Final Countdown: 48 Hours

My stomach is doing backflips.

I feel like throwing up.

Yet my mind is oddly calm.


I have roughly 48 hours before I no longer consider myself a reservationist.

48 hours until I bid a sweet, “Adieu!” to the restaurant industry.

48 hours until I take those first steps away from the grinding, suffocating misery that has enveloped me for the last six months and into the first steps of a scary, crazy new adventure that will hopefully restore my energy, happiness, and intellect.

48 hours until I turn a new page and start penning the next chapter….

BtaJs85CIAA46CP

…exploring options for a new course on uncharted waters and unmapped terrain…

compass and map

…whipping out that compass and quoting Jack Sparrow: “Now, bring me that horizon.”

pirates-of-the-caribbean-the-curse-of-the-black-pearl-60

The next two days are going to bring about a hurricane of emotions and thoughts. Part of me is still screaming, “What were you thinking of leaving your job without something lined up? You only have limited funds, you know!” and the other part is all Mrs. Potts: “Cheer up, child. Everything will turn out all right in the end. You’ll see!”

mrs potts

I must heed the call of the universe, for it has given me the signs for far too long of the next course of action to take. I am glad to have accepted these signs when I did, or I might still be the same miserable, grumpy person that I have evolved into recently. I left D.C. on Friday evening and I have been away for about 40 hours. When I woke up Saturday morning, I instantly felt more relaxed, more relaxed than I have been in a long time. I forgot for the briefest moment that it was even Saturday, and somehow surprised myself when I finally went to bed at midnight that, “Hey, tomorrow is Sunday! Woohoo!” *confetti* That meant one more day of self-care, intellectual thinking, and coffee consumption.

I know it will be a bit of a process in the days and weeks after walking away from my first real-world job to find my center again, but let me tell you: I look forward to being a snarky ball of awesomesauce again. It does take awhile to find yourself again after you lose yourself, but the end result is totally worth it. I’ve done it before, and I will do it again.

jimmy buffett 2

 

2017 Princess Half Marathon Recap

After traversing 17.44 miles the previous day with the Enchanted 10K, EPCOT (and carbo loading with those huge ass pretzels in Germany), and meetups over at Polynesian, it was time for my fifth running of the Princess Half!

I set my alarm slightly earlier on Sunday (around 2:15), and made sure I gave myself plenty of time to get dressed and get my stuff in order. I also made sure to pack all of my previous GSC medals into my gear bag. This would come into play later for my legacy picture.

I decided to go with a “Beasty Belle” theme with the blue and yellow. You can’t really see it, but the tank top has the Ravenclaw crest on it. Chris got that for me awhile back, and I truly think that Belle would have been a Ravenclaw!

I decided to take the familiar route to EPCOT this time around, and completely ignore my GPS. This paid off as I got to the parking lot with no problems. I was reluctant to leave my car, though: the temps had dipped from the previous day, the humidity was down, and the wind was up. It felt like marathon weekend all over again. The forecast had originally been projected to actually be in the 30’s with wind…just like marathon weekend. Luckily for us, the temps were in the mid 50’s. Still, though…for someone that’s constantly cold no matter what the weather is, it still felt like an ice box.

I made my way over to the TS bag check and waited for the team to arrive for our usual picture. There were reports coming in from social media that traffic was at a standstill and/or crawling. By 4:30am, the majority of us had arrived!

I also ran into Caroline, my favorite Sparkly Soul sister!

We took off for the potties and then to the corrals. En route, I saw some of the elites literally running along the sides of the road to get up to the front corrals. This traffic jam was such a determent that the race directors decided to postpone the start by about five to seven minutes. Fantastic, I thought to myself, as I sat in corral K with a hooded zip-up sweater I found hanging on the barrier of the corral. It alleviated some of the coldness, but not enough for my taste.

Finally, we started moving around. One thing I did notice right away was that the Fairy Godmother wasn’t around to count us down, nor were there any characters up at the front. Were they all on vacay or something? This was such an iconic part of previous Princess races, and really made the race what it was. I really missed her motivational speeches.

