Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rainy Days and Thursdays

It's a little gray and rainy today, here in Michigan. But that's okay for two reasons.

One, we haven't had rain in several weeks, and the grass sure could use a good dose. We had to re-seed a patch in our front yard from grubs snacking on it last year, and we've been watering that spot for two months. It's nice and green, while the rest of the yard is all dry and brown. The Canadian geese think they are seeing a pond and have been swooping down on occasion.

Second, I really like rain. I like how it makes everything cleaner, and I love the fresh earthy smell, and I love the sound of it. I don't even mind driving in the rain. And, I don't mind Disney in the rain!

Yes, it's true that a few things shut down (parades, Test Track, Streetmosphere). But a lot of people usually decide to leave the parks when the rain comes. And that means shorter lines for those of us wearing ponchos!

I have two favorite rainy Disney moments. We were riding Splash once on a nice sunny Florida day, and we started heading up the hill for the big drop. Now I expected to see a bright blue sky up at the hole in the mountain at the top of the hill, but it seemed to be all gray and misty. So I thought the water effect had been turned up too high. When we were almost to the top, I realized one of those quick Florida showers had kicked in, and it was POURING down rain -- sheets of it -- right as we came out of the mountain and hit the drop! Needless to say, there was no time to get ponchos and nowhere to hide! We got drenched from the rain, not from the drop! And of course, five minutes later the sun came back out.

My second moment was when we caught the last Lion King puppet show in Fantasyland (remember that show, in what is now the Philharmagic theater?). We came out when it was over, and most of the park guests had cleared out. It had rained, so all of MK was glistening and sparkly because of the rain and the lights, and no one was around. It was wonderful walking slowly through the park that night!

Do you have any Disney rain stories?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Big Wimpy Ten

I completed 10 miles today! That's a BIG, BIG milestone for me!

When I started training back in January, running that first one mile was hard, and getting to three was a big accomplishment. And this summer, making it to FIVE miles was huge for me.

After that, I just kept adding .25 to my run each week -- staying out there another three or four minutes didn't seem unmanageable.

Last week I made it to 9 miles, and it was a really good run. This week, I knew I wanted to get to 10, no matter how long it took or how tired I was!

This week I didn't fuel up quite enough, and I got out a little later than normal, so after 6 miles, I did a lot of walking and running and walking. But I kept at it -- no quitting -- I had to finish 10.

On the last mile, I kept saying to myself that mile 13 was going to feel like this!! HARD!!

Anyway, I'm glad I got to the big number. I think I'll stay at 10 for a little while, until I get used to how to pace myself after mile 6 -- what combo of walking and running will work best for me.

(Now I'm off to Sears to get a replacement tire for the flat one I had yesterday.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flat Tire = No Training Run

It's Saturday, time for my weekly training run. I was planning on 9.5 miles today and hoping to do the BIG TEN.

So I ate my big breakfast, got all vaselined and sunscreened up, put on my two watches and iPod and gathered up my other odds and ends. (One good thing about a weekly training run is that I have gotten very comfortable with what I need to eat and how I need to prep.)

Out to the truck, put it in reverse, and OOPS. Something didn't feel right, and I was a little tilted towards one side. Yes, flat tire.

Since my truck is only a year old, the Ford Roadside Assistance plan was still in effect, so I called them, they came and put the spare on. But my optimum running time slot has passed, so I'll try again tomorrow morning!

My husband, Dwain, is in Cleveland today visiting his dad who's recovering from knee surgery. The crazy thing is, every time he leaves town, something happens. Last time he was in Vegas, our well pump stopped working and I had no water. Previous trip, the lawn tractor made a weird, not too happy sound, and bit the dust. Time before that, a huge snowstorm hit and it took me several hours to get the driveway cleared so I could get to work. And then there was the air conditioner giving out on his previous trip.

Needless to say, he's afraid to leave town anymore!! I think today when he calls, I'll say everything is fine, and then maybe will break the news to him when he's about 20 minutes from home. No need to get him all stressed out when he's 3 hours from home.

