Why do I run… more thoughts

I have enjoyed participating in a local 10k series, but noticed something recently. I saw some of the same people at these runs and developed a strange need to beat an individual in my category. Here’s what happened: I no longer enjoyed the race and pushed myself too hard. The injury I sustained lasted for 3 months. What an idiot! So why do I run?

I don’t do it for the competition (even though I am competitive)… I prefer running by myself, after all. Absolutely love my wide open running trail with clouds, sun, cows, birds, and other critters as my mostly companions.

No, I run to feel strong in my body, to feel in control of my life, and to use up some of my excess energy.

To my competition: I apologize. You probably didn’t even notice me, but inside my head, I was a jerk.

I’m scaling back on the local runs. I might complete them virtually by myself or with my sister or husband. We like to run together when our schedules permit. And we will continue to plan for awesome destination runs such as runDisney events, the San Francisco Marathon, a Santa Hustle, or other races. We have some fun ideas. And that’s what I want to focus on. My love of running!

This is my goal: I will run, and will appreciate any distance, any pace.

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Star Wars Dark Side Recap

It was great to be back for the Dark Side Challenge! Already hot in Florida, but both the 10k and half marathon were great experiences for us. And although we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 run weekends in California, we missed Epcot and Animal Kingdom.

The Flower & Garden Festival make any trip to WDW so pleasant. We stayed in the Epcot resort area this time and each brought one of our kids. These cousins have always been great friends. Here they are DisneyBounding in the Magic Kingdom as a modern Cindy and Prince, while we’re the ugly stepsisters (of course).

We also DisneyBounded as modern Aristocats who apparently adore the upside down car in front of the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios. I’m Berlioz, my daughter is Marie, my sister is Duchess, and my nephew is O’Malley. In reality, he would wake up each day and say, okay, what color should I wear? Hilarious.

My daughter was Jane at the Gorilla Exploration Falls, a place we try to never miss when we visit the Animal Kingdom.

Star Wars events are so much fun – we love the costumes of runners and the theming that WDW provides. Good character stops (though we never stop) and great music to motivate us. We were so proud to earn our Kessel Run Challenge medals since we ran the Light Side Half Marathon in January in Disneyland!

LOVE seeing runDisney official photographers at the beginning of the races for decent photos (we always hate our “after” pictures). But there wasn’t a massage tent at any of the events, so we were a bit disappointed. And we even remembered to bring our cash!

We had no trouble getting on the buses to/from resorts, the Expo was easy… everything seemed to run well this weekend. The starting line fireworks for the half marathon were amazing! And one of our favorite things was running through a woodsy area with sounds of the speeder bike chase on Endor playing over speakers. It felt like we were a part of the cast of ROTJ!

We’re legacy runners for this event, and we’re already registered for 2018! (By the way, yes, we reuse our running outfits, because money. We might keep the shirt, change the leggings, or use the same leggings with a different shirt, or add a hat, or another new item. No shame in using what you’ve got!)

 

 

Star Wars – The Light Side Half Marathon (and by light, I mean cheap)

Here’s my belated review of our January runDisney Star Wars – The Light Side weekend in California.

We registered late and weren’t able to participate in the Rebel Challenge, so my sister and I focused on the half marathon, and my hubby came along for just one night and ran the 10k. This was his first runDisney experience, so we gave him all of our best tips.

We decided to make this a shorter and more cost-conscious runDisney experience, and we did a pretty good job! We only registered for one race, so that brought the cost down. Also, we didn’t really shop. We picked up our packets at the Expo and headed straight to the parks.

We usually go to WDW in Florida, so our favorite things in California are Hyperspace Mountain and lobster nachos at Cove Bar. We also tried something new – appetizers and drinks at Carthay Circle Lounge. Delicious food, but not filling. We followed it up later by going to our other favorite restaurant, Wine Country Trattoria. Such beautiful, outdoor seating and great food.

Again, the best part of the Disneyland events is the close proximity of EVERYTHING! We stayed at an inexpensive hotel right across the street from the park entrance, Park Vue Inn, and it was a good little spot (especially for the price). Their free hot breakfast was simple but yummy.

My husband said the 10k was great – he really enjoyed seeing the runners in costume, running through the parks, and spotting Star Wars rebels. It was pretty cool in the morning for both runs, so we took throw-away jackets. We really needed those mylar blankets at the end (thank you, runDisney)!

Quick comparison between 2 runDisney event weekends:

  • The route for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September had too many bottlenecks and part of the race was on a narrow path next to an empty cement ravine (not very pleasant, and a little scary), BUT it did have tons of supporters, from dance groups to classic cars to scouts, AND we ran through Angel Stadium (but it was very crowded).
  • The route for the Light Side Half Marathon in January wound through pretty little neighborhoods and, of course, through the parks with plenty of cast members, marching bands, and cosplay folks cheering us on. We love it when the rides are running and music is playing in the parks – so festive! There were also plenty of Star Wars characters urging us to “move along.”

Cost review: we saved money by staying at a cheaper hotel with free breakfast, registering for one race, staying fewer nights, needing fewer tickets to the parks, and not shopping. But… we love running, we love a challenge, and we love Disney World, so we’ll be there next month to run the Dark Side Challenge.

