To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award nomination goes to those bloggers who have a following of less than 200 to promote other bloggers to comment and share - even get to know each other!

Jaime at The Unlikely Competitor and Jennifer at Red Hair and Running Shoes both nominated me for this award, so I guess that means I get double the questions to answer?!?! So I'm just going to get rolling on this one without any further ado!

1. Who is your celebrity or fictional character crush?
My longest running celebrity crush is the fabulous Sir Anthony Hopkins. He's just so dashing... and that voice? Ay ay ay. Also ... Mark Harmon. Love him!

2. What are your top five favorite books?
Five? Are you kidding me here?? Okay - Catcher in the Rye, Hannibal, Adam Carolla's In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks, Devil Wears Prada and .... um.....I hate reading ....

3. What is your most vivid memory from your childhood?
That's super hard! I think all of my most vivid memories revolve around our family cabin at Tenmile Lake. We spent so much time there and I can still remember the smell and sounds of the wildlife. Loved it there!

4. What decision in your life would you tweak if you could go back knowing what you know now?
I'd have focused more in grade school on science ... maybe then I'd have been able to be an astronaut? I kind of set myself up for failure with that one by not being a scientific genius by the time I was in fifth grade. But had I been an astronaut I wouldn't be living this glamorous life that I am today...

5. What kind of music do you sing when nobody is listening?
Usually it is made up songs that I sing to my pets using their names. OR Broadway - like late 80s/early 90s Broadway ... right now it's Les Miserables, which is to be expected.

6. Why do you blog?
Because I'm too lazy to write out things by hand anymore. I use it as my own journal to remember things. And then I started making friends on it, so that's my big drive - to keep in touch with everybody and babble to them about boring things like color swatches, wedding invitations and running all over the place.

7. What do you love?
Animals. All animals. Mostly my pets, but seriously all animals, even the ones that most people think are ugly yet I find them adorable ... babirusa, I'm talking to you!

8. What do you hate?
Hate. There's a reason I'm a FRUIT FLY in RAINBOW socks. I'm like a walking Pride flag!

9. What do you want most?
To feel calm, happy and secure in my life. I just want things to be easy going... I'd love to not have to be around any politics, be it global or even in the work place. I'd just like to be home with my happy little family (so like, um, that child of mine needs to be created and show up!)

10.You have a time machine! Where do you go? 
Back to when my mom was little and my grandparents were young. I see their family photos and always think it looks like life was just perfect. I'd love to see what my family was like in their younger days and see my grandparents being actual parents instead of the awesome spoiling grandparents!

11. And...the standard question - What would you do if you knew you could not fail? 
Quit my job, be a housewife, do anything I wanted and never have to worry about retirement money or health insurance!

And round 2:

1. If you could get on a plane and go anywhere, where would it be and why?
France. A quiet cottage in the countryside. I chose that because I've never been there, it is far from home and work, and it seems like the perfect peaceful retreat right now! And since I don't speak French I wouldn't have to engage in any conversation!

2. What is one major thing you would like to accomplish in your life time?
I'm sure it seems small since most people have it - and probably a lot that should - but I just want to have my one child!

3. What was your favorite class in high school or college and why?
Psychology. All the classes .... good thing since that was my major. **I started out as a Business major for 3 years, took Psy 101 and immediately switched. I liked it because I am good at it and it was so much fun! It just spoke to me.

4. What is one thing that always makes you smile?
My animals. Even during terrible times they make me happy. When my aunt passed away, my pets knew I was sad and they took care of me just as my human family did. They have that extra special little something!

5. If you were going to try a new hobby, what would you try?
Playing the cello! 

6. What is your favorite kind of music?
I like stuff that isn't "too" of anything. Not too poppy, not too metal, not too opera'ish. Let's just say ... Jimmy Buffett -- he's the best!

7. What is your favorite race and why? 
It would be expected that runDisney would have my favorite race, and really they do. I mean they are soooo fun. BUT the reason I started running has its own race ... the Prefontaine Memorial 10K. Steve Prefontaine was my motivation to start running and the inspiration I turn to when things get hard. So to run in his hometown, right by his house, and finish on his track, well as hard as that course is, it will always be my favorite!

