A Dessert Party

So when I left off, I was just about to leave Animal Kingdom.

I headed back to the resort and gathered my close to do a quick load of laundry.  Since I was putting stuff into an Owner’s Locker, I wanted to make sure that everything was clean.  The laundry wasn’t far from the room.  It wasn’t exactly cheap, but it’s been a while since I’ve had to pay for a washer and dryer so it might be within the norm.  I took some time relaxing in the lounge and then got everything folded and packed up.

After finishing up, I made my way over to Epcot for a dessert party with some fellow runners from the Disboards.  Our plan was to have the party in France.  A few days before we had decided to move the dessert portion inside because of the cold temperatures.  It was held in the Wonders of Life pavilion.  We had some yummy chocolate dessert, including fondue, brownies and biscotti.  I tried to take some pictures of the pavilion.  They didn’t come out that good, but here you go!

About 15 minutes before Illuminations was going to start we were escorted to our private viewing area.  We had a great view of the fireworks and I recorded the whole thing.  I don’t have the knowledge to edit a 15 minute video so that I can put it on here.  It came out really good though.

After Illuminations ended, some of us walked back towards the Epcot resorts.  I thought I’d be able to head over to the Studios by the Friendship Boats, but they weren’t heading back there.  The Captain said that there were buses heading over to the park.  I didn’t feel like heading to the front of the resort and waiting for the bus so I decided to walk over to the Studios.  The walk was much longer than I thought, but it wasn’t that bad.  Just cold.

When I got to the park, the Victory Party was in full swing.  I had missed the TNT meal, but there was plenty of stuff to do.  They had a DJ at the hat with a dance party going on.  I did the Cupid Shuffle and then headed over to ride Toy Story Mania.  The fast pass queue was closed.  I was excited though because that meant I would be able to *hopefully* be able to see Mr. Potato Head!

And he was out!  I got a few pictures of him and some video too!

The video wouldn’t upload so here is a picture:

I didn’t take a picture of my score so I’ll need to go my the assumption that I was somewhere around 150k.  That seems to be where I get stuck on my own.  After that I though I would head over to do one of the other rides, but came across another dance party in front of the hat.  You’ll never believe what happened there…

Making my way to Epcot

So I hopped off the Friendship Boat at the Dolphin and headed towards the Yacht and Beach Club area so I could walk along the race course to cheer on the runners.  I would walk along the course for a little bit, stop and cheer on some runners, then turn around keep moving.

I made my up to the bridge that leads to Sea Breeze Point and hung out there cheering on the runners and looking for my teammates.  I was there for maybe 10 minutes when I saw my teammate Lanie.  I didn’t have my camera out in time, but I knew that she needed to run backstage before she would enter Epcot and that I had the shorter line through the International Gateway. 

I ran to the entrance and up to where the runners were going by.  I got there maybe a minute before she did and I wasn’t ready again!  I followed her along the course until a cast member yelled at me for running onto the bridge into France.  The World Showcase wasn’t open to the public yet!

I rushed back along the course and after crossing the course into Canada, I hurried towards the Christmas tree so that I could wait for Lanie there and get a picture of her.

I spotted this, um, gal:

Then I saw Lanie!!

When I saw her the next day, she said how surprised she was to see me all over the course.  I just knew the shortcuts that she couldn’t take!

I then made my way back to the backstage entrance in England and waited for friends and more teammates.

One of my coaches and her husband

I finally saw my friend Tim and walked with him to France, all along the way offering him pretzels, offering to run ahead and get him a beer in Germany.  He declined but said he would call me later to hang out.  Since I was in France, I headed back to the bakery and got myself some goodies.

I also got myself some yummy champagne to sip on while I ate my goodies.  I sat down on one of the benches and had many of the runners beg me for the champagne.  Nope, no sharing.  I earned this, but they weren’t done yet. 

After I finished, I went back to the bridge to wait for the rest of my teammates.  I saw my roommate and our coach.  Our coach marveled at how much energy I had and how nicely I was walking around after my race.  She told me that my teammate Laurie was a few minutes behind her.  Laurie was the last person I wanted to see, I waited for her and when I saw her, I hopped on the course and made my way around the
World Showcase with her.  I held my poster that I had been using to cheer on the TNT runners in front of me where the bib would be.  There are actually picture of me running the marathon (with Laurie)!

I snapped a picture of her out in World Showcase:

And then one more of her and her sister heading into Future World:

Once we got over the bridge and to the fountains I separated from them before getting myself kicked off the course.  I was able to wander around and get some photopass pictures then I remembered that it was Sunday, and the best park to be in on most Sundays is Animal Kingdom.  And I hadn’t been there yet on this trip.  Hmmm…

So that is where I headed!

