Ten weeks to Dopey – and my 10 favorite rides

Omg omg omg…It’s 10 weeks to the Dopey Challenge!!!!!!

Let’s see…10 weeks from today is expo day. And 10 days from today is fastpass day. So, in tribute to both, let’s talk about my 10 favorite rides at Disney World.

First – quick training update. Got in 12 miles Sunday and 5 miles Monday. Both at paces I’m quite pleased with. Oh, and I got a selfie with Halloween Mickey at the end. Lol

Because when you train for running Disney…you include as much Disney as possible. Shirts, headbands, visors, photo ops. 😂

I know some of my fellow Dopeys are following a different plan that has them higher mileage right now…but the one I have works for me, or at least has for my last few marathons and marathon weekends, so I’m sticking with it.

So…since I didn’t have to run 17 miles this weekend, it meant I had time to start thinking about those fastpasses that will get booked in 10 days. And what rides I’ll need them for and what rides either don’t need them or are worth standing in line for.

And I made a list of my 10 favorites. My absolute must do rides. Here they are, in no particular order. And, why I love them.

  • Wedway People Mover – yeah, I know it’s know the “Tomorrowland Transportation Authority” now, but as the Boston Garden will always be the Boston Garden, so will this always be the Wedway People Mover.  Its relaxing, its fun, its great for napping the day of the half marathon and I love the view of people on Space Mountain.  Speaking of space mountain….
  • Space Mountain – One of the first roller coasters I ever rode.  And always a favorite. Its sci-fi, its dark, and even after countless rides I STILL duck.  And it will always be the ride that my brother & I rode like four times in a row because it was raining and there was no line and we could get off, through and back up to the start in like two minutes.
  • Haunted Mansion – I L O V E the Haunted Mansion.  I’m not even 100% sure why.  But its charming and spooky at the same time.  I love the ballroom dancing ghosts, and the puns on the headstones. And the cast member who snuck up behind me and made me shriek. 🙂 Its also the ride where I sat in front of an open tomb for 15 minutes while the “ghosts wreaked havoc up ahead” because it was struck by lightning while I was on it.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Still spooky.  The dark queue to get to the boat, the drop in the pitch darkness, the smells, the rowdy pirates.  I feel like a kid again any time i’m on it.  It makes me smile.
  • Expedition Everest – I could ride this all day.  And while I have yet to actually stop during the marathon to ride it (considered it tho), its one of the few long lines i’ll stand in without a fastpass, because its awesome.  It goes SO high up you can see forever, the Yeti is awesome (I always roar back) and it just makes your heart race in the best way.
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – One word, critters!  I am such an animal lover and getting the chance to see them up close (Giraffic Jam anyone?) is always great.  Every ride is different – and this year I even got to see baby Stella (the elephant).  This is another one I could ride over and over.
  • Rock & Roller Coaster – Aerosmith, zero to sixty, rock and roll.  Its fast, its fun, its loud.  Its dark and neon and SUCH a rush.  I’m always a little bit shaky when I get off the ride.  LOL
  • Tower of Terror – The ride I love to hate. The building is awesome, the Twilight Zone video is great and the reason I watch it. The cast members who really get into character?  Creepy cool.  But the drops.  I HATE the drops. I’m usually screaming my head off while trying to hold onto something, anything, for dear life.  And yet, still I ride it.
  • Spaceship Earth – Its relaxing, its informative, its just….cool. I know some people find it boring, but its a look through history and there’s SO much to see and I just sit there in awe soaking it all in.  How do they make it smell old? or like campfire?  Disney magic…
  • Journey into Imagination – Figment.  I have loved that little purple rascal since the very first time I saw him.  He’s mischief and goofy and lighthearted.  Figment just wants to have fun.  And while the current version of the ride is great (doesn’t everyone sing along with the song?), I miss Dreamfinder.

Do you hve an absolute favorite? What’s first in your fastpass list?

And to all my fellow Dopeys, keep up the great training!

