Sunday, December 30, 2012

Central Market - Lancaster, PA

We are on the road right now heading back to Illinois. Just spent most of the first 90 minutes of the expected 12 hour trip going through snow. Looks good right now though.

While out east we spent a little time at Lancaster's Central Market. It's just what it sounds like - a market in the center of town. It's in a old building and houses various stalls with vendors selling everything from produce to meat to candles to baked goods. It's also next to a microbrewery. Win-win. Here's a quick video tour:


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Christmas!

We've made it! For our final installment of this year's countdown we've found a soldier's homecoming for the holidays. Let's hope there's thousands more videos like this one created today.

Merry Christmas!

Day 8 - Christmas Homecoming

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Christmas Eve

Since it's Christmas Eve we thought we'd take a look at how Santa prepares for the evening - Eighty years ago. Santa's Workshop was released December 10, 1932. Disney Fans - keep your eyes open for the hidden Mickey.

Day 7 - Santa's Workshop

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 6

One of the great things about YouTube is it gives musicians and artists a place to share their work and talent. You can find lots of folks interpreting the classics, or maybe creating the classic of the future. Our first video features 3 guys that never met in-person singing together. The second video actually teaches you how to play a song on the ukulele. The third song is aiming for "Grandma Got Runover......" fame.

Day 6 - Christmas Songs on YouTube

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 5

Being children of the seventies we've grown up with Sesame Street. Grover getting the best of the blue guy has to be one of tv's longest rivalries ("waiter there's a fly in my soup"). When stringed together these scenes make little sense (the theme may have been a wish to have Christmas every day) so think of each break as the start of a new Christmas.

Day 5 - Grover's Christmas Trees

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 4

What's Christmas without toy? Ask Donald...In this 1949 Donald Duck cartoon we find Chip and Dale gaining entry into Donald's house to steal his snacks. A battle with toy weapons breaks out. Can't say the chipmunks are in-the-right, but it's still a fun watch. Trivia: this cartoon lost the Oscar for best short to a Pepe Le Pew cartoon.

Day 4 - Toy Tinkers

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 3

Do you like Christmas lights? Do you like music? Do you like them together? Here's two samplings of holiday houses tricked out. The first video is of the Holdman House. They seemed to get a lot of national publicity over the past couple of years. The second video....Tizzel picked it, enough said.

Day 3 - Holiday House Lights

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 2

We've recently found this theme on YouTube and it's hilarious. Here's two for today's enjoyment (one with an unexpected outcome).

Day 2 - Hey Jimmy Kimmel, We Gave our Kids Terrible Christmas Gifts


Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 1

With the holidays upon us we at thought we'd give you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next eight days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it as a "home-stretch Advent Calendar". We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Day 1 - Dino the Dinosaur's Christmas Tree


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chicago Santa Hustle 5K Race Report and Video

On December 1st we joined about 8,000 others in the Santa Hustle 5K. The race start/finish and after-party location was the south side of Soldier Field. What makes this 5K unique is your race shirt is a tech shirt made to look like Santa's outfit and comes with a Santa hat and beard. Participants are encouraged to wear these items for the race. Another unique feature was the offering of cookies and candy along the course.

December in Chicago can equate to grey skies, nasty winds, snow, and freezing temperatures. Luckily, we experienced sun and temps in the 40's.

The pre-race area had lots of giant inflatable balloons: snowmen, reindeer, and Santas. Also on display were two reindeer. There was a sleigh somewhere for photo opps but we didn't use it.

We're not "joiners", but we're also not hipsters either, so doing a race with a dress code was a bit out of our element. We have to admit..... It was pretty cool to see everyone dressed similar or in-theme. Dave had a better beard than Holly, but both of us were spitting out the loose whiskers all morning.  Don't eat with this thing on.

Corralling was setup for paces from 6.5 minute miles up through 13 minute miles. Corrals were self-seeding and corrals crossed the start a few minutes apart. Nice feature: rows of porta-potties in the corrals. The course would head south: through the McCormick Place Tunnel, then follow Lake Shore Drive down, and come back north on the lake shore path.

We lined up in the 11 minute/mile corral, which was not the appropriate place for Dave - he should have been back further. But we found out very quickly that most folks were treating this as a fun/family run so many people in our corral were strolling. Once we entered the McCormick Place Tunnel we lost our satellite signals (this fact becomes important later) on our GPS watches - which is common. Once we emerged from the tunnel we were in full-sun and near mile marker 1 and the cookie station.

The turnaround took us onto the lake shore path. At the turn around you had a water/Gatorade station. This is where the course narrowed substantially. There were lots of folks walking in groups of two+ across with groups overlapping each other - so we were weaving quite a bit.  A bit further up was Mile marker 2 and the candy station. We were handed decent-sized cups of mini M&M's.

The rest of the course finished up along the lake. We passed bythe prairie restoration area, McCormick Place, and Burnham Harbor. The finish line chute was stocked with waters, candy canes, bananas, and granola bars. Back in the runner's village there was a self-serve area with milk and cookies.

Dave thought he got a 3+ minute PR by walking the course in just under 40 minutes. We're not quite sure the course was a true 3.1 miles long. Our Garmins showed us 2.86 miles, but maybe they didn't compensate for the McCormick Tunnel. Dave was a little skeptical when he hit the 2 mile mark at 26:40. We checked the Facebook Page for the race and found other people had the same comments, but then other folks said their devices registered 3.1 miles or more. ASM posted this notice on the race page:

Oh well..... We had a fun time at the race and would consider doing it again. We attended one of the after-parties held at several pubs in the city. It was kind of fun to be in a bar with everyone still dressed as Santa.

