Friday, January 30, 2009

"Time for something completely different"

Yay for Michael Steele. New Chairman of the RNC.

I didn't know too much about him til he started hosting for Bill Bennett on Morning in America. But I like everything I've heard him say and I think he has a good strategy for getting the GOP back on the right & winning track.

stimulus bill???

This is the sorriest excuse for a stimulus bill. I called my Congressman on Wed and told him I would like him to vote no. I was actually talking to one of his aides who said he would pass my sentiments on. He voted yes though, and I expected him to. But this is the first time I've ever called a Congressman. (I'm more of an email kind of girl) So you know, for me to actually make a phone call, I think this stimulus bill is a HUGE mistake.

WSJ is calling it a 40-year wish list for Democrats - full of pork for all their favorite projects and little funding that will create jobs or directly benefit the taxpayer.

Read it yourself.

It's really long though, so this WSJ article is a good summary. I especially like the 2nd paragraph laundry list:

"We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons."

Speaking of length, how many of our elected officials have actually read & thought about the whole thing? This is all just happening too fast. Everyone needs to take a breather and think this one through before committing to spending almost $1 trillion dollars!

What I really want to know is...what Democrats really think this is going to work? What about job creation? Why not cut everyone's taxes so we can actually have some money to spend? Why not shrink or terminate unnecessary govt programs? Why are we spending so much, so much money on programs that will do little to nothing to actually stimulate the economy?

I've heard a lot of talk on the radio, the news...why don't they just call this what it really is, a massive spending bill?

Call or email your Senators today.

disney marathon: The Contemporary

So after the Expo, we headed to our hotel, The Contemporary. Honestly, I don't think there is a more perfect place to stay when running the marathon. The concierge let us check in 3 hours early and was so just so darn nice about everything. I had to keep reminding myself not to be surprised...this is Disney. They are always that amazing.

Anyway, we took our bags up to the room which was in the main tower with a lakeside view. Really beautiful. I had never stayed at The Contemporary before, so I didn't really know what to expect, the outside is so old looking (although I know back in the day it was supposed to look really modern, ah how times change!)

What I really loved about The Contemporary was the quiet. Maybe they weren't completely full, or maybe families just don't stay here often. But it was very quiet & relaxing. The only times it was loud was when character dinner was going on in the 4th floor Grand Canyon (open air atrium where the monorail goes through) and when they had a night music show on the lake, maybe around 9pm? I love kids, but this was one weekend where I didn't want to deal with the noise, ruckus, crowding etc that happens when there are tons of excited children around.

We got to go to the pool both when we got there and the hours after the marathon. So relaxing! The waterslide was really fun, and I loved the hammocks!

I loved seeing the monorails come through every day. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them coming through! :( Darnit. We ate a couple times at the Contempo Cafe which is in the Grand Canyon atrium. It was neat - you order your food at kiosks, pay for it, then sit down with a buzzer that goes off when your food is ready for pickup. There were lots of healthy options, but you could still indulge with a cheeseburger & fries if you wanted. I especially liked all the whole wheat breads and the option to have green beans on the side. Not over-cooked, water-logged hammy green beans. Fresh, crisp green beans with a soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds. Yum! I was really happy with this little place. My favorites were the turkey, apple & brie sandwich and the grilled chicken & monterey jack sandwich. Delicious!

What really makes The Contemporary good for marathon day is the monorail. It's only one stop from the hotel to the Ticket & Transportation Center, where you can hop the monorail to Epcot. And the resort monorail ride was almost empty. The monorail to Epcot was relatively crowded, but not uncomfortably so. No driving, no bus riding. We were amazed at the traffic jam we avoided.

We enjoyed a beautiful moonrise? Not sure the term. But it was really pretty right before we went to my last meal before the race!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


My absolute favorite fast food and one of my food weaknesses...Chick-fil-a! I seriously could eat here every day and be happy...and very fat. So I don't. But there have been long periods of time where I make Chick-fil-a a weekly appointment.

So I was delighted to read that Chick-fil-a has been blessed with another year of double-digit profit! Phew. I don't know what I would do if Chick-fil-as had to close. And I think it is just so awesome, because I truly believe in and admire their business model. Of course, I could be biased. Chick-fil-a was my first ever job in high school. But the food is always good, fresh, and some of the healthiest fast food out there.

While I generally praise Chick-fil-a, there have been some that let me down. Fatty or grisly chicken, cold fries, unsalted fries, old tea, pickles on my sandwich when I ask for no pickles, undersized nuggets. Those things can really bring you down!

But here are my favorite Chick-fil-as, in no particular order (yes, they are all in GA):

Hapeville Dwarf House
This is the "original" so coming here for the first time was a special experience for me! Since then, it has been a go to for many many late night adventures (they are open 24 hours a day, except for Sunday of course!) And being a dwarf house, the menu is more extensive than your regular free-standing Chick-fil-a. You can either sit down and be waited on, or order fast food from the counter. Make sure you walk through the little dwarf door and check out the dwarf art in the sit-down area.

