Saturday, July 21, 2012

Great Disney Tunes: Movie Edition

Wow, where has the time gone? I've been so wrapped up in the real world, I haven't had time to update this sucker.

For those of you not into running, well you are in luck. I'm moving my running posts to a new blog (to be named later). I want to get better at using this space to talk about the great things WDW, with a little extra overall Disney talk here and there. Which brings me to today's post.

First of all, I love music. If I had my choice between a lifetime FastPass or access to the Disney Audio Archives, I would run out an buy the biggest iPod I could find. You may have heard me talk about music in the past (namely, because I spent a good amount of time working in the recording studio at Universal Orlando, as well as being an accomplished musician) so I wanted to devote a post to something I'm incredibly passionate about, Disney music.

The Sherman Brothers, Bruce Broughton, Irwin Kostal, Joel Hirschhorn, Buddy Baker, among others - just amazing and creative artists. To me, they bring Disney to life.

I plan to make this a reoccurring post focusing on different aspects of Disney music - Today, I want to focus on my favorite Disney tunes from Classic Disney movies. Classic? What does that mean? Well, we're going to look at tracks from the early days of Steamboat Willy, up to about the late 90's. I plan to do a more contemporary one, but since the more recent soundtracks are kind of terrible (save any Pixar movie) I'm less motivated to pick them. Plus, as you know, I'm more of a "live in the past" kinda guy.

 Here are my top 15, do you agree?

#15 - Mine, Mine, Mine - Pocahontas
First of all, let me say this was a terrible movie. Just awful. But, the music made it bearable, especially this track which features the talented David Ogden Stiers (Charles Winchester III from TV's M.A.S.H) as the bellowing Governor Radcliffe. He delivers his lines with such passion it's hard not to feel for his character a bit. Not to mention, the orchestration is just superb (especially, the bridge at the 1:52 mark, check out those sweet chimes in the background). Bravo!

They should have just played the soundtrack in a dark theater

#14 - Best of Friends - The Fox and the Hound
If you don't like this song you, simply aren't a human being. Not only was the movie a treasure, but getting the legendary Pearl Bailey to lend her golden voice to this song was a stroke of genius. I still remember listening to this track on a special Fox and the Hound picture record when I was a kid.

"I'm a fox..."

#13 - Candle on the Water - Pete's Dragon
Hang on, kids. You're about to find out I'm a huge Pete's Dragon fan. Ever since my sister bought the VHS for me for Christmas when I was little I have since watched this movie about a million times. Sad, this movie didn't get better attention, as it followed the template - which was the typical Disney movie, filled with cheesy, Disney goodness. A poor protagonist, the evil villains, a red-herring, and of course a mythical best friend. Like every Disney movie, it all works out in the end.
Candle in the Wind really can stand on its own as a pop chart, since it really filled the feel of the time (1970's) and Helen Reddy was a pretty popular singer back then. This track was nominated for an Academy Award, so good on you Pete's Dragon!

"Boy, I sure hope this all turns out okay."

#12 - Out There - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hunchback was another one of those movies that just didn't have an audience. This was really a low point for Disney animation, but luckily for us the music department had Alan Menken and he ate his Wheaties when penning this score. Out There is another Broadway-feeling, uplifting track marrying the audience to our grotesque protagonist through his passionate declaration that he will live life. Back in the day, Disney MGM Studios had a stage show based on this movie and the actors in that show killed it on a daily basis. Drop Beauty & The Beast and bring back Hunchback!

Broadway quality

#11 - Carrying the Banner - Newsies
This movie had so much potential. Unfortunately, it was saddled with a lot of issues - poor writing, acting, directing, and an audience that just wasn't diggin' musicals. The filler score itself was meh, but when you add Alan Menken's themes and Jack Feldman's lyrics, well all bets are off. Carrying the Banner just has that Disney feel to it. And it's just so damn catchy. I'm really glad Disney gave Newsies a second chance and put it where it should have always been, on stage.

"Extra! Extra! This music is awesome."

