Niagara Falls & Run With the Rapids 5K

So let’s see, in the last few weekends, we’ve gone coast to coast with the Disney parks.  What’s next?  How about a trip to Niagara Falls?  And while I haven’t been good at updating my Life List, seeing Niagara Falls would knock off #36.

The trip to Niagara was a bit of a roundabout trip.  Jessica’s brother is in Cleveland and so we flew into Cleveland and drove to Niagara. When visiting Niagara, you can visit the Canadian side or the American side.  When we booked the hotel, we unknowingly booked a hotel on the Canadian side.  As in, we may have realized the hotel was in Canada, but it didn’t really sink in until right before the trip.  We were reassured that the Canadian side was the better side.  For viewing the Falls anyway.

Since we were visiting a new place, we decided to see if there were any local races in the area.  Fortunately for us, there was a 5K – on the American side.  Again, we didn’t really put all the pieces together until later.  On our way up, we stopped at packet pickup,  Which was just that, literally to pick up your packet.

We continued across the border to our hotel and walked down to the Falls.  Wow.  Just wow.  The sheer force of the water, the power, the majesty of the Falls is hard to describe.  The roaring water fills your senses.  We walked along from the American Falls to the Horseshoe Falls stopping every few feet to take a picture from a slightly different angle.  We were that in awe of what we were seeing.

So much water

So much water

At the visitor/welcome center there were gift shops, a restaurant, and several fast food places.  After looking at the options, we decided to purchase an adventure pack which would give us the opportunity to view the Falls and the surrounding area a few different ways.

Ooh, ahh

Ooh, ahh

After dinner we walked back down to the Falls to see them illuminated and to see the fireworks.

So pretty!!

So pretty!!

Saturday, we made our way back across the border to the 5K.  It was definitely a small, local race.  And due to construction it was more of a run through the streets with a small glimpse of the rapids, rather than Run With the Rapids as was indicated by its name.  Oh well.

I looked around at the very small field and told Jessica we were probably going to be last.  But that was no reason we shouldn’t give it our best!  And we did – Jessica PR’d!!  It helped we were really trying hard not to be last (which we weren’t – whew!).

Ready to go!!

Ready to go!!

After the race, there were hamburgers and hot dogs offered, as well as an array of juices and soda.  The after party was pretty awesome!

After party

After party

We got cleaned up and started the day over again.  First stop was the Hornblower cruise which took us really close to the Falls.  So amazing!!!  It was so loud!  And impressive!  It is hard to describe just how amazing the Falls were.

You will get wet!

You will get wet!

Next stop was the Journey Behind the Falls, where we got to see – the back side of water!!  The sun was out and we were able to see a rainbow.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Sunday, after packing up and checking out, we did the White Water Walk – they were category 6 rapids, which means they were seriously dangerous.  The waves were ridiculously large and fast-moving.

Along the white water walk

Along the white water walk

Our next stop was the Aerocar which took us across the whirlpool in a little gondola.

Our turn next

Our turn next

All in all, an amazing trip and I’m glad I can check off Niagara Falls from my Life List!

In the Aerocar!

In the Aerocar!

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2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

My first two coast to coast medals were when I did Tinker Bell and Princess.  However, at that time, runDisney didn’t offer a pink coast to coast medal.  It was introduced last year but sadly I wasn’t able to do Tink.  But then Tink weekend was moved!  Hooray!  Princess was a definite (since that is my race) and I figured I would sign up for Tink in case it worked.  And it did!

When I signed up, I really didn’t know (or realize) that it would mean my own mini coast to coast (after doing Expedition Everest the weekend prior).

Saturday morning I woke up super early to fly from San Francisco to LA.  Why was I in San Fran?  Well, that’s a story for another day.  After a mechanical issue followed by a traffic jam, we were finally in the air.  All in all, it ended up being over a 2 hour delay.  I was starting to panic that I wouldn’t get to the expo in time, but finally I was at the Disneyland Hotel!!

