Saturday, January 30, 2010

Disney World Marathon, Part I

You know how you can work and train and sweat toward a goal for so long that when it is over, you almost don't believe that it happened? Meg, Luc, and I started planning for our first marathon in May 2009. We started training in earnest in August 2009. We ran a MARATHON (26.2 miles) on January 10, 2010 in Disney World. Wait, really?

Audrey, our veteran marathoner friend, Luc, and I ran for the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, and raised over $7200 through amazing friends and family and hosting a 5k.

The four of us endured increasingly frigid and dark training runs as New Jersey fell into winter, running up to 21 miles before tapering in the few weeks before the race. Meg suffered a hip injury, started physical therapy, and kept on running. This was an expensive and time-consuming venture--no one was giving it up!

Finally, January 7th arrived. NJ=freezing. FL=...freezing?? Yes. Florida decided to have a cold snap the one week we visited it. Luc, Meg, and I arrived in Orlando super excited to be going to DISNEY WORLD anyway. Rally gave us a room in the Pop Century resort, so we took the Magical Express from the airport. Yesss. Ten minutes after arrival, we were already cared for by smiling Disney Cast Members and surrounded by Mickey Mouses.

Disney knows how to put on a smoothly-running ginormous event. Every 5-10 minutes, a bus left the resort and headed to the Expo at the Wide World of Sports:
Heading off to the expo to get our packets!

We picked up our bibs, shoe tag, and goody bags with our schnazzy *marathon* shirts, bought cute pink souvenir *marathon* shirts, and enjoyed the buzzing excitement of the
health and fitness expo. We got free sports bar samples, looked at running clothes, and made signs for Josh and Luc's dad, Lee, to hold as our cheerleaders:
Basically how we feel. ;)

Meg, Luc, and I ran for 45 minutes before dinner at Downtown Disney. I bought Mickey Mouse ears while we waited for Josh, Lee, and Audrey to arrive.

The next morning, Audrey and I woke up to find happy signs on our door from the Rally folks!
We found Rally signs on our hotel door in the morning!

We are SO glad we were a part of a team for this race. The little things--like the signs, the matching shirts we wore for the race, the cheer groups they had along the route, and the candy in the Rally tent at the end--made the experience very comfortable (considering) and enjoyable. :) One of the BIG things was the team pre-race pasta dinner and coach's clinic on Friday the 8th (day before the half, two days before the full).

We met at Epcot in our red shirts:
Team Kinematics!!

And were escorted into the park as a group of about 130 red-shirted athletes, family, and Rally staff. (We all considered "losing" the group and riding on Mars Mission instead of eating spaghetti, but we were good.) We were secretly pleased to discover that most of the other 114 Rally runners were only doing the half marathon, and then realized that Disney is possibly the only place we could feel bad about ONLY doing the FULL MARATHON: Audrey and a few others were running the Goofy Challenge--BOTH the half AND the full. Sigh. The coach's talk actually made me more nervous. Audrey reminded me that I trained and was ready. I'd be fine. I knew how to fuel, I had my running shoes, and I ran IN THE COLD ALL SEASON, so Florida's freakishly frigid temperatures wouldn't hurt.

We ate tasty pasta and fruit (and everyone snagged extra bananas and apples for our rooms--Disney is EXPENSIVE) while listening to Rally families share their stories (some brought tears to my eyes :( ) and the Rally CEO share her story (it was pretty cool). Then, they passed out prizes to teams and individuals who raised the most money. To our surprise, our team came in SECOND!!!

After dinner, Lee took us to the Polynesian resort for a drink. (Although Audrey the Goofy went home to sleep before her early morning 13.1 miles.) A small one. With lots of water. We must stay hydrated, you know!

Audrey woke up Saturday morning at 3am for her half. I heard her drink water, then do something, then drink water, then do something. She left around 3:45am. I woke up around 7am to start an ice bath for her and get hot chocolate and coffee from the cafeteria. It was below freezing at the half's 5:45am start time, accompanied by snow and freezing rain. Brrrr. She did so well though: she finished in 1:47:00! "Oops, I probably ran that too fast. Haha!"

She came back FROZEN and jumped immediately into her bathtub of ice and ice-cold water. Why? To help her poor muscles heal before the full the next day! She shivered for 15 minutes before taking a nice hot shower. Then she swam in the rain for a few minutes in the nice hot pool, and then took another nice hot shower. :)

Audrey and our weird resort:
Pop Century is a WEIRD hotel.
I heart the Potato Heads

The rest of the day, we all mostly lounged and ate. We had lunch with Lee at his resort, Saratoga Springs. We zipped over to the Expo to buy a souvenir for one of our favorite supporters (two-year-old Wally, who made us a running playlist with his mother's help), and then watched Chariots of Fire in our hotel room. Finally, we ate LOTS of pasta for dinner, and went off to our hotel rooms to get ready for the next day.

