Dumbo Double Dare – Friday


Friday dawned and after an easy run – the four of us headed to the expo.  We figured we’d get there at the opening (as Derek and I needed our park tickets) – no big deal.  Whoa – we were there well in advance of the 10am opening and the line was enormous.  So enormous, that the first place we went to stand in line was actually the middle of the line and we got shooed to the end.  After standing around for 15 or so minutes, we discovered that we were in the expo line and that there was a separate packet pickup line.  My preference was to be in the packet pickup line – as there wasn’t anything I wanted at the expo that I thought would sell out – but, we were already in line, Beth was hoping to check out the Dooneys (which can sell out), so we stayed.  That was big mistake.

Once the expo opened – the line moved quickly and we actually got into the runDisney store right away.  But then it was a madhouse – like total feeding frenzy.  We all tried to stay really calm and stay as much out of the fray as possible.  When I asked one woman where the Dumbo merchandise was – she said (in a highly panicked voice) “they’re all out, it’s all gone.”  Which I felt was patently ridiculous – we were the first ones in the store, the store had only been open like maybe 5 minutes – it was completely unfathomable that Disney would have only provided enough to last 5 minutes.  And, I was rewarded – they were bringing out new racks of the merchandise and I was able to get the shirt I wanted (and try on two different sizes).  We all picked out the items we wanted and then went to go stand in line.


This is where things turned from bad to worse.  The line was so long that Beth and I decided to go pick up our fairy wings and skirts at another booth while the guys waited in line to pay.  We did that, and returned, and waited some more.  Then we came up with the idea that two of us should go and get our packets and then come back and the other two would go.  So Beth and Noel went to get their packets.  Unfortunately, once they left the expo area, they found out that they wouldn’t be let back in (without standing in some crazy line again).  Derek and I waited, and waited, and waited – finally getting up to pay.  Beth and Noel had a long line for packet pickup – which luckily moved a bit faster once Derek and I got there.  By the end of this whole fiasco, I was beat and barely holding it together.  All in all – it took us 4 hours to get out of there.  Unbelievable!  It was like runDisney had never organized a race before.

Thankfully – we had a lovely, relaxing lunch at La Brea Bakery which restocked our energy and good mood.

After lunch – we headed right to our tour – we had booked the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour.

But first – a little interlude and dance by everyone’s favorite chipmunks:



Our tour guide was awesome and the tour was very interesting – we heard about Walt’s influence on attractions and the design of Disneyland.  We were also able to ride Peter Pan (without waiting!), ducked into the Tiki Room, check out club 33 (ok, we only got to be downstairs and see the elevator), and…




…the highlight of the tour – we got to see Walt’s family apartment over the firehouse!  It is a small place – just mainly one room and a bathroom – but what an amazing place that would be to sit and relax while watching people milling through Town Square?


Dumbo Double Dare – Thursday

So – back in January (or maybe even earlier), runDisney announced a new race for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend – they were adding a 10k on Saturday (themed to Alice in Wonderland) and a special challenge called the Dumbo Double Dare which would include both the 10k and the half marathon on Sunday.  I can’t say I’ve been a lifelong Dumbo fan – but for some reason, this combination of races and the name really called to me.  We signed up and our friends Beth and Noel signed up and another fantastic weekend was planned!

We all arrived Thursday – Beth and Noel had a better flight plan and arrived mid-day.  We had a very long layover, so we didn’t arrive until Thursday around 6pm.  But with the super-efficiency of flying into John Wayne Airport – we were at the resort by like 6:25 and at Downtown Disney around 6:45pm.  We were bushed, but we couldn’t just arrive and go to sleep!  We all agreed to have a drink at the UVA bar.

The expo didn’t open until Friday morning and we were eager to get there – Derek and I had our park tickets waiting for us there, Beth was interested in seeing what Dooney bags they might have, and we just generally wanted our race stuff.  So, while we were sitting and having a drink – Beth all of a sudden says – “Is the expo already open?  How did that guy get his stuff already?”  It turns out – “that guy” was Sean Astin – which Noel refused to believe.  But it was indeed Sean Astin and Derek and I got a fun photo with him.


We had also been talking about Joey Fatone – because the ‘N Sync revival at the VMA Awards was playing on the TV loop in the cab that Derek and I took.  And lo and behold – Joey Fatone arrives to hang out with Sean!  Now – I am not normally a big celebrity stalker – but I certainly acted like one this night!


It was a great start to a great weekend.

