Fi's Mutterings

Disney, running, swimming, living with disability, challenges…


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Running Events Review of 2016

Last time I wrote about running was in May 2016 so here is, hopefully, a quick recap of the events we covered last year and what is planned for 2017.

R U Taking the P? 5K

On Fathers’ Day, Adam once again took part in R U Taking the P? 5K.  As it is a men only race to raise awareness and fundraising for male cancers, I wasn’t allowed to take part.  This year, Adam’s dad wasn’t at home to run it with him but, even knowing this, Adam asked if he could do it anyway.  It was the first time he’s ever run an event from start to finish on his own.  I was so proud of him.

There were a few people who we know from parkrun there and they kept an eye out for him which was great.  In fact, he got a mention on the York parkrun Facebook page and was featured in the parkrun newsletter in September.  I am so proud of him.

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York 10K

We entered the York 10K in August.  Not as good as previous years but we completed it.  Adam’s hat blew off while we were running down Nunnery Lane, just before we got to Micklegate.  We finished in 1:10:38.  Not bad considering we didn’t run between January and April and had only run up to 5k in training which was very hit and miss.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In September, Adam and I went over to Disneyland Paris for the weekend so we could take part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  It was AMAZING!!!  I don’t know what our time was as both of our running watches ran out of battery at around 13k (out of 21k).  This was an event to take part in rather than run for a time though and it was so much fun.

Unlike other runDisney events which start at 5.30am, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon had a start time of 7am which meant we didn’t have to get up too early.  The one thing I didn’t like was that there were no toilets once you got into the coral, waiting for the start.  We were waiting for over an hour from the last toilet to actually going through the start line.  Needless to say, I needed to go to the toilet when we started.  Ah well, there are plenty of toilets in the parks and we, and lots of others, peeled off as soon as we got to one of the ones backstage.  As usual, there was only 3 toilets in the ladies and the men had 2 plus 3 urinals.  A group of ladies, including myself, decided that we’d risk the wrath of the men and ran in to the men’s loo.

We ran through Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park.  There were lots of characters to meet and have a photo taken with but we only stopped to meet Chip and Dale as the queues were too long for the others.  After about 5k, we left the parks and ran through the French countryside before returning the Disneyland Paris and running through Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne to get to the lake and run past Sequoia Lodge and Newport Bay.  The last part of the run was through Disney Village.  Adam and I had started flagging a bit, I think it was because we didn’t have our intervals to keep us on track, when we were running through the hotels but as soon as we got to Disney Village, Adam got his second wind and was off.  I was happily chatting to someone from the UK (another parkrunner) when Adam decided that he was going to start his run for the finish line!

After the finish line we met Daisy and got our medals.  They are heavy!  The run was worth it for the bling, lol 🙂

York 10 Mile

Once again, the team behind the Yorkshire Marathon decided to include a 10 mile run.  Adam, of course, decided that we should run it even though it was only 2 weeks after the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  As last year, it was a great run with lots of support round the course.  I think the lack of training and the fact that we’d done the half marathon 3 weeks before caught up with me because I didn’t think I could carry on at 8 miles.  I managed even though I had to reduce the run/walk intervals.  We finished in 1:53:46, 3 minutes slower than last year.

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What’s coming in 2017?

At the moment, there is only the York 10K.  If there is a 10 mile to go with the Yorkshire Marathon, I’m sure we’ll enter that again but they haven’t released details of it yet.  Adam is going to be running R U Taking the P? again.  This year he will probably be running with his dad, or at least starting with him.

Now that I have completed 100 parkruns, I’m planning on volunteering at least once a month but will still be running 2 to 3 parkruns each month, unless the horses are using the track 😉 (York parkrun uses the service track at York Racecourse so is cancelled if there is horse racing).  My fastest time for parkrun was 31:52 in 2016 and I would love to get back under 31, or even 30, minutes in 2017.

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Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

After last year’s runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon that ended up being a 7 mile run instead of 13, I did my sums and decided that Adam and I could do the inaugural half marathon at Disneyland Paris in September 2016.  I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun.  The only downside being that my husband will probably be away working so only Adam and I are booked on the trip 😦

Today, I finally did the last thing which I needed to get done/booked before we go so I can now relax and not panic, well not much anyway, until September.

So, I have booked the Disneyland Paris hotel, the Eurostar (from London to Disneyland Paris), the hotel in London for the day before Disneyland Paris and for the day we return from Disneyland Paris, trains to and from London (so happy that if you register with Virgin Trains you can book your tickets up to 6 months in advance rather than the usual 12 weeks).  I have also bought our half marathon entry and tickets to the inaugural party at Walt Disney Studios.  I’m so excited!  The amount Adam keeps talking about it, I think he’s excited too – I had to tell him so that I can get him out running/training for it.