#10 - Rocketeer to the Rescue/End Title
Everybody: "The Rocketeer? Oh, I love that movie!" Me: "Why?" Everybody: (silence). The Rocketeer is just one of those movies that you just love, but you just don't know why. Dollars to donuts, it's the music. James Horner is a critically acclaimed composer (Apollo 13, Titanic) and man, did he rock this soundtrack. It really captures the campy, cartoony, comic book feeling of the movie, while at the same time really taking the audience on a supersonic flight through the skies. This is a perennial favorite and remains a favorite on my running mix.

Ready for liftoff

So, there you have it, tracks #10-#15 of my favorite Disney music songs. Stay tuned for the next 5!



Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Soldier Field 10 Mile Race Recap

Saturday, I had the pleasure of running the Fleet Feet Soldier Field 10 Mile race here in Chicago. I was really looking forward to running this course since it was this time last year I was diagnosed with my stress fracture, just two days before the 2011 Soldier Field 10 Mile. The other reason being I’m working on solidifying my A corral for all the upcoming Disney races (I should already be good, but have time to improve my standing).

Overall, the race was very professional and well done, and while being a die-hard Buccaneers fan, running on the Soldier Field grass was kind of amazing. Also, I was super impressed with Fleet Feet’s social media team, they were on the ball all weekend with updates and personal Facebook replies. They are a top-notch organization. Kudos, Fleet Feet Chicago!

The week leading up to the race certainly wasn’t without drama. The weather forecast looked to be in the high 80’s, which would be murder, and then changed to severe thunderstorms to happen right as we were to step off. Therefore, the EAS warning watch was set to YELLOW (best to keep your wits about you as anything could happen).

Saturday morning, I was up at 4a (my corral started at 7a and Devin’s 7:30a).  We had to get to Soldier Field and while we live in the city, it’s a tough journey to get to there through public transportation, so we were going to have to cab it. I was nervous remembering how we almost missed the Hot Chocolate race in November due to the jack hole cabbies that wouldn’t pick us up as they knew they could get larger fares farther north.

Luckily, we caught a cab without much issue and got to Soldier Field with time to spare. The sky looked a thick grey and ominous, but I knew we’d be okay as I checked the weather before leaving and the storm was going to skirt us by about 10 miles (looking north looked like a hurricane as the sky was black). The air was damp and cool, perfect for running, but the wind was howling making it feel colder.

My corral closed at 6:40a, while my wife was in a later one giving her more time to settle in. I wished her luck and headed over to my area. The runners around me looked like they just got off the Olympic Trials bus, so I just closed my eyes and visualized the racecourse and went over my strategy (which really was anything under 1:24:00). The course was to take us south to Hyde Park and then back to Soldier Field where we would finish on the 50 yard line.

After some well-done Memorial Day fanfare (and the announcement the EAS warning had been downgraded to GREEN (all clear)), the elites set off and we moved into the chute just as one or two rain drops started, but quickly dissipated. The horn went off and we headed on our way.

As expected, some runners quickly gobbled me up, but I just moved over to the right and kept to my race strategy. Oddly enough, later in the race I was able to pick off most of them, which felt great. The first 4.5 miles were all tail wind so I could just set my legs on cruise control let the wind do all the work which really helped me conserve energy for the back half which would be all headwind on a path right next to the lake.

The race put us on Lake Shore Drive, supplying us runners ample room to run our own race. However there was still a lane for car traffic, which always makes me nervous. All it takes is one idiot on a cell phone and serious damage could happen to me, my wife, or any other racer.

Making the turn at mile 4.5, I could immediately feel the headwind which must have been about 20-25 mph and made me feel like I was standing still. I popped a Tri-Berry GU gel, took some Gatorade at the 5 Mile water stop and then tucked in close behind a runner who was taller than me to draft for a while. I never really believed runners could “draft” off of a single runner, but I could really feel it working so mental note for next windy race. I rode that guy’s coattails until about Mile 7 where he started to fall back and I shot by him Ricky Bobby-style (“Shake and Bake!”).  Mile 8 was such a tease in that you could see McCormick Place, which seemed so close, but it really wasn’t. Plus, by this time I was so close to the lake the whitecaps were spraying me (it was that windy). I knew that if I could keep this pace until Mile 9 adrenaline would take me the rest of the way.