Finally, we got the fireworks and Corral K was off on their magical 13.1 miles! As much as I wanted a PR on this half, I know from my performance the previous day that it wasn’t going to happen. I took this race easy and made sure those side stitches didn’t come back.

Time to PR in photography once again!

This is the infamous chokehold point coming out of Cinderella Castle that we runDisney veterans always talk about. Don’t stop for pictures! You’ll create a logjam of runners behind you. Keep going, and if you want a picture that badly, head to the left as soon as you’re off the ramp and Disney’s Photopass staff can take care of that for you

Around the halfway point of this course, things started to get reeeeeal boring. You hit the second Cone Alley and all paces come to crawl. I found one of the 3:00 pace groups to run with for a little bit, thinking, “Oh hey, maybe if I stick with these guys, I’ll get that sub-3!” Upon further inspection, they started in Corral M, not Corral K. Womp womp.

And on we go…

Up the Mile 10 ramp!

Ran into my lovely Team Shenanigans ladies and we took it home from the coffee shop at EPCOT!

I finished this PHM in 3:34 on the nose, which is my second worst half marathon to date. I’m just glad to have made it in one piece with minimal oblique/rib pain and a lot of pretty pictures. Oh, and meeting new friends!! I finally got to meet Ian and Keith on my way out of the staging area!

And, of course, I couldn’t leave without getting the GSC legacy shot (which garnered many comments of, “Shut the front door!” as I was layering up the medals!) One more year to go to become a Perfect!

Christina’s Post-GSC Thoughts:
There’s really not a lot I can say now that I haven’t already covered in previous years, but I’ll repeat some of them…. The lack of characters and on-course perks are still diminishing with every year, and is making it hard to justify the cost of the races… As mentioned above, if you need to pee somewhere, just go pee… Don’t bottleneck the castle… Don’t walk 239847 abreast in Cone Alley… Be careful in that first cone alley as you go down the hill, because you’ll eat it if you’re not paying attention…. Don’t underestimate the power of the SUN; stay hydrated and properly sunscreened…don’t be too upset if you don’t PR this race; it’s designed to be fun (I have to tell myself that every time I come down here)…don’t traverse 17 miles the day before or your feet are gonna be sore…always bring throwaway clothes or a Mylar blanket so you don’t freeze, especially for those of us who are prone to the cold…etc. etc.

Since next year is the 10 year anniversary of the Princess Half, and the five-year anniversary of the Glass Slipper Challenge (now going by the name of “Fairytale Challenge”…-_____-), I’m curious to see what the theme is! Typically the runDisney Easter Egg is whoever the character is at the Mile 13 marker will the theme for the following year’s race. This year, though…it was Belle. Way to keep us in suspense, runDisney! I guess we’ll have to the wait and see!
Next race: Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon!
See y’all real soon!
❤ Christina ❤

2017 Enchanted 10K Recap

I’ll be totally honest with you all: my 2017 Glass Slipper Challenge did not go like I thought it was going to. Both of my races were awful, I couldn’t poop pre-race (and most of the weekend) which caused a whole slew of issues, and I had to walk for 90% of the miles due to side stitches starting from mile 2 of the 10K and stemming over into the next day.

The weekend wasn’t all bad, though: I did PR in photography, saw a kick ass sunrise during the 10K, ran into some super cool runners on the course, and hung out with my teammates and We Run Social crew at meetups!

This will be a two-part recap, with meetups and whatnot in between. Let’s start with the Enchanted 10K on Saturday…


Alarm goes off at 2:30AM, and I lay in bed until 2:40AM. I finally get the energy to get up, dress, and scramble out the door a little after three. I was staying over in Old Town Kissimmee a little farther down from where I usually stayed at, and my GPS decided to send me in a funky direction down Rt. 536. This put me in a panic, since it was unfamiliar territory and I’m such a stickler of getting to a race site waaaaaay before I need to. I finally ended up at EPCOT, but man, that was a few minutes of chaos that I didn’t need.