Valley Forge and LA part 1


The weekend after Charles St, we headed to our good friends’ Michael and Paul’s house for their annual summer party.  Because we live a bit further away, we get invited for a full weekend, which is always a wonderful time with good friends.  Of course – marathon training doesn’t stop for party weekends, so I had a 22 mile run planned for Sunday.  We had run from their house before and found their area to be really hilly.  So – for 22 – I decided that hilly wasn’t the ticket.

Derek and I drove over to nearby Valley Forge to run there.  Well – the running loop there was full of runners, but it was very hilly too – way too hilly to do all 22.  After finishing the 5 mile loop, I headed out to the Schuylkill River trail – ahhh, much better.  The trail went from there all the way into Philadelphia – so plenty of distance.  It ended up being a beautiful run and I finished the 22 strong!

That very next week (Monday in fact) we had to fly out to LA.  My grandfather had passed away when we were in Baltimore, and his funeral was on Tuesday.  So we arranged a last minute trip and headed out there.  We managed to squeeze in our runs while there – once at the Rose Bowl and once on a treadmill.

We spent the day of the funeral with family – just a small group of us.  My grandmother and my great aunt were there:


and my two aunts, and two of my cousins also joined.  The service was just family and we just shared memories and words about my grandfather.  Then we drove out to the burial site – and he has a wonderful resting spot with a great view of the valley:IMG_1214


Not a happy reason for a trip, but it was nice to see family again and I was grateful to have been able to be there – to represent my mother’s family (my mother passed away in 2004 and my sister wasn’t able to be there).

Charles St 12


My marathon training plan had several “tune-up” races embedded within it.  A month before the marathon was the half marathon tune-up.  Now – it turns out, it’s pretty hard to find a half marathon in August anywhere close.  But I found a cool new race called the Charles St 12 (12 miler) in Baltimore; and since my good friend Beth lives in Baltimore – to Baltimore I would go!

It became a fuller team racing weekend as Roz (another Peacock) came up from Alabama for the weekend, Derek ran the race as well, and Beth’s friend Elizabeth joined in all the fun.

The weekend was Roz’s birthday – so Beth (who is an amazing baker) baked her a cake – a pink lemonade gluten-free cake!


The race was on Saturday morning – so it was virtually the first thing we did that weekend. The morning dawned humid and warm – and the course ended up being remarkably hilly (despite the tag-line “net descent” which was true, but masked a whole bunch of uphill).  I had a tough race – reminiscent of Wildwood last year, although better than that.  I didn’t handle the humidity that well and ended up really paying for it in the last two miles – had to walk just a bit in that last mile.  Ah well – it was frustrating and certainly discouraging for my upcoming marathon, but I did focus on lessons learned – I think I didn’t hydrate (with electrolytes) sufficiently the day(s) before to handle the humidity.

We had an amazing brunch and then headed out to Fort McHenry – the inspiration for the national anthem!  Our tour guide was wonderful – knowledgeable, engaging – all you could ask for.


We capped the evening off by going crab picking for dinner!  When in Maryland, do as Marylanders do!

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With a beautiful sunset – we headed to Fells Point for some tasty gelato at Pitango GelatoIMG_1188 IMG_1190

and a personal ghost tour by Noel (Beth’s husband).  Very cool.

The next morning, we did an easy run then had bacon pancakes for breakfast (breakfast of Peacock champions!)  Then we headed out to Black Ankle to go wine tasting – hey, what’s a Peacock gathering without some kind of drinking?IMG_1197


All in all, it was a wonderful weekend spent with great friends.

Catching up

Well – I had intended to post regularly throughout August and into September, as I knew that I had lots of fun things coming up that would make interesting posts.  But…well – time got away from me.  I guess all that time spent traveling and having fun meant no time for blogging.

Oh well – the quick recap (with more to follow) – several weekends of racing and fun – first in Baltimore, then a party with friends in Pennsylvania; then sadly, my grandfather passed away so we had a unplanned trip to LA for the funeral; then a wonderful Labor Day weekend trip out in California at Disneyland for the Dumbo Double Dare; and finally – the culmination – my goal marathon:  Lehigh Valley Via Marathon on September 8th.

Sadly – that did not end as planned.  I was feeling pretty good and on pace to qualify (even better than qualify, I was on pace to my target which was about 5 min better than qualifying), but I fell at mile 19.6.  I was injured enough that this took me out of the race and headed toward the closest ER.  More on this whole experience later – but suffice to say, it was heartbreaking in the moment.  I have been recovering well and am starting to regain my ambition.