Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Other Side Of The Tunnel

Well, I experienced something new last night.

I've been running with my trusty running partner, Lara, on Wednesday nights. I also call Lara "the billy goat" because she has no problem prancing up and down mountains in the dark and calls them, "trail runs". But whatever, the billy goat is currently 7 months pregnant and finally my speed. So rather than drag me along, kicking and screaming, at a pace that is a serious struggle for me, she now has been slowed down to something more reasonable: sedated snail speed. Perfect.

Anyhoo, Lara and I have been meeting at a running path called the greenbelt that runs through parts of Scottsdale and all the way into Tempe. Being that this is the desert and very little green grows here naturally, it's safe to assume that the greenbelt runs along heavily watered, higher end communities. And golf courses. Lots of golf here in the desert.

The start of the path is located next to a parking lot for shops and restaurants. When I was training for the NYC marathon, we ran here because there are a lot of trees on the path for shade and it's prettier than running in the desert. Plus, you can run for miles and miles. Ideal for marathon training.

We've been running just over 2 miles out and back, for a total of about 4.5 miles. Well, last night we got to about 1.9 miles and the sprinklers along the path were on. When it's hot out, this sounds ideal, but in reality, the water is reclaimed water, so not really good to be running through.

We decide to turn around and make up the difference on the way back by getting to the parking lot and running through the tunnel to get to the other side for a bit. Of all the times we've run the greenbelt, I've never gone through that tunnel to the other side. I assumed it was just a neighborhood.

We get through the tunnel and up to the sidewalk. It's really dark, so I can see some random lights up ahead off to the right. Because I'm a nosy, busy body, I suggest that we should check it out. Plus, I've watched enough X-files in my lifetime to know that this could be the work of aliens or a government conspiracy.


As we got closer, it became increasingly obvious that we were not dealing with alien aircraft lights, but in my vast experience ("vast experience" loosely translates as paranormal nerd) you can never be too careful.

Those are solar lights planted into the ground.

We get up close and find solar lights in the ground. Weird, right? It was a large grassy area. Being that is was really dark with no street lights, I couldn't quite figure out what we were looking at.

Yup. We were in a grave yard. That's certainly a first for me. This must be a smaller and newer cemetery because I didn't really see any upright head stones, but rather head stones on the ground.


So, of course, what's the first thing I do when I realize that I'm standing in a cemetery? Take a picture with the flash on to see if I spot any orbs. Disappointingly, I found none.


If you don't know what orbs are, you clearly have not watched as many episodes of My Ghost Story as I have. I do not recommend watching that show and running alone in the dark. Just sayin.

I was hoping for my very own X-file experience (I can't express my joy enough over the revival of my all time favorite show ever), but clearly this is not an overly haunted cemetery. Disappointing.

Sexiest TV duo in history


And that leaves me with 953.37 miles left to run in 2016.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday: A Tale Of Two Pins

This post is about as long as A Tale of Two Cities. I present you with an epic tale about the origin of Disney pin trading and even if you think an idea is stupid, Disney is an evil, mastermind genius, and they will prevail. (I'm sure this is how Darth Vader feels every time he sees a depiction of himself with Mickey ears on)


Since I've been doing so much running, I've been doing way too much thinking. Mark my words: it won't be long until you can have a Netflix chip implanted directly into your brain. Then I won't have to do any thinking at all. I will be able to just beam old episodes of Parks and Rec (someone help me out- should that be italicized? Underlined? Does anyone even care?) directly into my brain and trot happily along, not a real thought getting in the way of my Amy Poehler time. Or Ron Swanson time, whom I have a wee crush on, despite his being my polar opposite.

But I digress. I mentioned in my last post that I freaked out on a run because there was a possibly that I forgot to order the commemorative pin for Tinkerbell Half this year. Gasp! Mind you, I am not a crazy pin trader, and pretty much could not give two shits about the Disney pins. I don't collect them and I don't trade them. Since I started running, I've gone to both Disneyland and Disney World a bunch of times and never have I just bought a pin at one of the parks for a keepsake. Ever. Somehow, the race pins are different. I must have them. This is all part of Disney's master plan for world domination. They will get you, eventually.

I didn't decide to run Tinkerbell until Wine & Dine weekend. The night of the half, I met up with friends that I love to see at races and had a blast with them as I always do. They were all heading to Tink and Abby offered to let me bunk with her and her sister. All of the Tink races were sold out, including the Pixie Dust challenge, but the half itself was still open. The next morning, I signed up. Since I signed up from my phone during breakfast, I couldn't remember if I had ordered the pin. Well, you can all relax because *spoiler alert* I did, in fact, order the pin. I may or may not have actually checked my confirmation in the middle of my run. That information is classified, however, so I guess you'll never know the truth.


