The Places Running Takes Us

Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write my latest attempt at literary mediocrity, only to find this is my 500th Post!

Say WHAT???!!!

Yes ma’am. 500 posts about running, Disney, dogs, travel, opinions, memories, reviews, recaps, and a general overview of all things shenanigans.  One name change, a couple of breaks, a few years later and here we are.  What have we learned along the way?  Not much.  That’s okay though because it’s been a fun trip and I don’t plan on that trip coming to an end any time soon.

In honor of this not so momentous occasion, let’s dive back into the archives and take a look at where this crazy sport of running has taken me.  As a true Sagittarian, I have an ingrained love of travel.  So combining my two loves has always been a no-brainer.  So grab a margarita, step into the Black Dog People Mover, and enjoy the ride.

One Happy Wonder Mutt.

Vero Beach, Florida

Not exactly a destination running beach, but definitely a happy place for the Black Dog family.  Thanks to a family connection, we spent many a great weekend at a beautiful beach house walking some serious mileage along Vero Beach in Florida, conveniently located about 4 miles away from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.  The sand was too soft for running – unless you’re a glutton for punishment – but a decent hour’s walking in that stuff was enough to make you feel like you’d run a good half marathon.  Not to mention that if you went at the right time of year, the turtles are laying eggs all over the beach.

#adorbs

Washington D.C.

Once upon a time, a certain Grouper had the opportunity to attend a session at the FBI Academy in Quantico.  Just before he graduated, we had the chance – ironically on September 11th, 2010 – to run a memorial 5k that started/ended in Arlington VA, and ran through a small section of DC, including past the side of the Pentagon that was struck on that tragic day.  It was a bit surreal to say the least, and plenty of tears were shed as we slowed down passing the Pentagon.  To this day we are still so proud and honored to have been able to participate in such an amazing event.

All’s good in the Big Easy.

New Orleans

Where do I even begin with this wonderful city?  The people are SO fun, the food is out of this world, and the music?  All I can say is you’ve never heard such a mix of every genre out there.  Running along Canal Street can take you to Louis Armstrong Park, along the Mississippi, back to the French Market, (Bloody Mary to burn your lips off anyone?), up Bourbon Street, past Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Shop, (which sadly has become very commercialized), and through the French Quarter.  The roads and sidewalks are horrible running surfaces, but the color and flavor of the city cannot be beat.

Hang on little grapey friends.                              We’re on our way!

Napa, California

Being the wine freaks that we are, it was only a matter of time before we decided to fly the friendly skies to the west coast and indulge ourselves on all things grape.  The best part of staying in Napa is a miles long paved fitness trail that runs right through the main stretch of the town and continues into the start of the vineyards located in the center of the valley.  We visited in August, so while quite toasty for those of you more “thick-blooded”, we were right at home in the warmer temperatures.  And what’s better than being able to run off all of those wine induced calories?

Best. Bling. Ever.

Disney World

It always makes me smile to think of all the amazing people I’ve met simply by the need I’ve had to reign in the game show dollar machine I have for a brain and let what’s racing around in there spill out onto this blog.  Lisa is one of those people.  We may live 2,214 miles apart (give or take a few), but our common love for running has bonded us probably for life.  She is the hare to my turtle when it comes to pace, but having someone as obsessed about pace, finish times, and injuries as I am, makes all the conversations we have daily – thanks to Google chat – that much more fun.  We were finally able to run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half back in 2016 together, and to this day, even though it was my slowest half ever – because who can resist stopping for ever silly photo op possible? – it was one of my favorite races ever.

When it all comes down to it though, as much as I suffer from a never-ending case of wanderlust, I love coming home just as much.  Who wouldn’t with sunrises like this and little furry friends who are only too happy to keep you company on a cool tropical winter morning?

Home. Sweet. Home.

The best advice I can offer you is this:  explore the world.  There is so much out there to be seen, heard, tasted, and experienced and life is way too short not to do all of it.  Even if sometimes that experience means simply turning left instead of right.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Where is your favorite place to run?  Do you explore new places by running through them?  

(A Wine and Dine Story) And So We’ve Come….

…to the end of the road.

Literally.

