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!)

 

 

California date weekend

img_0138My whole family fell in love with the San Diego area on our trip in July, so my husband and I returned at the end of October!

img_0143The San Diego Zoo was a highlight for us on both trips, but on this visit, we took to time to relax, sit on beaches, and watch surfers and seals.

We thoroughly enjoyed La Jolla and walking along the Coast Boulevard. Gotta admit, the seal might be my spirit animal: they seemed to enjoy napping in the sun and then waking up to yell at each other. We took the scenic route back to Carlsbad and loved all the funky little towns along the coast.

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Weather was beautiful, as usual, and we went for a long run, but I wasn’t careful enough about running downhill. I abused some muscles that don’t normally get a workout. Note to self: don’t be stupid.

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I think we’re becoming addicted to southern California!

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.

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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!

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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.

My other job as flight attendant for famous people

Sometimes they aren’t famous, so the title was misleading. But my contract work as a flight attendant on charter aircraft takes me to amazing places and introduces me to fascinating people. I went to Alaska 3 weeks ago!

At this point, I should mention:Alaska
-I am not a photographer
-this is not a photography blog
-I use my phone to take pictures
-I’ve dropped my phone a lot, and there are some weird
black spots on all of my pictures.

But really, Alaska is VAST and gorgeous. To see some awesome pictures, please look at posts by @POTUS or @JimGaffigan from this week.

So I’ve flown a troop of actors, an ensemble of musicians, a string of athletes, a contingent of politicians, a conglomeration of business execs, and my favorite – a host of families (I worked really hard on those synonyms!). My double-life as a private FA has been such a pleasure.

To wrap up this post, here’s a photo that one of pax posted from our plane last night: enjoy!