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Philadelphia – Day 3

Posted by barb on Sep 20, 2014 in Travels

Half-marathon training doesn’t take a break, even for 10th anniversary vacations, and I had a 9.5 mile run on my schedule for this weekend. The plan was for us to head up to Fairmount Park where Andrew would rent a bike (with his newly-purchased bike shorts from the night before) and we would both do the 8-mile loop (Andrew a couple times, resupplying me with water along the way). That was the plan.

Little did we know there was a big 5k going on in addition to normal Saturday busy-ness. We ended up driving pretty far past the bike rental place before we could find a parking spot. We dithered for a while about what to do. I *could* still do my run while Andrew sat and read his book a the car. But, then I would have no back-up – no source of fresh water or Gu/sports beans to ensure I didn’t run out. And, I’d be feeling bad about leaving Andrew just sitting there for a couple hours. In the end, we drove back to the hotel, run not accomplished. I decided I would make it up one evening on the treadmill after work next week.

The revised plan for the day was to start at the Betsy Ross house. We toured the house, meeting Betsy Ross on the way.

Betsy Ross' House

Betsy Ross' House

[We got in free here with our Philadelphia Pass, a $5 value.]

Then we hopped the hop-on-hop-off bus again (our 3-day passes from yesterday were still good!) to the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was an active prison from 1829 to 1971. It was a new type of prison, where inmates were isolated from everyone. They had a small room with just a small opening for food, and that opened to a small private outdoor area. From the time they went in to the time they went out, they saw no one else. The idea was that they were to ponder what they had done wrong. Not much had been done to the site since it closed in 1971, so it stands in ruin. Very cool.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Felicia behind bars

Al Capone was even here for a little while.

Al Capone's cell at Eastern State Penitentiary

[We got in free to the Eastern State Penitentiary with our Philadelphia Pass, a $14 value.]

We didn’t want to pack too much in to the day, so we went back to the hotel and kicked back for a little while before heading off to Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

It was fun to hear ghost stories of the area. Do I believe them? Not really, but still fun to scare yourself every once in a while.

Ready for a ghost walk

[We got our ghost tour free with our Philadelphia Pass, a $17 value.]

Our tour ended at Washington Square, where we stopped to look at the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier – beautiful at night.

Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier

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Philadelphia – Day 2

Posted by barb on Sep 19, 2014 in Travels

We started Day 2 of our adventure by returning to the Independence Hall visitor’s center. We had picked up a brochure yesterday for the Philadelphia Pass – a pass that gets you into a bunch of sites for free. It included one of the hop-on-hop-off bus tours, and we found an online special to get the 3-day pass for the price of the 2-day pass. It seemed like a good deal – I’ll summarize how we did with that on the last day.

Our plan was to go to the Franklin Institute, and the best way to get there (without walking) was to grab the hop-on-hop-off bus, so we picked up the Big Bus Tour near Independence Hall.

[We got a 3-day pass for the Big Bus Tour free with our Philadelphia Pass – a $48 value.]

The Franklin Institute is a science museum. It was between traveling exhibits, so we missed out on a couple of the exhibit halls, but the permanent exhibits were still well worth our time.

Franklin Institute

There was an exhibit on the brain, which included a segment on optical illusions and tricking the brain. The most striking thing in the exhibit was an illusion where you and a friend enter a hotel room. The room is slanted, as is a bed that one of you lays down on. Within a couple seconds, your brain is convinced that your still-standing friend is standing at an angle, not that you are laying at an angle. Very freaky.

Sidewalk painting optical illusion

There couldn’t very well be a science museum named after Benjamin Franklin without a hall on electricity! The electricity exhibit included some historic pieces from Franklin’s research on electricity and some things to try ourselves.

Andrew was playing with an exhibit, and ended up with a bit of static electricity in his hair!

Electrified Andrew

There was also a big exhibit on flying and air flow – the Franklin Air Show. Felicia *had* to try out the fighter jet cockpit.