8. If you could live anywhere for a year where would it be?
Boston. I loved Boston. It would be fun to really get to experience all that area has to offer. Plus I'd take advantage of how small those states are and travel to see other places ... like NYC!

9. What made you start blogging? 
I originally started out just writing about whatever. I think I was bored. I wasn't a runner, I was just someone that traveled a lot. Once I started running I actually got readers and my blog totally changed and became what it is today! (Although I'm a terrible blogger right now and seriously need to catch up on what everybody else is posting!)

10. If you could meet a famous person, past or present, who would it be?
Anthony Hopkins would make me too nervous because he is so cool. And then I'd have to confront him on the fact that he didn't marry me. Same with Mark Harmon. Michael Jackson. Yep, MJ. I just wanted to be his friend. I felt he got a bad rap and was misunderstood.

11. What is something you have done that you are really proud of?
Goofy!! Easy one! For newer readers, I used to not be able to run around the block. I did c25K and had 2 5Ks picked out. My goal was to be able to run one without walking. My 2nd 5K race was in Disney and that was my first time running 3.1 non-stop miles. From their the running and racing addict was born. Never in my wildest fantasies would I have thought I'd do a marathon, let alone a half marathon ... let alone Goofy!

I should nominate people, but this is so long and I'm home sick today and need to lay down. Perhaps when I have nothing to talk about I can keep the nominations going! As it is I'm cheating and writing this on Wednesday to post on Thursday. Slacker!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Photo Nonsense from the Marathon

I bought all of my Goofy photos, but aside from that we ran all the races with my camera. I couldn't possibly share all photos. I mean I'd be the only one to not get bored looking at them. So I thought I'd pull a few out to show that it isn't always just running and smiling for official photos!

I wear my sunglasses at night ... or 4 o'clock in the morning
Butt shots! Thanks to giraffy for pointing out where to locate hers!
Everybody stops for the front, so why not get a photo at the back of the Castle?
Banana time. I actually ate TWO bananas during the race and never once puked!
I actually wanted to pet this little guy but figured I should continue on to the next animals.
A blog reader from Canada! She recognized me from behind, so cool!!
(And she's racing in my Princess Half skirt ... fabulous taste!!)
Even the goats wore costumes for us runners!
The former Cast Member in me appreciated this sign outside of Animal Kingdom

I couldn't help but find this amusing. I'm not sure why. 
Ha! All of you guests pissed off at the traffic ... that's because of us!
More giraffy and Becka. Lazy girls just laying around....
Take that, Chuck Norris! 
The moment I discovered the glory of BioFreeze
Mile 23.9.  We know it is 23.9 and I am deliberately photographed running by it
-- because we stole a sign from this stop a couple of days before the race. Oops.
Joey Fatone!!! Dead center of the picture in black shirt/shorts. Thank you, Mom, for this one!
Here I am sobbing about Goofy and Man Friend is hamming it up to get his medal.
The fact that he is willing to touch MY shoes and socks shows he's the real deal!!

So there ya go - a few of the not-so-glorious moments of my 27+ mile marathon! 26.2 wasn't hard enough for us ... we had to be overachievers and add on almost an entire extra mile. Or we are just dumb asses that like to goof off... Goof off - get it!?! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's a Rainbow of Madness

I went to the worst bridal expo ever. Thank goodness it was free. The so-called fashion show? A joke. They had a dress with camo!!!!!!! And I swear one of the "models" was trying to contain explosive diarrhea. That is the only reasonable explanation for her visible attitude problem!

After the expo we went hard core into decorations. We had most of it done but needed to really check. A few trips to stores and there we were, surrounded by sparkly colorful things for twelve tables.

And then I checked the guest list.

Twelve tables wasn't enough if people brought their kids. Personally I'd want zero but I'm the bride and don't get everything I want for my wedding. At one point I had 18 kids on the list and I don't even know most of them. Not cool. Originally we thought only adults, not even thinking people would want their kids at an evening Vegas themed reception. When we learned otherwise, well I was a completely pissed off bridezilla!

Last night we sat down, axed people and came up with the compromise. We added one table (which we quickly got decorations for) and are pretty much banning non-family children. I just can't fathom adding enough tables, chairs, food and drinks to make room for all of these people that MF and I don't even know. In my favor.... 145 people max are allowed in the venue. Hallelujah!

