Archive for May, 2012

Expedition Everest 2012

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Sometime before Princess Steve mentioned running Expedition Everest with his 10 year old DD since he knew she was now old enough.  I thought it sounded like a great idea and that race has been on my bucket list since it started, so at Princess we took advantage of no Active fees and signed the three of us up.   Since there were three of us and we all wanted to start together we actually signed up as three individuals to make sure the three of us were in the same corral.

Packet pick-up looked small compared to weekends like Marathon, Princess and Wine&Dine but was comparable to races like Tower of Terror 13K and was actually bigger than the ESPN5K.  We went Friday shortly after it opened.   There were a few shirts available for purchase, but the last thing I need is shirts, so we skipped the merchandise and picked up our bibs, pins and bags.  We were posing for pictures with the base camp set up when Becky found us.  We chatted a bit and she mentioned that David and his wife were on their way.  We went in search of our shirts which brought us to the course talk area just a few minutes before the next talk was to begin.  The talk was delayed but that gave Becky and David enough time to meet and for us to get introduced to him and his lovely wife.  I stuck around for the talk in hopes of getting some tips for the clues.  We quickly realized there would be none and were on our way. 

Saturday night came before we knew it.  We changed into our running gear and headed to the parking lot early since they had announced during the course talk that roads were going to start closing at 8:15.  We hung out in the car in the air conditioning till our bladders could wait no more.  When we exited the port-a-potties we decided to hang out and wait for the kids races to start since our littlest one was running.  We walked down his course a little bit.  He being a veteran Family Fun Run runner was not impressed with the course even though they had obstacles set up for them.  I believe he wanted to run in the park and run a slightly longer distance.  After his race he was going to hang out with his grandparents while the rest of the us ran the 5K Challenge.  They arrived just in time to see him race.  The kids races seemed less organized than I have seen them in the past.  There were no announcements for waves or corrals or anything.  Everyone just lined up and was sent out in what seemed like waves but I am not sure how the decided the ordering.  The kids started by running about 200 meters and making a u-turn.  On the way back they climbed over some small walls, jumped over some hay bales, and ran through some tires.  The special surprise challenge involved them being given clues.   The clues had a picture of a character on them and said “Find me!”.  They had baby pools set up with sand and the kids had to dig through the sand till they found their character.  Then they were done and given their medals.  The medals were cute, featuring the Yeti. 

After we sent the little one on his way we started to make our way across the parking lot to figure out how to line up for our race.  We went towards the start line, running into friends along the way.  Then we realized we were supposed to enter the chute from the back.  They called for Wave 1 to line up at the entrance and we joined everyone at the back of the corral.  They then opened the entrance and we all filtered into the corral.  There was no corralling by pace so we actually ended up seeded a little higher than we had planned.  My goal was to stay to the right and just try to keep us single file till things thinned out.  The start was slightly delayed and I was surprised that they actually had fireworks because I thought they would have disturbed the animals. 

We took off doing our 1:1 ratio and did our best to keep to the right.  I didn’t think we were that far back but we spent most of the race dodging those that were strictly walking and doing so several people abreast.  We managed to make it to the first obstacle without trouble.   The obstacle was set up wide enough that we could run side by side across the hay bales.  They were too high and wide for me to feel comfortable just hopping them so I stepped on the top and launched myself over.  Steve and DD made short work of it and were ahead of me before I finished.  We got right back into our 1:1 as the course narrowed into the park.  Just as we entered King Louie was set up for pictures.  Since Steve had to potty DD and I jumped into the line to get a picture.  We were quickly on our way and started to notice signs directing down different paths for both the 5K and the Scavenger Hunt.  I suspect that these were the “clues” on course that they had eluded to in early messages about the race. 

Next up would be the “silent obstacle”.  Having run Family Fun Run 5Ks through Animal Kingdom before I knew the backstage turn around was close to the animal habitats, most specifically the Rhinos.  I had a feeling they were requesting us to be quiet for the animals but at the same time they had DJs blaring music back there so I was confused.  Either way we all decided to go down one set of tires this time.  Me taking the lead and Steve in the rear so that we could make sure that DD didn’t have any problems.  We made short order of the tires and were quickly on our way.  We continued to wind through backstage areas and came upon Baloo, so we stopped for one more photo of all three of us this time. 

We neared mile 3 and saw our last obstacle.  At first it appeared that we were going to be crawling under cargo nets through sand.  Steve announced that he would be going around it but as we got closer we spotted grass mats so all three of us dropped to our knees and scurried to the other side.  We saw the timing mats indicating the end of our run and ran across them.  We asked DD whether she wanted to run to the clues or walk and she eagerly announced that she wanted to walk, so we got our first clue, trying to get the same one for all three of us, grabbed our sharpies and flash lights and looked for an empty spot to look at our clue.  Three miles wiped my brain cells and I wasn’t even paying attention to the compass on the paper and kept staring at the clue.  Steve announced the answer and DD and I quickly scribbled it on our cards before continuing.   Looking back at the card each of the directions on the compass were letters and the clue gave you times of day so you used the compass as a clock and pulled the letters.  We ran to the park entrance getting passed by Carol who was headed in the other direction looking for a sharpie.  There was no signage as to what to pick up where and I think luck had us stumble past the sharpie/flashlight people.

Each card had a location and a name at the top.  For instance Camp Mickey & Minnie – Goofy and Asia – Laos.  We made our way from station to station flashing our cards and picking up the next clue.  The way of solving the clues were the same at each station, but the answers were different per name.   We got the same clues for the first three stations then got a different clue, but it didn’t slow us down any and luckily enough we were moving quick enough that it wasn’t too crowded so we didn’t lose track of each other.  I will try to make another post about the clues themselves once I have them in hand.  They are in FL and I am back in Baltimore now.  So expect another blog in June outlining the clues. 

One thing that I had an issue with regarding the Scavenger Hunt was that we repeatedly crossed over the 5K course while later waves were running.  At one point while we were crossing DD dropped her flashlight.  She stopped to grab it and all Steve and I could do was cover our eyes and hope for the best.  If we had tried to go back for her we would have caused even more trouble.  Luckily she made it out alive. 

Once we were done our clues we headed for the finish next to Expedition Everest.  DD took off as soon as she saw it screaming with her arms in the air and Steve and I had to chase her to keep up.  We crossed the finish and went for our medals.  The volunteer handing us ours was all tangled up and wasn’t able to put the medal around DD’s neck which I was hoping he would.  We grabbed some Clif bars, bananas, water and Powerade.  We walked just a small ways and found a bench to sit, eat and drink.  After about 10 minutes we decided to go and try to hop on some rides.  As we entered Dinoland we ran into Becky, David and his wife again.  We got to catch up and see how our friends did on their races.  Becky came in 4th and David 19th in their respective genders.  Very proud of them.

After bidding farewell we walked past a very long baggage check line and went towards Triceratops Spin.  It broke down, so DD instead went on Primeval Whirl, which she doesn’t mind doing by herself.  When she was done we all headed for Dinosaur to finish off our night.  At this point we were all tired and I was getting itchy from the drying sweat.  We headed off to pick up the little one then headed home to get some sleep. 

After getting home someone pointed out a typo on the medal itself.  The NE and SE on the compass are reversed.  That is a little disappointing but overall it is very nice bling.