First, here’s a quick update on my training.
Monday, August 31– 2.5 mile run (Asics)
After sitting out for a week, I was able to run again yesterday. I didn’t want to suffer in the heat so I used the treadmill at the gym instead. It’s tough making the transition back from outdoor running to the treadmill. I used to be able to hit 6-6.5 mph on the treadmill with no problem about 18 months ago. But yesterday it felt difficult at just 5 mph (12 min/mile pace). I think the hardest part is getting used to the repetitive motion of sticking to a constant speed.
I’ve been keeping busy lately getting ready for my three(!) upcoming trips. I’m kind of fanatical about research and planning which takes a lot of time, but also results in some decent savings.
For Disneyland, we’re staying at the Howard Johnson Anaheim which gets rave reviews in the online Disney community. Originally I booked us for three nights at $84/night in a standard room using a 15% discount code I got from mousesavers.com. But on Saturday I noticed that on the last night of our stay, the hotel has standard rooms available at the entertainment card rate of $59/night. A short call to the hotel got my rate adjusted for a savings of $25!
I don’t know if I mentioned that I’m 100% confirmed for the Expedition Everest Challenge at Walt Disney World. Well, I am! What sealed the deal for me was getting a free race entry ($105 value) from Disney. I had emailed them asking if they’d be willing to comp last year’s female winner (me!), and they said yes!
My final savings that I’m excited about is from Southwest Airlines. I found a Ding! fare going to Orlando for $99, but the flight back was $169. I booked it anyway since I’m returning on a Sunday and it seems like most of the sale fares aren’t valid on Sundays. Well yesterday I checked southwest.com and saw that my return flight had gone down to $129. This is the first time I’ve tried to get a travel credit from Southwest, and it was really easy to do through the website. I was then able to use my $40 credit for my plane ticket for San Jose.
I think last time I posted about this, I was still debating whether to add a fifth Rock ‘n’ Roll race for the year and which one. In the end, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon won out over San Antonio, even though RnR San Jose is the weekend after the Expedition Everest Challenge. For San Jose, the start, finish, and Expo are all within blocks of each other which makes things very convenient. Also, the proximity of San Jose to Phoenix means that I can fly out on Saturday morning instead of Friday night and save money by staying just one night at the hotel.
So I’ve already got my flight and hotel set for San Jose despite not even registering yet. But that should all be taken care of this weekend. I’ve been waiting to sign up in person at the Disneyland Expo in hopes of getting another free t-shirt. Actually, I’ll probably be registering for two races. (There goes all the money I’ve saved, haha.)
The story is… I sort of regretted not doing a Disney race as my first half marathon. I thought I’d make up for it by doing my first full marathon at Disney. For the past few months, I’ve been planning to do the marathon at WDW in January but I never fully committed yet. The nice thing about Disney races is that they post how full the race is on the website. Right now the marathon is at 77% capacity and the 5k is at 95%. While there’s still time to decide on the marathon, if I’m there I want to do the 5k too.
I was almost ready to register, then I got to thinking. That would be my third trip to WDW in a year. Or my fourth trip to WDW in 16 months. Or my sixth trip to a Disney park in 16 months. I love Disney, but do I really need to go that often? It would be one thing if I could afford to stay at the deluxe resorts and eat at the signature restaurants to add some variety. But trying to do Disney on a budget is getting just a bit repetitive. I also don’t know if Troy would be able to take time off work to come with me in January.
It took me a few days to come to terms with this, but I’ll put it out there now so there’s no changing my mind after this. Instead of Disney, I’m going to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon right here at home. I’m sad that Disney won’t be my first, but ultimately this is the better decision. I won’t have to take time off work to travel, I’ll be saving probably around $1,500, and Troy will definitely be there to support me. And hey, there’s always the Goofy Challenge to look forward to.
Just so this post isn’t totally boring, here are a couple photos from last year’s trip to Walt Disney World for the Expedition Everest Challenge. I love how the photographer captured the mountain in the background and there’s definitely no question this was a nighttime event.
This was taken by one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers at the entrance to Animal Kingdom. He had us do a bunch of different poses. Then something happened with his camera so we did them all again. We were annoyed at the time, but they ended up being some of my favorite photos of the trip.