Be Lazy, Use Links!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wine and Dine Volunteering - The Expo!

After discovering that you can volunteer at runDisney races last year, we've become hooked!  It involves all my favorite things - Disney, running, freebies and giving back! It's a Win-Win-Win-Win! (Wow, there's a lot of exclamation points in that paragraph...)

Anyway, we headed down Friday morning for our first shift. We would be working 12:00 - 7:30pm at the Expo.  After checking in upstairs and getting our credentials for later, we were told that we could grab a box of lunch before our shift began. Disney always decks out their Volunteer spaces nicely, and this time was no exception!

We've worked with many of these volunteers before
Of course, we had stopped at Subway before we got there (we didn't know there would be lunch - we were expecting snacks only), so we grabbed a box, so that we'd be able to eat it later on. 

It's a crappy photo, but you can see that they had a fridge for all the boxed meals, a rolling cooler that was filled with big and small bottles of Dasani, as well as a table set up with two Keurig machines, which both me and The Kiddo fell in love with - Disney was kind enough to put out hot chocolate k-cups for us non-coffee folks!

Keurig - the least frugal and least eco-friendly way to make coffee
I got a large bottle of water, as well as a cup of hot chocolate, mixed with one creamer (to cool it down and make it richer).

Yum! Hot Chocolate and Cold Water
 I got a Ham and Swiss Cheese boxed lunch. Other options were Italian, Turkey, and Vegetarian.

Boxed Lunch Presentation
 The first thing you see when you open the box is a bag of chips and a freshly baked cookie! Yum. Under that is the sandwich. 

Boxed Lunch Open Presentation
 Also in the box was some applesauce, a spoon for said applesauce, napkins and condiments. 

Can I get another cookie? Mine looks like applesauce
Once we finished our Subway, we hung around for a bit until our shift was called to the Expo floor. We followed our Team Leader, who assigned people to the Packet Pickup Booths.  The Kiddo was picked to work alone (well, away from us, but with other Volunteers), and Hubby and I worked the Kids Races Booths.

This is her "Geez, she's taking a photo of me" smile
At the kids booth, we gave out their bibs, a set of ears (if they ordered them beforehand), a cute Certificate that their parents could fill out later, a Wine and Dine Program (we didn't give out a lot of these; most of the parents already got it when they picked up their own bibs), and a tee with Santa Duffy on it.  I wish I took the photo of the shirts from the side of the table - all those teeny tiny baby-size shirts were freaking adorable!  I think the smallest size was a 12-month size?  Awwwww!

James' bib and ears
Cameron's Certificate of Completion
Official 2015 Wine and Dine Event Guide
Kid's Race Shirts - from 12 Months to Youth Large
It wasn't super-busy at our booth, so we did a lot of standing around.  There was a lot of open space by us, so we saw lots of kids just playing/spinning/jumping/whatever in the big open area.  

Or, you know, kids on leashes
I was able to snap a quick selfie of me and The Kiddo in the wild.

The Kiddo and Me

The Kiddo returned the favor by attempting to take an embarrassing photo of me dancing the music runDisney pumped in. She failed - not embarrassing at all!

Go White Girl, Go White Girl, Go!
At the end of our shift, we had to tally up how many bibs we'd given out that day, plus straighten up our area before we left.  We were able to grab another box lunch to take with us back to the hotel (they had a bunch of leftovers), so we didn't need to stop for dinner, which was a good thing, because I have a race tomorrow!  While other people are doing the Jingle Jungle 5k at Animal Kingdom, I'm going to be running around the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee!  Check out my next post for my race report.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ARRRRR ye ready, kids?



Arrrrr ya ready to die?

Nah, let’s try that again…

Arrrrr ya ready to be AWESOME???!!!???

There, that’s better. I signed up for the Gasparilla Distance Classic Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge (whew, long name).

Woo hoo!
The challenge consists of running a 15k on Saturday, then returning the next day and running an 8k on Sunday. If you do both, you get a medal for each race PLUS a challenge medal PLUS a cool jacket!

This is the first time I’ve ever signed up for a challenge!   I’m super-worried that I’m not going to be able to finish….

