Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney Marathon - My 1st marathon!

Let me set the stage for you...

The time: 2:30am
The location: Jaimee's room (long story as to how I got stashed in Jaimee's room for the night, but it involves third world housing up in my own hotel room)
The temp: low 60's and humid

And so begins the magical day of my very first (note I said first, and not only!) marathon.  It's a very strange feeling waking up at 2:30 in the morning, getting dressed, and trying to eat something in preparation for the biggest, longest run of your life.  I was surprisingly able to eat half a bagel with some peanut butter, but it fought me the whole way.

Just after 3am, Ronnie, Jess, Scott, and I made our way to the magical Disney transportation and met up with Scott's friend Joe, who is hereby known as Tweedle Dum.  No, no, I'm not being rude.  He really is Tweedle Dum!

'Dee and 'Dum
Aren't they cute?  Yeah, everyone else thought so too.  Like, everyone.  Yep, they were the ones that everyone stopped to take a picture of.  Somehow I became their designated photographer, so every time someone wanted a picture, they handed me their camera so they could be in the picture with them.  Well, the joke's on them, because you see the green bottle hanging off Scott's (err,  Tweetle Dee's) belt?  That bottle is pretty much at my eye level.  Enjoy the nose hair shots, everyone.  You're welcome.  But anyways back to me...

So we arrived at Epcot along with another 22,000 or so runners and were herded towards the starting corral.  I know this might come as a shock to you, but it was a very, very long walk.  Along the way was a bag check, where I stored a protein bar, assorted warm clothes in case I got chilly after the run (sometimes I get really cold), and my stale, half eaten bagel (I forgot to throw it out).  Then we made a couple (yes, more than one) stops at various porta-potties along the very, very long walk.  As we got closer to the starting corrals we saw dozens and dozens of men (and women!) making their own urinals along the tree line.  All five of us started in corral C, although technically 'Dee could have started in B and 'Dum schmoozed someone into getting into corral A.

Our wolf pack

Remember my plan to run the highway sections and walk the parks?  Yeah, that didn't work.  Mostly because what I failed to anticipate was the overwhelmingly thick crowds that never, ever really thinned out.  And this crowd was moving at a solid 12:00 min/mile pace, so navigating around people was tricky.  Not impossible, as 'Dee, 'Dum, Ronnie, and Jess all managed to dart in and out of people and I never saw them after the first mile.  I didn't feel like wasting that energy and getting myself frustrated, so I moved out when I could, and resigned myself to a slow jog otherwise.  The other thing that really threw me off was the cult-like followers of the Jeff Galloway walk/run marathon program.  Man, that guy really pissed me off.  Now I have no problem whatsoever with people walking when they need to, and yes I think it's great that he's brought so many people the opportunity to complete a marathon, but geeeeeez.  It seemed that every last person anywhere near me had a special alarm that would beep when it was time to start walking, or start running.  After the first hour, it was already bugging me.  And I was only 20% of the way done at that point.  And people commenting, "oh, yup, it's been three minutes already! Time to walk!"  Piss off!  It was a constant battle of trying to stay at or slightly ahead of the pace of the people around me, when suddenly everyone would start walking.  It really messed with me.  I was also somewhat alarmed because in the starting corral I remember being lined up slightly behind both the 5:20 pace group and the 6:20 pace group, and I don't remember ever passing them.  Since I'm not good at long distance math, (remember, 13 miles was my longest run ever before today) I had no idea how long it was going to take me to finish this damn race.  I kept thinking, it's going to take me 7 goddamn hours to get to the finish line.

For the first several miles I felt good.  It was dark, humid, and my glasses kept fogging up, but I was feeling fresh.  We first ran to the Magic Kingdom, where I took advantage of actual bathrooms to make a pit stop.  I also stopped to take a few pictures here and there.

Me in front of Cinderella's castle, all lit up! (The castle, not me. Yet.)

Somewhere during this part of the race I crossed a split mat which shot off my current whereabouts to those who had signed up to receive text message alerts.  (This was mile 5, I believe).  I got a couple text messages from friends encouraging me.  Weren't they surprised when I responded!

After Magic Kingdom we headed towards the speedway, where we ran around the track and saw dozens of very cool classic cars.  They were really beautiful, I swear. You'll have to trust me on this one, because I was too lazy to take my phone out for any pictures.  Shortly after the speedway, my feet started bugging me.  Really bugging me.  Not injury-bugging me, but "this is what you get for doing so much walking the last three days" kind of bugging me.  It was only mile 7, so that kind of sucked.  A lot.  I started walking more frequently at this point, although it didn't make my feet hurt any less, so then I reasoned with myself that I should just keep running to get it over with faster.  Smart, right?