So today I'm a happy bride. 11 short humans got cut and I only had to do one extra table. Phew!

I won't say what today's photo is going to turn into just yet, but oh boy do I love it!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon - GOOFY!

Welcome to my experience in the Walt Disney World marathon, or, here’s the story of running 27 miles in a black cotton t-shirt!

Last year after completing the half marathon and the marathon relay back to back I realized that I am capable of more than half marathons. I vowed that in 2013 I would not only run the 20th anniversary of the WDW marathon, but I would do it while completing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge! Never before was I so excited about a race weekend, and finally it was upon me. I was putting on my costume, eating breakfast and heading out to a bus to take me to Epcot. The energy at the pre-race area was electric. The air was warm, people were dancing, stretching, shopping (yeah, that was me!) and tracking down friends. Naturally it was during the Cupid Shuffle that Abby and I met and clobbered each other with big hugs. She is just so darn cute!! After some photos we split up and went off to our respective corrals. In the corral I had my big “OMG” moment! It was runDisney’s Dennis again! Frank Shorter (Pre’s friend!!) was on stage speaking, which told me it was going to be a great day for running!

Batman and Batgirl were ready to go! No idea what was in store for us, we optimistically crossed the start line (and even got a shout out from the announcers!). So much went through my head. Excitement, caution, fear, awesomeness. I was really doing it! I was running a marathon just 24 hours after running a half marathon and 48 hours after a 5K. I was insane!! What really freaked me out was how good my legs felt. I expected pain – which did happen after about a mile, and then was gone after two miles. But really I was doing pretty darn good. I was slower than most people around me, but also those faster people I noticed didn’t have on Goofy bibs, so they were a little fresher. The first water stop came and that’s when it got scary! People didn’t want to walk through the stop, they were running and drinking. Holy whirlwind, Batman! I slowed to a very fast walk and then started running again out of pure fear. It was still dark, there were masses of people, cups on the ground … please just don’t let me fall!!!

Once we got on the “big” road we were able to spread out and relax, such a relief. Jack Sparrow was again the first photo stop – long line – took our own photo and then went on our way. We were pretty laid back in our approach at the start because we knew it was going to be a long hot day, but we steadily moved forward … hitting every photo stop. At mile 4 I had to potty … that felt like a 10 minute stop, eek! But after that it was the adrenaline filled run from the Ticket & Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom. I love that stretch so much! Once inside MK I realized how lucky we are to be running through there with all of these people up early to cheer us on, so I pulled over, took it in and got some photos of the runners and the crowd. Great memory! It was while running down Main St that we met up with Becka and Giraffy! I tell ya racing is such a small world!

Again we skipped the Fantasyland photos (aside from Alice) due to the really long lines, and instead enjoyed our run through the Castle! I wish it didn’t fly by so fast. Outside of Frontierland while waiting for Sleeping Beauty (which we did the day before) I looked over and saw Abby and Jaime! Screw the photo op – I immediately jumped out of line and ran with my friends through the water stop. …small world, right?!?! The runners in this stretch between MK and the Raceway seemed so calm compared to the day before, it was odd. Still we hit all the photos and had a blast running through the crowd with our capes on!

Next up, the Richard Petty Speedway! I actually enjoyed this part. It was fun to have a new place to run, and Man Friend was totally enjoying the cars, so as supportive team mate I was all for it. We did A LOT of zig-zagging here, going to each side of the track to check out and get photos of cars. We spent a ridiculous amount of time here, and when we decided to start running again ... we found Abby & Jamie, again! I probably terrified poor Abby by having my shadow run up right behind her, then yelling PINEAPPLE!! Obnoxious? Yes.

Those villains can't defeat Tew Legit!

During the stretch to Animal Kingdom (let's not talk about that smell!) we scored a lot of photos - the villains being my favorite! Also cool was seeing a bunch of actual animals on the course, including a Ball Python that I had to get a photo with, even though it stuck its tongue out at me. Heading into DAK's backstage area a fellow runner actually recognized me from the blog. Hello!!! If you're seeing this, leave me a comment so I know who you are, you lovely Canadian! As expected, DAK flew by too fast for me. I just love it there, so beautiful and peaceful. Heading into Dinoland by Everest we ran into Becka and Giraffy again! And heading to the parking lot I ran into Ron, a Cast Member I used to work with at Flights of Wonder!

