(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

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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!

Wonder Mutt Wednesday

With all the sadness that hate has fueled over the past few weeks, there is a lesson to be learned from  those beings who have no agenda...

With all the sadness that hate has fueled, last week especially, there is a lesson to be learned from those beings who have no agenda…

Enjoy the ride.

I don’t want to get on a soapbox here, but there is so much the human race can learn from our furry buddies.  If only we just took the time to watch and see how they interact with each other…

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?

What Are You Thankful For?

Ever gather the family together around the table on Thanksgiving, and one by one, say what you were thankful for?  Yeah, me neither.  I think.  I don’t actually remember.  However, I DO remember our meals looking quite similar to this…

food fight

Okay, maybe not QUITE that messy, but you get the general idea.  A houseful of extended family always led to arguments about politics, interrogations of new love interests, and whether or not the Red Sox would go all the way next season.  It was loud, crazy, dysfunctional, and I loved every minute of it.  Except when I got stuck on dish duty.  And I ALWAYS got stuck on dish duty.

These days it’s about spending the day with our besties, watching football, and taking bets on whose mutt is going to win the latest episode of Puppy Smackdown.  It’s quiet, mostly calm, relaxing, and I love every minute of it.  But every so often, I think back to those Thanksgiving Days of noise and chaos, and my heart aches just a little bit.  It’s okay to feel a little nostalgic for the past every so often isn’t it?

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This time of year is always tough for me.  I never feel the loss of my dad more strongly than between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And my poor hubby makes himself crazy trying to keep me from feeling too sad.  It’s gotten better over the years, and I know my Pops would be seriously pissed if he knew I was wasting time getting all weepy-faced.  So I wallow in self-pity for a minute and a half, and succumb to the bizarre, freakish, disjointed movements that the hubby considers his best dance moves, all in an effort to cheer me up.  Relax baby, works every time.

You rock baby!

Rock those moves baby!

So along with being blessed with amazing friends (you know who you are ladies and gentlemen), an even more amazing husband, a caring yoga instructor, the ability to move and bend and breathe, a job that pays for me to travel the world or just a few hours away to Disney, the ability to run – at least again some day soon – and the world’s greatest Wonder Mutt, I have plenty to be thankful for.  And I try to remember that every time I get annoyed with the stinky lady at the gym, aggravated at the amazing selfishness of some of the people I work with, or the fact that my Giants keep stinkin’ up the joint.

Bad. Ass.

Can we PLEASE get our act together guys???

Now I’m going to throw this challenge out into the Bloggerverse – I challenge you to think of three things you are most thankful for.  Keep them close in mind.  And the next time you end up next to the stinky person at the gym, recite them to yourself.  At least until said stinkybutt moves away from you.  Then you can add that to your list of things to be grateful for as well.

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Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

 

Enjoy the ride.

Let’s get this party started!  Let’s hear what you’re most thankful for.  Ready?  Tag, you’re it!!

Miles, Music, and Mayhem

Make sure you guys check out the Mickey Monday Linkup and check out some awesome-sauce blogs from some of my fellow Disney fanatics!!

If you spent any time stalking my adventures on social media this weekend, then it wasn’t very difficult to figure out what I was up to.

FINALLY!!!

FINALLY!!!

It came down to a last-minute decision as to whether or not we would make the trip or just wait until Wine and Dine Weekend.  But the lure of Sister Hazel, (for the third year running), and a generous offer of free passes, (who am I to say no?), sealed the deal.  So at approximately 1347 hours on Friday, the Hubs, Wonder Mutt, and me, jumped into our Interspacial Telekinetic Super Mouse Transporter Device – okay, okay, our truck – and headed north to the land of all things wonderful and glorious.  But first, we had some minor details to attend to.  You know, like getting me back on track for THIS.

Ooooooohhhh, pretty.....

Ooooooohhhh, pretty…..

And unless you haven’t been paying attention, (it’s okay, happens to me all the time.  ALL the time), then you know my favorite place to train – outside of you know where, of course – is right up the road.

WOTAfter my IT meltdown, a temporary vacay from pounding the pavement, and a week’s worth of laser and massage therapy, I gingerly laced up the shoes Saturday morning and headed out.  Oh wait, seeing as my hubs was in a sharing mood, he decided why by selfish and keep his cold germs to himself?  I love you honey, but that REALLY wasn’t necessary.

Thankfully, my superior bug-fighting skills kicked in and, after a decent night’s zzzzfest, I woke up ready to rock.  Never having been able to concentrate long enough to do the whole run/walk thing, (Oh look!  What a pretty flower!), I decided to give it another shot in the hopes of keeping the pain in check.  So off onto a 4-5 mile, 4:1 ratio I go.  Since I didn’t want to push either my immune system or my knees, I kept my pace well in check and happily, wound up feeling like this!

Happy knees make me smile!

Happy knees make me smile!

Now that’s not to say it was a pain-free run, and after all, it WAS only 4.5 miles, but at least I didn’t end up in tears like the last time.  And THAT, my dear BloggerWorld friends, is ALWAYS a reason to smile.  Even if my face does closely resemble a bowl of strawberry Jello-O.

With all this happy-happy-joy-joy juice a-flowin’, what better time than to head off to my favoritest (?) place on the planet to play at being the world’s greatest groupies and getting into all kinds of mayhem?

Meet Mayhem.  Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Meet Mayhem. Parts 1, 2, and 3.

"It's all for UUUUU!"

“It’s all for UUUUU!”

(They may be from that OTHER city, but the really DO love Miami!)

And my day got even better when one of my bros paid me a surprise visit!

Cheeeeese!

Do I have spinach in my teeth?

So as I sit here replaying all the awesome-sauce moments of the past 72 hours, all I can say is this.  You may not think there’s such a thing as Disney magic.  But when you can come back from what seemed to be a running disaster, to feeling like you just may be able to kick that asphalt once again, to fate dropping a brother and fellow Disney Dork directly into your path, all the while wreaking all kinds of havoc with a few of your best Disney buddies at the most Magical Place on Earth, well….then you JUST DON’T GET IT.  But keep trying anyway.  You just never know.

"When you wish upon a star..."

“When you wish upon a star…”

Enjoy the ride.

Ever have one of those days where everything just seemed to fall into place without you even trying?  Didn’t it feel great?  Was Disney involved?