We trotted around Animal Kingdom, where I somehow got a rock in my shoe and had to stop.  I sat down, and thought about just staying there until the park opened.  Finally got myself back up, made it through the park, and back out onto another really boring highway.  However, look at this handsome devil I made friends with!

Look, we even match!
It was sometime shortly after this that I made my second pit stop, and then realized I was at the 14 mile mark, thus marking the longest I have ever run in my life.  And I was just over halfway done.  Bugger.  Also at this point the temperature really started climbing.  It was sunny, no shade, and that sun was hot.  Somewhere in this section I started taking advantage of every aid station and every medical tent.  I even ate a banana!  I started bio-freezing my knees, quads, and hip at every medical table and even grabbed a Tylenol to help my feet.  I started grabbing gels, and even though I always say I can't tolerate them, they went down just fine.  That all helped a lot, but by the time I made it to mile 18, the start of the ESPN complex, I hated everybody.  This was my least favorite part of the race, miles 18-20.  It was hot, I didn't like the ESPN complex, and there were too many turns.  I was just cranky.  There could have been dollar bills falling from the sky and I'd still be complaining.  We ran around the ball field where the Atlanta Braves practice during spring training, and managed to get yet another rock in my shoe.  We also ran around a track, where I decided to be a total crabass and walk the whole thing.  (Total Track Girl fail).

Once outside of the ESPN Complex, we hit the 20 mile mark.  They had a ***20 Mile Spectacular!!*** which was a short stretch of road with people dressed up as giant characters, like 15 feet high.  Or maybe they were just plain characters, I can't remember.  Or maybe I was just hallucinating.  I remember thinking, I think I can actually make it.  Even if I just walk the rest of the way, I think I will make it.  I think the most uplifting thing happened when we went up a hill (it was an overpass of a highway) and I was the only, I repeat... THE ONLY person running.  Every single person around me walked up the hill, and I kept hearing people complaining about "the hill".  I honestly felt like the single best and most talented and athletic runner in the whole world at that very moment.  GI Joe men were lined up screaming at us.  He yelled at one guy to do push ups if he wasn't going to run.  So, the guy dropped and did 10.  I laughed.  I wish I got a picture of the GI Joe men.  I really loved them.

Finally we entered Hollywood Studios, and saw - gasp - spectators!  That's just the boost I needed!  Jaimee planned on being in the park, but I wasn't sure where I would see her or if she would even still be there.  I had lost all concept of time and thought maybe everyone else ran past her hours ago.  I scoured the crowds looking for her and actually spotted her!  I ran over to her, stopped, chatted for a while, and did some stretching.  She kept saying, "you look great!  You look so much better than everyone else!  Keep going, get back out there!"  All I really wanted to do was just hang out for a while, but after a couple minutes of chatting I took off for the final three miles.  Once I entered Epcot, I knew I'd made it.  I walked one last time, and then ran the final couple miles to the finish.  The finish line was like a mirage.  I saw blue banners waaaaaay off in the distance and thought that was the finish line, only to reach the banners and realize the finish line was still out of sight.  When I made the final bend towards the finish, I was so, SO happy to see that the marathon spectators had put the half marathon spectators to shame.  There were thousands of people near the finish screaming their heads off, holding signs and waving.  I felt exactly like I was finishing a marathon.  Mickey gave me a high-five as I crossed the finish line, in a time of 5 hours, 24 minutes, and 43 seconds.

My absolute favorite volunteer of the whole race was the one that gave me water after the finish line. Not because she gave me water, but because she made me take two bottles, and yelled at me to drink it.  "Drink the water.  Drink both waters!  Drink them!  Right now!  Open them up right now and drink them!  Now!!!"  I had a severe case of Runner's brain when I crossed the finish line.  I couldn't really think straight.  My brain was all wobbly and tired and nothing really sunk in.  She clearly had seen a number of people suffering from Runner's brain and knew the telltale signs.  She really had to yell at me to get my attention.  She got it, and I drank it!

I wobbled through bag check (the most efficient process, EVER) and two of my new favorite people in the world, Scott and Tricia, were right there waiting for me and snapping a photo.

