Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 80

This was an interesting week for me. The October break was inching nearer (not quite quickly enough!), I had Disney on the brain as I was following all the news coming out of Walt Disney World for the 50th anniversary, and I really started to notice the changing season as some chillier days came along. Here’s how my fitness activities looked:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + living room  home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

The week began with a pouring wet Monday morning. As if Mondays weren’t miserable enough! Fortunately I realised in time so had my hat and a rainy day top on, but there’s no staying dry on a day like this. After a start like that, yoga from home that evening was definitely appealing.

The good news was that conditions were much better on the Tuesday. I actually noticed that despite the creeping end-of-term tiredness, I still felt strong while I was running. A bit strange, but I guess it’s my mind that’s feeling tired rather than my body.

Some real excitement at work as my new PC was joined by a nifty new monitor. Now I have the complete set!

On the Wednesday I headed out with the latest Together Run lined up to listen to. The skies were clear so it was pretty chilly and I needed a long sleeved top and my gloves! But in return I got the most beautiful views at the river.

During the course of the day I managed to finish my book. This is the sequel to the previous book I read. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it – sometimes it’s clear a writer is trying a bit too hard to capitalise on a success – but I thought it worked well as it kept some of the same characters and introduced a few new ones. Worth a go if you enjoy the first one.

When I got home I had to swing into action to get some chilli prepped ready for the slow cooker the following day, then time for some yoga to help me unwind.

I awoke on Thursday to find it was once again pouring. This led to me making the error of not wearing my gloves as I thought they would just get soaked, but by the time I got home my hands were so cold they had gone numb and my fine motor skills were pretty questionable!

I had an appointment after work so was away reasonably quickly then managed to fill my car up. This was at the height of the petrol “shortage” and I was a little worried about having to wait ages for the petrol I normally get (and needed), but as it turned out the petrol station was quiet. A couple of pumps were off, but I had no problem filling up. Phew!

The Friday morning was still a little drizzly, but far far better than the day before. This was the day Walt Disney World marked 5 years since opening and I was excited to catch up with vlogs from those fortunate enough to be there on the first official day of the celebrations. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be too much longer before I can book a trip to Florida again 🤞

The Saturday was parkrun’s 17th birthday and I enjoyed my run except for one thing: spitting. To be honest, I think spitting is pretty gross at the best of times but with an airborne virus it’s downright inconsiderate and is clearly highlighted as a “no” on the parkrun Covid framework. Sadly I found myself running near to a couple of others who kept on spitting and eventually got so fed up of it that I resorted to using my “teacher voice” to give them a bit of a row (or as much of a row as I could manage whilst running fairly hard!). Normally I wouldn’t be likely to do something like this whilst running, but it was really bothering me so I felt it needed done.

In the afternoon I headed out again as the friend whose parkrun fundraiser I had participated in the week before was getting married and I wanted to go down to the venue to see her going in wearing her proper wedding dress (as opposed to the one she ran in the previous week!). It was so nice to see lots of others turn out to see her as well and she looked amazing.

Steve didn’t mind waiting to see her and her new husband come out again, but we knew we had about half an hour so I took the big step (for me) of sitting inside a cafe. I had planned to claim my free coffee from Vitality and get it to take away as usual, but it was pretty damp so I agreed to sit in for the first time since the pandemic began. We got seats completely out of the way and clear of anybody else and I actually only had my mask off long enough to eat the caramel shortbread Steve treated me to (I knew my coffee wouldn’t cool quickly enough so still got it in a takeaway cup to take with me). Just another baby step towards normality.

We actually timed things pretty well so were able to see the bride and groom coming back out of the venue and pose for some photos before heading off to celebrate. At this point we headed home and my sister popped round for a bit to sort out a few odds and ends.

On the Sunday I once more headed for the woodland park for my run, but didn’t stop for any pictures this time. I was feeling strong again and was enjoying powering through my run. I was on a mission to have a pretty big tidy and get the house dusted and vacuumed, so cutting out lots of stops really helped. I also wanted to change my bedding to this seasonal new option I had ordered:

With everything done I could relax a bit and get ready for the final week of term.

Would you have spoken up to the spitters?
How are you feeling about going to cafes and other public places now?

Answering Some Disney Parks Questions

Something a little different from me today. I regularly listen to several podcasts on The After Dark Podcast Network including Disney Parks & Beyond, Discover DLP, Mickey Waffles and Disney Dream Girls – got to get my Disney fix somehow in these strange times! Recently several shows on the network had episodes where the hosts discussed their answers to a list of 10 Disney parks questions. I really enjoyed hearing the different answers and discussions, so since listeners were encouraged to think about their own answers, I thought I would use the questions as the basis for a post.

  1. How many times have you visited “the parks” (any Disney parks)?
    For the purposes of this question, a visit was taken to be a trip which incorporated one of the Disney resorts (since counting up visits to individual parks could be pretty tricky!). I’ve been lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris. I needed a little help from my photo albums, but I think my numbers look like this:
    WDW = 17 (1992-1995 with my family; 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 with my ex; 2008 solo but joining my family once I arrived; 2010 for our honeymoon; 2012-19 with Steve, except 2015. We did visit Florida in 2015 but had a super relaxing trip where we did next to nothing other than hang out by the pool and run, so no park visits). And as a result, a lot of great memories of special moments and things that were only around for a short time/have since been removed:

    Our first visit caught the end of the 20th Anniversary celebrations. I remember watching a daytime spectacular called ‘Surprise in the Skies’ at Epcot.

    Mickey’s Starland became Mickey’s Toontown and is now simply part of the Fantasyland expansion

    River Country. Now abandoned (but perhaps destined to be a DVC resort).

    The millennium decor on Spaceship Earth

    The controversial ear hat at Disney MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

    I once made it to MNSSHP.

    The rotating castle display on the front of Cinderella Castle was there for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and showed images of all the Disney castles.

    Getting to experience lots of new (to me) things when my sister was a CM.

    Duffy!

    Mickey and Minnie’s 90th birthday

    Disneyland = 1 (1996, before Disney’s California Adventure existed).

    DLP = 5 (2005 with my ex; 2018&2019 for RunDisney; 2019 with the school, 2020 with my sister).

    Ooft, that’s a lot of Disney park visits!

  2. First time you visited each of the parks?
    WDW 1992. This was supposed to be a “once in a lifetime” trip, one and done. But we had such a good time that no sooner were we back than my parents were booking again for the following year, and the rest is history. Eventually they bought property in the area, hence the frequency of trips.

    Disneyland 1996. I’m not sure what prompted the trip to California after several Florida trips, but I suspect a key driver was the fact that my mum has family out there and wanted to visit. She could remember her grandmother making the trip many many years ago and she wanted to see some of the places she had talked about. My memories of this trip are a little dim now, but I hope one day to visit again.

    DLP 2005. At this point in my life a trip to Florida just wasn’t a possibility, so instead a trip to DLP was on the cards. I remember it was July and the weather was super hot. I really enjoyed my visit but it was a good few years before I visited again as I was going to Florida so often.
  3. Last time you visited a Disney park?
    2020. An absolute miracle! I don’t think any of the podcast hosts had a 2020 visit in their discussion since the parks closed so early in the year and we have been unable to travel to the US for over a year now. Although a number of my Disney plans for 2020 were cancelled, my sister and I did have a long weekend at DLP booked in August which slipped nicely into a brief period of time when we could travel without having to quarantine, so I was able to get my Disney parks fix.
  4. Favourite resort you’ve stayed at, or if you haven’t stayed on property where would you like to stay?
    I’ve only stayed in some of the “budget” resorts. As a family we stayed in the All-Star Music resort at WDW for a few nights some time back in the 90s.

