Disneyland Half Marathon 2010

Thursday:

Arrived just before noon on a flight that also included Jen and Sean. Mom made us placemats and provided bagels for the flight. She also gave candy boxes to the flight attendants so we were well taken care of for the duration. Jen and Sean got a ride from Jeff, so we said goodbye at baggage claim, or so we thought. As we waited for the Disneyland Express to arrive they went driving by in their van and we got to wave hi to Jeff, lol. Took longer than we had thought it would for the “express” to arrive. Then we it took and hour and a half to get to our hotel and by then we were all famished. Dropped the bag in the rooms and ran for White Water Snacks since we knew they had good chicken salad. Stopped at the Bell Hop to pick up the food we had delivered and we had our first ROTE spotting as Scott and Lynn were checking into their room. After we took the food up to the room we headed for the park. We had to get our tickets and then Dad was off to work for the evening with hopes of being back in time for our World of Color fastpasses. We were able to walk onto Soarin’ then we walked out of Monsters Inc as it had broken down. We picked up our World of Color meals which we were not too impressed with and before we knew it it was time to sit and eat. We ran into the Stink gang in line and were able to all sit together in the Yellow section. We got there early enough that we were able to get several benches to sit in for the duration of the show. The show was awesome! I really was hoping to catch it again before leaving but we ran out of time. After the show it was off to bed as it was now 2 AM EDT and WAY past my bedtime.

Friday:

Friday morning we were up for breakfast then off to make the first trip down Main Street. Yes, the castle is small, but it certainly has a special feeling still to walk down Main Street for the first time. Our plan was to spend some time in the park before heading off to the expo. We managed to get on Indiana Jones twice as the wait was ONLY 10 minutes. We actual made it a Jungle Cruise sandwich with that in the middle, lol. After we left Indiana we got lost trying to find Thunder Mountain as we instead went to Splash Mountain and almost lost Mom to Winnie the Pooh. We made our way to the correct side of the park and spotted Gina as we were walking into the queue for Thunder. When we got off Thunder we noticed many more familiar faces joining the queue so we hopped back onto the ride again. It was fun standing in line and watching Mic on a Stick on his first Thunder Mountain ride. From there the group started hitting some rides and killing time before the expo. We got on Pirates and quickly realized NONE of us knew the words to the song. We pretty much road through going “Yo Ho Yo Ho it’s a pirate’s life for me la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la….Yo Ho Yo Ho it’s a pirate’s life for me.” We then hit Splash and Pooh. When we got on Pooh we broke out into another chorus of Pirate’s Life.

From there the group split up into those that wanted to get to the expo when it opened and those that were going to wait till later. When we got to the expo I would say 1/3 of the line was ROTErs, lol. Many of us wanted first dibs on the merchandise. When the doors opened there was a rush on the Coast to Coast shirts out of fear that they would sell out. It was pretty amazing to watch. It was pretty amazing to watch.

After the expo we dropped our stuff off and grabbed some dinner before heading over to the ROTE pool party. The party was fun. Lots of chatting, catching up, and getting to know. The sparkle skirts were a big hit with lots of us trying on various sizes. I ended up with a red skirt with a ROTE Sparkle logo. I had been talking to friends about maybe trying out Space Mountain. Word travelled fast and I found myself being kidnapped and taken to the park to get on the ride. I had good company for the popping of my Space Mountain Cherry – KB, Colleen, and Dawn. The line was over 40 minutes, but it seemed to go by really fast. The good company helped to keep the jitters at bay. I really enjoyed the ride itself and got off in a great mood to find Jen and Sean waiting for us. From there we got on Autopia where Sean is now banned for rear ending me (j/k). Soon it was off to bed so that I could rest up for Mom’s first 5K on Saturday!

Saturday:
The Saturday morning alarm clock went off way too early, but when is a Disney race wake up call never too early (W&D being the exception)? I dressed in my new Sparkle skirt and ROTE tank while Mom adorned her FG running costume she had made herself. We walked off to the start line where we first encountered AM and H and then the group steadily grew. My parents were both in awe of the number of people that signed up for the 5K. Mom was just tickled at the number of people that wanted to be there with her for her first 5K. We lined up as a group at the start and waved to Donald and Goofy as we went under the start line and began our journey. There were several bottle necks before we hit the park, so the first mile was a slow go. We saw the first ROTEar Rooters as we passed through the security checkpoint into the promenade. Colleen was in this group, so Erica lead us in a round of Happy Birthday as we ran through, lol. Soon we were inside the park and the picture taking began. We found that it worked well to send the kids along to get inline for the pictures while we caught up and joined them in line. As we entered I think Frontierland we actually witnessed that there are sweepers for the 5K. A large golf cart pulled up behind us with cast members walking around it. The one I think was in charged walked up and saw our group getting our picture with the 1 mile marker. His jaw dropped as he realized we outnumbered the seats in his golf cart and he admitted defeat and let us go, lol. As we neared Small World Mom complained that we were going too slow and took off running without us. We soon were heading back out to the Promenade where we saw three groups of ROTEar Rooters. Mom made sure to run through this area and show how well she was doing. We continued to run from photo op to photo op both back and on stage until we could see the finish line. I found myself often running a little out in front of Mom trying to help keep her pace up. I wasn’t worried at all about her getting lost or lagging behind because every time I looked back she had at least one ROTEr (Erica – Thank you! ) by her side seeing her through to the finish. I held Mom’s hand as did the younger folks in our entourage as we neared the finish line and crossed with lots of flare! We got a quick photo with Mickey and Minnie then headed off to get Mom’s medal. Or so we thought.