I don't think I really formulated a sentence but grunted something about "sit" and "shade" and then I was sitting in the shade.  After a few minutes I pulled out my phone to take a picture, and realized I had gotten a complete onslaught of text messages congratulating me on the finish.  Oh, so nice to get such thunderous applause from so far away.  I think it helped bring me back to life!  At about this time, Becca called to see where I was and gave me directions to go meet everyone in the parking lot.  I remember her giving me landmarks and detailed instructions, and take a left.  The only thing I absorbed was "take a left".  (Runner's brain!)  So the three of us walked in the direction of the buses, took a left, and ended up right at the bus to our hotel.  Magical!  But... Becca and crew were nowhere to be found.  I called them and said I was at the bus but couldn't find them.  This is all a bit fuzzy but the end result was that I had pulled a Jaimee and after they had spent time waiting for me, I hopped on the bus without them.  And I never lived it down.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Tricia (I love her) was making us ice baths for our feet while Scott and I got into our rooms.  This is as far as I made it:

Note: This is not my bed.  This is not even my room.  (Sorry Scott)
Finally Scott and I suffered through some excruciating ice torture.

After drinking lots, and lots, and lots of water and PowerAde, we all showered and headed to the pool.  I was pretty proud of myself for just being able to walk to the pool!  We did a little light swimming, just enough to keep our legs moving, and then headed up to the hotel room for our post-race festivities.

We all jammed into the room, turned on the Patriots playoff game, and in no time had the room looking like a frat house!  Beers and pizza everywhere, and that was heaven!

The big unknown was how I was going to feel waking up the next day.  Honestly, when I woke up I was afraid to move.  When I did move, I realized I was very stiff, but surprisingly the only sore muscles I had were my shoulders.  Weird, right?  My legs were fine.  I did a whole bunch of stretching when I got out of bed, foam rolled a bit, and then I was good to go.  Good thing too, because by 9am we were out the door for the Magic Kingdom, then moved on over to Epcot, and didn't get back til 11pm.  Fancy that for the day after a marathon!

Our first drink in Epcot
Our last drink in Epcot
Sadly, this awesome adventure ended on Tuesday, where we all were super sad to leave each other.

So, overall what did I think?  I think for a first time marathon it was a great one.  Yes it was hectic and too crowded and too expensive and we were at the mercy of Disney, but it was well organized and it was in conjunction with an awesome vacation with fabulous people in perfect weather.  The funny thing is, as "exciting" as Disney is, I thought there were a lot of really boring sections to this course.  I may be the minority, but through Disney design, it's nearly impossible for spectators to be anywhere on the course except for a handful of spots.  There were a lot of boring miles on endless stretches of highways where I could have used some crowd support.  There were some bands playing which helped, but not for long.  I'm definitely looking forward to greater crowd support in Boston!  Would I do it again?  Mmmm... not this year.  But yeah, I would probably do it again!

And guys, really... nearly ALL of these pictures were stolen from Scott.  So please, check out his blog too!  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Disney - Half Marathon Spectator Spectacular!

Saturday morning, Ronnie, Jess, Tricia and I all got up at 4:15am to head over to the half marathon.  We didn't plan on going to the start of the race, but the magical Disney Transportation made it a requirement to be on the road by 5am.  As it turns out, the bus driver wasn't too happy about our plan to take the last possible bus, and spent the whole drive hemming and hawing over the traffic and how it was a very real possibility that the runners on the bus would miss the start of the race.  

Once at the race, it was a confusing mess of people and queue lines.  Although the race hadn't started yet, there was no way for us to get near the start line.  Instead, we saw a sign pointing to "Spectator viewing" so we obediently marched along.  This mulch path wound through tropical trees (keep in mind, it's pitch dark) and out onto a highway.  It became more and more evident that we were probably marching to our death, which was confirmed when the grass we were walking on alongside the highway was littered with mounds of fire ant hills.  It was a bit of a game of hopscotch trying to dodge fire ants, and as far as we walked, there were no openings along the fence line. 

The race finally started, and when the first runners passed by, we realized a few things.  We were lined up along a highway, but the spectators were all on the wrong side of the highway.  In other words, the runners were running southbound, and we were all lined up on the northbound side, with the median and three lanes of highway separating us from the runners.  It's not exactly conducive to cheering for your friends!  And speaking of cheering for friends, that's apparently something that Disney spectators don't do.  When I tell you it was quiet, I mean... the only exclamation we heard was, "watch out for that fire ant!!".  When we happened to see Scott fly by (he's pretty hard to miss, as he's about a foot taller than anyone else) we all screamed like crazy.  This brought about strangely irritated looks from those around us, like we had just interrupted their church service.  Luckily, focus was quickly diverted from us to a young girl getting eaten by fire ants.  With that, we decided we'd had about enough of this Hitchcock adventure, and made our way back to the safety of asphalt.

