Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Hollywood Ending

And lo, there shall come an ending.
But let's make it a Hollywood Studios ending, shall we?
For years, we've joked about the day when we'd be able to proudly walk around one of the Disney Parks boldly brandishing our golden Mickey medals, to yes, let everyone know that we were crazy enough to run a marathon in Florida in January.
And this was that day.  So there's this
And this - frankly, they ALL deserve a medal for the hustling they did to support us out there
Hats off to my two favorite ladies
Heather thought she was back in Hollywood with West Coast Heather
Someday, Andrew, someday
Andrew and his Cookies
Yeah, that's him
Andrew's reporting for duty, Heather is just looking adorable
My guess is these weren't the types of movies Barry is used to watching through his Viewmaster
Dinner at the Primetime Cafe means an old fashioned dinner, complete with the dinner rules your mother used to set.  And in Erin's case, that means eating her vegetables.
Sing it with me, everyone.  Give Peas a Chance
And for Jackie, she gets little Little Bunny Foo Foo, hopping through the forest with his carrots
Dinner with the Cooks and Scanlons means a birthday celebration for Erin.  Doesn't matter if it is or isn't, we celebrate nonetheless.
The birthday princess with her vegetable conscience, Loukili
Back at the hotel, hanging with Haley's favorite, Ursula.
Before we head for home, time to check in with some Cars buddies, starting with Tow Mater
K'chow!  It's Lightning McQueen!
One of these characters is fast.  The other just motors along
Peace out
Heather's plenty tired, and ready to head home
A farewell to Animation, and to this year's Disney trek
For any who are still slogging through this marathon expedition with us, thanks for tagging along.  Hope we gave you a flavor of what a whirlwind Disney marathon weekend looks like with the Cook and Scanlon families.
Who knows, we had SO much fun with all of it, maybe we'll see an encore performance in the sometime future.  Maybe next time, it'll be the Goofy Challenge, or even crazier, the Dopey Challenge?  
Till, then, keep on running down those dreams.  To Infinity and Beyond.

Run Disney

When is a marathon not a marathon?
Well for one, when it's actually 26.8 miles long, not 26. 2.  (See later pic)
But in this case, it's when you're running side-by-side-by-side with two of your closest friends for the whole course, helping one another along when one of us needed an extra oomph,  in 70 degree temps in the middle of January, punctuated by spottings of your loved ones along the predominantly flat course, and it just happens to pass through the theme parks of the most magical place on earth (according to the commercials) and you get to take your picture with some of the storied characters in folklore.  And I'm not talking the E Streeters.
This is the DisneyWorld Marathon.
A couple of disclaimers up front:
1) This will be one of the longer blog posts you'll have to suffer through, and that's even paring back the photo ops of what was actually taken.
2) This particular marathon has been on my running to-do list for nearly a decade, but we could never make it work in the timing.  Tommy, Barry, and I set out sights on running the 2014 incarnation years ago, and stayed the course.
And boy, was it worth it.
Let's see why....
First off, the thing starts at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., and you have to be on the buses by 4 a.m., which while taxing, gives you the benefit of running in darkness for nearly two hours, avoiding some of the sun which can cause all kinds of other problems (see: Boston Marathon 2012)
So to get things started, we brought our own cheerleaders
Within the first few miles, we made our way into the Magic Kingdom (after Tommy stopped to hang with some pirates) 
Then Barry experienced his own Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack Skellington 
Into the Magic Kingdom, and along Main Street USA, where our dauntless families had gathered. I've got an ET thing going here with the glowing finger 
Not the Fantasyland you might expect of us, but the White Rabbit let us know we were running late 
Tommy and Barry got their Woodys on 
And yeah, King Leonides of Sparta was there.  Don't ask. 
Tommy and Barry took time to play through 
Two of the fastest things on the Disney Speedway 
Bad to the Bone (winner of coolest display along the course, the villains had the longest line, so this is one of several photo-bombs we unleashed.).  That's Dr. Facilier and Maleficent in the background 
Tommy, in the dog house
Give these guys the hook (and here comes the sun)
Way, way, way off Broadway, it's the Festival of the Lion King 
On to Animal Kingdom, with a stop with Rafiki 
Kings of the Jungle 
Just to prove he could, Barry ran up Everest, because he found the Disney course too flat\ 
One of several Mickey sightings along the course, this one outside Animal Kingdom, where I surrendered to another photo bomb 
Round about mile 15, Tommy and I were ready for the gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion
They quite literally had tombstones along the roadside that you could lay down in front of and pose with the gravediggers.  But we knew once we laid down, we'd never get back up. 
Into the Wide World of Sports for miles 17-20, where we once again caught passing glimpses of our support teams.  Here's the veteran of the 13.1 miles the previous day 
Outside the ballpark loop, my beautiful princess was waiting
Barry didn't need a railing to lean on, he had Misty and Erin
From there, we were off to Hollywood Studios, the third of our theme parks, but first, a salute to our armed forces
The Twin Towers of Terror (that's what they were known as during our basketball days....Not really)
Didn't know we were running the New York Marathon.  The backdrop said otherwise.  Maybe some other year.....
Working our Magic in Hollywood Studios 
Us and the Sorcerer's Apprentice
Finally, into the home stretch, via the last of the four parks - EPCOT!
Feeling just a little dopey after 25 miles
A flying carpet would have been a nice touch to get us to the finish
We brought dishonor to Mulan
One of the most colorful characters I know, fellow Disney nut, Julie Hay was waiting beneath Spaceship Earth
And because sometimes, 1,000 words can't be worth a picture, there's this
In the home stretch, with pics via 13.1 miler Cherie Comeau and her thumb:
And finally, no laurel wreaths here, but there were the coveted silver blankets and awesome Mickey Medals
Me and the three people I'd run a marathon a day for to see at the finish
And finally, the three caballeros, bringing the hardware
And as referenced earlier, via my runkeeper app, a distance also recorded on Tommy's phone, a tad more than the 26.2 miles of a marathon loop.  Think it was all the jetsetting we did for All-Star pics? 
Truly, a running experience I will never forget.  Huge thanks to Jack, Andrew, Heather, Misty, Lyndsay, Erin, and Anne for being there and supporting us not just through this 26.79 miles, but all the training miles leading up to it.
Thanks also, to our fellow E Streeters who helped log many of those miles through Greater Lowell.
And huge props to fellow Disney Marathoners Tommy and Barry Scanlon for making a marathon feel effortless, punctuated as it was by tons of laughs and unforgettable miles.
Now what?