Now less has happened when I'm out of town, but he's had a few experiences. Last time I was in Florida, he lost power for two days due to summer storms - not once, but twice in the same week. That was not fun, but at least it wasn't January!

I had a touch of a headache this morning, so it's actually not a bad thing that my run will now be tomorrow. And it's one more day to pysch myself up for the BIG TEN!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Hurricane

This week's Florida hurricane/tropical storm brought back memories of our Disney hurricane experience. I'm terrible with names and dates, so don't ask me which one it was! I feel like it was 6-8 years ago, but I could be a little off with that info also!

Anyway, I think when we left for our trip, there were rumblings that one was heading towards Florida, but it certainly wasn't close, and since so many tropical storms don't turn into hurricanes, we were comfortable heading to WDW.

On about the third day, the weather men and ladies started covering it, and of course, got very worked up about it. We felt that since we were in the middle of the state, the impact would not be as strong as if we were on the coast taking the full brunt, so we decided to ride it out and not end our vacation early -- although a lot of guests did head home.

We also were comfortable with the sturdiness of Disney hotels. The Boardwalk was not that old, and we were sure it was probably built with standards much higher than basic hurricane standards. We also figured Disney would be able to get power back up and running pretty fast, because of its everyday operating procedures.

So the day came that it hit the Daytona area. I think there were high tides and some flooding, and some high-wind damage, but luckily no devastation occurred. Later that day (or the next day), all of the parks did close early, probably around 1 or 2:00, and all guests were transported back to their hotels. This was done for our safety, obviously, but also so CMs could get home and take care of their families and property.

We were at the Studios that day, and saw a lot of preparations going on to batten down the hatches. Trash cans, benches, chairs were taken inside. Signs were removed or tied down. And at that time there was an old car on the right side as you headed down Sunset Blvd that was a pin station. We saw them wrapping that car in Saran wrap -- tons of it -- to keep the rain out.

Once the Studios closed, we headed back to the Boardwalk. Here also, there were no benches, trash cans or chairs left outside. It was really strange seeing the pool with nothing around it! It was also strange seeing video on the local news of the airport with NO planes anywhere on any tarmacs. You don't see that very often!

Since all the restaurants on property and at the hotels were closed (so CMs could go home), Disney provided small buffet tables in the Boardwalk lobby, and for $5 you could fill up a styrofoam dinner box with whatever you wanted. Then we took it back up to the room, settled down and watched the Orlando weather people get all worked up! Disney also instructed us via a letter under the door to stay inside, keep the curtains closed and fill the bathtub with water.

Our hurricane was going to be over Orlando in the middle of the night. I think I woke up about 3 a.m., looked outside and only saw a little rain. Luckily that time, the hurricane had worn itself out and was nothing more than a heavy rainstorm by the time it got to Disney.

Later that morning we let the water out of the bathtub, and had either a letter or voice mail from Disney saying that Animal Kingdom would be open that day. It seems like it opened at noon, but many of the shows that involved CMs (Tarzan, Lion King, etc.) did not run, probably because of limited staffing. There were a lot of supervisors out that day running the park!

Needless to say, AK was packed since it was the only game in town. But it was still good to be out of the hotel room and back in the sunshine. The next day, everything opened on time, and WDW was back to normal operations.

It was neat to see Disney in action -- but if that ends up being my only hurricane experience in Floriday, that will be just fine!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cranium Command

I was listening to the Meandering Mouse podcast today, and show #85 covered all the attractions in the Wonders of Life pavilion. I miss WOL -- it was a neat place, and one that really held so much potential. A boatload of money would have fixed that place right up!

What I really miss from the pavilion, of course, is Cranium Command. What a fun show!

I had forgotten that the drill sargeant's name was General Knowledge (get it?), and how he kept getting Buzzy's name wrong -- Scuzzy was my favorite version of his name! And the General's big threat was that he would put Buzzy in charge of piloting a chicken OR a talk show host.

And remember how many great comedians played the various body parts Buzzy was piloting? George Wendt as the stomach was a classic, but I had forgotten that Hans and Franz were the left and right ventricles of the heart (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon from SNL)!