I know this has been a long, drawn out, painful process.  Much like my running life has been the last few years.  And it ain’t over yet.  Well, almost.

I promise.

The pain is coming to an end.

When last we checked in here and here, I was headed for that great big starting line in the……….wait.  No no no. Not THAT one.  This one.

wine-and-dine-start

Jeep packed up, Wonder Mutt dropped off at the neighbors, and off to the most Magical Place on Earth we go.  Not without a giant case of the nerves.  After checking in to our little temporary home for the next few days the night before, we headed over to the expo.  Nothing too exciting there, just your usual, if more complicated, expo shenanigans as in past years.  Complicated as in “let’s just make everyone walk all over kingdom come to get anywhere else between packet pick up, shirt pick up, and goodie shopping” kind of complicated.

We managed to get through all the madness, hook up with running buddies Rae and Lisa, grab a brewski upstairs from the expo, head off for a day of eating, shooting aliens in Studios, grabbing some moonshine at Fort Wilderness (literally, moonshine!), and singing our way all over central Florida.  Yep, that was us you heard.

night-sweats

Much less hairy though.  MUCH.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  Oh-dark-thirty.  No sleep.  Nerves jumping like Pop Rocks.  I tape the beeJesus out of my knees, get dressed, try to eat the bagel the hubs had so thoughtfully picked up for me the day before, quadruple check that I have all race necessities – tunes, shades, Sport Beans, sanity (not so much), and off we go.  Hubs drops me off at Coronado Springs so I can hop race transpo to the start, and back to bed goes he.  After a very short wait, bus arrives, off to WWoS we go, and the reality of what’s about to happen REALLY starts to sink in.

Holy crap woman, you’re about to run 13.1 miles.  Again.  With the very real possibility that you may finish, not finish, implode before you hit the start line, or act like that ninny in A League of Their Own.

baseball.jpg

Thankfully, the wait to start wasn’t unbearably long, and before I knew it, Rudy and Carissa, those ever faithful runDisney announcers, had the corrals off and running.  Ever vigilant of not starting off too fast, I ignored the typical bizarre looks I was getting from runners around me as I had the following convo with my psyche.  Apparently out loud.

“Hey idiot.”

“What.  Can’t you see I’m trying to run here?”

“Yeah.  That’s why I need you to rein it in and make sure you stick to your intervals.  Otherwise you may not finish.”

“I may not finish anyway.  And I hate running intervals.”

“Hubs said if you finish, he’ll have Patron waiting for you.”

(silence)

(more silence)

(even more silence)

“Dammit.”

Needless to say, agave juice won out.

Margarita in a glass

Dammit.

Soooo, as I wound my way at a snail’s pace around Animal Kingdom, of course I had to stop and hang out with these guys.

Stilt Guys1.jpg

My, you’re all really…..tall.

The new course then meandered along random Disney World roads and back towards Epcot.  At which point, my eyes lit up like I had just discovered a giant bowl of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.  Due in no small part to what was probably the GREATEST MILE MARKER EVER……

mile-9-rev

Maniacal smiling!

Mile 9.  I knew I was going to finish this bad boy one way or another.  But not before I had to go through what I lovingly termed the MILE OF REALLY MOTHER-EFFER?!?  I JUST COULDN’T GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT YOU, COULD I?!?

stubborn mule

Nope. Not a chance lady.

Hello Mile 10, hello “what the hell just imploded in my left leg?”  Oh wait, just a lovely little mixture of tight IT band, tuckered out left glute, with a touch of inner left knee soreness thrown in for good measure.  Now, all that being said, I had stuck to my intervals, stopped to stretch every 1-2 miles, and never pushed the pace the entire time.  I knew this was not going to be a speedy half, and had already decided to just have fun with it.  Having this blow up at Mile 10 didn’t really bother me all that much, and if I had to walk it in from there, then so be it.  I could live with it.  I knew the hubby and Lisa were already celebrating her oh-so-speedy finish, and I had every intention of joining them in consuming vast quantities of celebratory libations before much longer.

lisa-grouper1

“Move it girl, there’s partying to be done!”

Then I knew the runner gods had been paying attention.  Mile 10 consisted of an insanely banked ramp up to an overpass.  A ramp which had no flat spot to run on.  ANYWHERE.  Now, I had received very strict orders from the Man and Torture Tony to NOT RUN THE RAMPS OR ELSE.