As anticipated, at Mile 9 I felt that warm bubble of energy know as the “runner’s high” and picked up the pace as I neared Soldier Field. Upon getting to the stadium we turned left into the player’s parking lot and then into the bowels of the stadium. Turning left, through a tunnel of light and boom, we were on the field! To be honest, I can’t remember the finish only that my final kick was what I am calling “the stuff of legend”. My legs took off like Usain Bolt and I jammed past about 60 people who appeared to be just standing still, it was awesome! Passing the Finish Line, I checked my Garmin, 1:20:50! I had just PR’d by over 5 minutes from my previous 10 Mile race and also killed my 10k time! Although excited to PR, at the same time I felt like I didn’t leave it all on the course, but there’s always next time. 

The Finish Line


I picked up my Soldier Field medal (kinda meh, but then Disney medals kinda blow all others out of the water) and branded blanket and headed into the stands to wait for my wife.

My wife did a great job too! This wasn’t a PR for her, but she had not been feeling well and put in a solid effort.

Overall, this was a tremendous and well-executed race, both by Fleet Feet and myself. The course layout was fast and relatively flat, allowing for some serious running. Again, hat’s off to Fleet Feet, they really have their act together when putting on a race. I can’t wait for next year’s!

Official Time: 1:20:36
Overall Place: 1,623 (12,845)
Gender Place: 1,234 (5,526)
Age Place: 208 (1,012)

***NOTE*** I wanted to call out that some of my loyal readers are not runners and keep asking when I am going to be putting up a Disney Parks related post (that’s not running). Therefore, in the near future I will be launching a blog specific to running (both Disney & non), while keeping All Things WDW specific for Parks posts. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Recap: Part III

Okay, it's taken 4 months, two posts and now a captive seat at 33,000 feet for me to finish this marathon report (a marathon, itself).

Sunday morning, race day! I was up way earlier than needed, but c'mon who really sleeps the night before their first marathon? Devin's coughing fits subsided enough for about 3 restful hours and she was out cold (thanks, codeine!) I took a quick shower and tried to eat something, but I'm not much of a breakfast person and my body was really fighting my attempts to get some food in it. So I downed a Powerade, ate some performance jelly beans and grabbed a bag of mini Chips-A-Hoy from our snack bag and headed out the door. It was early, like 3:05, early and like yesterday, the Wilderness Lodge lobby was devoid of any and all human life, save a few runners who had the same idea I did which was to get to the race early. We hopped on a somewhat full, but very quiet bus. Sensing the tension, the bus driver shut the door and said, "Off to the airport!" We all sat up in our seats and he said, "Just kidding!"

The trip to the race was very quiet, so much the voice in my head was screaming for me to hop out the emergency window and steal off into the night so as not to have to run. In a bit of a panic, I sent off (as I was expecting due to the hour of the morning) a feeble post on ROTE asking for "some love." To my surprise, a good many of ROTErs were online and shot right back with motivation (love you guys).

Got to the race, but there were just so many people, I couldn't find any ROTE folk, which bummed me out, but in the line for the bathroom found some nice folk from Chicago so spent some time with them. When it was time, I made the death march with everyone else to the starting line and noticed just the sheer amount of people running as I made my way to Corral A. The anticipation and excitement was simply too much and I just wanted to start the race immediately. No fanfare, no DJ chatter, just start the race!

Finally, the time had come and after seeing the fireworks shoot up into the air I was off, hoping the lack of training wouldn't lead the paramedics on a 500 foot trail of poop to a frozen corpse on the side of the road. My goal was to run a steady, easy pace for the 1st half of the race and then bump it up for the second half, but I was about 1 mile in and at that point, anything was possible. As we hit about Mile 2, I ran into Fundulidae and DeltaPilot (from ROTE) who were humming along at a good pace. We hung out a bit and then parted ways (Thanks for the kind words, guys).

