Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

It's right around the corner: the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon! I'm bummed I won't be going this year--it's one of my favorite runDisney events and favorite time to go to WDW. I knew it wouldn't be worth it, though, since I'd be running slow and not able to enjoy the BEST part of the weekend-the wine!

For those of you going, here's a Throwback Thursday for you: My 2nd time running, and the race that became comically known as the "splash and dash".  A little rain never hurt anyone, right???

Original Post: 12/22/14

Race Report: 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

I hope I can remember this race!  Yes, it's been way too long and I should have recapped sooner.  I got sucked into the holiday rush and too much work at work.  Here goes nothing!
My Dole Whip Costume...Dry :)
We spent the day at the parks, and returned to our hotel room around 5 to get ready for the race.  We were able to lay down for about half an hour before getting ready, which was great since we planned to shut down the after party.  We, along with everyone else running, were looking at the gloomy forecast with sad eyes.  There was no avoiding it.  It was going to rain.  We got ready, not changing much of our plans for costumes and attire.  We were sure to pack some ponchos for afterwards, and just figured we'd suck it up and have fun.  Even as I write this, I'm still not back to where I was with speed, so it was no big deal to just take it slow.
The last dry pic of the night
We headed out of the hotel around 7:30 and took a cab to Saratoga Springs.  We stayed off property at the Hilton near Downtown Disney, so this seemed like the best option.  Boarding the bus was easy and we were on our way to meet up with the Mickey Milers.  This race is fun to be at early--everyone is awake and buzzing with excitement.  We had ponchos to keep dry before we started.  Of course, us being totally inexperienced with rain, threw them away because it had stopped raining.  UGH!  How dumb are we?  Once the corrals opened, we stopped one last time for the bathrooms and the lines just weren't moving!  It was the worst we'd seen!  And then it started raining.  Cold, wet rain.  A very nice fellow runner managed to get an extra garbage bag and gave it to me.  I love runners!  They are the best strangers! 
We had to rush to the corrals, even missed the National Anthem.  I felt super rushed.  Not sure what the difference was, but I don't remember this last year.  By the way, it was still raining.  I lined up at the back of corral C, knowing I'm slower now than I was when I registered.  I got all my electronics up and running, and soon we were off.  Yep, still raining.  I tossed my garbage bag right before the start.  I guess this was going to be a new experience for me! 
I started and stuck to my intervals of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  And it continued to rain.  Luckily it really wasn't that cold, so my tank and pants were perfect.  Thinking about it, it's probably better to run in less in the rain.  I had no choice but to be cautious running.  I'm already cautious--it's amazing what a huge fall will do to your confidence.  This race, though, was even more cautious than I usually am.  I was very careful about my footing and not running too fast.  Then I saw someone fall and it was all over for me.  I was not going to take the chance of injury.  I kept it slow.
As for the course, we went through Animal Kingdom first, then Hollywood Studios, then Epcot.  I didn't bring my phone or camera with me.  They would have both died had I brought them out in that rain.  I did notice a lack of characters.  Not sure what they could have done with the downpour, but we all knew it was going to rain--they should have planned for it.  I think my favorite part was running through the costume tunnel in Hollywood Studios.  Just for a few minutes, we were dry.  It felt amazing.  Oh, and those Osbourne Lights!!!!!  This year I decided to walk through.  It never gets old.  Just absolutely beautiful!!!!!  The rain really started to come down at the last mile.  I was glad I was almost done and could change into dry clothes.  That last bend before the finish line is great at Wine and Dine--they have lights and blasting music that really captures the party feel.  Round the corner and I was done.  I made it in 2:31, not lightning speed, but with the weather, I thought it was pretty great.  I collected my medal, fuel, and was off to the bag check.
I was one of the lucky ones whose medal did not break (there were many that were broken with the spinner).  I was not, though, lucky when it came to the bag check.  I'm not sure if they were short volunteers or what, but I waited over half an hour in the freezing cold rain after running a half marathon to get my dry clothes.  It was awful!  This was the most unorganized I've ever seen it.  This is my #1 complaint about this race (last year was nothing like this, so I'm going to be optimistic and assume it was a fluke).  Not only was it cold, but as each minute ticked away, it was time ticking away from my party time!  It took over 30 minutes to get my bag.  Once I did, I felt instant relief.  I made my way to a real bathroom and changed.  I know they have tents, but tonight it was just too cold and I was too wet to bother with a sweaty, hot tent.  It felt amazing to be in dry clothes.  I really wished, though, that I had packed flip flops or some other wet-proof shoe.  I had to put my sloshy wet sneakers back on after changing.  Very little time went by and Bill was ready to meet up.  We finished freshening up in front of Epcot, then we were off to the party.
A little rain didn't stop us from partying!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was pouring rain there too.  If you remember, my goal was to shut down the after party.  I was not going to miss it again!  We put on ponchos and started drinking! 
Honestly, I can see how this is a favorite race for so many runners.  I loved the after party, even though we were soaking and freezing.  Because of the rain, not as many rides were open and the vibe was a little low-key.  I joked to Bill that this means we have to come back AGAIN next year.  Don't think that will happen, but I'm sure we'll be Wine-ing and Dine-ing again in the future.  Overall, it was a great race with bad weather, and we loved every minute!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Gender Reveal Fit for a Prince!

