I am happy to report that on Sunday I completed my second half marathon!
It all started back in June when I had first gotten wind of a new half marathon they would be having in 2012 at Disneyland. After a little bit of debating I decided to sign up – despite the fact that I was still a month away from running my first half marathon, I knew I couldn’t pass this up. I mean, really how could I? A) you get to run through Disneyland B) it was a women’s oriented race and in the perfect time of year to train in AZ and C) it was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon…in honor of our cute pup Tink, I had to do it. And I am glad I did, by the beginning of August it was sold out! (Keep that in mind if you might want to run it next year!)
We left Thursday night for our weekend long stay in California, and decided to spend all day Friday visiting the Disneyland theme park. Which left Saturday free for visiting the expo and relaxing.
I’m one of those weird people that really likes race expo’s – I love the excitement of getting my race bib and shirt –then walking around to check out some of the vendors. At this expo in particular I was excited because I knew that Team Sparkle had a booth and I have been dying to get one of their skirts for months – so this was the perfect excuse since I could try it on and see all the colors in person. I ended up getting a teal colored one :) I also got a commemorative travel mug for the race so I can drink my green tea in style while at work ;)
I also ended up getting a couple magnets for my truck. I’ve been wanting a 13.1 since my first half and the other was just too funny to pass up!
Once we got our bib’s we had to head to runner relations to get our corrals changed. Both Chelle and I were defaulted to Corral E (the last one) but I have done a few races since I signed up so I knew I would get bumped up at least a little. After looking at my times the guy put a new sticker on my bib and handed it back to me, it said Corral A!! What? That’s so awesome! I was starting with all the real runners :) I couldn’t have been more excited! We also had some problems with the runner tracking – and I was hugely disappointed that the Disney staff had absolutely no one to help us with the issue. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I set up my times to tweet automatically – somehow my friend Chelle’s times also ended up being tweeted by me as well. They were unable to remove hers from my feed so I ended up tweeting both of ours (so I apologize for the 50 billion confusing tweets!)
After the expo we saw a movie in Downtown Disney, then searched out a place for dinner. We noticed an Italian place right by our hotel when we drove in town, and lucky for us it came recommended by some of our hotel staff. We got in without a wait (probably because it was 5pm!) and ate some delicious pasta. We called it an early night, hitting the sack around 7:30 to get a good night’s rest.
2:15 am came much too early, but the excitement got me moving. After eating some pb toast, stretching and getting ready we headed out the door around 4 to head over to the starting line/pre-party area. We hung out around the stage for a bit, trying to stay warm, then checked our bags and used the restroom one last time. By then it was time to get into our corrals! Lance walked with us as far as they would let him, so after a quick good luck kiss we went our separate ways.
The Disney people we very strict about letting people in the corrals where they belonged – they checked each persons bib. It was actually kind of nice! Once arriving we still had about an hour until the start time so we just hung out, enjoyed the music and entertainment.
As the start time grew closer, Chelle moved further back in the corral and I decided to stay towards the front. This is when I started to freak out a little bit…a few weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my upper right leg and had a rough time running the RnR relay with Carolyn so I wasn’t sure how it would hold up. It was extremely agitated from all of the walking we had done on Friday at Disneyland – and it hurt to walk let alone run. The momentary freak out passed and I knew I was just going to have to suck it up and run on it despite the pain. I anxiously awaited the national anthem (with fireworks!). Then we were off!
The course started off by taking us up not one, but two(!) freeway overpasses right off the bat. When I saw the second one I started to panic thinking this would surely be the longest race of my life, but luckily it leveled off and we headed to Disneyland. Running through the park was lots of fun! There was lots of characters and music all around – I couldn’t not be excited to run through it! Before I knew, it we hit the 5k mark and I was feeling good and kicking some bootay. I also knew that Lance was going to be waiting somewhere between mile 3 and 4 around Downtown Disney to cheer for me and snap a few photo’s, so that kept me in a positive mindset.
I got a little worried at first since I didn’t see him right away, but I kept looking and sure enough he was there – and waiting right in front of Sephora :) That man knows me well!
Once we rounded the corner out of Disney, we headed towards Anaheim. I’ve never seen so many Red Hat Ladies in my life! Man were they awesome though – I would bet that they yelled louder and cheered harder than any of the cheerleaders I saw on the rest of the course.
Sometime between mile 4 and 5 I knew that I had to stop and pee – I had to go since like mile 1.5 and wanted to take care of it before it got unbearable. As soon as I saw port-a-potties without a line I ran over immediately. I have no idea how long this little detour took – I am kicking myself for not timing it. My best guess is about a minute and a half (but who knows!). I am really glad I stopped though :). The next few miles passed by without a hitch. I looved that Disney had a huge mile marker with a giant clock at each mile – as soon as I caught a glimpse of it in the distance it really motivated me.
Around mile 9 they had a GU station and I knew it was time to refuel, I was still doing well, but was starting to fizzle out. I grabbed the first one I saw (that wasn’t red) and tore it right open. This was actually the first time I’d ever used GU (although I did taste it at my last expo) and I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted just like ice cream! I think I still prefer chomps, but this did the trick.
When I saw the 15k clock I knew I was in good shape, but that I would have to run at my best to get a sub 2 hour finish time. I hate to say this but I think this is the point where I gave up a little in my head. Up until this point I hadn’t really walked at all (only long enough to chug a cup of water and a speedy bathroom put stop), but it was almost like I gave myself an excuse.
When the course looped back under the freeway I took the chance to walk for a minute. There were quite a few people who were also walking under the bridge (mostly to take their GU) so I decided to walk until the end – or until the girl next to me started running again. She started running about 3/4 of the way through so I just went for it as well.
Pretty much the whole run through California Adventure was a blur (although the brightroom photo’s of me through this part are actually good and I look happy..weird). The mile between 12 to 13 seemed to drag on and on, but once we popped out from behind the park there were crowds of people just cheering for us. I pushed through to mile 13 (which was exactly in front of our hotel!) and headed up the final hill to the finish line!
I crossed the finish line at 2:04:04 :) A result I was happy with but I was anxious to get my phone to check what my chip time was! Lance was right there at the finish line waiting in the bleachers for me :)
I was so excited to get one of the RunDisney space blankets :) I was still a little hot, but put it on anyways so I could work it like a real runner ;) (I actually wore it like a cape on the walk back to the hotel too hehe) I met up with Lance and briefly discussed the race while we waited for Chelle to cross the finish. She came through in 2:31 – and it was her first half!
Here were my official times:
5k – 27:55 (8:59 pace)
10k – 57:17 (9:13 pace)
15k – 1:27:02 (9:20 pace)
Finish – 2:03:30 (9:25 pace)
I was 659th overall (sounds weird, but I am oddly proud of that number) and was #95 in my age group (top 100 baby!)
After coming out of my first half with some pretty severe knee injuries and various other injuries along the way ( and I am still battling some..) I wasn’t sure exactly how this race would turn out for me, but I knew that I would finish it no matter what. I am extremely proud of my finish time – I shaved 15 minutes off the time of my previous half and finished in an upright position :)
We went back to the hotel for a short nap (an ice bath, stretching, rolling and a shower were also on that list). Then headed out for lunch and a movie. Lucky for me Ari was also in Disneyland that weekend (a complete fluke – but I couldn’t have been more excited!) and we met up for a few celebratory drinks Sunday evening in Downtown Disney. It was lots of fun sit around and chat outside and celebrate all of the half marathon awesomeness that has taken place in the past 2 weeks for the three of us ladies :)
I actually wore my medal around all day :)