Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 Detroit Free Press Marathon Race Report and Video - October 2018

Here is Holly’s report from the 2018 Detroit Freedom Press Marathon held in October.   After the report you will find our video and Dave’s comments on the weekend. 


I had planned to do one Fall marathon this season to help keep me in shape for my final state marathon in January (Maui).   I planned on the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November.    While walking around the Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon Expo in July, I was somehow conned by friends into signing up for the Detroit Free Press marathon two weeks earlier than Indy.   I figured it would be a good training run.   They and the “they” know who they are, said: it will be fun!  You get to run into Canada!  It’s a flat course.   There are lot of breweries, it will be a fun weekend.  While it was a fun weekend, the race was not my favorite.   They neglected to tell me about the huge bridge to get into Canada and then the mile long underwater tunnel to get back to America.  Yikes.


We did have a ton of fun the Friday and Saturday before the race.    Sunday morning came early and it was cold, very cold!   I wore all my cold running gear and I still never warmed up during the entire race.   I was running the full with Stan and this was his comeback marathon after having surgery in the Spring.  He was ready to go!   We also ran the first half with John who is always great company and does a good job pacing us.    It had been awhile since I have run a larger race and we had a bit of trouble getting in the corrals, but finally made our way in and then waited a bit until our wave was ready to go.



The initial miles went by quickly and soon we were on our way up the bridge and into Canada.  Thankfully the bridge was paved the whole way so I didn’t have to worry about looking down through any grates.  I was a bit worried about that.  It was a steep climb, but that really was the only significant hill on the course.  It was cool to be able to run right through the customs booths and not have to stop.   The Canadian spectators were out in force and they were cheering us all on.   It was just a couple of miles in Canada and then we entered the dreaded tunnel.   I am claustrophobic and was not looking forward to this.   It was also hot and humid in the tunnel, not ideal when you have been freezing the last 8 miles and will be back in the cold again shortly.   I tried not to look up at the cracked ceiling and steel reinforcements, but I started having a panic attack.   We ran faster.  Stan did a good job of talking to me and we just kept going.  I was so happy to be out of that tunnel and back in the USA!   Now we are 8 miles in and my legs feel like we are 18 miles in.  That is not good.    Now the mental game begins for me.   I don’t need to finish the race, I have this state already, etc.  But I kept saying, which will feel worse, quitting or continuing to run.   Quitting won out, barely!  



Stan and I reluctantly left John at the 13 mile mark and made the turn to continue to do the Full.   We saw Dave here and a couple more times, but it was challenging for him to get around the city.   We kept running and there were some really nice neighborhoods we ran through and they had some great snacks and even some beer!   


We get to mile 20, which is across another bridge to get to an island that we have to run around.  I had some stomach issues here that caused us to lose some time.   We were finally back off the island and then made the turn back to downtown to run along the river.   I was very happy to finally see the finish line and be done!     We then had to walk forever to get out of the finish area and I was really freezing by then.  We hurried back to the hotel where I took the hottest shower ever and got quickly checked out so we could get on the road to home.   We had a six hour drive ahead of us which isn’t the best after a race.  I swore I would never get right in the car after a race again.    It is a fun race, but I think the combination of the cold weather and going out too fast over the bridge and through the tunnel, did some damage to our legs, which caused the laterpart of the race to really stink!  



Here is the video



Dave’s Comments


We decided not to make it to Detroit in one drive.  There were some landmark breweries on the way.  Stan and Pam subscribed to my crazy idea.  We left Chicagoland and headed to Kalamazoo, MI. There are several breweries in town but we chose to visit its most famous: Bell’s.  Great location in town in a historical building. We had a flight each before heading east to Marshall, MI.


We were staying overnight in Marshall.  Looked like a cute town.  Our dinner/drinking destination was Dark Horse Brewing   They had a great space that we may decide to experience sometime in the summer.  Great beer and decent food (gourmet calzones).  On our way back to the hotel Stan declared that we should visit the newest location of Grand River Brewing.   We bought merchandise from Dark Horse.


Saturday we met up with the Troost clan.  They had all our Detroit activities planned out.  We had lunch (and beer) at Batch Brewing followed by some Fowling (throwing footballs at bowling pins) and more great Michigan craft beer. We drove by Motown Records but didn’t think quick enough to ask Maggie to stop for a photo.








I’m glad Molly caught me in such graceful poses.  The next morning was a bit manic.  We left for the start line later to minimize time for the runners standing out in the cold corrals.   For me that meant a big push through the crowds to get to the start line to film.  I made it in enough time for Holly’s wave.   Since I had time to kill (Mile 8 was my next viewpoint and it was at the hotel) I walked back to the hotel for a pathetically toasted bagel at Panera.   I found Molly and waited for runners as they came back from Canada before going to the finish line to see the half runners come in.   I headed over to mile 13 for the marathon before going back to the car to hit a few more spots.  Since this was a big race and multiple races were occurring I did not go all out chasing.   I saw Holly for the last time around mile 18.  I ended up back downtown in time to spend a few minutes in a casino before catching the finish.  