During the 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, we had BIG plans, not just to race, but to officially find out the gender of Baby S! When we knew we'd have the ultrasound just a few weeks prior, we instantly thought of Disneyland as the place we'd want to find out. Since our families both live in different states, it just made sense to have us all meet at the Happiest Place on Earth and celebrate.

We started with Disney Dining--We made our reservation for dinner at Carthay Circle for the night of the Half Marathon. We knew we wanted to be done racing and be able to stay out late and enjoy. When I called, I explained that we wanted to do our gender reveal for dessert and they were able to start the process right then and there.

In less than 24 hours, I was put in contact with a Disneyland Pastry Chef. From there, it was pure magic! She helped us in picking the size, design, flavors, and even sent pictures of images so we could decide what we wanted. A few emails back and forth and our cake was all set. Well, except for one small thing...we didn't know the gender.

That had to wait until we had our ultrasound. The tech sealed up an envelope for us, and it was sent directly to Disney. I had my fingers crossed it didn't get lost in the mail, and within a few days we had an email with a "congratulations" and confirmation that the results were received. I have to admit, it was a bit torturous to know that a tech and the Disneyland bakery knew if it was a boy or girl, and we had no idea. Those 3 weeks dragged on forever, and we were so preoccupied during race weekend, I could barely focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

Finally, we had our dinner at Carthay Circle. It was delish, as usual, but we were all ready for dessert from the moment we sat down!!! In fact, the cake had been delivered earlier in the day, so the whole staff was ready for us to have dessert too--they wanted to know if Baby S was Team Mickey or Team Minnie! The cake was beautiful, but definitely not too beautiful to cut into. A few pictures, and we were ready to cut. There was no mistaking, it's a boy! Team Mickey won!

I cannot thank Graciela, the Assistant Pastry Chef that handled this entire process, enough! She made our experience so special and completely stress-free. I could not have dreamed of a better way to make this very special announcement. I never doubt anything Disney does, but this truly blew me away in how perfect it all turned out!

Have you ever done a special event at Disney? How did yours turn out?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Grandma’s Take on the 10th Anniversary DLH Weekend

With Aly and Bill's NJ baby shower about a week away (I can't wait to see the change in the "baby bump" since the DLH), I began to reflect on our exciting Disneyland Half Weekend.

After I checked into the Disneyland Hotel early Thursday afternoon, I headed to the expo. The process for runDisney merchandise at this expo was new to me. You had to go upstairs to get a wrist band, get in line and wait for your group to be brought downstairs. The line went rather quickly. I think this was the first time Aly didn’t give me a “list” to scoop up stuff for her before they got to go the next day. I didn’t get much either, treating myself to a magnet and shirt. I think it was the excitement of the real reason I was there…the baby reveal. Yes, I was enjoying the race weekend, but I couldn’t wait until Sunday.