They are everywhere I tell you!

Osceola Parkway is where we made a friend. Starting at the Speedway we started seeing him at every character stop. It sort of became a "running" joke between all of us when we'd stop for photos. He was pretty cool, but we did lose him at a med tent. I discovered BioFreeze at the med tents. Holy chill factor, Batman! That was fabulous on my knees, if not for the relief of any soreness, but for the cooling down it gave me. Did I mention I was running in COTTON?? What can I say, I was dedicated to the costume plan and powered through even though I was stinky and soaked completely with sweat.

ESPN Wide World of Sports was alright. They gave us wet sponges which I carried for miles. My mental breakdown began in here (clearly I needed more characters!). I stopped again for a bathroom break where I almost started crying in line while talking to a fellow runner. She was so sweet and told me not to worry (I wasn't keeping pace with all my photo stops and I was terrified they'd not give me my Goofy medal). She said she'd fight for me and my medal at the finish if it came down to it. How nice! The stadium was cool, but everybody was walking so we just gave up on running and enjoyed the walking pace around the bases.

Mile 20 Spectacular
Nearing mile 20 is when I really lost it. Every sign got to me. Any cheer made me tear up. I was doing it. I was REALLY doing it! It was so hot. I was so tired. My feet felt like bloody little stumps. The Mile 20 Spectacular was going to boost my spirits ... or was it. Um, fellow runners ... let down much?? Did I miss what was so "spectacular" about it?? Between 20 and the Studios MF was my lifesaver. He took the camera and became photog for the team. He ran up to get me spare water to dump on myself. He held me steady when I had a sudden Meniere's attack. He was fabulous!! Go Batman!! Go Batgirl! Batlady! Bat people! Oh boy did we hear all sorts of Bat names during the race, especially in the last 10K!

Once in the Studios I dug deep and turned back on to runner mode. It was awesome!! We did skip photo stops though, I just wanted to be done and see my mom. As we passed through the Yacht and Beach Club I pulled out my phone to tell my mom my status and warn her that I was coming. It was then that I saw all these encouraging texts from her. I couldn't even read them because I started nearly sobbing! It really helped!!

And there we were, at the entrance to Epcot. OMG this is it! The final stretch and then it is over, I'll be officially Goofy!! I don't know what got into me, but I was back in fine form and flying through World Showcase, smiling and having a total blast. As I came into Germany it happened again ... "PINEAPPLE!!! I can't even look at you or talk to you, I'll start crying again. But you all are my witnesses .. NEVER AGAIN!!!" And with that I took off and told Abby and Jaime I'd see them at the finish line. The rest of the race just flew by faster than expected.
Never again?!?!
The mile 26 marker hit (and I was almost at 27 miles on my Garmin) and the choir sang. I motioned a big thank you to them, they livened up even more and my tears started building. As we came in the biggest, greatest, longest finishers' chute Batman and Batgirl stuck together taking it all in. Minnie Mouse gave me a big high five at the finish line and I was over the moon! I was in disbelief and high fiving Man Friend. In no time at all I saw my mom, cue the sobbing! "I did it Mommy!! I really did it!!" She had her camera out and I couldn't even see through my tears. We took our time going to the medals. Once the volunteer placed the marathon medal around my neck I just lost it. I mean full blown crying, no question. More pictures from my mom on the sidelines, then off to get my Goofy medal. Again, more sobbing. The tears wouldn't stop! I really did it. This girl that came to Disney 3 years ago to run a 5k just completed her second marathon and was a legit Goofy runner!!

See that headband? MF made it for me!!
In no time at all I looked and found Abby and Jaime. We were all a girly, crying, happy mess! I remember going up to Jaime (also doing Goofy) and saying how we are all sweaty and gross but I don't care, I'm hugging her. And from there we all just kept crying. It was pretty awesome and obviously emotional! My mom even tried to hug me, without touching me, of course. First order of business was removing my shoes and getting on some flip-flops. Walking after that - slow motion. Very slow. At the hotel I passed out, woke up, and proceeded to get drunk in Epcot while rocking my Goofy shirt and medal.