And for once, I actually listened.

Not just because there wasn’t a flat spot anywhere along that ramp to run on, but also because – you know – that whole pesky left leg thing.

Then, a Disney miracle happened.

miracle.png

No, not that miracle.

As the ramp peaked at the top of an overpass around Mile 11, I decided just to test the waters a bit and see if the extended walk break may have been enough for everybody to calm the hell down.  After a few cautious jogging steps – and a lot of breath holding – things seemed to actually be…..ok.

laugh dog

Say WHA?????

What?  Were you not paying attention?

I said,

EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE OK

AS IN NO PAIN

ANYWHERE!

In complete and utter disbelief, I called the hubs and Lisa, told them to get the ‘ritas chilling, kicked it into high gear – well, MY high gear – and brought it on home.

The rest – as they say – is history.  Enjoy.

choir1

medal-shirt1

Enjoy the ride.

Thank you for following along with me on what has been on helluva ride.  Your good wishes and crossed paws all helped me cross that finish line on that beautiful morning, and I could not have done it without you.  I especially could not have done it without the encouragement of my hubs, my family, Lisa, PT Pam, Torture Tony, and Dr. Testa.  It’s been a long and painful journey, but we have finally arrived, in no small part to every one of you.  My running adventures will continue, and I hope to take all of you along on them.  Hang on tight, as the ride is only going to get better from here on out!

Full Circle. Almost. Again.

In the last installment of Black Dog shenanigans here, we left you on the edge of your seats, (just work with me here people), waiting to see how the latest attempt at post-surgical recovery/rehab shenanigans was moving along.  My angel-winged running neighbor had recommended this GUY, who, as it turns out, has proven to be the man.  As in THE Man.  As in, after more than two years since all of this #brokeknee crap started, has actually been able to, ya know – FIX MY SHIT – and get me running kind of like a normal running person does.

elmo dance.gif

I’ll make this short as I know your attention span isn’t any better than mine.

Wait.

What?

Was I saying you something?

Oh yeah.  Running rehab shenanigans.

Anywho, this GUY, not only shoved a finger in that lovely area known as the piriformis, which was immediately followed by a string of cursing the like has never emitted from my goody two shoes yap –

incredulous-owls

Lady, you’re not fooling anyone.  Stop embarrassing yourself.

– but within about 10 seconds had figured out what was actually broken THIS TIME.  Say it along with me kids…

“Since you’ve got a completely shut down broke ass on your right side, your left side has stepped up to the plate, tried to do the work for both sides, and has now decided it’s had enough of this malarky.  It’s sending you the message, with all due respect, to go eff yourself, it’s tapping out.”

Well now.  That’s pretty…..specific.

What’s a frustrated runner idiot girl to do?  Get to work of course.  On BOTH sides of dear ol’ broke ass.

get back to work.jpg

The next few weeks consisted of such insanity as hip and glute strength building, cursing at my new BFF Torture Tony, Elastigirl-like stretching sessions, more cursing, zapping, icing, resistance band exercises I have to determine the validity of or if Torture Tony was just effing with me, more cursing, and oh yes….running.  Remember running?  That bastard of a sport that started all this nonsense in the first place?  That activity over which us runner idiots types have no power to ignore, like a mythological siren’s song?   Yeah, that one.

Jackass.

crying runner.png

After sweating and swearing through four weeks of visits to the GUY and Torture Tony, I was as ready as I could be.  I tried to ignore the knots in my gut that kept telling me…

Too bad you didn’t find these guys a year ago.”

You haven’t run further than 9.5 miles before your leg implodes, you know.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“There’s a big, fat Ghiradelli sea salt dark chocolate bar in the freezer.”

“Could you possibly be any more undertrained for this if you tried?”

“You’re an idiot.”

“You’re going to have so much kinesio tape on your leg you may get mistaken for a mummy.”

“Have I mentioned you’re an idiot?”

Next up, the final chapter.  Thrilled this painful journey is almost over aren’t ya?  It’s okay.  I understand.

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

Seriously. Killing me.

Enjoy the ride.