Marathon Day!!! Sunday, January 10, 2010

My original plan was to get up with my roommate and go with the team to the start line, then run from the start line over to the Magic Kingdom or over to the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Polynesian.  I was so exhausted from the late dinner and walking around the parks after my race that I decided to sleep in a little bit and meet everyone at one of the parks later in the race.

I think I ended up getting up around 8.  That’s pretty darn late for a Disney day for me!  I took my time getting ready then made my way over to get some coffee to warm up and wake up some more.  I even took my time getting over to get the coffee and I meandered around the resort and found the Dig Site pool.  Unfortunately, it was still way too cold to take advantage of it.

Eventually I made it over to get my coffee…

Looking at the time I figured it was best to make my way over to the Studios since everyone would be almost at, or through, Animal Kingdom by then.

I saw this as soon as I got there:

I made my way over to the friendship boats and caught the one that was waiting for me.  I sat down inside, but quickly realized that I would be able to get better pictures if I stand at the back of the boat.

Here’s some shots that I got:

When the boat got to the Swan/Dolphin dock, I decided to get off there and walk the rest of the way!

To be continued…

Dinner in Epcot!

So I made my way over to Epcot and stopped at Spaceship Earth for a look at the past and my future!

Since I was on the ride by myself, I was given a new partner in my future!

I then made my way to Japan for my dinner!

I order hot tea and I think I ordered tempura for an appetizer.  Then I had the beef and fish entree.  I’ll just post some of the highlights from dinner:

Yup, by the time my beef was done, the shrimp was almost gone!

In the time I was sitting there, my feet were starting to swell, so I loosen up my shoes, but I was able to tie them before I needed to leave.  After dinner, I decided it was time to head back to the room and get to bed.  I snapped one more picture of the tree.

And I happened to catch this bit of water art on my way out too!

To be continued…

So what did I do after the race?

I’m going to try to finish the rest of my trip in 2-3 posts.

After finishing the race I got a quick massage, checked into the TNT tent and got in line for the buses.  I was thankful that I saw a teammate and I was able to hop in line with her instead of waiting in the LONG line for the buses.

After I got back to my room I hopped in the shower and I took what is possibly the longest shower of my life.  Just when I was about ready to get out of the shower, I started shivering all over again.  So I stayed in the shower a bit longer until I was warmer.

I got dressed quickly and made my way back to the parks.  I headed over to the Magic Kingdom to Lou Mongello’s meet.  It was moved inside because of the weather.  I hung out there with Tim and his son while Lou walked around showing the people at the meet to the people in the Box.  When the meet was over I hung around to meet Lou:

I texted my friend Mike to see where he was and since he was heading to Space Mountain, I headed in that direction.  The wait was long so I grabbed a fast pass and went over to the Carousel of Progress and then went for a spin with Buzz Lightyear.  I snapped a few more pictures and then headed into Space Mountain.

I was able to ride Space Mountain plus two more rides in the same time that it took Mike to go through the stand-by line for Space Mountain.  Just sayin…

I wanted to get pictures of the places I had passed during the race so I followed the course that I had taken a few hours earlier:

Past the Speedway towards Fantasyland.

Whoa!  I see the castle ahead!

Um, I guess I can’t go that way now…

So, I went this way…

And got this picture:

And look!  The lights were still up!

I decided to make one more stop on my favorite Magic Kingdom ride.

And just one more bit of proof of how cold it was.  There was no line at Aloha Isle!

I headed out of the park and decided to try to get dinner reservations.  Sanaa and Boma had no spaces avaiable for a single diner, so I tried Epcot restaurants.  Of course, Biergarden had places available, but I didn’t think my stomach could handle it, but Teppan Edo had a spot open so I headed there!

Continued in next post!

Finishing in record time?

