View Full Version : My First Solo Adventure-and Maybe a Half-Marathon! PTR

11-18-2009, 12:02 PM
Okay, here's a quick back story to get everyone up to date:

I am a 31 year-old Disney fanatic. My family enjoys Disney, too, but I'm the real fan. So last year some friends and I decided to do a girl's only trip to WDW. To sum up a (really) long story, my friends bailed and I decided to make it a solo trip. I was researching and scouring these boards when my mom announced she wanted to come with me. So, we had our special mother/daughter trip. Here we are after I bought my ears, but before mom bought hers:

Well, ever since then, I've been toying with the idea of taking a solo trip. It sounded very enticing (and scary!).:scratchin

Then I decided that I wanted to lose weight and take up running as a sport. (What the hell was I thinking?!) Ever since I had my wonderful little boy, I haven't been able to lose my pregnancy weight. (It's still called baby fat if my son is 11, right?) :rolleyes1

So, I thought, hey, what better motivation than a half marathon? And what better place for my first half marathon than Disney, right? And hey, how hard can this training thing be, anyway? (Insert ominous music here.) :scared:

So I paid for my entrance fee and bought my plane tickets and started training. Then I hurt my shins and had to scale back. Then I had a work meeting to go to, so I had to skip a day of training. Then it was so stormy outside that I couldn't drive to the gym, or run outside and I don't have a treadmill at home. Then I had a class at school. Then I had to take my son to his haircut. Then the family wanted to go out to dinner. Then my favorite show was on TV. Then I didn't really feel like it. So here I am many a moon later and not one pound lighter or one step closer to running a marathon. :sad2:

I cancel my DVC rental and tell everyone I failed. But I can't get a refund on the plane tickets or marathon entrance fee, so I don't do anything with those. Then one day, I'm cruising the boards to see what's going on, and I end up on the W.I.S.H. boards reading everyone's encouraging stories and kudos, and kind words and I think hey, maybe I can still do a half marathon! Onto the Disney Sport site where I find the Princess Half. Now that sounds like a great time. I'm convinced.

I register (and plunk down another $120) and get my plane tickets changed. Thanks to a lower fare, even with the $150 change fee, I only owe an additional $37 to make the change. Done.

Now I have to find a hotel. The first thing I do is check online. There are a lot of choices, but nothing is sounding perfect. So I contact my DVC gal again and ask if she's willing to rent me points again. She is super helpful and next thing I know, I have a studio at Animal Kingdom Villas. (You're amazing, C!)

So what comes next...?

11-18-2009, 04:51 PM
Okay, now I have a race, a place to stay and my plane tickets. What next? Oh yeah, training.

I tried to do the walk/run training program, but that wasn't working. This lady has a little more junk in her trunk than the average bear. And trying to run, even for a few minutes, is not easy for me. I can handle the out-of-breathness and all, but the knees and shins start to hurt quickly. :headache:

So I decided to start with walking. As long as I can walk at least 16 minutes per mile, I will be fine. I searched online and find Hal Higdon's site (http://www.halhigdon.com/index.html) which includes a Walking the Half-Marathon Training Program (http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/walk.htm), which looked very doable, so I printed that out and off I went.

So, the first week of training approaches and I'm all psyched up. This will be great! I'll follow it every day and get so good. It's coming up fast, so I should probably go ahead and get to the Y and start with a little treadmill or machine work, just so I can get a little head start on the training. Well, like all good intentions...

So, here it is, the first week of training, and as Spongebob Squarepants would say "I'm ready!"

Then my dad comes to town. He's driven over 12 hours to see my son and me, so I can't very well tell him, sorry, I have to go for a walk right now. So when he leaves, I'm already a week behind. :sad2:

But I bite the bullet and start. It starts with 25 to 35 minutes walks, with progressively longer walks one day on the weekend. I'm doing fine until the cold weather hits. I was out 3 nights ago in 30 degree weather and it was hard. I had to sit in front of a space heater for 30 minutes when I got home, and it took forever for my upper arms to feel normal again. Well, I can't quite kick my butt out the door after that.

So now we are completely up to date. I either need to go out for my walks first thing after work, or go to the Y for my walks after dark. Neither of which are super easy for me to do. But I need to pick one, because the last time I got behind on my training schedule, I got a bigger behind and I had to skip the marathon.

01-08-2010, 03:58 PM
Now comes one of the best parts of a Disney vacation - the planning! As an obsessive planner, this is where I really shine. I already have the Passporter 2010 spiral edition. But that has a lot of info I don't need to know about. And all that extra knowledge could get heavy if I carry it around all day. So, what's a girl to do? Order the deluxe binder from Passporter (http://www.passporter.com/). So now I can take the extra pages out and have lots of room. That's what you would do, right?

What do I do next? Find more things to put in the binder of course. After all, it has a lot of extra space now, you know? So what do I find on the Passporter website? For a small fee, I can download and print out all sorts of ebooks and worksheets! And this (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2173185) thread, here on the DIS, has links and other helpful organizing ideas and tips.

