Dumbo Double Dare 2014: Disneyland 10K

I’m pretty sure after last year’s ridiculously hot and humid Dumbo Double Dare weekend I swore off doing the race EVER again.  Especially the challenge.  And yet, I found myself signing up again.  Why?  I’m not sure, except the Disneyland 10K course is really fantastic, with most of it taking place in the parks.  And I had to do the half because of my insane idea to 14 halfs in 2014.

Fortunately it was not nearly as humid as it was last year.  Whew!  It was also not nearly as clusteriffic as the 5K was moved to Friday, rather than having both races on Saturday.  But that also meant an earlier wake-up call.

I made my way to my corral.  I hadn’t put a lot of thought into a costume until the week before.  Since it was a Stitch themed race, and more importantly, I had a red(ish) shirt to pair with my green Sparkle Athletic skirt, I was able to have a Lilo inspired costume.  I was not the only one with this costume idea.

Lilo ready to go

Lilo ready to go

And soon we were off!  Generally I start off way too fast, but it was a little harder this time as it was super crowded and there was a lot of weaving involved.  But – get this!  I RAN the entire first mile – no stopping!!  First time I have done that in a race since I hurt my knee!

After the first two miles we were back on Disney property.  This is really one of my favorite races because of how much time we spend in the parks.  Through California Adventures and over to Disneyland.

I love World of Color

I love World of Color

I do have to say I was disappointed in the character stops, or lack thereof.   And because there weren’t a lot of characters, the lines were ridiculously long.   Chip & Dale were out, dressed as a cop & robber, which I really wanted to stop for.  But I couldn’t even justify that one stop.  I finally stopped at a float so I could get at least one picture and then at Mile Marker 5.

Hang Loose

Hang Loose

I ran into Pam right after Mile 5 (I ran with her at the Princess 10K earlier this year) and we finished the race together.  Part of what makes these races so fun is the friends you make along the way!

Running through Downtown Disney was fantastic with all the spectators cheering.  And there was the finish line!!  Part 1 of the challenge was complete.

My attempt to hang loose

My attempt to hang loose

Mmm Dole Whip!

Mmm Dole Whip!

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August Break 2014

Last year I participated in Susannah Conway’s  August Break project.  Once again its coming at a great time.  One word prompts to help see the details in the world around you.  As life is seemingly more chaotic lately, it was nice to wake up to a word and try to interpret it in my day to day life.  I especially liked being able to do it completely with my phone via instagram.  I didn’t make all 31 days, but I played when I could.

A few of my faves:

Day 3: Windows

Day 3: Windows

Day 9: in my bag

Day 9: in my bag

Day 16: Look down (yoga at the Edward Jones Dome)

Day 16: Look down (yoga at the Edward Jones Dome)

Day 18: Jump

Day 18: Jump

Day 21: Treasures

Day 21: Treasures

Day 30: naure

Day 30: naure

Day 31: Love

Day 31: Love

 

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Villains Unleashed Party

Also known as my super quick trip to Walt Disney World the week before I go to Disneyland.  Why yes, I am having my own coast to coast challenge over back to back weekends!  How did this happen?  Well there was the email announcing the party, and then there was the text exchange wondering if we could go.  After checking calendars and ticket availability, it was a go!!  It was going to be a quick trip due to jobs and vacation, but it was still a trip to my happy place to see a few of my favorite people!

Love these girls!

Love these girls!

Next up was costumes.  The theme of the party was Villains, but that is just a suggestion, right?  In the end, we decided we would be Dalmatian puppies.  (And since we were technically “good”, we were a hit with the baddies – I might even say by the end we were celebrities – several Cruellas stopped us for a picture.)

Costume preview

Costume preview

My only other goal for the weekend (besides eating Mickey ice cream of course) was to ride the new Mine Train.  We were able to score a fast pass for later on Saturday (right before we’d head over to Hollywood for the party).

Starbucks & Disney

Starbucks & Disney

The morning was spent riding favorites (Peter Pan, Big Thunder, Pirates, Haunted Mansion among others) and eating lunch at Be Our Guest.

Try the grey stuff!

Try the grey stuff!

It was getting close to fast pass time when KA-BOOM!  Thunder and lightening came through.  Oh no!  I was not going to be thwarted by the weather.  I had a fast pass to use.  Fortunately we were able to wait out the weather and go on my new favorite ride.  It was so smooth – a cross between Barnstormer and Big Thunder.  I absolutely loved it!!

My new fave ride!

My new fave ride!