Turner Hill Rd.
If I have to make a food stop on my way home to Augusta, I always aim for this Chick-fil-a right outside the Perimeter. Oh man, it is good. Chick-fil-a in general is really good, but this one takes it a step above in every way: service, food, cleanliness. And they are consistently amazing, I've visited several times over the past years. These are hands down the best waffle fries I've ever had in my life.

Augusta Exchange
Gotta give a shout out to my first employer. The lessons learned & friendships can I forget them? The operator, Michael Brown, is one of the nicest, most inspiring bosses I've ever had.

Howell Mill
Now I have to admit, I wasn't that impressed the first couple times I ate at this location. However, after I worked here for a summer and they went under a big renovation, my opinion has changed quite a bit! The operator, John Diamond, is awesome, he really knows how to save pennies. It has been a while since I last had mediocre food there. I also had a lot of fun here when Ryan worked there..."Can I order a side of pickles? Do you have any specials today?" Haha.

Sandy Springs
This one is so good that I felt compelled to write a Yelp review on it!

Chick-fil-a Headquarters
I was very fortunate one day to eat lunch with a friend who works at Chick-fil-a Corporate. So...they get to eat Chick-fil-a every day for free!!!! Oh my gosh. I was in heaven. If you ever have the chance to go, do it. Seeing Mr. Cathy's car collection is really cool...Batmobile! :)

I'm sure that there will be more favorite Chick-fil-as in the future :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

disney marathon: expo

So I have put off blogging about the Disney Marathon because it is so much to process personally. I'm still thinking about it and thinking, "wow, did I really do it?" It's kind of a hard place to be in, at the finish line, and there's nothing after it. What do I do next? Do I keep running? Are there more marathons in the future? What life goal am I going to tackle next? It's strange to have worked on something for almost a whole year, and to have finally accomplished it...what's next? I didn't plan for after.

So I will blog about it bit by bit. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my running journey as much as I enjoyed every experience, good and bad.

Our first stop of Marathon Weekend...the Expo!

This is where I had to turn in a waiver promising not to sue Disney for anything, and then get my bib and commemorative tech shirt. We got there before it officially opened and there was already a big line to get into the Milk House (weird name but Milk is the sponsor, as in "got milk?" people, hence Milk House).

Lining up by bib number...

Got my waiver ready!

Starting to freak out a little bit! I can't believe I'm in a line that says "Marathon"!!!

After the Milk House, we headed over to t-shirt pick-up. It was in a different building than bib pick-up, the Jostens Center. On the way there, we signed the Cigna/Sharpie Inspiration Wall. It was fun, people put encouraging messages all over the boards. Later in the marathon, they appeared along the course, I want to say around mile 20. Can you see the messages Ryan & I left?

TONS of vendors! I bought a new fanny pack and Ryan & I made signs at the Sharpie table. We also checked out the Coast to Coast challenge (run the Orlando Disney marathon & LA Disneyland half marathon in one year).

I bought a shirt with Mickey and "I did it! 26.2" with the "route" through all 5 parks on the back. Yeah, I was confident. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

not dead

So I don't know, you may be wondering, she had that marathon, and then nothing on the blog. It's been almost 2 weeks. Did the marathon kill her?

No, it didn't. I finished :) Best feeling in the world. But it has been a whirlwind since then, and slowly but surely I will let you know all about it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

4 days

Ok my countdown is a little off. I don't do math any more so I have problems counting apparently! Technically what's left is today, Fri, Sat, then marathon. So 3 days and then the marathon is on the 4th day. So I guess I am counting down to the end of that 4th day, when I can truly say "I am a marathoner." Hehe.

Here is my absolute favorite part of my marathon training book (The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer). I keep thinking it over in my head in preparation for Sunday.

So, when the fatigue comes, you will use your visualization and your positive self-talk and your concentration. And you will go on. And if you need to walk, you will walk with your head up and a steady, proud look in your eyes because you will know that you are doing what you set out to do, and that is complete this marathon. And you will not feel defeated. You will feel triumphant and you will go all the way to the finish line and you will cross it with joy and ecstasy and a feeling of achievement like you've never felt before. And that's the way it's going to be, because you have already decided that is how it's going to be and you make your own reality.

So, what is the answer to the question of what happens psychologically at the wall? Whatever you decide will happen, that's what. And what you have decided is that you are going to knock that wall down. You always do. You have been doing it every week. And you will do it again on marathon day. Because you are a marathoner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5 days

Time to start counting down the days til the marathon! It's pretty much all I can think about right now!

So I've finally hammered out a "final" schedule:

Fri - driving down to Tampa & going to the Circus
Sat - drive over to Orlando for the Expo, then check in and relax at the Contemporary, dinner at The Wave
Sun - on the monorail by 4 am, race starts at Epcot at 6 am!, hope to cross the finish anywhere between 11 and 12:30, then post-race party at Disney Downtown
Mon - celebrate with a day at the Magic Kingdom
Tues - back in Tampa, more celebrating
Wed - back to ATL

Here are some fun articles to read about spectating the race!
Walt Disney World Marathon is a real rat race
Tips for Spectators

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

while we're on the topic

Of Roland Burris...I'm not sure what to think of this whole debacle. I seriously laughed when Blagojevich actually appointed someone! Blago is very gutsy to say the least. But the really ironic part was that he actually appointed someone qualified that no one would criticize if the Blago scandal hadn't been uncovered.