The course led us into Epcot through the auto toll, where I encountered a wheelchair athlete in a standard wheelchair struggling. I wasn't sure what to do so I told one of the race people as I headed into Epcot. The course took us through Future World and backstage through Mexico, heading back around to where we started the race. After making the loop, we turned onto World Drive towards the Magic Kingdom through the TTC. I absolutely loved this part of the race, since it was really the first chance to get close to the folks who were cheering us on. Seeing them was more than inspirational, and quite frankly, I don't think there is a word in the English dictionary to describe the feeling a runner gets when first encountering a group of people cheering them on. So, I'll establish a word: Motivationarunneralabalous! Yes, seeing the people was Motivationarunneralabalous! It was so cool, I sped up to a 8:30 mile. "Holy shit!" I exclaimed, scaring the runner next to me , "I gotta slow down." As I motored through the TTC, I felt great and headed towards the Contemporary. Heading down the incline underneath the boat crossover, I started running backwards and sticking out my thumb to the passing cars, getting a bunch of laughs from all the other runners.

We were reaching Mile 11 and the point everyone single runner was anticipating, the magical run down Main Street towards the castle, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Making the turn onto Main Street and seeing all the people cheering, with the castle, I would be lying if I said I didn't well up with a tremendous feeling. And then it got better, running through Main Street, I caught eyes with the most gorgeous looking woman in the crowd and low and behold, it was my wife! She was there with my mom, and her parents. Let me tell you, that moment was über-Motivationarunneralabalous!!!!!!!!!!  At that, moment I felt like was I was going to shoot right into the lead and win this sucker (a fleeting thought for sure).

We headed to the right, through Tomorrowland, Fanatsyland and then that magical trip through the castle (which was amazing). We rounded out our Magic Kingdom visit through Frontierland, backstage through Gate 6, and left towards the Grand Floridan. I knew this would be the last place for awhile where there would be onlookers so I drank it in as much as I could. I knew right ahead of me was dreaded Mile 13 and the dark forest of nothingness.

Mile 13 was near the Hess station and banana distribution. I absolutely hate bananas, but knew I had to eat something, so I muscled it down and prepared to shift into the second piece of my strategy. My Garmin beeped Mile 13 and my mind shifted towards a new focus, "Speed. I am pure speed." I got a hungry look in my eye and looked to up my game. One problem, my legs never seemed to have gotten the memo. I was still running, but my run was something akin to your first car where it could never seem to cleanly find second gear. Grinding, straining, and with the occasional backfire, I was stuck in neutral and slowly losing time. Worse yet, we were at the sewage treatment plan, no man's land. So, I immediately came to grips with not hitting my goal time and figured I'd just do my best and leave it at that. Making out way though the back areas, Disney had some signs up to keep us occupied, the funniest of which being a sign that read, "If you believe in telekinesis,  raise MY hand." Clever.

The second half of the race was rough, and I was wrought with emotion. Sadness, anger, denial, depression, all the emotions every runner feels as they attack a marathon, but I kept moving forward.  It also helped that a few runners patted me on the back when I had to walk,  cementing my belief that runners are the most compassionate athletes. 

Passing through Animal Kingdom which the course layout was "meh" at best, we turned onto Osceola Parkway which was built for the sole reason of making runners die.  After being on OP for what seemed an eternity, we headed through the Studios, past the Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach and back into  Epcot. Running through World Showcase, it was just a mere 4.5 hours before I was jamming along feeling great. I motored through the Finish in a sad, but I guess respectable 5 hours, 1 hour past my goal time. Who cares, though? I did it! Adding to my 13.1 membership, I had just been inducted into the 26.2 club, and man, is that Motivationarunneralabalous!

Never been so tired and happy!

Running through the castle. Amazing!
Seeing my family along the route
Running into ROTErs
Course entertainment

Osceola Parkway

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Shamrock Shuffle 8k Race Recap

Don't worry, we'll get to Part III of my Walt Disney Marathon in a day or two. But in the meantime, I wanted to talk about my most recent race.

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to try the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago. Touted, the “world’s largest timed 8k,” the race certainly was my firs t experience in what I’m calling a “real race.” Mind you, I’ve run big races at Disney and the Hot Chocolate series, but the Shamrock had a veritable “who’s who” in today’s running. Names like Delilah DiCrescenzo and 2012 Olympian, Abdi Abdirahman would lead the pack and look for a victory after traversing the Chicago city streets in glorious running weather. The other races I had run were big, but not really big name. Plus the Elite Corral was jam packed with sub 25:00 runners, so you know this race was serious.