Felicia in the cockpit

We also took in an IMAX show, walked around Sir Isaac’s Loft (exploring forces and gravity), and spent a little time in the Amazing Machine’s (exploring mechanics and machines).

[The Franklin Institute was another thing included in the Philadelphia Pass, an $18.50 value.]

Since today was officially our anniversary, we tried to find a nice-ish restaurant on our way back to the hotel. We settled on a Thai place on South Street. It was a great choice for us – not too upscale (because we just don’t *do* that), but very good food. While at dinner, Andrew realized that he had forgotten bike shorts for our planned run (me)/bike (him) expedition tomorrow. So, he ran off after dinner to see if he could get to a nearby bike shop before they closed. I walked back to the hotel, and found this sign along the way.

Philly sign

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Philadelphia – Day 1

Posted by barb on Sep 18, 2014 in Travels

Andrew and I decided that we needed to do something for our 10th anniversary. Sure, we’re planning a big trip in a year or two, which is really our anniversary present to each other (much like we waited a couple years for our “real” honeymoon – a Mediterranean cruise to see the 2006 total solar eclipse &#150 but had a few-day getaway a B&B nearby right after our wedding). We decided on Philadelphia because it’s close, and we’ve been talking about wanting to go for a while.

We started up in the morning, not too early, but with a goal of getting there before lunch so we would have the afternoon to walk around and decide how we would spend the rest of our trip. It was a quick drive (< 3 hours). Our hotel room wasn't ready yet (no surprise, since check-in was at 3PM). So, we dropped off our car and luggage, grabbed a quick lunch, and started walking toward the Independence Hall area.

We started at the Liberty Bell, since the line was fairly short. Learned (again, since I had been there once before) that the famous crack appears the way it does due to efforts to fix it. It had a small crack and was re-cast twice before this crack was widened in an attempt to fix it. No luck, so they finally gave up.

Liberty Bell selfie

Next we walked across the street to the Independence Visitor Center. We grabbed a bunch of brochures for other places we wanted to visit, and then found out that we could get (free) tickets to see Independence Hall – where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Signing room in Independence Hall

At that point, it was getting too late to see much else, so we walked around to the Philadelphia City Hall and found a couple of nearby parks with sculptures. One of my favorites is the “Your Move” sculpture, a park with oversized game pieces scattered around.

Andrew with "Your Move"

Barb with "Your Move"

Finally, we made our way back to our hotel – a long walk from where we ended up. We saw Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite on the way. People, inspired by his saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned” leave pennies on his grave. We later heard that the grave makes about $4,000 per year in pennies.

Franklin's grave

We also found dinner near our hotel at a place called Lucha Cartel. I particularly taken by their take on The Last Supper – done with Mexican wrestlers painted on the backs of skateboards.

The Last Supper, at Lucha Cartel in Philadelphia

I had a pineapple jalapeño margarita, which was hot, but tasty.

Pineapple Jalapeno margarita

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Artemis

Posted by barb on Sep 1, 2014 in Cute Pets

Artemis in the sunshine

My 16-year old kitty crossed over the rainbow bridge early this morning. We’ve known for a while that we would need to make hard decisions soon, so it wasn’t a shock, but that didn’t make it any easier.

Baby Artemis and her mama
Baby Artemis and her brother
Baby Artemis

She came into my life in my last few months living in New Mexico. A friend had found a mama cat with a litter of kittens who were about 2-days old in March 1998. I was leaving New Mexico to move to Maryland at the end of May, just about the time the kittens would be ready to leave their mama. Artemis was the only girl of the litter, and I claimed her, since I already had a boy cat, and he marked.

In late May, just after my undergraduate graduation, Artemis, Ares, and I drove with my parents back to Minnesota. We spent a couple weeks in Minnesota, getting some of the things I would need to start my graduate student life in Maryland, and then Dad and I drove with the two cats to Maryland.