Anniversary Party attendees
got this nice sling bag.
I picked up my bib, anniversary ticket and swag, and then got a text from Katie and Chris who were at the expo. I met up with them for a bit, but then returned to the hotel to rest.

Water projection on
Rivers of America
Disneyland was calling but I didn't get going until about 8pm. (I know I could have gone earlier, but I was up since 3:30 that morning to catch my flight to the west coast.) I walked around and found a good spot to catch the fireworks. Sat, people watched and talked to others for a while, but the fireworks never happened. A DJ was entertaining the crowd by playing music on a barge in Rivers of America. I rode Pirates twice, which was kind of nice to walk right in. The rides had no lines.The “party” seemed kind of empty.The largest lines were for character pictures. I really wanted to see the special “Paint the Night” parade, but that was at 11pm (2am for me) and I didn’t make it. I slowly made my way back to the hotel exhausted.The kids called saying they were an hour away.I vaguely remember them coming in.

The Queen of Hearts while she
was still running.

My 10k bib was acquired at the last minute through a travel provider who had 1 bib left. It was interesting because I should (and could) have signed up for the 5k, but my competitiveness to capture that last bib took over. Fail. I was not prepared and limped my way through the last 2 miles. Countless runners asked if I was ok as they passed me. I knew it would not be good as I did not train well. Not being a consistent runner, it’s all about the training leading up to the race, no matter what the distance. Lesson learned. But, I finished. My highlight…running through the castle! That is something I never thought I would get to do, as I will never be able to run a half marathon.

The next morning, I cheered on the rest of the family. I saw them all at different points but was able to capture some pics near mile 12. I was a little concerned when Katie and Chris passed and I wasn’t seeing Alyson. She’s usually a faster runner, but as I found out later, she took a tour of all the Disney rest rooms and port-o- potties on the course. 
Katie & Chris with a sunshine glow!


The races were over. Aly, Bill, Katie and Chris had another Dumbo Double Dare under their belts.   Now it was time for the celebration. 
I didn't understand why Carthay Circle didn't change their sign to read The "Baby" Celebration!
Dinner was absolutely delicious, but we were all waiting for dessert.That was the main reason I came.The Disney Bakers made a fun (and delicious) cake. We were all excited when it was cut and we found out…

Of course, I was prepared with a Team Mickey gift. (And, I couldn’t fool Alyson. She knew her Mom and figured out there was also a Team Minnie gift in my backpack.)

Baby S' first Mickey T Shirt and Mickey Onesie
We all went back to our hotels exhausted and excited. The next day we managed to get some “I’m celebrating “ buttons and this grandma-to-be is gladly keeping her new Disneyland souvenir.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Are you ready for Paris? Oui!!!

I know, I've been so quiet lately. If you follow me on FB or Instagram, you may have seen that I was in a pretty big car wreck. Me and Baby S are okay, but it was a terrifying experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

That all being said, since I was preoccupied with hospital and doctor visits last week, I personally think runDisney postponed the Paris Half registration for me! LOL

Tomorrow is the big day...officially!  We are finally able to register for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon!  Our family put in our request with GET travel, so we are hoping that was enough to secure our 2 half marathon and 2 5k spots. We'll be with baby, so my mom is joining me and the hubs so we can run the half, then me and mom will tackle the 5k together. Of course we're going to also spend at least a week in Paris after the races. excited!!!

In case you are still on the fence, GET travel has posted the pricing and options. Looks very affordable, in comparison to some other races. Of course, you still need to get to Paris, and after that long of a trip we're not just going for a race.

Here's the link if you're wanting to check it out. I believe there are other travel providers who will also be offering similar packages.

Are you planning to run in Paris?