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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Day One Year Ago

My aunt taking over!
It was a year ago I was writing and about to post this blog post about the day I bought my wedding dress. That day was a very happy day with my dear friends Jessica and Cilley Girl. And also it was the last day I ever got to spend with my aunt, who was also my Godmother and the life of every party!  Since that day there have been so many times I wanted to write about it to get it out of my system, but I never have. So if you started reading this and you're like, "whoa, um, no, don't want to read it" that's fine. Every minute is so vivid and I think I just need to get it out. Who knows if I'll even post it, but I have to at least write it.

It was a Tuesday.  That Saturday was the fun day. I made 3 mental notes that night on the way home of things I'd always want to remember, the last of those being the wave.  I watched as my aunt backed out of my drive-way and went on her way home. She was  looking over to me and waving really big with a huge smile on her face.  I remember pausing to take it in because I had this gut feeling that it would be the last time I ever saw her. Monday I talked with my mom about how much fun Las Vegas was going to be with my aunt and how she and I had been planning a trip there together for years, and finally my wedding was the time for it!  But then came Tuesday.

My friend (and co-worker) was at my desk shortly after 10am. My phone rang and I had a bad feeling. Instead of answering like I always do, I didn't. Quickly a message was left and I was able to read it on my screen. It was my cousin's girlfriend. I could tell something was wrong and I did not want to call her back. But something was wrong and I immediately picked up the phone.  

She and my aunt had exchanged strange text messages. She was very worried and didn't know what to do. My aunt wanted to be left alone, but the family was worried and requested for someone to go check on her. Was it the right thing to do? It was the only thing to do. You don't want a loved one to do something drastic, and if they did and you didn't call for help, how do you live with that guilt? I assured her she did the right thing. For the next few minutes that seem to feel so slow and agonizing, we exchanged phone calls.  Then social media came into play. My cousin learned via Facebook that something was going on in my aunt's neighborhood and police were there. I just froze.

I grabbed my phone to go online and see what they saw. I had my friend on instant messaging trying to help me. Man Friend was at work listening to a scanner trying to follow it all to help me out as well. I couldn't sit still. I kept getting up asking two co-workers their opinions on what was going on.... just hoping someone could assure me that what I read online wasn't MY aunt. One co-worker used to be a sheriff deputy. I quizzed her on all the possible reasons that people could be responding, searching for a positive outcome in my head although I knew there wasn't going to be one. There was talk of guns being drawn and a single shot heard in the home. How could anything good come of that?

Typical Nancy! 
I don't even know how long this went on. It felt so long but I know it wasn't. At one point I called up to my mom to see if she was in her meeting, which she was. I hoped the meeting would be short and just said to the girl on the phone that I'd call back if I needed to. Work didn't happen. I was just staring and trying to decide if I should call the police department to find out who the person in this news story was. But I didn't want to hear the answer.

Then the phone rang the last time.  I still hear her voice and tone perfectly. After a still silence she said to me, "She's gone." I just froze. No tears came out. My first worry was my cousin. How was he? And then suddenly I had to hang up. "Okay, I have to go tell my mom. Bye." I couldn't breathe. I was gasping for breath but nothing would come. My face, I imagine, had to be completely red. I was instantly covered in tears. I ran up the flight of stairs faster than I thought humanly possible. I opened the door and the poor girl on the other side must have been completely stunned. I had her interrupt the meeting to get my mom. With the meeting door still wide open, I saw my mom and lost it even more. I couldn't even speak. I pulled her into a side office and tried to figure out - how do you tell someone their sister just killed herself?? And apparently I didn't.  I tried to tell the story but couldn't breathe or speak, so I just cut to the chase, "Nancy... She's dead."  

Still in hysterics I ran downstairs, while Mom told our coworkers we had to go home. My poor mom at this time thought it must have been a heart attack. Some how I managed to turn my computer off and grab my things as we hustled out the door, people stopping to hug me on the way out. The whole way home I couldn't stop crying. I barely spoke. "How are we supposed to tell Grandpa?" That's the only sentence I can remember saying. I think I said how mad I was at her. How could she do this to us? How could she do this to Grandpa? Dammit, I'm still mad at her for it!!