One thing which is different about this run is that unlike other events where you can sign a waiver, under French Law, you have to get a Medical Certificate signed by your doctor to say that you are fit to enter the race.  I finally organised the Medical Certificates for Adam and me and picked them up today.  They are now uploaded to the registration site and we are ready to go.

Now we just need to put in the miles and the time in training for it.  At least we still have over 4 months to go 🙂

I managed to get a longer run than I anticipated this morning due to forgetting to pick up the Medical Certificates yesterday.  I was planning on running a 3km loop but had a phone call (which I didn’t answer) when I was half way round.  I looked at the caller id which came up with “No Caller ID” – when my doctors surgery calls it comes up with that – which made me remember I needed to pick up the Certificates.  So, I decided I’d extend my run and run to the doctors surgery.  I’d done 4km of consistent running, no walking, by the time I got to the doctors so decided to pause my Garmin and then restart it when I got going again.  I ended up with a, not quite constant, run of 5.55km in 36:15!  It’s not the time or the distance that I’m happy with (well, I am because it’s the fastest I’ve done for a while) but more the fact that, apart from the stop at the doctors, I ran without any walk breaks for over 35 minutes 😀

Bring on the York 10K – yes, we’ve entered that again – and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  We may add the Yorkshire 10 mile if they do it as part of the Yorkshire Marathon again.


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Running in 2015: Part 3

This is the final part of my Running in 2015 catch-up.  Our final run of the year was the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to get places for Adam and myself to take part in this event, even though it was a night run the day before we flew home.

Wine and Dine Half FB Cover

When we knew we were going to be going to Walt Disney World for Adam’s 21st birthday and then found out that if I planned the dates right we could take part in a runDisney event, I had to at least try to get entry for myself and Adam.  After all, taking part in a runDisney event was on my wishlist as was/is doing a half marathon.  The fact that it was a night run, no getting up at 4 am for a 5.30 am start, was even better.  The down side was that in order to be at Disney World for both Adam’s birthday and the half marathon we’d have to fly there the day before Adam’s birthday and fly home the night after the half marathon.  Or, more accurately, fly home on the day we finish the half marathon.

We have done a runDisney event before.  We did the Royal Family 5K in 2014 which is part of the Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I hadn’t been able to get a place on the half marathon for that event so Adam, his Dad and I took part in the 5K instead.  We still had the full race weekend experience though, including going to the Expo so we knew what to expect.

For the Wine and Dine half marathon, we went to the Expo on the Friday to pick up our race packets which included our race bib and commemorative shirt.  I love the shirt as it is a long-sleeve running/performance one (photo at the end of the blog).  There were loads of stands too with everything from running skirts, and other running apparel, to charity stands, upcoming events and so much more.  I don’t think I saw all of it but I spent a fortune!  There were also speakers, including Jeff Galloway, giving information about the event and what to expect during the event.

twitter_profile1The half marathon was a night run which meant that it was due to start at 10pm.  runDisney laid on buses from select resorts as well as Epcot from about 7pm to get the runners up to the start area at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  As we weren’t staying in a host resort this year, my mistake I didn’t check! we went to Epcot to get the bus.  This meant that my husband could go in to Epcot and enjoy the finishing party while we were running.  In the start area, they had a left baggage area and, because they had forecast thunderstorms, I had packed spare trainers and a dry set of clothes for myself and Adam just in case we got wet so I dropped the bag off.  There was also a big stage with a Disney DJ and some of the organisers letting everyone know what was happening.  This was also part of the warm up – they don’t do the traditional aerobic warm up like they do at the 10K events here, they play songs which have a dance routine which most people know like Thriller or the Macarena and you can either use that as your warm up, or not.

Also in the start/waiting area you could meet some of the Disney characters – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale.  We joined a queue without knowing who we were queuing for – it was Mickey 😀

Meeting MickeyWe also queued to see Donald Duck but a thunder/lightning storm rolled in just as we were about to see him and we were all asked to go inside until it passed.  This was at 9.45pm as we were about to be called to our corrals 😦  Needless to say, Disney always think about the safety of the runners, their voluntears and cast members first so everyone was asked to go into the main buildings at the Wide World of Sports until the storm had passed and it was safe to start the race.  It was a little frustrating but I understood completely why we were sent inside.