This was to be my third race of the season, but first major one.

First, let’s start back at the Expo. My wife and I went on Saturday to pick up our packets. I was glad to have submitted a qualifying time to move me up since there would be 40,000 runners in this monster. However,  I could only muster up a Corral B, which was kinda sad, since this was the first race in a long time I wasn’t seeded in Corral A, but as of late, an old stress fracture injury started to rear its ugly head, so I planned to take it easy anyway.

Overall, the Expo was well done and easy to navigate. Packet pickup was a breeze, as were the lines to get our shirts (seriously, red shirts for the Shamrock Shuffle? Very much a fail (even if they do look kinda cool)). Afterwards, we decided to check out all the goodies being offered at the Expo (I love running expos!). It was the usual same ole “I run for beer” bumper stickers, GU gels and apparel. But, there were a few highlights. First, the Motorola Motoactv running watch which is really cool. It remembers the songs that are playing when you show a jump in performance, effectively learning what works for you (beats all the Excel spreadsheets I do manually). I wasn’t really looking for myself, since I use a Garmin 610 & Nike + (more on that later), but more for my wife who recently asked about getting an iPod shuffle to use Nike + (she is currently using a Garmin 210).  We played with it for awhile and felt it’s a really neat device, and may pick up once one of our devices craps out.

The other neat booth was the Newton running shoe booth. I had heard about Newtons before, but didn’t know much until after reading about them in the April Runner’s World. I was curious to check them out since my stress fracture was due to my running style and Newtons had strategic rubber placements to help combat these issues. I tried out the Newton Distance which were really comfy and light! Because of the extra layer of rubber on the midsole of the shoe it would definitely take some getting used to, but a very cool feeling shoe. Since I already have about 4 pairs of running shoes in rotation (and a few still sitting in boxes), I couldn’t really justify the cost just yet (but, they are on the horizon).

Race Day
It was a slightly cool, breezy Sunday, perfect for running. My wife and I got to the race about 7:30 for an 8:30 start. I always like it when races are slated to have wave starts, even more when organizers police the corrals guaranteeing the correct runners are in the correct places. Both my wife and I were in Wave 1 which was helpful (since Wave 2 wouldn’t start for 45 minutes until after Wave 1). Bag check was a breeze, so after checking my bag I wished my wife good luck and headed over to the B Corral. According to the official guide, Corral B was to have about 3,000 runners but it felt more like 1,000 meaning space was abundant. Since I got there early I had plenty of room to stretch and prepare. Once warm, I threw in my ear buds and visualized the course in my head knowing there were 8 turns from Start to Finish.

Once the National Anthem was complete (sung by the incomparable Wayne Messmer), the horn blew and we were off. My game plan was to manage a safe 8:00 pace for the first 2 miles and then turn up the last 3. Well, that plan was shot the minute I crossed the Start line. Getting caught up in the excitement (I know better); Mile 1 rang out on my Garmin at 7:23, Mile 2: 6:49. Holy crap! I had to slow down! I was risk of either dying out early, aggravating my injury, or both!

Lemme just take a minute here and note how much I love my Garmin 610. It stayed true even after running under a bridge at Mile 1 to which the Nike + on my iPhone completely scrambled itself (It said I ran a 1:43 mile and did a 5k in 19:00 – I blame AT&T for its crappy service in the city). Suddenly, that MotoActv started to look pretty good.

Okay, we’re back
Anyways, filing past Mile 2, I was way under pace and I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage that time consistently for the length of the race. Problem was, I couldn’t slow down. Every time I tried to cut back to a 7:55/8:00 I felt like my body was working harder. So, I did the only damage control I could think of, I stopped. At Mile 2.whatever, I moved to the right, put my hand up, and stopped running.  I walked for about 30 seconds and managed to get control of myself and started back up. I felt much better at my planned 8:00 pace, but the damage was already done, I was pretty winded so any chance of speeding up in the last mile was all but lost.

The final stretch was pretty wide and flat (after just running over a somewhat sizeable hill). I gave it all my might and finished at a respectable 39:06, about 20 seconds short of a PR. My wife rocked her race and set a new PR for the 8k, so there was cause for celebration on her accomplishment.

