Monday, January 11, 2010

Recovery Day

Susan here. After a good night's rest and a great breakfast at Fort Wilderness' Trails End buffet, we were feeling much better. Jeff is feeling a lot better today and got his appetite back. Both of us are a little sore, but not too bad. In fact, we could even run some today if we wanted to. Guess that's where the training pays off.

Jeff here.  After breakfast, we walked around what used to be the petting farm at Fort Wilderness but all that remains are some ponies for rides and stables for the various horses large and small used around the Disney property.  The large horses are Belgians and Percherons.  Many of them weigh upwards of 2000 lbs and so obviously they're huge.  Also we noticed that it was so cold out that the ponies had on coats!

Susan here.  Next up was a search for some ibuprofen, as I didn't have any in my purse. One of the items to remember next time! After the visit to Walgreens, we decided to go to Downtown Disney. There is a large movie theatre there, so we decided to take in a movie. We chose "The Blind Side." We really enjoyed it and would highly recommend seeing it if you haven't already.

After the movie we wandered around the World of Disney Store to see if there was something that we couldn't live without, and there wasn't. As we exited, what was in our gaze, but the Ghiradelli shop. Of course, we had to go in. There are always free samples, and free samples of chocolate are always good. We decdided to have hot chocolates and one of their colossal cookies - chocolate chip and toffee. We went outside and found a table in the sun, since it was warmer today.

We wandered around some more, going through the Lego Store, where they have some nice displays made of lego blocks.  Yes, those dogs and family are made of legos.

We're getting ready now for our celebration dinner at Victoria & Alberts, Disney's premiere restaurant.  More tomorrow on our dinner.

Marathon Day!

Susan here.  We were up at 2:30 race morning to get over to the Epcot before 3:30.  Seems awfully early, but when you are dealing with about 24,000 registered runners, there will be traffic.  We got to Race Retreat package again this year.  The promise of a "climate controlled" tent was very appealing.  They just didn't say what the climate would be...COLD!  I swear the "heaters" were blowing cold air.  Everyone was bundled up head and ears inside.  I felt for the folks that had to wait outside.  The folks that drove could wait in their cars, so that was better.  Still...Brrrr!!    We did have some bagels and peanut butter when we got there, and there were "private" porta-potties there, too.  We also took the opportunity for some photos with Disney characters.

Everyone in Race Retreat waited until the last possible minute to head to the starting corrals.  We made it to Corral D just in time.  We had bought some zip up hooded sweatshirts at Sam's, so we had those on at the start.  One of the really nice things that Disney does is to collect all of the clothing discarded not only at the start, but over the entire course, launder it and donate it to charity.  We both had on two pairs of pants, two pairs of gloves (with hot-hands inside), and multiple shirts.

Mickey and his pals counted down, fireworks shot into the air and we were off.  The first five or so miles were in and around Epcot.  It was thrilling to hear John Williams' Olympic Themes playing as we entered the World Showcase, which was lit by the torches used for Illuminations.  Then on to Magic Kingdom.  Along the way, we were serenaded by a couple of local high school and middle school bands, along with their cheerleaders.

It was so cool to run down Main Street USA with all the spectators cheering us on.  We stopped for a couple of pictures there.  On through Tomorrowland and then, with the herald trumpets announcing our arrival, we ran through Cinderella's Castle.  We completed Magic Kingdom with Frontierland, then the long, backstage stretch to Animal Kingdom, where there was little to look at other than the backs of fellow runners.

Jeff here.  I don't know if it was the cold overall, the fact that we made so many stops in the Magic Kingdom for photos and I got cold there, that I had almost no sleep the night before the race, that I didn't eat enough, or a combination of everything, but I got REALLY cold coming out of the Magic Kingdom and my whole body started hurting.  During the run to the Animal Kingdom I grabbed a Tylenol at one of the aid stations to try to dull the pain.  I also ate a raw banana, and I don't even like bananas, to try to get my strength back up.  I also picked up a CLIF gel shot to try to get some energy.

