Saturday, December 26, 2015

Namibia: First Night and First Small Flight

We landed in Windheok, Namibia's capital, around 2pm and our flight out of town was scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. We only had one item on our agenda while in town: visit Joe's Beerhouse. It was very close to our hotel; the cute Olive Grove Guesthouse. We were assured it was a safe walk as long as we didn't look like tourists. We could tell we were in a good neighborhood, and we had no prints on our t-shirts that would give us away as Americans, so we felt fairly safe. Our innkeeper told us to turn right at the light. When we turned right at the light we were on a major 4 lane highway with no sidewalk. Holly suggested we did it wrong, which indeed we had. There was a sidewalk that separated us from our turn that was JUST BEFORE the light.

Joe's is a place that started as something fun, funky, and local that has now turned into a corporate machine. It had the look and feel of a chain going for that "Out of Africa" feel. It was crowded (since the football/soccer match was on) with a mix of locals and tourists. There were no bar seats When we arrived so we sat at a barrel and ordered some beers. A few minutes later a Namibian shared our barrel, started a small conversation, and was surprised we were Americans. It seems they are not used to Americans visiting All that often (tourists are usually European). Throughout the trip many Namibians asked us why we chose their country to visit. They must not read Conde Nast, Afar, or other magazines to know that Namibia has been a hot destination for the last few years. 4 bottles of beer and tip came out to $8.70. Love the Rand/Namibian Dollar/US Dollar exchange rate.

Our walk to the inn was less-eventful given we knew our way back. We settled into the deck chairs near our room and enjoyed the bottle of champagne Dave arranged to have on our arrival. Later on we ate a nice three-course dinner pool-side. With a bottle of wine and the help of a favorable exchange rate the dinner for two was around $50.

We had an early morning departure to the south and were picked up at 7:30am for the short trip to Eros Airstrip. This was not the same main airport that we flew into. This airport was for small planes. The ride took us through the center of the city and we were happy to see how clean, modern, and new many of the buildings were, and how the old German architecture mixed-in with the landscape.

When we arrived at Eros no one else was at the airport but a security guard and the snack bar worker. A while later another couple showed up. A few pilots and other staff were coming in-and-out but not much other action. Around 8:25 (our departure was 8:30) our pilot came out from a back room and grabbed us. We walked through security with minimal hassle and were escorted to our private plane (the other couple didn't show up).

Our one hour ride over the desert would be in a small 6-seater Cessna. Good thing we're not bad fliers. Our pilot gave us the safety run-down and told of what sights to look for along the way. Once we got off the ground it didn't take long for the plane to be over nothing but nature. We saw very few buildings the whole flight. People suggested for us to do a self-drive through all this?

We watched the landscape change from flat sand/rock to jagged mountain and then sand covered hills.

The self-drive could have been a cool adventure, but seeing all this "nothing" from the sky was so the way to go. It was blank and beautiful at the same time.
Here is some video from the flight:



Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Christmas Day

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Once again we celebrate Christmas Day with Military Homecomings. Please enjoy these final two videos.

Christmas - Military Homecomings

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 9

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Tizzel could not believe that this was popular back in 1984.

Day 9 - Scene from Yes Punky, there is a Santa Claus


2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 8

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Dave remembers seeing this Muppet Show skit as a kid and has been messing up the lyrics ever since.

Day 8 - Muppets: Sweet Gingerbread Man



2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 7

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Holly requested a Frank Sinatra video to celebrate his 100th birthday. There's not much out there Christmas related but this one is pretty good.

Day 7 - Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra - Christmas Songs


Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 6

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

We don't know who Joel is, but he has a series of Christmas songs featuring his hand puppets.

Day 6 - Joel's Puppets Fishy Christmas Songs - Jingle Bells



2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 5

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Time to take the class-level down a peg. If you like Charlie the Unicorn you may enjoy Bad Christmas Tree.

Day 5 - Bad Christmas Tree



Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 4

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Baby Huey fends off a wolf-in-Santa's-clothing in Jumping for Toys. Good example of mid-century modern art style in this one.

Day 4 - Jumping for Toys


2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 3

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Today we have a holiday short from 1949 that includes a sing-along at the end.

Day 3 - Snow Foolin'


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 2

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Staying "traditional" with a modern twist on holiday lights in the UK

Day 2 - Christmas Video Mapping - Jolly's Department Store - Bath, UK


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 1

We know you have been looking forward to this all year! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

We are keeping it classy (today) with our first video featuring a montage of classic films.