So, I finally make it out of the Magic Kingdom.  Somewhere within the next mile I see the same TnT coach.  I was trying to speed up since that mile through the park had really slowed me down.  I was thinking about having my Clif Shot but I thought that they would be distributing them soon so I tried to hold off.
I kept moving forward and maintaining my walk/run pattern.  I was expecting to see my coach around mile 7, but she wasn’t there.  
She wasn’t there at mile 8 either.  I knew I would be seeing her eventually though.  I did get to the food.  Unfortunately, the only flavors left were vanilla and raspberry.  Yuck.  I really only like mocha.  At least I had a mocha with me so I finally gave in and ate that.  Somewhere in this mile I saw one of my teammates.  I encouraged her to keep moving and went on my way.
Finally, just before mile 9 I saw all of the coaches.  They were waiting there for all of us.  My coach got out on the road with me.  That’s her arm in the picture pointing out the time (and probably saying “Only 4 more miles!”).  She still had on her poncho and had a towel wrapped around her legs like a skirt.  She helped me stay focused on maintaining my intervals.  I was certainly hurting by now.
I missed the picture of the 10 mile marker, but soon I was seeing a fellow WISHer, Thunder Matt!
I managed to get a good picture of him this time!
We made our way up the entrance ramp, on the right side (see my Princess Half report coming soon for that issue).  About half way up, my coach decided to finally drop her towel.  I didn’t blame her.  She had been up and down the course several times and standing in the rain, I’m sure that towel was pretty heavy.
I snapped a picture of the people behind me who hadn’t gotten to the ramp.
We made it to mile 11 and I then told my coach my goal of beating my time from the Philly Distance Run.  Once I told her about that, she had me pick up the pace.
I finally saw Spaceship Earth!
We got to mile 12 and then made our way into Epcot.  My coach had me run through the last water stop.  I was thirsty, but I had water on me to drink at the end.  We ran from the water stop all the way to the Christmas tree at the lagoon.  Once we got around the tree, I was able to walk.  I ran a little more in the downhill sections as we were leaving the park.
When we got the the mile 13 marker, my coach told me to run again.  We took off.  I ran as fast as I could to reach that finish line.  I managed to finish the race in 3:22:52.  50 seconds off of my time for the PDR.  I guess that wasn’t to bad considering the horrible conditions that we were running in.  And, I got my picture in front of the castle finally!

Heading through the Magic Kingdom!

So I left my coach around the 5K mark just after going to the gates to the Magic Kingdom.  I wasn’t alone for too long though when I saw another coach from the Lehigh Valley chapter around mile 4 and he went with me into the Magic Kingdom.  But first I saw the place I was really looking forward to visiting:

Bay Lake Tower!

I couldn’t wait until the day that I could stay there.  I couldn’t spend too much time dreaming about it though because soon I saw my next mile marker.

I was doing okay with my time but I wanted to keep moving and get myself to the castle.  It was somewhere around here that I decided to get ride of my poncho.  I was really enjoying the race despite the rain and freezing temps and I felt like I was pretty warm after the first 5 miles. 

We made it past the Contemporary and then headed backstage and onto Main Street.  Surprisingly, it was the first time I had entered the Magic Kingdom during the trip.  I tried to take some pictures along the way but my fingers were cold and I didn’t want to slow down until I got to the castle.  I kept snapping pictures along the way and these are some of the best ones:

I made it through Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland and I heard the trumpeters as I made my way behind the castle.  Before I knew, this was the sight in front of me:

I snapped that picture and then quickly made my way down the ramps to get the picture I had been dreaming about for the last year.  I did get my picture with the full castle behind me.  There was a short wait.  I think they should have had two photographers there so that people didn’t have to wait too long.

I then promptly started heading out of the Magic Kingdom since I have another goal to make.  I wanted to beat my time from the Philadelphia Distance Run.  I didn’t stop, but kept snapping pictures on my way out:

I grabbed some water and then it was back out to the roads!

WDW Marathon weekend with Team in Training! Day 3 Part 1, January 9, 2010

My alarm went off at 2:15. We were required to meet at 2:45 so that we could be on the first buses over to the race. If I were traveling on my own, I probably would have slept until 3 am and tried to get on a bus around 3:30 or 3:45. I got some pictures while we we waiting for the bus:

I really wish this picture came out better. I didn’t tell the person taking it how to use the focus on the camera. Whoops!

Once we got on the bus it was a quick ride over to Epcot. The buses stopped somewhere out in the parking lots and we had a pretty far walk just to get to the holding area. The music was blaring and we were all struggling to get warm or at least not get colder. I shared a towel with one of my teammates and we leaned up against each other. I was hoping I would fall asleep and get a bit more rest, but that didn’t happen.

We made our way over to the starting lines after what seemed like forever trying to get through the bag check. I was in Corral G. I think if I had registered on my own I would have been in a higher corral as I saw many people online with similar finish times and lower bib numbers.

Once we got to the corrals, we waited,

And waited

and waited 
OOOooh fireworks!
And then we got a little bit closer…
And finally, about 25 minutes later, we found the start line
I took pictures along the way, but I wasn’t stopping for anything so none of them came out clear.  I stayed with my coach for the first 5k.
I saw this before my coach left:
And then I was on my own…

WDW Marathon weekend with Team in Training! Day 2, Part 3, January 8, 2010

I took the Monorail over to Epcot and made my way over to Sunshine Seasons for a snack before getting onto a few rides. Disney we attempting to protect the plants from the freeze that was coming:

I got myself a pasta salad and a few bags of pretzels to take with me and took some time to sit down and enjoy the food. The I headed over to Living with the Land. I hadn’t been on that ride at least since 2003, but the last time I can definitely remember the ride was from my senior trip that my mom took me on. I still really enjoy the ride and I don’t really miss having the cast member tour guide.

