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. :))

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Virtual running

Scary Run

I’ve had some fun with virtual runs, mostly through willrunforbling.com. Even though it rained all day yesterday, I’ve been working late this week and was unable to run enough, so I completed a 10k for the Scary Chocolate Run benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

There was a huge crawdad walking across the road around mile 4, and I snapped his photo since he was the color of chocolate and was scary-looking.

I’m facing the new challenge of running at night. We’ve been getting home late, and of course, we lose daylight savings time next weekend. Ugh! I’ve never been a night runner. I ordered some reflective gear and a head lamp.

But I’m less scared of cars and more worried about the big crawdads!

They made it rain!

My kiddo is behind the scenes of an amazing production: Singin’ in the Rain. I adore the movie with Gene Kelley, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, but this student cast/crew are equally amazing.Umbrellas

A days ago I saw a preview performance for some elementary students, and when the production crew made it rain, the audience exploded into applause!

I was proud of my kid and thoroughly entertained. My toe wouldn’t stop tapping, my face wouldn’t stop grinning. It’s a great show from beginning to end.

But when they made it rain… oh my. Those moments which create a true thrill are rare and special, and this was one of them.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans ~ John Lennon

Hollywood Studios favorites

Big HeroAhhhhhhh we managed one day of DisneyBounding together as the Big Hero 6! So fun.

We saw Baymax and Hiro in The Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios, and they were adorable. Of course, we turned around and saw a family that really did look like the characters. We were pretty lame in comparison. But it was fun, so no worries.

This was our first time visiting The Magic of Disney Animation, and I just read that this area closed in July. :(( (My sad faces and happy faces always have double chins.) Maybe some new Star Wars attractions will be moving in? Not sure.

We like to change up our Disney World trips by trying some new things on each visit. One year we discovered a pavilion down by the lake past the Flame Tree BBQ restaurant in Animal Kingdom – a peaceful and beautiful place to eat our meal!

Back to Hollywood Studios. Besides the obvious favorites, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster (single rider line), and Star Tours, we like the Writer’s Stop for snacks and funky souvenirs, the Great Movie Ride (good place to sit down, cool off, and enjoy scenes from terrific movies), Lights, Motors, Action (great show!), and Indiana Jones (fun and nostalgic).

Hollywood Studios has wonderful theming with funky signs and characters throughout the park. It’s a good place to watch cast members at their best, such as The Citizens of Hollywood, who are talented and hilarious and engage the guests.

Our other favorite thing in HS is the 50’s Prime Time Diner. We always eat one of our special meals here – the food is great and the waiters and waitresses seriously get into their roles in this Mom and Pop restaurant. Soooooo funny. If you go, just make sure to keep your elbows off the table!

Suggestions for subbing

Here are a few tips for working as a substitute. It can be a wild experience, but also so rewarding. I love wearing capris and cardigans when I teach since I never know if a building will be cold or hot, or if I’ll have to take kids to recess. So… layers.

#1 Find out if the teachers are having a jeans day. Very important! Throw a pair in your car just in case.

#2 Be willing to sub 1/2 days (more time to run your errands).

#3 Create a subbing bag. Mine has a list of songs to use as time-fillers, fun books to read/sing aloud, and “props” like a puppet. Sometimes I even bring my guitar.

#4 Become friends with the office staff. Secretaries and counselors and nurses are helpful in a wide variety of situations. And the secretaries may be the folks calling you to sub.

#5 Be firm with the students in the beginning to establish good expectations, but find a way to connect with them. Give rewards if they’ve done well, read a short book, play a quick game. Something that makes them say, we want her to sub again!

#6 Leave good notes for teachers. They really like to read feedback from subs.

#7 Get into the spirit. If they’re wearing their school shirts, or celebrating Go Texan day, or supporting the local professional team, dress accordingly. It’s fun! You can always wear the school colors if you don’t have a school t-shirt. And if it’s also a jeans day, then you hit the jackpot!

Why do I run?

I was thinking about this question yesterday on my long run (10 miles – longest distance so far in my training for the Wine & Dine half marathon!).

Here are the reasons I started running about 1 year ago:
*to be healthier (it has been a very long time since I consistently used any form of exercise)
*to create opportunities to run with my sister (who has been running for 5 years or so)
*to participate in some fun races (a year ago, I wasn’t sure I could run a 5k, but then I did; I decided I could prepare for a 10k, which I ran; and I wondered whether or not I  could complete a half marathon – ran my first one in March of this year!)
*to run in Disney World!

I’m not worried about my time. Sometimes I refer to it just to prevent me from slacking. But I’m more interested in distance and the setting. Treadmills – no! Long, winding roads with trees and open skies – yesssssssss!

I work on math problems in my head while I run (does anyone else do this?) using distances. I think I used this trick to keep me from worrying about how short those first runs were, and how unhealthy I felt in the beginning. And the habit stuck.

Speaking of great settings for runs, 5 WEEKS til we’re running through Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, past the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios, and near Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom!

Photo from Disney

Photo from Disney