Day 1 - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (Classic Movies)


2015 Outer Banks Marathon Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's 2015 Outer Banks Marathon Report and Video:

This race has been on my radar for a while. I used to vacation at the Outer Banks as a kid and I knew it was a pretty area and it would make a good spot for a race. They also had a Pirate Challenge, which involved doing an 8k on Saturday, and the Full Marathon on Sunday. The challenge has since been downplayed to a pretty generic thing but you did still get a bonus medal. Dave and I arrived Friday afternoon and took in the sights and then met Michael who came in to do the challenge with me.

The 8k on Saturday was mostly on a wooded trail that was pretty rough. It was hot and super humid. After the 8k I wasn’t feeling very confident about the marathon on Sunday. Thankfully a big storm came in Saturday afternoon and dropped the temperature and changed the direction of the wind.

The weather for the marathon ended up being almost perfect. There was a 20 mph wind but thankfully it was mostly a tailwind. Those few times we did turn into the wind were not fun so I’m very happy it was at our backs for most of the day. My parents and brother came down to cheer us on and got up at a ridiculous hour to get to the start. They are crazy but I love them and I’m happy they were there!

The start had two waves and very quickly we were off on a point to point course from Kitty Hawk to Manteo. It was a very scenic route that had us running on the bayside in the beginning by some beautiful homes. Michael (Twitter: @makomichael) was up to his usual shenanigans, which made the race go by quickly. I felt pretty good in the beginning and our pace was a bit quick. We did run on that same rough trail we did for the 8k, (Michael and I argued for a mile that this was the same trail we ran on the day before) and then an even rougher single track trail, which I wasn’t a fan of.

Around the midpoint my stomach started hurting which never happens. It slowed us down a bit but we were still on a good pace. To get in to Manteo you have to run over this huge bridge. I saw a bridge WAY in the distance when we were at Mile 21 or so and I said to Michael that there is no way that is the bridge. He of course said, Yep, that’s it. It was so far away and then it was so long to get across. Longest last miles ever. I was very happy to finally get to the finish line and see my family there to cheer me on. Thanks to them for braving the wind and cold and cheering me on at a ton of places. Thanks to Dave for doing a great job of getting them safely around the course. The after party was nice with beer, pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries. I would definitely recommend this race as one to do for North Carolina, just beware of the bridge!

Dave's Comments

This was my first visit to The Outer Banks and I had no idea what to expect. The first surprise for me was the fact that there aren't any restaurants or bars on the beach. Most establishments were a block-or-two off the beach or in a strip mall on the main drag. We flew into Norfolk and had a pleasant drive down with a stop at Weeping Radish Brewery and Sausage Shop. We were lucky enough to also see where the Monster Truck Grave Digger lives.

After attending the race expo we hit a near-beach bar for Happy Hour shrimp and fish. Holly then took me to Jockey's Ridge State Park for sunset. This is an area with large sand dunes and a view of the inlet. It was really pleasant until the wind picked up and sandblasted us. Michael found us leaving the dune and the three of us headed out for more snacks and eventually dinner.

On Saturday Michael and Holly ran the 8k. I thought about doing this too but I asked a man at the expo about the course. As soon as he said "wooded trail" I was out. In my opinion not having the race on/near the beach in a beach town was a missed opportunity. Instead of running I was put in charge of picking up the Duck Donuts and walked the beach a bit. After the race we went to the Wright Brothers Memorial and made it just in time for ranger talk. This fact only excited Holly. Afterwards Michael drove us down to Cape Hatteras to see more dunes and the lighthouse. We had lunch in the area before returning back to Kill Devil's Duck Donuts for Michael's family order. Fortunately the shop was near the Outer Banks Brewing Station.

Sunday was Race Chasing with the family. We figured we would be good up until Mile 19 before we had to go over the big bridge and out of our way to get to the finish (20 minute detour for the race). It was a bit chilly most of the day (and windy) and we spent a lot of time sitting in the car sheltered. Once Michael and Holly hit the long open road of the main drag it was time for us to pack it in and head to the finish. The rest of the day was spent driving to and hanging out in Virginia Beach.

Here's the video:



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why we went to Namibia

Every couple of years we try to plan a longer-than-usual vacation to a destination we are interested in that requires a bit of time to explore.