    And for my two RunDisney experiences at DLP we stayed at the Hotel Cheyenne and Hotel Santa Fe respectively.
    I also stayed at the Santa Fe on my very first visit in 2005, but this was before it was Cars-themed.

    I don’t remember much about the WDW resort other than the theming around it and we spent little time at our DLP resorts, so I don’t think I can really choose one of those. Instead, I’m going to tell you about some of the resorts I would like to stay at:
    At WDW I’d love to stay in one of the monorail resorts to have easy access to the Magic Kingdom and ever since my first trip I’ve been fascinated by the Contemporary Resort because of the monorail going right through the middle. I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice and there are certainly “better” resorts, but one day I’d love to have the chance to stay there.
    It’s definitely a dream of mine to return to Disneyland one day – I mean, there’s a whole other theme park I’ve not visited – and while there are fewer hotels there, I think the Grand Californian looks AMAZING!
    Finally, although I’m leaning towards off-site hotels to make DLP trips accessible and budget-friendly, I’d love to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. I would have picked Sequoia Lodge, but I think it’s probably fairly similar to the Grand Californian, so I went with something different to mix things up. I’d never afford a park view room, but being right at the entrance would be a real advantage.
  5. Favourite ride at EACH PARK you’ve visited?
    Oh, this one is hard but at least I’m allowed to break it down to each individual park to make it a tiny bit easier!
    Magic Kingdom: I think I’m going to go for the Haunted Mansion. It’s one of my absolute favourites and I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t pick it somewhere on my list!

    Epcot: Here it’s a toss up between Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around the World but I think I’m going to pick Frozen. I love the themed queue line with Wandering Oaken, ride elements such as Sven with his tongue stuck to the ice and, of course, having a boat full of complete strangers all belting out Let it Go!

    Hollywood Studios: I’ve not yet had the opportunity to experience Smugglers Run, Rise of the Resistance or Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and one of these will almost certainly be my favourite just as soon as I do. In the meantime, I’ll pick the Tower of Terror. It’s a ride that always gives me the fear whilst waiting in the queue, but as soon as I’m on there the adrenalin rush makes me want to go right back around again!

    Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage. Hands down one of the best rides there is. I didn’t know what to expect given I’ve only seen Avatar once and didn’t know a great deal about it, but it’s an amazing experience not to be missed.

    Disneyland (California): I considered picking Pirates of the Caribbean here (I love Pirates and this is the OG version) but one of my strongest memories from our mid-90s Disneyland visit is my sister and I LOVING the Matterhorn Bobsleds. I know we rode several times and squealed with glee as we rode those sleds down the mountain. For that reason, and the fact it’s unique to this park, it’s going to be my pick here.

    Disneyland Park (Paris): It could easily have been Pirates of the Caribbean or Phantom Manor, but I think my pick here is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I love Big Thunder and the DLP version is by far the best.

    Walt Disney Studios: Not so many to choose from here so it absolutely has to be Ratatouille. A version of this is opening at Epcot later this year, but until now this one has been unique to DLP and is a fantastic ride.
  6. Last ride you actually rode at a Disney park?
    Phew, finally a reasonably easy one to work out. For our August 2020 Disneyland Paris trip my sister and I were on a mission to go on as many rides/attractions as we possibly could since there was limited park capacity. To keep track, I took a picture at each attraction so that it would be easier to remember later on. Looking back at those pictures the last ride I went on in DLP was Star Tours. I like Star Tours so I’m happy with that. Imagine if it had been something really silly like the Flying Carpets of Agrabah!
  7. Guilty pleasure snack?
    This question is rather open to interpretation. “Guilty pleasure” is a little different to “favourite” and rather suggests something that isn’t one of the more popular Disney snack foods. If I was picking my favourite then I’d probably opt for a Mickey pretzel (let’s face it, any food shaped like Mickey Mouse is automatically better!) but often when I buy a Mickey pretzel I also buy a pickle in a bag. As in, one of those ginormous dill pickles that’s about the circumference of a cucumber and fairly sizeable. They are individually packaged (which I’m less keen on because of all that packaging) and there’s always lots of pickle juice in the bag as well. They can normally be picked up at snack locations that have big ice chests with drink bottles and fruit buried in them. It’s not a Disney trip until I get one (and the salt is a good way to replace the salts lost in all the Florida sweating!), so this is my guilty pleasure.
  8. Favourite country at Epcot?
    Hmmm. This one I found hard to narrow down. Mexico is good for a frozen maragarita, the character meet & greet with Mexican Donald Duck and that amazing pyramid where it’s always twilight (and cool!) inside. Norway has the fantastic Akershus restaurant (the “taste of Norway” buffet is totally worth it), meet & greet with Anna and Elsa and, of course, the Frozen ride. And France is, well, France! Attractions there are expanding to include Ratatouille and further dining locations so I suspect the next time I visit Epcot the France pavilion will easily take my number one spot, but what about right now? I think on balance I’m going to go with Norway. I have so many wonderful memories from there and look forward to more in future.
  9. Favourite sit down restaurant at a park?
    We don’t often go for sit-down dining on park days as this kind of meal can take up quite a lot of time. I think for this I’m going to choose Bistrot Chez Remy at the Walt Disney Studios in Paris. My sister and I were able to get a booking there back in August (we had both been keen to visit after watching a vlog of the experience) and it was a really good meal. The theming in the restaurant is so detailed – I love that diners are “shrunk” to the size of a rat – and the food was delicious. I’d love to go again with Steve as I think he would really like it.
  10. Favourite character meet & greet
    I’ve had so many character meet & greets across the years, going right back to when they were a real free-for-all rather than an orderly queue, but one in particular springs to mind when I think about my answer to this question. When we went to Florida in 2019 we spent a few days visiting WDW thanks to a bargain ticket offer, and I bought Steve a pair of “ears” colloquially known as “duck butts”. Basically the rear end of Donald Duck, this particular headgear tended to attract attention, most memorably when we visited Mickey and Minnie in the Magic Kingdom. The celebrations for Mickey’s 90th birthday were continuing and we popped in to see them towards the end of the day when it was quiet. Steve’s “duck butts” led to much hilarity and we have so many pictures of all of us (including Mickey and Minnie) doubled up with laughter with all the larking about. It was such a good meet & greet as there was no rush to get through so the characters had time to create a really fun experience. For similar reasons, meeting Donald Duck in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot was also great fun, but this one was in the middle of the day so there was less time for the interaction.

So there you have it. I was definitely thinking about some of my answers as I listened to the various podcast discussions, and it was such fun to reminisce about my Disney park adventures. I know I’m really lucky to have had so many opportunities to visit the parks and hopefully it won’t be too long until I can go again.

Have you visited any Disney parks? I’d love to know your answers to these questions…

The Year Of The Mouse!

In the Chinese calendar, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, but did you know that “the Chinese word shǔ​ (鼠) may refer to rat, mouse, or other muroid-type animals”? (Thanks Wikipedia!). And as any regular reader, or person who actually knows me in real life, is aware, I am a BIG fan of a certain famous (fa-mouse? 🙄) mouse. THE Mouse. The Big Cheese. A certain Mr M Mouse and the theme parks associated with his image. Every year I take at least one pilgrimage to the House of Mouse (more since I joined the fun at the Disneyland Paris Magic Run weekend – if you missed it you can read about my experiences here, here and here) and with the plans I have afoot this year, I will most definitely be thinking of 2020 as my Year of the Mouse!

