DisneyGroom Breaks his Silence

DisneyBride suggested I break up my initial incoherent ramblings into smaller pieces.  Here is the 1st installment.
Since this a couple’s blog, I guess it is time that I chime in.  Since the days when she was DisneyGirlfriend, I have been bugging DisneyBride for an outdoor activity that we could do together.  After about 1 year and 9 months of trying to find that activity, last September she convinced me to do the Princess Half Marathon.  I did fight the idea at first; the idea of running with a bib that says “Princess” doesn’t really appeal to me.  

I was (still am) overweight, very slow, not a distance runner, or a runner period.  However, running has given us that activity, and Disney Bride has even been suggesting going to state parks for trail runs. (The first time this happened I may or may not have surreptitiously sprinkled some holy water on her - just to make sure this was REALLY my wife.)
We will both be running our first half marathon in a few weeks.  Long runs and lengthy workouts have taken their toll on our bodies.  We have both cursed the training and had doubts about race day performance.  It seems like each week we take turns being the one to trick  bribe  blackmail motivate the other to go out and complete the training runs. 
On the bright side, we have both physically benefited from the training.  DisneyBride is looking hotter every day (How youuu doin?).  Also, as of this week I am closing in on an amazing/scary milestone; in the last 16 months - losing 60lbs (that’s 640 Oreos, or J-Lo’s butt times 3- if you trust Google). 
Training for the half has introduced me to many things I never would have imagined.  Who would have thought that one needs to eat while running?  Silly me, I thought you ran so that you could justify the huge post-run meal.   I have experienced chafing in places I had never considered possible.  Don’t worry, I won’t elaborate or post pictures.  Purchasing running-specific clothing and shoes; I had always run in basketball shoes in the past.  Finally, when thinking about vacations, we discuss the possibility of doing a race at the same time.  Why would any sane person interrupt eating and sleeping in with a long run?     
We have made many new running friends either at work, on Facebook, and twitter.  I never thought that I would enter and run a 13.1 mile race, or consider doing even longer distances. (I have decided that I will attempt Goofy in 2014).  RunDisney has made it easy to enjoy Disney and running together, and I look forward to many more years of Running Happily Ever After with DisneyBride.

Look for both of us at the Princess Half Marathon.  I will be in a black tuxedo tech shirt that has DisneyGroom written across the back. Disney Bride will have some sort of a white shirt dress looking thing on (DB's edit:  white sparkle skirt, white tech top, bride mouse ears fascinator) that will have DisneyBride printed on the back.
I hope you are all successful in your race regardless of what you are running for.  Me, I will be running for bacon, and to build up an appetite for our reservations at 'Ohana. 

Just 26 days to go!   

WDW Marathon Weekend Day 4: Here Piggy Piggy Piggy

Sunday, the BIG day. The marathon day!  Woo hoo!  Even though we weren't running, DG was in absolute raptures over "BACON DAY!"  (Someday we should share with you how obsessed he is with bacon - and how everyone back home knows him as the 'bacon guy'. But I digress.) By now, many of you runDisneyers have heard tell of the infamous "Three Little Pigs" Challenge.  Well, it was every bit as glorious as you heard - I'd be willing to bet more so.

We awoke early and checked out of our hotel by 5:30am.  We expected to be at the tent until the marathon was over - so we would be unable to check out later that morning.  We loaded up the Jeep, dressed in our "Bacon attire" and made the 10 min drive over to the Beach Club.  We got there a few minutes before the "Pig Crew" and scoped out a spot to set up the tent, tables, and chairs.  Then began the set up of the dozens of bags of candy, chips, pretzels, chocolates, and drinks.  Water, gatorade, sodas, beer, margarita mix, chocolate milk, etc.  Signs, lists, the 'bacon wall' for signatures and photos, whew... lots to do.

The challenge is this:  Pre-registered runners stop at the tent. Eat three slices of bacon. Get an awesome medal.  Finish the last 1.5 miles of your marathon with fresh pep in your step, powered by bacon. 