How long have you given a new type of therapy before giving up on it?  Have you ever had to apologize for swearing at your doctor?  Did you find the therapy got a bit more “intense” after unleashing on him/her?  Do you have cute pet names for him/her?

Full Circle…Almost

We came, we saw, we conquered.  Sort of.

wine and dine

So.  We meet again.

If your attention span is in any way even minutely better than mine, then you would know what a big deal this year’s adventure to the Wine and Dine was going to be.  This is going to take a while – and a few episodes – so sit back, grab yourself a nice fat ‘rita, a couple of ice packs, and maybe hook up that TENS unit for a bit.  Because gawd knows my attention-deficient brain won’t be able to hang in there long enough to get through the entire adventure in one shot.  Besides, cliffhangers are more fun anyway.

After #brokeknees Part 1 and 2 finally came to an end – almost – it was time to get on that training train again and start pulling on the whistle.  ‘Cause DAMN, those miles weren’t going to run themselves.  It was time to grab those pretty new pink ASICS and get to work.

After having my “less damaged” knee parts fixed a year ago, (for those of you new to the nonsense, that’s #brokeknee Part 1 in last April AND #brokeknee Part 2 last November.  Because just one knee surgery is never enough), I was over the whole –

a.   You’re not getting any younger so it may take longer to heal

b.   Can’t you just do something else?

c.   You really shouldn’t run, it’s bad for your knees

d.  You need to stop running immediately  kind of moose poop.

(Thank you runner friends for completely GETTING me on this crap).

hug10

Every time I’d think I was FINALLY getting somewhere, something else would go to total crap.  Lessons learned?  Hoka One One’s are NOT knee friendly for this girl.  Next one?  Never settle for just one opinion.  Lesson three:  sometimes being a concrete head (as the hubs often calls me:), can come in damn handy when you have no intention of throwing in the towel.  The biggest lessons I learned?  Husbands and Wonder Mutts can be your biggest supporters, and chiropractors fluent in the language of Active Release Therapy are worth their weight in GOLD.

After what was yet even MOREIAMSOSICKOFTHISDAMNFRIGGINPAININMYKNEES setbacks with my training, I was at my wit’s end.  I had gone back to embracing the Galloway run-walk-run method, was only training two days a week, and fully acknowledged the fact this race would have to be all about finishing the distance and not about the time.  (Or so I at least tried to convince myself. #concretehead).

Then an angel happened to flap her wings in my general direction.

I have a neighbor friend who is as obsessed about running as I am.  The difference is she is actually really good at it.  REALLY good.  She’s a few years older, (falls into that dreaded Masters category), and has consistently finished in the top three at every event she’s competed in.  She’s fast, strong, and could pull off the cover of any fitness magazine WITHOUT any photoshopping needed.

And suddenly found herself riding the injury train right alongside me.

Did I mention we’re good friends and like to share?chagrined_chimp

As my neighbor buddy didn’t really blame me for my need to overshare on the injury front, she did the kind neighborly thing and told me about THIS GUY she had been going to who was doing some really cool stuff to fix her very own case of #brokeknee, including such neat stuff as TENS acupuncture, gua sha, and compression icing.  Photo updates from her visits quickly became a source of “holy crap, that looks….interesting”, “he’s doing WHAT?!”, and a few “what the hell is THAT?!” comments.

Now, being a complete victim of FOMO, I had to get in on this out-of-the-norm rehab action.  The bad thing?  The doc’s office was entirely too geographically undesirable.  As in an entire county and way too much traffic insanity away.  However, said doc worked with another awesome GUY who did the same kind of stuff and had an office in a much more geographically desirable location.  (Insert happy Black Dog dance here.)

seinfeld happy dance

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “WTF is Really Wrong With the Parts and How We’re Finally Going to Fix Them”.  It’s a nail biter.

Seriously.

My literary non-talent has Wonder Mutt gnawing hers off as we speak…..

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

You’re killing me lady.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever refused to give up when injured?  Have you ever explored “alternative” forms of injury rehab/recovery?  What were they and did they work for you?

Friday Funny

FF Run humor

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you a diehard music runner or do you prefer to hear yourself slowly dying?  Do you go into vapor lock if your music dies mid-race?  Do you then engage in providing your own music?  Have you been subjected to Team Can-Am’s race singalong shenanigans?