Disneyland Half 2010 was my very first race ever. Back then, the expo was a normal, semi quiet affair. People didn't mob the merchandise section like crazed Black Friday Shoppers at Best Buy. I was so scared I wouldn't finish that first half, that I refrained from buying any souvenirs. I was petrified that I would jinx myself and since I was a rookie, I assumed that I could just buy a souvenir after the race was over. So, so naive, I was.

My first race pin. Disneyland Half 2010.

Luckily, I had preordered that first race pin. I managed to find a really ugly men's half marathon jacket after the race in downtown Disney. I bought it, but I have never once worn it. I also found a key chain.

Most of my Disneyland race pins


Ever since then, I automatically have ordered the pin when I sign up of a runDisney race. If I signed up for the challenge, I get the pins for the individual races and the challenge pin. Even though I seriously cringe at the price, somehow I can't stop ordering them. I have a preordered pin (and sometimes an additional pin from the expo) for every Disney race that I've done. The only exception being the Marathon Relay in 2012 because there weren't any even produced.

Goofy Challenge 2013


It's like this love/hate/resentful thing I do during every registration. I can't break the chain but those pins are like $15 a pop. Damn you, Disney!! *shakes fist*

My favorite of all of my race pins


Anyway, as I was trotting around the park, secure in the knowledge that the coveted pin would be added to my collection, I was also grumbling about the amount of money of have invested in those stupid pins and I'm not even a pin collector. Don't judge, my dear readers, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a few of you out there in the same boat as me.


And then, as I was finishing up the last mile of my run, I remembered the story of the origin of Disney pin trading.

Growing up in Arizona, I went on tons of road trips to Disneyland. Family trips, school trips, friend trips. Pretty much every year we ended up at Disneyland at some point. At no point, did I recall seeing a bunch of pins in the gift shops.


Spaceship Earth dressed up for the Millennium Celebration. That is a picture of a picture from our trip.

In 2000, my family took a vacation to the Disney World Resort. My dad and step mom must have booked through a Disney travel agent because when we met at their house in the wee hours of the morning to leave on our trip, my dad handed all of us the standard complimentary Disney luggage tag and keepsake pin from the Disney travel company. I didn't think much about it, but for some reason, I kept that pin.

My first Disney pin


Upon arrival at The Boardwalk (a hotel I adore but can only afford if I'm with a parental unit and not actually paying for it), we were greeted by a cast member. I believe we were staying on the concierge level (also something I can not afford on my own). When you stay at a nicer hotel, especially when you're on the concierge level, the cast members take their time explaining everything to you and giving you tips and pointers to ensure that you have the most magical time possible.

Part of this magical experience hinged on taking part in a new Disney past time ("Disney past time" loosely translates as "ways you can spend even more money at Disney, despite the second mortgage you have on your house just to afford this trip in the first place") of pin trading.

She then handed everyone a special pin to "start our very own collection". She explained that pin collecting and trading was new, but that if we saw a cast member with a pin on, we could trade our pin for one of the cast member's pins. If we bought a pin, we could trade that pin, too.

And so it begins


I remember her telling us that this was going to be a huge thing in the future. Everyone would be pin trading like trading baseball cards in the past.

You know what I remember the most clearly about all of this? All I could think is that pin trading is the dumbest thing ever and there's no way it was going to be successful. No one cares enough about pins for it to be traded on a mass scale.

Well, we all know how wrong I was about that. Never doubt the Mouse. Oh, the irony. I'm now almost 40 and I had a minor panic attack that I would be missing a pin from from collection, had I forgotten to order it.

A Tale Of Two Pins. The End.

Well played, Disney. Well played.

I decided to Google original Disney pin trading (after I wrote all of this because, of course, it didn't occur to me to check it our beforehand. D'oh.), just to make sure I didn't make all of this up in my own mind. I think it's entirely possible that Disney is capable of implanting false memories into our brains while on property, but my story checks out. Disney introduced pin trading as part of the Millennium Celebration.

I have to take a moment to thank my research assistant, Bruiser, because he was oh so helpful.


So helpful.




Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Musings- A thing called "Race Amnesia"

I gotta say, I've been running a lot. I'm basically starting from scratch since I only ran 2 races last year- Star Wars Half in January (which is pretty much the most fun half marathon, ever) and the inaugural Wine & Dine Half of a Half (I jest. The W&D course was shortened due to weather) in November.