The Course
I really enjoyed the set up. It was somewhat similar to last year’s Hot Chocolate race, taking us north to Grand, than pretty far west, south on Michigan Ave, and then finishing on Columbus (same as the Chicago Marathon Finish line). Since the roads were closed, everyone had the chance to make a notch for themselves and get into a rhythm without having to bunch up. I really enjoyed running over the bridges and looking down at the water. The other thing I enjoyed was just the sheer amount of people all along the route (especially, the perplexed tourists trying to get out of their hotels). There were also some great signs along the course such as “Do epic shit!” & “Worst. Parade. Ever!” I love this city.

Overall, this was a great race. It was well organized and a terrific route through the heart of the city. I’m really looking forward to next year, where I WILL get in Corral A.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Part 2

The alarm came fast and early Saturday morning as the day belonged to my wife, Devin who was running her first Donald half marathon and 2nd half overall. She was still fighting a nasty chest cold and had been up most of the night (as was I ) with coughing fits. I planned to meet up with her folks and my mom (who were not staying on property) later in the morning, so I wished my wife luck as she sped out the door and slept in about an hour. At around 4:30 I got up, texted Devin to see if she made it to the race okay and got about my day. The lobby of the Wilderness Lodge is impressive even at its busiest points, but at 5am it’s incredible and quite cavernous. There weren’t many stirring about so I stopped and just enjoyed the tranquility of the lobby for a moment. As I walked outside, I realized a very serious problem staying where we did, there wasn’t any spectator transportation. I had planned to meet everyone at the TTC, so I started walking in the pitch blackness. If you’ve ever been to the Wilderness Lodge, it prides itself on being tranquil and not exactly on the “Diney grid.” Therefore, there was no walkway, only road. I tried to stay on the grass, but it was wet and cold, so I hugged the road. About 3 minutes into my walk a pickup truck pulled up behind me, it was a Disney security guard. “You aren’t allowed to walk on the road,” he said, “it’s dark and you might get hit. Where are you going?” I told him my situation and I was only going to the TTC. His response, “Well, you can’t walk.” Mind you, I was almost there. “Well,” I said, “you wanna give me a ride?” He then just drove off.  From what I’ve learned from my beyond extensive experience with WDW is if you ever meet with any castmember resistance, just explain common sense to them and they tend leave you alone.

I made it to the TTC no problem and met up with my mom. It was about the 6 mile mark and it was empty. It was also about 38 degrees out, yowza! My in-laws parked at Epcot and took the monorail over to meet up. We proceeded to wait until we started seeing the wheelchair racers come through and then the “elites.” I saw a few friends of mine, a couple of ROTE hats & shirts, and after a little bit saw Devin.  She looked good was happy to see us. After the fanfare, we hopped a monorail to the Magic Kingdom to see her again. I have to applaud Disney for opening up the MK early for folks to cheer on the runners, and seeing that castle in the morning had me pretty excited for my race on the following day.

 Unfortunately, for us, Devin was a little faster than I had expected and she had already passed by the time we got there. But, on the monorail trip to Epcot, I was able to pick her out on World Drive (having that pale, Chicago winter tan certainly helped). We caught up with her a few more times at Epcot and then it was all over. Devin had a blast and knocked 20 minutes off her previous half time!!!! The only hassle was trying to get out of the parking lot, it took over an hour. We all went back to Wilderness Lodge and had lunch and then all headed back to our respective hotels to take much deserved naps. 

Great job, Hon!

I had done my job as a husband, cheered on my wife and had a blast seeing her run. Now it was time to focus on my task at hand. I had to change gears and start mentally preparing for the monster that was less than 24 hours away. My focus was on a Finish Line, but 26.2 miles were in my way and they had something to say about it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Part 1

Here we are in mid-March and I still haven’t gotten my 2012 Disney Marathon recap posted. I was kind of hoping I would forget about this, but Jenn over at Eat, Sleep, Run Disney just posted hers, so I guess I better get mine out on the ole Interwebs. I may break this up into multiple posts since there is a lot to talk about.

