Archive for September, 2008

Disneyland Half 2008

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

My second Disneyland Half adventure didn’t start out as I expected.  I woke up the morning of the race with the back pain that has been plagueing me returning.  I tried to stretch as much as possible before boarding the plane.  I was under the impression that our flight was headed to Ohio, but much to my surprise the plane we boarded made its first stop in Pheonix.  I was actually excited to be in the town that houses the tumbleweed running club: Lisa, Pat, Karen.  Unfortunately the gentleman I was sitting next down didn’t have very pleasant breath and was also very nervous about his first flight in some time so he spent the whole time talking.  I know what it is like to be that nervous, so I didn’t want to stop him from talking, but his breath was waring after a while.  Our flight arrived in Pheonix 40 minutes early so they allowed us off the plane so we could stretch our legs and get a bite to eat.  The stop didn’t seem long before we were reboarding for the continued trip to LA.

The flight crew changed in Pheonix.  I watched as our new piolets boarded.  I heard a stuerdess say to the one pilot, “So this is your first flight”.  She then proceeded to throw packets of peanuts at him.  I guess is new pilot initiation.  As we started taxing down the runway one of the pilots welcomed us aboard and told us that his name was “Captain Kirk”.  Gotta love it!  This next leg was only an hour.  I didn’t realize how short it was so as we got the freedom to move about the cabin I decided to get up and use the facilities.  I no sooner sat down then I felt the plane change angles to start its decent and the return to your seat sign turned on.  I came out and Mom and I both start laughing because we didn’t expect the flight to be so short.

Ms. Peggy, who was once again accompanying me and Mom to Disneyland, happened to land just 10 minutes before we did so we met her at the luggage claim.  Before we knew it we had our bags and were on our way to the hotels.  We got an exclusive van this time so that we went straight to the hotel instead of taking the tour of Anaheim that we had last time.  Apparently that is the only way to get a direct trip.

After checking into our hotels we headed over to the Grand Californian for dinner and then headed to California Adventure to walk around the park.  Before long it was time for bed, so we headed back to the hotel.  Mom was unpacking all the treats she had put into her bag for us.  Before long she had unpacked 8 travel containers of peanut butter.  It had both of us cracking up…guess you had to be there.

The next morning we met early to head over to Disneyland.  We went straight to Nemo and were able to get on the first boat.  Much better than last year where it took us 2 hours to get on a boat.  It was just as much fun as it was last year.  Before long it was time to head over and go to the expo.  I love to be in line as early as I can, but even heading over with 20 minues to spare the line was already out the door.  I hopped in and got ready to go.  I sent Mom over to find merchandise while I went to get my packet.  When they handed me my number there was a lime green label on the top that told me to report to a different location for my Coast to Coast wristband.  Since this was the whole reason that I participated in this event I was very excited to get my wristband.  I just had to be careful because the wristband made me feel like I had my camera strap on my wrist and I almost dropped my camera several times.

For this wondering what the Coast to Coast wristband was for I will take a moment to explain.  When you participate in both the Disneyland Half and the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend by running either the Half or the Full you are eligible to earn a third medal – the Coast to Coast.  Getting the wrist band shows your eligibility to earn the medal, so when you cross the finish line of the Disneyland Half they know to give you your second medal. 

Friday evening was Mother’s Day and Ms. Peggy’s birthday observed.  I gave my mother the Fantasmic Dessert and Reserved Seating package for Mother’s Day and she gave the same to Ms. Peggy for her birthday.  We got in line for our seating and were able to get in the second row of the slightly off center section of the viewing areas.  When we were seated we were given a dessert sampler that was pretty impressive.  Included was a chocolate covered strawberry, mini cheesecake, lemon tart, macaroon, assortment of cheeses, crackers, chocolate, grapes, and a sugar spoon.  We were provided with unlimited beverages.  The view of Fantasmic was fantastic and much better than sitting on the ground and waiting around for hours.  Mom was so excited!  After the show was over the told us to stay seated and the lights were soon dimmed again for us to sit and watch the fireworks.  We all went headed back to the rooms very tired, but also very excited from such a wonderful experience.