Upon parking, I realized that I didn’t have my gear check bag. Greeeeeeat. The morning was starting off real swell. I put on some tunes and tried to think happy thoughts as I saw runners heading towards the staging area. Around 3:50, I exited my car and made my way over. I headed to my gear check tent and asked the volunteers if they had any spare bags. Lo and behold, they did! Woohoo!

I asked why we didn’t received gear check stickers like in years’ past, and Evelyn replied that only 18-20% of runners actually use the bags, so it just cuts down on paper waste by having the volunteers fill out the bib numbers on the stickers while you’re there.

I stood around for a little while, checking into social media and waiting for my team to arrive at our typical meetup spot by the O-Z tent. The temperature was in the mid 60’s with 94% humidity. Perfect weather!

Soon Team Shenanigans arrived and we got our obligatory picture:

We dispersed and I went over to where the main crowd was by the stage. I finally got to meet my running twinsie, Lindsay!!

After watching a new trailer for Beauty and the Beast (they went all out in promoting the movie this race weekend. I liked it!), we started the journey to the corrals. People, anthem, fireworks. Yay.

There were no characters or Fairy Godmother during this weekend to send us off! I was really disappointed! Anyone else?

I was in corral D, and I finally got to experience this “mini wave” thing that had been implemented for the past few runDisney races. It was…interesting. I felt like I got ¼ of a mile down the road before the next set of runners were sent off.

I was cruising along during mile one, and it would be my best mile of the whole weekend: 10:47. Once I hit the hairpin turn to ascend the hill, I started feeling crampy on my left side. This soon turned into walking breaks…and I couldn’t run. Full-blown side stitch. Holy crap, this was painful! I held my side as I tried to walk it off, and it just wasn’t happening. On the descent of that hill, I peeked over to see who was hanging out at that character stop, and noticed an all-too familiar trucker hat peeking out…it was Jen from We Run Social!! Of course, had to stop for a picture and hugs.

The rest of mile 2 and 3 were slow and steady. I altered my posture so I was leaning slightly back rather than forward, and that alleviated a lot of the pain in my ribcage. My mile three was four minutes faster than mile 2  (11:59 vs. 16:22), which was a nice boost.

Then I hit EPCOT. My favorite part of the entire race weekend!!

I cruised under the China gateway and ran right into another We Run Social sister, Steffany (and totally crashed her Facebook Live)!

From there, it was pictures all around!

Is this Disney magic?!” Yes, yes it is.

I finished in 1:34:46. The medal…freakin’ gorgeous.

Next up: 2017 Princess Half Marathon!

Post-GSC, Part II: More Magic Kingdom!

After Minnie and I took respective pictures of each other, I was approached and asked by the rest of the group (Amy, Heidi, Shari, and Liz) about what my plans were for the rest of the day. I said that other than doing my FP+ rides, just walking around and stretching out.

I was asked to join their group. I said yes.

How exciting is that?!

Lesson: you never know what a good deed will result in.

Now that I was the sixth member of the group, we all had buddies for rides. This included the Seven Dwarves Mine Ride (which we went on twice!), and the People Mover (which I had not been on before). I broke away for a brief moment to go to Splash Mountain, but it had technical difficulties. They were still upholding FPs for the rest of the day in case it started working again, which was wonderful. I went back and waited for our group at the Mine Ride.

10991092_957272117618482_7482466059881931136_n  10996494_10206301726210507_8232616630016469000_n

SDMR

While we were there, I was clued in to a surprise for Heidi (dinner at Be Our Guest!). I graciously accepted the offer and was totally in on the surprise. After the Mine Ride we all started chatting about food, and since New Fantasyland was right there, how we should head over and scrounge for food (all secretly knowing Be Our Guest was on the way). So we walked…kept walking…

Then turned around and yelled, “SURPRISE!”

Heidi was in total awe. It was an amazing moment.

Since I was the little stowaway, Minnie and I dashed over to the hostess stand and hoped that they could expand their reservation from five to six people. The hostess called in…

..and it was approved. Happy dances and high fives all around.