Best of luck to everyone running the Dark Side Challenge at Disney World this weekend!  May the Force be with you!

Don’t forget!  I’ll be making my return to racing on May 8th, courtesy of the Wings for Life World Run.  Please visit my page and donate today.  Together we can help stamp out spinal cord injuries!

Wonder Mutt Wednesday

WMW Star Wars

 

Enjoy the ride.

Will you be running the Star Wars half marathon this weekend?  Think you may be sensing a disturbance in the force? Do you have any idea where your cat may be?

Please don’t forget as you’re running this weekend, those who can’t run themselves.  Help me help them by donating to Team Wonder Mutt as we run the Wings for Life World Run and let’s stomp help put an end to spinal cord injuries together!

Friday Funny

As I am off for just a bit of a Mouse-tease at the new Disney Springs – thank you very much passholder blackout dates – I thought I would end the week with just a smitch of offbeat, oh-so-appropriate Black Dog humor.

FF Dis Knee

Yes.  Yes I did.

Enjoy the ride.

When is your next trip to the Mouse?  Are you an annual passholder?  Do you cry when you see you’re two days out from the end of the blackout dates?

 

Friday Funny

FF work

Enjoy the ride.

As I am spending a couple glorious days in the World of the Mouse, please feel free to engage your own weekend shenanigans.  Once you clearly ignore any kind of last minute work shenanigans of course.  Which I obviously want to hear about.  So ‘fess up!  What kind of trouble making plans are we ready to partake in this weekend?

Friday Funny

In honor of everyone running this weekend in Disney!

FF Drink marathon

 

Enjoy the ride.

Is the pressure of completing the Goofy or Dopey Challenge starting to weigh on you?  How are you handling the stress?  Are margaritas involved?  Will you be making a quick stop at La Cava del Tequila on Sunday morning?

Friday Funny

In honor of everyone losing their minds over runDisney’s announcement this week…..

FF Star Wars

Enjoy the ride.

Were you one of the many who went completely insane over the announcement of the East Coast Star Wars Half Marathon announcement this week?  Will you be trying to get in next year’s inaugural race, or will you be waiting until they work out the inevitable first time kinks?  Do you think it would be possible to run as a storm trooper and still manage to close the door to the starting line porta-potties?

May The New Lands Be With You

Currently, at least one member of Black Dog Productions is pretty damn excited!

That's right.  Even Darth Vader is groovin' to the news!

That’s right. Even Darth Vader is groovin’ to the news!

For those of the non-Disney Dork persuasion, you have my sympathies let me catch you up on the awesome, Dark Star-sized news.  At last week’s D23 Expo, i.e., the ultimate in Disney Dorknification, CEO Bob Iger announced that both Disney World and Disney Land will be seeing expansions of – you guessed it – all things Luke, Leia, Obi Wan, and R2D2.

"Get those light sabers ready people."

“Get those light sabers ready people.”

I can’t say that I was totally surprised by the news. It was only a matter of time after Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 that they would be going down this interstellar highway.  As someone who’s been a rabid Disney World fan since my first visit in 1993, and one who has proudly lost count of how many times I have gotten lost in its magic, having a whole new world – literally – to get lost in, jacks the Dork excitement factor through the roof.  Or in this case, through the galaxy.  Far, far, away.

Kind of like this one!

Kind of like this one!

I won’t list all the cool Rebel Force deets here, as I’ll get so excited that game-show-dollar-machine brain of mine will kick into high gear, and nothing will make sense as the thoughts rattling around in my brain will promptly explode all over your computer in some weird kind of intergalaxian primordial ooze.  Thankfully, our earthly news outlets, (here and here), have got me covered.  No need to worry about whether or not intergalaxian primordial ooze is covered by your laptop’s warranty.  You’re welcome.

Speaking of ooze....

Speaking of ooze….

Enjoy the ride.

Who else among my Disney Dork friends are completely losing their minds over the news?  What would you like to see included in these new lands?  Obi Wan Ton Soup?  Jabba Jelly?  A whole new line of Darth Vader vinegars?  Or perhaps something more along the lines of Boba Fett Fear-Inducing French Fries?  Or my particular favorite – Tatooine Tequila!  Let’s hear it!  What would be some of your favorites?