So, before we get to the “big race,” let’s take a few steps back to Christmas. My wife and I decided to visit my brother and his family in San Francisco over the holiday break. We had an amazing trip and left with many souvenirs, the biggest of which was from my nephew, a chest cold. So, my wife and I were about 10 days out from the biggest races of our lives and couldn’t breathe more than 5 minutes without going into deep coughing fits. My wife took it much rougher as she was coughing frantically up to (and right through) her Donald Half Marathon. She was in such rough shape, she even skipped the 3 Caballeros 5k at Epcot (she’s still apologizing for keeping me up with her coughing fits). I had my own problems, specifically IT Band issues. In November, I ran a 10 miler and destroyed my previous 10 mile time, but in the process jacked my legs. This prohibited me from any serious mileage over the holiday break (my longest run was 13.1 miles), so I was thinking “I am literally going to die. I’m literally going to either poop myself or die.” This was going to be fun.

                         Disney 3 Caballeros 5k at Epcot
The day we got in, we decided to stay with my Mom in a nearby town and visit a bit. The next morning, I got up early and checked in on my wife, who for all intents & purposes was out of the 5k lineup due to her chest cold (yep, she was coughing all night!). So, I hopped in the car and headed the back roads to Epcot. I had driven this way well over a million times, but it was so dark and foggy I thought I was going to get into an accident. Worse still, it was about 28 degrees out, 10 degrees COLDER than Chicago! Luckily, I got there fine and hung out in my car to stay warm until race start. I had run “fun runs” at Epcot before so I knew what to expect – cheesy DJ, lots of folks who look like they run once a year, folks in costumes, and the “hardcore, serious runners.” It was all in good fun, but I had a reason to get out there, I had to see how my legs were feeling since not running for over a week. This time the setup a little different, Disney had wave starts to organize the runners, by pace to maximize the overall experience. I lined up in Wave 1 hoping to keep a steady 8:00 mile and since this was honor system, everyone else lined up in this corral, I spent the first 5 minutes dodging walkers (C’mon walkers, back of the line!!!!!)

Off I went and quite frankly, felt great! I love running through Epcot, it’s so wide you can really get into a groove and stay there. I knew I’d have some stamina issues, which I petered out at around mile 2.98. So, I walked for about 15 seconds and then pushed a kick to the finish. All in all a good race and I was pretty happy with my performance.The medallion, as per usual, a dinky, rubber keychain, certainly not worthy of the cost of admission.

I crossed the Start Line at about :15 into the race

After the race, I went back to my mom’s and picked up my wife. We headed over to the Wilderness Lodge & checked in (God, I love that resort) My wife was running the Donald the next day, so she wanted to rest up.

I think this is a good place to stop for now (I have a St. Patty’s 5k in 8 hours and need to get some sleep.)

Next post: Devin’s Donald

Robert Sherman

I'm sure most of you Disney folk have heard the news about Robert Sherman, one half of the Sherman Brothers, who were responsible for most of the Disney tunes you hum today (It's A Small World After All, A Spoonful of Sugar, and many more) passed away earlier this month (been meaning to write this for awhile).

I have taken this especially hard as I have a deep fascination with Disney Parks music and, to me, is the best part of any of the parks. Especially, the entrance ways when you first enter the park (I have some experience with this when I worked in the recording studio for Universal Orlando and had the pleasure of developing the mixes for each of the "lands.")

What I love so much is the music you hear paints only part of the picture. It outlines the image, but allows your imagination and perception of the music to fill in the colors, and the Sherman Brothers were masters at this (to see, or rather, listen to what I mean, go check out the hauntingly beautiful score to "Magic Journeys" (not the single, but the actual underscore of the music).

What I really liked about Robert Sherman is the signature to his music. He had a percussive, march-like style that really stuck in your head in good ways (Miracles from Molecules, One Little Spark, Meet the World), and some, well, other ways (It's A Small World).

At any rate, we lost a musical legend this year. I'm sure he and Buddy Baker are making beautiful music in heaven. Luckily, we still have Richard and great composers like Bruce Broughton to follow in the steps of the great Shermans.

Rest in Peace, Robert. Your inspiration is certainly a reason of who I am today, and I just want to say thank you.

              Robert B. Sherman 1925 - 2012