At Grandpa's house he was confused to see us so early. It wasn't lunch time. And then he saw me crying and was worried. Mom calmly took him into the living room, sat him down and told him she passed away. It still remains the single worst moment of my entire life. I know I ended up sitting on his lap with my arms around him, crying. Poor Grandpa - I'm not the tiny girl I used to be! Soon the Police Chief arrived and told us what happened, although I already knew and just sort of forgot to relay that message.

The rest of the afternoon our collection of people at the house grew. We all sat in silence a lot. We talked a lot, too. I stared at the carpet most of the time, texting a few close people so they could hear it from the family instead of through social media. My mom and uncle left to go check on my cousin at his home. It was then that my dog got out of the house. So now I have no aunt and my dog that wanders is gone. I ran through my whole neighborhood yelling her name and crying. It all became too much for me to handle. I ran back to Grandpa's to get my phone to call my mom to see if she took Lady with her - and who did I find? Lady. She was just sitting in the living room smiling and getting pet by someone. Ugh, darn stinker!

We had dinner together as a family that night, like the old days when Grandma was still here. But this time it was just quiet. We'd try to share stories to find some laughter or convince ourselves that she is happier now. Mostly I just stared.  

I've mastered the blank stare at nothing over this past year whenever I think of her. A year later and I still cry if I even try to say her name in a situation that isn't a funny one. I missed her funeral. I left for Florida less than 48 hours after this happened to go run a race. Jessica and Abby took care of me at Epcot on funeral day - with me popping in and out of World Showcase bathrooms to go cry alone in stalls. It's a year later and I'm still not over it. She was such a personality. Nearly all of my childhood memories have her right there in them with my mom and I. Dance recitals, birthday parties, Christmas, swimming lessons, at the family drug store trying to teach me about periods and maxi pads! It felt like we all grew up together and I was just about to join adult world by getting married and starting a family, and now she's gone from it all too soon. We never got to see Cher together like we planned. We never got to do a lot - but trust me, we did A LOT! The stories are endless! For example - did you know she was there when I was born and at first sight of me she ran to go throw up?!? True story!

Anyway, that was my day. It was the worst day. But at least I can look back at my 34 years with her and have the Best memories!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prefontaine Memorial 10K - The Silly Version

Every year I head to the Prefontaine Memorial 10K in serious mode. Steve Prefontaine is my hero, my running idol, the reason I got so sucked into running in the first place. Getting to run on his old training grounds, right by his home and finishing on HIS track... I don't take it lightly.  I feel pretty damn lucky to live in a place where I can run in his memory and be surrounded by fellow Pre fans every September. Then this year happened ... I lightened up!!

The ladies race shirt - v-neck tech. Love!!
I still take this race seriously in that I have my traditional start line chat with Pre and when I'm struggling on those endless hills I think to myself "what would Pre do" - psh, would Pre even struggle up Agony Hill?!?! But this time instead of getting overwhelmed and teary-eyed at the start I realized that a) I won't win, b) I haven't trained or done a single run in TWO weeks so c) I may as well just enjoy the race .... and for the first time ever at his race, wear a costume. 

With less than 12 hours until we left for Coos Bay I was created a super hero duo, while making sure I could stand wearing it in the predicted cold, rainy weather. I checked the weather report every hour on Friday, watching the conditions worsen the closer the race start got. Man Friend and I prepared for everything - heading to the coast with costumes, and alternate race clothes in case we were running in a windy monsoon. Getting into the car I thought about how I said it would take a broken leg to get me to NOT do Pre, and this time I was questioning my sanity. Usually I stay over night in Coos Bay, but this year I figured I could just get up early and drive - and I drove that entire route in the rain.  BUT as I pulled into Coos Bay I looked around and said, "do you notice?" I refused to finish the sentence so as not to jinx myself. No rain. Thanks, Pre!!

