Monthly Archives: July 2012

Orlando Day 8: Pre-Marathon

We decided to give our poor legs a break the Saturday before the marathon.  After a full seven days of touring the parks, I think we earned a break before race day.

We slept in, to prepare ourselves for the 3am wake-up call the next morning.  A friend who used to work with us had moved to Orlando, so we made plans with her to get brunch at the Grand Floridian.  She picked us up at our hotel, which was a nice treat after taking Disney transportation all week.

The Grand Floridian was beautiful.  I would love to stay there on another trip some day.

Brunch was delicious.  I’m pretty sure I had pancakes with banana, loading up on carbs and potassium before the big race.  The strawberry orange juice was a nice treat, too!

After brunch, our friend dropped us off at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where we needed to pick up our race packets.

The race expo was huge!  But Disney was well organized, and it didn’t take long for us to pick up our packets.

I was so excited walking through the expo.  I couldn’t believe we were going to run a full marathon the next day.  There were so many vendors at the expo.

In all the excitement, I actually made 2 purchases.  Which is unusual for me.  First, I bought a pouch to wear around my waist.  I didn’t want something bulky to hold water bottles, but I bought a pouch that would fit my cell phone, ID card/credit card, and a few packets of Gu.  I wasn’t planning to buy one, but Maggie was going to get one, and they were offering a better price for two.  I’m so glad we got them; I would have gone crazy trying to carry everything myself the whole 26.2 miles.

I also bought a Stick.  It is very similar to a foam roller, but it felt like it got into my muscles a little tougher.  And it felt really good to roll out my muscles at the expo.  My IT band was still acting up, and I knew I would want the stick after our run.  I still use my foam roller to, but the Stick travels much lighter.  I’m happy to now have both.

After the expo we took a bus back to our hotel.  We hung out for a little bit before dinner.  We were planning to head to Downtown Disney to eat dinner with a friend of mine from high school who had also moved to Orlando.  We met up with her at Portobello.

We ate an extremely early dinner at this Italian restaurant.  I think it was 4:00 or 4:30pm.  We dressed up a little bit for dinner.

I was incredibly nervous about the marathon by this point.  I was nervous about whether I would make it the whole way, or if I would have to walk the whole time.  I was also really excited.

We walked around Downtown Disney after dinner and got some hot chocolate.  It was a cold night, though, and we had an early morning ahead of us, so we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

I think we were at least in bed by 8:00 or 9:00.  I don’t remember what time I finally fell asleep, but I slept surprisingly well, considering my nerves.

I had nothing to be nervous about.  The race was an amazing experience.  You can read about it here.  I can’t wait to go back next year for Goofy!

Orlando Day 7: Hollywood Studios

This was our final day touring the parks before we ran our marathon.  It was sad to be ending our days in the park, but excited that we still had the weekend at Walt Disney World.

We got to the park early, and got to be first in line for a picture with Donald and Daisy.

Next up, we booked it over to the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  We got a Fast Pass and jumped in line for a quick ride.  I was addicted at this point.

We watched the Beauty and the Beast show, which was basically the whole story, music and all, in 30 minutes.  And then we went to the Indiana Jones show.  We were in the very back row, but we still had a great view of the special effects.

We also went to the Lights, Motors, Actions show.  Lots of fire in all of these shows!  I was really impressed with the stunts in this one though.

We had to get Fast Passes to ride Toy Story Mania.  It was similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom, but more fun, with different kinds of games in each room you passed by.

We ate dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby.  The food was very good, but it was probably my least favorite dining experience at Disney.  The environment was supposed to be like the classic Brown Derby restaurant, but it wasn’t anything spectacular like other Disney theme restaurants.

After dinner, we had to go ride the Hollywood Tower of Terror a few more times 🙂  I love that ride!  When we go back next year, we will probably go to Hollywood Studios just to ride the elevator a few times in a row.

It was another early evening for us, with only 2 more days until the marathon!

Orlando Day 6: Hollywood Studios

I was a little bit nervous about Hollywood Studios because it came with a challenge.  I had been mentally preparing myself all week to take on the Hollywood Tower of Terror.

It’s a ride I skipped when I was younger because I was too scared, and I was determined to ride it at least once.  We picked up Fast Passes for the ride, but I wasn’t quite ready to go on it right away.

