Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 ING Miami Half Marathon

Sunday I participated in the ING Miami half marathon for the third time.  U.S. Road Sports & Entertainment, the race organizer, puts on an exceptional event.  So organized, beautiful course, amazing medals, just a really good time.
My mom was here and got to run the race as well - great job mom!

My goal was to enjoy the course and take pictures.
Here you go...
start line outside of American Airlines Arena
running along MacArthur Causeway
Britto sculpture in South Beach
the legendary Raven Runner of South Beach

Ocean Drive

Versace's house
The Fillmore Theater
after running this for 3 years I still don't know what the "Publix mile" means
Miami Beach golf course
heading onto the Venetian Causeway
building used as The Bourbon Room in 'Rock of Ages'
footprints leading the half marathoners to the finish line
awesome bling!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All registered for Expedition Everest!

Team 'All About the Medal' is all signed up for our 4th go round at Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge!
It takes place on Saturday May 4th - can't wait!
In the Women's Team category we came in 49th in 2010, 15th in 2011 and 11th in 2012.
We want to finish in the top 3 this year!  It's going to be a 5K kind of spring - working on the speed :)
On a sad runDisney note, neither I, nor my friends (there were 5 of us), were able to register in time for the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland this fall :(
BUT the silver lining is that we are now going to try for the San Francisco Nike Women's Half.  We are going to put together a group once the registration process starts.  Let me know if you would be interested in joining!

Have you ever taken part in a scavenger hunt type of race?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lots of movies & a recipe

Happy Inauguration Day!
All the pomp & ceremony & tradition surrounding the inauguration is so intriguing.  I love all that stuff!
Having a three day weekend was also great!
The blue Dawn/vinegar mixture I mentioned on Friday worked wonders on my bathtub.  Not perfection, but it worked better than Comet or bleach!
This weekend I saw two great films, Argo & Silver Linings Playbook.
I absolutely loved, loved, loved Argo.  I can not believe this movie came out in October and I am just seeing it now.  Any type of movie based on a historical event has my immediate attention, and this one most definitely did.  The movie is based on about an event surrounding the Iran Hostage Crisis in the late 70s.
I won't go into details because you have likely already seen this movie :)
If not, you can read about it online :)
Surprisingly, the theater was packed and the crowd actually clapped and cheered at the end.
Yeah, it was THAT KIND of movie.
If you do see the movie it is also worth it read up on the Iran Hostage Crisis and other facts vs. fiction about the creative liberties the movie took.  It's all good stuff.

While the plot of Silver Linings Playbook wasn't bad, it was the acting that was incredible.  I am not surprised all four of the main characters are nominated for Oscars and that Katnis... er, I mean Jennifer Lawrence, won the Golden Globe.  She was GREAT!

This fall and winter I have watched quite a few movies.  Spending a lot of time on planes and cruise ships (for work, not vacation - BIG difference) will do that to you.
Here is what I watched:
Bachlorette - great
Your Sister's Sister - ok, but still good
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen  - loved
Celeste & Jesse Forever - loved
10 Years - great
Pitch Perfect - loved
Fairhaven - ok, kind of good at the end
Liberal Arts - liked it
To Rome With Love - sucked
Ted - hilarious (raunchy... you are warned)
5 Year Engagement - ok, good mindless entertainment.  Plus it was free on the ship.
What to Expect When You're Expecting - see 5 Year Engagement
When trying to think of new, or different, recipes to make I keep thinking about Shepherd's Pie, yet I never make it.
Well, I finally made it this weekend.
I used this recipe, and it was delicious.  I loved that there were red peppers in the recipe.  Something different. 
A few changes I made:
In place of sour cream in the potatoes, I used greek yogurt and it tasted great
I used ground lamb vs. ground beef, not sure this made a difference
I didn't use parsley, and next time I wouldn't bother with the butter either

Since I live alone, I ended up dividing the meat and potatoes into three different dishes so I would have smaller portions and I could put two in the freezer for a later date.  I love to just pull ready made food from the freezer!

Have you seen any great movies lately?  Recommendations?

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 for Friday

Since I want to blog more in the New Year I thought I might start up this little series, "5 for Friday".
I think a quick list of a few things I want to mention might be more motivating for me to write, then a whole post on one topic.  We'll see how long this keeps up.  I am really not making any promises.

1.  Three Day Weekend.  Thank goodness Martin Luther King had that dream all those years ago.  Monday off from work = nice!

2.  Patriots are in the AFC Championship game.  Oh dear lord, I hope they win.

3.  It's cold in Miami today.  This morning it was in the 50s and is currently only 64 degrees!  I am wearing a fleece, jeans, socks and danskos (some of my favorite pieces of clothing!).  It has been really warm and humid all winter, so I need to take advantage of this cool day.  Unfortunately the weather will be back in the 80s tomorrow.  Awesome.

4.  Blue Dawn & Vinegar bathroom cleaning mixture.  I saw this on Pinterest and I am so excited to use this on my bathtub this weekend.  What a crazy thing to be excited for, right?  My bathtub is my nemesis and has been since the day I moved into this apartment.  I have scrubbed it so much the finish is peeling off, yet I never feel like it is clean enough.  Ugh.
5.  Lots of good movies in theaters now.  I feel like it's been awhile since there has been a lot of good movies in the theater.  I can't even think of the last time I went to see one.  Argo is still out, but I have a feeling it will leave the theaters soon, so I am going to see it this weekend.  Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained are the others I would like to see (not necessarily all this weekend).  I kind of want to see Les Miserable, but I loved the Broadway show so much, I have a feeling the movie won't be the same.