All in all, a freaking awesome day!

Oh yeah - and that loud declaration of NEVER AGAIN?? Yeah, it was the next day that I declared I'd be back in 2015 to do it all over again!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Yeehaw! There's a snake in my boot! You are a toyyyyyyy!!!!!

As my twentieth half marathon, I was delighted to be running it in Walt Disney World! It was, after all, the location of my first half marathon back in 2011. In true runDisney form, this race did not disappoint! I think (which we always say this after races) it was the most fun ... EVER!!

Giraffy, Becka & the FruitFly
At 2:30am my alarm went off and I was up, excitedly slipping in my Jessie costume, while Man Friend transformed himself into Woody. I can honestly say I never expect our Toy Story character costumes to be so popular with the guests cheering us on! I grabbed my breakfast, put on my hat and hustled to the buses to get myself to Epcot with plenty of time to spare. After the very slow, crowded walk to the corrals I very quickly was able to scan the area and find Becka and Giraffy! I swear every race we do we always find each other with no effort! The time in the corrals just flew by, and I was especially giddy when they interviewed Joey Fatone (*not-so-closted *NSync fan here!)!!! And before I knew it corral C's fireworks went off, I was waving goodbye to Mickey, Donald and Goofy and beginning a very memorable run through the most magical land I've ever known!

The plan was to run to each character stop, using photo time for recovery, and always walking through the water stops. That held true for most of the first few miles until we got to Magic Kingdom. The weather was fantastic, when you compare it to Oregon, but still pretty darn hot. I wasn't even a mile in and the sweat was dripping down my face. Turns out my foam hat wasn't what you'd call breathable -- but I didn't care. We were 100% committed to our costumes. We did get reprieve at photo stops when we'd take our hats off to hide the straps that MF so cleverly attached to them.

Knowing this course so well, I knew we could skip the insane Jack Sparrow line at the very first photo stop since he'd be in the same spot and less busy on our way back toward Epcot. Good plan! From there we hit every single stop - except for Fantasyland where the lines looked as if they required a FastPass. The whole course we kept hearing people yell "Woody!! Woody!!" and then they'd try to remember "Jessie" - not always with success. Little girls loved me though. I found it adorable how their faces when we waved at them lit up, it's like they really thought some chubby, sweaty runner WAS Jessie. I loved seeing them so happy, so I was sure to always find those girls and give them a big hello!

Coming through the Castle was ... slow. It came to a walk. We stopped for our photo in front of it (one of my favorites from that race) and then as we continued on a media camera followed us as we ran. Who knows if we'll ever see that footage, but it was pretty cool. Ooh!!! You know what else was cool???? Just before making the sharp left hand turn to head to Magic Kingdom I saw a cameraman. I looked ... and with him was Dennis! You know Dennis, from all the runDisney videos!! Without even thinking I yelled his name. He paused, turned, and then MF and I jumped up and down, yelling even more. He came running back and waved around and hammed it up. Made. My. Race. I was ridiculously giddy over it, I even tweeted him about it later (and he favorited my tweet)!!!

Before we left Frontierland it happened ... my magical moment of the race (aside from Dennis) ... Jessie!!! It wasn't even my turn for a photo and she found me. Once I got up to her it was all hugs and kisses. Loved it!!

Leaving Magic Kingdom is when we lost our momentum. Well, not exactly. I was feeling so great that I was freaking out. I was on fire! Who wasn't on fire? The runners we got stuck in/around/behind. It was like all the purple shirt Galloway runners were there, all on different intervals and making it impossible to run. The only way we could was to just run in the grass, so that's what we did. Once the path widened we were able to break free, but for a couple miles it felt like torture. I may possibly never wear purple ever again in my life. Ever.

Proving just how awesome the running community is, I had a "What a small world!" moment happen just before mile 11.  I was feeling REALLY good during this race and had to force myself to take walk breaks once in a while just to save myself for the next day's marathon. We came upon two girls and I said, "hey, let's walk now - they look cute, I can stand looking at them!" Then I took another look and heard the voice. Would you believe that out of 25,000 runners I came upon Kiley, a girl I met on the bus to Epcot during Tower of Terror weekend?? We stayed together a bit before splitting off to finish out the race in our own ways. Pretty darn cool I thought!