Back at the parking lot, we grabbed breakfast at a vendor truck and watched the jumbo screen as the rest of the waves started.  We even managed to see Joe (the total ham) dressed up as Peter Pan doing the moonwalk past the camera.  We all screamed, which again drew strange looks from nearby people as they were trying to sleep in their coffee cups.  Eventually we made it to the finish line and observed the DJ trying to engage the crowd, while the spectators remained silently looking for their family member to finish.  Apparently Disney spectators feel that cheering is reserved for friends and family, not to the general public.  It was the strangest finish of a race I've ever seen, and I was praying tomorrow's marathon finish would be a little more exciting!

Scott finished the race in 1:40, a massive PR.  Way to go, Scott!  Tricia left us to go meet up with Scott, and Jess, Ronnie and I stayed at the finish to cheer on Jaimee.  About 20 minutes later Jaimee came through and we cheered her on, then left our spots to go meet up with her.  We had trouble finding her after the race, and decided to just wait for her outside of the bag check.  By this time Scott and Tricia had met up with us, so we all continued to hang out waiting for Jaimee.  Finally I texted her that we were outside the bag check, and she responded that she was already on the bus heading back to the hotel!  With that, the act of abandoning the herd is now referred to as "pulling a Jaimee".  We got a good laugh out of this for the rest of the weekend!

The joke was really on us though, because once we realized Jaimee was already headed back, Scott and Tricia headed off to meet relatives for brunch while Ronnie, Jess and I looked for our bus.  We mistakenly assumed that the place the bus dropped us off would be the same place the bus picked us up, but that was not the case.  After a very long walk back to where we thought the buses were, we were directed by a volunteer to somewhere else to grab a bus.  Turns out, we had to take the monorail from there, not a bus.  So, we took the monorail, which brought us to the Transportation Center, which told us that they weren't planning on running any more buses to our hotel.  Jess got all "badass Providence" on them, and magically a bus was redirected to our hotel.  By the time we got on our bus, Jaimee had reached the hotel, showered, and was at Magic Kingdom.

Ronnie, Jess and I were pretty excited because our Maine friends Becca, Mert, and Vicki were coming in that night.  All of us wanted to lay pretty low on Saturday so we could be as fresh as possible for the next day's marathon, so we spent a few hours near the pool and mostly in the shade.  I should also mention that all of us had a three-pronged approach to race day preparation: hydrate, carbo load, hydrate.  When we weren't eating, we were drinking.  And when we weren't drinking, we were peeing.  The entire vacation centered around public restrooms, and locating them became somewhat of a sporting event for us.  With the forecast calling for temperatures in the 80's for the marathon, we wanted to be as hydrated as possible going into it!  Sometimes I think it would have just been more efficient to pour water straight into the toilet.

We met up with Jaimee and the four of us had our final pre-marathon dinner at Wolfgang Puck at 4pm.  This sounds early,  but since the alarm was going off at 2:30am the next morning, we felt that we should have as long as possible to digest.  I had a four cheese macaroni which was a little too heavy for my liking, so I ended up leaving a lot of the cheese behind.  My final vote for the best sit-down meal at Disney remains Planet Hollywood!  Once we got back to the hotel we finally met up with our friends from Maine, and we spent the next few hours catching up with them before we all crashed for the night.  They were so excited to be there at the marathon, brought a super fancy camera with them, and even some clever hand made signs!

I mean really, has anyone ever made a sign like this for YOU?  This sign was so appropriate given the fact that I'd say 60-75% of our conversations any given day revolved around poop.  I gotta go, I can't go, I gotta go again, oh man that one stunk, does anyone have air freshener?, don't go in there for a while - (hehe)!  

So around 9pm, we all tucked in, in beds, on floors, in neighbor's rooms, etc., and tried to get some sleep before the dreaded alarm went off at 2:30am!

Next up - Marathon Day!