She, Ares and I all went through many life milestones together. I entered grad school with them, got my master’s degree, quit grad school, went back to grad school and graduated with my PhD with both of them. I met Andrew, dated, moved in with him and his cat, Duncan, and married. I also lost my Dad with both of them in my life. Ares crossed the rainbow bridge a few months after I lost Dad, and I think that was the beginning of the end of Artemis – she had known him as long as she had known me, and spent more time with him, since they were always in the in house together. She never quite recovered from losing her friend.

This weekend I told her that if she was ready to stop fighting, I was ready to respect her decision. On Sunday, she stopped showing any interest in food, and lost some control. We knew it was time. Overnight she was in some distress, so we had to let her go. I have to believe that she’s now finding her friend Ares again, sitting in my Dad’s lap, purring and getting pets.

My names for her included: Artemis, Little Miss, Baby Girl, Little Girl

Favorite stories:

Potted ArtemisArtemis in the blinds

Hiding Artemis: Jocco couldn’t find Artemis when he was pet-sitting for me once when we were in grad school. He ended up calling my friend Stef (who was also going to help out with the pet-sitting) for help. She asked him a bunch of questions, like, is food disappearing? have there been poops in the litter box? Since he wasn’t himself a cat-owner, I’m sure these questions seemed odd. I don’t remember if he found her, or if Stef finally had to come over, but in the end, Artemis had been hiding under the ottoman of my comfy chair. Silly, clever girl.

Snuggly Ares and ArtemisCaught!

Alpha Artemis: Artemis had always been shy around humans, so we kind of assumed that she was a submissive kitty. In my apartment, it was just her and Ares, and I never really saw them squabble, so I had no evidence to the contrary. However, Andrew brought a new cat into the mix when he and I moved in together – his cat Duncan. It took some time before we saw them interact much, but I remember one time they both rounded the corner on the landing of our second floor at the same time from different directions. We watched as Duncan started to challenge Artemis, and she put it right in his place. There was some growling, and maybe some paw swipes (I can’t remember), but fairly quickly, Duncan submitted (can’t remember if he slunk away or laid down — over time, we saw him do both). I think Andrew and I had different reactions – I uttered a “go girl”, encouraging Artemis, but Andrew felt a little bad for his kitty. We were both shocked to learn that she was the alpha in the house.

Artemis on the blanketArtemis attacking the catnip mat

Snooze-control: When I was still a full-time student, I had a lot of freedom for what time I would get up in the morning, as long as I was to school on time for class. I would set an alarm to make sure I didn’t sleep away the whole morning, but usually would snooze 1-5 times (it was fairly random). Somehow, Artemis would know exactly when I had decided that THIS snooze was the LAST one for the morning. She would choose the moment when I hit the snooze button to jump up on the bed and lay on my chest. Almost every morning. And often, she would get me to snooze once or twice more.

Artemis' pawArtemis cleaning her earArtemis with the catnip

Laptop patrol: Ever since I got my first laptop (and more recently a tablet), Artemis was sure to let me know when I had spent enough time with it sitting in my lap. She would come and sit on the arm of my comfy chair, and head-butt my hand or bat at my fingers – making it clear that SHE should be in my lap, not the stupid computer. Most of the time she was right…and pretty much all of the time in the past few months.

 
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Oscar-nominated short films for 2014

Posted by barb on Mar 2, 2014 in Movies

For the past several years, Andrew and I have been going to see the Oscar(tm)-nominated short films at our local theater (well, it’s not exactly local anymore, since we moved to the other side of the Beltway…). So, this year, when the program showed up at Cinema Arts Theatre, we made a plan to trek over to Fairfax for the day and catch both the animated and live-action programs.

Here’s my take on this year’s crop.

Spoiler Alert I’m probably going to give away some of the plots/turning points in these shorts, so go see the films first, before reading!

Animated shorts

Get a Horse [Clip]

This was a Disney short, and starts out in the old black and white, small screen format. Suddenly, a couple characters break through the screen and find themselves in 3D color. The film continues with the characters popping into and out of the screen – into 3D color then back to flat, black and white.