Finally we were at the finish line. Out of nowhere white tank top girl cuts me off. She came (you can see it on video) from the far right diving to get a high five from Goofy. Well you know what? Goofy totally ignored her. Who got the high-five? Oh yeah, that would be ME! Ha, take that pushy pants!

Pretty sure her mouth is saying, "You Bitch!"
Ridiculous amount of fun. I wish I could do that race every weekend. I feel like if I could only do runDisney races from now on I'd be a happy girl!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Les Mis, From My Expert Point of View

Russell Crowe sucked. Should I be able to kick Javer's ass? No. A little passion and grit would have been nice. I can't totally blame Crowe, was there not a director or someone on set to tell him to get some balls?

Eponine.... Gorgeous. Loved her in the 25th Anniversary special, loved her here.

Pleased with Enjolras' death and how it mimicked the stage production in a way.

Loved seeing the original Jean Valjean make an appearance.

Helena Bonham Carter, as per usual, was perfect!

And total kudos to Anne Hathaway. I was prepared to rip her apart but she was so good! I've heard many Fantine's and she actually had legit passion in her voice. Stunning, loved her!

Overall? LOVE!!! Go see it!

Disney Family 5K

You think running a 5K is hard? Trying doing the Goofy Challenge after it, that's hard! ....and that little intro is my nod to Sue Sylvester (Glee)... The inspiration for our 5K costumes!

The Macarena is serious!!
When I decided to do Goofy I thought I'd be going alone. Once I ended up bringing my mom, step-dad and Man Friend with me I immediately registered us all for the 5K. Most of my costume ideas were nixed, but when I found tacky matching knock off track suits, well then everybody was on board! Little did we expect it to be so hot, so my step-dad ditched his costume for shorts... I let it pass.

Pre-race entertainment was fun and typical Disney. I got to do the Cupid Shuffle and the Macarena! Oh yeah, Mom and I rocked the heck out of the Macarena! Some boring guy that apparently was on American Idol once sang. Snooze fest, in my opinion. Time flew by and before long we were heading to our corrals.

What? Yep! For the 5K this year we were assigned to corrals. It did help smooth things out compared to prior Disney 5Ks I've done. Each corral got fireworks and a countdown, and for the first time ever I took a good race start fireworks shot!

Off we go... Walking. But when I walk I can pass people at their running pace. I'm pretty obnoxious during 5K walks because I have no plan of getting passed by other walkers or lolly gagging. There is a minimum pace to maintain and dammit we will continually move faster than that!

The path was the same as always, starting in the Epcot parking lot, heading backstage through what I call the ride vehicle graveyard, turning into the Cast Member parking lot, under Test Track, into World Showcase, exiting the park near the UK, rendering the UK from backstage and finishing out via Spaceship Earth. Easy peasy! The smell turning into the Cast lot was horrendous! OMG just terrible, like swimming through a septic tank. I do love going backstage, always reminds me of the good ol' days of working there (WDW, not Epcot specifically).

We didn't stop for photos so I just took them on the go! Everybody had a good time, and I even saw my step-dad break out into a run a couple times! The big annoyance was, as I called him, "cock blocker dad." Every time there was an on course photographer he would just run up and block it while waiting for his daughter. Incidentally in the end she was working so hard she was almost in tears. J&T he kept pushing her. Asshat. It should be fun, no crying in a fun run!!

As per usual, once we hit the 3 mile marker I force the group to run, so run it in we did. My mom was being so strange.... Apparently she put her phone in her waistband (clearly she needs an iFitness belt!)band it started to slide down her pant leg. *Great photos came from that!

Our foursome crossed together and happily collected our, um, medals! Aside from 2010's Royal Family 5K that I actually raced, this was the fastest one to date! Go team!!

Will our group reform in the future? I guess we'll see, but hopefully by the time we are back in WDW to race there will be a need to watch a baby...or push a stroller through Epcot! *fingers crossed!!*