The next day I didn’t plan to spend much time in the parks because I didn’t want my feet to tire.  Ms. Peggy made plans with a friend that lives in Anaheim and I had plans to meet folks from for and early dinner.  We decided to head into California Adventure early so that we could get in line for Toy Story Mania before the line became unmanageable.  Seems like everyone else had the same idea.  As we starting making our way through the queue I noticed that Robert and Linda, the big cheeses and DR, were also in the queue.  We snapped a couple shots of each other.  They happened to be in a great spot as Mom and I got in our car to enter the ride.  Robert posted this shot that he took of us.

After hitting Soarin’, Monster’s Inc, and a couple tours in CA we headed back to the hotel to rest some before we all went our own ways.  Mom headed to Disneyland on her own to walk around and enjoy some dinner.  I headed to Naples to join the crew for some pre-race carbs.  It was so much fun sitting and chatting it up with friends that share the same passion as I do in running in Disney World.  For this I have to borrow another picture from Robert.  What can I say?  He takes good photos.

After dinner I walked with Sandra towards my hotel to help direct her towards her hotel.  I went back to my room and set up my stuff for the next day.  I chilled out and watched some TV till Mom returned.  I set my alarm for 3 and let my head hit the pillow.  My Mom does not snore.  However, at 12:00 AM Mom started snoring.  I kept trying to wake her and eventually had to shake her bed to get her to switch positions and free the restrictions on her air passage, lol.

Before I knew it 3 AM was there.  I jumped into my clothes and tried to swallow a very dry bagel.  Unfortunatey my shirt was too tight for me to feel comfortable in, so Robert and Linda gave me their sleeves, which I tied in my hair, on my wrist and into my shoe laces.  I did get down a banana and some peanut butter before heading to the “R” tent to meet the DisneyRun folks again.  It was nice having someone there to hang out with at the start line since Dad wasn’t there with me like he usually is.  After snapping some photos and making several porta-potty breaks we headed to the corrals.  I was the only one in the “C” corral so I was standing on my own.  I walked around some to try to get warmed up and did some stretching. 

While we were standing and waiting the announcer held a faux contest that he used to call his girlfriend to the podium and propose to her.  It was an awesome experience sharing it with the crowd.  I spotted Robert, Linda and crew in corral “D” and tried waving to them, but they didn’t see me.  I tried to stay to the back because I knew I was going to be on the slow side of the “C” corral.  Then the countdown started, the fireworks went off and we started down the road.  In the first 1/4 mile we passed in front of my hotel where Mom and Ms. Peggy were waiting.  We wound our way through the course which was the same as last year with one exception – Angel’s Stadium.  I saw Mom as we criss crossed through Downtown Disney.  Then we headed out onto the streets to make our way towards Honda Center and Angel’s Stadium.  Instead of the emotional experience I had inside the stadium last we spent more time with the boy and girl scouts as we ran through the “A” outside the stadium and around the front.  After passing through the 10 mile baloon arch we were back on the streets and on our way back to California Adventure.  I hit a wall at about this point and found myself walking more than I thought I would.  As we were exiting the stadium parking lot I saw someone in front of me wearing orange.  I made it a goal to catch up with them.  Turns out it was MJ.  He was explaining the website to the person standing next to him.  I introduced myself and he explained to the person I was one of the more famous people on the website.  I explained that that meant I had too much time on my hands and spent too much time posting on the website, lol.   I decided to try running some more so I said my goodbye and went on my way. 

Before long we were entering California Adventure.  I passed Mr. Incredible and had flashbacks of running the last mile with Andi last year.  I channeled her energy and ran the rest of the way to the finish line.  As I crossed I made sure to slap 5 with Mickey for Mom.  Instead of handing out mylar this year they handed out chill towels, which was nice and refreshing.  I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get a mylar for my basement wall, but I plan to wash the towel and add it to my basement wall instead.  I headed down to get my castle medal and then went to have my bracelet cut off and get my Coast to Coast medal.  I took the bracelet so that I could use it for a scrap book.