After a half hour or so I started feeling better and was able to run into and through the Animal Kingdom feeling pretty well.  I shot this nice picture of Expedition Everest (roller coaster) there.  Things continued to go pretty well for me through about mile 21.  We were running slower than our normal pace but at least I didn't feel like I was in any distress.  Things started going south again for me as we turned north into the cold wind and did a couple of runs up hill over an overpass and up an exit ramp on our way to Hollywood Studios.  There were volunteers handing out snack sized candy bars in the park and that again seemed to give me a little energy boost and I was able to make it to the 24 mile marker near the Boardwalk resort.  Just over 2 miles to go but it seemed like 10 for me at that point.  I'm not sure what happened but I felt like I had run completely out of energy. 

Susan, bless her heart, seemed like she could run another 10 miles.  She kept looking back, checking to make sure I was still running, and encouraging me on.  Rather than running a mile or two in between stops I was now lucky to run a quarter mile.  I began looking ahead to something (archway, curve, hill, building) and telling myself to run to that point.  Finally, we made it to the back entrance of Epcot - the International Gateway) and we walked again backstage.  I SO wanted to be able to run around World Showcase and finish out the race but I just couldn't do it!  I'd run until I felt like I was about to collapse and then I'd stop and walk.  When I could breathe again, I'd run some more.  FINALLY, FINALLY we were at the front of Epcot and running past the 26 mile marker.  I decided then that I wasn't stopping until I crossed the finish line - NO MATTER WHAT.  If I collapsed, so be it.  Perhaps it's that same mentality that causes marathon runners to have heart attacks at the finish?  No matter - we did it!  Our time was 4:57:10 - about 15 minutes slower than I thought we'd do but neither of us every expected the conditions that we ran in.

Susan here again.  We went back to Race Retreat (it was still cold even with a lot more bodies in there) for brunch.  First we checked our time at the computers, then got food.  Jeff thought that the eggs were the only thing that tasted good to him.  I got some eggs and potatoes, as well as some of the soup, which wasn't that good, but it was warm.  I ate my soup standing up, while stretching my legs at the table.

After that , we went out to the truck and headed back to Fort Wilderness.  I took a looonnnng hot shower and Jeff took a looonnnng nap.  (I took a nap, too)  After we were all cleaned up and rested (and I washed all the dirty running gear), we went to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Boma, an African buffet.  Jeff was still feeling bad, so he didn't enjoy dinner as much as he normally would.  After a good, long sleep, we are both feeling pretty good this morning.

A side note:  We have seen a lot of wildlife on this visit.  We have regularly seen 4-5 deer grazing.  I saw 7 turkeys at a nearby campsite, and I've seen a *live* armadillo.  I also saw something unusual last night - a cat walking on a leash!  Our neighbors are full-time RV'ers and this is the only way that Scout, the cat, gets outside.  He likes it, too!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cold, Wet Saturday

Oh my, Susan and I felt so bad for the half-marathoners this morning when we awoke at 5:30 am and heard the rain drops pecking at the roof of our camper.  Knowing that thousands of people were milling around in that frigid rain trying to stay warm before the start of the race made us cringe!  Today, after bundling up in multiple shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, pants, coats and gloves (did I say it was COLD?) and grabbed our umbrellas, we ventured out to Hollywood Studios. 

The only good thing about the cold, wet weather is that Floridians don't like to go out in cold weather so there were only die-hard tourists like us at the park.  We were able to ride Toy Story Mania, Rock-N-Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror multiple times with little or no wait and these attractions typically have lines that are an hour or more.

After riding everything we wanted several times, Susan had the idea to go over to the Beach Club to a cozy little restaurant called Beaches and Cream.  They have an excellent chicken noodle soup that was calling to our chilled to the bone bodies.  Afterwards, we played a few games in the nearby game room.  We then walked over to Epcot where we listened to the Voices of Liberty singing group and watched (snoozed during) the American Adventure show.  We finished up the evening back at Hollywood Studios with a hearty dinner at 50's Prime Time of pot roast (me) and meat loaf (Susan). 

We're now getting our stuff ready for our frigid marathon tomorrow and our early alarm at 2:15 am.  Yikes!

Dreary Friday

Hi all.  Sorry I didn't post about yesterday's activities but Susan and I were pretty busy.  As nice as Thursday was, we knew it wouldn't last - Friday was a coolish, dreary day.  We decided to visit Animal Kingdom as we didn't make it to that park during our previous visit in October for the International Food & Wine Festival.  We did all of our favorite things, including the Expedition Everest roller coaster, Nemo show, Lion King show and the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.  You can see I'm wearing my new FREE sunglasses with free strap though a little while after this picture was taken, it got completely overcast and then started sprinkling.  It continued to mist and sprinkle the rest of the day, hence dreary Friday.