It felt like this concept had been done before, many times. In fact, it seemed vaguely like Day and Night from Disney Pixar, which was nominated in 2010.

If this one wins, it will be because of the sentimentality of the old-style Mickey Mouse.

Mr. Hublot [Trailers]

Mr. Hublot is an OCD single man living in a steampunk-inspired future with tons of retro-looking automation. One day, he sees an abandoned robot-dog, and he can’t get this little guy out of his mind.

This one was my favorite. Though the story was predictable, with the ending set up fairly obviously in the opening shots, the story was uplifting…and the puppy was cute. And the animation style was straight-forward and fun to look at.

Feral [Trailer]

This one was about a feral child picked up in the woods. While there was a story present, the main driver of this piece is the watercolor-style animation.

Personally, I find this type of animation hard to look at, but I can appreciate the beauty that others must find in it. This one may win, just because the style sets it apart from the others and makes it seem more “arty”, which often attracts the Oscar voters.

Possessions [IMDB]

Bizarre story based on the old Japanese idea that if possessions are old enough, they begin to possess a soul that can taunt people. A “fixer of all things” is caught in the woods during a storm and stumbles into an old house. All night the objects in the house taunt him int fixing them.

Room on the Broom [Trailer]

Going in to today’s movies, we were both hoping there wouldn’t be yet another Gruffalo short…well there wasn’t, but Room on the Broom was from the same team and author. It is based on a children’s book, so the film was cute, as were the Gruffalo shorts, but not terribly substantive or interesting beyond the cuteness.

My prediction is that Feral will win, because of the animation style more than anything. We’ll see tonight!

Live-action shorts

Helium [Trailer]

The live-action program started with this, a sentimental piece about a hospital janitor trying to comfort a dying child with tales of the world of Helium, a more-fun alternative to Heaven. It was cute and sad and sentimental – everything that we come to expect from the live-action shorts. Sigh. From the moment it started #150; in a hospital with a sick child – we knew exactly where it would end.

The Voorman Problem [Trailer]

What do you do when a prisoner proclaims to be a god? And, when that prisoner convinces the entire prison population that he’s a god? Send in a psychologist of course. This short shows us what happens next.

One of few comedies that we’ve seen in all the live-action shorts we’ve seen over the years, this one was fun and extremely well-done with just a few short scenes.

Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) [Trailer]

This short captures the day a woman’s decides to take her kids and leave her abusive husband. I found myself drawn in almost immediately, and continued to be engaged throughout the entire piece. The danger for this woman felt very real, and the urgency carried through every moment of the piece.

This one could win tonight, and I would heartily support that win.

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) [Trailer]

Set in Africa, this piece follows a pair of Spanish aid workers who are kidnapped by a group of child soldiers. The acting was not great – perhaps because the actors were working in English, which was clearly not their first language. However, even if the acting was great, I would have been disengaged from the beginning. I know that child soldiers are a real problem in parts of the world, and I do know that their plight needs to be brought out to the public…it just seems that there are other ways to do it. Or maybe not. I know it’s complicated.

If this one wins tonight, it will be due to the subject matter, not the film itself.

Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) [Trailer]

A very short (7 minute) comedy about a family late getting ready to attend a wedding. So many unexpected moments, and I may have laughed out loud. I doubt it will win, but this was my favorite.

I’m guessing that either That Wasn’t Me or Just Before Losing Everything will win tonight. It’s so hard for comedies to win these awards, though those were probably my favorite in this program.

 
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“Board” games: Wooly Bully

Posted by barb on Jan 29, 2014 in Games


Wooly Bully Game

2014-01-18 19.49.51 copy

Several years ago we took a board game class through our county’s community education series. One of our favorite games (as evidenced by the fact that we bought it) was Wooly Bully. In this game, each player is a farmer with a different color (black, blue, red or yellow). Your goal is to fence in as many of your sheep as you can by the end of the game. This can be done in one large enclosure or in many small enclosures — whatever sheep you have completely enclosed scattered around the full playing area count toward your score.

