Saturday, February 6, 2016

10 (or so) Great Things To Do In Savannah GA!

Disclosure:  I'm a proud and giddy ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon!  As such, I got treated to accommodations and our choice of complimentary activities in Savannah so that my family could explore and share our findings with you!  All opinions are honest and from the Mom's perspective.

I said that I had been to Savannah before.  That was only true at the most basic level.  Usually it was on my way to somewhere, as in our multiple visits to Tybee Island, or I was there for a race and I spent minimal time looking around.  That is a wrong that has now been rectified!

We made the most out of our weekend! Here's what we found for families in Savannah:


We checked into our hotel in the historic district of Savannah - the Hilton Garden Inn on Bay Street.  The location was perfect.  Our family of five had a room with a king bed and a pull out couch.  We called up for a rollaway that was there shortly.  In the meantime, we went to explore City Market which was right behind our hotel.  I was so happy to see that since the last time I was in Savannah my friend Kim turned me on to Vinnie Van GoGo's Pizza.  It's cash only and you can sit in the dining room or get a slice to go.  Shortly after my husband expressed disbelief that I was going to finish that whole slice, he was proven wrong.  SO good.


We got up early and just ate some things in our room - it had a refrigerator and a microwave, so I had brought some food to keep people happy.  We returned to City Market to catch the Old Town Trolley Tour.  There are a ton of choices offering tours in Savannah, but I chose Old Town for the ability to get on and off at each of the stops.  Trolleys hit each stop every 15-20 minutes or so which allows you to tour places at your leisure.

We exited first at Forsyth Park.  This is where the Publix Savannah Women's Half will start and finish!  The iconic fountain in the park?  Our trolley driver told us the city got it from a mail order catalog and installed in 1858.

It was a happy surprise to catch the Farmer's Market that morning!  My husband is a bit of a foodie and would have bought the whole place out if we didn't have a mini-fridge that was already full.  The park has 2 playgrounds, one accessible for children with special needs. There is tons of open space and plenty of scenic paths - it's perfect for playing, strolling, running or people watching!

Our next hop off the trolley was at The Cathedral of St. John The Baptist.  You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate the beauty of this building, although I did feel an affinity to it - my birthday is the feast day of the beheading of St John the Baptist. Cheery, right?  Even our trolley driver stressed, "If you visit any one sight on this tour, this is the one!"  My kids groaned.  I insisted, having attended mass there previously.  They stepped in and were immediately awed.  The congregation began in the late 1700's, but the church you see today is the rebuilt church of 1900 as the original was almost completely destroyed by fire.  It is gorgeous.  The church is open for viewing to tourists except during mass times.  Walk around and take it all in, guides are on hand to answer questions.

People were getting hungry and cranky at this point.  We backtracked and walked over to Clary's Cafe.  If you read or saw Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you might remember that Clary's was featured prominently.  My kids didn't care - they just wanted food, quickly.  We were told a 20 minute wait but it didn't take nearly that long to be seated.  The menu was perfect for us - breakfast AND lunch served simultaneously makes everyone in my family of picky eaters happy.  The service was fast and friendly, the food was even better.  Super casual atmosphere and thumbs up from everyone.

Back on the trolley.  Our next stop was River Street.  My tween and teen had cash in their pockets and they were ready to unload it.  My oldest has never met a gift shop he didn't like.  He's also a nature kid, so a stop at The Shell Shop was first on the list.  Things 2 and 3 were more interested in the Savannah Candy Kitchen.  If you visit, you'll probably see the huge container ships that sail on the river to and from the Port of Savannah.  Don't miss the stalls further down and on the river side.  There are lots of vendors selling all kinds of handmade, unique items!

We were close to our hotel at this point so we walked back to drop off our purchases before heading out to the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.  I have all boys, and they love Things That Go.  I knew this would be a hit.  I loved that the museum was in a historic home - it seemed like a twofer to me!  One of the docents, Richard, took the time to take the boys into a few of the rooms and tell them all kinds of cool things about the ship models displayed there.