Look at me... I'm the Pirate Now!
 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Celebration 10k Race Report



I gotta be honest - I was kind of not looking forward to this 10k. After I signed up for it, I found out that they changed the course from what it was last year. Last year, there was a long out and back along the edge of the golf course, and it was where I bled a lot of time last year. I was looking forward to beating my time there.Instead, the course this year would wind through mostly neighborhoods and the town center.  Meh, we’ll see. 

Garmin Map of the route
We left home around 4:15 in the morning - way too early, it turned out!  Even though we were headed in the Disney Direction, we skipped the donuts. We made really good time and got to the Celebration Firehouse by 6am.  The race didn’t start ‘til 8! As you can imagine, we got an awesome parking spot.

I hopped out and visited the potty – as you can imagine there were absolutely NO lines!  I think that I may have actually been the first runner there.  All I saw were employees and volunteers! They kind of looked at me like I had a second head…

I went ahead and did packet pickup, just to get it out of the way, and to beat the crowds (what crowds?), then headed back to the car to chill out. I plugged in my iPod to let it charge while I took 15 minutes to eat string cheese (seriously, why does food not taste good before a race?)

I had to potty again. This time there was a line. Then back to the car.

At about 7:45, I got out and began to get ready. Even though I was literally steps from the starting line, I felt like I was late!  I got in line to start and realized about 2 seconds before starting that I forgot to set the Garmin to find satellites. Oops!
 
It's all quiet now, when you're the first person to arrive!
Many more people now!
I promise, I was more awake than I looked
We took off, and Garmin found satellites about .11 miles in. I was passed by a lot of people, very quickly.  Sad. I was wheezing already, so I took a hit from Vlad, the Inhaler.

Off I go!
About half a mile in, I realized that there was a cop behind me. Sweet, I’m DEAD LAST. That never gets old… <sarcasm>

I noticed at what should be Mile 1 that there were no Mile signs. What the heck? Oh well. I kept running my intervals (really badly), but I kept up with the two folks I dubbed Big Old Guy and LeiLei (she was wearing a Sparkle Skirt in that print).

The first water stop wasn’t until Mile 2 or so.  I’m no longer last, but I’m sure close! I took water and Gatorade and kept on chuggin’ along.

As long as I can see someone, I don't feel lost
Up until now, the course was the same as last year, but after the water stop, the course began winding through neighborhoods with lots of twists and turns.

Being in the back of the pack on courses like this really reinforce HOW FAR BACK you really are. At some points I was completely alone – I couldn’t see anyone in front of me, and at more than one point, I was sure that I had missed a turn and I was lost.
 
Hello?
I'm so lonely...
Hey look!  The Pink Ladies!  I'm not lost!
I think I'm lost again
Doing my best to follow the signs, completely lost in this Stepford town, I came across the COOLEST house, all decked out for Halloween!  It was a skeleton pirate ship!  I took a few photos and kept on movin’.  I didn’t want to become last again.

From this angle, you can see the siding on the house in the upper-lefthand corner of the shot
Finally, after what seemed like forever, I came in to the finish line.  My time sucked – it was 1:42:42.

Hubby and the Kiddo gave me hugs and I got my medal.

Way to cheer on the Back of the Pack folks, nonexistent crowds...
Gotta complain here – the volunteers could really use some training regarding how to hand out medals. NONE of the medals had even been unwrapped!!  There was still plastic encasing the medal itself!  It was really sad…
 
The medals still have the plastic baggie on them!!! 
We stayed at the finish to cheer on the rest of the Back of the Pack, including Big Old Guy, who officially was the last finisher.
 
Awesome Celebration Cheerleaders running in with The Big Old Guy
Breakfast was way crowded, and I wasn’t even able to sneak in for some OJ (it wasn’t out separate like it was last year).  We grabbed a little bit of swag and headed back to the car.

Good size water bottle, mints, and some chocolate
Unisex-cut race tee. Meh - it's good for mowing the lawn

Once in the car, I attempted to describe the cool pirate house to the family. They (of course!) wanted to see it, so we ambled around the town until we found it. They were as blown away by it as I was. While we were there, at least 2 other cars stopped to check it out too!
 
Blue Nissan for Scale
The details are amazing!

Do you see the skeleton on the rope?