I've found out the park hours for when I'll be there and checked Tour Guide Mike's (http://www.touringplans.com/tp2/UG2_index.php?PageID=0) Crowd Calendar.

Now I need to decide which parks to do on which day. And since I'm arriving at 1:02pm Saturday and departing at 3:42pm Tuesday, I need to decide what to do with those two half days.

Something else ocurred to me today. Maybe this would be a good time to search out Hidden Mickeys. I've never done that before, but I figure if worse comes to worse and I'm bored out of my head (like that would ever happen at Disney, right?) then I can walk around and search for Mickeys. At least I can look like I have a purpose, instead of wondering around looking like I've lost my mommy.

02-08-2010, 01:06 PM
Are you doing the ESPN 1/2 marathon, or Minnie's marathon the following weekend.

02-09-2010, 12:00 PM
So, now that I have the handy binder with all of my checklists and plans and charts and information, I need something to carry it around in the park with, right? Everyone knows what that means - shopping! I tried a bag from LL Bean, but it didn't suit my needs, so I decided on this Baggallini Messenger.

I love it when I shop successfully! :cool1:

Of course, let's not forget that this whole trip is based on the fact that I plan on racing (I use that term loosely) in a half-marathon. So let's discuss training for a moment. It sucks. There, moment over.

Okay, okay, just kidding. Sort of. It is hard. Sometimes I have to force myself to get out there and do it. And every once in a while I just blow it off. But I've also started to feel sort of empowered (occasionally). And sometimes (often) I need a pep talk and some serious encouragement (thank you ROTEers!:grouphug:.)

This past Sunday I was supposed to do an 8-miler and I totally bonked out after mile 4. I could have gone on physically, but I discovered that the body can only take you so far. If the mind isn't up for the ride, then the body won't go along. So for 12 weeks or so I've been training my body but not my mind. Now I need to find a way to remedy that. Thanks to some very helpful ROTEers I have some ideas to try out on my next long walk.

As an aside, I want to say that just doing all this extra exercise has not assured me the svelte body I wanted to flaunt at Disney. It turns out I have to stop eating crap, too. Darn it!:headache: Not so long ago, I was able to eat to my hearts content and as long as I was doing my workouts regularly, I still managed to lose weight. Well, my friends, that time has passed. I didn't appreciate them when I had the chance...:sad2:

The Princess is open to anyone as long as they can maintain a 16 minute pace. My goal during training has been to reach a 15 minute pace. That way I have a little extra time in case I need to stop (for nutrients, potties or pictures). I can definitely maintain that pace, but at this point, I'm not sure for how long. This Sunday I will do a 9-miler, so after that I hope to report that I can do it.

These long runs (or walks as the case may be) are also practice for what to wear and do on race day. I learned quickly that you should never do anything new on race day. So I need to practice what I will wear (the outfit and fuel belt), what to carry (phone? camera? gels? blocks? ipod?), what to eat (pretzels? gels? blocks?) and how often to drink and eat (every mile? every 45 minutes? when I need it? every other stop?).

This has proven to be quite an undertaking. It's not as easy as planning a trip to Disney, then showing up on race morning ready to go. Someone experienced in racing would have known that, but alas, I did not.

What comes next? The schedule!:surfweb:

02-24-2010, 10:32 AM
Perhaps considered half of the fun of a Disney trip - planning the schedule!

What park on what day? Split days between parks? Crowd calendars? Special events? Parade times? Park hours? Commando or loosey goosey? What time will I get there in the morning? Where will I be when I get hungry? What time should I eat? Counter service or table service? To make ADRs or not make ADRs?

Those are the questions I have faced these past few months. And I have loved every minute of it!

And I have found one of the best perks about traveling solo - I don't need to ask anyone else what they think about my ideas. If I like it, I plan on it. 'Nuff said.

So here's what I've come up with:

Saturday (arrival day) - arrive around 10am, take ME to AKV, check in, then hotfoot it over to the Expo for packet pickup and shopping. After, go to DHS, eat lunch at Backlot Express. Meet running group for pre-race dinner, then head back to room for early night.

Sunday - get up at an ungodly hour, race, hopefully finish said race, head back to AKV for shower and change. Go to Epcot, ride some rides. Eat lunch at Sunshine Seasons, tour and take pictures of Flower & Garden Festival. Meet running group for post-race dinner. EMH with running group at MK.

Monday - get up early and be at MK before rope drop. Ride rides. Eat lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station, ride more rides. Hop over to Epcot for shows, more Flower & Garden Festival. Maybe do some shopping at DTD. Head over to Poly for late dinner ressie.

Tuesday - Sleep in a little bit, pack, head to Boma for late morning breakfast ressie. Check out, leave bags with ME, play in pool or go to DTD. Lunch at Wolfgang Puck Cafe or Earl of Sandwich. Take ME back to airport. Head home.