Our first long journey was in 2005 to visit Botswana (safari), Zambia (Victoria Falls), and South Africa (Cape Town region). We fell in love with the experience and returned to Africa in 2008 to experience Botswana in the winter (our earlier trip was during the summer) and see Victoria Falls again with water actually flowing (summer time was low flow and not very falls-like). While on these trips we met many folks whom had traveled through Africa and we would ask them where should we visit next. They all would answer Namibia.

Namibia is not a typical safari destination like Kenya, Tanzania, or Botswana. Game-viewing favorite animals are only found in the northern section where there's actually water in rivers provided by the rains in Angola. The Namib Desert is the oldest desert in the world and is home to the largest sand dunes. The Skeleton Coast is a beach destination like no other with rough seas, shipwrecks, and colonies of flamingos and seals. Namibia is the second least-densely populated country with 2.3MM people living in an area 1/2 the size of Alaska. The country was colonized by Germany, part of the British Empire, then ruled by South Africa until 1990. Over 80% of the country is Christian and the official language is English.

We tried to pull this trip off in 2009/2010 but the Namibian tourist infrastructure was not as well defined as it is today. Our agent advised us we could do a self-driving tour, but driving 300 miles at a time through the desert didn't sound like an appealing option. Waiting a few years allowed for the opening of new lodges/camps in unique locations and time for the fly-in options to develop. We decided to save up money and frequent flier miles to have our trip coincide with our 20th wedding anniversary.


Using Thanksgiving weekend as an anchor for our trip we knew we could work in a two week touring schedule. We definitely wanted to see the big sand dunes which meant we had to go south to Sossusvlei. Sand boarding (sleigh riding in sand) sounded fun and they do that in the coastal town of Swakopmund. Dave wanted to see Twyfelfontein - a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with cave art. Holly always wanted to see the Skeleton Coast with its shipwrecks. A couple camps had quad biking available as an activity so we were hoping to work that in as well.

We used to book our entire trip. They are a Cape Town based online agency we discovered in 2003 when planning our first trip. We've worked with our agent Bonita for 8 years and trust her with our trips. All of our Botswana safari camp experiences were in lodges owned by Wilderness Safaris. Since we liked the experiences and services they provided we only considered their lodges in Namibia. We looked through the Wilderness offerings and matched up areas/camps with our interests. We booked the preliminary itinerary in August 2014 and secured our frequent flier tickets in January 2015. Based on the flights we booked, and the in-country flights provided through Wilderness Air, we ended up having to add another night in Windhoek because we couldn't get back to Johannesburg from our final camp in time to make the flight to London.

Since we are affiliated with American Airlines / One World Alliance,  British Airways offered the most direct route for us to use our miles for free tickets. We went from Chicago to London, London to Johannesburg, then Joburg to Windhoek. All flights had long layovers. We have been hoarding miles for this occasion and had enough to book at minimum business class. This helped us sleep on all the overnight flights with full-flat seats and helped us relax at the airports with lounge access (lounges save lives). We left on a Thursday evening and finally landed in Namibia Saturday afternoon. The return trip had only one overnight flight.

The end result of all this work and time planning was a fantastic trip! More information to come in upcoming posts.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Charity of the Month: Toys for Tots

Charity of the Month is the newest 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.

November: In November we sponsored the National MS Society to honor several friends that are living with the disease. We will donate $125 to the National MS Society via their webpage.

December's Charity:

You may be familiar with this one. The U.S. Marines organize a major toy drive to help bring smiles to needy children each Christmas.

This one is simple: Either donate money online or drop an unwrapped toy into a bin at a participating location. Here's more about the program straight from their website:

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program

MISSION: The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

GOAL: The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

ACTIVITIES: The principal Toys for Tots activity which takes place each year is the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located. In communities without a Reserve Unit, the campaign can be conducted by a Marine Corps League Detachment or group of men and women, generally veteran Marines, authorized by Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a local Toys for Tots campaign. Local Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinators conduct an array of activities throughout the year, which include golf tournaments, foot races, bicycle races and other voluntary events designed to increase interest in Toys for Tots, and concurrently generate toys and monetary donations.

Click the button below to donate:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Disney World September 2015 - Part 4

Since we are way far behind on posts we are going to rush through the Disney posts. Dave put together a little video combining some film of us at The Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom with other photos from the day.

We enjoyed our day in the park and found a possible Off-Kilter replacement. Burudika plays Afropop sets in the afternoons in Harambe.

