Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Keys to the Last Frontier

The Keys
Saturday I spent the day in the Florida Keys volunteering for the Keys 100 Ultramarathon.
This was the third year I have volunteered for the event and, once again, it was a great day!
I really can't imagine the mental strength it takes to complete 100 miles all by yourself.  These participants are total rock stars.
My volunteer "job" is working at the Mile Marker 60 aid station.  The Mile Markers on the Keys start in Key Largo and go down as you get towards Key West.  So I see the runners when they are 40 miles into the race.  My aid station had water, ice, electrolyte drinks, ginger ale, boiled potatoes, salt, pickles, PB & J sandwiches, chips, fruit snacks, first aid "stuff" and the like.  I didn't bring any of those things, the race provides it all.  I just show up and help out for 7 hours.
Everything seemed to be a hit.  The runners especially liked the potatoes (what a great idea!), chips, ginger ale and the pickles were also a hit.  And when I say the pickles were also a hit, I mean I thought they were a hit.
Dill pickles that are like little gerkins... omg.  So good.  Don't worry, there was PLENTY for the runners.
One runner actually had cans of beer in his drop bags along the route.  Just sat right down and popped open a beer.  He said that all the Ultras in europe have beers at the aid stations.  Interesting approach to ultra running... and quite frankly, one that I could really get onboard with :)
Not really, but beer and soda are two things I crave after long runs.
Most of the runners this year were in extremely good condition and spirits when they reached mile 40.  There were blister issues for some, but on the whole everyone was doing well.
Only one guy dropped out at my aid station.  Poor guy... I felt bad, but his feet were too blistered to go on.
If I haven't said it enough before, volunteering for races is awesome!  It really can be just as exciting as actually running in a race.  Give it a try!

The Last Frontier
Amazing picture of Anchorage I got off of Facebook, but I am not sure of the actual source.
Tomorrow I am heading up to Alaska!
Four days and nights of fun in one of my favorite places ever!!  I use to live in Anchorage, so it will be great to see some old friends.  Good times ahead.
I'll spend most of my time in Anchorage, but am also planning quick day trips to both Talkeetna & Girdwood.
One thing I am really looking forward to is the 18 hours of daylight.  I love how the sun doesn't set in the summer!  It gives you so much energy, it is just the best.  Just checked online and sunrise is at 4:50am and sunset at 11:05pm - awesome!
My friend Annie, and I were originally thinking about running the Trent-Waldron half marathon on Saturday, but ultimately decided against it.  I have not been feeling the long run lately and really I just want to eat, drink and be merry during this little getaway!
Work is dddrrraagggiiiinnggg today.  3 hours to go.
My danskos and fleece are super excited for "their" trip tomorrow :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I have nothing to say

So I'll let the websites I've been reading do the talking...

This is written from the POV of Suri Cruise.
She judges all things about celebrity's children.

She's gonna be Queen of England, in case you weren't sure how the "win" comes into play.
It's clever and very funny.
She definitely won the Gold Medal of Life :)

Have you read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy? 
This Tumbler page makes fun of all the stupidness.
I am currently half way through the third (and last) book.
So far that one is my favorite, but it is by no means a great good book.
I can't believe E.L. James is making bank on her crappy writing.
I've been annoyed since book 1, chapter 1.
Does anyone else think Fan Fiction writing is super creepy?
Is that the same as asking "Does anyone else think blog writing is super creepy?" ;)
When I think of Christian Grey I think of Christian Bale.
I think we can all agree he is bat-shit crazy.
I am surprised I haven't had nightmares.

Say No To Cosmo & the Bachelor's website
Ashley Spivey, one of the bachlorettes from Brad Womack's second season, writes episode recaps on these sites.
She is funny.
Anyone else watch this show?
What did you think of the guys?
I can't even think of anything to say about the guys because I am just so annoyed at myself for watching another season.
WTF am I thinking.
Oh, here's something - Kalon made a terrible first impression.
What... an idiot.