Audrey and I attached our shoe tags and bibs to our shirts:
My shoe is tagged and ready; my bib is out.

Our bibs had our FIRST NAMES. I LOVE DISNEY.

We were in bed by 9pm, I believe. Time to sleep. Our 3am alarm will come all too soon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Journey Home and Back

My annual trek back to the Pacific Northwest was a wee bit more exciting than usual this year, as my cat Faraday joined me! I bought a kitty ticket, got sedatives from the vet, stuffed the nine-month-old kitten into his carrier and under the seat in front of me. He was NOT thrilled. I spent most of the flight hunched over my seat, petting him to quiet him. But we survived!

My family has two cats--Ashley, who is 13, and Scout, who was four months old--and a golden retriever, Maddie. Faraday hasn't been around other animals since he was a baby in foster care. We kept him in my sister Amy's room for the first couple of days, while the cats got used to each other:
...which is under siege!!!

We graduated to Faraday on a leash:
I do can laser your behind.

And by the end, all animals lived in harmony...mostly.
Scout and Farad played.
Ashley and Maddie wondered.

It was a fairly relaxing trip, with lots of good family time. We took sibling trips to the mall and Sherlock Holmes, I saw Avatar with an old UW friend, Nama, Papa, and the aunties joined us for a beautiful Christmas day, and we had a reunion dinner with four main childhood-friend families and their various new little families (that was scary: there were nine kids under the age of six! In one house!). I enjoyed running around my childhood neighborhood (my training schedule was nearing the end: I was in taper mode, and had to run between 4 and 12 miles a few times). One day, Mom drove me to the local highschool track--where I would've gone, had I not been homeschooled! :D We baked and baked and ate and ate. Dad and I talked about physics and our African travels. Amy discussed her impending move to Morocco for the year. David made me play a game of ping-pong, and we had fun being geeks together. Jenny regaled me with stories of her first quarter of college. The family also shopped in Seattle one fine day--we mostly drank a lot of coffee, looked at pretty things, and had dinner at Spaghetti Factory. :) I got to eat lunch with Madeline and Alex (UW swing friends), too!

Mom's beautiful Christmas dinner:
Beautiful Mrs. B and her fancy spread!

My entire family and another family walked on a lovely nature trail in Sequium one cold, cold day, too.

Dad and Mom:
Dad and Mom are my favorites!

Amy and David:

Our family's annual New Year's Eve bash was even MORE intense and entertaining than usual! Mom found a murder mystery party plot online, and gave each of the SEVENTY guests a role to play. It had a cruise ship theme, so guests were crew (Jenny was the Cruise Director and David a sailor), passengers (I was a recent highschool graduate on a cruise with my father), chaplains (Dad was Chaplain Love), or Ambassadress of the Seas competitors (Amy). We had personalized partial plot notes for pre-murder, and received new notes post-murder, which directed us to ask certain people certain questions. They helped us compose a convoluted view of the motivations of a really terrible set of people. Ha! No one actually guessed whodunit correctly, but we had a fabulous time trying. :)

Jenny looks all official:
The cruise director

Anna (who turned out to be the culprit) and Tim (the bartender) pose by portholes:
Tim and Anna!

We even had the victim (Consuelo) scream and fall over during a house-wide blackout and balloon-popping explosion. Then the officer (Doug) outlined her sprawl for posterity:

We were amused by ourselves. :)

My other big event was a trip up to Bellingham to spend the night with Bethy JO! We ate Thai food, drank some wine, enjoyed her cat (Nellie), watched an episode of Pushing Daisies, visited with her friend Jonathon, toured her office and met coworkers, and drank LOTS of coffee. Then we spent a couple of hours in Seattle, eating cupcakes and getting our eyebrows waxed on a whim. Love. Bethany.
Finally, a neighbor bring a corkscrew by! Yay!
Nells helps Beth make my bed.

That evening in Seattle, I (take a deep breath) had coffee with Levi and David (UW Swing dance buddies), appetizers with Beth and Catherine (UW roommates), and dinner with Bethany (Seattle swing dance/church/knitting buddy). Whew.

All too soon, Muffin (Faraday [the cat]) and I had to fly home. Sigh. Next year. :)


Many more Christmas pictures can be found here.