Disney Day 2 - The 5K and Animal Kingdom

Waking up on Thursday at 4am was great practice for this vacation, since every day became a cycle of: Wake up early, non-stop walking (or running), collapse, repeat.  Friday's Family Fun Run 5K had a start time of 6:30am, but thanks to the magic of Disney Transportation, all buses depart the hotel from 4am to 5am.  This is where I discovered a fundamental difference between Scott and I.  If it were up to me, we'd be taking the last possible bus, with a real threat of missing the start of the race.  It would really get our hearts racing, wondering if we would make it.  We'd have to forgo the last minute porta-potty stop and possibly sprint to the starting corral.  It would be exciting, chaotic, and badass.  Scott, on the other hand, is a planner.  He likes to get everywhere early, preferably before the volunteers even show up, just to get "settled in".  So, at an ungodly time of day, I was up and dressed and trying really hard to be excited about going to run a 5K in the dark.  It wasn't easy getting excited about the run, but the costume helped!

After a very, very long time standing around in the parking lot, making fun of some really bad country/christian rock singer and listening to a DJ unsuccessfully trying to get the crowd energized, we finally made it to the starting corral.  It was weird starting a race at 6:30 in the morning, and even weirder thinking that on Sunday at this time I'd already be an hour into the marathon.

Scott, Tricia, and I, along with their friend Joe, all ran the race together which made it quite entertaining!  And that's a good thing, because the first mile or so all took place in the parking lot and entrance road to Epcot, and passed by a waste water treatment area, so it wasn't exactly the magical experience we expected.

Finally we made it into the actual park and then the scenery was much prettier.  We stopped several times to take pictures.  It was so humid that eventually I had to take my glasses off because they were fogging up so much!

My costume was a big hit and I got a lot of compliments.  There was also an ongoing joke about dogs (some service dogs could be seen cowering away from me - Cruella) so this sign was just too perfect!
By the end of the race I was completely saturated in sweat due to the humidity, and the hair under my wig was soaked.  I'm so glad I decided to dress up for the 5k and not the marathon.

So to recap the 5K - It was fun to run with friends and dress up and be silly, but if I ever come back someday I will probably skip it.  A third of the race takes place in the parking lot, and it's a lot of money ($50!) just to run through Epcot.

We got back to the hotel by 7:30am (Disney is a real slam, bam, thank you ma'am kind of place) and I showered and got ready for our next stop - Animal Kingdom!

Ronnie, Jaimee and I went to Animal Kingdom for most of the day while we waited for Jess to arrive.  I don't think a play-by-play is really necessary here so let me just spell it all out in pictures!

While we were at Animal Kingdom, Jess arrived, checked into the hotel, and went to the race expo.  We made a plan to meet up at Downtown Disney for dinner.  We didn't have any reservations, but it was still early enough that we could get a table at Portabello's.  I had linguine with little neck clams, which was pretty good, but the real hit was the appetizer: mozzarella rice balls.  If you're ever there, try them.  Still, the meal wasn't as good as Planet Hollywood!  We made our way back to the hotel and met back up with Scott and Tricia, where we marveled at the fact that earlier this same day we had run a 5K.  It was so long ago it seemed like yesterday!  Since Scott and Jaimee were running the half marathon the next day, it was an early night for all of us.

Next up - Saturday's half marathon spectating adventure!

Several of these pictures were taken by Scott.  Be sure to check out his blog too!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Disney Marathon - Thursday

Sometime last year, Scott and I had this silly idea to book a destination race.  It was all fantasy, so I thought.  The way this whole thing evolved is still a bit fuzzy, but it somehow turned into me signing up for my first marathon.  I was really on the fence about it, but somehow Scott got a hold of a discounted entry fee, and somehow that was all it took for me to sign up.  The internet is like tequila: it can really make us do some ridiculously impulsive things. 
                Luckily through the power of persuasion I was able to talk a few other folks into doing the marathon with me, so at least I’d have some people to train with.  I started planning for the marathon/vacation like a soon-to-be bride plans her wedding, and before you knew it I had the room and flight booked, the training plan mapped out, and friends to share a room with.  I cautiously looked forward to the marathon and promised Ronnie we would do all our long runs together.  Then I broke my foot in October, and things got a little hairy.  For seven weeks I couldn’t run until the break healed, which coincided with the peak of my training.  In the meantime I tried to keep in shape by biking (which the doctor yelled at me for) and swimming (which the doctor yelled at me for), and eventually after seven weeks the doctor pronounced the break healed (despite my ill-advised activities).  I never ended up doing a long run.  I begged Disney to let me switch to the half marathon but it was sold out and they wouldn’t let me transfer.  In December I started lightly running again, and was able to squeeze in three long-ish runs: 10 miles, 13 miles, and 10 miles.  That would be the only “marathon training” I would be able to do.  I knew it wasn’t enough, but I also knew I wanted to try to complete the marathon and if I had to walk a lot of it, so be it.  I also made myself promise that if my foot started hurting again I would drop out.  I am now training for the Boston Marathon in April and can’t afford more setbacks.  After analyzing the course, I made a plan to run all of the boring highway sections, and walk through the parks and other landmarks.  Loosely translated, it would be about 19 miles of running and 7 miles of walking.  I felt pretty sure I could handle that, especially with sufficient walk breaks and given the fact that there’s not a single hill in the course.  So after all that debating and convincing myself and my concerned friends, I finally decided just two weeks before the marathon that I would go for it!