Here are some pictures from the ride:

I just had Jackfruit at home the week before. I never liked the canned stuff, but fresh it was delicious so I was excited to see the tree.

After the ride I decided to head over to Mouse Gears and get myself a backpack. The free one from the expo just wasn’t getting the job done and I had put a tear in it around the drawstring area so I was concern about more rips and then the chance of losing my stuff. After I got out of the store, I saw that the rain had started:

It was almost time for the Inspiration Dinner so I started to make my way over to the World Showplace Pavilion. I got there and didn’t need to wait long before they started letting people in. All the coaches and staff were lining the walkway with tons of noisemakers to cheer on all of the runners.

Inside, they had several buffet tables full of salads and pastas and the pavilion was full of tables. I had been in there before, but the set up was different.

I grabbed some food and found our tables. Once the presentation got started, we were able to hear many stories about the great work that our fundraising does. John “The Penguin” Bingham was our host. He is a back of the pack runner like most of the TnT participants.

After the dinner I made my way to the front of the part so that I could catch a bus over to Pop for my WISH meet. I snapped some pictures of the Christmas tree and the Monorail on my way out.

I didn’t have to wait too long for the bus and when I got to Pop I easily found the WISHers in the food court area. I got to meet Jeff Da Runner (Aloha Jeff) and my friend Tim (who was one of my supporters in my fundraising).

Jeff had Aloha Mickey with him, so I got a picture with Mickey too:

After a little bit, we all headed outside for the group picture. Here’s the picture from my point of view:

Once the meet was over, I headed over to the expo one more time to do some more shopping (I got paid that day!). I picked up a race tee shirt, pins, and an “In Training” shirt for next year’s marathon. I also spent enough money to get the special throw. Once I finished up with the purchases, I made my way back to the resort and headed back to my room before heading to our team meeting.

My coaches even decorated my door!

I quickly dropped my stuff off and grabbed my singlet and my roommate and headed to the team meeting. Our coaches gave us all of the updates and reminded us where to meet in the morning, then we decorated our singlets and headed back to our rooms to get a good (albeit short) night’s sleep.

Next up: RACE DAY!!!

WDW Marathon weekend with Team in Training! Day 2, Part 2, January 8, 2010

So when I left you, I was on my way to use my fastpass at Toy Story Mania. I ran into some Green Army Men putting some tourists through basic training.

I went through the fast pass line and made my way to the front of the line. Of course, I needed to snap a picture of the glasses:

Here’s my score:

Not too bad. I posted it on Twitter and Matt the Esquire complimented my on it. I have to go back and listen to his show again to see where I can get more points.

I then started making my way to the front of the park so that I could head out for my free ride along. High School Musical was out again so I stopped for some more pictures for my office mate. Just one for you though:

I got some pictures of the tree and then made my way to the bus to the Ticket and Transportation Center. I love all of the tree pictures, so you get all of them.

I didn’t have to wait very long for the bus to the Ticket and Transportation Center and once I got there, I went over and asked some cast members how to get to the speedway. It was nice and easy. They actually have a shuttle that takes you over for free. Once I got in the shuttle with some other guests, they promptly gave us a release to sign and then we were on our way to the speedway.

The shuttle bus took us under the race track through a tunnel that made us feel like we were getting a bonus roller coaster ride! Once we got there, I handed over my annual pass and ID, and filled out a form for a drawing to win the driving experience. I got myself into a riding suit and then went out to get my helmet and the other gear that was necessary.

Look! There’s my car!

You have to wear a helmet (it squished my cheeks together) and a solid plastic harness that attached to the back of the helmet and went over my shoulders. I can say that I was very thankful I didn’t wear my jeans that day. My jeans are a little bit tight and in order to get into the car, you need to climb in the window since there are no doors. Once you are in the seat, they strap the back of your helmet and the shoulder piece to the seat and then put the 5-point harness over your shoulders, hips and between your legs (think of a child’s car seat).

Once I was fastened in, the driver (Dan) revved the engine and pulled out, then we we on our way! I wish I had looked at the spedometer when we were in the straight-aways, but I did look at it when we were going slow in the curves. Our slowest speed that I saw was 100 miles per hour. Wow! After we were done I told the driver that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to enjoy Test Track again.

We got out picture taken, which I purchased (since I didn’t need to pay for the ride, I figured that I could get the picture).

After leaving the Speedway, I started to make my way over to Epcot…

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