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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!!!

23 Jul

First of all…you’re probably thinking “Hey! This is not in the correct order!” and you are absolutely correct.

Also, this is likely going to be a two-parter cause the timing is pretty expanded!! If you were there, you know!!

But first, take a trip with me back to January…and let’s go to Walt Disney World for Marathon weekend where I was all set to run a 5K and a half marathon and hang out with my awesome Disney Ohana.

This trip involved a couple of travel plan changes but eventually it was all straightened out and me and the Phred got to Orlando  Tuesday morning and after some confusion I found where I had to pick up my rental car and was on my way! Eventually I made it to Celebration and was able to relax. Or…get to work since I had work to do!

As we were running the 5K on Thursday – and I was volunteering on Friday –  we would have to brave the expo on Wednesday to pick up bibs and shirts and credentials. I drove in the red Kia that I had rented (it’s the one in the hamster/rat/gerbil commercial!) and we blasted …um Christmas music on our way to ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The Disney expos have been come a bit of a cluster in the last few years…seems like way too many people in one place at one time! Fortunately,  the building for picking up bibs was not too crowded and the 5K shirts were out in the stadium. Don’t even ask about picking up the other shirt – that building had a massive line to get in so we decided to pick up the Half Marathon shirt after the half on Saturday figuring the crowds would really have died down!

Then I had to hunt down where to pick up my volunteer credentials. After getting mis-directed SEVERAL times I finally found the door to go in and grabbed my things!

The plan for the 5K was to run as a group – we had gotten some awesome wigs and we had matching skirts (not my favorite Skirt Sports but we’ll call it Brand X). Angela and I had Fellow Flower tanks -“Progress Not Perfection” since this is something I need to remember!

As usual I was in a farther back corral than my friends. Happily, for me, Vanessa and Angela dropped back to start out with me. As we got into EPCOT we were joined by a couple of others and eventually, while waiting in line for a picture, we gathered our whole group for an amazing rainbow finish!!

Since Disney races are early enough,  I had time to do a little work after my shower and before we headed over to the Grand Floridian for afternoon tea with the ladies!

I was volunteering the next morning, bright and early, at the start corrals for the 10K so we headed home fairly early…after all, a 2:00 am check-in comes REALLY early!! 🙂

I do love volunteering at Disney — it’s always easy to find the fun and the magic! For this race, I was one of the people leading the corral to the start line. While waiting I met an internet friend, possibly for the first time. Also, watching the faster corrals go past I noticed that not too many of them seemed to be in a very magical mood…More like a dwarves – lots of Grumpy faces! The further back in the race, the more Happy people we saw! Naturally all of them were pretty Sleepy!

Anyway….after getting my group to the start I decide to wait to see more of my friends off. One of the volunteers standing next to me said “wow, you sure know a lot of people!” And I do! Some pretty awesome people!

After all of the runners had left the corrals and were approaching the start, I headed to the meeting area for our group. As I was walking about 3 or 4 runners came speeding past to get into the lines to start – it was a close call for one of them!! We got released early, I headed home for a couple of conference calls and then decided to head over to the parks.

Now, it had been threatening to rain for our Half Marathon on Saturday but the race was “rain or shine”. It isn’t like we haven’t run in the rain before, right?! But…around 5 or so in the evening, people staying onsite started seeing signs go up in the hotel lobbies that the race was being delayed…Okay. But I bet we still need to be there at Dark O’clock. I continued my trip around the Magic Kingdom, texting and checking social media for updates.

And then it happened. Cancelled.

WHAT??!! What??

Seems that there were thunder and lightning expected around the times that volunteers would be setting up and runners arriving and this is no bueno.  Way too dangerous and no where to put 20,000 people if things got bad.

As I was leaving the park I met up with some friends over at the fancy Bay Lake Tower DVC club for a drink. Walking in I was passed by more than a few people who had put on the costumes they had planned for Saturday and were heading out to get their 13.1 in before the storms (this was a trend — the next morning there were makeshift half marathons being held all over Disney property and other guests came out to cheer and provide support!)

I actually did *not* do my half that day. I had gone to bed with a decent head cold so given the opportunity to NOT run in the rain…I took it. Of course, had the official race gone on I would’ve been out there making myself sicker!

I should add here — runDisney took the fairly unprecedented action and actually offered refunds in various forms to those running the half. Which. They did NOT have to do. Rarely does this happen. I’ve personally had 2 races cancelled (one at the very last minute like this one) and got nothing. So… ps – I took the cash – as you should know I would.