So that's my (very scaled down) schedule for my trip to the World. In real life, it takes up a whole page and is in chart form with the days broken up into segments, includes flight and reservation numbers, show times and park hours, and detailed lists of rides in the order they are to be ridden, including FP options. Yes, I know. My name is Andrea, and I am obsessively organized.

03-01-2010, 10:23 AM
So a few nights ago, I had a dream:

I woke up on Saturday and looked at the clock and it said 9:30am. Since my plane leaves at 5:40am, I had obviously missed the flight. So I start to panic and get hysterical and cry like a crazy person. I'm running around freaking out about my missed plane. My mom comes in and tells me to chill out, that I can just catch the next flight. I somehow know when the next flight is, and that it won't get me into Orlando until 11pm. So suddenly I'm at the airport, and I'm about to board the plane, only there are two planes. It looks like one plane just cut into 2 halves. The front plane looks normal except for it doesn't have a normal rear end, it just kind of ends halfway through. The other one doesn't have a normal front, no pilot or cockpit, it just starts, then looks like the normal rear of a plane. So I say to the lady standing at the gate "Which one is mine?" She says "It doesn't matter, they're both going to the same place."

So for some reason, I pick the second plane, the one without a pilot. Now what's interesting about this plane is the front has no barrier, in other words, if you were in the plane, you could walk right out the front with nothing stopping you. This doesn't bother me until the engines start. I ask the person sitting next to me (in the front row, by the way) "Where's the front of the plane?" The other person says "A window will come down in a second." Sure enough, some sort of clear plexiglass material kind of slides across the front of the plane.

So now we're in flight, and the unseen pilot starts doing all these maneuvers, flying right down to the ocean and swooping around these orcas that are playing right at the surface. They're so close I could reach out and touch them, if it weren't for the clear screen over the front of the plane.

All of the sudden I'm sitting in my seat again, crying and trying to call a bunch of people, asking them to try to pick up my race packet, because by the time I arrive, the Expo will be over. How I know these people or their phone numbers is not questioned, I just do. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking about the rule that nobody can pick up your info without a copy of your ID and a signed form and all that good stuff.

Then it occurs to me that I have the wrong weekend. The race isn't until next weekend. So I'm thinking about calling my boss and just asking her if I can stay in Orlando and come back after the race.

Okay, now as if this isn't weird enough, all of the sudden some people are chasing me. I'm not sure who they are or why they're after me, but I'm running around the plane dodging people and hiding in rooms. By the time I am cornered in a bathroom (a very nice plane loo, by the way, with curtains, lots of space, flowers and a nice blue paint on the wall), I wake up.

Now, all you dream interpreters out there, what in the world does that mean? Obviously, I'm stressed about the upcoming race, but is there anything else going on there?

Yesterday, my mom tells me she had a dream about me at the race as well. In her dream, the time has come where I should have finished the race, but I haven't called to check in yet. She's starting to get worried, so she calls my cell phone. Someone answers and she finds out I'm in the hospital because of "head swelling." Somehow she gets to the hospital where I am, and I'm sharing a room with a foreign guy and his friend who is an interpreter.

The man's friend tells my mom that my head swelled up, but they didn't know why. Mom looks at me laying in the hospital bed, and I look the same as always except my head is 4 times its normal size. Nothing else to that dream.

So not only am I so stressed about this race, my stress is rubbing off on my family!

03-04-2010, 01:43 PM
I wanted to take the time to thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am now. WISHers and ROTEers have always been willing to encourage me and support me and tell me I can do the things I didn't think I could do.

And I know I'm a pessimistic whiner, but most everyone (with a few extra special souls) has been so wonderful! Someone is always willing to pick me up and tell me to stop saying "can't" or telling me to "trust my training," or even just answer my many questions, which to some might seem stupid, but to someone so new at this seem important.

And a special thank you to everyone at ROTE who welcomed me into their tight (experienced) group and made me feel like an immediate part of the family who could do anything I really wanted to.

This time last year I was sitting on my couch like a big fat blob. And though I may not have changed a lot on the outside, I have changed on the inside, and I have definitely improved my fitness.

My big event is this weekend and I can't wait to give out hugs and 'thank you's in person! :grouphug:

03-15-2010, 05:49 PM
I changed a lot during this process of training inside too...really cool experience. As for your pre-trip report -

Baggallini, obsessive planner...guess what! I own 3 Baggallini's at LEAST, okay, maybe 4 -- ya know, a girl has to be prepared - and planning, well ya, my non-Disney friends don't quite "get" that. It's okay, I have Disboards...ok, and i may have bought some Vera Mini-Hipsters on the quest for the perfect Disney bag too...

Ahhhh- Tuesday we were eating lunch at Woflgang Puck (oh, Express for us) but we were at DTD too! Think we did Earl another day