I signed up for the Gold Challenge 2016, which is to basically run 1000 miles this year. For a lot of people, this is a piece of cake. Some of you like to run and run and run, Forrest Gump style. I am not typically one of those people.

I joke about being lazy, drinking too much wine and binge watching Netflix (okay, okay, yes, that's partially true) but in reality, I work really hard at the horse thing. I get to the barn before sunrise in the cold (and heat in the summer) 5 days a week and bust my ass. Sometimes I do get pretty lazy about the running thing because just with work and riding, I'm gone from my house, 12-13 hours every day.

But maybe I just needed a break from running and racing. Star Wars was my 20th half marathon and the NYC marathon was my second full. Since 2014 and 2015 were really light racing years, that means I crammed a shit ton of racing and running into 2010-2013.

Why am I sharing all of these? Well, as you know, unless I'm on a treadmill, I can't bring Netflix with me on a run. That means I have to actually think about things. Ridiculous things like why am I obsessed with runDisney pins when I couldn't give two shits about pin trading or collecting?

Also, social media is a very powerful thing. My poor impressionable brain was bombarded during WDW Marathon Weekend. And although running a marathon is a pretty horrible, yet wonderful, yet excruciating, yet magical, and bipolar experience, I have myself convinced I want to do WDW Marathon 2017.

Bring on the Race Amnesia



Thanks to the On This Day feature on Facebook, I was reminded that I supposedly am never doing this again. We shall see.


I also swore off race challenges...but gah. Effing Dopey Challenge pictures EVERYWHERE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Seriously, everywhere. I couldn't escape it. I could feel the Race Amnesia taking hold and a peaceful feeling came over me as I dreamily reminisced in a haze of twinkling pixie dust about the incredible memories I have of Goofy Challenge 2013, which in reality was really fucking hard..and blisteringly hot.

So, my dear fellow bloggarinos, I pose this question (And please bear in mind that I will most likely choose to take whatever route is most stupid):

1) Should I train, train, train in 2016 and put my 1000 miles into having a really good time for the WDW Marathon 2017 and then consider Dopey for 2018, which is an anniversary year for the marathon and Dopey, or

2) Should I realize that accomplishing 1000 miles in one year is a big thing for me and just do Dopey in 2017 while I'm used to doing so much running?

I'm really torn. And all of this running is making me do more thinking, which leads me to second guessing whatever I most recently decided. I'm leaning toward the first option because I doubt I have several Dopeys in me, so why not pick the anniversary year?

Plus, you know the 25th Marathon will be awesome.

And with that, I have 969.48 miles left to run in 2016.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Five: Star Wars Half Marathon Favorites

For those of you running the second Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, I can not stress enough just how jealous I am and I feel sort of bitter and hateful. Just keepin' it real.


Star Wars Half 2015


I ran the inaugural Star Wars Half last year and it was amazeballs. I skipped the challenge because at the time I was so over the challenges. I was a wee bit sad about not having the awesome 10K medal, though. The challenge medal was just meh in my opinion.

Side note: Star Wars is the last half marathon I have run, can you believe it? I was there for Wine & Dine in November, but as you all know already, that course was shortened into a 6.72 miler. I guess I needed a break from racing.

So here are my top 5 favorite things about the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

1. The Expo

The Star Wars expo is like any other runDisney expo, except you have runDisney nerds and Star Wars nerds in one location. I really wish I had taken more pictures at the expo because I saw some funny shit.


There were plenty of opportunities for photo opps, though, and I'm not good at taking advantage of them!! I need to get better at doing this.

2. Everything is in close proximity

One thing I love about races at Disneyland is the ease of getting around. No waiting for buses or monorails (although, technically, you can take the monorail at Disneyland, but it's not all that useful for the most part as transportation.)

This is excellent for pre-race hydrating

The expo is at the Disneyland Hotel and it's a short walk to Downtown Disney and one of my favorite places: House of Blues. When you're at the House of Blues, you must wear sunglasses inside. Or you've had several glasses of champagne and you think it makes you look cool. Which, in this case, it totally does.

Gotta rest those legs!

It's also close to the movie theater, which is where we spent our afternoon before the race. I'm fairly certain we saw Into The Woods.

3. The Weather

January in Anaheim is usually gorgeous. It's not too cold and not too hot. Basically, it's the perfect race for Goldilocks. This year is an El NiƱo year, meaning the southwest (AZ included) is having a pretty wet winter, so hopefully, the weather will be good this weekend.

