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Friday, January 30, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Ghost Puppy

In our previous house, we had a fireplace and one of Gimli's favorite things to do was to look for the Ghost Puppy.

It's hard to believe he used to be so small, I miss having a little one around.

Monday, January 26, 2015

WDW Marathon Weekend - 10k

Yes, I know I'm late in this posting, but here it is.

For the 10k race, we had to be at the starting corral for 5.30, which meant we were in bed by around 10 pm on Thursday night. This wasn't so bad, on account of the early start that day, and we were determined to rest up before our race on Friday. We set up the wake up call again, as well as the alarms on our phones.

Unfortunately, we didn't sleep well - the bed was lumpy and I was so paranoid about I'd sleeping in that I awoke several times to check the time!

It wasn't as cold as the Thursday, so I only wore two layers this time. We hastily ate breakfast, which was a small bowl of cereal, and headed to the monorail. Luckily for us, the Epcot monorail was running, so we changed trains at the Transportation and Ticket Center and off we went.

It's quite surreal sitting in the darkened monorail traveling to Epcot. Your eyes think it's the evening, but your brain knows its early in the morning and both seem to fight over which one is correct.

We headed past the bag check and towards the wheelchair tent. Compared to the previous day, there seemed to be a few more wheelchair racers. I hung out with Mike for a few minutes before I left to find my corral.

I was a bit sore that morning. I hadn't planned on running as much as I did and I was ill prepared to run two races back to back. When we were training, we only had one bit of practice of back to back, so I definitely felt it that morning. Even though I was one of the early ones into the corral, I decided to stay in the middle of the pack. I didn't want to over do it and then have to hobble around for the rest of the day.  I was about 20 minutes early into the corral and the wait until the official starting time seemed to take forever. We had to wait for the wheelchair athletes and then corrals A and B to get going. This took about 20 more minutes and I felt like I was going out of my mind.I don't know why, I think I just wanted to get going. I remember getting this way at home during training and I chalked it up to excitement and my burgeoning running addiction.

I finally crossed the starting line and we were off. I had a bit of a choppy start because of the amount of runners around me. I had to walk for a bit to allow the herd to thin out a bit. This was good and bad - good because my body could take it easy, bad because my antsy brain was fired up and itching to start to run. This time, instead of turning right and around the parking lot, we turned left and headed onto the road.

The first mile marker was close to the turn around point. As I approached, I saw the throng of runners ahead of me and the shadowy runners heading up the incline. I looked around to see runners passing me and I felt a bit of dread and doubt. All of a sudden, I felt like this wasn't a good idea anymore and I wanted to stop. My legs were moving by themselves, it seemed and I kept going. I turned my focus elsewhere - I thought about how amazing it was that I was here on the road, on which I had only driven before. My thoughts even turned to a dark place and I thought about The Walking Dead and the zombie horde, while all round me I heard feet and heard breaths, but I kept going.

I believe this part was the hardest, I really do. There was nothing to see, just road and trees and darkness stretching before you. It wasn't a physical wall, it was a mental one. This is the essence of running. Not your feet or your calves or your lungs, it's the head games. Finally, we reached mile marker 3 and I realized I was close to half way and we started to head into the back way of the Epcot compound.

I was starting to get hungry and when we turned into the compound, we passed by the wondrous smell of bacon and eggs cooking. I half wanted to depart the race and go grab some breakfast!

I continued on towards the World Showcase, running and walking as I could. As I passed the American pavilion, I ducked into the washroom and then ran out again. I walked up the hill past the French pavilion and then ran down the decline as we headed towards the Boardwalk resort. As we entered that section, I looked across the water to the Yacht Club resort and I could see a large mass moving. I knew I'd be there soon enough.

By this time, we started to see and hear guests cheering us on. Before on the road, there was no one and it was silent. Within Epcot, there were some cast members and behind the scenes employees. But, my favorite time was through Boardwalk and Yacht Club resorts. I'd started to waver again on account of hunger and fatigue and seeing those people in their pajamas and bundled up against the cold, it gave me the will to go on. I made it through the resort section and started passing those runners who were just now entering the resort.

Now, we headed back into Epcot and toward mile marker 6. At this point, I really had no strength left. I went to draw some energy and there was none. I kept walking because I knew I wanted to run across the finish line and I had to conserve the little "fumes" I had left. By the time I turned the corner to leave The Living Seas and head towards Spaceship Earth, I could hear the DJ and I knew I was heading to the home stretch.

This race was tough. I wasn't as ready as I wanted to be and it showed. It took me an hour and 32 minutes to complete, which is 3 minutes faster than my time at home. I wasn't going to break a personal record or anything, but just to give a comparison.

I will stick with running. I've already set goals for myself this year and for next year. Mike wants to do some of the other RunDisney races in California and Orlando, but we'll see how things go. Over the past 6 months, I made plenty of rookie mistakes, which hampered my progress. Now, I know better, so I will do better.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Smiler - Clean feet

Our feet are clean from romping in the snow!