That Time Someone I Know Went to Disney World

Intrigued?  Don’t be.  It’s time for me to be whiny.  BECAUSE IT’S BEEN FOUR MONTHS SINCE I’VE BEEN IN MY HAPPY PLACE.

sleepy dog

zzzzz….zzzzz….zzzzzz

Wait.

No.  Not that one.

THIS one.

Hello beautiful.

Hello beautiful.

This is always a trying time of year for me.  Being a seasonal passholder, I’m well aware of three things:

1.  Blackout season is fast approaching

2.  I JUST came back from New Orleans #shenanigans and need to recover – both financially and liver-ly(?)

3.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder. #HORSEPOOP   Absence makes Black Dog very, very whiny.  VERY.

crying-puppy-o

I WANNA GO TO DISNEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!!!!!

So as I really have nothing interesting, relevant, or even remotely entertaining to talk about at this particular moment, let me leave you with this little thought.

Should you find yourself suddenly immersed in all things magical – AND YOU HAVEN’T BROUGHT YOUR TEAM CAN-AM TEAMMATES WITH YOU – KELLIE – then you damn well better step up the virtual Disney tour guide role.  Romantic anniversary trip or not, WE ALL NEED A FIX.  So be a good Mousketeer friend/family member, and take care of those with less vacation time, depleted vacation accounts, and suffering from a severe case of the Disney DT’s.  It’s the least you can do.

happy disney kids1

Enjoy the ride.

Do you have a virtual battle plan when someone goes to Disney and you don’t?  Are pictures, videos, and virtual cocktails on your list of requirements for virtual Disney tour guide?  Have your loved ones failed miserably at this responsibility, or do they take it very seriously?

This Could Get Ugly

*It’s that time again…time for the cool kids to run over and check out the weekly Monday morning Magical Mickey Linkup at run.geek.run(disney).  Are you cool enough to go??

This just may start a Disney war, but here goes…..what is your favorite Disney resort?

AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Have you ever seen Disney Dorks get into heated conversations about the best whatever about Disney World?  It’s pretty amusing actually.  And I can fully poke fun because I am definitely one of those Dorks.  Especially when it comes to the best “getting into trouble” spots.  Anyone over the age of 21 should know what those are :).

There are a thousand categories we could argue about here, but I’m only going to hit up my top four:  resort, restaurant, bar, and race.  Feel free to weigh in.  Except on the race.  I win, hands down.  You lose.  Go away.

FAVE DISNEY RESORT:

This is kind of a toughie for me as there are still so many I haven’t stayed at yet – basically because I have yet to hit Powerball or have had a long-lost rich relative knock off.  Should you have done either, feel free to share in your bountiful Disney harvest.  That being said, I’d have to say my favorite Disney resort hotel thus far is…..da da da da daaaaaaaa!!!!!  Coronado Springs.

Ooooooohhhhh, aaaaaaahhhhhhh....

Ooooooohhhhh, aaaaaaahhhhhhh….

The running path is a little short, but the landscaping is beautiful, the rooms are great, (especially the king rooms), and the gym is awesome.  I love the spots you can hang out on the sand and watch the world go by, including the local, furry, residents.

Not really.  Just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Not really. Just checking to see if you were paying attention.

You may not see any elk, but there are squirrels, rabbits, fish, and birds galore.  Trust me on the birds. They’re everywhere.  Including RIGHT OUTSIDE your window when you’re trying to sleep in.

Mock you I shall.

Mock you I shall.

FAVE DISNEY RESTAURANT:

This was also a difficult call, but we here at Black Dog Productions (sounds impressive, doesn’t it?), decided to go with Tutto Italia in Epcot.  If you can, sit outside in the glassed in room.  It’s quieter, and a much more intimate setting.  The food is phenomenal, and the wine list is expectedly awesome.  My suggestion: have your server or the sommelier make a recommendation.  We went with a bottle of Castiglion Del Bosco at our server’s recommendation.  A little pricey, but well worth it.

Hello beautiful.

Hello beautiful.