Last year, we got to see the most perfect sunset you could imagine during the race. It almost caused a collision on the course in DCA coming through the tunnel in Carsland because everyone came to a screeching halt, it was that stunning. These pictures don't do it justice.

Back lot of DCA behind Screamin'


The sunrise with the neon signs was just so cool

4. Course Entertainment

I know a lot of people don't like the fact that a big portion of the courses at Disneyland are off property, but I like it for the additional course support. Apparently, Disney hired cosplay people for the course (I don't exactly know what cosplay is or what they do, but that's what I was told.) Anyway, lots of fun stuff happening on the course.

5. Everything

That's sort of a cop out answer for number five, but this race was absolutely awesome last year. I loved every minute of it. I really should have signed up this year, but I spent a week at WDW for Wine & Dine, so I thought I should give my wallet a break. Sadly, I doubt I'll be able to do it next year, either, since I have big plans to tackle the WDW Marathon for the second time.

I strongly recommend this race. If you want to do it, DO IT!!

I'm linking this post with girls from Friday Five.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Mickey Marathon Monday

For the third year in a row, I sat at home crying into my Cheerios and stalking social media during WDW Marathon weekend. Sad, sad panda, right here.


Who am I kidding? We were totally at brunch, it was a mimosa rather than Cheerios, and I didn't actually cry. But you get the point. I love marathon weekend. I ran Goofy Challenge in 2013. If they had offered Dopey Challenge that year, I probably would have signed up for that.

Goofy looks sad...

As I said earlier, I signed up for a challenge to run 1000 miles in 2016. What better way to celebrate that accomplishment than to run the WDW Marathon at the beginning of January 2017, right? The more I think about it, the more I want to do it. In honor of the marathon yesterday, I planned to run in my marathon shirt from 2013 on Sunday morning. Well, I should have hunted it down the night before because I couldn't find it anywhere when I got dressed in the morning. I wore my half marathon shirt, which is not as cool. But I was going to be late to meet my running buddy, so I had to settle for Donald. And I never took a picture of it, anyway. C'est la vie.

So here is a pic from some other time I ran in my magical marathon shirt.


So, I've pretty much decided that WDW Marathon 2017 is a go. I'm also *gasp* considering maybe doing Dopey in 2018. Now, I know I've sworn off race challenges, but 2018 is the 25th anniversary of the marathon and the 5th anniversary of Dopey.

Bling, bling, bling.

Such is the power of social media. After the millionth Dopey medal pic on Instagram, I found myself convinced I should do it. We'll see. One step at a time.

Speaking of social media powers, I saw this on Facebook, and I must have it. Like, I really, really want it.

I need this.
It comes in a tee and I few other styles.

I must have this in my life, and I don't even know why. If you need one, too, here is the link. Nope, I'm not sponsored by them or getting free stuff. I just like it and I know some other runDisney nerd will like it, too. It's limited, though. I think there's only two more days to order it.

In case anyone is interested in my mileage, I only have 988 miles left to run in 2016.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

So Far, I Feel The Same As 2015

I'm seeing all of these, "New Year, New Me!" posts and I gotta say, I did not wake up a new person on January 1st. This is utterly disappointing. I thought I'd have six pack abs and be running an 8 min mile already.

Basically until I went to brunch on the first.

Anyhoooooo, I do have good intentions for 2016. I'm turning 40 in July (horrifying) and I think I'd be less depressed about this if I was in better shape when it happens.

I won't bore you with all of by 2016 resolutions. Also, I don't want to advertise the amount of changes I probably won't end up making. Let's call a spade, a spade, right?

But here is one thing I signed up for. Looks pretty cool. And overwhelming. Blerg.


I'm hoping this will propel me into marathon training for the 2017 WDW Marathon. I'm not 100% sure, but Marathon weekend is one of my runDisney faves, so why not, right?

There's also a challenge to run/walk/work out 100 days in 2016. Check it out if you're interested. Just to be clear, I'm in no way sponsored by them, I just think it's a cool idea. And the bling and shirts are cool.

I also won't bore you with a lengthy recap of 2015, but I will post something awesome that ended up happening...


Louie and I ended up Reserve National Champions for the United States Equestrian Federation at First Level. I'm super excited. I won't even try to pretend this is a humble brag. It's an all out brag. Just keepin it real, yo.

Tonight is my first training run for Tinkerbell Half. It's also my first run since Wine & Dine. I hope I don't hurt something. Or forget my way around town.


Who else is going to Tink? And also, is it weird to dress as Goth Tink for that race? Asking for a friend, of course. ;)