The Places Running Takes You

As I sat in front of my computer one day not so long ago, reading my way through blog world – or what I lovingly call Blogomania – I came across this post from Running on Healthy.  It got me thinking about every thing, and every place, this crazy sport has given and taken me to.

SONY DSC

Let’s start with the hubby, (who shall be formally introduced in a future post).  If it wasn’t for our common interest in running, we probably wouldn’t have spent so much time together, getting to know each other better, running races together, and eventually getting married.

Yippee!

Yipppeee!

Sadly, all the years of pounding the pavement has taken its toll on him, but he still remains the best coach, cheerleader and water boy a girl could have.

C'mon girl, pick up those knees!

C’mon girl, pick up those knees!

Since we love to travel as often as we can, or at least as often as we can get a Wonder Mutt sitter, it’s not too difficult to figure out what’s always included in our luggage.  Running shoes and tech clothes usually end up taking up as much space as bathing suits, sunscreen, and obnoxious tropical print shirts, (seriously, how many of those things DOES he have?!?).  We’ve hit the road, sand, or treadmill in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Key West, and of course, Disney World.  We’ve run countless steps both through our own neighborhood and along our local beaches.  Wherever our tootsies have taken us, we’ve always discovered new sights, sounds, spaces, and occasionally, some really good margaritas.  I mean REALLY good.  Like, I-think-if-we-have-just-ONE-more-we-can-easily-run-an-ultra kind of margarita. I think they call those “I am Super Runner, See Me Fly” margaritas…

Super Juice

Super Juice

Reminiscing about all these places always leaves me feeling a bit nostalgic for them, but excited for the ones we’ve yet to see.  Our running shoes will see the road in New Orleans, California, and of course, the World of the Mouse this year.  The excitement factor is definitely up there and I can’t wait to see what each new place has in store for us.  You never know what’s around the next bend in the road, and that is what makes each new route feel like a trip into Adventureland.  Okay, maybe not quite, but I couldn’t pass up the chance for a cheesy Disney comparison.

Is there really anything that compares to taking in the local flavor of a new running spot?  I’ve been told to expect some, shall we say, “interesting” odors on our trip to New Orleans.  I say bring it on.  It can only add to the whole experience.  Does this flat road running tropical baby expect to freeze her dupa off as she gasps for air on the hilly San Francisco streets?  You betcha!  Will I freak if during a run through the City of the Angels, the earth decides to take a page from singer Carole King and suddenly feel the need to move under my feet?  Probably.  And I will look back and know that I loved every minute of it.  Well, maybe not the earthquake so much.  Do they have earthquake parties?  Hmmmmm…..

shark

Knowing that I have both the ability and opportunity to run in places far beyond the streets of my own neighborhood, always leaves me with feelings of gratitude.  Grateful that I can move my legs and chew up the pavement, whether it’s outside my door or an ocean away.  Grateful that I can breathe in the ocean air and see the cliffs of the Pacific.  Grateful that I can run with the hubby, Wonder Mutt, or both, even if it’s for just a couple of miles.  And grateful that running has brought me to this little corner of the internet and by extension, to you, dear readers.  So whether or not I ever get the nerve to strike up a conversation with you at a meetup or a starting line, know that I am thankful for you too, my running friends.  You and certain talking Mouse.

Enjoy the ride.

Where has running taken you?

Which One Are You?

I can honestly say I have officially lost count of how many times I have visited Disney World.  No, that’s not me bragging, just the plain ol’ truth.  Prior to packing my bags and making myself scarce from the frozen tundra that is the great Northeast, I had only been to the World once.  Since then, it’s been an all out Mousefest.  If it wasn’t for the fact the hubby is of the non-Disney Dork persuasion, I’m sure I’d be spending a whole lot more time (and money!) doing all things magical.

Ahhh, home at last.

Ahhh, home at last.

However, as a side-effect of all the hours spent in the Happiest Place on Earth, (which may at times be quite debatable), I have become an expert in the art of people watching.  Honestly.  I even have a certificate somewhere.  Plopping down on a random bench with a Mickey ice cream or a libation from the Rose and Crown, can lead to observations of some of the funniest sights you can imagine.  So I am going to take my little corner of the world-wide-web, and impart upon you some of my hard-earned knowledge of all things Disney.  Well, not really, but it does sound impressive.

applause1

1. The Fearless Leader: often seen armed with a battery of park maps and sporting a white splotch of zinc oxide on his nose, the Fearless Leader has spent hours prior to arriving, pouring over travel blogs, park maps, and the Disney World website, in a wholehearted attempt of maximizing every precious second while on scene.  Any deviation from the minute-to-minute schedule not only results in a complete and utter meltdown, but oftentimes requires a pixie dust intervention.  Said person may also be seen wearing a khaki booney hat, water bottle clipped to a belt, and screaming something unintelligible into a battery-powered, two-way radio.

collapsed1

Must…find…Space Mountain…

2. The Blooming Mousketeer: You can spot these guys a mile away.  Typically sporting the latest in Mouse World fashion including ears, 2-3 cameras hanging around the neck, and a plethora of Disney pins adorning every spare inch of available lanyard space, these visitors are typically the most entertaining to keep within earshot.  Always willing to go on yet ANOTHER round of Toy Story Mania, proudly showing off their “1st Visit” pin to every Cast Member and visitor around, and leaving a trail of spilled popcorn in their wake for very happy Disney flocks, the Blooming Mousketeer is one of the jolliest and entertaining Joes in the parks.  Can oftentimes be seen wearing one of a dozen matching neon colored family reunion shirts.  Unlike this guy…

Not...feeling...the...force.