At this point, my guys had reached their capacity for touring and had the heated hotel pool on their mind.  I left them with my husband at the hotel and headed back out to the Owens-Thomas House off of Oglethorpe Square.  The house was completed in 1819 and at one point hosted the Marquis de Lafayette, revolutionary war hero, in 1825.  Pictures of the inside of the house are not permitted, but I assure you that the home had so many interesting and unique details!  My tour guide, Conway, was not only knowledgeable but enthusiastic and humorous.

I texted my husband on the way back asking if people would be ready for dinner soon.  When he replied in the negative, Mama made one more stop.

Leopold's Ice Cream is an almost century-old Savannah tradition!  Both times that I've been there, the line has been out the door.  Don't let that scare you - the people inside are pros and it moves pretty quickly.  Often they will pass out menus to people in line so they can be ready to order when they get to the counter.  And, frankly, it's worth it.  Don't miss this fun treat that is a Savannah legend!  They serve food as well, so make it a stop for lunch or dinner!

Speaking of dinner, we knew we had to have seafood since we were in Savannah.  My two oldest, while not adventurous eaters, have discovered the happiness that is crab legs and clamor for them whenever possible.  Fiddler's Crab House on River Street was a close walk and the menu had something for everyone.  We even convinced my picky tween to try calamari!  They have a great deck facing the river, but the evening was a little chilly so we elected to sit inside.  The food was great!


Sunday morning had me waking my oldest son and forcing convincing him to take a run with me.  What do you know?  To Forsyth Park and back was close to 3 miles, so we made the round trip and did a little sightseeing on the way!  It was a great run and we saw a ton of groups exercising in the park!  When we got back I awarded him the 5K finisher medal I had received as a sneak preview!

I roused the troops and we headed over to the Georgia State Railroad Museum.  I'll be honest - at first glance, I thought there just wasn't much to it.  That was an incorrect assumption.  The boys loved looking around in the various engines and blacksmith shop.  There was also a children's discovery area where my guys enjoyed hanging out until it was time for the first guided tour.

We had the pleasure of looking through two of the executive cars with our very pleasant and knowledgeable guide, Bill.  My boys were fascinated and were ready to follow Bill around for the next hour as he led various tours.

It was time, though, for the Savannah Children's Museum located on the adjacent property to be open and we wanted to spend some time there before we needed to leave.

Y'all.  This was the most creative use of space I have ever seen.  The facilities are all currently outdoors but indoor facilities are under construction.  The space is in a partially demolished railroad building and is beautiful!  There is tons of fun to be had and it's all low-tech.  Mazes, gardens, giant building bricks, large foam's all simple fun for kids.  They work with the design of the walls and have dress up areas and story areas tucked away inside the various nooks of the buildings.  Up top there is a large grassy play area with musical instruments and all sizes of balls for free play.  The weather was beautiful and we spent quite a bit of time there!  I was super impressed with the space and can't wait to see how the new construction turns out!

Sadly, it was time to get on the road and head back home.  We had been hoping to pop in the Savannah History Museum across the street but we had to save that for a future visit.  And visit again we shall, because my kids were already scheming about when we could come back and throw a few days on nearby Tybee Island into the plans!

I think what I loved most is that we parked the car when we got there and didn't need it again until we were heading home.  Even without the trolley tour, we could have walked to all those attractions easily from our hotel.

Regardless of your interests - food, nightlife, family attractions, history - Savanah, GA has plenty to keep you happy. Head over to VisitSavannah to see the tons of options available to you!   Make plans to join me for the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon in April with discount code MOMSMAGICALMILES10 for $10 off the half or 5K.  Come solo, come with girlfriends or bring the family for a fun and fabulous weekend!

What are your Savannah favorites?  Do you have any questions for me about any of the fun things we experienced?  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Signature Dining At Walt Disney World - How A Pecos Bill's Kind of Girl Ended Up At Victoria & Albert's

For those who are not as well-versed in Disney dining as some, I'll establish a few things for you.