We quickly realized that the racks were empty and there were no medals to be found. We were all handed IOUs which Mom attached to her ROTE lanyard and was wearing for the rest of the day. Little did she know that Gina was making magic behind the scenes(TBC on Sunday). Mom looked like fresh as can be at the finish. I AM SO PROUD OF HER! She trained to run/walk it and I hadn’t known the extent of her run till race day when she complained that we were slowing her down, lol.

Mom headed to the parks with her paper IOU around her neck while Dad and I rested our feet and hydrated before the ROTE dinner. We showed up at the StoryTellers a little early and were hanging out out front when my friend from pre-Running Dave came walking out to say “hi”. It was a great surprise to see him. Didn’t know if he knew at the time that I was of the party of 60 about to invade his restaurant, lol. The dinner was REALLY good and the company even better! Dinner went by far too quickly then it was off to bed to prep for Sunday’s big race.

Sunday:

I thought Saturday morning’s wake up call was early until Sunday’s came. Blech! Dad and I both rolled out of bed, making sure we hydrated well and prepped for the half. We both left the room with a peanut butter bagel in tow. Half way to the start line Dad started choking on his and ended up tossing it out. We went to the “H” tent where a small crowd had already started to collect. The started urging the crowds to the corrals and the area starting emptying so we hit the port-a-potties one last time and headed to our “E” corral, unfortunately before we were able to see everyone we knew we wanted to see. The walk to the corrals was a pain as they changed things up this year and only left about 5 feet for two way traffic around corrals D-F. Lots of people, little space. We dropped some runners off at “D” and made our way into “E” walking towards the front. As we stood we kept an eye on the people making their way to the corrals and were able to spot several of the ROTErs that we knew were in “E” and were hoping to stick with. Corral “A” started and they started counting up the corrals till we got to “E”. Before we knew it we were off and running trying to keep an easy pace so that we could get warmed up. Our group dwindled to 4 as we spread out and it was me, Dad, Steve and Mustapha in our little pacing team. The first 4 miles flew by as we went in and out of the parks and pulled away 1 by 1 for the bathrooms. Mustapha was having fun at the back of the pack with us, dancing with people and jumping into random strangers photos. It was fun getting to spend time with both he and Steve talking throughout the race. I know their company also helped keep Dad’s mind off the mileage as we went. We saw several ROTErs along the way including John and Brandie who announced loudly “THESE ARE MY PEOPLE” as we approached her. She was at a perfect point in the race as the roads were quiet and we were half way there. Dad started slowing on us after we left the stadium. He kept telling us that he wanted us to go, but I knew he could go further and I wanted to try to push him. Around mile 11 I could tell his mood had changed and I knew he had pushed himself further than he ever had. I was VERY proud. He urged us to go on and with only 2 miles left Steve and I opted to leave him in Mustapha’s care and head on for the finish line. Just before mile 13 we finally caught up with Steph and her father, who was looking AWESOME for his first half! We saw several ROTErs as we approached the finish line. We crossed and headed for our medals. Soon after grabbing a bottle of Powerade I heard them announce that Mustapha had crossed the finish line and I was overtaken by a sense of relief that Dad had crossed the finish line only a few moments behind me. We bypassed the photos and made our way to the “H” tent where I found Mom with the rest of the ROTErs. We waited anxiously for Dad to arrive and he looked beat, but otherwise good. We got some quick photos and then things changed.

Dad started to complain that he felt dizzy, so we asked for a chair from the volunteers at the “H” tent. They handed one over and he sat down. Soon he started to slump down and his breathing became labored. Mom said his lips looked blue and she took his glasses off and his eyes were starting to roll back. I screamed for “Help” and for a “Medic” and ROTE went into action. A group lifted him up and laid him on the ground and propped his feat up on the chairs. Jay and Peggy taking the lead as they called for ice and every ROTEr icing a joint starting ribbing the tape off and handing it over to Jay and Peggy to ice Dad down. Someone ran off for a medic and things started to get blurry for me as I was getting comforting hugs from my friends and reached out to hold Mom and make sure she was okay. The Medics ran over and started taking his blood pressure and it continued to drop. The got him in a wheel chair and Mutapha spotted him as they wheeled him over to a stretcher. When they had him on the stretcher his blood pressure dropped to 60/40 and that is when they decided he was going to the hospital.

