Saturday, September 29, 2012

So that's what 10,000 people look like! - Race Night

Our day was relatively lazy. With resting up for the race and getting gear in order, add in lunch and that was our day. At 7 pm we needed to be to the Wide World of Sports to get on buses. Which took us to the Studios park, parking lot - which was our home for just under 3 hours. This is where/when runners check in their bags, take pictures and a FABULOUS DJ warmed up the crowd.
We people-watched and clapped along, while the time passed. It went surprisingly quickly.
Runners needed to be in their pacing groups by 9:15 so that was when I headed to the spectators area. Then it was more people watching til 10 when the race officially began.

How many port a potties do you need for 10k people?
My favorite runner.
Our little piece of the parking lot, where we listened and watched as the DJ warmed up the runners.
Theses ladies were good at the Electric Slide
The starting line... before the runners 
The starting line + 2500 runners
The official start of the race!
The second wave of runners
The last wave of runners line up to start. 
And they are off!
Hollywood Studios park.... very very empty.
Runners pass "the Hat" with only a half mile left to go..... look closely and see the two at the front of the stage....
getting engaged!
Here comes our Runner! Half mile to go! You look great!
After the race we rested. And decided that a night in the park with 10K people wasn't what we really wanted. A soak in the tub and sleep sounded a lot better. So we returned to our hotel and settled in.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day before the race - things to do and things to eat

Today was packet pickup day for probably more than half the runners. And how many runners are there? you ask..... over 10,000! Yup. That's right, tomorrow night's race is completely sold out and I have no idea how I will spot hubby in the crowd as he cruises around the course :)
We woke up about 10 am when the phone rang and then took our time getting up and ready to go. 
The first order of business today was getting a rain layer for our runner.... just in case. With the following criteria... layer must meet the needs of the runner, but be disposable - so if said runner doesn't want it anymore... they can drop it along the way. All items of clothing left on the course are collected, laundered and given to charity. So, it took us a while to find just the right thing... but we did and set course for Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. 

Oops, I guess it's now ESPN Wide World of Sports complex
This is where final waivers are turned in and packet pickup takes place. All participants get a bib and bib number, a bag to "check" at the time of the race, their free event t-shirt and final race instructions. This is also where the EXPO is... a large room full of race related vendors.
You need anything from shoes to pain relief, sweat bands (cute ones, with lots of sparkle) to running skirts - this is the place to look. Lots of gear and the place to get your commemorative t-shirts etc. 

They also have a number of speakers over the weekend and this is where they present. From what I can tell, all races like this have a beneficiary - this race, it's Autism Speaks. I popped by their booth and got a couple fun flashing wrist bands for the kids. But we are getting hungry so its time to move on.

Food and Wine Festival here we come!
Oh, yummmy - Once we got into Epcot we hit the Info pavilion before hitting the food. We also picked up a guide so we could read about what each booth had to offer. Our first food was the Terra booth, which is new for this year's fest... it's a vegan booth and both hubby and I really enjoyed it. He got a Chili Colorado and I had a Chicken Curry with rice. These were probably our favorites of the savory foods we ate today. We hit about half the booths open, sampling food from Argentina, Mexico, Australia  China, South Africa, Germany and Ireland. Plus we hit the Cheese booth :) Ymmm. 

Lamingtons... yummy, who knew? 
The Cheese Booth offered a trio of cheeses and a fondue... yum
Our timing was almost perfect - we finished world showcase (and were full) just about the time the rain started. We hurried over to Spaceship Earth and missed the heaviest part of the storm.
Hubby and I haven't ridden this together since they added the interactive part so I had to get a picture. 

Us, in the future! 
Well the rain wasn't quite done, but we were - we wandered out of the park and headed back to our room for a break. Mostly just to get off our feet. They will be used plenty tomorrow, might as well give them a break today.

Can you see the full rainbow? As we walked to the car to leave Epcot... pretty cool. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

RunDisney - or a trip to Orlando without the kids!

This trip is just hubby and I! And what a culture shock to travel across the country to Disney World without the kiddos.  We started our love of Disney World long before they were born so it's kind of deja-vu to return without them.
This weekend is the Tower of Terror 10 miler race at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Hubby will be running the race and I will be cheering him on.
The run is Saturday night - it starts at 10 pm and the park will stay open until 4 am for race goers and their guests! So we are attempting to stay on west coast time so the late hour doesn't get to us.
But honestly I will be shocked if we make it to 4 am.