Can’t wait to earn the Kessel Run medal in SIX WEEKS!

Running in Disneyland!

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My sister and I spent 4 glorious days in Cali for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in September. We ran in Florida in the Fall last year (Wine & Dine is one of our favorite events), but this year decided to try an event on the West coast. It didn’t disappoint.

Some thoughts and thank you notes:

-the route for the 10k was perfect; we spent a lot of time in the parks and cast members really supported us – thank you!

-LOVED the fact that the parks had the rides running with music blaring as we ran through – this little touch really brought the Disney magic

-for the Half Marathon, we spent time in the parks again, and also a lot of time on streets

-LOVED the cars that lined the streets; they went on and on and on – thanks for coming out!

-LOVED the dancing groups and cheerleaders and scouts who lined the route and cheered us on – thanks for sharing your time and talents!

-running through Angel Stadium is crowded but very special

-the Dumbo Double Dare is a great challenge and we adore our shirts and medals

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A few more highlights:

-in Florida, there are race photographers available BEFORE the races start, and let’s face it, that’s when we look our best – we’d like to see that feature in Cali

-please provide snacks before mile 9 or 10 (it’s my own fault; note to self: put a gel in your rooSport for longer runs!)

-one of the best things about visiting Disneyland is the close proximity of the parks, hotels, packet pickup, race start/finish – being able to walk everywhere is great, and we enjoyed hopping back and forth between the 2 parks (park hack: you can get FPs in one park and go over to the other park to get another set)

-lobster nachos and craft beer at Cove Bar

-pasta and wine at Il Trattoria (don’t miss the tasting terrace upstairs)

-Grand Californian for so many reasons (the fireplace, the park entrance, the beautiful accommodations)

-HYPERSPACE MOUNTAIN (FP must) and RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS (single rider line)

To wrap it up, we love runDisney. Combining a few of our favorite things (Disney parks, running, dressing up, beer and wine and good food) makes this a special sister retreat for us, and we’re making plans to see you real soon!

California preview

We wanted to visit a nice place with cooler temps, relax a bit, and explore something new to us, and we gratefully used hotel and airline points to make it happen.

After driving around for a while unsuccessfully looking for parking near some crowded beaches, we decided to look around a cozy little neighborhood. Every once in a while, we’d see a local in swimwear walking by, no shoes, maybe carrying a surfboard. Hmmmm, where could they be headed? So yes, we stalked them. Parked easily and tracked those innocent folks to a hidden pathway which led to some steep stairs down to a beautiful beach! This little gem was covered in smooth rocks that tinkled as they came into shore. I think my husband told me one time about this strange effect, but I couldn’t imagine it at the time. It’s quite lovely.

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One of the highlights of the trip was waking up my teens the next day with the words, would you be interested in going to Disneyland today? It was a complete surprise to them, and their reactions were so charming. We loved our day in the park, and I was even able to scope out my digs for the next runDisney event, the Dumbo Double Dare. I love this part of DL California Adventures which represents national parks, always high on my list of favorite places to visit and explore. I’ll never forget seeing the Grand Canyon as a kid and hiking in cave dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Grand Cali 7:16

Next stop was the immense and lush San Diego Zoo. It’s incredible! I highly recommend taking the bus tour to get an overview of the zoo and to learn some great information. I fell in love with an animal I’d never before seen, a Gerenuk (which means “giraffe neck”). The tram ride is also a good way to get a bird’s-eye view and rest for a bit.

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We wanted to spend so much more time enjoying the climate and the lovely surroundings. We will return!

Disneyland 7:16

Preparing to join the Dark Side

SWDS medalsMy dad was very proud of me and my sister for our dedication to running. We both won some local awards and he told EVERYBODY. That’s how I know he’d be very excited about our new adventure.

We’ll spend our next sister weekend running in the Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World. Five weeks to go!

This will be our first challenge – 10k one day, half marathon the next. Plenty of good food and wine, and nerds. Like me.

I saw the original Star Wars in the theater, and it has remained my favorite movie. The characters have been a part of my life since I can remember. They’re my fantasy family. I was less than thrilled that the Empire Strikes Back, and couldn’t wait for the Return of the Jedi. I really needed to see Luke again. No joke. I don’t have a brother. I have Luke.

So yeah, my sis and I will be in costume. Nothing elaborate. I’ve seen that picture of the runner dressed as the Death Star, wearing a big spherical object. Or the other runner with the keyboard attached to portray the member of the Cantina Band. Our costumes will be a lot simpler. But my love of Star Wars is unconditional, and I’m so excited to be part of the inaugural Dark Side weekend at WDW.

I’m also REALLY looking forward to sampling the food and wine at the Flower and Garden Festival.

Most of all, can’t wait to get my Grand Marnier slushie near France. My personal favorite beverage in all of Disney World. Just don’t ask me to talk about the musical Billy Elliot after I imbibe, because it’s very hard to correctly say all of those syllables! It’s like saying “sea anemone” or “scientists.” It’s hard to know when to stop pronouncing those repetitive sounds.

I miss you, Disney World. See you soon.