I did plan to run a half, completely separate from another registered race (no double-dipping for me!) And I did eventually get it done even if it took me a few months…

But first…there’s other stuff going on that I need to share 🙂

WDW Marathon Weekend – The Dopey Challenge: The Marathon

28 Jan

Well…here it is!!! I had been looking forward to this day for at least a year and a half!!

 

Today there were no costume alterations — the weather was going to be more along the lines of what I’d expected the whole weekend to be! There was a slight chance of some rain, but…well, I’d deal with that if and when it happened!

Before bed on Saturday I had put my things together in my gear check bag so I’d be sure to have everything I needed, set the alarm and hit the sack!

Another early morning…another wait for the bus, another ride over to EPCOT and a quick stop at the Race Retreat before meeting up with my friends for a picture

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This was the early crowd…some of us, or, ME, wanted to get to the corral quickly!

 

and heading to the corral!

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With a thousand or so of our close friends…watching the runners in front of us moving up…

 

We waited for an hour again – at least this time we knew what to expect! Then it was go time!

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I had trained using 1:1 intervals and didn’t use them on Friday or Saturday. I wasn’t completely sure I would use them for the Full, but I had my timer set up, just in case…but I started out just taking it easy and guessing at my intervals.

Things were going really well, and I was kind of in a groove…keeping my eyes open for friends along the way. My big goals for today were to have enough cushion to ride Expedition Everest (about mile 12-13) and to not get swept!

That being said, it was a fairly uneventful first 5 miles…though it was kind of cool to see the earlier runners already heading through the Raceway (about Mile 9)

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These lucky people are already at mile 9!!

 

Running into the park “the back way” is kind of cool!

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The run up Main Street USA always takes my breath away! What’s really great is that the volunteers are always willing to take pictures! The gentleman who took mine insisted on the TAH DAH! pose!! 🙂

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And from the backside of the castle too!!

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Hello!!!

 

And then, entering Frontierland, I saw him…

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Me and Woody!!

 

It was really great that the next mile marker featured Toy Story too!!

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Finally we were winding our way out of our first park — some boring miles until we got to the Speedway…and the clouds seemed to be getting thicker and darker. Around mile 10, on the way to Animal Kingdom, we run past the ever popular Water Treatment facilities for Walt Disney World!

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We come into the back side of Animal Kingdom and part of the fun is the animals that they bring out to cheer us on!

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And then. There it was. The mountain I’d been focusing on all morning! And, I was going to make it!! Research had told me to go in the Single Rider line – apparently in prior years, the cast members were pretty cool about letting runners get on quickly from this line. Apparently that was prior years….so a few of us waited. It seemed like hours, but was probably only about 10 minutes! And then we were off!!  I got a great “selfie” of the girls behind me!!

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This was so much fun!!!

 

Once we jumped off, the cast member at the picture booth was yelling to remind us that our pictures were automatically captured on our MagicBands…

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You can kind of almost see a little bit of my shirt…in the back seat!!

 

 

As we ran out of the Animal Kingdom it started to rain. Not heavy rain at all…and it actually felt pretty good! We were now on our way up to the Wide World of Sports: ESPN. Now, here was an out and back section so I was REALLY keeping my eyes peeled for my friends who had started a couple of corrals ahead of me. The timing was about perfect so I figured I’d see someone!

And I did!!! As I was turning into the road up to ESPN I heard Angela and Karin calling me! Man oh man – was it wonderful to see them!! And of course there was a small bit of crying (I’m telling ya, this marathon thing is pretty emotional!) and then I knew that I was good for the next – LAST – 9 miles!

Up next, around miles 22-23 was Hollywood Studios! On the way there, I met up with 2 more friends and decided to hang with them the last few miles – until we got into the park and I saw Mike and Sully waiting for me!

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After my picture break I caught back up with Chris and Krista — until I had to break off … for my first ever jumping attempt – that, sadly, is not documented…

 

And a final potty stop before the final push to the finish!

Once out of Hollywood Studios and on the path over to the Boardwalk, any danger of being swept is past. Which causes some people to just really come to a crawl…but I managed to catch up again to Chris and Krista and we stayed together until we got to EPCOT.

But before we could get to EPCOT, we were going to run past our very own cheering station!! Vanessa had gathered the troops to set up a spot where we could grab a bite to fuel up for the last mile and a half! And again, it was SO good to see them out on the course! The M&Ms and Twizzlers were nice too!! 🙂

Once in EPCOT, I really just wanted to be done so I split off on my own again and just steadily made my way through the World Showcase — full of tourists already. Along the way, I passed Santa. Yes, really! Santa! I was happy to be in his corral because NO ONE would DARE sweep Santa!! 🙂

You know you’re getting to the end of the run when you turn the corner to see the Gospel Choir singing in their golden robes! From here, it was another .3 or so to the finish line!!