“But what’s so different?” I hear you ask. Surely I mean I’ll be taking my usual trip to Florida in July and popping over to Paris in September for Magic Run Weekend again? Yes, quite right. But as an added bonus, this year I’ll be squeezing in some extra visits to my happy place.

Last year Run Disney France announced the inaugural Princess Run Weekend taking place in May 2020. With the early May bank holiday falling that weekend, the dates worked out perfectly for us to fly out during the day on the Friday (rather than arrive late at night after I finish work and we get on an evening flight), run on the Saturday and Sunday (more on that in a moment) then fly home that evening as we have previously done on the September run weekends. The only fly in the ointment was that with it being a holiday weekend across Europe, the price of a package (Disney hotel, park passes, race bibs) was going to be so much more than we have paid in the past for September weekends, so we took a risk and booked with one of the off-site partner hotels and booked our flights before they got prohibitively expensive. This meant we were waiting for the bib only sales to get our race places. An agonising wait as French systems tend to be a bit laid back about the specifics of when things might actually happen!

While we were waiting, the themes for the races were announced and if anything this added to my desire to be part of the event (although let’s face it, having got flights and accommodation I was going to DLP that weekend, I just hoped it would be for the runs!). On the Saturday there will be a 5k themed to Ariel from The Little Mermaid (you know, the one with my near-permanent ear worm song and general mermaid-y feeling) and on Sunday there will be an 8k themed to Belle from Beauty and the Beast (my absolute favourite and the princess I relate to the most!). Basically, they announced two themes absolutely made for me and the option to take on both as the Cinderella Challenge (because it’s the 70th anniversary of Cinderella) for a third medal. I already knew I would be disappointed not to get a place, and with the theming it became my mission to get that challenge bib!

Finally we got the word that the bibs would go on sale the first Monday in February. I would be at work but Steve and my sister were primed to get on the case – Steve had space in his diary and my sister booked the afternoon off work to make sure she was available as we had heard so many tales of website crashes and lots of stress with people trying to book bibs for the September races in the past. They were keeping in close contact with each other and updating me with how they were getting on as I sat anxiously at work, keeping my fingers firmly crossed. As it turned out, there had been some improvements to the booking system, and although there were one or two hitches along the way, it wasn’t too long before my sister sent me this:

Getting this actually made a big difference to me, coming so soon after the news of a school inspection. I realised last year that not only does Disney make me happy, but knowing that I have trips to a Disney park to look forward to does wonders for my mental health. You would think that the crowds etc might stress me out, but I noticed last summer that being in Disney World made all the stresses of the year and struggles with various illnesses learning up to that point just melt away. I felt refreshed and renewed, happier than I had been in months. Clearly Walt’s original vision was working for me!

And with that in mind, I knew that having the May weekend races to look forward to would really give me a much-needed mental distraction through what is by far the busiest and most stressful time in the school year. Since getting that confirmation of our places, I’ve had great fun turning my attention to what I plan to wear for those runs (I prefer not to reveal those until race day) and making some plans for our time in the theme parks.

But that’s not all. A few days later I discovered that my sister was planning a weekend at DLP in August, towards the end of my summer break. With flights coming in quite cheaply and the cost of a hotel room (off-site) much less when it’s shared, I decided to go with her for a long weekend in the parks. Ever since my first trip there for Magic Run Weekend in 2018 I’ve had it in mind to do something like that since realistically it’s not too far away and although I LOVE taking part in the races there, I thought it might be fun to have a couple of days of dedicated time in the parks without worrying about getting enough sleep before a run, being tired from having just done a run and just generally building all of our plans around the races. August will be that time.

I know not everyone will understand my desire to do this, but it feels like the right thing for me just now. I’ve not entered any other races, nor do I have plans to, so won’t have those entry fees or travel costs to consider. It’s also going to be much more cost effective for me to join my sister in buying an annual pass for DLP so my park entry will be much less overall and I’ll get some food and merch discounts with it too (because obviously I will want to buy All The Things!). I’m fortunate that I earn enough to have the odd weekend away, but it’s not something I often actually do. Yet with budget flights (booked early) and the option of non-Disney hotels shared between two/three of us, it becomes remarkably affordable. It’s something my sister often does as solo trips, and now I’m seeing the opportunity to join her if the timing is right (which saves her some money too as we’ll share the hotel cost). Frankly, I’m much happier spending my money on trips like this than on lots of nights out, meals out, UK mini-breaks, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those are all fun, but I know time in spent in Disney feels much healthier for me and the memories I create are far more vivid and long-lasting than some of these other ways I might spend my time/money. Given the choice between a night away and a fancy meal or a weekend at Disney, I know what my choice would be!

So to summarise that’s:

  • DLP in May for Princess Run Weekend
  • A couple of days at WDW in July as part of our trip to Florida
  • A long weekend at DLP in August with my sister
  • DLP in September for Magic Run Weekend (we booked our package for that one towards the end of last year so bibs etc are already taken care of).

As if that wasn’t enough, it looks like my sister is also heading to DLP in October when I have school holidays, and with no other plans for that time of year, chances are I’ll join her. It would only annoy me knowing I was sitting at home when she was away having some Disney fun!

And THAT is why 2020 will be my Year of the Mouse. The only question is, how many new pairs of Minnie Mouse ears can I add to my collection? 🤔

Clearly false! 😂

Anyone else planning some Disney fun this year?

My Year Of Running 2019

Over the past few years I’ve taken part in a blog link up to recap my year. This year I haven’t been able to find that link up anywhere, but since I wanted to look back over 2019, I decided to use my previous posts (2016, 2017, 2018) as a template and write my post anyway. So here we go with the 2019 edition…

Best race experience
These days I actually don’t race very often as I much prefer the process of getting out and running to the pressure of performing in a race situation. Yes I take my running seriously, but with this being a fairly tough year at work, I needed something that would bring plenty of fun to it – and for me there’s nothing more fun than running in Disney! I loved the whole Disneyland Paris race weekend so am going to be a wee bit liberal in my interpretation of “race experience” and pick the 31k Challenge, that way I can include BOTH the 10k and the half marathon. Sneaky!

Best run
Can I pick Disney again? This time at Walt Disney Word in Florida where I had my first experience of a WDW resort run. Along with Steve and my sister, I took part in the Beignet Dash over at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. It was a mere 2km of running, but totally worth the early start to get a free order of WARM Mickey beignets. Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best new piece of running gear
Once again, I continued to obsessively buy running leggings with crazy patterns on them, and once again that’s not going to be my choice – too obvious! Now that my hair has grown out again, I find a cap suits me much better than when I had a bob so was keen to get something “nice” for runs on wet days (rather than the perfectly functional, but essentially freebie, one I wore before which I call my “emergency running hat”!). So in what seems to be a developing theme for this post, it’s Disney once again as I’m choosing the Disneyland Paris Magic Run Weekend hat that I made a point of buying when I was there in September.

Best running advice you’ve received this year
Not exactly advice, but I realised this year that I really needed to do more strength work to help improve my running. Ever since the summer I’ve consistently managed two sessions a week down at Steve’s studio (three when it’s been school holidays and I have more time) to work with an assortment of kit such as the TRX, weights, bar bell, Bosu, gym ball and my own body weight with a variety of press ups in order to strengthen my arms and core. I feel so much better as a result and can definitely feel the difference – and I managed to answer one of these questions without mentioning Disney (until now haha!).