Pecos Bill's is a counter service restaurant that until recently was my go-to Magic Kingdom meal.  Walk up service. Big burgers with a loaded toppings bar.  That's my speed.  They recently changed it over to Mexican and my hungry heart is broken.

"Signature Dining" is the term used for the highest end WDW restaurants.  Victoria & Albert's is THE signature dining experience of the entire resort.  It's quite costly and is the only resort restaurant that enforces a dress code.  It's a hard reservation to get as the dining rooms are small and there is only one seating per evening, so if you are interested you will need to jump on this one early.  As you can imagine, this restaurant is NOT included in the Disney Dining Plan.
I am not a foodie.  As indicated in a previous post on my Marathon dining choices, I am the girl looking for the burgers and the bacon cheese fries.  When my friends suggested we celebrate our marathon with a meal at V&A's, I was excited to try something new but also nervous.  My nervousness existed in the following spheres:

  • Is it going to be tiny portions and covered in things I don't recognize and therefore leave me hungry?  (That would mirror my experience at Citrico's the year prior.)
  • Will the restaurant be pretentious and the service snobby?  Will they look down on the Georgia girl who can't pronounce the entree names?
  • How am I going to fit my marathon weary feet into shoes decent enough for their dress code that does not include my beloved Oofos flip flops?  
Spoiler Alert:  IT WAS AMAZING.

My friend April at Marvelous Mouse Travels did a great job writing up the whole experience and her pictures turned out so much better than mine.  She can give you the nitty gritty about the food and show you how amazing it all looked.  

We arrived at The Grand Floridian resort and posed for a few pictures.  We runner girls don't often get all dressed up together.  

We were ushered into V&A's with a smile and a warm welcome.  If there was snobbishness, it wasn't coming from the hostess.  She was lovely.  Here was a first for me.  Do you know what a "purse tuffet" is?  Neither did I.  It's a small stool that was brought and set between our chairs so our purses didn't have to sit on the floor.  At first I thought it unnecessary but later realized that these are the kind of small, thoughtful touches that set V&A apart from all the other restaurants.

If you look to the left, you can see the hostess peeking out, holding a purse tuffet!

The decor was beautiful and tasteful.  The atmosphere was elegant but not stuffy - hushed voices and serious attitudes were not required!

The dining room is small.  What that means for you is the absolute best service possible.

We had no less than 3 servers dedicated to us that night.  One was the lead server and there were two other gentlemen assisting him.  They were incredibly friendly and efficient, always taking time to explain the menu choices before we even had to ask.  If anyone did have a question, it was answered simply and without attitude.

There is a 7 course and a 10 course menu.  I chose the 7 course as you get to pick your preferred menu items.  With the 10 course, you are leaving the choices to the chef.

A word about allergies and preferences.  When you make the reservation, inform them of any dietary restrictions or even preferences that anyone in your party may have.  They will customize that evening's menu to take those into account.  

As I said, April's pictures were so much better than mine and she does a great job of breaking down each course, so I won't duplicate the wheel.  Here is a glance at parts of my meal.

Did I enjoy every single thing that was put before me?  No.  Was I pleasantly surprised at the meal overall?  Absolutely.  Most of what I had was delicious and, like most of my table mates, I vowed to at least try everything that came to me.  Although the portions may appear small, I was stuffed at the end of the meal.

I joke about being a redneck, but in my pre-mom days I was an account rep with a company credit card and clients who liked to lunch.  I've been to a moderate amount of higher-end restaurants.  I have never, however, seen coffee or tea being made at the table and in this manner.  They brought out a brewing contraption that works like a vacuum.  The coffee is brewed up top but when you remove the heat source the brewed coffee gets sucked to the bottom chamber while the grounds stay up top.  It was fascinating!

The ONLY thing I wasn't in love with was the length of the meal - it was around 4 hours, start to finish.  I understand why, but I'm an impatient person by nature and waiting even the small amounts of time on each course got the best of me by the end of the evening.  I'm sure the fact that I got very little sleep the night before and had run 26.2 miles that day had a little to do with that, so take this opinion with a grain of salt.