Once across the finish, Dopeys had to check in at a special booth – at the expo we’d had our pictures taken with our bibs and it seemed that they were comparing those pictures to the person in front of them, as well as verifying that all of the races had been completed. After that it was simply a matter of collecting the bling!

The Marathon Medal

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Mickey!

 

The Goofy Medal

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Goofy!!

 

The Dopey Medal

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Dopey!

 

And again, off to see what treats awaited in the Race Retreat and wait for Tracy (or meet her there…who knew!?!) The Race Retreat would be closing soon so I really hoped that Tracy was already there, or on her way (and that’s a topic for another post…)

Tracy arrived shortly after me, but wasn’t hungry so we headed back to the room – she was leaving that afternoon and I was heading out to dinner at the 50’sPrime Time Diner with my running family!

I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself for getting through the weekend! And, I had gone into the Dopey Challenge with those famous words “One and Done”…but ….I may be back.

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WDW Marathon Weekend – The Dopey Challenge: The Half Marathon

28 Jan

So where was I?

Oh yeah! We finished the 10K, we went to the Magic Kingdom for an epic ride on the Jingle Cruise then back to the resort for a sandwich and bed!

Now, normally, I’m a get all by things together the night before a race kind of girl. But…well, I was kind of winging it this weekend.

Not only was Saturday leg 3 of the Dopey Challenge, it was also the final leg of the Na’Cho Challenge! And, Na’Cho himself was planning to be out on the course cheering on his runners!! ***

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Na’Cho ready to take on the tough task of cheering on thousands of runners!!

I set the alarm a bit earlier for Saturday – we had purchased the Race Retreat and I wanted to take advantage of the pre-race amenities: warm tent, bagels, fruit, coffee, water, private port-a-potties, and private bag check. Plus character photos!!

Anyway…we got up, got dressed and headed to the bus. Because the weather was much cooler than I’d expected when I planned my outfits, I had to make an adjustment. Unfortunately, that adjustment meant that I had to wear my race shirt. On the day of the race. Something I *never* do! To hopefully short-circuit any bad ju-ju, I wore it inside out!

The line for the bus was a little longer on Saturday and I realized that we could hear the festivities from over in the EPCOT lots! Hopped on that bus and really, as soon as we pulled away realized that I didn’t have my music with me…WHAT??!!! Oh well…that’ll learn me to “wing it” the night before a race, right?!

It was already pretty crowded when we got there,

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You can really feel the excitement — even at 4 in the morning!!

but I found a spot and settled in for a bit. Grabbed a bagel, some peanut butter, a banana and an orange. And a couple of bottles of water. And, of course a couple of pictures!

 

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Bullseye!!!!

 

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What? Oh just hangin’ with my pals Buzz and Woody!

 

We were kind of anxious to get to the corrals – which was quite a walk. But first I was meeting up with my running group again for my dose of motivation before heading to the back of the pack…again.

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The group was even BIGGER today!!!

Tracy had made her way to the front of the corral, and I really had no trouble finding her! We chatted with the runners around us and made our plan to meet up at the Retreat Tent afterwards. I also wanted to let her know that Na’Cho would be between miles 11 and 12 or so…

Eventually (an hour later, actually) we were crossing the starting line and off on our 13.1 mile adventure!

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Without my music I really focused on the sights and sounds that Disney provides! And stopped for a picture or two!!

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Heading into the happy place!!

 

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Stopping for my honey….well, Pooh’s honey

 

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I was going to have to walk through the castle anyway, so time for another stop!

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve run at Disney on my own — and even though I didn’t have my usual companion to chat with along the way, the time still seemed to go by pretty fast! I was super happy to see these ladies when I came out of the Magic Kingdom!

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Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! And…cured my chocolate craving!!

 

And I must say, except for those few miles through the castle and heading out of the Magic Kingdom, I did pretty darn good!!

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MIles 6 and 7 were through the castle and some tight roads…mile 9 was just…boredom!!

 

Post-race, I ran into our other Pooh — and Tigger Too!!!  I was so happy to see my friends waiting after I finished!! Had to memorialize this!!