Most inspirational runner
I would usually try to choose a female inspiration here, but on this occasion I just HAVE to choose Eliud Kipchoge. His achievement in running the first ever sub-2 hour marathon, even if it isn’t an official record, was an incredible moment and I’m sure it will have unlocked many more breakthroughs to come in the world of running thanks to his insistence that “no human is limited”. I actually ran to parkrun whilst simultaneously live streaming the end of Kipchoge’s historic run on my phone and will happily admit to tearing up when he crossed the line in 1:59:40. An inspirational runner, true gentleman and downright nice guy. I can’t wait to see what he does next (probably not Disney, but you never know 😂)

Favourite picture from a run or race this year
This is such an easy question for me. Thanks to the magic of – you guessed it – Disney, this year I acquired this picture which is now my all-time favourite running picture of myself. I’m dressed as my favourite Disney princess (Belle, whilst still living her provincial life – there must be some much more…), running through Disneyland Paris and grinning from ear to ear. I was loving that race and for me, the joy of the experience seems to radiate from the picture. I love it!

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
The Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. But you knew that, didn’t you!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Disney Magic. It couldn’t really be anything else! I went to WDW, DLP (twice!) and somehow managed to pour a bit of Disney into every day. Now to see if I can make 2020 even bigger, even better and with even more pairs of Mouse ears…

I’d love to hear about some of your 2019 highlights. Share below, or even better write your own post and let me know so I can read it.

Event Report – Beignet Dash @ Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

Not so much a race this one, but a really good fun event so I thought it worthy of a separate post to share the details (and photos).

I think it was towards the end of my visit to Florida last year that I first came across the golden nugget of information that several of the Disney resorts host regular fun runs as part of their recreation schedule – and you don’t actually have to be staying in a Disney resort to take part. They take place on different days so check the recreation schedules, and each one gives you a different souvenir such as pins, water bottles or, in the case of the one I picked, BEIGNETS! I was sold, Steve was easily persuaded and my sister agreed to build it into a day of resort activities we had planned (nothing to do with beignets, of course!).

The logistics were pretty simple. The run takes place at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter on a Sunday morning. They open up a check-in desk at 7:30am and the run is at 8am (I think the times vary a little for some of the other resort runs so do check in advance if you have your heart set on something). It costs $15 to take part and that can be paid on the morning in cash, but my sister called up in advance and paid over the phone so we were all set.

We arrived at the resort just after 7:30am (there is a security checkpoint on the way into all the resorts but if you have a dining or recreation reservation there’s no problem) and made our way around to the check-in desk to pick up our bibs and sign a waiver. The bibs are really just a place to write your name and have some emergency contact details, but more importantly they have a tear-off slip on the bottom that you use later on to claim your beignets.

We still had time so wandered off to find some toilets (top tip, the most likely location is any building close to the resort pool) and took a few pre-run photos. I had embraced the Disney by wearing my new Minnie Mouse running skirt with my stars & stripes crop top, but I noticed a real range of choices, with some people in regular running kit and others going for a more RunDisney costume approach. I loved that!

A little before 8am we were gathered together by a rep from the recreation team and given a little briefing. Fairly straightforward stuff about the basics of the route (they used the resort lifeguards as marshals to make sure everyone went the right way) and details of how to claim our beignets. We were then given advice on how to position ourselves at the start: runners to the front, walkers to the back and “I’m just here for the beignets” in the middle 😂

The route itself was about 2km following the running trail around the “Sassagoula River” so nothing too taxing. I wanted to test out running with my GoPro mounted on a short grip so I think I made it a bit harder for myself by eliminating the use of one arm haha! No matter since the run is not timed and there are no placings – everybody gets the same.

There was some support around the route, mainly guests who were up early or out to support family who were running. The lifeguards were also really good and shouted encouragement to everyone. The instructions were really clear so there was no chance of getting lost, even if you found yourself making your way around the course alone.

The finish was back where we started after completing our loop, by which time there were all sorts of things set up. I had a “medal” of a Mardi Gras mask attached to beads put around my neck (it had an event badge pinned to it too) and was handed a small bottle of water (they had been giving these out while we were waiting to start as well). There were also loads of photo props out so we made sure to get lots of photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we were happy we had taken all the photos we could around the event, we went to take a few pictures around the resort with our medals/bibs still on. I liked these fun statues which led towards the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And made sure to clock the Sassagoula Floatworks where we would be headed later on to pick up our beignets.

Then it was back to the car to do what we could to freshen/tidy ourselves up before our breakfast reservation (you can read about that here).

And the beignets? Totally worth it. In fact, I would recommend the run for the beignets alone. Yes, I know I could buy some, but there was something very satisfying about “earning” them with that taxing run around the waterfront 😉. Did I mention the beignets are served WARM and with loads of powdered sugar? Amazing!

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience of a Disney resort run and hope to try a few more of them in future years. Mind you, if anyone suggests a return to the Beignet Dash, I’m definitely in!

Have you taken part in any of the Disney resort runs?
Would you run for beignets?

Week In Review – Summer Holidays Week 3

It’s another lengthy one with loads of photos! Please stay seated with your hands, arms, legs and feet inside at all times 😂

Thanks to our preference for heading off on holiday midweek (pro tip, flights tend to be cheaper that way), it feels like our 2 weeks away take up almost 3 weeks of our time. This was a week that started in Disney and ended back home, and it’s always a strange one as it feels like the trip has whizzed by, yet at the same time the first day or two feel like they were ages ago! Clearly I prioritised fun over fitness this time around, but did manage to fit a few bits and pieces in to keep me ticking over:

Monday – Disney day
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – 30 mins
Thursday – I basically had no idea what day it was!
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun sandwich + SUP yoga
Sunday – SUP yoga

The week kicked off with our third and final Disney park day of the trip and once more my sister was in charge of all arrangements (I quite like this. I wonder if I need some kind of PA to sort my life out all the time haha!). If you’ve read my previous posts from the trip then you’ll know our plans kept evolving in a bid to maximise our time and ensure we managed to do all the things we wanted to. We decided to begin this day at the Magic Kingdom since there was one ride we didn’t manage to do on our previous visit and we knew we would need to be there for rope drop and that brisk walk over there in oder to make it work.

On arrival, we spotted the Main Street vehicles just arriving at the entrance hub and took the chance to get a lift along Main Street to the castle, something I’ve never done before. I’m sure the other family in there with us loved me announcing, “I’m in a parade!” In a loud voice haha!

Ride done, the plan was to get the monorail over to Epcot when we were ready, however my sister had gone off to do some other bits and pieces leaving Steve and I unsupervised for a while and I needed to catch up with her to make use of her AP discount for a couple of purchases before we left, so Steve and I amused ourselves with a massive coffee and some photo ops until she could join us.

Taking my coffee, mouse ears and pout to the purple wall. I’m such an Instagram dream 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a quick character greeting once Linsey showed up.

