Running in Disneyland!

img_9868

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

img_9869

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!

Advertisements

Patronus virtual run

PatronusA while back I wrote this entry about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and forgot to post it. It’s a tiny bit dated, but here ’tis.

I ran 9 & 3/4 k (about 6.04 mi) for the Hogwarts Running Club (with virtual runs, you choose the distance, time, and location for your run).

Since I love Harry Potter and running, I really enjoy following this running club on twitter and participating in some of their virtual runs. They choose hilarious themes and their medals and t-shirts are great.

I’m also a big fan of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal in Orlando ~ it is magical! The buildings are crooked and covered in snow, the rides are great, and they’ve incorporated tons of theming. House banners and cobbled roads and Hagrid’s hut and toys and food… I could go on and on.

My family’s favorites are the Forbidden Castle ride (single rider line), eating in the Three Broomsticks, and drinking butter beer.

My home’s Halloween decorations include a black cat candle holder which I bought on opening day in the Wizarding World. We were there when it opened! I don’t want to think about how long we stood in line. But we were there!Patronus bib 3

I’ve started reading the books again, to immerse myself in the stories, the language, the experiences of the characters. Jo Rowling, hats off to you for creating an entire world for us. It’s a place that many of us wish we could call home.

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.

Carlsbad beach 6

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.

IMG_8741

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.

Grief and living

N&G.exportingMy father died 9 days ago. He had a massive heart attack on Jan. 14 and then spent 50 days in ICU. Here are the lessons I’ve learned from this experience and from his life.

*You build a legacy through simple things like keeping family close and living with nature. We owe our beautiful life in the woods to him. He brought us up in the country and asked us to visit often, and eventually we moved onto his property and built a house of our own. My sister’s family lives less than an hour away and often stay with us. Her kids and mine are close friends/cousins, and we celebrate every birthday and holiday together. We have an amazing web of support and love, and I am unfathomably grateful for it.

*Humor is vital to life. My dad was a stellar patient. Determined, tolerant, and congenial. I was honored to be a family member of such a man. But he also laughed at the weird and unpleasant moments of hospitalization (and there were many). His eyebrow expressions became some of our favorite moments of the day. He couldn’t always talk due to some of the procedures, but he showed us how he felt with his eyes. And he cracked us up. The world is a weird, sometimes unpleasant, and remarkable place. Find something to enjoy.

*Never stop taking care of others. He tried to make the jobs of the staff members easier whenever he could. He worried about us and would send us home or to work when he thought we were tired. He also helped us understand that there is no bottom to the vast well of time and care that you want to give to those you love.

*Do what you love and SHARE IT. He often asked about his “babies,” his grandchildren. He was so concerned that they are happy in their pursuits. He wanted them to find what they’re good at, to work at it, and to contribute to their world through their gifts.

My dad never believed he would live a long life. His parents both died before he was 20 years old. He was incredibly thankful for his family and his home, and he told us so every day. I still imagine that he’ll be sitting at his computer, working on a new story when I walk over to my parents’ house. But I know with every fiber of my soul that he is standing right now beside his mother and father and sister. And he is still taking care of us.

 

Wine & Dine at last!

Wine_DineDespite a busy few months, my sister and I made it Orlando for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November! We had such a blast on our sister trip. Here are a few highlights.

Resort: We absolutely loved the Beach Club, mostly for its proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Beach Club rooms are bright and airy, and our balcony looked right out onto the lake. Great resort!

Expo: It was fine, but I’ve attended the music teacher conventions in Texas for many years, and it’s hard to top those. We visited some of our favorite vendors, but we were saving our $ for the parks. The line to get our packets was short, but the line for commemorative items was pretty long. We talked to some runDisney staff members who were aware of the problem and promised upcoming changes for future events.

Run: This was the part of the weekend that was unusual… The weather was mostly great and we wore shorts the whole time we were there. But on the night of the run, there was lightning in the area and the race was delayed for an hour, and therefore shortened to a 6.7 mile run. Disappointing, yes, but we were still so happy to be at Disney World again. Hanging out for an hour inside the Wide World of Sports was kindof fun. We got to see all the costumes up close. I really hope the guy in the head-to-toe thick fur outfit didn’t faint from heat exhaustion!

Parks: We made a family trip to WDW in June and were planning to run in November and April, so we purchased Annual Passes in June and have thoroughly enjoyed the benefits. On all of our previous family trips, we only went to 1 park/day. But with our APs (and the flexibility of moving around without 6 other people in tow), we were able to enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival each day. We ate almost all of our meals there! And we went to other parks each day for our favorite rides and other experiences.

Overall, I loved my experience and want to participate every year. I especially liked running at night and the (mostly) good weather. This was my first runDisney experience and they put on a great event. I do hope that they might consider adding a challenge to this weekend in the future.

I was in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people, doing something together that we love and that challenges us. :))