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Glass slipper…found

You know this Cinderella has been looking for her glass slipper for a while now. 

Well, after a lot of trial and error and blisters and frustration, she has finally found it. 
I suppose it’s inevitable that a Disney runner would end up in New Balance. 

I just wished I’d fallen in love with the Vazee Pace back when they still made Ariel themed ones. Lol 

Tho I do love this purple color with the green accents. In fact, these are pretty much the perfect color for my Dopey training and racing. 😁 Plus #purpleisalwaysfaster

I got them Saturday…and tested them on my treadmill for a 1/4 mile (because this way if I hated them they’d still be clean and unworn-ish).   Took em through their paces – walk to normal pace to sprint pace – and they did what I asked. 

But as someone who has worn Brooks for years, I still wasn’t sure I trusted them. 

Until I took them on the roads Sunday. 

Just 10 miles on the schedule. But it turned out to be my fastest 10 in ages. 

I mean negative splits and 9 minute miles? Whoa…where did that come from.

These babies were light and fast and comfy. Lots of room for my toes and snug around my ankle bone (so no random acts of stones – YAY!) but didn’t rub.

They felt…..magical.

I ran in them again yesterday morning, on the treadmill, to see if it was beginners luck, or if these really were the glass slippers i’ve been seeking.

Let’s just say…. even Mickey himself approves.

And, with the expo just 11 weeks from today, I am happy to say i’ve found my Dopey shoes. Just need to pick up a second pair for alternating. Wonder if they make red (you know… cuz its better when it matches your costume. LOL).

To everyone out there getting Dopey with me… hope your training is going well and that you’ve also found your glass slippers.

Hamsters and Haunted Houses

Well, since its early in my Dopey training still, the miles are definitely the least interesting part of my week. LOL

I did get in 8 miles Saturday morning – in great fall like temps. And, saw a little bit of foliage. Which may be all we get this year. This weather is just not foliage-friendly. 😦

I mean yesterday, when I went out for a 4.5 miler, it was 70, 100% humidity and a dew point of 71. It was like running in the amazon jungle – or, you know, Disney in January. LOL

But I am SO ready for it to get cooler and stay there. Because November will bring two of my favorite races – Edaville Rail Run and Attleboro Gobble Wobble. And i’d rather not run them in tank tops.

So what have I been up to since i’m not running much? Hamsters and Haunted Houses.

Eddie Van Hamster is proving himself to be QUITE the little character.

We’ve been letting him explore nightly in his hamster ball. And he runs around his cage like such a crazy man I kind of want to see if there’s a Hamster Ninja Warrior competition – because he could totally win. 😀

Sure, he’s no Gus. But he’s small and cute and fuzzy and makes me smile.

The reason I did a rare Saturday run this weekend was so we could go do something on Sunday that we have always wanted to do. Tour a haunted castle.

We went to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

Its the home of inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. and its absolutely amazing. It has so much detail that you could go through fifty times and still find something you’ve never noticed.

It also totally haunted. And no, I didn’t see a ghost while I was there – but you could just feel it. I mean, does this not LOOK haunted?

And this fireplace? The lighting? Totally creepy.

There was actually one spot where I looked around a corner, saw this door that scared the crud out of me and jumped.

Its not ALL dark and spooky – there’s a gorgeous room with an open ceiling and a pond that feels like something out of Epcot. 

But, still….overall? Definitely creepy cool.

And actually, come to think about it? A Haunted Mansion totally fits for Dopey training. 😀

86 Days to the first race…wonder what other Disney themed fun I can find this week.

Sole Sister Stroll – Ocean Road 10k

So week one of Dopey Challenge training ended with me channeling my inner Ariel.

At the Ocean Road 10k in lovely Narragansett, RI.

Since I was supposed to be coming off a marathon (the one I ended up two-parting) and my sole sister had been having training issues, we decided to just fun run it. No time goal, just fun and sparkles and 6.2 miles of scenery – oceans and mansions and seaside charm.