FAVORITE WATERING HOLE:

Another tough call, and if it wasn’t for one memorable moment, I would have gone with either La Cava del Tequila or the Rose and Crown.

Ahhhhh, we return to the scene of the crime....

Ahhhhh, we return to the scene of the crime..

Let me just put it out there – I HATE 50’s Prime Time Cafe.  I went there once, could not STAND the corniness of the place, and never went back.  I know many of you think the place is a total hoot.  I, on the other hand, would rather have my fingernails yanked out with a pair of pliers.  Yes, it was THAT bad.  Go ahead, revoke my Dork Card.  I’ll earn it back.  Because I AM that big of a Dork. 🙂

So back to the one moment in time that sold us on the Tune In Lounge as the best bar in Disney.  Stick with me here:

top shelf margarita – $20

Nursing your kid while drinking the top shelf margarita – PRICELESS

If I’m lying I’m dying.

Yeah mama!

Yeah mama!

FAVORITE DISNEY RACE:

No argument.

Really. No argument.  Don't even bother.

Really. No argument. Don’t even bother.

No middle of the night wake up call, Food and Wine Festival nibbles and libations, and Epcot ALL TO YOURSELF.  How can one possibly argue with THAT???  Not to mention, HUGE potential for post race #shenanigans…

Yes, yes I do.

Yes, yes I do.

So there you have it – Black Dog’s Disney World Favorites.  Agree or disagree?  Let’s hear it.  Whoever loses the argument has to eat at Prime Time.  Tied to a chair.  Unsedated.

oh no kittens

 

Enjoy the ride.

Let’s hear it!  What are your Disney faves?  Do any of them include the probability of shenanigans?  Have you ever wanted to start a food fight in the Prime Time Cafe?  WAS IT FUN???

You Too Could Be A Disney Addict

I’m joining in on the magic that is the Monday Magical Mickey Linkup over run.geek.rundisney today.  Because that is what all the cool kids do.  Come check it out!

I’m an addict.  I freely – and proudly – admit it.

Thank the Phoenicians.

Thank the Phoenicians.

I really am addicted to this place.  Whether it’s cheesy gravestones at the Haunted Mansion, or holding intelligent conversations with the locals in Animal Kingdom…

"Quack, quack!"

“How YOU doin’?”

…I just can’t get enough.  And that’s never more apparent to me than when I have family visiting, but I’m not able to make my schedule work so I can heigh-ho the day away with them.  We do have a tradition in the Black Dog clan though that allows us to virtually do Disney with those of us who can’t be there.  It’s an unspoken rule that whomever is there, better make sure they send periodic video updates throughout the day/night.  So you can imagine how much my phone was blowing up all day long on Saturday.

Not my family.  But pretty damn close.

Not my family. But just as dysfunctional.

The addiction pangs were so strong this weekend that I even momentarily thought about actually getting up at the butt crack of dawn, making the three-hour drive, spending the day on a kamikaze run through the parks, and making the three-hour drive back home.  Note I said MOMENTARILY.  I don’t think there’s enough cappuccino and Thermonex in the world that could’ve gotten me through that insane of a day.   But I thought about it.  And realized I’ve got it bad.  REALLY BAD.

We mss you Black Dog!!!!

We miss you Black Dog!!!!

Ever get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something’s just not quite right?  And I’m not talking about that second helping of questionable-meatloaf-looking-substance-you-found-buried-in-the-back-of-your-fridge kind of feeling.  I’m talking about that feeling like you’re running low on a very important vitamin or mineral.  Or perhaps you forgot to do something extremely important, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it.  Worry no more, I know EXACTLY what the problem is.

What's an elephant to do?

What’s an elephant to do?

So if jumping in your car and driving to Disney World isn’t really an option, I can only offer the next best thing:  kick everyone out of the house.  Have comfort food readily available, (shrimp pasta and salted caramel dark chocolate work quite well).  Find the closest furry black dog and insert on lap.  Spend the next six hours watching Maleficent, The Lion King, and 101 Dalmations (BOTH versions).  If your Disney itch hasn’t been scratched by then, well, there’s only one thing left to do.

driving to disney

There’s just no use trying to fight it.