Another angle

Steering the Ship
Lunch was a pitstop at Arby’s, then we headed to Disney (duh!).
 
I do love Arby's... when it's fresh.
We parked at the Boardwalk, rather than at a park. We do this for two reasons:  1) We’re frugal and don’t see any value in spending $17 to park for 2 hours at a theme park, and 2) We were planning on going to the Boardwalk Bakery on the way back to get some tasty pastries, so we were still utilizing a parking space to visit the Boardwalk. Some folks on Disney Boards think this is cheap, cheating, stealing or otherwise uncool behavior. Whatever – I see no problem.  (If we were going to go to a theme park for an entire day, of course I would pay to park…)

We waited for a Friendship Boat to take us to DHS. While waiting, I (again, of course) took some artsy flower shots.

Ooooh, artsy
Friendship Boat Pileup!
That's what you get for bringing bags, suckers!
Our first stop was The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. This is an attraction that never really garnered any attention, and was being shut down.  Since we’d never been to it, we decided to hit it up, just to say we’d seen it.

The artwork on the side of the building is really cool though

Judging by the ‘crowds,’ a lot of people decided to do it before it was gone. We were given Return Passes for 1:45, but were told that we could wait in the waiting area (we were there around 1:15), which had shade and benches. So we did. I still had my beverage from Arby’s to finish anyway, so we just chilled out until it was our turn to go in.

"Fastpasses" for Cap'n Jack

I can now see why this was never a popular attraction.  I zoned out through most of it, but let’s see if I can explain it. You are led in to a ‘cave’ and then you are in a room with a boat on one side and more rocks on the other, and on those rocks are lots of treasure, like gems, jewelry, treasure chests, etc.   There are multiple screens in the room, including one on the ship. Jack Sparrow comes up and tells you a story, and then stuff happens, and then the story’s over. That’s pretty much the gist of the attraction. Then you are led out of the room and you’re back outside in the Florida heat. 

The screen on the ship is below the sail; The row of skeletons is on another screen

Luckily, DHS had given us something to combat that heat – Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Funalnd!  We headed over to Soundstage One and was greeted with, what else, a gift shop. There were lots of cute things in there, but turns out we had to go around the building to get to the Frozen Funland part.  They only let in a few people at a time, and once we were inside, we could see why!  It looked like a rave at a skating rink during the 80s! Children running all over the place, tired moms and dads holding shoes or bags.  We decided to get in line to play in the snow.

Seriously, this really is a lawsuit waiting to happen
But don't worry - Super Cast Member is always on duty!
"Refreshing" the Ice

Between ‘sets,’ the snow was cleaned and freshened and then the next batch of people (we were first!) were let in. After grabbing some beach toys, we headed to the back corner where hopefully, we wouldn’t be crushed!  The Kiddo, who has never even seen snow before, was enthralled and quickly began digging in (the ice/snow was definitely not fluffy snow, but more like what you’d get out of that old Snoopy ice maker toy).  
 
The view from our peaceful corner
Attempting to scoop the snow into a box

After a few minutes, my inner child decided it was time to build a snowman!  It didn’t have to be a snowman… aw who’m I kidding? Of course it had to be a snowman!  It was tiny, but it counted!

I'm not exactly sure what she built...

I think we were in the snow for maybe 5 minutes before it was time to get out, which was fine with me. My knees were wet and I was getting cold.  We passed the area they had for snacks (cupcakes, frozen drinks, etc), then exited through the gift shop, and back out.

At this point, we made our way out, taking lots of shots of the Sorcerer’s Hat. It is going to be removed soon (thank God!), but of course I had to have some “this is the last time I saw the hat” photos. Here’s some that I really liked.

Typical Head-On Shot
From Further Down (I want that SparkleSkirt!!!)
Artsy Close-Up
Ooooh, so artsy!
Next stop was Magic Kingdom (I think we bussed over), to get some fun Fall Season shots. We actually didn’t ride anything, eat anything or go any further than the flag pole!  We headed up to the Train Station while I did some photos, then came back down, headed to the Bus Circle and rode over to the Boardwalk.

With a quick stop at the Boardwalk Bakery (see, told ya) for cheesecake brownies, peanut butter cakes and Oreo cupcakes, we hopped in the car and make our way home. I was exhausted!