Gotta love the green screen

Gotta love the green screen

Sadly, most of the official merchandise was sold out (including the mugs and wine glasses – boo).  Oh well.

The remainder of Saturday was spent at California Adventures before heading back for an early night.  How early?  I was woken up by the fireworks!

Sunday morning came super early.  I do really like the Disneyland races as it means the mornings are not quite as early!  Heading into this race I wasn’t quite feeling it, so I was really hoping to find some Disney magic to get me through the race and I did in the form of Abby and her sister!!  (If you remember, I also ran Princess with these lovely ladies!)

This way to the start line

This way to the start line

Up until actually arriving at Disneyland, I kept thinking Tinker Bell was the same course as the Disneyland Half.  Fortunately I remembered that this was Tinker Bell and not the same.  In fact, I like the Tinker Bell course better than the Disneyland Half.  Although they did have to change the route through the parks slightly for all the construction.

Vidia!

Vidia!

And we were off!!  The sun was already starting to come up as we started.  The first mile passed by quickly and we were in the parks!!  I was happy to finally see Tink on the course (the line was ridiculous and so I passed, but I’m glad she was finally there!).

Little Pinky

Little Pinky

We left the parks and headed into the streets of Anaheim.  But first we went through Downtown Disney where the Red Hat Ladies were out in force!  I love running by them!

Argh!

Argh!

Honestly, while it was long and I was starting to hurt, it really was a ton of fun to run with Abby & A.  We had such a blast and I couldn’t have finished without them.

Love these girls!!

Love these girls!!

But there the finish line was!!  And the pink coast to coast medal was mine!!  Hooray!!

Almost there!

Almost there!

How did I celebrate?  With lots of ice cream, of course! :)  See ya real soon!

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Mmm, ice cream

 

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Five Senses Friday

It’s crazy how time seems to be flying and here we are at the end of another week.

Seeing – the biggest outdoor chandelier

Hearing – what I think were jubilant shouts after the Cavs won (I’m currently in Cleveland)

Feeling – frustrated with plane delays.  Of the five flights I’ve been on, all but one have been delayed, several over an hour.

Tasting – all the things!!  And lots of ice cream.  One of my former co-workers followed me on instagram (now that we don’t work together) and told me she learned that I love ice cream!  Yes, yes I do!

Smelling – I don’t know what plant, but it’s all over forest park and very fragrant

Want more Five Senses?  Check out No Apathy Allowed

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2015 Expedition Everest

When my Disney BFF, who isn’t a runner, asked if I wanted to do the last Expedition Everest with her, of course I said yes!  I was excited to share my love of runDisney with her plus it was right in between both of our birthdays so Happy Birthday to Us!!

The Birthday Girls

The Birthday Girls

We arrived Friday and immediately headed to Epcot to enjoy the Flower and Garden Festival.

So this is love

So this is love

Saturday we headed to Animal Kingdom to see the Yeti and to pick up our packets.  The expo was very underwhelming but New Balance was there with literally no line.  When does that happen?  I was really tempted to get a pair of shoes but then I remembered I don’t have a job anymore.  I decided to wait.  Maybe by the time Wine & Dine comes around I’ll have a job.

After a trip to Downtown Disney, we headed back to the hotel to relax and take a nap before the race.

With a night race, it can be hard to sort out proper fueling.  Heck, sometimes even with a regular race it is hard to figure out fueling.  We had a light dinner and then headed over to Animal Kingdom.

Pirate Princesses and a Yeti

Pirate Princesses and a Yeti

After what seemed like forever, it was finally time to go!  Michelle & I had never run together and this was her first 5K.  She told me to go at my regular pace and regular intervals and she would let me know if she wanted to speed up or slow down or if the intervals were too much.

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We came up to the first obstacle (all were optional and at the beginning I had been planning on skipping them since I tend to be a clutz and didn’t want to injure myself).  The first obstacle was jumping over hay bales.  I got sucked into doing the obstacle, but after leaping over the first few I decided to step over, rather than leap.