Today was all about travel.
We headed out early this morning and caught a flight across the country. Grandma and Grandpa are watching our kiddos, so we know they are in good hands. Our flight was uneventful. Hubby listened to podcasts and I started watching the final season of Being Erica - which I have been waiting and waiting to get my hands on... Come on Canada, share! So the almost 6 hours passed rather quickly and we were driving to the resort before we knew it.
We typically stay at Disney when we are here, in part because we "know the secret" and own a Disney timeshare and in part because we love staying on property. This trip our timeshare wasn't an option so we got to try something new. We are staying at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek. Which is on property, but not a Disney hotel.
The unit is lovely, but getting in and settled was kind of crazy.

view as you enter
another view of main living area
bath, which has a door on the other side that goes back into the dining/entryway

As it's on the same grounds as another Wyndham hotel and there are 6 plus buildings - we covered a lot of ground between our check in and finding our real room.
The real fun was getting the parking pass. Part of the reason our room is so big and has such nice amenities is that it's a timeshare. They book rooms for cash, which is what we did.
No where online was there any indication that attending a presentation would be required. (Do you see the writing on the wall here?) Well, "getting your parking pass" is code for talk to a sales person to set up your 90 min. introduction to Wyndham timeshares... oh and we will get you a parking pass while we are at it. We talked with a very nice representative named Keith for about 10 minutes... where are you from, what brings you to our fair city, how did you find our hotel? etc. Then he began "encouraging us" to set up our appointment with him, because he doesn't want us to miss out on our free gifts. YIKES!
Hubby knew this was coming about 3 minutes before me, when he realized the guy was putting notes on our resort map upside down... we learned several years ago that a true timeshare sales person knows how to write upside flawlessly. And Keith did! Well we don't really have 90 mins to dedicate to a sales pitch we would say no to, so we politely side stepped it. We don't want/need the "free gifts" and we have paid for our room in full. So I don't feel guilty. I am hopeful that that was the last of it for this visit - fingers crossed :)
Well, after all that we ran out of here and found dinner.
Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney did the trick.... wow, what a great sandwich. Maybe it was the best turkey sandwich ever, or maybe I hadn't eaten since breakfast on the other side of the country? Hard to say. We ate and wandered a bit. I got to shop a little in the BIG store and then we hit a real grocery store for breakfast supplies, water, etc.
The room is very comfortable and provides plenty of room to relax and unwind, which will be great.
Tomorrow is packet pick up for the race and the first day of Epcot's annual Food and whine (tee hee... it's really wine, but since we don't drink, I like my way better) Festival.

Oh - Did I mention the rain? It's the tail end of Hurricane season here and well, Florida has amazing rain storms. So this is what we saw and then encountered on our drive to the resort.
And yes, we did get wet!

Storms in the distance... we are heading towards that bright area
between the big bands of rain
But we didn't miss the rain.... Lots and lots of heavy rain.
Yup, it's lush and green here :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hey, wanna go to Canada for the afternoon?

This was roughly what I said to hubby this morning before Church. He pondered it for a few seconds before jumping in, with questions - when would we leave? where would we go? etc.

We pretty much ruled the whole idea NUTS when we realized there was a big.. BIG concert thingy today, happening in roughly the same place we wanted to be - Stanley Park. Granted we wanted to go to the Vancouver Aquarium and the concerts were in the park somewhere... they were planning on crowds and crowds mean traffic and time wasn't in our favor, so we dropped it..... mostly.

After church the notion hits us again. We are home earlier than we planned and it's a beautiful day - why not be spontaneous? So we change clothes, grab lunch to eat on the road, passports and the assorted Canadian change we had lying around - and we're off!

Estimated time of arrival at aquarium was 3:45 pm.
Our first hurdle is the border. When we left home it was reported to have a 52 min wait to get through the border - which means we wouldn't make it to the Aquarium. Because, while they are open until 5, they close the doors at 4:30.... now your seeing how nuts we are, aren't you?
A wait of that long would put the whole trip in jeopardy. But we watched the times and when we arrived our wait was about 15 mins. So, we are feeling very optimistic. Its a smallish aquarium, and while you can't see everything in an hour, it was enough time for what we wanted... yay! Now into town...... and TRAFFIC.

6 year old said this sign said "No Octagons" 
At this point it was like a roller coaster ride, We will make it! - we won't make it. The traffic was all over the place. The people of Vancouver were out in force today, walking, riding, driving, shopping, eating - people everywhere. We entered Stanley park at 4:10, we had 20 mins to make 1 mile, and at this point we didn't think we would. It was bumper to bumper concert goers. Volunteers in matching t-shirts directing the snail's pace traffic... to keep going. It took us 12 minutes to get to the Aquarium, and now we needed parking. The kids and I hopped out, leaving hubby to hunt down a spot. And we ran to the members entrance. Well, hubby had a spot and had joined us before the pass info was updated and our hands were stamped! We were in! Shocking, I know... but we made it and now we had a leisurely 35 minutes to explore - Eeks!

They have a new penguin exhibit.. so that was our first stop. Followed by the required visit to the Belugas. We had time to walk though most everything else and pause at our old favorites. The kiddos had mixed reactions to the hasty nature of our visit, but at dinner declared it was all worth it.

We dined at The Old Spaghetti Factory on our way out of town and enjoyed the drive out a bit more than the drive in. After dinner I was able to go to Tim Horton's, it's a favorite guilty pleasure and the closest ones are in Canada, so I don't indulge often. Then it was back to the border and home.

We got home about 10. The kids sleep walked to bed and now it's our turn. It was crazy, but lots of fun.