After that, we parted ways for a bit with Steve and I jumping on the monorail to Epcot and Linsey finishing up what she wanted to do in MK with plans to meet us later. That’s right, we were off to a whole other park unsupervised. I’m more than capable of sorting out what to do and making plans, but I’d grown so used to Linsey doing it for us that it did feel strange! Luckily, she had organised a couple of Fastpasses for us so we were all set and filled in some time with a cheeky character meet and greet. I mean, I couldn’t put Steve in the “duck butts” and not take him to meet Donald 😂.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course a visit to see Elsa and Anna (apparently Steve didn’t know which was which until this moment. Oh the shame!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch was a noodle bowl and beer in the China pavilion of World Showcase then on our way to meet Linsey we nipped in to Club Cool for a drink and were devastated to find NO BEVERLY. If you know, you know!

Unfortunately, there was a storm that afternoon. Nothing particularly unusual and it shouldn’t have been too disruptive to our plans, however the lightning took out some power in Disney and several rides were off for a while. Despite that, we still managed to tick off all the important things we wanted to do, and passed the time during the storm having a snack break. Rose gold cupcake for me.

And a couple more character meets to finish off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t stay for once last showing of IllumiNations (it finishes at the end of September but I was told last year was my last time seeing it so I’m ok with this) as we were on the move again to head over to Hollywood Studios to catch the Star Wars fireworks, an evening show I hadn’t seen before. Prior to the fireworks there was a really cool projection show on the Chinese Theater at the end of the main entrance street, then a short wait before the fireworks. I have to say, I’m not much of a Star Wars fan (I know I’ve seen the originals and maybe one of the prequels, but not much more) but even I knew it was a stunning combination of projections, pyros, lasers and fireworks. It actually made me think I should watch the films!

Sadly after that we were saying goodbye to Disney World for this year, but thanks to the decision to pack more park days in, we made loads of amazing memories to keep us going for a while.

The Tuesday was designated for a bit of final shopping as my parents had appointments for haircuts and the place they go is close to the outlet mall on International Drive so Steve and I just take ourselves along there to wander around the shops and meet up with my parents later on. We were actually fairly quick in getting round all the places we needed to go and when I called my mum they had just found themselves a good table at the food court so we hot-footed it over there to join them and grabbed the standard “food court Asian food” for lunch.

When we arrived back home it was time to pack, which actually didn’t take too long, then we were off out again to treat my parents to a meal out by way of “rent” payment for our stay. Mum loves Red Lobster so we usually go there. I’m not a huge seafood fan, but there are plenty of things I like so it was a great meal, even if it does taste of going back home ☹️

Lobster bisque

Garden salad

I created my own combo – soy & ginger salmon and wood-fired tilapia served with rice.

I wanted one last run before leaving on the Wednesday and I find that getting up early for a run tends to mean I sleep a bit better on the flight in the evening, so we headed out early on a different route to my previous run. It was slightly longer, but good to get out.

Since our flight wasn’t until the evening, we didn’t need to leave until later in the afternoon so spent the morning soaking up the last of the sunshine before getting showered and changed ready to leave. We had managed to score decent seats for the flight and I was fairly comfortable. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy (because I hadn’t seen it before) then popped Frozen on but fell asleep pretty much as soon as Elsa had Let it Go. I probably had a solid 4 hours or so and didn’t feel too bad during the remainder of our journey home.

Of course when we arrived at Gatwick for our connection it was now Thursday, but I don’t think I ever really get to grips with what day it is when I’m travelling anyway. We had been slightly delayed leaving Orlando thanks to a storm so that cut the time we had to wait at Gatwick and by the time we had sat down for a reviving coffee, it was pretty much time to head to our gate.

Not too long after, all three of us (my sister was on the same flights back) made it safely back to Edinburgh and were reunited with our luggage (there had been some doubt about this thanks to a baggage issue at Gatwick and we had been told not to expect our bags at our final destination. Good management of expectations there, British Airways!).

Once home it was really just a case of unpacking, heading out for some essentials and grabbing some dinner before bed.

I slept pretty well and then was up sharp as I was excited about collecting the kitties from the cattery. I knew they would be perfectly fine as I have been using this cattery for years and totally trust the owner as she is fantastic, but since this was their first time in there it had played on my mind a little as I didn’t know how they would react. I needn’t have worried, Sooty was being her usual slightly aloof and independent self, while Smokey, my big softy of a mummy’s boy, was so pleased to see me that if he could have fitted in my pocket he would have happily climbed in there for the rest of the day! It was so good to have them home again. I missed their furry faces!

After taking Friday to chill out and start adjusting my body clock, Saturday was time to get back into a regular routine. First up, parkrun. I knew I wouldn’t run too well thanks to a general lack of running, the long haul travel, time difference and fact that I’m convinced I missed a meal somewhere, but it was still good to be back and see my parkrun pals again (I missed a parkrun before we left so it felt like ages since I’d been there). I did go for the parkrun sandwich, but my legs were pretty weary on the way home and I definitely felt like the plug had been pulled out, but knew this was down to travel and would pass in a day or two.

After parkrun, I headed down to the outdoor centre for a. SUP yoga session. The promise of getting out on the water had given me something to look forward to once home and I really enjoyed it. The water felt a little chilly, but thankfully I stayed on my board. Yes, we did go to the cafe after and I had my usual chicken mayo sandwich.

I did run on the Sunday morning, but kept it to 10k as my legs still hadn’t quite caught up with me and the last mile or two was a bit of a slog. But it was a nice morning and I knew getting back into my regular running routine would help me to reset my body clock.

As a bonus, I had another session of SUP yoga so took myself back down to the outdoor centre. It was another great session and the water actually felt a lot warmer than the day before. By the time we were finished I could definitely feel the hard work in my abs after a SUP double-header! I was also starving and since I didn’t want to have the same thing for lunch two days in a row, I opted for French toast with bacon and maple syrup. I can tell you right now that this won’t be the last time I order this – it was amazing!

And that was my week! It feels like I crammed so much in there that it’s hard to believe it was just 7 days. Roll on next summer and another trip to Florida…

Do you cope well with long haul travel?
What exciting things have you been up to this summer?

PS If you want to take advantage of my sister’ Disney expertise, she writes a blog here.

Week In Review – Summer Holidays Week 2

***Fair warning: this one is long and has LOTS of photos. I’d put the kettle on and make sure you have snacks!***

Week 2 of the holidays was a full week of Florida time and with me feeling much better, I managed to run a couple of times. I could maybe have done more, but getting up super early to run after a long day (and late night) at a theme park really isn’t all that appealing (and your legs don’t thank you for it, trust me) so my running volume was down, but I was happy to just go with it and know that I could get my mileage and fitness back up to scratch once I was back home. Here’s the rundown:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – Disney day
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 30 mins
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 2k

I confess I had considered a run on the Monday morning, but having arrived home fairly late after The World’s Longest Theme Park Day I knew that it probably wasn’t the best idea to get up early (you have to run early in the Florida summer to beat the heat) so opted for a chilled day reading and dozing by the pool. Just the thing to set me up for the following day when we were hitting the theme parks again. My folks were actually out for part of the day with my sister, so we just did our own thing and hung out. Perfect.

Our theme park plans were constantly evolving. As I mentioned in my previous post, I off-loaded all the thinking to my sister and she mentally recalculated things based on making sure we managed to do all the things we wanted to do. I was really keen to ride Flight of Passage again so we decided to start there at rope drop, do a couple of other quick things then spend the majority of the day over at the Magic Kingdom. After FoP we really only rode one other thing (Everest) and took a little time for some photo ops, but were in the Magic Kingdom around mid-morning.

Our visit to MK was really successful too and we knocked off everything we wanted to do bar one thing – I even embraced the instagram thing by posing, a little tongue-in-cheek, at the Purple Wall.