At the end of the evening, each woman is given a rose and each patron is given a copy of their menu to take home.  This was a special evening with all kinds of lovely touches and warm service.  If you are celebrating a special occasion or are just looking for a one-of-a-kind experience at Walt Disney World, rest assured that Victoria & Albert's is worth every penny!

Monday, February 1, 2016

5 Reasons Why Virtual Runs Are Hot!

Disclosure:  I was provided complimentary entry into the Four Magical Miles virtual run by Gone For A Run.  All opinions are my own!

I'm trying to #BlogWithIntegrity, y'all.  I'm so very late on putting this post out.  A whole lotta life is happening right now and I'm behind on everything I want to share with you guys!

Gone For A Run held it's Four Magical Miles virtual run January 21-24.  By signing up to participate, I got 5 great things:

The first three are tangible - these awesome touch screen gloves, fun socks and beautiful medal!

The last two are worth even more.  With every purchase of this virtual race entry, a donation was made to Give Kids The World.  GKTW is an organization that hosts seriously ill children and their families for a fantasy Orlando vacation.  They are amazing.  The fifth thing I received was pressure-free motivation to just run.  Run and earn my bling.  I couldn't hang this pretty baby on my medal rack until I completed the miles.

I love actual races.  I never really understood the need for virtual races until I started talking to people who LOVE them.  Here is what I found out.

1. People are intimidated.  This was hard for me to understand.  I LOVE the crowds and people cheering.  Not everyone digs that.  For some people, that many people watching them run ranks right up there with submitting to extensive dental work.  But they still want the bling.

2. People are busy.  Have young kids?  Single parent?  Work weekends?  You just can't always swing those race days, especially the ones that require you to be there a while before the start gun goes off.  Run your miles according to YOUR schedule.

3. People live in far away lands.  Living in the ginormous area coined "Metro Atlanta" I have the luxury of exactly eleventy billion races per year within a 10-45 minute drive.  All distances.  But let's think of someone who lives in, say, rural Iowa.  People in rural or simply non-metro areas don't have the access to actual races that many of us do.  Why should they miss out on the shiny stuff?

4. People need motivation.  If you're like me, the first step out the door is truly the hardest.  Also, I can't hang up that medal until I've earned it.  The above pictured medal sat on top of a bookcase next to the medal hanger for a couple of weeks.  I stared at it.  It stared back, reminding me that I hadn't earned it yet.  Okay, FINE.  I'll run.

5.  People are good.  The majority of virtual runs benefit some kind of cause or charity.  I got so excited about the Magical Miles run because I love Give Kids The World.  People put money down not just for the bling, but for a cause that is near and dear to them.

Virtual races are so popular, with little wonder!  They can mean so many things to so many people.  Gone For A Run holds great virtuals on a regular basis - be sure to check out their current and upcoming runs!  I LOVE their St. Patrick's Day virtual - hand to God, the medal is a bottle cap opener!  And that t-shirt is all kinds of awesome.

Have you experienced a virtual run?  What are you reasons for going virtual?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Floogal Your World With the Sprout Channel!

Even though my kids are a little older, as a preschool teacher I'm still in touch with what that age group is watching.  I had the pleasure of being treated to a sneak peek of a new show aimed at ages 2-6 that will be premiering on the Sprout Chanel on January 23rd - FLOOGALS.

The Floogals (pronounced flu-gulls) are three curious and cute little aliens - Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo and Junior Boomer.  The Floogals land on planet Earth for the first time and enter into exciting missions to discover the "hooman" world around them!

Much like young kids, the Floogals are learning all about their surroundings and have a pretty hilarious perspective on things that are everyday knowledge to us adults!

The show encourages kids (and adults - you know you watch, too) to find, question and explore!  Curiosity is not only okay, but encouraged and appreciated.

