was super, duper chatty.

Our goals for the day were:
  • Don't get swept.
  • Run as far as we can before the sun comes up.
  • Stop for new pictures only.
  • Have all the fun.
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The race started on time (of course, because it's runDisney), and we managed to maneuver all the way into the Ticket and Transportation Center before stopping (for the bathrooms). We didn't hit our first character stop until we were in the Magic Kingdom, where we stopped for Buzz, since we missed him the day before. We saw Fruit Fly and her MF in MK, and leapfrogged through the pictures.

The first 7ish miles are the same as the half course, and they had ALL of the same characters out for the first 7 miles, with the exception of Royal Minnie and Mickey at the back of the castle. Kind of disappointing.

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Holiday lights still up, and on when we came into the park!
After that, we split off from the half course, and headed into the Speedway.

I'm not a fan of cars, or banked roads, or the weird ramps we had to go down and up to get there. Frankly, this part of the course was blaaaahhhhh for me.
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We saw this car (don't shun me, but I've never seen Cars)....

We headed out of the Speedway around mile 9.25, then shortly after hit an aid station. I knew there was a LONG way to go before the next one, because I'm a map obsessor. Considering the road we were on - open, hot, exposed, and empty - and the weather, I'm kind of surprised there was no supplemental station added here. We went from mile 9.5 to mile 12 before the next station.

Coming into the back of Animal Kingdom, we finally had more character opportunities!

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And then we rode Expedition Everest. BEST RACE EXPERIENCE EVER.
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Ever wondered what a roller coaster looks like on Garmin maps??

Exiting the ride, we bought some drinks (Coke! Best idea ever, thanks B!), and ran into Fruit Fly again!!

Saw a few more charaters, then headed out of AK around mile 14, and looped through the parking lot and down Osceola Parkway. The Clif station at mile 15.5ish was out of product, AGAIN. Luckily, I had a giant bag of candy that was working juuuuust fine.

There were a couple of character spots, a couple more aid stations, before we arrived at ESPN at mile 16.5.

Okay. ESPN? LAME. I was not a fan. It was boring, it was monotonous, it was hot (not Disney's fault, but it was), and it was LAME. Maybe if I had some desire to look at empty fields, I guess this would have been more interesting? Meh. There was a sponge station at mile 17, that was pretty great, and bananas at 18 that were DELICIOUS. There was a second Clif station around 19.5 that had two flavors left, but again, I had my candy. We ran through some sort of baseball field sometime in here, too, but compared to running through Angels Stadium at Disneyland, it was kind of boring.

The only thing moving us through ESPN was the Mile 20 SPECTACULAR. We FINALLY turned the corner at mile 19, and it WAS spectacular!!

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I wish I had taken more pictures, they had maybe 6? 8? giant puppet things lining the road.

We stopped for this super awesome picture - what a happy coincidence that the characters matched us!!

While we were running down the very, very hot road again, I mentioned to B that if there were still people coming into ESPN, we could take things a bit easier - until now, we were pretty much running a steady pace between characters and aid stations, but I was having some ankle situation, and B mentioned her IT band being cranky.

But when we came around the corner back onto Osceola, there was no one going into ESPN, and they were clearing the course. Dun dun DUN. So we started booking it through - we wanted to be able to stop for any potential character sightings!

Miles 20-22ish were HOT. SO hot and SO humid, and everyone around us was walking. We just kept running, and running.

Some point we headed into the backlot of Hollywood Studios (not my favorite park, so I don't know much about it), and a CANDY station at mile 22.5! DELICIOUS!

There were only a few characters out in the Studios, and then we headed around to the Boardwalk area - I LOVE the Boardwalk area!

It was pretty crowded, since everyone was walking, and obviously, at mile 24, people are just kind of hurting and out of it, but we tried to run as much as we could through them. Somewhere in here, someone (someone WALKING) made a snotty remark about how we shouldn't even bother at this point. Okay, then. Whiner.

At mile 25, we headed into my happiest place on Earth, EPCOT!! We also managed to run into Dee again (yay!) and stop for a couple more character shots, while running around World Showcase. My parents live sorta close, so they were out spectating (FIRST time someone has spectated a race I'm running!) in front of Mexico. After a super quick hello to them, B and I sprinted into the finish (despite what she says, we really did run fast - my Garmin showed 8:17 pace when we crossed the finish line!).

All the pictures.....
Having no fun at all. Clearly.


Becka was SUPER EXCITED for Meeko

Wow, we are FUNNY.

Epcot makes me the happiest!

Hellooooo, mile almost the end!
Yeah. Better stop that Garmin.....

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I'm conflicted. I really, REALLY wanted to just LOVE this race. Obviously, I'm a giant fan of Disney. Obviously, you have to actually travel from one park to the other, the course can't ALL be in the parks. I did know the course, I saw the maps, and I knew what to expect, but I was just not a fan of the Speedway or ESPN. It's certainly not Disney's fault that I don't like cars, and I know that other people were enjoying the Speedway. Fine. But ESPN was just devoid of any entertainment. There could have been a lot more done here.

The shirt is unisex. I have a small, but it's GINORMOUS. For the billions of dollars runDisney charges for registration, I'm mildly surprised that they still don't offer gender specific shirts.


I am REALLY glad that this was not my first rodeo, and I knew sort of what to expect from the distance - I think I would have been a little devestated if I felt so crappy at mile 20, without KNOWING that it just feels crappy and to keep going. I would not do this as my first marathon!! I once considered doing it as my first, but I'm so glad I didn't, because I think it would have ruined the whole experience for me (draaaaamatic).

Riding Expedition Everest was SO much fun. We were let in to the fast pass line, and waited less than 5 minutes to get on. I'm pretty sure the chick at the register when we bought our drinks took longer to ring us up. If you have the opportunity to ride a roller coaster during a marathon, DO IT (hahahaahaa).

We found out after the race that there was a BACON CHALLENGE. WHAT. Eat three pieces of bacon, get a piggy medal. Three pieces is certainly no challenge. I wish we had known of this amazing offering beforehand.

Would I run this again? Like I said in the half recap, as a stand alone race, no, probably not. I WOULD do Goofy Challenge again (2015....), but not on its own. For me, it's just too expensive and time consuming to travel to Florida for a course I didn't love. I DO plan on Wine and Dine still (tentatively for 2014).


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