Later that evening we had an excellent time dining with friends at Victoria and Albert's.

Sorry for phoning this in, but there's more posts to come including finishing up Disney, Holly's OBX Marathon report, Namibia posts, and of course Tizzel's Christmas Countdown.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

In Namibia

We are about a third of the way through our vacation in Namibia and likely to be out of contact for the next few days. Here's a sample of our fun so far:



Friday, November 13, 2015

2015 Cape Cod Marathon Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's report from the 2015 Cape Cod Marathon with video at the end of the post:

Time to knock off Massachusetts from the 50 State Map. Most everyone I tell about running a marathon in every state asks if I have done Boston. I then tell them no because I am too slow. I decided to do another marathon for Massachusetts and hold out hope that by some miracle I’ll get faster and run Boston someday. Cape Cod seemed like a perfect race. It fit my schedule and I had never been to Cape Cod. Dave had as a kid, but Falmouth looked like a cute town to spend the weekend.

We got in to town Friday night and had a great time in Falmouth. We had great food at Bear in Boots and fun listening to live music at Liam McGuire's. The next day we hit the expo. The expo was small but nice. We got some seriously discounted running clothes and I checked in at the 50 States Marathon Club table. We spent the rest of the day exploring the Cape and had a great Italian dinner.

My friend from Team All Ears, Steven decided to join me for the marathon and it was great to have the company. Dave and I stayed at the Captain’s Manor Inn and it was perfect for the race since it was right across from the start/finish area so very easy for race day.

We lucked out on race day. The weather was perfect, although a bit windy along the coast, but we weren’t by the water for too many miles. The course was challenging for sure. It was fairly flat for the first half but the second half was quite hilly. It would have been nice to have that switched around. Steven and I did a great job of keeping to our pace for the first 20 miles or so but then we started to get a bit tired of the hills and started walking up and running down. It worked well.

Dave did a great job of chasing as always. I was starving because once again it was a late start race, 8:30. I asked for chips and he came through by driving up to a private country club and walking right in. He is amazing. The course scenery was great. We ran along the coast by a lighthouse, through Woods Hole, through beautiful fall colors and even by a cranberry bogs! That was a first for me and it was cool to see them in person.

We finally got to the end of the race and got a really nice medal. The after race food was great, even for us back of the packers. They had hot clam chowder, cider doughnuts, cranberry juice and popcorn. It was all perfect and very yummy. This race was really a fun one due to things to do in town, the course - minus the hills, and the great race organization. I would definitely do this one again.

Dave's Comments

Finding lodging so close to the race start/finish and town made things so much easier. Once we arrived to town Friday night, we parked the car and took a quick walk to dinner. The two establishments we visited that night (Bear in Boots and Liam McGuire's) had nice craft beer selections. Dinner at Bear was excellent and the band had drawn most of town into Liam's that night.

The next morning we drove by a lighthouse and along the coast before Holly took me to Woods Hole - a place I never heard of. When she was younger a dream job for her was to do marine work out of this place. It was fun to see her excited about it. The town parking runs on coin meters and early morning we could not find change easily. The post office would not break a dollar for me so we each bought a stamp to get a total of four quarters. We saw some exhibits in the museum about the artic, deep sea exploration, and the Titanic. After the museum and exploring shops we headed to Sandwich where we heard we could see some glass blowing. The cute little town hosts America's oldest glas shop and a glass museum. The glass shop did not have any demos going on so we browsed the high priced items for a few minutes before leaving. We had lunch at Dan'l Webster Inn (ok you only gain one character when shortening Daniel to Dan'l. Just write it out.) which was very good.

Dinner was at La Cucina Sul Mare along with every other person in town. The place was packed! They didn't take ressies for small groups so the hostess stand was mobbed all night. We let go our wait list table when we finally landed some bar seats. The food was excellent!

The race course overall was fairly residential with some views of the water and an occasional a cranberry bog. There weren't too many snack stops available along the way but I did find a great country market for coffee and a giant whoopie pie at mile 14. During the race I was egging Steven and Holly on to pass a woman dressed as the Gorton's Fisherman. Thankfully that event occurred.

When the race ended we had lunch in town at The Quarterdeck. Lobster scampi and lobster rolls! Steven departed for home and we browsed the shops and spent a few hours in Liam's drinking some more New England beers and talking to runners. We headed back into Sul Mare when we saw they had a band and ordered a rigatoni vodka pizza. Incredible. Afterwards we stopped in Anejo because I heard they had nice margaritas. They did have a nice drink, but it came in a quart-sized glass.