When we pulled up to the parking lot facing the beach at SIX AM (eek!) there was the most spectacular sunrise. And we knew it would be a good day.

We got our bibs, took the bus to the start at Point Judith lighthouse and tried to stay warm. Because it was suddenly fall (well played, October) and I was a little underdressed (shorts were not my best idea), so I ended up wearing my fleece zipup for most of the race.

We dressed in full-on sparkle…me in mermaid on mermaid skirt & visor and her in blue & blue. And we were a total hit with the runners and spectators. LOL #itsallaboutthesparkle Both wearing our buddy pouches to carry our gear and buddy clips to keep our bibs secure against the ocean breeze we were ready.

I met lots of people from the Facebook group (for disney runners of course) i’m in at both the start and finish, and I always make new friends at races so we had lots of fun chatting while we waited. And then, off we went.

Slow and steady, with a run/walk plan we made our way along the course. Stopping for photos and water stops and just having fun. Swapping stories and catching up on each other’s lives.

We saw a cow driving a van….

And some cool rock cairns on the beach…

And this fairy-tale castle gate that just begged for a photo. 

The miles flew by and before we knew it we could see the finish. We entered the chute and I noticed that the person before us had crossed and we had it wide open. My sole sister looked over at me and said “wanna race?” Heck yeah! With a wide grin we sprinted to the finish. I can only imagine the sheer joy coming through in those pictures. 🙂

After the race we sat on the beach for a bit, just taking it all in, taking pictures and chatting with other runners.  

Took the “finisher photo” 🙂 

And then… I saw this mangy blonde terrier walking up the beach. And thought of how my Gus hated the beach (mama this smells funny, can we go yet). I walked over to say hi to the puppy, who, delighted with me, started running around in figure 8’s coming back to ‘play pose’ in front of me. I laughed and asked his name. It was Goose. My heart clenched for a moment but instead I said “you are one silly Goose” and with one more pat walked away.

Its been two weeks today and I still so very much miss my baby boy, but I know encounters like this are his way of saying he’s with me. Watching over me and making sure i’m okay. Thanks bubba. Love you.

We took the obligatory ‘sole sister shoe’ photo

and found someone had spelled 10k in rocks, which was perfect for a medal pic.

This ‘its not a race, its an adventure’ was exactly what I needed. Good friends and the sea? They both heal.

Two-part marathon / Adirondack by the numbers

Yes, I know, two halves don’t make a whole when it comes to racing. But, when you’re trained for 26.2 and your marathon gets downsized for heat issues, you have two choices.

1) Find a new marathon
2) Double down

Since the last time I attempted #1, I broke my hip and was on the DL for six months, I took what’s behind door #2.

I ran the Adirondack 1/2 on Sunday and then I ran another 13.1 miles Monday morning, getting it done just about within 24 hours of when Sunday’s half started. So, it kinda counts. I mean, i’ve got the blisters and aches that feel like I ran a marathon… LOL

Besides, it’s 100 days to the first race of the Dopey Challenge and i’m not messing with that training plan just because mother nature is a real jerk. 🙂

I know there were a LOT of people on social media who were furious with Adirondack for canceling the marathon. But folks, life happens. This was not my first canceled race of the year, weather has been crazy weird all year long and, having the marathon canceled was not the worst thing that happened to me last week.

So with the weather forecasted to feel like 98 by noon I was kind of glad I wasn’t trying to tackle a full marathon. Because the whole reason I was running Adirondack again was to do better than in 2015. And clearly, in that kind of weather, it was NOT going to happen.

Instead I decided to just run for fun, enjoy the lake scenery and soak it all in. 

I took the traditional picture in front of the big sign. 

And then took the bus to the start. It was gorgeous but foggy before the race. 

 And, I found the PERFECT pace bear….

Whenever? Yep, that’s my goal too! I did lose him at mile 7, but eh, his whenever just was a little faster than mine.