The bacon arrived.  It was donated by Indiana Kitchen Bacon and was prepared piping hot and crispy at one of the resort kitchens.  It was quickly loaded into individual baggies and cups for runners that wanted their Three Little Pigs "to go".  Non-meat eaters or those not trusting their tummies with bacon - had the option of eating candy or another snack instead of the three slices of bacon.  Either way - you had a snack and got your beautiful medal!


DisneyGroom shows off the bling - the highly coveted Three Little Pigs Challenge Inaugural Medal.  I say Inaugural, because this turned into a mega-hit and future challenges are forthcoming at other runDisney events.

Check out the Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney page on Facebook for info on upcoming food challenges at the 2013 Disneyland Half, and others as they develop.  I've proposed a Pirate themed medal for eating a Rum Cake (cupcake) at Princess next year, so I hope that one takes off.  Everyone wants a Pirate medal!!!  Think Gasparilla... but with Disney flair!

Here is some of the Pig Crew doing last minute set up and hanging out waiting for our runners.

The sun is just coming up, but here at mile 24.5, here come the two leaders of the WDW Marathon, Adrian Bastos and Fredison Costa. These Brazilians were not bacon runners - so we just watched them fly by.

Here is a goofy pic of DG and myself.  In piggy attire.  If you look close (click to enlarge photo) - both are bacon-themed shirts by Disney.  They were not easy to find - so I was excited to get them for this day.  

DG wanted to show off the Bacon socks I got him.

Our tent's 'unofficial' mascot

First bacon runner!

Second and third bacon runners!

Bacon runners now began to arrive one after the other.  I couldn't get pics of them all - but we had another person at the tent taking photos and she posted several on the FB page.

Those of us designated cheerleaders would spot the identifying pink wristbands from a distance, and as soon as we saw one - we excitedly began yelling "BACON RUNNER - INCOMING!" to alert the table - clanging cowbells and waving pompoms.  The looks on the runners' faces was priceless.  Exhausted, overheated, thirsty, and hungry - they lit up completely when they saw the Bacon Tent.

Dennis Marsico of runDisneyTV came to our tent and hung out with the Pig Crew for over an hour. He was waiting for Linda, organizer of this challenge and founder of the RDSICED group, to interview her.

At last, Linda, with her pace group in tow - arrived, resplendent as Princess Leia.

We also had some great runners in costume run past the tent.  They were not bacon runners - but probably will be next year!

My Absolute fave:  RICHARD SIMMONS!!!

 DG's fave:  Pregnant Tinkerbell!

The famous marathoner, Santa Steve

Now things are winding down...

A last glimpse of the scary 'balloon lady'.  (look closely on the left for the green mylar balloon) She is the one that keeps the 16 min/mile pace.  If you stay ahead of her, you are safe from sweepers.

Several runners were behind the balloon lady.  Many were walking alongside the guys on bikes, the ones that tell you to get on the bus.  I hope that here at Mile 24.5 these folks were safe at last from sweeping.

Here is the very last of the sweepers.

And with that - we began to pack up the tent.  I am super grateful to have been allowed to be a part of this terrific event.  We are so excited for upcoming events - and have been telling everyone about the BACON TENT at the Marathon!

We were almost ready to go, DG was just waiting for a bellman to load the last of the items, when who should come strolling along??? No entourage, no waiting in line for a photo, just him casually strolling along the nearly empty Boardwalk. The ONE runner I was most excited to see all weekend.  The one I had given up hope of spotting at all.  The worst part was I had been in the hot sun for eight hours! I was a disgusting mess.  AHHH!  Why couldn't I have looked cute for JOEY FATONE!!! He was so nice. I asked him if he was still cooking (referencing Celebrity Cook Off on Food Network) and he told me he is filming a new cooking show. I babbled on all kinds of fangirl nonsense, and DisneyGroom embarassed me by saying quite loudly "Hey watch where you put your hands on Joey" while taking a photo! ahh!!!! Still it was the icing on the cake of a great day!

The Jeep was loaded and ready for our long drive back home, but we had one more stop.  We headed to Splitsville at Downtown Disney for a late lunch.  We had feasted on candy all day and needed real food.

Downtown Disney was ready to receive the runners for a big Marathon Weekend block party.

Logo of the super amazing group: Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney

Thanks for reading my long recaps!
See you all at PRINCESS!