We really wanted to get home so we sadly had to miss lunch with the Troost family. We ended up getting Steak and Shake - which was awful.





Friday, November 2, 2018

Charities of the Months - September - November 2018

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.



In August we supported Ronald McDonald House Charities based on the work they do (and a cute marketing campaign on their part) with a $125 donation.

November Charity of the Month Quarter:


Open Heart Magic
Cubs Care


Yes Charity of the Month has not been on-target the last few months.   This time we have a good excuse.    We wanted to concentrate on a couple of charities because of their impact on a certain individual's life and thought it would be better to do it in one post vs. spreading it out over a few months.

Early this year a ten-year old boy that is the nephew/grandson of our friends was diagnosed with ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia.    The family has gone through a lot over the past months with unexpected hospital trips, canceled treatments because his counts were too low, etc.   He's gone through many chemo treatments (including spinal tap treatments) and several transfusions.   

Early on Open Heart Magic made a lasting impact on him.  The organization entertains kids in hospitals with magic tricks and provides needed encouragement.  His grandmother gave them very high praise.    The boy is also a huge Chicago Cub's Baseball fan.   In August he got to visit Wrigley Field and spend time in the dugout and behind the scenes touring the facility and meeting players.  About a month later a Cubs player visited his hospital ward during a treatment (through Starlight Foundation) which again was another great boost to his spirits. 

About ALL from St. Jude's:


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer that affects the white blood cells. These cells fight infection and help protect the body against disease.Patients with ALL have too many immature white blood cells in their bone marrow. These cells crowd out normal white blood cells. Without enough normal white blood cells, the body has a harder time fighting infections.ALL affects a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes, causing them to build up in the liver, spleen and lymph nodes.

About Open Heart Magic from their website:
Helping all sick kids get their magic back.... Being hospitalized can be frightening for anyone, but especially for a critically ill child. As kids undergo difficult or painful treatments – surrounded by strangers – they can become overwhelmed with fear and sadness.

That’s where Open Heart Magic comes in. Our Bedside Magic™ programs bring laughter, hope and strength to sick children – one-to-one – at their hospital bedsides. Our volunteer Hospital Magicians are trained to work with all kids in a hospital – regardless of their medical conditions or physical abilities – so that every child can benefit from this entertaining and empowering therapy.
About Cubs Care:
Cubs Care is committed to helping those less fortunate improve their lives and strengthen children and families. With the generous support of fans, donors and matching funds provided by the McCormick Foundation, grants are made to qualified nonprofit organizations with programs that concentrate on child and youth education and health and wellness. In addition, the Chicago Cubs and the Foundation pay all campaign and administrative expenses, so one hundred percent of all donations, plus the match, goes to improving lives.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Walt Disney World Highlights - September 2018 Trip

The two main focuses of this Labor Day weekend trip to Walt Disney World were Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and Hollywood Studio’s Toy Story Land.  The Food and Wine Festival was covered in our last post so please check this link to view that post.   Thanks to our Disney Vacation Club (Disney timeshare program) ownership we were able to stay at The Grand Floridian Hotel.  The relatively new rooms were very nice and having two showers in a studio room helped us to get ready quickly in the mornings.

Toy Story Land

This section of Hollywood Studios opened up in the early summer.  Guests are made to feel like hey are in Andy’s backyard experiencing his creations from a toy’s POV.   The land is home to a new roller coaster, spinner ride, and the new entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania.   As of now there is only one narrow entrance into the land.   We rope-dropped the new coaster (Slinky Dog Dash) on both our visits. These ended up being the most aggressive rope-drops ever experienced since this was the longest distance we’ve ever traveled with the hordes.  We made it on the first coaster of each day (unfortunately Dave takes pleasure in navigating the rope-drop) making enemies with pushy selfie-loving millennial along the way.  

Slinky Dog Dash is not a thrilling coaster.  It is a fun ride with lots of cute features and nods to the movie lore.






Alien Saucer Swirl is a copy of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Disneyland with a green alien overlay.  It’s very cute and the techno soundtrack is fun.




The rest of the land is filled with giant statues of Toy Story characters and vignettes of toys.  

















Other Fun

In the Magic Kingdom we visited Stitch’s new meet and greet location in the old location of Stitch’s Great Escape.  The meet took place in the preshow lobby and they did not spend one cent on remodeling.   When finished we walked through the preshow theater and out the door that must have been a chicken exit.  We got to walk on a little back area path we’ve never been on before and saw a cool poster about a rocket expo.  





The Incredible Summer Celebration (Tomorrowland takeover) was still going on.  We spent a few moments at the Purple Wall (made a thing on Instagram so now Disney is capitalizing on it) having Photo Pass guy take our picture.  We were on Splash Mountain when the lights came on for the end scene.  We were hoping to get evacuated but it never happened.  