Instead, we went on the Rock n’ Roller Coaster.  It’s an indoor, looping roller coaster.  To be honest, it wasn’t quite as thrilling as I expected it to be.  It was still fun, but it’s not as scary going upside down when you don’t know which way is up!

Next, we went on the Studio Backlot Tour.  They take you through various stunts and a behind-the-scenes tour.  It was entertaining.

We also went on the Great Movie Ride.  I’m pretty sure I remembered this one from when I was little too.  You ride in cars with a tour guide and they interact with scenes from different movies.  Our first tour guide was a little annoying, so I wasn’t too sad when a gangster scared her off and took control of our car!

We finally rode Tower of Terror.  I was literally terrified to get on the ride.  I was especially alarmed when we got on the elevator and I realized the only restraint was a band that went across your lap.  There was nothing to come down over your head!  I read later that Disney does that on purpose – so you lift up in your seat a little when the elevator drops.  It adds to your terror.

The elevator attendants were probably some of the best cast members as far as staying in character.  It seemed like a fun job.  We got in our elevator, and we were off, winding through the hotel.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way up.  Then the doors opened in front of us, and we could see out across the park.  And then we dropped.  Over and over again.  I was terrified, but it was so much fun.

When we got off the ride, I was shaking.  And then I asked if we could ride it again!

One of our last rides for the day was the Star Wars ride.  It was a motion simulator ride, and it made me feel a little sick, but it was still pretty fun.

This was day six at Disney, and we knew we were planning to come back to Hollywood Studios the next day.  So we left a little early and headed to Downtown Disney to explore a bit and find some dinner.

While we were at the parks, Maggie and I found ourselves pulled into the pin trading.  We had to check out the pin station at Downtown Disney and see if the cast members there had any pins we wanted to trade for.

We also wandered around the Lego store.  I was amazed by all the Disney Lego creations in and around the store.

It was a nice, early night.  With only 3 days left until our first marathon, we needed to get some rest!

Orlando Day 5: Magic Kingdom

Of all the parks, I felt most like a kid again at Magic Kingdom.  Even as an adult, it was truly magical.  It was fun to ride the true Disney classics from my childhood (It’s a Small World, Peter Pan and the Mountain rides).

Our first mission was to find coffee.  Touring the Disney parks for 9 days straight was a lot of fun, but it was also exhausting.  We found some caffeine at the Cheshire Cat.

We rode Stitch’s Great Escape, a ride where you are locked in a chair in a room that goes dark and Stitch gets loose and bounces on your head and pokes you.  It was kind of creepy!

We also rode Buzz Lightyear’s ride, where we shot at targets to score points.  Pat and Maggie battled it out while I cheered them on and took pictures.

I was probably most excited to go on It’s a Small World.  I don’t know why, but I love that ride.  The last room, with characters from all over the world, has always been my favorite.

We also rode the classic Peter Pan ride.  I couldn’t believe how long the lines were for these rides, but I would have been very sad to miss them.

The Haunted Mansion was another favorite.  I remember being somewhat scared as a kid, which is so funny now.

The entertainment while you wait in line is almost as good as the ride itself.  Funny tombstones, a stone piano that actually played, a magical bookshelf that you could interact with, and more.

It is amazing to me that so many of the Disney rides have not changed in the past 17 years.  In comparison, many of the Universal rides seemed much more high-tech.  But they didn’t have the same Disney magic.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was another classic.  When I was younger, I refused to go on any ride that had a drop of any kind.  No roller coasters or log flumes for me.  The Pirates ride has a small drop.  My parents waited until I was on the ride to tell me about the drop.  Once I was in the boat, there was no escaping.  I was mad at them about that one!  And still haven’t forgotten it (obviously).  I guess the drop was smaller than I remembered 🙂

We used our Fast Passes for Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, alternating throughout the day so we could ride both several times at the end of the day.  They were my favorite at Magic Kingdom.  We skipped Splash Mountain because of how cold it was.

On one of our rides on Big Thunder Mountain, we got stuck on the way up.  We had a great view of the park, though!

We took a break in our day to eat a character dinner at the Crystal Palace.  The buffet food was actually pretty good (I was expecting worse), but we were really there to see Winnie the Pooh characters.  Even as adults, I think character meals are so much fun.

After dinner we went to the Hall of Presidents.  We had just enough time to make it back to the castle for the fireworks.  I found myself wishing that every night could end with fireworks.