We were only inside for about an hour and as soon as we were allowed out and the corrals were filled with everyone ready to go the run was started very quickly.  Due to the late start, and the fact that there were 12 waves of runners to get going (and finished), the organisers decided to cut out part of the route – up to Animal Kingdom – so the run was about 7 miles instead of 13.1 miles.  Part of me was disappointed that Adam and I would not get to run a full half marathon, but the other part of me was glad that the bit they’d cut out was the route up to Animal Kingdom because I hadn’t been looking forward to running up the hill from the park entrance to the Tree of Life, lol.

Course map

The route for the half marathon was brilliant.  Mostly flat apart from a couple of flyovers and a bridge between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  More that the route though was the entertainment!  There was something to see about every half mile or so, whether it was a character who you could stop and have a photo with (if you wanted to, we didn’t although there were a couple of the characters from Hollywood Public Works who I would have stopped for a photo with if I’d seen them in time and hadn’t been on the other side of the road) or a video wall.  They even had the toy soldiers from Toy Story on the hill going up one of the flyovers with one of them shouting encouragement to get us up the hill – fantastic and just what I needed!  We also got to see the backstage areas of Hollywood Studios and Epcot and run through the Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios.

Considering it was only 7 miles, our time wasn’t great at 1:24:31 but it was a very warm night at 22C and humid.  There was also so much to see that we got a little distracted.

All in all, it was a great event to be part of although if I were to do it again I’d make sure that we weren’t flying home the next day as we didn’t get a chance to go to the Finish Line Party because I was conscious that we needed to be up and out of the room by 11am and we didn’t even get through the finishing area and into Epcot until 1.30am!  My husband had a great time in the Party though and managed to go on Test Track twice without queuing at all.

Finally, I would encourage anyone thinking about doing a runDisney event to do it.  It is very well organised and the entertainment around the course is amazing.  runDisney are putting on their first event at Disneyland Paris in September 2016 and if there are still places left I’m going to enter Adam and myself so that we can cross the half marathon off our list.


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Running in 2015: Part 2

So, I’m catching up with my blog posts, slowly.  I wrote about the 10K events a few days ago so am now moving on the the final 2 events of the year.

When we ran the York 10K, there was a flyer in the goodie bag for the York 10 Mile.  This was a new event which the Run for All team had added to the Yorkshire Marathon day.  As Adam and I were already going to be running a half marathon, I asked him if he’d like to do the 10 mile as a warm up.  I wanted to do it just to see if we could get that far and still be able to carry on for another 3 miles.  Of course, he said yes.

Can I just say, the organisation and the course was fantastic.  The 10 mile event was on the same day and using part of the same route as the marathon.  The marathon runners started first, about 30 minutes before the 10 mile runners, and then we were invited to go in to the funnel to get ready for our start.  As usual, I hung back because I needed to go to the toilet as late as possible.  I really didn’t want to have to go to the toilet part way round the course, especially at around 7 miles or so because I’m not sure my legs would have started again after they stopped!

We started on time and there was a lovely downhill section at the beginning.  I say lovely, it was when we were going down, not so much when we had to run up it to get to the finish.  Anyway, we ran down the hill away from York University and then turned left to head up to the city centre.  As we had done for the 4 10K events, Adam and I decided to run 3:1 intervals as this had worked well for us in the previous events and we had been training with either 4 or 5 minute running intervals so cutting it back to 3 minutes was easier on the legs but also meant that we ran faster during the run intervals and recovered quicker during the walk breaks.

When we got to the city centre, a friend of mine from parkrun was on one of the marshalling posts.  She took a photo of us, typically we were on a walking break!

After running through the city centre and past the York Minster, the route took us out of York towards the countryside.  The route was reasonably flat, apart from the hill going over the bridge to get over the A64.  Fortunately, Adam and I had been trialling eating jelly babies during training and can I say: Jelly Babies whilst running are awesome!  They certainly helped us get up over the bridge.

At around the 6 or 7 mile mark (I can’t remember), the route split with the marathon route carrying on straight and the 10 mile route turning right.  The routes merged again at about the 7 or 8 mile mark for us, I think it was about 23 or 24 miles for the marathon runners but I could be wrong.  As we merged back on to the marathon route, we were asked to keep right so that the marathon runners could come through on the left, and come through they did, very fast they were too.  As usual, there was a hill at the end of the route and my friend was there, once again, to take a picture.  This time we were pushing up the hill although looking at the photo it doesn’t look like it.  I was hoping to finish in under 2 hours which would give us a realistic goal of finishing the half marathon in just over 2 and a half hours.  We finished in 1:50:45 😀

In summary, the route was great and the number of people supporting the runners along the route was amazing.  I don’t know what it was like along the of route we didn’t share with the marathon but, I think because it was along main residential routes in York, the 10 mile route was well populated with supporters and lots of offers of jelly beans and jelly babies 🙂

I was going to write about the runDisney half marathon in this post too but as this post is another long one, I think I’ll leave that for another day.