Safe travels.  And don’t forget the periodic updates.  They’re mandatory.  Or else……you’ll be kicked out of the family.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Did you ever feel like you’re missing Disney World so much that you just might go insane if you didn’t get a quick fix?  What did you do about it?  Ever do Disney virtually?  Did it help, or did you wind up curled up in a ball on the couch, incoherently mumbling quotes from random Disney moves?

You Don’t Have To Run To Be A Princess

But it sure comes in handy if you do.

Tiara

For the past couple of months, I had been scheming to make the trip north to cheer on my fellow #Chewsday Chicas – Kellie, Lisa, and Nicole – as they ran the final leg of the Glass Slipper Challenge aka the Princess Half Marathon, last weekend.  I’ve never gone to Disney as just a race spectator, and in all honesty, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it once I got there, seeing as how running is still off-limits for me.  But the prospect of seeing my Wine and Dine Support Crew again, and FINALLY getting to meet the Can portion of Team Can-Am, was enough to bring the excitement level up considerably.

After spending a couple of nights putting a LOT of effort into designing the perfect race signs for each of my chicas, and scouring the store aisles for the perfect post-race recovery snacks, I was ready to hit the road.  Confession:  I was in bed the night before the race by 8pm and spent the entirety of the evening constantly waking up due to the typical pre-race nightmare of sleeping through my alarm.  Ironically, even though I set the alarm for 0430 hours Sunday morning, it NEVER WENT OFF.  Thank goodness the hubby got up to go to the bathroom moments later and told me to get my dupa up, otherwise I would’ve ended up in total meltdown status.

"Whaddya mean I overslept?!?"

“Whaddya mean I overslept?!?”

Let’s just take a quick side trip here: we were staying with friends who live about a half hour from Disney.  The quickest way to get to Disney is through no-man’s land.  Literally.  I drove in on a highway with no lights, no civilization, and no other traffic.  I kept waiting for some freaky being from one of those creepy horror movies to jump out in front of me, sending my truck off the embankment, only to wake up in the evil clutches of some psychopathic nutcase like in the movie Saw.  I know.  I have a severely overactive brain at 5 o’clock in the morning when I don’t know where I’m going and the DAMN GPS CAN’T FIND THE DAMN SATELLITE.

Happily though – because of course, all things end happily where Disney is concerned – I FINALLY made it to the finish line, signs and snacks in hand, with plenty of time to spare. I was lucky enough to snag a pretty sweet spot about 200 yards before the finish line, and was able to watch as Tink – I mean Lauren – crossed the finish line at the 1:22 mark.  WOW.  (I had a picture, but she was so fast, she was nothing but a blur.  Not really, but it sounded good.  More like operator error.)

It wasn’t much later though when Princess Lisa kicked some serious dupa and crossed the finish line with a big smile on her face.  (Actually, she was trying not to puke, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want.)  Somehow, she did manage to find me in the sardine can of bodies I ended up in the middle of, and we were able to preserve the moment for posterity.  Lucky you.

Forgot my cool shades but remembered the tiara!

Forgot my cool shades but remembered the tiara!

One thing I have found is I may have a big yap, but my voice just does not carry.  I was screaming my head off for Lisa when I saw her run by, but there was no way she could hear me.  (Note to self: purchase a megaphone for future spectating opportunities.  Unless you have one I can borrow.  Thanks.)

Not long after, Princesses Kellie and Nicole crossed the finish line and really DID have smiles on their faces.  (However, I suspiciously think that was due more to the prospect of soon ingesting the gummy bears and pretzel crisps I had in my possession, than actually finishing the race.)

Whatever the reason, 90% of Team Can-Am was together, (again), with the exception of Rae, (well, we DID have flat Rae with us. See?)  And just look at those great race signs!

Princesses1

All in all, psychopathic drive through no-man’s land aside, spectating the Princess Half Marathon was a blast, especially knowing that my girls were out there on the course having a great time – minus the puke factor of course.  I would highly recommend that if you have someone special running any race – Disney or otherwise – get your dupa out there and cheer them on!  Even if they don’t see/hear you, you can still obtain hero status.  It’s all in the post race snack choices.  Who knew.

Hero worthy.

Hero material.  Seriously.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever played race spectator?  Did you provide inspirational signs and snacks?  Anyone puke on your shoes?