After the firework display, we rode Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain a few more times before going home.  It was such a magical day!

Orlando Day 4: Universal Studios

It’s now been 6 months since our Disney trip, but I still want to finish the recaps from our trip.  You can read the previous recaps:

Before our trip, we developed a tentative itinerary outlining which park we would go to each day.  To come up with the itinerary, I looked at touringplans.com to see which parks were expected to have the least crowds each day.  I also compared park hours for each day.  We made dinner reservations based on our itinerary, so several of the days were more or less set in stone.

If only I had planned on going to Universal Studios one day earlier.  Sadly, one of the rides from my childhood (1995), closed the day before we went.  The Jaws ride closed on January 2, and we went to Universal on January 3.  It was so disappointing!  They had boarded up the ride quickly.  When I was little, we had our picture taken under the giant shark outside the ride.  I was looking forward to re-creating that picture (almost 17 years later), but this was the closest I got.

Yes, I’m pouting.  The rest of our day was a lot of fun though.  We started at the Island of Adventures, because the real reason for our break from Disney was to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

It was so cold the day we visited – it wasn’t even 40 degrees when we got there!  So our very first stop at the park was a gift store where I could buy a hat.  It was reversable… I could be Thing 1 or Thing 2!  We stopped once more on our way to Hogwarts.  The Spiderman ride only had a 5 minute wait, so we went for it.  It was a really cool 3-D ride!  Universal definitely wins for more realistic rides.

Finally, we arrived in Hogsmeade.  I had been wanting to go ever since I heard the park was opening, and I was finally there!  It was everything I imagined it would be and more 🙂

The line for the ride in the castle was advertised as being 2.5 hours.  I was hesitant to get in line, but we decided this was the ride we came to the park for, so we went for it.  It only ended up being about a two hour wait, but they did have a lot to look at once we got inside the castle.

Some of the effects were pretty cool.  The talking paintings looked real, they had a room of “floating” candles, and even what appeared to be 3-D projections of Harry, Ron and Hermione who come out on a balcony to talk to you.  I loved every minute of it!

The ride was just awesome.  Definitely worth the two hour wait.  We were in these cars and they alternate between showing you a video screen, where you feel like you’re flying on a broomstick and scenes where you feel like you’re actually in the movie.  They had dementors that get super close to you.  I loved it!

Next up was the Dragon Challenge roller coaster.  It’s a coaster with two intertwined tracks that “race” each other.  We almost missed out on this coaster because the weather was so cold.  It was closed the first time we went by, and they told us that the temperature had to reach at least 40 degrees before they could start testing the track.  Thankfully, it “warmed up” a little bit!

The coaster was awesome!  After the rides, we went to eat at The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.  We had to wait in a very long (and cold) line just to get inside… where there was more line to wait in.  But it was so worth it to experience the pub.

We ordered at the counter and then scouted out a table.  They had traditional pub food, and a few favorites from the Harry Potter books.  Of course, we had to order butterbeer!  It was similar to cream soda.

As much as I hated to leave the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there was a lot more to see at Universal Studios.  We wandered through Dr. Seuss land, but didn’t go on any rides.

We knew we definitely wanted to ride the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, so that was up next.  It was one of my favorite rides of the trip.  They shot us up quickly in the beginning, and straight into an inversion.  It was a rush!

After taking on The Hulk, we headed over to Universal Studios Florida.  It was getting late, but we wanted to hit a few of the classic rides.  Along the way, we got a few pictures at the entrance.

The entryway to Universal was just like I remembered it.

We first rode Disaster, a ride that was similar to a ride from my childhood, Earthquake.  After a show involving the audience, you board a subway and experience an earthquake, complete with fire and rushing water.

Next we went on the Simpsons ride.  At that point, it was getting late and we were freezing cold.  We had been all day.  We got in line to ride Twister, but as we were going into the ride, we heard an announcement that we would get wet on this ride.  That was all we needed to hear to book it out of there.  Of course, once we were out of line and back at the entrance, a park attendant told us that they turn the water off on cold days.  At that point, we were not going to wait on line again, though.  We decided it was time to head back to our hotel.

We ate dinner at Benihana in our hotel.  It was fun!  They threw in a bit of Disney to their show.

It was a cold, but very fun day at Universal!