I'd love to see this show moved and re-opened. Can't we squeeze it in somewhere at Imagination?

If you miss it too, check out the episode.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Best Run Ever!

It's the weekend, time for my weekly long run, and this weekend it was going to 8 miles. Up, good breakfast, usual pre-run prep, and off I went.

There was no doubt in my mind today that I could finish the 8 miles, even if the last mile was in the 16-min-mile range. But that would be okay. I was looking forward to reaching the big 8!!

It was another beautiful day in Michigan, temp in the 70s, fluffy clouds in blue sky, and the park was in its usual glory, all green with the lake shimmering and the swans enjoying the day -- along with the bikers, runners, walkers and skaters.

I have to admit, I didn't feel the urge to keep my speed up like last weekend for the Corn Fest Run, but I knew it was about endurance today. Mile 4 was a little tough, but I got into an amazing rythm on mile 8, so I decided to try and go for 8.5 miles!

And then, what the heck, I was so close to 9, why not?!! And I made it!! Don't get me wrong, I was slogging that last mile, but it was good practice for what miles 12 and 13 will probably feel like for me.

My time for today was 2 hours, 8 minutes, which is a 14.22-min-mile pace. I was very happy with that -- and now I'm a little closer to the B I G T E N mile mark!!

Hope all my Team Voice friends have good runs too this weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Podcast Babies

It struck me yesterday that we have four podcasts whose hosts are having babies this year!

On Mouse Guest Weekly, Eric and Cathy have a new Disney fan in production!

On the Dis Unplugged, Julie and Corey recently announced a new baby boy is coming!

On Inside The Magic, Skipper Ben (love his segments) and his wife have a little skipper on the way!

And, on Magic Never Ends, Shannon and Will will be blessed with a little one!

Wonder if any Disney-related baby names are being considered?!

Congrats to all!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Team Spirit To The Max

Another great late night of Olympics. This time, it was the men's team event in gymnastics. China and Japan were supposed to fight for the top two medals, and everyone else was going to scrap for the third medal. The U.S. was not supposed to be that good, since everyone on the team was new to the Olympics.

But what a group of good guys! You could see the determination and grit in their eyes -- their young eyes. At the last event, the bronze came down to Germany and the U.S., neck and neck. The performances of the last three athletes on each team would determine who got the medal. Our first guy was bad, our second guy decent, and then came Sasha ...

Alexander Artemev, the last of the Americans to compete, unleashed a big air-style performance on the pommel horse, the final event, to secure the medal. It was Artemev's only performance on the day -- he spent more than two hours watching the five other Americans on the other five events, then was called on to nail it down.

This being gymnastics, what Artemev did is perhaps better understood in baseball terms. He came on in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, and threw three 97-mph heaters - after just being called up from the minors. Not even a week ago Artemev had been an alternate, not even a starter on this U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

After Artemev's dismount from the pommel, the American side erupted, equal measures relief and unreserved joy.

His performance was amazing and beautiful and graceful and strong. He had to have been amazingly proud of himself. And unreserved joy is a good description for the team's celebration -- they had come through as a team.

Now I wonder what tonight's magical moment will be!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amazing Effort!

Did you see the men's relay in swimming last night?!! Wasn't that absolutely unbelievable?!! When Jason Lezak made that final turn, I thought there was no way he could catch up to the French. And then, he inched closer, but he only had half a pool left to go -- and he kicked it up a notch and the Frenchman faltered a tad! And then it still looked like France had touched first -- but no, Jason got the win by .08!!

Here's what he said:

"I'm not going to lie," Lezak said. "When I flipped at the 50 and I still saw how far ahead he was, and he was the world-record holder 'til about two minutes before that, when Sullivan led off with the world record, I thought, it really crossed my mind for a split second, there's no way.

"Then I changed. I said, you know what, that's ridiculous. This is the Olympics. I'm here for these guys. I'm here for the United States of America. It's more than -- I don't care how bad it hurts, or whatever, I'm just going to go out there and hit it. "Honestly, in like 5 seconds, I was thinking all these things -- you know, just got like a super charge and took it from there. It was unreal."