The Dalmatian blanket is a fixture at the back door now that winter is upon us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WDW Marathon Weekend - Expo and 5k

As I've mentioned here in the past, we have been training for a 5k and a 10k. We've just returned from the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend and we had a lovely time!

We arrived late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, no thanks to Air Canada, and checked into Bay Lake Tower. We didn't make it into bed til close to 3 am. We were up again around 8 am to have breakfast and then head to the Expo, which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports location. Because we were doing the 5k, which was scheduled for Thursday, we had to go to the Expo on Wednesday to pick up our race items and bibs.

The transportation to the Expo was excellent, there were buses leaving from each resort, so we didn't have to worry about using the rental car. This was a good thing, because the parking lot was quite full by the time we arrived.

The Expo was well laid out, there were ample signs directing attendees to the packet pick ups and the t-shirt pick ups. After a quick stay in line to register and sign off for the respective races, Mike and I headed to the RunDisney merchandise shop. We were looking for the 5 and 10k items, but there wasn't any available for purchase. It was close to 11, so we assumed that they had all been snatched up. There was a glut of merchandise for the full and half marathons, as well as the Goofy and Dopey runs.

We were told there was a second RunDisney shop in the building where you pick up the race shirts, so we headed there. In that building, I came across the Raw Threads booth, where I picked up two new racing tops - Red Hearts, (which I thought was for the Evil Queen, but it's actually the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland), and the Plaid Bow, which is the one for Merida!

After I paid for the tops, I found Mike who was chatting with none other than our German guide from our Adventures by Disney trip! We knew she was running the Marathon, but we didn't know we'd run into each other at the Expo of all places! The three of us spent the afternoon together navigating the Expo and picking up our race shirts.

After the Expo, we rushed over to the local Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up a helmet for Mike. We didn't know he needed one for the wheelchair division - there was nothing in the race documentation etc - this is something RunDisney needs to work on. After we grabbed the helmet, we were off to an early dinner at Sanaa, I love this restaurant, before an early bedtime.

The 5k race started at 6.15 am, which meant you had to be up around 4am in order to arrive at the starting line. Because Mike was in the wheelchair division, he had to be in the wheelchair tent in time for him to be checked in and to make any last minute adjustments to the wheelchair and the FreeWheel. We were up at 4, ate a small breakfast, put on 4 layers due to the -1 Fahrenheit temperatures and we headed to the Monorail.

At the Monorail, we were told that we could not switch to the Epcot Monorail because it had broken down. Instead we were to use the buses. This would have been ok in warmer temperatures, but it was much worse standing outside in the biting wind, waiting for a bus.

We arrived at the bus drop off location in the Epcot parking lot, and then we walked into the staging area. I was blown away by the sheer amount of participants. There were large packs of racers moving into one area, it really looked like the Zombie Horde! We made it through the bag check - we didn't have one, and headed to the wheelchair tent. Here, Mike and I separated and I went to go find my corral.

I was a little confused here, because there was no signage directing you to the corral section. I wandered around a little until I found the map and the location of the corrals. All the while, freezing and trying to keep movement in my fingers. Eventually, I made it and into Corral C, the best letter! I went all the way to the front, stretched, walked around, and waited for the race to begin.

After what seemed like an eternity, we were called to the starting line. The wheelchair racers were put in place first, then Corral A moved down the chute and towards the starting line. After the 'A' racers were in place, they loaded Corral B and so on. It took about 18 minutes or so from the time the wheelchair racers started to when our corral started moving.

I was fortunate enough to be in the middle of a small pack, so I kept a slower pace than usual. This worked out well for me because I ended up running about 75% of the race! I finished in about 37 minutes, about 10 minutes less than my average time. This put me at about the middle of the pack for the finishers, which is just fine for me. I was paranoid I'd come in last!

There were some characters on the course, but I didn't stop to take pictures. By the time I got to each one, the line up was quite long, so I didn't bother. I was able to get these, though:

Spaceship Earth in the distance

Sunrise, looking back at World Showcase

After the race, I found Mike at the wheelchair tent and we beelined for the bus to take us back to Bay Lake Tower. It was still frigid and we didn't want to spend anymore time outside than we needed!

I wasn't as sore as I thought I'd be after this race, but we did take some time in the afternoon to nap and relax. We had another early morning for us on Friday for the 10k.

I'll have my 10k report later on in the week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Smiler - Look what I got!

Gimli adores his Wubbas, to the point where we have 4 in total. 2 are outside only Wubbas and 2 for inside. The "old" one has been partially chewed by Merida and the squeaker is dead, but he still loves to play fetch with it.

This new purple one still has a squeaker, but I won't be surprised if it's dead in a few weeks.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Flat Corgi Friday - One Love

Come to Jamaica and feel alright

Yup, one love of two corgis.

This picture was taken on the grounds of the Good Hope Estate near Falmouth, Jamaica.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year of the Corgi - January

In preparation for 2013, we created a Gimli calendar, you can see it here: Year of Gimli. However, because we didn't have enough pictures of Merida, we opted not to create a custom calendar for 2014.

Today's post, however, marks a return to the calendar entries, titled: Year of the Corgs.