My complete 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon recaps are here:
Day 1 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-1-expo-shop.html
Day 2 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-2-family-5k.html
Day 3 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-3-water-get.html
Day 4 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-4-here-piggy.html

WDW Marathon Weekend Day 3: Water! Get your refreshing H2O here!

1:45am wakeup.  That is not a typo.  Runners have to get up early - but many volunteers had to be up even earlier getting things ready.

We had our credentials from the Expo and instructions to be at the Volunteer Tent at Downtown Disney by 2:30. We were pretty worried about road closings, and we were staying off property. Luckily we got there in about 10 minutes.

Our hotel is Maingate Lakeside Resort, if anyone is interested.  I've gotten incredibly economical rates there - and the location is on Irlo Bronson Hwy, just under two miles from the entrance to Magic Kingdom. We've stayed there a few times in the past year, and booked our stay there again for this weekend and Princess.  Using kayak.com, we've gotten rates as low as $35/night for a clean room with two double beds and a small fridge.  Whether we are on or off property - we never seem to use our room for much more than a place to shower and sleep.  So it is clean, it is close, and yay - it's cheap too.

We got to the volunteer tent, and scanned our badges in. We were given a sack lunch (it did not contain breakfast - but snacks - like granola, fruit, cookie, and chips).  Then based on our assignment location, we were directed to a bus, one of the many buses. We loaded on our bus and waited. We waited until about 3:15, and our Team Leader came aboard to give us instructions.

Everyone on our bus was headed to the 0.8 mile waterstop.  There were about 40 of us just at this one stop.  We got off the bus, and I noticed the bus parked.  Bus and driver actually waited for us the entire time we were out there working. Not gonna lie: It was hard work.  Tables were in stacks and broke off into pairs to begin to line them up on both sides on the road and set them up.  Then out came the cups set onto the table, eight deep, and 50 across.  You do the math.  Then each is filled partway with water.  Then we have large plastic sheets we set over the cups and do another level of 8 cups deep, 50 across,  then a THIRD level.  There were six powerade stations, and those were set up so that runners would arrive at those first.  Three on each side of the road.  Then the water tables -  24 of those - twelve on each side.

The first portapotty stop was right near us, so that was handy.  We were so close to the action, we could hear the onstage entertainment and all the Pre-race announcements.  At last it was time and the first wave of fireworks exploded into the early morning sky. 

First came the wheelchair racers.  These athletes zoomed by incredibly fast.  One slowed down for a Powerade.  Most were racing chairs, but I saw a few standard type wheelchairs bringing up the rear.  Wow - that must be incredibly difficult.

Immediately after the chairs, the elites came past - I didn't see any of these athletes stop for water or powerade.
And then - BOOM!  Like an explosion of people - we were hit with a giant non-stop wave of runners.  I was at the first table and when we ran out of cups, we were instructed to flip the table over and move down to the next table.  (This way runners won't see an empty table and panic that the water ran out.) We moved down at least three tables - and this was just on our side of the road.  We screamed ourselves hoarse - offering water and encouragement to wave after wave of people.

I couldn't stop for even a moment to take a photo.  I saw the most AMAZING costumes - I think my favorite was a guy dressed as Jafar.  It was spot on and elaborately detailed - he looked like he should be in an Aladdin stage show.  I can't imagine running in that huge turban - but he was doing it.

Across the median, in the opposite flow of traffic, the front runners began to whiz past and close in on the finish line, even before the last corral runners had reached our water station.

I am sad to say there were already about 30 runners behind the balloon ladies at this early stage.  And I prayed they would speed up and not be swept.  Immediately after the runners, came a dozen sweeper buses, looking ominous.

Then came workers in mesh bottom flatbed trucks.  It was interesting.  They picked up our tables  - water cups and all - and dumped them into the truck.  The water just poured out the bottom.  I was impressed by how efficient everything was - but I lamented all the wasted water. We must have poured thousands of bottles of Dasani that got unused.

