Friday, June 28, 2013

Disney, How Do I Love Thee?

A fellow blogger wrote a post about their love of Disney, and it made me stop and go "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!?!?!"

So, Disney fans, enjoy some Disney memories, and Disney Fans of the Future, be prepared to drink the kool-aid!

Favorite RunDisney Race
First off, RunDisney is the name of the team in Disney that takes care of all their races, running, etc. I've only run 2 Disney races, the 2010 & 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and I'm signed up for the 2014. I'd have to say my first one was my favorite for sooo many reasons. I didn't know what to expect and everything seemed so much more magical. To start with, Florida was experiencing a record-breaking cold spurt and it was snowing, yes snowing, as we walked at 3am towards the starting corrals.

The night before we'd scoured the stores for ski caps which I cut the top off to make into a makeshift face mask/scarf (it worked wonderfully!). But for some reason, the cold made the magic more amplified. It seemed like every step of the race I was saying to myself, "I can't believe I'm RUNNING past the Contemporary! I can't believe I'm RUNNING down Main Street! I can't believe I'm RUNNING through the Castle! I can't believe I'm RUNNING past, insert Disney landmark here."

Plus, I was certain the Turtle was going to propose sometime on this trip so I had that excitement to boot!

Night before race with my makeshift mask and his real one


I'm surprised they didn't mistake him for a terrorist..this was also his very first half marathon!
Oh yeah, and look at our finishing times...that means I waited, sweaty and cold in the freezing rain for him to finish...and it was actually a lot longer than the time listed above, as I was in the first corral and he was in the last. I was sure I had frostbite!

Favorite Disney Movie
Hands down, Sleeping Beauty. I love all the movies from that era! There's something about the way they're drawn that really appeals to me. Plus, back then, the bad guys were bad. Just pure evil, not an ounce of humor to soften them up, the way they should be!

Favorite Disney Song
When You Wish Upon a Star always gets me. Every. Single. Time. I have countless versions of it on my iPod. A close second has got to be "Oo-De-Lally" from Robin Hood. That thing will get stuck in your head!

Favorite Disney Park
The Magic Kingdom, naturally. I still get goosebumps every time I walk out of the tunnel and onto Main Street on the first visit of each trip. I let out a deep breath and feel like 'ahhhhhh, I'm home'. Oddly enough, I don't really enjoy MK during the day. For me, its just one of those parks that has to be experienced at night, with all the lights that makes it seem like you're in a fairy tale land. We end up here most nights on our trip.

Favorite Disney Restaurant
This is such a tough one. For food, I'd say Beaches N' Cream, cuz you canNOT beat a No Way Jose sundae (with extra pb sauce of course!), but for overall experience, nothing beats an evening at Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue. NOTHING. Any given night anywhere in the world, I'd trade for a night with friends, endless sangria, and Hoop Dee Doo.

The best can-can dancer Disney ever met!

Favorite Disney Character
Tinkerbell of course, my twin!

Have You Ever Dressed As a Disney Character?
When am I not dressed as a Disney character?! But, the first time I donned my wings was at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2006

Favorite Disney Memory
Getting engaged on the Polynesian's Beach. Who gets to say they got engaged at the most magical place on earth!? It was perfect, and yes it was just 2 days after the Half Marathon, so I was right :-)

But coming in a close second is being a bridesmaid in my friends' Jeff & Morgan's wedding there. It was absolutely amazing. The entire experience, from sharing a villa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge with the bridal party (we're all a big group of friends), a rehearsal dinner at Hoop Dee Doo, an Alice-themed bridal shower at the Grand Floridian, the ceremony at the Wedding Pavillion and reception at the California Grill...and trashing my bridesmaid dress on Splash Mt., it was a memory that will last forever.

I don't remember a word he said!

Rehearsal dinner

Bridal Shower: Me and the Bride


What a handsome looking couple!

Poland makes the best blondes!

Wouldn't you know, this is the most soaked I've gotten on this ride!

