12 January 2009

Walt Disney World 2009

My big goal for this Walt Disney World marathon weekend was to enjoy some of the parks, especially since I've only been to one of them the last two times that we've been in Orlando. My parents and I arrived at the Princess condo on Wednesday evening. We grabbed some dinner at Red Lobster, grabbed some groceries at Target, and then headed to bed. I was sleeping on a pull out couch, but when I laid down it folded up, so I ended up on an air mattress which was very comfy and did not fold up.

Thursday morning, we slept in, which was quite nice. After breakfast we decided to head over to Wide World of Sports to pick up our race packets. We arrived a bit early and ended up standing in line for an hour, but it turned out to be a good thing since we were able to get in and out of packet pick up very rapidly. It was sort of funny because we all had packets to pick up, so we each went our separate ways and then met back up to head over to the expo.

I had no plans to buy anything at the expo, but I ended up with a new pair of sunglasses to replace my favorite broken ones. We checked out the official merchandise area and ended up with lots of Disney stuff. My dad got a hat and a t-shirt, my mom got lots of stuff and I grabbed a t-shirt, visor and water bottle. Because we bought so much stuff, we got a Disney gift card...yeah, we spent alot.

After the expo, we headed over to Epcot and ended up staying there until after the fireworks. We had fish and chips in the United Kingdom, rode lots of rides, and watched the Celtic bagpipe rock band. We walked all over the park and really didn't have to wait in too many lines. My dad and I got to pick dinner, so we ended up at a Japanese restaurant with some delicious sushi. My mom actually tried it, which was a total shocker. After dinner, we walked around some more and watched the fireworks and then headed back to the Princess condo.

Friday morning, I ran the Circle of Life 5k at Animal Kingdom. After that, it was off to spend the day at Magic Kingdom. We hit lots of rides and then had lunch at a yummy barbecue place in Frontierland. We thought it would be fun to check out the Haunted Mansion, but that turned out to be not such a great idea because all of us ended up in one car and all of us do not fit into one car. My dad had most of the seat. My mom had half a bum cheek on the seat and I was basically hanging on to the bar. After that wonderful family bonding togetherness time, we headed over to Space Mountain, which may have been my favorite ride. We spent the afternoon riding rides and eating delicious Dole Whip Pineapple ice cream. Dinner that night was Outback and then it was off to bed to wake up for the big race.

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 4am and we all got up and headed back to Epcot. It was interesting because my dad was kind of excited for his first race. I'll give you lots more details about the race in my race report, but for now, we all finished and we all had a great time. My dad even said he would do another race, which was quite a surprise.

After the race, my parents went out to lunch with some friends from Florida. I camped out on the couch and relaxed. We had planned on going to a park, but my dad and I weren't walking too well (more about that in the race report), so we ended up wandering around an outlet mall very slowly. We grabbed some dinner (cheeseburgers) and then headed to bed for another early morning wakeup.

Sunday morning was another bright and early rise and shine at 4am. I did some surgery on my feet and tried to convince myself I could do a marathon. We drove back to Epcot and after much traffic, arrived at our parking spot, which was three parking lots away from the entrance to the start. I hopped out of the car with my mom and started hobbling (literally). We made it through one parking lot before I finally accepted that I would not be racing. I said, "I can't do this. This is as fast as I can walk and I'm not going to be able to keep the pace." My mom said okay and trotted off to the start. I, on the other hand, fought back tears and headed back to the car to hang out with my dad. (I'll write more about this in my marathon non-race report.)

My dad and I talked for a bit and then headed over to mile 4 to cheer the runners on. We spent the next 6+ hours cheering and I learned that spectators really don't know how to cheer and only really look for their runners. I actually know how to cheer for runners, so I was yelling and clapping and cheering until the people standing around me were completely annoyed. Having run several races, I've learned that cheering spectators really provide lots of energy and since I wasn't running, I figured I could at least do that. My dad and I say my mom and friends at mile 4, 9, and 12.5 as well as the finish, so it worked out well.

After the race, it was back to the Princess condo for showers, snacks, and then lunch. My mom was actually the most mobile out of the three of us and she worked the hardest. My dad and I were both struggling to get around. After lunch, it was back to the condo to watch the Xterra US Championship. My dad was totally impressed with Jamie Whitmore's story and said he would rather do an Xterra race than a marathon. Perhaps there's another triathlete in the family?!? Anyways, my parents dropped me off at the airport and I headed back to real life which included 1/2 inch of ice on my car.

So, that was our annual trip to Walt Disney World. We had fun. My dad completed his first 1/2 marathon. My mom completed her 2nd Goofy Challenge. I ran for the first time since Halloween and we went to the parks. Oh, and the weather was fantastic. Hopefully, it will keep me going until I head back to Orlando in March.