In the end it wasn’t my best half.  In fact it was my worst with a finishing time reflecting a pace of 14:25 min/mile.  Oh well, at least I finished, enjoyed myself and got my medal.

I found Mom close to the “R” tent and grabbed a berry pie form the Pie Hole that ABC had in trailer form sitting in the finishing area.  I made my way back to the hotel to shower.  I had plans that day to meet a friend from work to get her and her family into Disneyland.  There were some traffic problems, but we took advantage of it to rest while we waited.  Before long we saw her family coming down the tram ramp and headed into the park.  The kids wanted to do Thunder Mountain, so Ms. Peggy took them on.  They took turns wearing my medal around the park before we parted ways.  Our next stop was Haunted Mansion.  When the “spirit” on the ride put down my lap bar it caught my Coast to Coast medal and broke the clasp that held it to its ribbon.  I missed most of the ride as I paniced trying to find the missing piece.  Of course it was gone.  I decided to dismantle my castle medal to repair my Coast to Coast.  I have an e-mail into Disney to see if they can help me replace my broken piece.  From there we headed to Cafe Orleans to split amongst the 3 of us a Monte Cristo sandwich and Mickey shaped beignets, which Mom repeatedly referred to as bedets.  We made quite a mess with the powdered sugar considering the waitress neglected to give us plates.

After spending several hours in the park we headed down to Steakhouse 55 for dinner.  I enjoyed it so much last year I had to do it again.  We actually had the same waiter who gave my Mom 20 chocolate Mickey heads again.  We enjoyed steak, salad and I had an au gratin potato stack that was to die for.  I followed it up with a scoop of ice cream (Haagen Dasz Vanilla Bean) to make for the perfect meal.  Afterwards we decided to head over to California Adventure to catch the “Main Street” Electrical Light parade.  I remember watching is several times in Disney World as a kid and really wanted to catch it again.  Afterwards we were too exhausted for words and headed back to the rooms to get rested for the next day.

The last morning there we went on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour around Disneyland Park.  It was fun and very interesting.  We heard the story of the Dominquez family, road in Walt’s private Caboose, stood in the foyer of Club 33, and got to see one of the original flowers from the Tiki Room named Ophelia.  While in Club 33 we decided to reinact the scene from last year where the piled all 4 of us in the glass elevator to ride up to the restaurant.  However while in there we heard this loud ringing.  Turns out Ms. Peggy was leaning again the alarm and we left the room in stiches.  After the tour we got to have a boxed lunch before heading into the parks to try to hit the attraction we hadn’t been able to do yet.  Before long we had run out of gas, so we all headed back to our rooms to pack and make calls to Southwest to make sure our flights were not going to be effected by Gustav.  Luckily our stop was in Las Vegas so we didn’t have to worry about running into the storm. 

At 3:15 AM the next morning we were up and prepping for our trip home.  We took the Disney shuttle where we met a nice Hawaiin family where the son proposed to his girlfriend at the start line of the race as well.  When we got to LAX the line for security was very long, but we had no problems getting to our waiting area for our flight.  The trip to Vegas was very similar to the trip from Pheonix to LA including the getting up to potty only to find the return to your seat signt iluminated before my cheeks hit the seat.  We didn’t get to leave the plane in Vegas so I held up my raspberry scone and took a picture of it in front of the MGM Grand to show my friend Dylan.  A song that was a favorite of his is called “Breakfast in Vegas”, but it talks of Cocaine and Gin and I wanted to show him my idea of Breakfast in Vegas.  :) 

The next leg of our journey was our flight to Baltimore.  I was seated next to a very nice gentleman this time who slept the whole way and didn’t seem to mind my waking him up repeatedly to use the facilities.  We had a nice pilot that pointed out the Grand Canyon, Mt. Zion National Park, and Monument Valley, so I snapped several pictures.  We also had a stewardess named Tambria that was kind enough to try to help me find the quarters I needed from the Denver mint (still looking for Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona).  Mom plans to write Soutwest to tell them how great of an experience we had on that flight home. 