It did get hot. But the race was prepared. Volunteers with ice and cold towels and water about every mile for the second half of the course. EMT’s stationed along the course. And enthusiastic spectators everywhere.  

In lieu of a true race recap…I’m going to give you the Adirondack half by the numbers. Here goes:

13.21 – miles completed

17 – number of people I consecutively high-fived (love those word of life kids)

1 – inflatable flamingo

8 – misting tents I ran through

20 – pieces of ice I tucked in random places

12 – people who cheered me on by name 🙂

5 – taiko drummers

6 – wooden bears spectating together 

3 – wooly bear caterpillars (sorry to the one I almost kicked. Lol) 

1 – gluten free brownie eaten post race

10 – where I finished in my age group 

Countless – number of times I smiled out on the course, thanked volunteers and just felt grateful to be running 

5 – number of medals I now own from Adirondack. 4 halfs and a full.  🙂 


My finish time? Not my fastest, but I don’t care. I actually finished exactly when I told the hubs I would…and he was standing exactly where I expected. So I was able to high-five him before hitting the finish chute.  And to me…that’s a successful race. 😀

Gus

This week my world shattered. The most amazing little dog in the world, the fur in wings and fur, my baby Gus, crossed the rainbow bridge.

He was diagnosed a year ago with congestive heart failure, and we fought it with everything we could. We we so very lucky for every moment we had with him. 

It is near impossible to talk about. And it is even harder to think about and deal with. For 15 1/2 years he was our best friend and faithful companion. The love of our lives and the light in our hearts. He was so very special.

I wasn’t sure I could write this blog, but since i’ve talked about him so much I figured I owed it to him to tell you all. And to share his story.

March 6, 2002 – September 19, 2017

Gus was born on March 6, 2002 at an apple orchard on top of a hill in Meredith, NH, to Scoobie and Buster of Sherene Cairns.

At the age of 8 weeks old, he was adopted by his human parents and spent the rest of his life in Norton, MA.

Gus was a furry little character with a grand sense of humor and adventure. He loved to hike, play with the tennis ball, chase squirrels and bark at delivery men. He enjoyed a good road trip (all over New England and even as far south as Georgia). He loved going to cheer on his mom at her races and getting petted by the other runners.

Gus loved holidays, whether it was dressing up for halloween or opening his christmas stocking.

Gus also loved carrots, cucumbers and most of all blueberries. He could hear the sound of a berry carton being opened from two floors up.

Gus was very vocal and enjoyed howling along with his mother and with toys in his mouth. He especially loved howling with the tennis ball in his mouth. It made a muffled sound that he knew always made his parents laugh. He loved carrying on conversations and was quite opinionated.

Gus will be dearly missed. As he crossed the rainbow bridge he left behind his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors and adoring fans from all over.

We love you Gus. And until we meet again, you will be forever in our hearts.

Weather Jinx

As I sit here five days out from the Adirondack marathon with too much time on my hands and therefore lots of time to think, I realized something.

My marathon weather has well and truly sucked this year. 3 marathons – all different kinds of bad weather.

Does mother nature hate me?

Lets review…

January – Disney marathon
30 degrees at the start. In Florida. Ummm what??? Granted it did eventually (like like 3 hours in) warm up to 50. But still…was NOT prepared for that. See how cold I look?

May – Maine Coast marathon
Nor’easter. 43 at the start. Torrential downpours. And crazy winds. Gheesh…. nothing like looking like a drowned rat in all your photos. LOL

September – Adirondack marathon.
Fall. In the mountains. And look… actually don’t look because every time I DO look it goes up. And I just can’t deal.


But I have no choice. Other than to suck it up and get through it. At least it’s not going to be windy. 

My friend said I might need to adjust my goals. I said yeah, if it gets that bad i’m just gonna walk and sing Disney tunes.

Thank goodness there’s a lake to dive into at the end. Which is nice. 

So wish me luck folks….i’m gonna need it! 🙂