Mom road with him and I think I ran my fastest mile of the day as I ran back to the hotel, took a 2 minute shower, dressed and packed up the stuff that Mom and Dad were asking for. I got calls and texts from several ROTErs offerring rides to the hospital but luckily MrMikeG was ready with his and we were off to the hospital. We got a call just before I got into the car that he was find and already discharged. When we got to the West Med center Dad was trying to find somewhere to sit on the sidewalk. As we drove back to the hotel he explained that they almost encouraged him to leave saying that there would be at least 3 hours before the tests could be run. Once the prisoner coming off of a drug addiction was hand cuffed to the stretcher next to his he decided it was a good time to leave, lol.

Thank you to ALL of my ROTE friends who stepped up and helped in our moment of crisis. Knowing that there were people that truly cared for Dad doing everything they could for him helped to keep me calm and to support Mom.

We got back to the hotel where he got cleaned up. We then headed over to Tortilla Joe’s for some lunch as we were ALL starving. Here is where the rest of the magic happens. Gina called Mom up to stand in front of the group and as I snapped away on Mom’s camera she gave a beautiful speach and presented Mom with a 5K finisher’s medal. Thanks to Gina and the generosity of our own Paul, Mom was going to have the magical weekend that she had been dreaming of. When we got home last night from California she still hadn’t taken off her medal and took any oppurtunity she got to show it off. Thank you Gina and Paul for giving our family memories we will never forget.

And the day wasn’t over yet. We went and Mom got us our passes so that we could hit the park and Dad could return to the room to rest. We then hit the parks so we could all show off our medals. We ran into a ROTE group just as we entered the park and joined them for a train ride around the park. Mom soon returned to retrieve Dad for the Fantasmic dessert party we had planned for that evening. Fun was had as we made our rounds at the park including trying to fit as many people as we could into the teacup outside the Mad Hatters. Before we knew it it was time to part ways and we all said our goodbyes as part of our group headed over to check in for the dessert party. We sat with our dessert in our laps and balloon hats on our heads as we celebrated Colleen’s birthday. After the show was over we were all exhausted. We made our way back to our rooms to pass out. What a scary yet fantastic day!

Monday:

Monday the ROTE crew still at DLand started to dwindle. Erica had told us about the character breakfast at the Plaza and that the Fairy Godmother was there, so that is where we headed. Erica joined us for a fabulous breakfast. From there we started trying to hit the rides we had missed so far. I hopped on Space Mountain again and then Erica went and got on the Matterhorn with me. After that painful ride we hit Nemo and then our group started to grow. We went over to finally get in some boat ROTEing since a ticket mix up had caused problems with us making it there the day before. Again our group was growing as we found Steve when we got off the canoes. We headed over to Califonia Adventure where we we watched several of the group hit California Screaming several times and most of us got on the swings. Then the sun was down and it was time to get Mustapha some food. We went over to the Rain Forest for dinner where there was lots of being hot and being cold as they tried to regulate the temps, lol. Dana and I caught two little girls as they tried to lock a stall from the inside and climb out from under the door. From there it was off to see the fireworks. Fate stepped in and three different ROTE groups ended up standing in the same area to watch the fireworks. As they started a gentleman in front of us got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. Which prompted mostly cheering from our group. I say mostly because there was a couple “Bad moves” mumbled from our crowd.

After the fireworks our group tried its best to shut the place down. We hit the jungle cruise then walked off the see the last of Fantasmic as some ran for potty breaks and some hopped on Pirates. Then we headed back over for one last Indiana Jones ride. The “15” minute wait was taking longer than 15 minutes, so this is where we lost several ROTErs to last minute shopping for the kids left back home. Mike, Dana, Tina and myself stuck it out and enjoyed one last ride. Well most of us enjoyed it, but Mike lost his U of M hat to one strong wind. So from IJ we walked to City Hall so he could provide his info and get his hat back. From there I headed back to my room. Exhausted but very happy. When I got to the room Mom and Dad had just gotten in as they had apparently ran into Steve while shopping and spent some more time with him, lol.

Tuesday:

This of course was the day the rest of the ROTErs (except for a few stragglers) made their way back home. We got up and headed to the airport via the Disneyland Express again. We got there and went up to check our bags. Mine checked fine and so did Mom’s but Dad’s confirmation number didn’t work. Mom apparently scheduled Dad to return home on Thursday. So a little stress followed as we tried to get Dad on our flight. All worked out in the end, lol. I spent the rest of the time waiting for the flight checking on FB to see where my friends were and make sure those that had left already made it home safely.

This is where I decided our site slogan should be “We got a ROTEr for that!” Because no matter your situation, if you need someone to save you from something you forget or life threatening situations or if you just want to laugh until you are crying and your cheeks are cramping up, we have a ROTEr that is willing to step to the plate and make it happen. I love you all so much! Thank you all for being there this weekend and just being you! I am counting down the days till the next ROTE Rally. Come on RnR Philly then W&D. I need more time with my ROTErs!

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