A highlight of the day was our dinner. My sister found a reservation for a character meal in the park so off we went to have dinner with Pooh, Piglet, TIgger and Eeyore at the Hundred Acre Wood. And thanks to the headwear I had bought Steve, colloquially known as “duck butts”, I now have approximately eleventy-million pictures of assorted characters pulling them off his head and messing around with them! Seriously, every single character we met involved them in the interaction!

And we met princesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another highlight was meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the end of our evening. Since Mickey and I share Big Birthday years (we both celebrated in 2018 and made kind of a big deal about keeping the celebrations going!) I was keen to visit the Big Cheeses in their celebration outfits (having allowed enough time for them to change out of the safari outfits they had on at AK that morning!). Of course the “duck butts” got lots of attention again and our character encounter quickly turned into one of the funniest moments of my life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After two busy park days close together, Wednesday was another day reading on my sun lounger. My legs definitely knew they had been in use a lot and with the cutdown in running thanks to being unwell, resting was a much better idea than a run at this point. So a restful day and mum’s home cooking it was.

I did, however, finally get out for my first run of the trip on the Thursday morning – only a week late! I decided just to do 30 minutes on one of my fairly staple local routes. More than enough to get back into it a little after a break.

Once we were cleaned up and had breakfast, we jumped in the car with mum and dad to get a lift over to Disney to join my sister for the rest of the day. She likes to build a couple of nights at a Disney resort into her trip and invited Steve and I to join her for the afternoon/evening. To make things easier around security getting into resorts (they’re super tight on this, quite rightly) and to avoid lots of driving around for mum and dad, the easiest thing to do was to drive to the Animal Kingdom car park, where mum and dad put us on one of the free Disney buses to head over to meet Linsey at the Coronado Springs. Mum and dad then spent time in AK before heading over to the resort themselves for their dinner reservation then met us to head home again.

Linsey’s room was cool with a typical Disney touch visible right away:

And the pool, where we planned to hang out for the afternoon, was pretty amazing. We had a great view of the new Gran Destino Tower which only opened a couple of days earlier. There was a water slide (of course I had a go!) tucked behind a kind of Mayan temple with a waterfall running down it and a hot spa pool off to the side.

We did have a bit of a rain break back in the room, where we availed ourselves of the Keurig to make some coffee, then headed back to the pool again and grabbed a snack.

There were a few entertainments going on by the pool and my sister and I ended up going over to the arts & crafts activity where we made a pop socket for our phones. For a few dollars you got the socket and could choose 2 stickers to put on it. I was quite pleased with my efforts.

Once showered and changed we went to have a look around the resort, starting with toasting marshmallows over by the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then popped into the Gran Destino Tower, which smelled unmistakably new, and took in the amazing views from the top floor.

Finally a visit to the quick service restaurant for some food before meeting mum and dad again.

Yes, I did order a kids meal.

All in all, a fun day in Disney without actually going to a park.

I got a little sleep on Friday morning, then we were off to do some shopping. We started at one of the outlet malls as there were a few specific shops I wanted to visit and had lunch at the food court. Steve’s a sucker for food court Asian food!

Then it was over to Disney Springs. I always love spending at least an afternoon here wondering around. I spotted this novelty cat bed, although I suspect my kitties prefer to sleep on MY bed so it would be purely decorative in our house!

I also visited The Dress Shop to check out all the beautiful dresses I can’t afford. This one was in the window. Isn’t is gorgeous!

Of course we made sure to take some refreshment breaks since it was hot. First up, an ice cream at Ghiradelli:

And later, a frozen margarita by the water. One of my favourites:

On the way back to the car we popped into the bakery to see the beautiful cakes. I wanted them all but they tend to be pricey.

And I was happy to see loads of Skyliners. I can’t wait to try these out once they open up.

After all that, it was time for a little rest and one of mum’s delicious dinners.

We were up sharp on Saturday to head over to Clermont for parkrun. No way was I missing it again! They were on their alternative course within the preserve (I ran on this course once last year) and although it was hard going thanks to my recent lack of running and lots of time on my feet, I actually went faster than last year to score a course PB.

Great sign!

A smaller parkrun means a much higher finish position!

Steve was busy chatting so it was “instagram Dad” to the rescue for this photo 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As ever, everyone was super friendly and we chatted to lots of lovely people, but by far the most memorable part of the morning was that I saw a CAT ON A LEAD during the course of my run. Sadly I don’t think the cat was actually taking part in parkrun, simply out for its morning constitutional, but it was still a cat. On a lead. On the parkrun course. I wish I could tell you that I had backup for this one, but it all happened so fast as I came around a corner so had no chance to get my phone out without causing a pile up. At first I naturally assumed it was a dog, but then realised that it was walking like a cat (yes, it is different) and then the wee floof turned to look at me and it was most definitely a cat. Unfortunately, neither Steve nor my dad can corroborate this as Steve never notices anything when he runs (I mean, he failed to notice the EIFFEL TOWER that he ran right by in the Paris marathon!) and my dad just figured it was a dog and didn’t really look. Useless! But it was a cat. I know it was a cat and I’m telling you it was a cat. Life. Made!

Once home it was time for a very important outing as Steve and I had yet to visit IHOP for pancakes. We had a coupon for a free stack, so Steve used that and ordered a couple of sides to go with it, while I opted for my favourite breakfast there, the Split Decision: sausage, bacon, eggs, french toast and a short stack of pancakes. Yum!

We then spent the rest of the day on our sun loungers until it was time for dinner. This time, with dessert!

If you go to Florida and don’t have key lime pie, did it even happen?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday we went heavy on the Disney again, starting with a resort run. I had found out maybe last year that some of the resorts have regular short runs on selected mornings and the one that really caught my attention was the Beignet Dash over at Port Orleans French Quarter. I think ’ll write a separate post on this one, but the gist is you turn up/book ahead, pay $15 to run a couple of kilometres then get a voucher for 3 free beignets from the resort quick service location. I will definitely run for beignets!

We actually opted to wait until later in the day to claim our beignets as we had a breakfast reservation at the Polynesian resort. I had noticed my sister went there on her last visit and was keen to go. Why? Well it was a character breakfast at Ohana, and if you know your Disney then you’ll know that “Ohana” means “family”, therefore this had to be Stitch (and if you don’t know your Disney then sorry, we can’t be friends!). I do love Stitch. Unlike the previous character buffet where we took multiple trips to the self service buffet, at this one the buffet came to you. They started you off with the most delicious pineapple bread, then a fruit platter, then the cooked parts of the breakfast. All served with lots of “POG” juice (passionfruit, orange, guava) and any tea/coffee you wanted. And you could ask for more of anything that you wanted. We had a second platter of the cooked food and a few bonus waffles at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rather than the standard Mickey waffles, here we got Stitch waffles (but there was a rogue Mickey in the second batch!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we had a great view while we ate. That’s the Grand Floridian in the distance.

While eating, we were visited by Lilo, Stitch and Mickey (sporting a fetching Hawaiian shirt).

On the way out we were able to meet Pluto with a nice lei around his neck.

I definitely recommend this breakfast the next time you’re in WDW.