With that it was party time!!  Not having been able to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary for a few years, I was very excited for this party.  And while this was the first Villains party, it was not Disney’s first party so I had high expectations, which were sadly not met.  We had to hunt for the party map, there was conflicting information about what was happening versus what wasn’t and the character lines were absolutely ridiculous.  Since we were puppies, we wanted our picture with Cruella.  The line ended up being over an hour and was pretty much all we were able to do.   We tried to multitask while in line and sent scouts out to see the party merchandise.  While scouting, we were told all party specific merchandise was sold out.  Boo.  I wasn’t super impressed with the merch that I saw online, but I at least wanted, no, needed a party pin!

Cruella & her puppies

Cruella & her puppies

So all in all, the party was fun could have been way improved – better communication of what is open and when and what is “special” (i.e. it was not a special Villains Fantasmic), an easily accessible party map, more merch (both available and types of merch), and somehow ease the congestion of the character lines.  Cruella’s line was ridiculously long but so was every other villain.  What I like about previous parties I’ve been at is how many character pics I’ve been able to get.

Villainous Fireworks

Villainous Fireworks

Would I go again?  Oh for sure.  I’d give them a year to work out the kinks.  In fact, we talked about making this an annual trip!  And, on our way out, we found a spot where they had a few pins left for sale.  So I got my pin.  Whew!!

Sunday, we did a quick trip to Animal Kingdom before saying “see ya real soon”!

See ya real soon

See ya real soon

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2014 Zooma Chicago

This would best be described as it was the best of halfs, it was the worst of halfs.  Originally this was scheduled for another weekend, and not the weekend directly after San Fran.  But I have done halfs on back to back weekends so I thought I might as well go for it.

I can’t tell you about the expo because I did not make it.  My plan, had been to make for the last little bit but my plane was late.  Fortunately, there was an option to have your packet mailed to you, which I chose, because you never know…

I stayed at the host hotel and was able to take the shuttle over to the race site.  Because I have time issues, I got there super early and was able to watch the sun come up.  Wow, what a sight!

Good Morning sunshine

Good Morning sunshine

Finally it was go time!

Almost GO time1

Almost GO time

I started out fast (as usual) but was able to keep it up.  This was the start of the good half.  So good, that I thought about switching to the 10K and getting a real PR!

The course was along the Lakeshore Trail, which meant there were users, but I think we were all able to share fairly well.  Lake Michigan was within sight for the most of the course and absolutely gorgeous.  I love running by water!  Water also meant a nice breeze as it was getting warm, but the breeze tempered it.

View from later in the day

View from later in the day

I passed the 10K turn off, still determined to do the half and still feeling pretty good.  That feeling would not last long.

I don’t know if it was the heat (it wasn’t ridiculously hot – maybe low 70’s), the lack of sleep from the week before, or that it just wasn’t my day.  I don’t know that I’ve ever hit the proverbial wall before but I’m pretty sure I hit it yesterday.  I shuffled along, one foot after the other, repeating all the positive mantras I could think of.

The field had significantly thinned out and at times I couldn’t anyone in front of me from the race.   It was probably the most painful last half of a race that I have ever had.  Or that I can remember.

I was so happy when I finally saw the last curve, followed by the 13 mile sign and the volunteer waving us into the finish chute.

My time?  After all that, I bet you are wondering about my time.  I was too – as always my baseline goal is to finish, and my next level is to finish in under 3 hours.  I finished, always a good thing and I finished in 3:00.14 – not quite under, but not quite over.  I’ll take that!

Done

Done

New bling

New bling

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2014 San Francisco Half Marathon

Ever since I heard about the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, I have been enamored with the idea of running through the streets of San Fran and, more importantly, receiving a Tiffany’s necklace from a fireman!  While I still have not participated in the San Fran race, I was fortunate enough to run in the inaugural Nike Women’s DC Half last year.

Reading Krissy’s recap of the full marathon last year, further solidified my dream to run in San Fran, although I knew I needed to run the first half marathon because I NEEDED run across the bridge.  Somewhere along the way, running San Fran someday turned into running this year.

By the time I decided to run, the host hotel was sold out but I was fortunate enough to get reservations at one of the associated race hotels nearby.  It was late Friday night by the time arrived and I was so happy to climb into bed.

Saturday morning, I got on a shuttle to the expo.  The shuttle left from the host hotel, which was only a few blocks from my hotel.  The expo was held at Fort Mason and was on the small-ish side, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a few items.  I will say I was a little disappointed in the official merchandise – the majority was geared towards the full marathon, which I get as it is the headline event, but I still wish there was at least a few token half marathon items.