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I somehow managed to  miss Na’Cho on the course – I was looking at the wrong side of the road I guess 😦 So my plan was to go to the Retreat and grab breakfast number 2 and my gear bag and head out to pick up my Na’Cho medal (and of course hug the man of the hour!). Though while getting my things it turned out that the road had opened and Na’Cho headed home….

I had no plans for the rest of the day, other than maybe hitting the pool for a bit before an early dinner and another early night to bed! But first, some post race recovery time…

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Ice and snack time!!

 

Three down and one more to go! It was actually looking like I was gonna pull this thing off!!

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The Donald medal!

 

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The super special Na’Cho Challenge medal!

 

And hey! If you want to earn one of these AWESOME Na’Cho Challenge medals, just click on that link back there — all you have to do is run 10K (6.2 miles) and a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) and send in proof of running, like say, a screen print of your running app. Or. A picture of your garmin watch. 🙂

WDW Marathon Weekend – The Dopey Challenge: 10K

17 Jan

Day 2 of the Dopey Challenge happened to also be Day 1 of the Na’Cho Challenge – an added ‘bonus’ challenge supporting adoptabull – English Bulldog Rescue, Na’Cho being the name of one of our favorites!!

So, after being *slightly* unprepared for Thursday’s 5k – cold temps, forgot my music, phone died (okay, not ALL was my fault!) – I put most of my things together before bed, since we had to be at the 10K start even earlier!

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Nearing the end…World Showcase!!!

I was making an attempt at a PNK costume but put the letters under my jacket…by the time I warmed up enough to take off my jacket the letters weren’t sticking so good…so I was just in pink and purple, but lots of people “got it”!!

Met up with my Facebook running group again for pictures and motivation

pre10krtd

Best Running Group in the World!

 

before heading to the back BACK of the pack. We smartened up a little though and made our way to the front of the back corral — every second counts you know!!

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The 10K course is really not much to write home about…a lot of highway running then a trip through EPCOT World Showcase. This cute couple was running in front of me most of the time — I tried several times to get a picture of their shirts but had to steal borrow this one from a friend.

cutecouple

The shirts say that they are getting married on Jan 9 at 2 pm (yes, that’s today)…

 

I wasn’t terribly interested in characters on the course – I had my mental list of who I HAD to get and…well, look who I ran into!!

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I thought it would be fun to post my splits — you can definitely see where I waiting in line for the picture with Genie. Well worth it!! He’s the one character that I always MUST get out on the course!

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Post-race before I headed back to the resort I had one VERY important stop to make….

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I still love you Dopey!!

 

Tracy went on ahead and decided to go to Downtown Disney and I had plans with my RTD friends.

epicjunglecruise

The Jungle Cruise of Epicness.  Yeah…that’s right, we had about 18-20 people together who would be making this a cruise to remember for EVERYONE on board!!

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Let’s just say it was loud…and kind of chaotic!! But, man, was it fun!!!

But, tomorrow was another long day, so after roaming around the park a bit with a couple of friends, we kind of split up and headed home…or…some stayed in the park to snack!

I headed to the Beach Club, grabbed a sandwich and got my things together — tomorrow, we had entry to the Race Retreat so the plan was to leave a little early and have our breakfast there before meeting up again! At least it would be a warm place to wait!

And, oh yeah, the most important part of the day – the bling!

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This one is Minnie’s Race!!

 

 

 

WDW Marathon Weekend – The Dopey Challenge: The 5K

16 Jan

So, like I said, I was REALLY looking forward to getting down to Florida to hang out in the sunshine and warm air…Well.  Yeah.

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Thursday morning we woke up to this 🙂 What you don’t see is that the “feels like” temp was somewhere in the 30’s. Which means that some of us were not as prepared as we should have been. 😉 Oh, I *brought* gloves with me, I just left them in the room! And with the 5K there would be very little time to actually warm up.

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I added a white jacket to this which helped a bit!

 

We were planning to meet up with my Facebook running friends way out in the open where the wind was sweeping cross the plains (or something like that!). It was VERY windy! A few of us made it!

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But then we went and hid behind a fence with a large group of warm bodies…I mean, people! Then right before we headed into the corrals we gathered up a few more or our friends for one last pre-race picture!

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I had been placed in the last corral. The. LAST. Corral. for the 5K and the 10K. Which, in the end turned out to not be too bad…once you got past the wheelchairs and people strolling along. We hung out with a couple hundred of our closest friends and listened to all the other corrals head out — but let me tell you, there’s a different excitement from the VERY back of the pack that I hadn’t noticed before!

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There’s the start line….

 

As we were taking off, the sun started coming up. This is always one of the best parts of these early morning races!!