From there Linsey, still in charge of all Disney-related thinking, had planned a resort day for us using mostly Disney transport. Using a combination of monorail, boats and buses we visited the Grand Floridian for some shopping, The Wilderness Lodge to do the Hidden Mickey treasure hunt (good fun if you’re looking for something to do outside the parks), the Fort Wilderness campground to see the horses at the Tri Circle D Ranch and returned to the Polynesian to visit Trader Sam’s. This is a little hole-in-the-wall bar, but with a twist. The best way to explain it is whatever drink you order, a different “thing” happens in the bar. Some of it causes the lighting to change, the decor to move/react in some way or the staff to shout different things or spray water around. It’s hilarious and well worth a visit if you get the chance. The detailing is amazing and there’s always something going on. Finally we headed back over to POFQ to pick up our beignets. The original plan had been to get them to go since mum was expecting us for dinner, but when we realised they were served warm we decided to have one before we left. And then, when we discovered how tasty they were, we “accidentally” had a second. Oops!

Grand Floridian

Wilderness Lodge

It amused me that the horses had the same type of name tag as the cast members!

Those beignets!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s ok, we still managed dinner and I had a bonus beignet left over for breakfast the next day.

So there you have it. A pretty busy week and a LOT of Disney time. I was definitely in my happy place during this week and the trip wasn’t over yet.

Where’s your happy place?
Ever seen a cat on a lead at parkrun?

Week In Review – Summer Holidays Week 1

Howdy! It’s been a while since I last posted a training/life update, not because I had nothing to write, but because all sorts of things got in my way for a bit there. It’s now my goal to get caught up on these posts before the new school year starts later this month. Hopefully I can remember all the important things!

If you cast your mind back, you may remember that as the school year ended I wasn’t feeling too well. In the last week of term I was finishing work and heading straight home to my bed to try and sleep off whatever bug was working on my system, and I really did think I had it beaten as my sore throat disappeared and the shivers vanished. That was my first mistake! The only way I can describe it is that as soon as my throat stopped being sore, the pain “shifted” a little to the side and the back of my mouth became sore instead. Nothing too bad, but there all the same. Little did I know, there was a bit more of this journey to buckle up for and the impact on the first week of the holidays was ZERO running. That’s right, zero!

Monday – PT session with Steve
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – flight to Florida
Thursday – rest
Friday – rest
Saturday – rest
Sunday – Disney day

As the week began, I headed down to the studio, still intent on my mission to work on my arms. I told Steve that my mouth was still bothering me, but I couldn’t decide if this was a “doctor” issue, a “dentist” issue or just something I had to ride out. As it happened, I had an appointment with my doctor that evening on an unrelated matter so mentioned it to him while I was there. He checked my throat and said it was all fine, said my symptoms from the previous week “sounded like something viral” (pretty much my own diagnosis) but there were still some glands up on the left side of my neck so to keep taking paracetamol/ibuprofen until it cleared. Fair enough, however that evening I struggled to sleep as the pain was radiating along my jaw and genuinely felt the same as when I had an infected wisdom tooth a few years ago. I called NHS 24 for advice and they thought it sounded like that too so told me to phone my dentist the next day. That would be THE DAY BEOFRE GOING AWAY ON HOLIDAY! Convenient!

I also encountered a packing difficulty 😹

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following morning I was actually a bit stressed. I had a window of time to deliver the kitties to the cattery and a window of time to call the dentist, both of which overlapped and I didn’t know how to make it work. What if the dentist said to go in right away? In the end, I called the dentist first, was given an appointment for the afternoon, then got on with everything else in the meantime. My mouth still really hurt, but painkillers were helping. So imagine my surprise when my dentist could find NOTHING wrong with my teeth. He checked really carefully, conscious of the partially-erupted wisdom tooth that caused problems before, even going as far as X-rays to check for anything below the surface. Nothing. Based on my previous symptoms, he explained that sometimes these viral things kind of get into the nerves at the back of the mouth and the brain has no idea how to read it, so tells you there is pain. Nothing to do beyond painkillers, but the good news was that it was a self-limiting issue so should resolve in a few days. I was pleased it wasn’t the wisdom tooth, but a bit fed up that I would have to put up with this for a little longer.

That said, I had a holiday to go on and I had a funny feeling these symptoms were my body’s way of telling me that I seriously needed to take a break. I’m generally of the belief that there’s not much a couple of weeks in Florida can’t fix and this was going to be the ultimate test. To be honest, I was a little worried about the flights as my ear was also a little sore (yes, I know, it’s connected up with my throat) and I was concerned the cabin pressure might make that worse, but actually it was fine. The biggest issue was eating and drinking. Although my jaw hurt, chewing was absolutely fine, it was swallowing that caused pain and nothing really seemed to ease it, not even ice cream! By the time I finally arrived “home” I was pretty fed up from a long day of travelling, constant painkillers and not being able to eat and drink properly. I actually went for a nap before dinner then did my best to eat the lovely meal mum had prepared.

Chicken cacciatore? My memories of this point in my life are pretty hazy!

The next two days, however, I pretty much wrote off. I think the flights somehow “re-ignited” whatever it was for one last hurrah and I felt rotten. Usually on the first morning I go for a run then head out for a mega breakfast. Instead, I said I couldn’t face it so had some watermelon at home then dozed in the sun. The next day I was supposed to go for a pedicure then meet my sister for some shopping. I stayed at home to rest while everyone else was out. By the time they got back I was feeling awful and pretty tearful as I just didn’t feel like I was getting any better and didn’t want to miss out on all my holiday plans that had been keeping me going through the end of the school year. But mum, sensible as ever, pointed out that if I wasn’t really eating or drinking much of note, of course I was going to feel rotten. She made me some chicken soup and at that point I think I began to turn a corner. She also gave me a painkiller with a little codeine in it and I learned that codeine knocks me out (as in, I have to sleep NOW knocked out) for a good 4 hours so some better sleep helped too.

By Saturday I was feeling A LOT better. The pain in my mouth was receding and I was able to actually swallow food and drink, but I decided to give my parkrun plans a miss to ensure I was fighting fit for the following day. I spent the day reading and snoozing in the sun, and by that evening I felt like a new person. Given how I had felt just 24 hours earlier, it felt like a miracle. Clearly the dentist was right about it resolving itself, but it amazes me how quickly things changed. I expected maybe a gradual improvement but this really turned around quite dramatically, probably because I got some food and drink inside me and had a proper rest.

Stuffed peppers

And so, the Sunday plans were on. For this trip we decided to be a bit busier as there were some opportunities available that I just can’t see us having again any time soon. This was the first of 3 days we planned to spend in the Disney parks and for each of them I basically off-loaded all the thinking to my sister, the annual passholder and resident expert thanks to her years working for The Mouse. I mean, she even told us when we were allowed bathroom breaks! I make fun a bit, but it was so liberating to be in the parks and not have to think about anything, just soak up the magic and feel myself de-stress. I actually found it really relaxing.

A bit early, but dad decided that we all have our birthdays in July now because it’s more convenient ha!

The plan for the first day was to arrive at Animal Kingdom for rope drop, walk briskly (running is forbidden!) across the park to ride Flight of Passage (the Avatar ride in Pandora that everyone raves about), check off the rest of the rides we wanted to do at AK then head over to Hollywood Studios to see what we could get on there and stay until park closing.

And we did it. Everything we wanted at AK by mid-morning, including breakfast and a bathroom stop. In fact, we walked OFF Flight of Passage at 8:54 and the park didn’t officially open until 9am. That’s a -6 minute queue right there! (Those in the line when we came out were in for a 3 hour wait. You snooze, you lose!). For the record, Flight of Passage is AMAZING and knowledge of the fairly mediocre Avatar movie isn’t required. If you haven’t done it before, I highly recommend it. We then did almost everything we wanted to at DHS, including Slinky Dog Dash (almost impossible to get on without a lengthy wait when it opened last summer), before watching my all-time favourite evening show, Fantasmic. By the end of the day I felt like I had been out for weeks, but I had done so much.