So now we have Burris...I wonder how close he is to Blago and if he in any way payed to play...but it doesn't seem so. Then there are some of the opinion that the problem is the appointer, not the appointee. So why shouldn't he be seated? If it is a legal appointment, and there's nothing actually wrong with Burris...why aren't they seating him? And in a time when there are enough problems to go around for the government, this seems like a really silly mess. Doesn't Illinois want to be represented in the Senate at a time like this? And it seems that he is a generally respected Illinois politician. If the problem is the appointer, then that shouldn't reflect badly on the appointee. What about all the people Bill Clinton appointed and then he got impeached? Did that reflect badly on them? It certainly didn't. Obama's populating D.C. with all of Clinton's staff right now. I don't really have any feelings either way about Burris, especially since I'm not a citizen of Illinois. But it just seems silly not to seat this guy. Unless he is directly tied to the paying for the seat. Now I am going in circles. Any thoughts out there?


So, my boyfriend's dear brother, Matt, just moved back to D.C. working on The Hill for SC Sen. DeMint. Lo & behold, here is the lovable Matt making an appearance at Roland Burris's press conference following being barred from entering the Senate. Matt's appearance starts around 1:38 and goes til about 2:20. I really wish someone from the press had said "guy in the blue jacket, could we ask you a couple questions?"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

thanksgiving half marathon

I totally failed on getting caught up by New Year's...oh well! I think this is one post I needed to get done before next weekend though, or then I'd be 2 races behind!

So this is the Atlanta Weather Channel Thanksgiving half marathon. As I mentioned a while back, it had some substantial hills that weren't too fun. I looked at a map afterwards and saw that the last one that ran by the State Capitol building had been labeled "Capital Punishment" - har har. That one was definitely not fun. It was even worse than Cardiac Hill since it was about a mile from the end. But otherwise it was a pretty normal race. I got pretty claustrophobic in the starting corrals, but I made a friend (another old guy, hehe) and we chatted for a while before the race started and for the first half mile or so. Once we got to Lenox, the next 6 miles were basically the Peachtree Road Race. So I was a little bored there...not as fun as it was in July with all the festivities and such. There was only one Jelly Belly Sports Beans station, and that was kind of disappointing since I don't like the beans! I just have a hard time chewing and running at the same time. I much prefer gels! Running through downtown was pretty cool, especially at that time when there were lots of banners for the SEC Championship. I got another medal for finishing :) All in all, a good time, but I would probably not do it again. It's on Thanksgiving, which in theory sounded cool to work for the turkey, but in the end, it was so cold in the morning and all I could think about was the food I'd be eating later on. Talk about torment. Plus, if you do the Peachtree, this race is basically the same thing, just twice as long.

Anyway, here are some men in uniform finishing waaaay before me. Gotta give a shout out to our armed forces!

And here I come down hill to the finish (thank goodness):

There I go!

Danna came out to cheer me on! I had a lara bar stuffed in my mouth when we took this picture, that's why my cheek looks so oddly puffed out. Just want to give another shout out here to everyone who has come out to my races this year or offered words of support & encouragement in person, by phone, email, facebook, everything. It really makes a difference when you know you have people supporting every step of the way!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

Can you believe it is January 2009 already? I can't. It seems like yesterday that I started blogging, and now it's been about a year!

It also seems like yesterday that I decided to run a marathon, but at the same time it feels like forever. I can't believe I've been running for a year now. I can't believe I'll finally be done in just 10 days. 365 days down. 10 to go. And I just hope that I can actually DO it. I ran 18 miles last weekend and man, it hurt. I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. Ryan gave me some words of encouragement around mile 14 and I was able to finish. But the doubts were creeping in..."can I really do 26.2"?

26.2 will be different. I'll have the energy of thousands of other runners around me. I'll be in the happiest place on earth. There will be plenty to look at to keep me from being bored or focused on the pain. Mickey will be there to hug me when I cross the finish. I keep reading through my training book and getting encouragement too - I keep saying to myself "I am a marathoner" and I keep visualizing what it will be like when I cross the finish line. 26.2 will be different because a year of running will be done in ~5 hours. I can't wait!

It has been such a long, hard road to get to this point, and I feel prepared and not ready all at the same time. Isn't it amazing how we can feel such conflicting emotions simultaneously? But I have to say, no matter what happens in 10 days, this has been a great year. I've learned so much more about myself, and running has improved my life in so many ways: health, discipline, perseverance, spirituality. This will sound strange but I've always been "good" at things...I've never had to really work hard for anything. But this, I have had to work really hard, and I've seen myself not be so "good" at running. But that will make crossing the line at 26.2 all the more sweet. To really have challenged myself and struggled, and still succeed. That's what I'm hoping for at least.

And I'm hoping for your 2009 to be better than 2008 :) Can't wait to see what this New Year will bring!