Packet pick-up for Pre is always a breeze and you are always greeted by such wonderful volunteers. I think it's such a great way to start a race and one of the reasons I always look forward to doing this race every year. Our shirts were really nice this year, as always, and this time men and women got their own cut and color. Score! We parked up in my same spot at the finish line track area and transitioned from R0nda and Man Friend ... into Super Woman and Captain America! Already I was having a blast just by putting on a cape!

The walk down to the start was different than the prior three years .... this time I had no jacket on and I was already feeling too warm. Clearly the weather did a 180 on us and we were in for some heat and sweat! As we got to the start area and the high school teams were starting their 5K race we ran into Laurie and her daughter all dolled up in their tutus and ready to do their first 10K together. They were absolutely adorable, of course! Before we knew it, it was time to line up. I positioned myself behind a group of old men, using them as a goal ... to try to keep up with them for one full block. One of those men was THE oldest racer, coming in at 87 years old. They were those men that you looked at and just knew that they were going to kick your ass!

After one false start (i.e. the gun not going off), we were off and running, beginning a 6.2 mile journey of hills and fabulous spectators!  If you ever have a chance to do this race, do it. It's this wonderful sense of community. I've done this race four times now in all types of weather, and every year the spectators are there .... be in in shorts and t-shirts or big jackets and umbrellas. Dogs are out cheering as well. It's just a really nice, welcoming atmosphere and no matter how bad you might feel climbing Agony Hill they always perk you up and help get you running again!

On this race I talked to a lot of other runners, finding everyone in great spirits! And being in costume as a super hero? Kids LOVED us!! That's great motivation in itself to try to keep running even though my body didn't want to.  I battled a small Meniere's attack off and on during the race, and just kept with the goal of continuing on without stopping or throwing up like I did two years ago.  Just before the turn around we saw Laurie and her daughter again just flying along and all smiles! She was nice and got this shot of us. See how fast I run?!? 

Oh, remember those old men I was going to try to stick with for one block? Didn't happen. I passed one - the 87 year old. That's it. We did walk with one man that has done this every single year, and this year he said he was running 7 minute mile pace and then pulled something and had to walk the rest. 7s? Crazy!!! I parted ways with him when I got to the Prefontaine home, as I felt it morally wrong to WALK by the home where the greatest RUNNER ever used to live! And from there I ran the rest of the race at a fine pace, content with where I was at .... until .....

The last 2 corners of Prefontaine Track at Marshfield High School were before me. My immediate targets were an Army Sergeant in full gear WITH a huge backpack and boots and a 9 year old boy. MF urged me to pass the Army guy, and so I did. As we passed the military in MF came out and he sent encouragement to his fellow military guy. I told MF, "I'm going to let the boy have this win. He's running a better race than I am, this is his." "Nah, do it. Make him work, pass him!" So I did ... for a half second. It was pretty awesome. This kid was like the young version of myself. As I passed him he looked over at me, as I was looking at him, and kicked it into high gear. So I had to go faster, so he had to go faster. I laughed and said, "what are you doing to me? I can't keep up with this!" I stuck out my arm granting him the win and backed off, finishing my fourth Prefontaine Memorial 10K with a huge smile and a laugh! Good game, 9 year old. I couldn't beat you, but dang it, I beat the man that is almost 90!

Photo courtesy of Laurie
And with this being my fourth year running in honor of my idol, this was my slowest time by far... Seventeen minutes slower than last year! BUT I had just as much fun as ever and will be back again in 2014!

We were starving at the end, so we changed clothes in the car and hurried into town for some very yummy pizza, a tradition started 3 years ago. On the way out of town, seeing as we still had no rain over us, I stopped at the Sunset Memorial Park to pay our respects to Steve Prefontaine. It had an even more somber feel this year, now that his mother has recently passed away and joined her husband and son. But it was still a beautiful day and nice to get to stop over to say hello and thank you to my idol!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Schedule? Psh, yeah maybe?