The second obstacle was crawling beneath a cargo net.  I was for sure going to skip this one.  Until Michelle turned to me and said “let’s do this!”  So I crawled.  And somehow lost my pirate sash.

And then we came up on the third obstacle – tires.  Once again, I attempted to do it before deciding calmly stepping through the tires would be way more beneficial to my health.

Around the corner and through the finish line – for the first time!  We grabbed a water, cooling towel, and got our first clue.  The first clue was definitely the hardest for us but finally we got it (we may have had a little help).  The second, third and fourth clue we got fairly easily and soon were running across the finish line a second time.

Love the medal!

Love the medal!

We then headed to the after party and rode a few rides before heading back to the hotel.

It is sad this was the last Expedition Everest as it was a really neat race and a great idea.  The scavenger hunt was a lot of fun and would be a great family activity.  And I loved running it with Michelle!

Posted in Race Report, runDisney | Tagged | 2 Comments

Five Senses Friday

I’m so glad Mandi reminded me of Five Senses Friday.  I have been enjoying reflecting back on the week that was.

Smelling – the sea air (I’m doing Tink Half, but first a stop in San Fran!)

Seals on Pier 39

Seals on Pier 39

Seeing – myself in a finished bridesmaid dress

Feeling – excited and nervous

Hearing – fireworks while riding Dumbo

Tasting – ice cream!!  Have I mentioned that I like ice cream?

Mmm, ice cream!

Mmm, ice cream!

Posted in Five Senses | 2 Comments

On Sabbatical

This post has been a long time in coming.  I have probably written it my head 100 times but have never wanted to actually put it down until it was a reality.  It is no secret I haven’t been happy (more so on the job front) since I moved to St Louis.  I’ve been working a ridiculous amount, gained weight, and gotten slower (even though the number of races I participate in have increased).  I’ve gone from a fairly happy person to one who is struggling with bitterness and anger.  And while I don’t believe I’ve become an angry, bitter person, there is a definite edge that wasn’t there before.

I came here with such hopes of breaking out of a rut, of trying something new.  Pretty early on I realized this was not going to happen.  No, instead I was sinking deeper and deeper into a new rut.  I was working more than I ever had before with little to no breaks, in a negative environment.  Weekends?  Forget about it.  Unless I was out of town.  I wasn’t meeting people (unless you count people at work).  I could have been anywhere, I wasn’t exploring my new city.

I shy away from saying the decision to come here was a mistake because I believe any situation you can learn from adds to you, rather than subtracts.

What is all this leading up to?  I QUIT MY JOB!!!  Wow, that feels so good to say.  I quit my job!  Nope, still not old.  And I quit my job without another job lined up.  At some point I expect to completely freak out that I don’t have a job, but right now I am just basking in the fact I don’t have to go to my old job.

I’ve had a range of reactions to my news – anywhere from “I can’t believe you are being so irresponsible to quit without another job” to “You quit without another job?  That is so bada$$”.  I do like to think I’m a little bada$$.  This was not a decision I made lightly and a lot of thought went into it.  Considering how happy I still am, I know this was the right decision.

So what’s next?  I’m happy to say the travel part of Travel With Emily is about to go into full swing.  I’ve got a couple of small trips before heading to Australia.  Yes, Australia!!  Followed by one night in Bangkok (or a long layover) on my way to Sweden.  Wow!  (Any tips on Australia, Sweden or traveling in general are welcome!)

So that’s my big news.  Stay tuned for what is next.

Posted in Sabbatical, St. Louis | 10 Comments

Five Senses Friday

Another week has come and gone.  And what a week it was!!!

Feeling – ecstatic with it being my final week of work

Seeing – my BFF at my favorite place

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Hearing – the crack of the bat as I went to not one but two baseball games

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Tasting – fabulous birthday treats

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Smelling – once again, not much as these allergies are really doing a number on me

How was your week?

Posted in Five Senses | 2 Comments