Pre Goofy: Getting Back in Shape

Official goofy training was going to start on September 10.  It included a 6 mile run and an 8 mile run.  Given my current fitness level, this began to worry me.  Most of my “runs” lately have been 3 miles, and have consisted of more walking than running.  They haven’t been as frequent as they should be either.  Before this week, it had also been more than a month since I had been to yoga.

After reading other Goofy training plans online, and just generally getting more excited to start training, I decided to add 3 more “official” Goofy training weeks to the plan.  Official Goofy training now starts on August 20 and includes a 5 mile “long run” to help build endurance again.

I still feel like I need to do some pre-training to get back in shape before August 20.  I don’t want to injure myself when I start official training, and I feel like I’ve lost a lot of fitness in the past few months.  Work has gotten in the way, and the Houston heat has not helped.  But I decided it’s time to make working out a priority again.  I think I was off to a good start this week:

  • Tuesday: 1 hour flow yoga + 3 miles (1 mile run @ 9:55)
  • Thursday: 1 hour flow yoga + 5 miles (1 mile run @ 9:48 + 8 more minutes run)
  • Saturday: 1.5 hours hot yoga + 3 miles (1 mile run total)

It’s hard to get back into running, but maybe even more difficult to get back into yoga.  My wrists hurt in downward dog and I’ve lost some of my core strength.  I wasn’t flexible before, but I could tell I had made some progress in my yoga classes, and I feel like I’ve lost it now.

In class on Thursday, our yoga instructor told us that we carry our ego in our nose and chin.  She had us push our noses and chins into our mats, pushing on our egos.  It was a good reminder to me to not let my ego get in the way, as I’ve been getting frustrated in yoga class this week.  I just need to keep up with my practice, and the progress will come back.  My Saturday hot class was much better.  I managed to make it through the whole class without taking any breaks.

I’m hoping to keep up with my yoga practice while training for Goofy.  I experienced an injury when training for my first marathon last year, and I plan to do everything I can to nurture my knee this year.

My Summer via Instagram

Goofy Challenge training officially starts in a little over two months.  Which means I need to be getting myself into better shape in the very near future!

Work and hot weather (and a number of other excuses) have gotten in the way, and I have not been so good about running or yoga lately.  But that will be changing soon.  I will be posting my Goofy training plan soon, and I hope to be stepping up my running so I will be in good shape going into that plan.

So what have I been up to, while not running?  It’s been a busy few months!  I also discovered Instagram this summer.  Why did it take me so long?  I’m a little obsessed now.

I celebrated my 27th birthday with friends at Bingo in the Heights.  We brought in El Tiempo fajitas and Crave Cupcakes.  It was so much fun!  Yes, my friends be-dazzled a dauber for me 🙂

We went to Seattle for the Seattle International Film Festival.  My brother-in-law had a film showing in the festival, so we went for the world premiere.  It was exciting to see his movie in a theater, and we got to fit in a lot of sight-seeing during our two days there.  I can’t wait to go back someday!

We stayed at the Marqueen Hotel, which was within walking distance of a number of tourist attractions, including the Space Needle and the EMP.

We then walked another mile to Pike Place Market.

I loved the street entertainers.  One even put a bird in Pat’s hand and made it play dead!

The next day we started out at the Seattle Underground Tour.  I took this tour with my family when I was much younger, and it was just as entertaining as I remembered.  Basically, early Seattle had some serious sewage problems… so when the city burned down in a fire, they decided to just start over again, and built on top of the old city.

When then boarded a ferry to Bainbridge Island.  The view of Seattle was beautiful from the water.

We ate a late brunch at Cafe Nola, at the recommendation of a friend.  I had a fried egg and avocado sandwich that was amazing, and the bloody mary wasn’t bad!

We then tasted wine at Eleven Winery.  We were very sad to learn that they do not ship or sell wine in Texas.  The wine was great, and the people at the winery were friendly.

On our way home from Seattle we had a great view of Mount Rainier from our plane.

A few weeks after Seattle, we flew to Topeka, Kansas for a family wedding.  I got to see my parents and one of my sisters.  It was a quick weekend trip, but it was great to catch up with family I haven’t seen in a very long time.

We celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary on June 27 with dinner at Indika, an Indian restaurant in Houston that we’ve been wanting to try for a long time.  I really liked most of the food we tried.  My favorite was the cauliflower kofta, which came with a poppyseed topping.  The chocolate tart with a pistachio crust was a pretty close second.

So far, it’s been a great summer!