11025175_10206301759411337_69423590525267924_n

This was a definite highlight of the trip. The decor was breathtaking, the food amazing, and the grey stuff…it was delicious 🙂

10985512_791162670939155_6386285096118370834_n 10953200_791162594272496_8892749375165691732_n 10987585_791162374272518_5689703549455439252_n 10994473_791162494272506_842718741814444503_n 10996581_791162567605832_3502000416588129713_n 10996771_791162824272473_4897074491432610542_n 11007721_791162234272532_6628781663215865426_n 11008081_791162397605849_4025035929619725887_n 11009948_791162614272494_2646375013953962679_n 11018363_791162630939159_2133785176250319142_n 11018820_791162464272509_2290418369085820404_n 11021093_791162290939193_1593131365667416196_n 11024639_791162357605853_32553938086316099_n 11025217_791162534272502_7325261139325757355_n 11025742_791162437605845_9087957690031609213_n  10849984_791162687605820_6392567796719488577_n

After exiting Be Our Guest, we went back to the Mine Ride and rode it again! (Note: It’s super awesome at night!)

After this, I bid my new friends farewell and went back towards Splash Mountain, and it was working! I got in line immediately and…was in the very front seat.

(2014 was the front seat for Space Mountain. This year was Splash. I swear, Disney is trying to scare my fear of heights right out of me.)

About halfway through the ride, it stopped. And then the Wishes fireworks began. What a wonderful seat! I didn’t take a lot of pictures at this point, but I can attest to the fact that it was breathtaking.

1513680_791164814272274_8667925246803286256_n 10676316_791162887605800_3149951845812955183_n

That concludes my third Princess Half Weekend and second Glass Slipper Challenge! Thanks for reading 🙂

11002630_791162214272534_8151864424309508393_n

Post-GSC: Magic Kingdom, Part I

The last day of my trip consisted of checking out of my hotel and hauling all the things to Magic Kingdom. My red-eye flight didn’t leave until Tuesday, but keeping up with tradition from 2014, walking around for a ton of hours saved my legs from getting the post-run stiffness. So after getting there via ferry (after learning the Monorials were not operating), and getting my park ticket (much hassle there), and securing my crap in a locker (application of mad Tetris skills), it was time for some MK fun!

10425457_791161944272561_5091464185027503665_n

10986437_791161977605891_4558191899042319032_n

(WDW is the perfect example of Baudrillard’s concept of hyperreality. Any philosopher or graduate in communications may be familiar with this concept…but that’s a post for another day. 🙂 )

1507688_791162147605874_2884361824764806327_n  10406919_791162177605871_5516393155458509586_n

B_GVMlUUQAA5XMH

New Fantastyland and its Beauty and the Beast theme holds near and dear to me, as it is 1. a reflection of France, and one of my fave movies, and 2. filled with magical whimsy. I remember when this whole area was under construction several years ago. I think it’s a fabulous addition that incorporates a Disney classic. (More about this later!)

13017_791162037605885_1878037281585515743_n  10360235_791161987605890_6745586405498514184_n

11001743_791162014272554_4532722015725372249_n

After exploring my favorites (Haunted Mansion and the Mark Twain riverboat, I went back to Main Street for some ice cream and food. I walked over to Tomorrowland to find a spot to sit. This is where things got awesome.

I brought all six of my medals with me in an attempt to snag a GSC legacy photo somewhere in Magic Kingdom. I hadn’t had much luck thus far, until I met a small group of awesome women who looked like they had run the GSC together. (You can tell these group by the matching shirts and all the bling!) We runners like to congratulate other runners on their accomplishments, so as I was walking over to an empty table, I stopped to congratulate them. We began to chit chat, and I made a mention about the emdals. The one woman, her name is Minnie, mentioned that she was also a GSC legacy and my idea for a photo was a cool idea… but she didn’t bring her medals with her for her own shot.

My suggestion?

“Let’s take pictures of each other, and you can borrow my medals!”

Her eyes lit up and was immediately on board with the idea!

10985913_790904687631620_44476431272161065_n  11024195_791162197605869_1861190132796864596_n

Lesson: the little things in life, the random acts of kindness…they’ll get you places.

What happened next? Stay tuned 🙂