At the sneak peek we discussed how glad we are that this show is gender-neutral.  Kids of all ages can appreciate and enjoy the show with labels of a "boy" or "girl" show.

Sprout has two FULL episodes you can view on their website to get your own advanced screening of the show!

Check them out and let me know what you and your kids think!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yaks, Yetis, Skippers and 'Ohana - The Food of WDW Marathon Weekend

Left to my own devices, I stick to counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World.  My girlfriends are a celebrating people, however, and I find myself having reservations all over the resort.  I trust them to introduce me to their favorite park and resort restaurants.

The recent Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend found me at 3 restaurants that were new to me - Yak & Yeti, The Skipper Canteen & Victoria and Albert's - and one restaurant where I was trying breakfast for the first time - 'Ohana.

Victoria and Albert's is THE signature restaurant in the whole of Walt Disney World and will be getting it's own post - it was THAT unique of an experience.

Yak & Yeti - Animal Kingdom

I jumped on a lunch reservation last minute with my friends Bonnie & Kristen.  I'm so glad I did!  Yak & Yeti has a counter service option around the corner but we chose the sit-down version for our lunch.  The decor of the restaurant is Asian-temple inspired and pretty cool.  But let's talk about the food.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
We got the Dim Sum basket as an appetizer.  It held pot stickers, shrimp / pork siu mai and cha su boo.  I don't know what those last two things are but I ate them and they were gooooood.  It was the table consensus that while the shrimp was okay, the pork version was definitely preferred.

My friends got the Lo Mein and the portion was huge!  They were enthusiastic about it.  I am a happy carnivore.  I love meat more than you would think any skinny girl could.  When I saw the kobe beef burger on the menu, I almost radiated with joy.  When I tasted it, it took everything I had to keep from busting out the Happy Meat Dance.

You have the option of getting shiitake mushrooms on your burger.  Yes, please.  And who doesn't like shoestring fries?

Verdict: Yak & Yeti gets two thumbs up.  It also gets put on the return visit list.  I'd like to try more from their menu.

Jungle Navigation Co Ltd. Skipper Canteen - Magic Kingdom

This is the newest restaurant in the parks.  While it's sit-down, it's not taking reservations yet.  We walked up and were told the wait was just 20 minutes for lunch, but I don't think it even took that long.  Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.  The host takes your phone number and will text you when your table is ready.

The theme of the restaurant is tied to The Jungle Cruise attraction.  From the minute we walked in, the hosts and servers started with the corny jokes.  "Your server will be Kate.  Which is too bad because she's only here on Tuesday and Wednesday."  Ba-dum-bum.

The decor seems to be going for a much brighter and lighter version of the old Adventurer's Club that was in Downtown Disney.

We skipped the appetizers and went straight for the entree.  One of my friends and I ordered the Char Siu Pork - marinated grilled pork tenderloins, chinese broccoli & white rice.  You could also get it with five grain rice, but I'm not healthy like that.  My other friend got the rice noodle bowl.

Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
All of us agreed that the food was... okay.  Just okay.  It wasn't bad, but I was expecting more from Disney and especially a brand new restaurant.  My meal, although covered in some kind of ginger sauce, seemed rather bland to me.

Verdict:  One thumb up.  Not bad, but nothing exceptional.  The only real motivation for me to return would be a dessert called the Kungaloosh! (another nod to the defunct Adventurer's Club) that involves chocolate cake, carmelized bananas and cashew-caramel ice cream.  I would stop by to try that business.

'Ohana - Polynesian Resort

I have partaken in the carnivorous wonder that is dinner at 'Ohana.  Big fan.  So I was expecting good things from breakfast, my favorite meal to eat out.  We were handed baskets of bread ON THE WAY to the table.  This was a very good sign.  They're pushing food at you before you even sit down.  'Ohana means family and that's how you eat here.  Our awesome server Romeo became even more awe inspiring when he brought a huge wok-looking bowl filled with breakfast goodness.  Mini-waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes and biscuits that induced mama-slappin'.  When the bowl starts getting empty, they fill it up again, y'all!  Oh, and there's fresh fruit, too.