Check out our video from the race below:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spectating the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Races

Dave was a guest on Episode 20 of The Mickey Miles Podcast talking about spectating the 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon races held at Walt Disney World each January. We thought this would be a good opportunity to pull some of Team Tizzel's resources together to show you what the spectators see and give you some tips if you are going down to the races next month. Also, be sure to check RunDisney's website for more information.

General tips:

  • The races start very early in the morning. Be prepared for 3am or earlier wake-up calls.
  • All three races start in Epcot's parking lot. Road closures make getting around difficult. If you are staying off-site plan to leave your hotel extremely early. If you are staying on site take the buses from the resorts to the start lines or leave your hotel by 3:45am if driving yourself (5K departures can be around 5am) . Monorail resort spectators have the option of going straight to the Magic Kingdom via Monorail or walking from The Contemporary Resort.
  • Make sure you have supplies on-hand that your runner may need along the way.
  • Make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable. As a spectator you will log a couple of miles walking from place-to-place. Use the bathroom as soon as you get to your spectating area and get snacks and beverages ahead of time.
  • Be visible. Have a balloon, bright shirt, anything so you stand out.
  • Keep in contact with your runner and share your general spectating plan with them. It's easier for them to see you rather than for you to spot your runner.
  • All parks except the Magic Kingdom require admission to watch the race within the park. The finish line is in the parking lot of Epcot so no admission required.
  • Have your post-race meeting area picked out. There's a family reunion area after the finish line with signs for all the letters of the alphabet - ideally to match your last name.
  • As RunDisney improves the race experience changes may occur each year. Some of the advice we give here may not be valid come this year's race weekend.

  • The 5K has only two possible spectating areas. The first one is just passed the start line. The second one is right before the finish line. To get to the finish line spectating area you would follow the bleacher line away from the finish to an area that has a clear view of the course and Spaceship Earth.
  • This video from the 2012 race will give you an idea of where both locations are. Note you will see folks standing in the area in front of the start line in the video, but they are 5Kers waiting to get into the corral for the next heat. You want to be beyond that area and race announcer Rudy Novotny.

Half Marathon

  • Most people want to see this race in the Magic Kingdom and the finish line at Epcot. This is easy to accomplish for folks following the average Disney race runner. It's difficult to do for folks with fast times (under nine minutes per mile).
  • Our base spectating plan is to leave Epcot around 4:30am and start walking to the Epcot Monorail. From there you will transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Resort/Magic Kingdom Monorail.
  • The Magic Kingdom does not open until 5:30 (based on prior years) and the Monorail will not stop there until that time. Best bets are to keep doing laps or get off at The Contemporary and walk. At the Contemporary you can get a real cup of coffee at the lobby coffee stand (and some sweets) or get other portable breakfast items from Contempo Cafe.
  • At the Magic Kingdom we suggest not standing with your back to the Emporium or Casey's. The course is narrow and your line of sight is limited. We suggest the corner of the Emporium with you back to the train station, or anywhere from the 6'oclock position of the hub (the direction Walt and Mickey face) up to the Tommorowland Bridge. Note: the hub is a coveted spot so get there on time.
  • Once your runner passes you may have time to make it to the front of the castle (access point is by Tomorrowland Bridge) for a picture of them running out of the castle.
  • Head back to the Monorail and over to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Transfer to the Epcot Monorail. Lines will be longer this morning than normal. They do a good job of getting everyone over to Epcot quickly.
  • If you think you can....head to the right after getting off the Monorail to watch your runner enter Epcot at Mile 12. After that you should then have enough time to walk quickly to the bleachers at the finish line area.
  • This video from the 2012 Half will show you a view from Magic Kingdom, mile 11/12 before entering Epcot, and the finish. The Castle shot is seen in the Marathon video in the next section.


  • Everything mentioned for the Half applies to the Full Marathon as well. One change this year is the fact that the Marathon course follows the Half course for the first 8 miles. Last year runners got to the Magic Kingdom around mile 10 Marathon Day. In 2013 they get there at mile 5.3. This means the spectator has about 20 miles of race time to kill until the finish. If you follow the Magic Kingdom-Epcot strategy you should have time for breakfast at the Polynesian Resort and then take a walk over to the Transportation and Ticket Center to get the Epcot Monorail.
  • Alternatives to the Magic Kingdom-Epcot Strategy:
    • After leaving the Magic Kingdom go over to The Contemporary and catch a bus to Animal Kingdom. Depending on your runner's pace you may see them around mile 13/14. You can then take a bus to Epcot.
    • The Studios have Extra Magic Hours for resort guests and opens at 8am. Make your way over there to watch the race. If you see your runner in The Studios or along the Epcot resort path area you will not see them finish.
    • Spend some time in Epcot when it opens at 9am. You should have time to shop and get a snack before having to make it to the finish area.
    • Watch the final mile of the race from World Showcase. If you do you won't see the finish. Here's a pro-tip: Watch your runner enter Epcot at the UK Pavilion then head towards Canada and the World Showcase Promenade area to see them again.
    • There are points near the Monorail Resorts and Epcot Resorts to watch the race without entering the parks.
    • There are other parts around the course that require a little work to get to, but allow you to camp out and see the runners twice without moving. Miles 16/21 and 17/20. You may have to walk quite a distance to get to these areas (with no bathrooms around).
  • This video from 2011 shows the Magic Kingdom-Epcot strategy. In this case we take some video at the Castle and watch runners enter Epcot in the UK, then again as they enter Future World.

Hopefully this crash course in spectating Marathon Weekend has been helpful. We want to make sure you have a great time at the RunDisney events. If have any questions you can ask Dave via email, or post a comment in the section below.