At the beginning of the game, only you know what color sheep you have. You lay tiles, matching sheep colors and/or terrain (there are “village” sections and forest sections — see the detail picture showing a few tiles). When you lay a tile, you replace that tile but you also get to pick additional tiles if you match more than one side of the tile you laid — this way you can get more tiles in your had to choose from.

The village and forest tiles count as “fences” to completely fence in your sheep. However, you need to beware the forest — there are a four wolf tiles that can be played at any time. These wolves in the forest nullify any sheep enclosures that use that forest to close them. If you are lucky, you might have a hunter in your hand that can also be played at any time. The hunter kills the wolf, thereby making your sheep safe again.

To make the game a bit more complicated, each tile is double-sided, so you can play the reverse side of the wolf or hunter to get four additional sheep of a single color — this is a bonus if you happen to get the hunter or wolf with your color of sheep. But, of course, there’s some strategy to how and when you play that tile!

We’ve found that this game isn’t quite as fun with just two players, but works quite well for 3 or 4 players. The rules are very simple, so it’s also the perfect game when you don’t have a lot of time to explain the rules of a complicated game or you just want to get right into a game. The strategy shifts from game to game as you try to figure out whether to make a lot of small enclosures to to go for a ginormous, rambling pasture.

 
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Two-player games: All Creatures Great and Small

Posted by barb on Jan 21, 2014 in Games

All Creatures Great and Small Game

Andrew and I have gotten back into board games. We first got into them a few years ago when we took a couple board gaming classes through our county’s community education program. We’ve played on and off over the last few years, but not with any regularity.

For 2014, we’ve committed to two things that will help us reconnect with our gaming-selves. First, we are hosting a gaming event at our house once a month for a small group of gamers (at least a small group to start). Second, we’ve committed to playing games together at least once each week or every-other week (if we’re busy on gaming night).

Our first game of the year was All Creatures Great and Small, which is a 2-player version of the game Agricola. I’ve never played either, so I can’t say how the 2-player version relates to the full version.

Each player has a farm, and the game is played in eight rounds, with three turns for each player in each round. There are several actions a player can do with their turn, from building fences for their animals, collecting resources, taking in animals, building stables or a new cottage. At the end of the game, players get points for the number of animals of each type and certain buildings. Once an action is taken by one person, it can’t be done by the other. (At least, not in the exact same way.) At the end of each round, pairs of animals have babies (as long as you have enough room for them).

I kept finding that I wanted one more turn each round, which, of course, is the point of limiting the rounds. There was a balance to how early to obtain animals, when to build a structure and when to enclose a pasture. We played two games, and I certainly didn’t feel like I figured out the strategy in that time. I suspect, as with any good strategy game, the strategy changes each time, depending on what your opponent does.

I’m looking forward to playing this one again, and might even look into the full game for our gaming parties.

Here’s my board at the end of one of our games:
All Creatures Great and Small Game

 
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Ghostly Gallop 5k

Posted by barb on Oct 27, 2013 in Running

It’s been turning cold here in the DC-metro area, and I did NOT want to get out of bed this morning to run. But, my t-shirt and medal had already arrived, so guilt won out over warm blankets and cuddly cats.

I haven’t been running for several weeks, because my ankle started giving me problems a couple weeks after Dumbo. I’ve gotten out on my bike a few times, but didn’t want to aggravate my ankle. However, it’s been feeling better, so I decided to go out using the run-walk strategy from C25k week 1. Honestly I wasn’t sure if I would make it for the full 3.1, given I hadn’t run in a while, but I made every single run interval. Yay!

Not my fastest 5k, but not my slowest, either. Overall I’m happy with my 49:47 time.

Ghostly Gallop Finish!

When I got home, I changed into my t-shirt, and donned my medal for a couple pics.