The next day we headed to Boston (such a hard town to drive in) and hit up Harpoon Brewery. We sampled a few beers and found their IPA tolerable. We had a giant pretzel before taking a short walk to Legal Seafood. I was struggling with my lunch decision until I found out they did lobster rolls hot with butter instead of mayo. Sign me up!

Overall another great trip. Here' the video:


Friday, November 6, 2015

November Charity of the Month: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Charity of the Month is the 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

October: In October we sponsored the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to support a friend raising money for this organization. He reached his fundraising goal and has to wear a zebra outfit during a half marathon. Zebras are the symbolic animal of PHA. Our donation of $125 will help aid in research.

November's Charity:

We have a couple of friends that are living with MS so we thought this would be a great time to give them some support and bring some focus on the disease.

From the National MS Society's site:

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the CNS.

MS can cause many symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness and more. These problems may come and go or persist and worsen over time. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it.

MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide. While the disease is not contagious or directly inherited, epidemiologists — scientists who study patterns of disease — have identified factors in the distribution of MS around the world that may eventually help determine what causes the disease. These factors include gender, genetics, age, geography and ethnic background.

The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unidentified environmental factor(s) in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.

To donate, visit this link:



Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 New Hampshire Marathon Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's 2015 New Hampshire Marathon Report:

I was very excited to head to New Hampshire for the NH marathon for two reasons. First it was my first new state in 8 months and second I was going to see a bunch of my friends! We got in to NH on Friday afternoon and met up with everyone in Concord. It was great seeing everyone. We headed out to get a pre-dinner beverage and then went to dinner. I am very superstitious when it comes to my pre-race meal and I like to have spaghetti and meatballs. This restaurant had it and many of us ordered it. The waitress came out after a bit and said they had run out of meatballs?!?!?! How can that be possible at 6:30 on a Friday night at an Italian restaurant? We made do with meat sauce and it all worked out in the end.
Race day didn’t have to start too early because the full marathon didn’t start until 9am. That’s a late start for me, I would prefer an earlier start, but we did have a 45 minute drive to the start. The half marathoners had to get there earlier to catch a bus to their start line. Dave, Stan Michael and I headed to the race start where we did packet pickup and then waited in the middle school for the race to start. It was a nice set up with real bathrooms and a craft fair to browse while we waited.
We went out to the start area and there was no start banner or anything. It was not a chip timed race at the start but they did have a timing mat at the end of the race. This was a small race with only a couple hundred doing the marathon. Soon enough we were off and running. The course was billed as very hilly in the first half but the second half was supposed to be downhill. The first half was extremely hilly but we were all doing great and having fun catching up with each other. The scenery was amazing. Dave was doing a great job of chasing us since it was an open course and he could just go up ahead and pull over. We were looking forward to getting to the second half and getting to the down hill portion.
We got to the second half and it did not flatten out. It was still super hilly. Stan may or may not have said "This is Bull…." We got into a good rhythm though and decided to walk the uphills and run the downhills. It worked well and I was feeling great. It did finally level out for the last 10k and I was still feeling great. I also got to see a dear friend who has a house on Newfound Lake, the lake we were running around. Dan came out with a bunch of his friends at Mile 21 and it was so great to see him. It was a nice pick me up and propelled me to the end. I was so excited to finish and that I felt so great on a really tough course. We came in around 5:28 and I was very happy with that time. Lots of great post race treats: chocolate milk, cheese sticks, and delicious hot pizza! I would highly recommend the NH marathon to anyone looking for a great small town race with excellent support and beautiful scenery. Just make sure you do your hill work!

Dave's Comments
One of the best parts of the weekend was not being in charge of dinner/activities. Charlie did an excellent job coordinating meals and fun places to visit during our stay in Concord. Our first stop was a fun local bar in a downtown basement. I enjoyed the place - the bartender was friendly, they had good beer on tap, and 5 beers plus a soda was only $12! I had to grab the photo real quick because some of the regulars were not thrilled to see a horde of strangers in Skittle-colored running shoes infiltrating their space.

The race course was very pretty and had a few great photo spots, but this was a boring course to spectate. With so few runners people didn't pass too often. There weren't too many places to stop for coffee or other snacks passed mile 4. Good thing I was provisioned with a Kind Bar, apple, Coke, chips, and Cracker Jacks leftover from the last marathon. I packed beer and had one at Mile 21 while hanging out with my friend Dan. Holly's slice of pizza at the finish made for a perfect lunch.