                Thursday morning, after a 4am wake up, I headed to Ronnie's house where his son brought us to the airport.  We arrived in Florida by 10:30am, and Jaimee (my lunch running buddy) was just a few minutes behind us.  Ahhh... warm, sunny Florida.  The weather was perfect the whole time we were there!  We checked into our super-cheesy pop culture hotel and then the three of us headed to the race expo.  

Disney does everything on a grand scale, and the race expo was no exception.  

We had to take a bus to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where we walked a long distance over to the field house to pick up our race numbers.  Then, we had to walk another long distance to another building to pick up our T-shirts and the pins to go with our race numbers, which was in the heart of the expo.  After spending a great deal of time navigating through the crowds and vendor tables, we headed out.   
Showing off the 5K and Marathon bibs. First time holding a marathon number--- eeek!

Ronnie had a relative picking us up to bring us to the store for supplies, so we walked around outside until we could find her.   Needless to say, it was only Thursday afternoon and my feet were already sore.  My one condition I told myself was that I was going to have to take it easy with the walking before the marathon because I knew my feet would start bugging me, but Disney makes it impossible to make any walk a short walk.  We headed over to the local Walmart, which turned into a bit of a scavenger hunt picking up supplies for me, Ronnie, Jaimee, Scott, and Tricia.

Yay for southern Walmarts that sell booze!!
Finally, late afternoon Scott and Tricia arrived at the hotel, just as we were finishing bringing up all the groceries.  After talking to Scott for the last two years for work over the phone, it was great to finally meet him!  Here's my "it's nice to meet you but my arms are too tired from lugging all your beer and water across the hotel to shake your hand" look.

Note: Scott was either sitting on the bed, or possibly on the floor, when this picture was taken. You'll see why.
Scott and Tricia ran into a bit of a hiccup checking into their room, but luckily they had nice neighbors to let them set up camp until they could get in!  Once Scott and Tricia were somewhat settled in, they had to book it over to the race expo to pick up their packets and be back in time for dinner. We had dinner reservations at Planet Hollywood at 7:45pm, and now that we were starting to get a feel for Disney transportation, we knew they didn't have a lot of time to spare.  After they headed out, the rest of us finally took advantage of some downtime and headed out to the pool.  I was just so happy to be able to sit down!

Sure enough, Scott and Tricia became victims of Disney transportation issues, and ended up taking a cab to Downtown Disney, where Planet Hollywood is located.  In retrospect, I wish we had done the same thing!  As we found out the hard way, there were two bus stops for Downtown Disney, and we got off at the wrong one.  So it was another very long walk to Planet Hollywood!  On the bright side, it was fun walking past all the shops and smelling all the different scents of chocolatiers and restaurants.  

For some reason, I didn't have very high expectations of Planet Hollywood.  I expected it to be a mediocre meal, but every one of us had a great dinner and the atmosphere was... a little trippy to say the least!

Tricia, Scott, Maureen, Ronnie, Jaimee, and Moi, hydrating like crazy!
Dinner was made up of a strange assortment of friends.  Scott (that I work with) and Tricia from Missouri, my friend Ronnie (that I ride horses with) from Rhode Island, Ronnie's friend Maureen that he works with from Boston, and Jaimee that I work with in Mass.  We all became fast friends, and we managed to keep Tricia very entertained with our New England accents!

After dinner we headed back to our rooms for some much needed rest.  Waking up at 4am was starting to take its toll, and I had a 5K to prep for!

Laying out my race gear for tomorrow's 5K!
Next up will be Friday's 5K and visit to Animal Kingdom!

Nearly all these photos are credited to Scott.  Be sure to check out his blog too!