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The earlier corrals…and then there were none.

 

I managed to grab one picture before my phone died. At mile TWO! (aside: Oh how I hate you iPhone!) but I hadn’t really planned many photo stops anyway!

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In honor of Vanessa…ps. they were empty.

 

As we were cruising through Future World a few of my friends caught up with me and it was nice to finish with them! There were even jumping pictures involved…though, upon further review, my feet do not appear to have left the ground!!

Since my phone died, I don’t have my splits but my overall pace was good and I was happy with the results! And I got to take home this baby!

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Possibly my most favoritest runDisney 5K “medal” of all!!! This makes me so happy!

 

After finishing and catching up with my friend Tracy, we hopped back on the bus to warm up. Initially we had thought we might try to get over to Harry Potter World at Universal, but the need to find warmer clothes took precedence 🙂 We headed back over to the expo – where I grabbed a Bondi Band and a runDisney sweatshirt

sweatshirt

Mine has maroon color instead of the blue…

 

We hung out at the ESPN grill for awhile – lunch and a beer or two – then back to the resort where…not much happened!! We took a walk around just to kind of get our bearings (and Tracy was NOT thrilled to hear that we’d be running right past here when we were at about mile 24 or so on Sunday!)

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I’d never stayed at the Beach Club Resort and it was nice. And VERY conveniently located. And really, in my case, reserved for VERY special occasions so…I’ll likely be back at POP Century before you know it!!

Once it was dark, it was time for a shower and bed! I managed to crash pretty quickly, though it wasn’t a very deep sleep since I knew the alarm would be going off soon!!

10K, coming up!!!

WDW Marathon Weekend – Dopey Challenge: The Expo

15 Jan

So, last Wednesday was travel day and expo day!!

I woke up to some pretty cold temps at home — and couldn’t wait to get down to Florida and hang out in the sunshine!!!

The flight wasn’t bad, Southwest managed to get us on the ground 10 minutes early even. Then it was just a matter of getting to the Magical Express and getting to my resort!

When we landed and I turned on my phone, I learned that my roommate had already arrived and was headed towards the resort! I eventually got there too and got up to the room, changed into shorts and we headed up to the expo

I was expecting the zoo experience that I’d had at both Goofy and Dumbo in 2013 but there was none of that! We hit the runDisney merchandise booth first, to make sure I’d get my magnets and wine glasses and coffee mug. I also decided on some “I Did It” shirts – one for Dopey and one for Goofy since I’d missed out the last time!

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Then it was time to pick up bibs and shirts and all that fun stuff! It seems we missed the crowd cause it was a walk up and walk out situation!! LOVE it!

And, the shirts are the same ‘new’ tech material that we got for Wine and Dine and they were available in Women’s cuts– I don’t get overly excited about the shirts, generally (but I do love the W&D one!) but these are pretty neat!!

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Two bibs – one for the 5 and 10K and one for the Half and Full. And, I know I complained before about the corral placement and I have to say. REALLY runDisney? The LAST Corral for the 10K?? (reminder – I submitted a proof of time that had me a couple/few minutes below the required time, those who didn’t submit a proof of time were supposedly put in the last corral. Not true. My roommate is in the same corral as me for Saturday and Sunday and didn’t submit a proof of time.That is all) SPOILER: I managed to keep my pace in the 5K and finished with my friends from 2 corrals in front of me…though I wasn’t able to stop for pictures

After the expo, we went to lunch and then Angela brought us to Target to grab some supplies. We may have overshopped 🙂

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Angela ALSO made some nifty stickers for our MagicBands — I think this will be the only MB that I don’t use again – I love it!!

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Tracy and I ended up just hanging at the hotel for the evening — since we had to get up EARLY on Thursday for the 5K there would be no late night for us!! In fact, I’m pretty sure I was asleep by 8!

Up next…the 5K!

 

 

 

And Here We Go!!!

6 Jan

 

Almost…

Packing is done.

The costumes are almost complete…

Checked in for my flight…

MagicBands at the ready…

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Luggage tags on…

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And, the worst part of any runDisney trip, I’ve dropped the Phred off at his sitter’s. Good thing he loves it there or it would be even more painful. For me.

All there is to do now is get ready for bed and try to sleep…but maybe I’ll have a glass of wine first!!

If you’re travelling down to Orlando this week, have a safe and uneventful trip- if you’re staying home, my times will be posted on Facebook, right out in the open! Yikes!!

dopey cover

Thanks to the Awesome Angela for the photo!

 

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