For our January race, I look forward to all of supporting each other, and gutting it out for the team. And I hope I reach the finish line with more than .08 seconds to spare!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Who Doesn't Love Corn?

I just finished my first 10K ever, and I'm so happy that it was the 1st Annual Corn Fest Fun Run (I really should learn the right name)! Thanks, Jeff, for creating such a super event for us!!

My goal was to finish with a per mile average of under 15 min-miles -- 14.99 would have been okay. I finished in 1 hr, 26 mins, which averaged out to be 13.8 min-miles. I was very happy with that, and this has been my best run in a long time!

It was definitely different than just another weekend training run. I felt pressure to do a good time. I felt pressure to not hit the wall, or if I did, gut it out. I thought about the other TVers out there running.

At times, I actually felt like a real runner! I had a good warmup, so the first mile wasn't bad. Every time I felt myself falling into my natural slow jog, I tried to pick up the pace. And every time a real runner would pass me, I would draft them -- run their pace for a minute or so to pick up some extra time! That was also good practice for improving my breathing at a faster pace.

Anyway, now I'm sitting in front of the TV, watching the Olympics with ice packs on my knees, watching for posts on All About The Corn. I also just finished a donut, and I don't feel a bit guilty about it!

The US has two finalists in the ladies medal round for fencing, so we will win all three medals in that! Also watching badminton, they do move around the court alot, but it's still a little bit weird. Also saw some ladies weightlifting, hope some of them don't fail drug tests and get to keep their medals.

Did you see the opening ceremonies last night? WOW, WOW, WOW. The technology was amazing, the segments where they and 2,008 people choreographed, and those boxes the people moved! AMAZING!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Yay, it's Friday!! I'm looking forward to the Corn Run tomorrow. It will be so cool when everyones checks in and posts their times!

This will be good practice for the real pre-race night! I'm going to do a light workout tonight, have pasta for dinner, and then am going to watch the Olympics!

I love the Olympics -- in past years I've been known to tape hundreds of hours and watched as much as I could. It definitely was easier before NBC started showing it on a gazillion channels!!

I actually watch a lot of the sports coverage on CBC, the Canadian channel that we get since we live in the metro Detroit area, with just a river, bridge and tunnel between us and Canada. Their coverage is very much focused on the actual events, still with some background stories, but not near as much fluff and commentary as on American television. You see a lot more action in the same amount of time, and you actually see MORE than the top three athletes in a sport. For skating (yes, I know, Winter Olympics), for example, you actually get to see 12 skaters in medal round, instead of just the 3-4 that NBC covers.

My favorite sports are the lesser-watched ones which are tricky to find. I love synchronized swimming - amazing, canoe and kayaking - very cool to watch, rythmic gymnastics - you know, the ball and ribbon routines, cycling - good, although not as good as the Tour de France, trampoline - what a weird sport, and rowing - I LOVE rowing.

Of the big sports, I'll watch swimming, diving, gymnastics and the triathalon.

I will probably catch some track, but won't go out of my to watch it. Ditto for archery, beach volleyball, equestrian, pentathalon, table tennis, and volleyball.

I will NOT watch wrestling, weightlifting, water polo, taekwondo, softball, soccer, shooting, sailing, judo, field hockey, fencing, boxing, basketball, badminton and baseball. Sorry!

Maybe we should all add NBC's Olympic theme song to our iPods to inspire us!

Good luck on the Corn Run everyone!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another Try

I did make it to the gym last night, but only for a short workout on the bike. Hopefully tonight I'll get away from work on time, and will be able to run 1-2 miles.

I had forgotten that this coming weekend is the Corn Fest Run, and I signed up for the 10K! I've got to get some miles in this week so I'm not totally unprepared for Saturday.

Hope everyone else signed up for it -- it will be cool to all run "together"!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back To The Gym

Today's my first day back to the gym since my vacation. Was really swamped at work yesterday, and had to take work home with me, so no gym.

It will be interesting -- and painful!