Because it was dark earlier - we didn't get pics of our cool Volunteer jackets. Here they are for your enjoyment.  Each race has a different color jacket with logo for their volunteers.  5K was red, Half was pale blue, Full was yellow.  We were told we had to wear the jacket at all times we were on the course - for safety.  It made sense - there were reflective strips everywhere - and it was still dark when we finished working. But for those of us at waterstops the water resistant nylon served another purpose in keeping us dry. Poor DG had so much powerade and water splashed on him. Cups were flying everywhere.

At the end of our shift, our bus took us back to Downtown Disney to the volunteer tent.  We scanned our badges again, and were given a One Day Park pass - woo hoo!  And that was it. We were done by 7:30am I think.  We went back to our hotel to take a well earned nap.

The rest of the day was pretty low-key.  We grabbed some lunch at Sweet Tomato and headed to the Pacebook Running Club's Dole Whip meet up at the Polynesian resort.  Parking was restricted - so DG dropped me off the Poly and parked at Magic Kingdom, then he walked over.  For those doing meetups at resorts - parking may sometimes be an issue. 

In the Polynesian lobby, I spotted a beautiful Disney Fairy Tale Weddings bride having her portraits.  She had a tiara, a princess-worthy gown, and lovely cascading curls. Awww - Disney brides always get me choked up!  Always reminds me of how amazing my day was, and how I wish I could wear my gown again and again.

DG arrived at this, and it was off to the meetup - where this awaited me.  We hung out a little while, and I met Pam of We Run Disney.  I told her I had actually handed her a cup of water that morning.  She thanked me and kept running.  She had her 'game face on' and was in the zone for her Half marathon that morning.

I enjoyed my delicious Dole Whip and then we headed out.  We were going to Downtown Disney to shop a little.

We headed to Downtown Disney, and we caught up with another meetup happening there: the St. Pete-based Digital Running Club.  I don't have pics of that event.  I had met one of the runners there the day before at Beaches and Cream, so we chitchatted about races and hung out a bit there too.

Then DG and I headed to the outlet malls for a bit of shopping.  And that was our day.

Coming up: Day 4: Here Piggy Piggy Piggy!

My complete 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon recaps are here:
Day 1 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-1-expo-shop.html
Day 2 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-2-family-5k.html
Day 3 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-3-water-get.html
Day 4 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-4-here-piggy.html

WDW Marathon Weekend Day 2: Family 5K & Meetups!

January 11,  2013

4am wakeup! Dressed, and headed to the Family 5K. I was not expecting a row of FOOD TRUCKS!  DG and I had each gobbled a bagel and a banana on the way so we didn't get breakfast there.
We found the Pacebook Running Club (#PbRC) and got a group photo.  They are a fun and very active online group - founded by fellow Tallahasseeans Tony Conticello and his wife, Stacey.  Check them out on Facebook.

DG was in Corral A, I was in C -so he came back to C with me. 

The race began, and sadly, we didn't get a lot of character photos because it was still dark when we started.  In a way, it is a good thing to be in a later corral - the first corrals zip through the course in the dark and probably miss a lot of cool things and photo ops.

The first mile was through the parking area and backstage of EPCOT.  Mile 2 we entered the World Showcase by Mexico and we began to see all the characters.  We didn't stop at all of them  - but kind of went by which lines were moving.  Donald and Daisy are always on my list though!  I love the international flavor of the outfits they wore.

This guy wins for most original costume, I think.  A lot of runners stopped to take pictures with "Forrest Gump". He even brought his box of chocolates!

End of World Showcase, we loop around Spaceship Earth before completing Mile 3 and going back to parking lot to finish the race.

I was not at all prepared for what a hit my husband would be.  Everywhere runners wanted photos!  Castmembers yelled "To Infinity and Beyond".  DG is a social butterfly and really soaked up all the attention.  But wow - it was like being with a celebrity!  I was one of about 8000 Minnies, so no one paid me no never mind.

I did see two other Buzz Lightyears at the 5K.  One Buzz had this adorable "Jessie" for a wife.  She wore jeans and being from Maryland and unaccustomed to our Florida temps - regretted her costume a bit in the morning heat.

At the exit, we got our medals and began to search for Mickey and Minnie.  The line were super long pre-race so we didn't even try.  Post-race as it turns out - really short lines.  They were a bit hidden back at the start line - which was nowhere near the finish - but we eventually found them - got pix with our medals and were happy.

