United Airlines delivered an on-time, no-nonsense (albeit every seat full) flight from Newark to Orlando. I flew from the dead of winter to the height of summer in just 2 hours 20 mins! It’s HOT here. No exaggeration.
My mom and sister Debbie were waiting to pick me up. I jumped on the monorail from the landing terminal over to the arrival terminal in Orlando. (This place is like no other…monorails everywhere!) My bag came out pretty quick. It was a smooth travel day. Time to get in the car, and get over to the Wide World of Sports — to the Marathon Exposition. Oh Yay! That’s where the race weekend officially starts.
The Exposition runs from Thursday morning (today) through Saturday night. It’s the place all the runners pick up their Race Bibs and activate the running chips. All sorts of runners are converging on this Expo starting today. Little pee wees for the Kids Races. And folks from every corner of the world, ready to run the 5K, the Half, The Full, and maybe all 3!
It was sooo busy that we were parked on the lawn leading up to the parking lot. WHAT??!! Well…that’s what the beginning of 60,000 people looks like Diane. It was fairly well-organized, although they rely heavily on the “follow the crowds” mentality. And there were alot of people just idly roaming around — not really “heading somewhere” for my liking. We made it inside the HP Pavillion, which was Stop #1. This is where I received my Bib, and became officially — Runner #9940. They had us walk across the activation floor mat, and there I saw my name show up on a big screen. Wow — I’m IN! There’s No Turning Back Now!!
After That – More roaming around to gather the Chear Packages for Peter, Cait and Erin. Then pick up my Race Retreat Wristband. After that, it was off to the Josten’s Center and s.h.o.p.p.i.n.g!!! The #1 item on my shopping list was the ‘I Did It T-shirt“! Ok, Ok, look — you have to be on my side here. There’s no room for superstition right now. Normally I wouldn’t believe in buying an “I Did Anything T-shirt”…BEFORE I did the T.H.I.N.G itself!! But in this situation IF…IF a runner doesn’t buy an I Did It T-Shirt before the race…..then she ain’t gettin’ one! They sell out. There are more runners than I DiD It Shirts for sale. So. I bought it. Because I must have one. For after I Do It. That’s OK, right?? Be on my side , please please!! And then we’ll talk more about it at the appropriate time! Cuz, it’s SUPER COOL 🙂
There was sooo much stuff to see and do at the Expo. Running is a money-machine for Disney. I completely get why Cities, Companies, Disney, others host these events. It was an afternoon of CA-CHING! I didn’t buy much. I looked more than I bought. I passed on a T-Shirt that made me laugh — I may need to go back for it…it read ‘Run like a Mother!” I totally relate!
We left the Expo and it was time to check-in to our Home Away from Home. Disney’s classic Polynesian Village Resort. Since I’m alone tonight, my mom and sister are staying with me for the night. Tomorrow night when Peter and the girls arrive — they will head home and we’ll catch up again on Saturday for an early dinner and then — Sunday — at the Finish Line!
The Polynesian holds a special place for my family. This was the first place we ever stayed when we visited Walt Disney World for the first time with Caity and Erin. They were sooo little. LOL, they probably thought we WERE in Hawaii. But they loved it. They still do. When Erin arrives, she will say what she ALWAYS says….”Ahhh….I love the smell!” LOL, yea, she loves the smell of this place. I’m not sure what it is — maybe its the flowers and the water fall….but the girls love this place. The Volcano Pool. The hammocks on the beach. Watching the fireworks from the beach, and the fun, silly, water parade show that floats by. This place is their Memories. And also mine. Someday remind me to tell you the story about the ducks and Cait’s chocolate chip cookie. LOL, it’s worth the time.
Peter, Caitlin, Erin — I miss you. As weird as it is for you to think of me in Florida, when you have another day of school and work ahead of you…..it’s equally “Off” for me. I miss you all. The “magic” just won’t arrive…until you do. See you tomorrow, my loves!
Ciao for now….Diane