Archive for January, 2009

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Circle of Life 5K

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

The first race of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year was the Circle of Life 5K on Friday morning.  When we arrived I scanned the parking lot and rather quickly located a glow of orange.  I made my way over to see several of my DisneyRunning.com friends.  We snapped several pictures as we waited for the race to start.

DisneyRunning.com Folks

DisneyRunning.com Folks

We even had members there that weren’t there to run the race but instead just wanted to cheer us on including Andi.  As you can see from the photo the Skirt Nation was well represented at the 5K. 

The 5K race took us through the same Animal Kingdom route that we ran last year.  Dad and I put ourselves between the 12:00 and 13:00 mile pace groups.  We were sent off by fireworks and quickly spotted Mom, Andi and Dad’s best friend Mike on the sidelines cheering us on.  We screamed and waved, but they never saw us, lol.   As we neared the first water stop I told Dad I was stopping for a drink since I was running the half the next day and Dad kept on going.  Rebecca, a fellow Team DR member, was working the water stop.  It was great to see her smiling face.  Soon I heard Erica coming up behind me and saw many familiar faces on the out and back. 

I never did catch up with Dad.  As he kicked it in to head to the finish I stayed consistent with my pace and let him cruise on into the finish.  We got our medals and snapped a few photos then said goodbye to our friends till the Forum Encounter(FE)/Carb Load dinner that evening. 

The Forum Encounter at the Pop Century food court that evening was a lot of fun.  I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones.  It was a great chance to put names with faces and relax before the upcoming races. 

DisneyRunning.com FE

DisneyRunning.com FE

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Expo

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

As usual this year Walt Disney World Marathon weekend started with the race expo.  This year Disney opened the new Josten’s Center at Wide World of Sports, so the race expo had more room and was more spread out than year’s past.  I had three goals this year at the expo. 

Goal #1 To get my hand on the coveted limited edition pins.  This year they made pins that were replicas of the new race medals.  As soon as I saw the pictures online I knew I had to have these.  I had originally planned to show up at the expo at 9 to get in line.  This would have been 3 hours early.  I made a compromise with Dad and instead we arrived around 11 AM.  It took us a few minutes to get a place in line, but eventually we did.  We were actually the first ones in and line and were eventually joined by others from DisneyRunning.com and a minister and his wife.  A cast member posted at the front of the line said that they would let us in at 12 o’clock and give us a ticket that we could exchange for pins at 1 o’clock when they officially went on sale.  About 30 minutes later a manager walked up and said they would not be handing out tickets and that we needed to stay where we were till 1 o’clock.  At 12 o’clock we saw the packet pick-up lines begin feeding into the Milk House.  About 20 minutes later a friend of mine from DR came to the head of the line and informed up that they were handing out tickets for the pins around the corner.  We gave the cast member a quick glance and pushed our way into the building where we each got tickets for the pin and went about getting our packets.  We returned to the pin area later and stood in line for another hour and a half to get our pins, but at least I did get them.  They are now proudly hanging in my shadow box of race pins. 

Goal #2 Use my Race Ready gift certificate I recieved for my birthday.  One problem with this goal.  I forgot to take the gift certificate with me.  I did however go to the Race Ready booth and decide what I wanted to spend the GC on.  It wasn’t hard once I noticed that they do in fact make a skirt!  I will be ordering my new skirt soon.

Goal #3 Hear Team Hoyt Speak.  A few months ago it was announced that Team Hoyt would be running the WDW Half Marathon this year because Team Spira was their sponsor (they also sponsor the WDW Marathon Weekend) and it was also Rick’s birthday.  When the expo speaker schedule came out I saw that they were speaking twice during the expo.  The first time was during the pin sale time, so I thought for sure I wasn’t going to be able to hear them.  We got lucky when they handed us the tickets to allow us to reserve our pins and we were able to move about the expo.  When we came up from picking up my packet Rick and Dick were already on stage.  We found front row seats and listened to Dick talk about his and Rick’s amazing story.  After they spoke the Disney spokesman invited folks up on stage for pictures.  Dad and I were second in line.  

Rick and Dick Hoyt

Rick and Dick Hoyt

After they snapped our picture they announced that the gentleman needed to be elsewhere for a committment with Spira.  We were able to see them again at the expo where I was able to get a book signed by Dick that I am now working on reading.  It was an experience I will never forget. 

In the past I have never spent more than an hour at the expo.  This year I was there for nearly 5 hours.  This was definitely the best expo yet!

Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Since I have been running there is a race that repeatedly has caught my eye.  The Celtic Solstice 5 Miler, which is known locally for a spectacular race premium.  With the cancellation of the Zoo Zoom 5 Miler this year I decided I need a replacement.  There has always been something that stood in my way from being able to run the Celtic Solstice, but this year I registered along with a small group from DisneyRunning.com

It was cool the morning of the race, but it seemed as we got closer to the race start it got colder and colder.  Dad actually bought a hat at the small expo they had there to try to keep warm.  They had a large tent up that helped to keep everyone semi-warm, but I was afraid that I would need see my friends arrive because of the crowd that was huddling inside.  I decided to make a trip to the port-a-potty before the lines started to form and it turned out to be a great idea.  Not only did I exit the port-a-potty to find my friends in Orange making their way towards me but I also made it out just as the lines started to form. 

I wanted to wear my orange hat for the race, but also needed something warmer for the race, so I wore my skull cap underneath my baseball hat.  At the start I was able to meet up with Erica, Mustapha, Jen, Sean and Margaret.  We all made our way to the start together.  The crowd split as men in kilts played bag pipes and made their way toward the start line.  This was a chip timed race, so it didn’t really matter where we stood in the crowd. 

As we started off Erica, Jen, Margaret and myself stayed together.  Eventually Jen and Erica started to work some walk breaks into their routine, so Margaret and I broke off and pushed our way forward.  the race went back and forth several times so you could always see where you were headed next.  I think it made for a fun race but at times also made it feel long.   Eventually we made our way around Druid Hill Lake, which made for some nice scenery.  After we rounded the last bend we made a sharp right and then the last .25 mile of the race was downhill with a good decline.  I could see the clock in front of me and saw that if I sprinted I could finish the race in under an hour.  This would be my first sub 1-hr 5 Miler in several months so I put the pedal to the metal and pulled through the finish. 

This race was a good motivator for me.  It reminded me that I am still a strong runner and I can push myself when I have someone or something there to really challenge me.  It reminded me how much I love to run and how good it feels to push yourself and have a great race.  I will definitely be returning to this race next year.

Bulle Rock Turkey Trot

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Last year Dad and I ran the Towson Turkey Trot.  If you recall my race repot for that race we were suprised by a course change that made the course mostly uphill.  We opted to do a different turkey trot this year.  Yes, the one we chose was still hilly, but at least we knew it was going to be hilly beforehand.  We chose to go to a hilly race instead of finding outselves shocked on race day. 

Thanksgiving day Dad picked me up and we headed up to the world famous Bulle Rock golf course.  When we pulled into the gate we quickly got an idea of how hilly the course really was.  We got a little lost but eventually found our way to the residents clubhouse.  We were immedeately impressed as we walked in the door of the clubhouse.  They had plenty of snacks, coffee, water and fruit to get everyone prepped for the race.  Dad and I registered for the race, but they were out of t-shirts.  The took our addresses and said they would have more shirts printed and ship them too us.  (As a side note we still haven’t recieved our shirts.)

It was cold that morning so Dad and I spent as much time in the clubhouse as we could before making our way out to the start line.  It was a smaller race so the there wasn’t much of a crowd at the start, but amongst the spectators were two yellow Labradoodles. 

The race started downhill, but it was only a mask for what as coming.  We made our way toward a pedestrian brdige.  As we made our way down a small path that zigged and zagged I saw the steepest hill I have ever seen in a race.  I was actually nervous as we approached it.  I knew if I didn’t run it I wasn’t going to make it up the hill.  Later Dad said that he tried to walk it and his feet actually were sliding out from underneath him.  I was hoping to find a picture of the hill to use in my blog, but I never was able to locate one.

The course was an out and back, so after some more rolling hills we did eventually find ourselves back at the really steep one.  This hill was actually only about 15 feet of pavement, so I sucked it up and charged down the hill before making my way back up the pedestrian path.  As we headed toward the finish I came across one of the Labradoodles that we saw at the start.  We made small talk with the owner and I reached down to scratch the dog’s cheek.  He leaned right into me just as Tillie would if she was standing next to me.  It brought a smile to my face.

As we approached the finish we came across the folks that were walking the 1 mile fun run that was also held that morning.  Since they were walking 5 abreast I ran into an all too often slow runners challenge – how to get around them without plowing them over.  People around the finish started yelling to watch out for the runners and they eventually scooted out of my way and I sprinted across the finish. 

For the first time I stayed around post-race to see the awards ceremony.  I was surprised to see that the leaders weren’t elminated from the running for the age group awards.  It actually made for a very boring award ceremony because the same people won everything. 

After the race Dad and I decided we wanted to take it on again.  We want to see what we can do when we know what to expect from the hills.  We will be returning to Bulle Rock next year.

IOU

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

IOU, my reading public that may still be around, three race reports:
Bulle Rock 5K Turkey Trot
Celtic Solstice 5 Miler
WDW Marathon Weekend

Good news is that I have a new computed sitting in a box in my living room.  When I get home I will cut throught he packing tape, set up the new box, get the photos off my camera and get to workon those blogs.  Promise! 

Right now I am still in Disney World.  I fly home tomorrow afternoon and then it is back to work.  Blech!