It's the final countdown! Go ahead, read it again and sing it. I'll wait....

I am minutes away from being a part time housewife! I never thought I'd be a wife again, let alone decide to be a part time housewife. Not-so-secretly I just want to be Betty Draper. Except I won't be home smoking and drinking wine while having my maid do everything. 

So I'm aiming high and have made a mini schedule for myself of chores so I can have free weekends and not have to just bedding laundry nonstop. Any guesses to how long this will last? Will I even make it one week?!?

In other news, I haven't run a single step since Disneyland. Slacker much? Totally. So tomorrow I'm running the Prefontaine Memorial 10K for the fourth year in a row. I know the course is beyond hilly and challenging, so why not forget to do even one lite training run?!?

So that's today. I can't wait to start blog stalking you all again in my new spare time!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Change Is Coming SOON!!

While in Disneyland I did a lot of thinking. Poor Jaime and Tara got to hear the Cliff's Notes version while drinking at Trader Sam's. I came back home to reality and knew that, with the full support of Man Friend, I had to make a big change. 

Things happened at work and put my decision making on hold, but finally I just couldn't delay any longer. I am so excited to say that starting next Monday I am a part time housewife! I had to find a way to cut stress, so now I will just work four hours each morning, then go home and....

-do Pinterest projects?
-watch Mad Men 
-relax and get back to myself and things I've set aside for way too long!

It wasn't the most exciting thing to go in and  resign half of a job, but the relief I've already felt assures me I did the right thing. I'm ridiculously excited! The very first thing I will do is go for a nice, quiet run in the middle of the day ~ something that will be brand new to this late night runner!

I'll start blogging again! I'll find healthy new things to cook. I'll annoy my animals that are used to sleeping all day. I see good things in my future!

So now I will end with my newest medal hanger that we just hung up this weekend. My other is still overflowing so perhaps that can be a future project?!? This hanger was made special for me by The Medal Stand and is the new prominent home to all 19 of my runDisney medals. I love it! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

*NSync Groupie Freak Out

My dorm bathroom
Working for Disney I had my fair share of celebrity encounters. Bruce Willis is the one I still get all dreamy-eyed about - that was in 2002! I talked with Secret Service when Jimmy Carter was on my ride. Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, pretty cool guy! Dana Carvey - had to teach him how to buckle his seat belt. Heck, I even mustered up courage on my day off to talk to Samantha Brown when I saw her at Animal Kingdom. I love her and when she told me to call her Sam I about died!  So when this *NSync groupie found herself  in this situation in Adventureland .... her actions are still so embarrassing.

It was Saturday, August 31, 2013. I had just exited from the Indiana Jones Adventure (bad ass ride!!) and found myself in a cluster of people. Delicately I was navigating around one group and shimmied around a man. He felt larger than life (duh, I should have known then). *It's possible I brushed up against him during my shimmy.  When I got around him I was face to face with two Disney cast members in THE plaid vests. Being a cast member for many years I knew to look around and see if they might be with a celebrity.

And then it happened.

My first of 3 *NSync concerts. Second row, baby!! Also, JC's 21st birthday!

I heard a voice. It came from the tall guy standing to my immediate right. I knew that voice. It happened so fast, but it felt like slow motion. I turned my head and OH MY GOSH!!!

Myself in 1998. You're welcome. I still have those shoes. I will never part with them.

Died.  I died of pure girly giddiness.  I had stared at that face on a post on my college dorm wall. This face decorated my dorm bathroom walls. I listen to that voice all the time. The Christmas album plays year-round in my house/car/work/phone/computer/ipod. Holy shit!!!!!