Speaking of the safari ride, Susan was the photographer and she managed to capture the rear end of most of the animals on the savannah.  We got a good laugh out of it.  :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pasta in the Park

Hello again!  Picking up where we left off yesterday, after setting up camp and having lunch, Susan and I went to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to pick up our race packets and browse through the merchandise at the Health and Fitness Expo.  Packet pickup was straight-forward and crowds were pretty well managed.  We did have to make an extra trip back out to the parking lot because I'd forgotten our "proof of time" from the Huntsville Half marathon Susan and I had run back in November.  We're in the "D" corral, right behind the "elite" runners so we shouldn't have to deal with passing all the walkers like we did in the half-marathon last year.

We both bought us some new running gloves that were a bit thicker and better at moisture wicking than the ones we already had.  I also got a free pair of running sunglasses.  We happened upon the booth where Susan had purchased running glasses at the Expo last year and mentioned to the person there that one of the ear pieces had fallen off so she couldn't use them.  The lady told her that her glasses were warranted for life so she or I could pick any glasses we liked except for the very best and could have them for free.  Can't beat free!  She also gave us both free straps and free storage pouches for our glasses.

We also taste tested various samples of gel, gelatin squares and power bars and grabbed some samples to take with us to eat early in the race.

After a few hours, we headed over to Epcot where we attended the "Pasta in the Park" event.  We got there a bit early so we decided to walk through Innoventions to kill some time and to warm up (getting chilly after sunset).  As it turned out, they were doing Segway introductions so Susan and I signed up.  We'd done one of the Disney Segway tours 3-4 years ago and really enjoyed it and were looking forward to trying out the newer generation models.  They did seem easier to maneuver than the older units.               

The Pasta Party turned out to be a nice activity.  Things started out with a nice buffet featuring various green, potato and pasta salads, pasta, broiled chicken and brownies.  Also included were bananas, water, fruit punch and lemonade.  There was a cash bar with beer and wine.  There were also character photo opportunities, which we took advantage of.  We met two couples from Canada that had come down to run.  One couple was doing the Goofy Challenge (both half marathon and full marathon) and the other was doing the half marathon.  The third couple at our table was from Birmingham, AL and they were proudly wearing their Alabama Crimson Tide gear.  It was nice visiting with them all.

After a nice couple of hours Susan and I decided to head back to the campground to watch the BCS National Championship game.  We found a TV in Crockett's Tavern and were able to watch through the first half, by which time the Tide had established a commanding lead.  Go SEC!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We've Arrived!

We arrived at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground just after noon and it is fabulous here.  Temps I think are around 60 but with the bright sun shine I'm comfortable in my t-shirt.  Susan and I set up camp on campsite 1734 and we're enjoying it as we're right across from the Comfort Station (showers / restrooms).  Susan fixed us some soup (chicken and herb dumplings) for lunch and we're heading out to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up our race packets and free-bee stuff.  Here are a few photos of our campsite.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Disney World Marathon Itinerary

Hello all!  Our upcoming trip to Disney World is for the 2010 Disney marathon.  Susan and I have been training for 8 months for this race and we're really psyched to be running it.  We will be blogging during the trip so be on the lookout!  Below is our daily itinerary:

Thursday, January 7th
Check-in @ Fort Wilderness Resort
Go to Wide World of Sports for Health & Fitness Expo and pick up race packets
Attend "Pasta in the Park" pre-race dining event at Epcot

Friday, January 8th
Theme park day
Dinner at Bistro de Paris in Epcot @ 7pm

Saturday, January 9th
Theme park day
Dinner at 50's Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios @ 5:35 pm

Sunday, January 10th
Disney's Marathon Race Retreat @ 3-5:30 am
Marathon start @ 5:50 am
Disney's Marathon Race Retreat open to 2:30 pm
Dinner at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge @ 5:30 pm

Monday, January 11th
Theme park day
Celebration dinner at Victoria & Albert's @ 5:30 pm

Tuesday, January 12th
Depart Fort Wilderness Resort for home