With all that food, it's just a bonus that this is a character breakfast, too.  Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch all dropped by.

Verdict:  I cannot recommend this meal enough.  Two thumbs up and I would love to return.

The review of the entire Redneck-Girl-In-Victoria & Albert's experience will be coming soon, I promise! Spoiler alert:  they do not serve bacon cheese fries.

Do you have a favorite Disney Parks restaurant?  Have one that you will never set foot in again?  Tell me about either!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Warm Meal, Cool Running and a Publix Gift Card Giveaway

Y'all, it's cold outside but the running needs to keep happening because I've got 3 more half marathons coming up!

Two of those half marathons are sponsored by Publix and I'm a happy ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women's Half & 5K!  The race will be held April 2 - join me in Savannah!  My discount code is good for the half marathon as well as the 5K.

A runner definitely needs good food.  Publix and the Savannah Women's Half sent me a gift card to purchase the supplies for a healthy meal perfect for runners so I could share it with you!  They also sent me an additional gift card to give away to one of you!

Let's just agree that I will never be a food blogger.  My pictures might leave something to be desired. But what I made was delicious. I'm not creative in the kitchen, so I can't claim this recipe as my own. I chose the Sweet Potato Chicken Stew from the latest Runner's World cookbook Meals On The Run.  Since it's not mine, I can't publish the recipe on my page, but you can find the recipe in it's entirety for free on the Runner's World website here.  

Off I went to Publix!  

First stop - the yummy rotisserie chickens for which Publix is famous. No cooking up chicken first! They had several flavors such as barbecue and lemon-pepper, but I chose original for this one.

Canned ingredients next.  Y'all, it was meant to be.  Both of these items were on sale!!

Produce, here I come.  An onion, a garlic bulb and, of course, sweet potatoes!  

Since there was a sale, Mama picked up a little something else.  For the carbs.  All things in moderation.  

Who forgets dessert?  Being healthy doesn't mean you have to skip the good stuff all the time.  I found this Publix frozen yogurt with the PERFECT name.  It was meant to be.

Ingredients assembled, ready to cook!  I am a HUGE fan of recipes that call for throwing everything into one pot.

Bubble, bubble - no trouble!  Super easy and didn't take long at all. A nice warm meal on this cold, cold night.

When I make it again, I would chop up the sweet potatoes a little smaller.  They were still soft and good, but I would prefer them to be less chunky.  These flavors were great together, and the sweet potato is SUCH a good substitute for the regular potato.  My husband has an aversion to any main entrees that are sweet in any way.  He tried this and declared it tasty!  There is paprika and diced tomatoes to help balance out the sweetness.

Oh, and dessert was yummy, too.  I agree with my kids that everything is better with sprinkles.

Now, here's the extra fun part.  Publix and the Savannah Women's Half want to get you on the road filled up with the good stuff!  One lucky reader will be selected to win a $25 Publix gift card to create your own healthy meal.  Giveaway runs until midnight, January 24th, 2016.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016 Walt Disney World Marathon - The Kind of Pain You Forget

Yet, it all keeps rushing back again.

I did my first marathon as a bucket list check off.  Of course, it was at Walt Disney World.

My friend April had a baby over the previous summer and wasn't ready to take on marathon training for January.  I joke a lot about how she made me promise to do her first marathon with her.  That is a lie.  She didn't even specifically ask me.  I volunteered.  You know, back when I had forgotten what a pain in the ass training for a marathon is.  Our friend Wendy joining me for the miles is the only thing that held my training in place this year.

I also said that it wasn't the marathon itself that was so bad, it was the amount of time the training took.  That was also a lie.  The marathon itself was bad.  Painful.  Life sucking.  But only for the last 8 miles or so.  So there's a bit of positivity, right?

We had big plans and dreams to get on the 3:30 bus.  We ended up leaving the hotel room around 3:30 which was really impressive, I think.  We got to our bus stop (we were at Saratoga Springs) just as one bus was filled up.  Hallelujah, there was another bus right behind it.