Joey Fatone after the WDW Marathon/Goofy's Challenge

Disneyland Half Marathon start line
I just uploaded those photos and I am freaking out all over again inside. Now let me just first discuss my obsession. It begin in 1998 when their concert aired on the Disney Channel. I still have my VHS recording of it and am shocked it isn't worn out. I can recite that whole special word for word. It's on youtube also, if you have yet to see it. That summer I was second row at the Clark County Fair in Washington. It was JC's 21st birthday. We all celebrated it. I took a kajillion photos - and that was before digital! My dorm room had 3 posters .... Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, and the entire group.  I ended up going to 3 concerts during their time as a group. I am still to this day just as loyal of a groupie as I was in 1998 when I was a young college girl in braces. Hell I even handcuffed myself (I was a dominatrix) to a Chi Phi boy at a Halloween frat party once because I thought he looked like an NSync member - and then I proceeded to sing "Tearin' Up My Heart" to him on the dance floor. Whatever, he liked it. I freaked out when *NSync reunited earlier this month at the MTV VMAs.  I'm a lifer!! Knowing Joey Fatone did the Goofy Challenge in January and was there doing Dumbo, I vowed to my friends that I would stalk and find him!

We left off in Adventureland. I hear the voice. I feel the presence of super cool. I look to my right. And what did I say??
Oh my gosh, Joey Fatone!
I turn to my dear husband, who has been hearing me gush about *NSync endlessly for weeks.
It's Joey Fatone!!!

And then what did I do?? This girl that hung with Bruce and Demi; this girl that usually can keep her cool? Yeah, I ran! More of a scurry. I scurried away closer to the entrance of the Jungle Cruise. I whipped out my phone and clicked photos. Then ... I'm so ashamed, but not shocked, I completely jumped up and down, spazzing like a junior high girl and had a complete freak out! There he was!!! Joey Fatone! He was getting a pickle, FYI. I know this because I was standing right there when he said, "I want one of those big pickles!" And here I was taking photos and freaking the F out. I'm still freaking out!

I freaking breathed Joey Fatone air!!! Dying.

A couple hours later, when I THOUGHT I had calmed down -- immediately after I freaked out in a bathroom stall and was repeated calling my mom so I could tell her all about it, I came out of Innoventions. There was Joey Fatone. I may have followed him to Autopia. I may have positioned myself along the attraction's path with my camera in hand. It was a 50/50 chance - and dammit, his car went on the other path. I turned into paparazzi ... and I'm not the least bit ashamed!

*NSync groupie FOR LIFE!!!

To quote Pitch Perfect:  Nothing makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man who sings like a boy!

Dumbo Double Dare Part 2: Disneyland Half Marathon

In 2011 when I did the Disneyland Half Marathon it was beyond fun ... but I also said I didn't need to do it again . . . not exactly the most exciting course to run on once you leave the parks. When runDisney announced the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare, however, I immediately ignored my prior feelings and didn't hesitate to register while at the Goofy expo in January. My prior post covered the Disneyland 10K, so now here we go on a 13.1 mile journey through Anaheim, or, as I dubbed in 6 miles in .... Northern Mexico.

At 4am Man Friend and I were up and transforming into what might be my favorite race outfits - due to the fact that they were very simple to make and very comfy to run in. For the next few hours I would have the Super Mario Brothers theme song "running" through my head, and I loved it!  We energetically made our way to the Disneyland Hotel for a potty stop before getting into the corrals. On the way we ran into Kristen, whom I first met in 2010 at my first runDisney race! Pretty standard corral experience - except we got to see Joey Fatone and Sean Astin!! This Goonies obsessed *NSync groupie was in heaven!! I love being in Corral B because we get to start earlier, meaning more time for photo stops, and that was our plan - to hit each and every stop and then some!

A friend actually found this photo of us online somewhere. Cool!
The first mile was kind of a big "Hello!" to my body. We reminisced Goofy and how the start of the race was terrifying.... being tired from running the day before and doing parks non-stop, surrounded by people on their first race, and then taking in the crazy heat and humidity! But once we entered Disney's California Adventure all of that was out of my head and I was on the hunt for character lines. Fortunately they were shorter than the 10K (hello proper corral wave release!). During our time at DCA we took advantage of the beautiful sights given to us by the sunrise. Runners really are lucky people once in a while!