Saturday, October 6, 2018

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2018

We decided to spend Labor Day Weekend at Walt Disney World.  Thanks to Our Disney Vacation Club (Disney timeshare program) ownership we were able to stay at The Grand Floridian Hotel.  The relatively new rooms were very nice and having two showers in a studio room helped us to get ready quickly in the mornings.

Our focus of this trip was Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.  Our pre-planning indicated we would eat/drink 60 different menu items (spoiler:  we didn’t make it).  During the Festival we would attend one paid food/wine seminar with a chef, join in candy sushi making (a reserved event), and attend one performance from Tiffany.

This year Disney had a few Festival gifts for Annual Passholders.  The first was a magnet featuring Mickey in a chef hat.   The other was a cutting board attained by going to Epcot 4 times during the festival.   We had four park days planned but Epcot was not part of our last day’s plan.   We decided to run (almost literally) into Epcot before checking in to our room and making our dinner ressie at Narcoossee’s (in the Grand Floridian).   Our plane pulled up to the gate at 7pm.   By 7:50 we were in our rental car, buying supplies at Speedway, and made it to Epcot’s gate - at a dead stop.   Combine the holiday weekend with the 2nd night of Food and Wine and you have a lot of people heading to Epcot.   We sat there for 15 minutes as cars paid their parking fees every so slowly.   Then 8:00 hit and parking was free!   Lanes opened up and we parked in the first spot we found.   We race-walked to the entrance in the 100% humidity and high temps.   Dave looked great.   Once in the Festival Center we found a long line for the magnets.  Might as well grab a beer while we wait.   After getting the magnets we hustled out of there.   Dave was crabby since his nice clothes for dinner were drenched with sweat.   Fortunately we made it to the hotel in time to check in and quickly freshen up.  Dinner at Narcoossee’s was nice.  We watched the Hallowishes Fireworks from the porch - which was possibly the best place on property to view the 180 degree effects.



Overall the Food & Wine Festival was same stuff-different year, but that didn’t mean it still wasn’t fun.   The booth lines were relatively low all weekend.  We believe the heat and humidity kept the locals away.  At times Epcot was very crowded but folks were not on food lines.  There were plenty of Drinkin’ Around the World crews, tribes, and squads.

While at the Festival we used the Food & Wine Passport book to track our progress.   We used a check-mark for good items, a dash so so-so, and an X for items we did not like.





Any food item pictures we have will follow the order of the marks in the Passport.  Some beverages don’t have photos since they may have just been a beer or red wine.








No photos of the beers from the Festival Center.  We each had a flight and had too much to manage while sharing our flights on line for the magnets.  We did enjoy the Disney Family Wine flight.







Tip:  if it is too hot too eat outside there are a few tables in Club Cool you can use.  Added bonus is free soda.











Skipped this one


Both these items were among our favorites.







The black stuff with the scallops was nasty.














We enjoyed the next 5. At first we rated the jerk chicken high, but realized it didn’t have the flavor of Dave’s recipe.













We did have the shrimp quesadilla in Mexico. It was good but not worth the high price.   China’s pancake was a top item.







The beef from Africa has been better in previous years.  Holly thought it was spicy hot.  This is the first year we skipped the Brewer’s Collection - the beers were too light for us and we’ve tried those same beers during another fest.   Also disappointing - German pavilion replaced the Oktoberfest beer with everyday Beck’s.




No photo....this is a Fest staple item and it is always very good.



Stuck with beer here.  Sometimes this booth is a hit-or-miss and we were never really hungry when near the pavilion.



Took a chance here with tuna and salmon (we don’t do raw fish). Everything was good.  Brazil scallop stew was very good.












They never give you enough bread for any cheese dip.













Other fun:

We watched a performance by Tiffany at the American Gardens theater.  She can sing and even mentioned how she had to prove it back in the 80’s with “Could Have Been”.  Her vocals were a mix of Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks, and Miley Cyrus.   Tiffany knew her audience and played all her hits plus an 80’s medley.


We attended a seminar in the Festival Center.  For $25 each we were served a glass of wine and a small portion of food similar to what the chef was preparing on stage.  Our menu featured a wine from a Chappellet in Napa Valley and short rib bourguignon.   The wine was a restaurant-size pour and the beef a decent few-bite portion. The time commitment was about 60 minutes. 







On Friday and Saturday the park hosts a dance party near the Fountain of Nations.  While there we saw a performance by IRL (In Real Life).  We had no idea who they were, but the girls in the crowd were singing along.   We found out later that they have some hits on Radio Disney and were part of a reality tv show.  We took a selfie with them in the background to up our street creds.




This year a new free event started in Sunshine Seasons where you make candy sushi.   It was sponsored by M&M Mars and Adventures by Disney to promote their Japan itinerary.  We were given paper hats and materials to make several varieties of sushi.  There were a few other kidless adults at the event and we did not feel out of place.  









Even after attending this festival so many times it’s still a great event.  Epcot is the perfect place to walk around and sample food and drink while taking in some fun entertainment.   We even got a cutting board out of it.