These are just some of my favorite Disney moments. I could honestly talk about Disney forever, it never gets old! I hope you enjoyed, and for the rest of you new converts, you're welcome!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

I've told you about my absolute favorite Walt Disney World Resort, the Boardwalk, and now it's time to talk about it's neighbors, the Yacht & Beach Clubs. Just across the pond (Crescent Lake) from the Boardwalk, are the Y&B Resorts. I've spent countless evenings staring out at the Yacht Club (while waiting for the Turtle to hurry up already so we can go to the parks!). It's lighthouse is one of my favorite things about it, and I can't seem to take enough photos of it, like the one below:

After I made my Boardwalk painting, I decided to turn it into a huge multi-canvas piece that will include all of the Resorts along Cescent Lake. In fact,  I may even turn this into an project of ALL the Disney Resorts, so stay tuned! So, for the 2nd installment, here is the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts:


 I was really happy when the sketching went a lot faster for this one than the Boardwalk. I think I was still in my groove from doing that one, which is so similar in style.

And once again, I had to get creative with my painting locations. After taking a step back I noticed my lighthouse was totally off...and I didn't feel like putting my drop cloth (old shower curtain) back on the table and setting up my workshop all over I just plopped on the floor to touch it up!


I always get so nervous in the paint drying period between doing the colors for the water and then adding the black shadowing. As the water is above, in its raw un-shadowed state, it just looks so unpolished and its hard for me to see if it will come together or not. And just to torture myself more, I didn't get to add the black for I had to stare at it propped up against the living room wall every. single. night.

But, I'm happy to say, it all came together!

"Disney's Yacht Club Resort"
12" x 36" original acrylic on canvas

Next up, the Dolphin Hotel!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Towpath 10-10

I was oddly calm about yesterday's race, the Towpath 10-10, the 2nd part of the Towpath Trilogy.

Other than freaking out about whether or not it would be cancelled due to lightning, my usual butterflies only came on race day, not days before like normal. This really freaked me out because I was afraid I wouldn't run as hard. Thank goodness that wasn't the case!

So, here's the rundown:

The Turtle & I had a wedding reception to attend the night before the race, which made hydrating interesting (I made those hall attendants earn their pay refilling our table's water pitcher!)

I knew I should have brought water bottles in my purse!

My 4:45am wakeup dawned without a drop of rain, so I was very optimistic that the weathermen were wrong.

Teddy did NOT approve of the hour

And the wishful thinking ended as mom and I pulled into the parking lot of Quaker Steak & Lube when the rain began.

About 30 minutes before the race start, I left mom in the car to join the porta-potty line. 10 minutes later, my clothes were completely soaked and I headed off for the 1 mile walk to the start line with the other runners, all of us looking like a line of glazed-eye refugees fleeing a zombie apocalypse (sorry, just started Walking Dead and I have zombie on the brain. I may never sleep again).

Once at the start, the rain came down harder and my teeth started to chatter. I scoped out the crowd and picked out a few girls who looked quick, as well as last year's female winner overall. How do I know which girl won last year? Because the dear old people who put the race together emailed her picture to everyone to let us know that last year's champ was returning. Way to put a target on her back! (Naturally, I checked out her time last year, a 7:06 pace, and immediately lost all hope in coming in 1st overall)

They informed us that the start would be 5 minutes late because 10k and 10mile runners had gone to the wrong race starts. Arrrrgh! But, just when the 30 second countdown began for the bell (yes, they started the race with an old school hand bell), the rain stopped....after all, we wouldn't want to actually benefit from the rain cooling us down during the race! Nay nay.

Mile 1: Feeling good, all the racers are getting into their groove and jockeying for their spot in the lineup to sit at for the rest of the race. And there's mom! Though I hate a lot of back-and-forthing in races, it gave my mom the opportunity to see me 2x before the finish, which was awesome! I pretty much never have supporters out throughout the course, as mom likes to see me at the finish, so this was a really nice bonus! It's amazing how excited you get just to run past someone you know!