With MF being a military boy forever there was no way we could pass by the green Army men!

Soon we were flying through the space between the two parks, with tons of spectators cheering us on. That was awesome! But then it was time for the REAL magic ... Disneyland!!! Running down Main Street USA will NEVER get old!! This time was different though, we got to pause and hang with Aladdin and Jasmine before we took our jaunt down my most favorite street in the entire world! I almost forgot! It was in this line that MF and I were in a photo with this cute little Asian girl that was so excited to see Mario and Luigi. AND I helped the gal in front of me ... by pinning her wings to her sports bra.  True story. I love how runners come together in a race and help out, even if they are complete strangers that they will never ever see again! We have great spirit!

Since it was our second leg of the Dumbo Double Dare I felt it only appropriate to pause with the one and only Dumbo himself! And then I drove a car....

Trust me, I can find any excuse to goof off and/or sit down during a race!
Mario and Luigi, those guys are always trying to save the princess ... and we were thrilled to get to Sleeping Beauty's Castle and find her there and safe, phew!

It was a battle to save her after all, I mean we ran into crazy characters like Darth Vader! *Note: in 2011 Team Jam was right up there to get their photo with Darth Vader and he decided to go on a break. For 2 years Darth Vader has been thought of as a jerk ... he redeemed himself this time!

I was standing in line for Cinderella when out of nowhere came Jaime! She was having a great race so far and paused only long enough for a photo before continuing on her way. Not even two minutes later Tara came up behind her also pausing for a photo stop. Wait - does that mean I was the character this time?!?! Now I could have easily jumped out of line to have Tew Legit and Team Freedom merge and finish the race together - but I knew that my fun time in the park was almost over. Bam, Bam, Bam it was a string of princesses and then nothing. Then it was off to Anaheim. Perhaps I'd run into my friends later??

I was completely excited to get another chance to visit real life animals backstage on our way out of Disneyland property. And this time I HAD to visit the tiny cow. I probably didn't have to make out with it as much considering I had 9 more miles to run with cow all over my hands and arms, but it was just too cute to not snuggle up against! Can you blame me?!?

Keeping with Disney race tradition - one that started in 2011 in almost this exact same spot ... the cartwheel happened.

Mentally I was starting to check out. Around the time I started noticing we were running in Northern Mexico (I saw zero signs with English on them for quite a stretch), I ran into Emily!! We bonded over being the Pacific NW runners that were absolutely dying in the heat. Too. Much. Heat.!!!! My new strategy became to walk when I was heading toward the sun and feeling blinded, then running in shade or when I could actually see. Emily and I would come and go from each other for the next couple of miles, it was nice!

But then what happened?!?! Who was there?? Jaime!!  Team Freedom was once again running together - and we stayed together the rest of the race - well, 3 of us anyway. Mentally I needed that! MF and I were both just feeling miserable and having our new favorite with us really brightened up the course. We met up during a 2 mile stretch of cars, which was right up MFs alley, and reminiscent of the WDW Marathon!

If I wasn't a whining slacker I probably would have run more, but I was dying. This is where Jaime and Tara really had the advantage - being from Arizona and all. My Oregon blood could not handle it out there. At one point my body was revolting against me so much that I think I gagged on water and shot some out of my nose. So sexy! But I had so much fun being lazy and goofing off with Jaime and MF, made this race memorable for me! 

MF was also busy being a ham. He is ALWAYS the #1 character, so this time it drove him nuts that everybody cared about Mario first. He made sure to get attention pointed his way when going through the Anaheim Angels Stadium.  He IS a character, let me tell ya! Let's have some random photos, less text:

I call these two photos "R0nda absolutely DYING and not even seeing the cameras, while forcing everybody else to walk along with her while she tries to not whine about dying!"