Ghostly Gallop medal

 
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M&LG Mini-Tri

Posted by barb on Oct 20, 2013 in Running

A few months ago, my crazy aunt posted this to Facebook:

My crazy aunt posted this to FB

It sounded nice and easy, especially since I knew at the time that I would have finished Dumbo a few weeks earlier, and should have some time to get back on the bike. The big unknown was the swimming, since I haven’t really swum in…oh…a few decades. I’ve played around in the water, but swimming to actually get somewhere? Not so much. Though, since we were going to just hop in the river and let the current take us, I figured it would be a fun post-Dumbo goal.

I made up t-shirts and bibs for us, and for our road crew (my husband and my uncle, who would both be accompanying us on the bike portion of our tri).

My bib for our mini-tri

The big hitch in our plan was that the river and air temperatures were too low for us to swim in the river. My aunt lives out in the sticks, so our only alternative was the closest YMCA a half hour away.

Since it was unseasonably chilly, we didn’t hurry out in the morning. Plus, the YMCA didn’t open until 1PM, so we wanted to time it so that we would finish the bike and run, hop in the car, and arrive at the Y just after they opened.

We took off at about 10:30 AM on our bikes with our road crew. My uncle, Jim, took the lead so he could take a few pictures along the way. My husband, Andrew, played the role of the sweep, making sure that nothing went wrong.

Ready to go!
Jim - part of our road crew Andrew - the other member of the road crew

I was probably the most worried about the bike ride, because our route was primarily on gravel roads. I have hybrid tires on my bike, so I can handle gravel; however, as a kid, I had a pretty good spill on sand, and ever since, I’ve been a bit skittish about biking on gravel or sand. I worried for no reason, though, because our ride went really well. We did 6.4 bumpy miles.

M&LG Mini-tri bike ride M&LG Mini-tri bike ride

The finish line for biking was my aunt and uncle’s driveway. Amazingly, Maggie and I arrived at exactly the same time 🙂

M&LG Mini-tri bike ride Finish!

Next, we were off for our walk. I had hoped to run part of this, but we were going on a trail and my ankle has been a bit iffy still, so Maggie and I both walked together.

Ready for our run (walk)

The walk was 1.3 miles through the woods, and it took us way longer than it felt like. I was just glad I didn’t trip on the tree roots!

Next we hopped in the car off to the YMCA. Our legs started getting a little stiff on the way, which we had worried about, but nothing to do, but get there and knock out our 400 meters. No pictures were allowed during the swim portion (our rules, not the Y!). The pool was saltwater and heated, so definitely much better than the river on that account, but we didn’t have the current to help push us along. No matter, we did our 16 laps for 400 meters.

M&LG Mini-tri finishers

And then we had a little party at Maggie’s that evening…after a spin in the hot tub, that is.

 
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Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend – Half Marathon

Posted by barb on Sep 1, 2013 in Running

I won’t lie. I was nervous about this race. My last training run hadn’t gone very well, and since I was in the last corral, the risk of being swept was very high. Add in that Anaheim was experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures and humidity, and I was really not confident.

Kirsten had arrived Saturday evening, so we went out to Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping. It was good for me to get my legs moving so they wouldn’t cramp up before the next day’s race.

Bed early again, with the alarm set for 3AM. If I wasn’t still on Eastern time, it would have been brutal; though I was eating meals at local appropriate times, so my body was a bit confused for the whole trip.

Up, and ready to go in the morning. And, we got to the start in good time.
Ready to run?

Kirsten decided to slum it in Corral G with me so we could hang out a bit longer. She was in denial about running a half marathon, I was delirious and seriously worried about finishing. It was still relatively hot and humid, and today was 13.1 instead of just 6.2. Here we are hanging out in the corral…the smiles were probably not real.
Kirsten and me in the Corral

While talking with some of the other folks in the corral, we heard rumor that once we reach mile 10, we were essentially safe. I wasn’t sure if that was true, but, honestly, thinking about it kept me going through a good part of the race. I didn’t have to worry about pushing for more than 10 miles…I felt like I could do that. If it wasn’t true…well, I just decided that if they swept me at mile 11, then they were just bastards.

When we got up to the start, we heard that Richard Simmons was in our Corral. Weird.