April was checking a bag and we were nervous about the lines but it didn't take long at all.  We met up with our friends for some pre-race pics.  Iron Man in the house!

I wracked my brain to come up with something to go with that St. Jude shirt.  Once I got on the Hero kick, I had some help from friends to knock it all out.  I bought a cheap kid's costume and took the foamy shoulder, leg and boot cover pieces off of it.  Borrowed Wendy's gold Sparkle Athletic skirt.  Ordered the gloves and the arc reactor - why, yes, it DOES glow, thank you! - off Amazon.  The final piece was the Iron Man ear hat, which Bonnie, Suzanne and Kristen gifted my heart when they popped in Superhero Headquarters for me at Disney Springs.  Little by little, this Avenger assembled.

Iron Man vs. Harry Potter.  Epic, y'all.  Epic.

Y'all.  The runDisney announcers.  I can't with them.  April and I decided to start in Corral I with our friends.  Hand to God, when it was our turn to move up, the announcers called us "the back of the pack" and told us we would have to run fast to "catch up to the other corrals".  Aww, hell no.  If "I" is the back of the pack, what were corrals "N" and "O"?  And why should we feel pressured to catch up?  That was a fail, runDisney.

We knew we wanted to ride Expedition Everest.  That would require not getting to Animal Kingdom until park opening around 9.  So, we built in a little play time in the first half of this race.

My first attempt at a jumping picture.  So close.

We timed our arrival at Animal Kingdom pretty well!  We hopped in the short line for Expedition Everest and made April's marathon roller coaster dreams come true.

Shortly after that, my husband texted me with our estimated finish time.  6:41, which was what I came in at last year.  Oh, hell no.  We gotta pick this up.

Shortly after the halfway mark we saw Salvation in the form of Bonnie.

Bonnie parked herself there until all the DisBroads ran by - all 9 of us, running at all kinds of different paces.  Not only was she there, she had a cooler of supplies for us!  Halfway through the race, I was jugging a Diet Coke and the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I have ever tasted.  It was heaven.

After we left the front of Animal Kingdom and ran through the parking lot, I had a total geeky runner moment.  A high school band was playing the Avengers theme as we were running by.  If you've heard that, you know it's this great, swelling music.  Pair that with the facts that I was dressed as Iron Man and I was at the halfway mark of this race, and I got a little choked up.

We didn't make too many more stops but there were just a few that we jumped on.

My first grave digger sighting at a Disney race - it was a must!

Running through ESPN's Wide World of Sports broke my spirit.  I was trying to make it to mile 20 before dropping the F-bomb but WWOS took care of that goal.  What's so horrible about WWOS?  You are just running in circles but not really getting anywhere.  It's frustrating and mentally debilitating.  It sucks.

Coming out of there, we just wanted to be DONE.  Hollywood Studios was kind of a blur, except for that stretch where April's husband kept texting her and my 13 year old son decided to call me twice and then text me to get the code to activate the Vine account he had just opened.  Neither of us reacted well.

Whoever you are, it was really nice to see this sign outside of Hollywood Studios!  Thanks!

We had talked of stopping in Epcot to get a margarita - it would make an amazing finish line picture!  As we were running through World Showcase, April asked, "Do you want to stop for a drink?"  I replied, "Not really."  She said, "Thank God!"  We were hurting and mentally spent.  No stops - let's just get done.

We finished in 6:18 - almost a 25 minute PR from last year.  Much better.

For real.  That shiz hurt, y'all.  There was no specific injury, but everything hurt.  I stopped by the St. Jude tent to check in.

Thanks to everyone who donated to St. Jude to support these marathon efforts.  As hard as this race was, a little kid fighting cancer has to go through a lot more pain and discomfort for a lot longer than 6 hours.

Marathon again?  Naw, I'm done.  Two marathons and I've firmly decided that I am a half marathoner for life.  But I'm glad this pretty little bling is in my collection.