This is what I live with every day.... To his credit he did get the spectators yelling pretty loud!
He says this is his favorite photo .....
We were in the last bit of mile 12 when a ray of happiness came floating through . . . Abby!!! I just adore her so much, so I was thrilled to see her smiling face!

And so there we were, closing in on the finish line and deciding that maybe we should suck it up and .... run! So we did, and I actually had a good photo that I will now force you all to see!

My finish line moment was so close to being awesome. The downside was some chick dropped her phone and some random ran in, pushed MF INTO Mickey Mouse so she could grab the phone, and the photographer just stopped photographing to watch. Dammit. A) I crossed the finish line jumping up like Mario and B) how awesome would a photo of MF crashing into Mickey have been??

Getting our medals was freaking rad! One race and you're putting 3 medals on me? Yes, please! And so for the final time at a race site, until we reunite, Team Freedom was together for post-race celebrations. However it was a celebration of "this was freaking hot and that course sucks, let's not do this again." Will I run it again? Tough to say. If I do it would be because Team Freedom is doing it together and we are awesome! Now why Team Freedom? -- Braveheart! FREEEDOMMM was our expo madness battle cry and it stuck for the entire weekend!  Let's finish with more photos!

An official FREEDOM!!! finisher's photo - sans Tara who was in the shade somewhere

I found this on the runDisney page! We're famous!
Our post race thoughts - in photo form! I love our Team!! You guys are the best!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dumbo Double Dare Part 1: Disneyland 10K

Hmm... feels I've spent 13.1 miles as these two!
When I finally saw the course map for the Inaugural Disneyland 10K I was pretty excited.  Four miles in the park? Yes, please! With this being my ninth runDisney start line, I knew that more park time equals more characters which equals more photo stops! So that means we need a good costume! So for 6.2 miles Man Friend and I became Belle and Gaston. (FYI, he sewed his costume on his own. He's talented!)

Up at 4am, we were putting on our costumers and heading to the start.  I found Abby and Emily immediately, and the fun began.  Getting to corrals was not smooth.  Huge gates blocked the entire road and kept many people trapped. We got around and were only in Corral B for a few minutes before the start happened. What didn't happen? Staggered starts.  So without any fanfare of our own, we were off!

2 miles in .... soaked with sweat.

Melting at the very start I set a goal - don't laugh - run one entire mile.  So that I did, paused for water, and continued running until I entered Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure.  For the rest of the race the plan as to run between character stops.  This worked at first, but since the start wasn't staggered the course become very crowded and the photo lines grew long. 

It was awesome bumping into friends during the race - completely unplanned! I couldn't pass up the chance to pose with horses either, so sweet! In Toon Town our plan derailed.

While in line for Daisy a runDisney dude on a bike pedaled through reminding everybody of the pacing rules.  Screw Daisy, we jumped out and run to the White Rabbit, who would be the last official character stop for us.  Team Freedom formed at this point and we spent the last couple of miles with Jaime, Tara, Abby and Pamela. Somewhere in the frenzy of people running from sweepers I also saw Giraffy and Becka! Small world!!

Immediately after crossing the finish line I was bent over, dizzy, and about to hurt.  I ended up being escorted to a side area, given a barf bag AND a wheelchair! Fun!! Pictures and medals were a breeze and soon I was saying good bye to the whole race area .... for just a day.

So my thoughts ... corrals NEED to be started one at a time. Duh. I had too many times where I couldn't even run because I was suck in narrow paths between groups walking side by side blocking any place that I could have tried to run through. One more water stop would have been nice - or adjust the stops so there isn't such a long gap between the first and second one. And the smells of Downtown Disney restaurants ... NOT my friend - hence the need to vomit at the end (which, for the record, I never actually did.) Start the race earlier. 6:15 felt a little too late, but maybe that was because I was so hot that I wanted it to be earlier.

Been there, ran that. Once was enough. --or so I say right now. ;)

**I bought the official photos -- so expect to see more when I get writer's block!