Not…feeling…the…force.

Then, there’s these guys…

chillin1

The Pros: Having spent the majority of their waking moments on a leisurely stroll through Tomorrowland, Dinoland, and the bars of World Showcase, this type can tell you without a moment’s hesitation where the nearest bar, bathroom, or satisfying snack can be found.  They can tell you where any number of hidden Mickey’s can be seen, but only because they happened to notice them while hanging out in line for Soarin’, (snowy landscape on the interactive game screen).  Pros never rush to anything in order to more easily take in the drama unfolding around every corner.  The top pros are able to easily navigate a throng of sugar-crazed pre-teens while carrying earlier noted libations, and spill nary a drop.  Often found kicked back in the shade of a British Revolution show, or taking in the scene while stretched out in the poolside hot tub of the Boardwalk Inn, these guys know there is always another day.

Oh yessssss.......

Ohhhhh yeahhhhhhh…….

I think when it comes right down to it, I’m a combination of the Blooming Mousketeer and a Pro – it just depends on the day.  I dare say I can also venture slightly into the arena of the Fearless Leader, depending on how many strollers have been rammed into my ankles and how many screaming babies I’ve been exposed to.  However, after a quick side trip into a little joint I know tucked between the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Hollywood and Vine, all is quickly right in the World.  How can you not relax in a spot where you can see a mother nursing her kid while drinking a margarita?  (I kid you not – bet that kid slept like a champ…)

zzzzzz......

zzzzzz……

So the next time you pay a visit to Mickey, Simba, Woody, or men in kilts, just stop.  Take a look around.  Then come back and tell me what you see.  I guarantee you’ll have a whole new appreciation for your new found powers of observation.  That and a well-made, well-timed, margarita.

Hello beautiful...

Hello beautiful…

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you one of these Disney types? Which one?

 

 

 

Who knew?

Apparently one of my fave bloggers seems to have set the runDisney world into a state of uproar, (or at least it seems that way).  Megan at Running Toward the Prize wrote a great post on her thoughts about runDisney events and her very personal decision to take a break from them.  Ironically, (and yes I’m being facetious here), a number of people, myself included, agree with her thoughts.  Sadly, as it seems to be with everything else in the world today, the costs associated with runDisney events is skyrocketing, and many runners are beginning to question if they are getting the best value for their running dollar.

Moneymoneymoneymoney....

Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney….

As a seasonal passholder, my travel costs for these events are considerably less than those who need to figure in not only registration fees, but flights, rental cars, food, etc.  The hubby and I can usually minimize the impact to our wallets by staying at close, but considerably less expensive hotels, bringing a cooler packed with what my stomach can tolerate, (as opposed to taking a chance on restaurant food which may or may not do a number to my system on race day), and not getting caught up in the “have to buy everything in sight madness” at the expo, ( I actually walked out of the last expo without buying a THING!)  Would I love one of those cute pink Minnie New Balance shoes?  Sure!  Was I about to jump through hoops to get a pair?  Not a chance in you-know-where.

Oooohhhh, pretty!

Oooohhhh, pretty!

The hubby was actually going to get a pair for me until I put my foot down, (no pun intended), and said there was no way I could justify spending that much moolah on a pair of shoes I wouldn’t even be using for running.  Now, this is not to discount those who love to shop to their heart’s content at these expos.  Sometimes I wish I could get all excited about what is sometimes a perfect opportunity to meet people whose posts you read all year or chat back and forth with on social media, but I just can’t handle crowds like I used to and – let’s admit it – I’m a complete socially awkward type.  Going up to a blogger whose posts I find entertaining, informative, and just plain fun, makes me feel like a total groupie.  And no one likes groupies.  Except maybe rock stars.  And Paris Hilton.  She definitely seems like the groupie-loving type.  I’m not one who can easily go up to someone and just start a conversation with them.  Give me my stuff, let me see if anything catches my eye, and get me the heck out of Dodge.  I know both my wallet (and the hubby) appreciate it.

Feed me!

Feed me!

With all that being said, let me weigh in with my humble thoughts.  I plan on running more Disney events in the future.  Would I like to be able to check off every race runDisney puts on at least once?  Sure.  Will it happen?  Who knows?  Will I be heartbroken if I don’t?  Absolutely not.  Disney is and will always remain a very special place for me.  The memories I associate with it are irreplaceable.  Will we continue to go as much as we can?  I hope so.  Will the hubby and I continue to expand our vacation horizons and try to fill our passports with as many different stamps as possible?  Count on it.  I guess this is where the fact that my non-Disney-Dork husband comes in handy.  He tolerates my Dorkness yet continues to remind me there is so much more out there to see.  And I plan on seeing ALOT of it!

Boing Boing Boing

boing, boing, boing

Cali

Oh beautiful for spacious skies…

Oh Danny boy...

Oh Danny boy…

Tuscany

Molto bene!

Life is too short to not take advantage of everything, and every place, this great, big, beautiful world has to offer.  So let’s just all skip the drama and remember to…

Enjoy the ride.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest.)