Ok, so maybe I had a few things to say.
Any fun plans for the weekend?
I am heading down to the Keys tomorrow to volunteer for the Keys 100 Ultra Marathon.
This will be my third year.  I still can't believe that people choose to run 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West.  In May.  It's gonna be like 85 tomorrow with chance of thunderstorms.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge 2012

Saturday was the '5th Adventure' of Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge.  Annette & I teamed up once again as "All About the Medal".  Last year we finished 15th for the All Female teams, so naturally this year we wanted to do better.  Top 10 was our goal.
So how did we do...
 We came in 11th!
 We finished the course (which is a 5K with obstacles and then a scavenger hunt) in 50:21.
The winning team finished in 42:08.  There were 701 All Female teams.
We were super happy with our time and we even finished five minutes faster than last year!
I really want to place next year :)

As always, it was a great event.
It started off with pack pick-up at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Saturday morning.  There is no expo, just packet pick-up and course talks.  It is cute though, since they set it up like base camp.
The race itself started at 9:30pm at the Animal Kingdom in the Butterfly parking lot.  You can do Expedition Everest as part of a 2-person team or as an individual.
There are 8 wave starts, 6 minutes apart.
Unfortunately the waves are not time based.  They never have been, but in my old age this just bothers me more :)
The individuals start out first, then the All Male teams, then the Co-Ed teams, then the All Female teams.  While this makes sense as men are naturally faster runners than women, there are just soooo many walkers at this event, I really, really hope runDisney changes this next year.  All we did was dodge people the entire time.  I understand walkers are welcomed at this event, it would just be so much better to separate the runners from the walkers.

The start was fantastic this year!  They did things a little differently from the previous two years  Instead of having everyone wait in corrals for up to an hour before their wave was to start, they just had everyone relax in the parking lot and they would call up the next wave to the starting line and then the wave after would be "on deck" at the back of the start line chute.  
With only 5,100 participates, Expedition Everest is one of the smaller runDisney events, so this worked out perfectly.  Since we were last, we went over to the 5K finish line (also in the Butterfly Lot) to watch the runners finish from the earlier waves.  

The race started about 5 minutes late, so we were off and running at just about 10:20pm.
The first mile is entirely in the Animal Kingdom parking lot.  During this mile you get to the first obstacle - jumping over bails of hay.  Once past that, you enter into the park, run through Discovery Island, through Africa and then take a left into a backstage area, along the Wildlife Express Train route.  Here in mile 2 is the next obstacle - running through the tires.  
Making our way back into the park, we run through Discovery Island again (on the other side of the Tree of Life) and then out of the park through another backstage area. Once back in the parking lot there is the third, and last, obstacle - rope crawl.
Teammates are suppose to cross the 5K timing mats together in order to continue onto the scavenger hunt portion.  Due to my slow running we finished about 30 seconds slower than last year.  32:04.  This is what needs to be improved upon for next year!  And yes, I am directing this at myself :)

Once we were done with the 5K, the volunteers hand us a clue card, marker, and mini flashlight/whistle combo.
Can I please tell you the whistle was AWESOME for getting through the walking crowds.  I have no doubt it was annoying to some, but we freakin' loved those things!

That clue cards told us which "Land" to go to and which volunteer to look for.  In each Animal Kingdom "Land" there are 5 volunteers each with different signs.
For example, our first clue said "Oasis" for the Land and the sign we needed to look for was Mirage. 
All runners go to the different Lands in the same order (Oasis, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa and Asia), but there are five different versions of clues.  Hence the five different signs.
On your way to each location you need to figure out the clue card.  Once at the correct volunteer, you need to tell them your answer and if you are correct they will give you the next card.  Overall, the clues are pretty manageable, but if you are having a hard time, the volunteers will give you hints.
Once you have been to all 4 Lands, the answer to the fifth and final clue is your "password" to cross the finish line and enter the post race party.  The "password" is a word made up of letters from the 4 previous clues.  Solve that, tell your password to the volunteers and cross the finish line!
The scavenger hunt was where we made up time this year and we finished that portion in 18:18.

After crossing the finish line we got our awesome medals...
 Then we headed over to Dinoland USA to collect our checked bags and grab a beer.
Unfortunately the line for bag check was kind of long, so we decided to go back later.  Luckily our friend Dave was there so we could bum money off of him for the beers.  We had to adequately hydrate after :)
We waited for Annette's husband, Brian, and Dave's girlfriend, Wendy, to finish.  They were a team this year and they were called "Where's Dave?".  I thought that was pretty funny :)
We got in a few rides - Everest (obviously!), Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl, which I have declared myself officially too old to ever ride that thing again... Can't handle the jerkiness, ugh.
I really love the night time runDisney events with the post race parties.  Even though you could tell it was more crowded this year, it was still fun and we will definitely be back next year!