Met Kevin from ‘Up’

Met Olaf finding out what Frozen things do in summer

Saw my favourite show

Did a little Disney-bounding

Ate a Mickey pretzel 🙂

Went on Slinky Dog.

So a week that began in misery ended with the endless cheer of Disney. Things were looking up!

Have you ever had toothache?
What’s your favourite theme park ride?

The Daily Post – Favourite Place

For this month, I’ve chosen the prompt Favourite Place. I did give this some thought as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make a simple choice and pick my favourite chair, or if I wanted to choose foreign climes (with Paris definitely under consideration). In the end, I decided on Florida. I nearly picked my comfy sun lounger by the pool, but I think this busy time of year has me craving a little Disney magic!

So here it is. My favourite place…

 

Where is your favourite place?

Week In Review – Fairy Tales and Furry Tails

Aloha! I am back home in sunny Scotland. Missing the Florida lifestyle but still plenty of training and life moments to fill you in on (get ready for lots of photos again!). Here’s how last week worked out training-wise:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – run
Wednesday – run
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – rest
Sunday – rest

Having aborted my run last Sunday, I decided a day off on Monday would be a good idea. Most of the day was spent reading in the sunshine, interrupted only by a light lunch of soup and sandwich thins.

Then it was time to get changed ready for an evening excursion to Disney’s Grand Floridian. Months ago dad booked a meal for us all at 1900 Park Fayre (a character dining location) within the hotel for us all to celebrate my Big Birthday, so for the second time on this trip, I was required to wear a badge and pretend it was my actual birthday 😂

It was a fully buffet meal and throughout it we were visited by Prince Charming, Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters (Anastasia and Drizella) and their mother, Lady Tremaine. Great fun!

I always knew that some day my prince would come! 😂


I made a decent go of the buffet, taking several plates with small portions of various things I wanted to try. The desserts were AMAZING!

When I returned from collecting my desserts I found that I had been brought a Mickey Mouse birthday cupcake, which I asked to have put in a box to take home as there was no way I was fitting it in after everything else!


As we left the restaurant there was a photo op by the glass slipper, so we got a few pictures taken.


And then we headed outside and walked along to the jetty as you can actually see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from there and the soundtrack is played on speakers at the jetty too. We may not have been able to see the projections onto the castle, but it was still a really nice end to the evening and a fantastic (early) birthday celebration.


The next morning Steve and I got up for a rather sluggish run to try and burn off some of the buffet. It wasn’t our speediest effort, but it was good to move and being up early meant I had time to get my suitcase packed before breakfast, freeing up the rest of the day to soak up the last of the sunshine.


Of course, mum made a nice lunch. This time, sausages.

We had another meal out that evening as Steve and I always take my parents out on the last night of our holiday. Mum likes The Red Lobster so we headed over there so she could have a plate of snow crab legs. I’m not a massive seafood fan so opted for a New York strip steak instead.

And when we got home, my dessert was the cupcake I had saved from the previous evening. If you ever get one of those Mickey celebration cupcakes, I can tell you they’re delicious!

We began Wednesday with another run as we knew we would be cooped up on planes for the rest of the day. Our route took in another Strava segment and despite feeling tired, I scored a PR on that segment and propelled myself to second on the women’s all-time list. Not a bad effort!


Steve and I both had a free stack of pancakes to claim at IHOP so we got showered and dressed then walked around there for breakfast. We both chose double blueberry pancakes and they were delicious (although Steve had to take one for the team and eat my last one – I’m such a failure!).

There was a bit of time to double check and finalise our packing, then dad drove us up to the airport for our flight to Newark Liberty. During the trip we had watched the short 4-episode season of Dancing with the Stars (like a little Strictly Come Dancing taster for me!) which dad had recorded earlier in the year. All the competitors were athletes, one being figure skater Tonya Harding, so I was keen to watch the movie I, Tonya on the flight. If you’ve not seen it, it’s really good.

Once at Newark Liberty we had a little time to find our new departure gate and have a snack before boarding for the transatlantic flight. This is my least favourite part of the entire process as you don’t really get a good sleep on this overnight flight. I dozed a bit but mostly read my book and relaxed (as much as I could) ahead of landing in Edinburgh on Thursday morning.

Since we arrived home first thing, we actually headed to bed to stretch out and sleep for a couple of hours before trying to spend the day as normally as possible. I was tired, but was doing ok so decided to go to my usual Ashtanga yoga class as the idea of stretching my body out after being folded up into an airline seat for hours just sounded so good – I even managed not to fall asleep in savasana! I enjoyed doing the Ashtanga sequence again as I although I did some yoga while I was away, it was always Hatha yoga using Yoga with Adriene videos.

I made it to about 9pm then went to bed and slept right through until the morning. Steve was at work on Friday morning so I got the house tidied up then got ready for the one thing that made returning from holiday worthwhile… KITTENS!

Yes, you read that right. Kittens!

You might remember me having to say goodbye to my beautiful (but elderly) cat at the beginning of the year. She was my best friend and had been with me through my entire adult life. For the past few months I’ve found it really strange not having a pet about the place (for a number of years I had two cats but the younger one went first). After the Stirling marathon, which gave me a bit of closure through my fundraising efforts, I began to feel ready for a new furry friend, but knew that I would have to wait until I got back from Florida. Still, I began a conversation with my local branch of Cats Protection and was told about a litter of kittens that would be ready to be re-homed at just the right time. We went to visit them in June and were greeted with this adorable sight – a pile of kittens!

We chose two (yes, two!) who seemed to be good friends and played together a lot. We then visited them again the day I finished work for the summer so that we could see how they had grown as it seemed an awfully long wait until we got back. And finally, on Friday lunchtime, a lovely representative from CP brought them to us.

Allow me to introduce… Sooty (the wee girl on the left) and Smokey (her brother on the right). Two from a litter of four (the other two were re-homed together as well).

Basically the rest of Friday was spent making sure the kittens were settled, playing with them and beginning to bond with them. So far Sooty has been very affectionate, with a VERY loud purr; Smokey is playing things cool but he enjoys attention and plays enthusiastically. I can’t wait to see how their little personalities develop, and just can’t get over how cute they are when they groom each other and sleep all curled up together ❤️. Apart from anything else, it’s just so good to have pets in the house again and having this time off work for the summer means I get to spend plenty of time with them before term begins.

I should have been at parkrun on Saturday, but for the previous few days I had been aware of a niggling tightness on the outside of my left ankle so decided to skip parkrun so I could do a little work to help it to ease off rather than prolong it. And having the kittens to play with made skipping a week sooooo much easier to bear!

For the same reason, I took Sunday off and stayed at home with the kittens while Steve went for his run. My ankle is already feeling much better so I should hopefully be able to try a run during the week ahead. And if I can’t? Well I have kittens so everything is ok!

In many ways it’s been a funny week. It’s always strange to think that as the week began I was basically in Disney World then finished the week at home in Scotland. Stranger still (in a good way) to have new furry friends to think about, but it definitely took the edge off coming home from our holiday!

Any tricks for coping with long haul flights?
Are you a cat person or a dog person (or both, like me!)?

If you would like to help more cats like Sooty and Smokey to find a loving fur-ever home, my Just Giving page is still open here.