Do you have a long weekend for MLK day?
What movies are you looking forward to seeing?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Volunteering & Spectating at the 2013 Disney World Marathon

Volunteering with Disney's Sports Enthusiast program is always a good time.  They are so organized and treat their volunteers great.  While I have only volunteered for runDisney events, the Sports Enthusiasts participate in almost all the events that come to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  If I lived in Orlando I would totally volunteer with them more.

On Sunday I volunteered for 2013 Disney World Marathon.
When you volunteer for one of the runDisney half marathons or the marathon, you are required to pick up an event credential prior to your shift.  Pick up can be done either at the Health & Fitness Expo, or at an offsite location the week prior to the event.
I picked up my credential at the Expo on Saturday afternoon.
I was scheduled for 1:30am to 7:30am on Sunday morning.
They ask that volunteers arrive to Downtown Disney (where the volunteer parking and check in tent is located) 20-30 minutes before your shift starts.  At this time they scan your credential to check you in, you receive your volunteer jacket, you are handed a snack bag and then off you go to the buses to your volunteer location.

I was working the Refreshment Tent, which is where all the runners would filter through after they finished to collect their snack box, bananas, candy, etc. 
We stacked a lot of bananas and snack boxes.

 In case you are wondering, those boxes are stacked 8 across, 9 tall and 6 deep :)
Our team was done with the set up by 4:30am.  We were able to check out with our Team Lead and then we could go watch the start.  We were not able to go home at that point because the road the buses used to get from the Epcot start line area back to Downtown Disney were closed.
The road the buses travel on is actually the road the runners use to walk out to the start corrals.

This was fine by me, I knew I was going to stay after my shift was over to watch some of the race.

By 4:30am, the pre race area of the marathon was pretty crowded.  I did a quick scan of the area for a couple of ladies whose blogs I read in the hopes of meeting them in person, but was not able to find them (insert sad face).

I then headed out to the start line viewing area to watch the start.
How cute is this Mickey start line banner?
The race started right on time with the wheelchair competitiors at 5:30am.  They were followed by the first corral of runners at 5:35am.  After that, every 7 minutes another corral was released onto the course for a total of 8 corrals!  It took one hour for the race start to be completed.  There were thousands of runners in each wave.  It was really cool to watch.
The crowd support right beyond the start line was kind of dull.  I had my cow bell out and was ringing it as every runner went by.  So if you heard a cowbell after the start line, it was me :)
I definitely annoyed the old couple next to me, but I really could not have cared less.  These runners were setting out to tackle 26.2 miles, some support is necessary. 

Once the start was completed I wandered around the, now quiet, start area.  I bought a cute runDisney pin which I will put on the "wall" of my cube at work.  It was also at this time the DJ announced the leaders were at mile 18.  I headed over to the bleachers in the finish line area to wait for the winners. 

Goofy, Minnie, Donald & Mickey waiting for the winner
The race announcers and Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Goofy kept us entertainment for the hour or so until the two lead runners made their way to the finish line.
Can you see the winner in the middle of the path?

The winner was Adriano Bastos from Brazil.  He previously won the WDW Marathon 6 straight times from 2005 - 2010.  The second place finisher was Fredison Costa of Brazil who had won the last two WDW Marathons.  Between these two, they have won half of the WDW Marathons that have taken place - amazing!  They are actually training partners as well.  Once they had both crossed the finish line (16 seconds apart), they came back out onto the course to enjoy their moment.
Good Sportsmanship!
The men finished in 2:21:and change, while the winning woman was Renee High, who also won in 2012, who finished in 2:48.
I sat in the bleachers until the clock read 3:30.  It was fun to see the finishers trickle in.
I saw 3 Clif Bar Pace Team Leaders finish right on time - awesome!  The 3:05 and 3:15 leaders didn't have any runners with them, but the 3:25 leader did.  Great job pace team!
Once I knew Epcot was open, I went in the park to cheer on some more runners.
If you are ever in need of inspiration, go watch the last mile of a marathon.  People are in pain, they are hot, they are sweaty, but they are gettin' it done!
I don't know who these people are...
but they are awesome!
Marathon Sunday is also a great time to go on the rides at Epcot, FYI.  I went on Spaceship Earth, Soarin' and Test Track all within an hour and 45 minutes - awesome!

I then headed out to the UK pavillion in World Showcase to get some fish & chips for lunch (they are delicious here).  While I was waiting in line, who do I see getting a beer from some spectators?  Joey Fatone from NSync!  Omg.  I love me some NSync!
So of course I did what my younger self would expect me to do and I got out my cowbell and shouted, "Way to go Joey from NSync".  He looked over, raised his beer cup at me and gave a "Wooo".
Awesome.  I love celebrities.  I love boy bands.
Since Joey & I are now cool, this obviously means I am practically BFFs with JT :)

After lunch, I headed back out to the volunteer area to catch a bus to Downtown Disney.
When you volunteer for a runDisney half marathon or the marathon, you receive a one day park pass.  Since I have a season pass I always forget about this (obviously it is not the reason I volunteer at 1am in the morning), but it is definitely a nice perk of volunteering.  My parents will be using it when they are here in a couple of weeks!

Congratulations to all the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathoners!!

Some fun facts about the 2013 WDW Marathon:
* 20th Anniversary Year Event
* Half Marathon Race: 27,000 participants
* Marathon Race: 26, 000 participants
* Goofy Participants: 10,000
* Family Fun Run 5K Race: 10,000 participants
* runDisney Kids¡¦ Races: 3,000 participants in three days
* runDisney Mickey Mile Race: 3,000 participants in three days
* Approximately 7,000 Volunteers are a part of the Marathon Weekend
* Approximately 800 Medical Volunteer are part of the Marathon Weekend