I am still sufferring from a good bit of jet lag.  Let’s just say I wasn’t very productive at work today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

York 10 Mile

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

This was my first race in Pennsylvania.  I only live about 30 minutes from the state line (helps that MD is so small), so when I saw this 10-miler pop up I knew I had to do it since it fell on the day of my last long run in prep for Disneyland.  It was actually recommended by one of my fellow Trail Snails, so I thought maybe the field would be on the slower side.  This was the first race where I needed Dad to be there, not just wanted.   It was a point-to-point on a rail trail, so unless I wanted to run 10 miles back I was going to be stuck at the finish line.  The shirts were limited, so of course I wanted to get there early, which meant leaving the house at 6 AM.  I didn’t get the size I wanted, but they are nice Brooks Podium shirts with a train on the front.  I was waiting to use the port-a-pot till the last minute.  I knew the last minute came when the pre-registered folks who parked at the finish pulled up in their fancy buses – 3 of them!  I ran over to get in line before the bus doors opened. 

The race was generally small I think only fielding about 400 people and they ALL seemed to know each other.  We lined up a few minutes late and we were sent off by a Volunteer Fire Hall Siren instead of a gun.  I thought that was a cool touch.  After almost a mile zig zagging through the streets and heading up one really steap hill we came down to the final two turns.  I heard one volunteer as I passed yell to another “How many more?” and the reply was “2”.  My heart sank.  I was third to last after less than a mile.  and it wasn’t a slow mile for me either – 11:41.  My goal going into the race was to finish between 2:00 and 2:10, but now it was just to not get passed by the two people that were behind me.  Shortly thereafter I saw Dad parked on the side of the road that ran parallel to the trail.  He applauded and told me I looked good.  I told him I was third to last, lol.  When I hit the 7.30 mile mark there was a water stop and I just had a lot of trouble getting back up to speed after walking.  I was at this point on target for a 2:02 finish.  I decided I went out too fast and was worried that if I pushed too hard I would jeopardize the Disneyland Half.  To keep myself entertained being out on the trail with no competition in site I decided to say Hello to every member of the public I passed.  I probably walked 1.5 of the last 2.79 miles.  I don’t regret that choice since I still didn’t get passed by the 2 people behind me.  I came into the finish and I saw my father on his phone calling to tell Mom I was off my pace.  I felt embarassed coming into the finish because I could hear everyone cheering me.  I am sure they weren’t thinking it but I felt like the all were looking at me like I was a newbie.  They yelled at me to sprint in, so I did.  I tried to pretend I was in first and threw my arms in the air when I hit the line like I was breaking an imaginary tape, lol.

Howard Tunnel

The course itself was a nice crushed stone rail trail.  Part of the course ran through the country’s oldest train tunnel still in operation.  It was really cool to run through it.  Throughout the race you are running next to a train rail that is still in operation and you are constantly criss crossing back and forth with the tracks.  Overall the scenery was breath taking.

As soon as I crossed they handed me a bottle of water with a towel wrapped around it.  I used it to clean off the dirt from the trail.  I told at Dad to watch as I reached down to snap my sock cuff which sent off a cloud of dirt.  Now I know what pig pen feels like, lol.  When I took off my shoes after I got home there was a dirt pattern on my socks that matched the mesh of my shoes.  When I ran this morning wearing the same shoes I got the same marks on my socks.  Might take me a while to work all the dirt out of the mesh, lol. 

When the race results were posted I did’t have a result because I didn’t make the top 20 in my age group.  I had to inquire and the race folks were nice enough to send me the full results.  Thanks to the results I was able to tell I actually finished 4th to last with an official finishing time of 2:12:09, which is a pace of 13:13.  This is certainly nothing to complain about in a race that was supposed to be a training run.