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Share Your World – 2014: Week 33

Are we really on week 33 already?  Where’d the year go?  Anyway, thanks as always to Cee for the questions.

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Do you believe in ghosts? 

I’m not sure.  Let’s just say that just because I’ve never seen one doesn’t mean that there aren’t ghosts.  I went to a school which was, apparently haunted but I never saw or felt anything that others said they did.  I heard lots of stories about the chapel bell being rung whilst prefects were doing their last lock-up checks but no-one being anywhere near the bell rope.  In the house of one of our teachers some people felt a “presence” and a chill on the stairs.  We apparently had a headless horseman in the Old Coach House but, like I said, I never saw or felt any of them.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t real though.

My mother-in-law said that she saw a ghost and I can’t disagree with her.  So, I guess I’ll keep an open mind.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility:  If you could play any sport professionally what would it be?  Or if you can’t picture yourself playing sports, what is your favorite sport?

Probably swimming.  I loved swimming as a child and really should do more of it.  I loved trampolining too so maybe gymnastics or trampolining.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Long.  Apart from when I was about 7 when I decided to cut my hair, it’s always been long.  Well, shoulder length or longer.  It really doesn’t look good short.

If you were on an small island, who would you want to be with? And where is it?  How big is it?

How long would I be on this small island?  Does the island where I live count as a small island?  The UK is a small island right?  OK, assuming I can’t count the UK as the island, I would be with my husband and son at Disney’s Castaway Cay on a visit with the Disney Cruise Line.  One day, I’ll be there 🙂


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Share Your World – 2014: Week 31

Woo Hoo!  I’m actually posting my Share Your World post in the correct week.  Only just but still, it’s in the right week 😀

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? (guest can be dead, alive, famous or someone you just know)

Oh, this is tough.

  1. I think, being a huge Disney fan, I’d definitely have to include Walt Disney.  I’d love to find out if the Disney parks are all he wanted them to be or, maybe, better than he envisioned.
  2. I never met my maternal Granddad as he died 4 months after my parents’ got married so I think I’d have to invite him too.
  3. Mark Harmon, or any of the NCIS cast.  They always seem like they are having so much fun on the DVD extras.

What can you always be found with?

Unless it is really warm (over 20C) and the sun is out, I will always have a cardigan or hoodie.  If there’s no sun, I’m cold – even at 25C+

What is the most fun thing you did in school?

Trampolining.  I even helped coach the younger kids when I was in the 6th Form.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

Oh my, this one has me stumped.  I’m sure I do lots of things differently than most people but at the moment, I really can’t think.  Hmm…when sitting on an office chair, I’ll sit with one of my feet curled up under me and sit on it.  I know it’s not good for circulation but it is comfortable for me.


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Share Your World: 2014 – Week 22

Aargh!  Late again!  I don’t know why I can’t seem to get myself round to blogging at the moment.  I need to re-cap my challenges from May and set challenges for June (think I might be giving those a miss!) too.  Anyway, on to Share Your World Week 22.

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Regarding animals would you prefer not having them around or having domestics pets, farm animals, or seeing them in nature or the zoo?

I like animals but we don’t have any pets, unless you count the spiders! because I don’t want to *have* to take a dog out for a walk and I don’t really like cats.  I love seeing animals in their natural habitat but that isn’t always possible.  I also understand that some animals would be extinct if we didn’t have zoos with breeding programmes etc so zoos aren’t necessarily a bad thing.  I love going on safari too.

Are you a collector of anything? 

I collect spoons and have a collection of 60+ from places I’ve been and/or lived.  I am also a collector of Disney pins 🙂

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

Surprisingly, it is not “What is wrong with my son?”  I’ve got used to not knowing and it wouldn’t make any difference to us or him if we had a name for his syndrome.  However, sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I’d made different choices along the way.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to? 

Finer things?  That probably depends on your definition of the “finer things”.  I don’t want to treat myself to anything that I don’t already have but a holiday to Disney every year instead of every other would be nice 😀  Oh and maybe travel first class to get there and stay in the nicest room in the most expensive Disney resort 🙂


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Share Your World – 2014: Week 21

I know, I know I’m late again!  In my defense I was away for part of the week and at work for the other part.  I’m working today too but on my lunch break so thought I’d quickly put this post up.  Anyway, thanks to Cee for some more fun questions for me to answer.  I even have my stepdaughter, Becky, taking part in Share Your World too 😀  Welcome back to the blogosphere Becky!