Back to our room for a shower and a nap - that ran a little long.

I still wanted to hit the EXPO, so we went.  We found out the runDisney New Balance has sold out by noon the day before.  They had only brought 1000 pairs... not expecting the fanaticism of Disney runners clearly.  Stock slated for the Tinkerbell Half expo had been overnighted and there was a massive line to get a pair of the hottest running shoe of the century!

I did a little more shopping and we started getting peckish.. Right before leaving though, we were passing the runDisney booth when DG went all fanboy on me.

This is the reason why.

I had no idea DG was such a fan of Drew Carey.  Who knew?  Mr. Carey did seem like a really nice guy though.  Apparently he was there for several hours - seeking out volunteers and thanking them.  Very thoughtful.

Now Lunchtime!

We went off property. I'd spotted this Argentinian Steak House called "The Knife" near Downtown Disney.  I know DG really LOVES eating meat, but refrains around me, about 95% of the time.  So, because of that, I said we should go.  They had a cold buffet with salads and appetizers, they also brought out hot side dishes to your table, and the meat, you just went up this giant grill and told them what you want. I thought it was pretty reasonable: around $15 each.  To accommodate me, they grilled up a fish, and the kitchen brought our ceviche, shrimp salad, and cold mussels.  These are usually served at dinner - but they really bent over backwards to find something I was willing to eat.

We ate and ate until there were noticeable Food Babies growing.

Now Meet up Time!

First stop: we went to the For the Love of Disney Running meetup at Beaches n Cream.  We enjoyed this place on our honeymoon, and hadn't been back yet - so we were looking forward to it.  Unfortunately, the lunch buffet was quite filling and we couldn't partake of the family size sundae, known as the Kitchen Sink.  Instead, we shared a Kid's Mouse sundae, shown here.

Run Disney staff members were there to talk to Erin of the For the Love of Disney Running blog.  Erin is SUCH a sweetheart by the way.  So nice, I hope I get to hang out with her again at Princess!  She is pictured below on the left, in the Minnie ears. The run Disney people also took a few photos of our little gang.  This one was featured on the runDisney Facebook page.  I had no idea we were so sunburned! eek!  My shirt was partially obscured, but reads "I run for Mickey Bars."  Which I thought was fitting to wear to an ice cream parlor.  But they didn't serve Mickey Bars here, only hand-dipped  ice cream.  I won that shirt in a giveaway by "Healthy Disney",  they can be found on Facebook.

We then headed to the Endurance Sports Connection / Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney joint Meetup at the Yacht Club.  We were there a long time hanging out and catching up with friends we met at Wine & Dine weekend.  The swag bags once again - did not disappoint.  I don't have pics from the actual meetup.  The location was the Crewcup Lounge, and that place had very dim lighting.  I couldn't get a good shot of anything.  There were about 200 runners that came through the meetup though to grab a goodie bag and mingle with the other runners.

We attended one final meetup, just as it was winding down actually.  The Mickey Miles Podcast hosted a meetup in the Beach Club's Solarium.  My phone battery was dead at this point, and I put it in to charge while the meetup was going on, so I did not get any photos.  Hosts of the podcast: Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean were there. We met them both.  I've really enjoyed listening to that podcast.  Seems like I can never get enough runDisney news and conversation - so it is great having the podcast address all the topics that I love and questions from runners that I hadn't even thought of yet.  If you have not listened to them yet - check them out.  They have a Facebook page  and a twitter account where you can post questions about runDisney events.  And the podcast is available for free download through itunes here.  I had a question on a previous epidose asking about the Castaway Cay 5K, the free race offered by Disney Cruise Lines on the Disney private island.

By the time we left that meetup, it was dark, so we ended the evening by relaxing at Shipwreck Beach.  The Boardwalk area is great - and spending the afternoon at Yacht & Beach club brought back happy wedding day memories.  It was the scene of the crime, after all.

Next up: Day 3 - Volunteering at the Half Marathon!

My complete 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon recaps are here:
Day 1 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-1-expo-shop.html
Day 2 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-2-family-5k.html
Day 3 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-3-water-get.html
Day 4 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-4-here-piggy.html