Mile 2: FINISH??? What kind of crazy race has you run under the Finish line banner before its over!?!?! And where the heck is mile marker 2? Wait a sec, let's check my Garmin....2.59 mile?! What the..!?! This would be the first of many missing mile markers. 2, 4, 6 and 8 are on a date! (Don't you roll your eyes). Ooh, there's mom again!

Weeeeeeeeee! I hope I can keep this wicked pace up for 8 more miles!
Mile 3-4: I conquered the first pass over the 2 bridges without too much trouble. It didn't sap my energy as I feared it would, so I was pretty relieved. I got into a groove, following the guy in the white tank from the picture above.

Mile 5: As we approach the beginning of the loop that will take us back toward the finish, I look behind me and one. Not a soul. Just like every other race, I always end up running in a little bubble all by myself (which I prefer, so I don't have to hear footsteps of someone dogging me from behind!). Well, minus White Tank Guy (WTG), who I am now pulling ahead of. He looks over at me and grunts out, "I'm dyyyying, have a good run."  

Mile 6-8: I hear grunting approaching. I look to my left and its WTG. "HEY!", I say accusatorily. He looks sheepish as he pulls up next to me and says hi. For about 1/2 a mile we run side by side until he finally asks if I mind him running with me. No prob, I say. And then begin chatting intermittently with him, as he grunts responses...and probably cursing me in his head to just shut the hell up. :-) 

Mile 8: Before we approach the bridges for the 2nd pass, I notice I'm catching up to last year's Top Female winner. I've had her in my sights for the entire race, and I can't believe I am actually going to have to pass her. As I do, I feel like I just stepped into a trap and fear the sprint she may do when we get to the finish. After doing some foggy race math (1+1 is what again?), I figure out that I'm in 5th place for females. But just knowing I was able to overtake last year's champ gives me a boost!

Mile 9: After following WTG's lead and grunting my way up the 2 bridges (it helped! I think he's on to something), I go in for the long home stretch. Where the hell is that finish line!? I notice I'm catching up to another girl and try to decide if I should pick up the pace and try to overtake her. We've still got a ways to get to the finish, and I really don't feel like passing her to just be repassed. Plllleeeease pick up the pace girl, so I don't have to consider this! Damn it, you just slowed down more! Fine, you want me to pass you, you got it!

.25 miles before the finish I'm about to overtake the girl when she looks over, sees me, and takes off like a shot. "F you" I say outloud. Hmph.

Finish Line, I think we've met before

I finish in 1:11:38, only 10 seconds behind the wench who just couldn't let me pass. BUT, that also got me in 4 WHOLE MINUTES sooner than last year's champ! She never did pick it up to beat me! YAY!

Though the race time says I had a 7:10 pace, my Garmin said 7:06 and I'm sticking with that! I had such a great race! I felt good the entire time, I never hit a wall and am so happy! When I had looked up last year's female winner's time and saw that 7:06 pace, I immediately threw out any ideas of coming in top 3 overall...and while I still didn't place in the overall, I did run that pace, which I had no idea I could do for a 10 mile race. I've never run that fast for that long before! I'm ecstatic!

With my award and goosebumps

I ended up placing 2nd in my division, (1st place going to that wench), 5th female overall (257 female runners) and 37th place overall (533 total runners). YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

1+1= 4

Mom and I headed out for the 1st mom-tourage run of the season last Sunday, and it was a spectacle as always!

There's just something about early mornings....or afternoons, evenings, aw hell, or anytime you get the 2 of us together, that slap happy insanity ensues. Really, you can't take us anywhere.

Mom got into character with my water belt

It really is quite dangerous for me to bring my camera on my runs. Mwahaha!

I had an awesome run too! 7:22 average pace, which is not too shabby for my first balls-out run of the summer. Funny how that used to be a mind-blowing pace to me until last summer when I started spitting out 7:14s! Oh how quickly my impossible-to-reach bar rises. Will I ever quit expecting PRs from myself with every run? I need to find that magic "content" bean somewhere!