Charlie's choice of The Barley House for dinner was a great one. Excellent food and nice selection of beers on tap including some really good dark New England beers. After dinner we ventured across the street from our hotel to Lucky Chen's (not the real name but our nickname for it). Elegant Chinese theme upstairs, dive bar downstairs. We saturated the jukebox with 80's music and lounged on the couches until the youngsters outnumbered us 2:1.

Here's the race video:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Disney World September 2015 - Part 3

Three parks were on the agenda today so we needed to get an early start. We caught the first ferry from the Transportation and Ticket Center over to the Magic Kingdom. Our Polynesian Resort room offered an easy short walk to the boat. We were about to miss the boat (literally) but the staff was nice enough to hold it for us so we could ride with two other guests. Dave took some fantastic video during the ride, but he didn't know the camera lens was fogged up so we got nothing.

We had an early reservation at the Be Our Guest restaurant that allowed us to access the park before it opened. We walked up an empty Main Street, which was cool. In the castle we chose to sit in The West Wing. Holly had an egg sandwich and Dave the cronut. He was a little irked to find that large self-serve soda cups were no longer available - just the small - so his to-go refill would not last as long as usual.

One of the "sometimes" benefits of speeding through an early BOG breakfast is getting to ride the new 7 Dwarfs' Mine Train before the regular park guests arrive. Today was one of those days and we got to cycle through the ride twice before the hordes made it over.

The rest of the morning was spent doing normal Magic Kingdom stuff which included Peter Pan, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and several attempts of getting on broken down rides like Big Thunder and Small World. We eventually made it on Big Thunder but Small World would have to wait another day.

We reached our saturation point (aka Daddy needs a beer) and headed over to Epcot. We had a plan to casually walk around the World Showcase and get a counter service lunch. We settled on the sandwich shop in France. Beers were obtained from the Refreshment Port because we didn't want to drink Kronenberg. On our way over to France we had to deal with a moderate drizzle. Hard enough to anger you, but not so bad as to totally soak you. This made the tiny seating area in the restaurant more crowded than it need to be. We ended up splitting a ham and cheese sandwich and Holly got a pastry for a dessert item - Dave was holding out for ice cream. Dave didn't enjoy the nougat flavor he picked and sent Holly back in to get him a coffee flavored ice cream. He didn't want to go back in and explain to the French kids he didn't like their flavor as he saw it was an offense to their culture.

During the afternoon we walked around quite a bit. We did the Pick-a-Pearl in Japan for the millionth time. It's a lot of fun, but we get disappointed when we don't get a silver one or doubles. This trip we saw someone pull out a gold pearl - new goal. Since it was Labor Day the Voices of Liberty were performing in the American Gardens theater. We decided to watch the show expecting patriotic songs. Instead, they came out in Easter outfits and did Disney/Pixar favorites and other movie songs. Dave was caught on film saying "it's worse than I imagined". Later in the evening Maddie and Tae were performing. Google told us that Dave recognized one of their songs. We chose to leave the park in favor of the DJ Elliott in the Studios over listening to the country singers.

On the way to the Studios (we had plenty of time before dinner) we stopped in at the Boardwalk's Bell Vue Lounge. We enjoy talking to the main bartenders and sometimes get some good rumors and insights from them and other "regulars" that tend to frequent this bar.

By the time we got to the Studios the DJ Party was in full swing. DJ Elliott (or DJ Chill for this party) does a great job mixing up Disney songs, oldies, and today's dance music. You can find his mixes on Soundcloud. The dance parties include characters coming into the crowd to interact and dance with the guests.

Time for dinner. We were heading back to The
Brown Derby. Following Dave's Brown Derby rule we went with the pork to go with another helping of the corn bisque. Excellent as always!

After dinner came the long wait for the fireworks. We settled into a space and waited patiently while people pushed through and generally kept cutting into us. The Frozen fireworks show is actually better than the Star Wars show in May. They just seem more colorful and more abundant. It was kind of neat to watch the snow effect stretching down Hollywood Blvd.
Much to Holly's delight we made it back to The Poly in time for Wishes fireworks. After the show we headed over to a pretty empty a Tiki Terrace and enjoyed the rest of the set from the Hawaiian singer.