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If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

Talk and listen to each other, I mean really listen and understand what is being said rather than interpreting it to what you think should have been said.  If you are talking and are not understood, find a different way of getting your point across maybe with pictures instead of words.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

I want to cheat and say Disney but I’ve already done that.  Actually, what I would love to do is take a photo of all of the different 20130112-213502.jpgDisney castles in all of the different parks and then make a collage to see how they differ from park to park.

If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick?

We have a store in York called Barnitts.  It is an old-fashioned hardware/department store with lots of nooks and crannies.  I can spend hours in their kitchen and baking department and that is only a very small part of the shop!  Don’t get me wrong I could buy everything in the kitchen department but I don’t, in fact I very rarely buy anything as I don’t have the space for it at home but I can browse for hours.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

If Disney can have the Disney Dream, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Magic etc why can’t I have the Sefton Dream?


100 Happy Days – Days 7, 8 and 9

I forgot to post yesterday and the day before.  I even forgot to post on Twitter yesterday for day 8, oops!  Anyway, I posted yesterday’s photo on Twitter this morning.

Day 7 – food, again!

Day 8 – I went for an evening out with work, including my son who is a volunteer 🙂

Day 9 – parcel from Disney Store.  Who wouldn’t be happy with a parcel of Disney merchandise?


Why was it fab?

We went to Walt Disney World for the February half term and when we came back everyone asked how our holiday was. I said it was fab, wonderful, fantastic – all those words which I usually use.  My mum asked me “Why was it fab?”  I was stumped.  I can’t explain why it was one of the best holidays we’ve had.  WDW, or any Disney holiday for that matter, is always a good holiday.  It’s why we keep going back.  It’s hard to put it into words but, for us, it really is like coming home.  So, why do we keep going back?  So much so that we decided to join Disney Vacation Club back in 2009 so that we now only have to worry about finding money for the air fare, park tickets and food?

Could it be the fact that as soon as you arrive at Orlando International Airport and check in for the Magical Express we are definitely feeling the Disney difference?  No driving to the resort for us.  Just as well, the last thing my husband or I want to do is to drive after a 9 hour flight, on the wrong side of the road, not knowing where we are going.  We’ll leave the hire car for a couple of days later.

Maybe it’s because the cast members welcome you with a smile and explain everything carefully.  They also don’t mind that my son it picking up a copy of every leaflet they have on display and is constantly pointing things out to us while they are trying to explain our check-in papers.

On this last trip there was also some new stuff for us to see following the Fantasyland expansion in Magic Kingdom and the re-imagined Test Track in Epcot.  We also tried some old attractions which we’d never looked at before because my son wasn’t ready.  I can’t think why we never really looked round Innoventions at Epcot.  I liked the new disability guest assistance pass/system they have now introduced.  On previous trips, we have been able to get a Guest Assistance Card and use it to go through the Fastpass entrance to most attractions.  Now, you have to go and get a return time and then go back through the Fastpass entrance.  I think it’s better because I think it is fairer to those who haven’t been able to get a Fastpass time and have to wait in line.  We now have to wait the same length of time as the main queue but we can wait somewhere more suitable for our son, even if it isn’t very far from the entrance to the attraction.

The main reason I think this trip was fab is because we were all relaxed.  We had planned to take part in the runDisney Royal Family 5K and went to the Expo – that was brilliant and if I hadn’t had to fit everything in a suitcase, with a weight limit, I could have spent a lot of money!  We had also booked Cirque du Soleil – awesome!  We need to go again because I’m sure I missed loads.  Finally, we also went on the Wild Africa Trek.  We had been planning to go to Kennedy Space Centre but my son picked up a leaflet about the Wild Africa Trek and my husband wanted to go.  It was amazing.  We had two guides behind the scenes of Kilimanjaro Safari.  We went over a rickety rope bridge over the hippos.  We also stopped off for a light lunch/snack.

Finally, we had a lot of character meals as we had the dining plan on this trip.  I wouldn’t usually get the dining plan as it really is too much for us – my son and I could have shared a pizza at Via Napoli but as we were on the dining plan we had to get one each.  We tried some new restaurants – some we will definitely go back to (Liberty Tree Tavern) and some we won’t (1900 Park Fare, Sci-Fi Diner).

Oh, and one more thing, we upgraded our hire car to a Mustang 😀

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