I dropped my goodies off back at the hotel and set off for the Golden Gate Bridge.  Bridges are one of my favorite things (not sure why).  As I didn’t have a lot of time in San Fran, and not wanting to ruin my legs too much, I decided my one “must-do” would be to find my way to the bluff overlooking the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Of course my one activity still took some time and before you know it, I was eating dinner and heading back to my hotel room for an early night.

Mmm pizza

Mmm pizza

The morning came early and I made my way to the start line.  The sun was just starting to come up as my wave headed toward the start line.

The other bridge

The other bridge

The main event is the full marathon and then you can do the first half (which goes across the bridge) or the second half, which starts about where the first half ends and follows the  rest of the marathon course.

And we were off!!  Down the Embarcadero we went.  One of the attractions of racing in different cities, is getting to experience the city a whole new way.  This way no exception. How cool to be running down the waterfront.  Past Fisherman’s Wharf and the Marina.  Alcatraz was sitting out there in the distance looking somewhat menacing.

We hit the first hill and I walked it.  I knew the hills were real and could potentially drain me.  I decided early on to walk the steep hills, and attempt to run the not so steep hills.

Past Crissy Field with the first real views of the bridge!

Hello Golden Gate

Hello Golden Gate

Up another hill and there was the bridge in all its glory! A little bit foggy, but all in all the weather was perfect for running – not to warm, overcast and with a breeze.

I kept thinking to myself “I’m running across the Golden Gate bridge!” I looked around as much as possible while still keeping my eyes on the ground and in front of me. It was definitely crowded on the bridge deck, plus you had to deal with different surfaces.

#selfie

#selfie

And then it happened – a series of unfortunate events that led to my downfall. Literally. A girl darted in front of me and because we were on a grated portion, when I tried to maneuver around her, my foot caught and BOOM! Down went Emily. I got up super quick because embarrassment over having fallen was foremost in my mind. I moved over to the side as much as I could and waved off the concerns repeatedly saying that I was fine. Which I was, other than a few minor scrapes, and my bruised pride. I was almost at the turn around point, and continued walking until once again on the bridge deck before starting to run again.

I was definitely stiffening up after the fall, but other than that. I was fine. I internally laughed to myself. Being the klutz that I am, falling during a race was bound to happen at some point. And now I have a great story – remember the time I fell on the Golden Gate Bridge?  And I didn’t fall off the bridge!

The fall occurred just after mile 7. I had been doing decently pace-wise up to that point. A little behind where I would have wanted, but I had stopped for pictures.   The first half marathon has a 3 hour time limit and up until that point, I hadn’t worried at all about not meeting the time limit.   Enter the worry. But when I got across the bridge, the worry lessened. I had run across the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Exiting the bridge, there was a downhill before an UP-hill followed by a ridiculous DOWN-hill. I think I was more worried about falling again on the downhill! But it had gorgeous views of the water. This has to be one of my favorite courses hands down. Painful, with the hills, but gorgeous!

We hit mile 11 and I looked at my watch. Under 3 hours was fading fast.   We were now amidst rolling hills and it was on one of these hills, with my hip screaming at me, that I realized 3 hours was not going to happen. I had a little internal pity party before remembering I RAN ACROSS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE! And I was going to finish. So what if I didn’t make my time goal?

With my new mindset, I tried to just enjoy the last few miles of the race. We entered Golden Gate Park and split from the marathoners (who would join up with the second half marathoners).

Finally the finish line was in sight! I didn’t really have a finishing kick in me, but I was able to run across the finish line and get my hard-earned medal.

 

Done!

Done!

So next up is the complaining portion of the recap.  I had heard about the great spread of food and goodies after the race but there wasn’t much left.  But maybe the spread was at the marathon finish line.  Which I wouldn’t know about because it took close to 2 hours waiting for the shuttle and the shuttle ride back to the other finish line.  I had a flight to catch and so hurried to my hotel.

All in all, a great race!

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Wish I Was Wednesday #60

So today’s Wish I Was is more of a feeling…wishing I was on vacation, with nary a care in the world (except maybe what to see next), sipping a cappuccino in Vienna at the Sacher Cafe.  Ahhhh.

P1020982

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Hope

It’s amazing what can trigger a memory.  As I was sitting in a traffic jam this morning, my mind went back to another traffic jam on another July morning, several years ago.  That morning I not only sat in traffic, but also watched the aftermath of a multiple car pile-up outside my window, where a beautiful little girl was critically injured and later would lose her life.

But I was once again reminded of how hope arose out of that tragedy.  Rachel’s selflessness (giving up her 9th birthday to raise money for charity: water) in her short life inspired so many people around the globe, including myself.  Remembering her story was  a good reminder for me that no matter how dire a situation appears to be, good can come out of it.

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