And then, before we knew it, we were off. The first few miles were through the two Disney parks, so they were fun.
Running down Main Street USAThrough the Castle

Again, I was running miles for people. I had also planned out a playlist that had songs for each person on my list that should play during their mile. Mom, Thea, Lorna and Brooke got me through the parks.

My lifeline, AND the bane of my existence, were the sweepers and the pace bicycle. At Walt Disney World, I was not in the last corral, and I must not have gotten close to being swept, because I didn’t have reminders along the way of how far ahead (or behind) pace I was. For this race, though, there was always someone at the mile markers telling us how far ahead of pace we were. I think that spurred me on for the first half of the race. Around Mile 2 I was 6 minutes ahead of pace. Mile 4 I was 7 minutes ahead. Mile 5 I was 10 minutes ahead.

The bane of my existence – pace bikes!
Watch out for the sweepers!

By mile 5, though, the heat was getting to me. I was having trouble keeping up my run segments, and found myself walking more and more. Mile 5 was for my nephew, though, and I kept trying to run as much as I could. Mile 6 was for Karena, and I kept running, but not as much. Mile 7 was for Melissa, one of my best friends, who I’ve inspired to start running. When I heard Time Warp come on the iPod, I tried to get in a few more run segments, but I’d be lying if I said I succeeded in getting more than a couple in.

The whole race was a bit of a mind game. I kept listening to how far ahead of pace I was, and wondering at what point I could just walk the rest of the race. I kept calculating how much time I lose over minimum pace when I walk, and how many miles I would have before my lead over minimum would be erased. My goal was mile 10 – holding out hope that the 10-mile rumor was true.

Disney had arranged for there to be “stuff” happening in each mile. Once we exited the parks, there were marching bands, cheerleaders, and ethnic dance groups along the race route. Around mile 7.5, we started running through classic cars (!). I started to see Model A cars and other very early cars. Over the course of the next mile, the cars got more and more recent, until we went through 70s-era cars. How cool is that? (Before you answer, I own a Model A, so I’m not being sarcastic – I love the classics!) This is also the mile where we ran past the Honda Center (coincidence?).

By the Honda Center

And, by this point, I was walking full-time. The sun was high, the temperature was up, and my body just wanted to quit. I knew I could keep it walking, but if I pushed it to run, I couldn’t guarantee that I would cross the finish. I was far enough ahead of the sweep, that if the 10-mile rumor was true, I should be okay. I kept going, thinking about Jessica for mile 8 and Jaime for mile 9.

Next up on the trail was Angel’s Stadium, which came during Andrew’s mile. We actually got to run through the stadium, which was a lot of fun. There were scout troops and other people in the stands cheering us on as we went. So cool.

Arived at Angel's Stadium

I finally crossed the 10-mile sign. Was I safe? I had passed a bunch of shuttle buses in the stadium’s parking lot, so I felt like I had made it. Others around me were talking, and they seemed to confirm the rumor, and also added the tidbit that we basically had an hour after the 10-mile mark to finish. I could do that. Mile 11 was Sweetie’s. Mile 12 was Kirsten’s, and I knew she was waiting at the finish for me. I was going to get there.

I tweeted this, so Kirsten would know I was close.
Snapped this to let Kisten know I was close

At this point we were also back on Disney property. It was the home stretch. I ventured a smile when I knew the finish was close.
I see the finish!

I used the last of my energy to run the last bit to the finish.
Yeah, I ran across the finish!

You don’t see the tears here, but they weren’t far off.
Half Marathon Finisher!

I traded in my wristbands for my Coast-to-Coast and Dumbo medals.
Dumbo!

After picking up my water, nutrition box, and my checked bag, I found Kirsten in the reunion area.
Kirsten and me at the finsieh

I cried. I’ll admit it. I didn’t care what my time was – I had completed the Dumbo Double Dare. And, I was very proud of myself. (Still am.)

Oh, and somehow, I PRed! Shaving about 6 minutes off my Walt Disney World time. I think it was trying to keep ahead of the sweepers!

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