Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

We went.

We ran.

We conquered the Disneyland Half Marathon.

And it was AWESOME.

Now, I feel like kind of a fish out of water writing this race recap because I’ve never written a recap for a half marathon before. So as I’m typing this, I’m thinking “what do I even say about this weekend? How can I put into words how fun and hard and great and tiring and rewarding but also pretty insane and let me not forget how HOT it was?” I’m sure someone who’s run multiple half marathons before (ahem, Cam, Meridith, Victoria, Brooke, ahem) could – would! – be more eloquent about it. But all I can do is tell you that it was fun. And hard. And great and tiring and rewarding and completely insane. And very, very hot.

Well, I can tell you some other things, too. Doing a half marathon isn’t something I thought I’d ever do. I loved running when I was little – the burn of my lungs and the wind whipping through my hair, the adrenaline pumping through my veins and that lovely soreness in my calves from pushing, pushing, pushing myself. But adult me definitely lost the love of running. It’s no secret that I still don’t love it, even (or maybe especially) during my training for this half.

All that said, this will probably remain one of my fondest life memories. I reclaimed the feeling of loving running and turned it into something else: the love didn’t come from the burn or the wind or the exhilaration of running. The love came from the pride of actually doing this, and doing it with two of my most wonderful friends by my side. How awesome is that?

With all of my personal musings out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: the actual race! Not that I didn’t know this before, but I got to see firsthand what an amazingly well-oiled machine the Disneyland Half Marathon is. I mean, these people are not fooling around. From the expo (during which I spent much money at Raw Threads) to the race itself, everything was executed without a hitch. For people who have run Disney races before, this is probably not a surprise. But I have to admit that I’ll probably be ruined for other races going forward, and the seamless execution of every event last weekend is only one reason.

I’ll get to the other reasons…right now!

Prior to flying down to Anaheim, I checked the weather and saw that it was supposed to be in the mid-80s on race day (Sunday). Cue me freaking out because I hate heat. I have a zero tolerance policy for heat. If it’s above 75, I’m complaining. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), I was worried about how the temperature would affect my performance during the race. But Meridith assured me I would be fine, and I agree with her on most things, so I decided to agree with her on this as well.

At any rate, we all rolled out of bed at 4 in the morning on race day and got dressed up in our SUPER CUTE Timothy Q. Mouse inspired costumes that the ever-talented Cam made (stay tuned for a post from her on that!).

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Do the bustle!

 

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Were the riding crops our favorite part of the costume? Maybe. Probably. Okay, yes.

Once we were dressed and had a pre-race donut and some water, we headed over to the park to the start line.

As did about 16,000 other people.

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Yeah. It was a little busy. We had to make our way cattle-call style to the J corral, which we would later come to call the “JUST LET US GO ALREADY” corral. Because we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes and “Let It Go” when they released corral A. And then we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes (the same ones) and “Let It Go” (the same one) when they released corral B. And then C. D. E. F….you know the rest of the alphabet.

"OMG, DUDES, LET US GO."

“OMG, DUDES, LET US GO.”

And let me tell you: I didn’t know the words to “Let It Go” before this race, but by the time we were given the go ahead, I sure knew every word.

LET IT GOOOOOOOOO.

LET US GOOOOOOOO.

And they did!

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The course took us through Disneyland and California Adventure, then through the streets of Anaheim, before eventually looping us back into the park for the last mile. And while the miles inside the park were infinitely more entertaining, there were sights to see in Anaheim, too. More on that later.

For now, the park!

Meridith and Cam told me that characters would be available to take pictures with as we ran through the park, so we made sure to take advantage. I thought there would be more characters – maybe a princess?! – but the ones we did snap pics with were great. I can’t really complain about having the entirety of Disneyland to ourselves, can I? Plus, the cast members – ALL OF THEM – lined up along the side of the course and cheered us on, gave us high-fours with Mickey Mouse gloves, and were just generally awesome. We had such a huge cheering squad.

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Scandalized by our whips, Jafar?

 

Juicy tidbit: my army guy broke character and said “whoa” when he saw our riding crops. In my unofficial poll during the race, I noticed that the menfolk tended to respond very favorably to our props.

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The castle!

 

We continued our jaunt through the park, keeping up a pretty nice clip for the first four miles.

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And then…WE TOOK IT TO THE STREETS.

Of Anaheim. For a lot of miles. At that point, we made a group decision to take it easy and just enjoy the race. We all had various physical pain points and none of us were looking for a PR. So we slowed it down to a fast walk – sometimes a prancercise – and took in the sights, the spectators, and the great, awesome signs.

An approximation of our fancy walk.

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Adorable Hawaiian dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

I have to say, I totally appreciated that we weren’t left high and dry when we left the park. There were dancers and high school bands and cheerleaders to cheer us on as we made our way back toward Disneyland. And once you hit a certain mile – in our case I think it was around mile 8 – we really, really needed to hear people cheering for us. For strangers to get up super, super early to do that…well, it really touched me.

And let me NOT forget about the awesome signs we saw along the way:

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My absolute favorites of the race. Hands down. Great reminder. I needed reminding at that point.

Getting back to the weather: we had overcast skies and even a teeeeeeeensy breeze until we hit mile 8. And then the sun decided it wanted to shine its hot little death rays on us. Of course, this was the part of the course where we were running next to a dried-up reservoir type thing on our way to Angels stadium. I think Meridith asked multiple times, “WHO DESIGNED THIS PART OF THE COURSE?”

Not our favorite part.

Not our favorite part.

Yeah. Hot.

But THEN we got to Angels stadium which, despite my fervent love for the Oakland A’s and thus my fervent loathing of the Angels, was really, really cool. The stadium was packed with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and their cheering parents and it was just so damn awesome.

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RIGHT? RIGHT? HOW COOL IS THAT?

Of course, we had the 16-minute mile pacers breathing down our necks, and this is kind of the part where it all went to shit. The track we were running on was super narrow and the 16-minute mile pacers were yelling that we were behind schedule and everyone needed to MOVE MOVE MOVE, so people started panicking and pushing and I got separated from Cam and Meridith for a few minutes while people acted like bizonkers.

But then we reunited and it really DID feel so good. And we kept going. And going. And going. And encountered more high school bands and cheerleaders and amazing spectators and I just forced myself to take it all in despite the fact that I was hot and tired and starting to hurt.

And then: Mile 12. We hit it. We got back into the park. We were almost there. People were TELLING us we were almost there. Meridith asked, “How almost there is almost there?” but no one would tell us. Just that it was almost. So close.

 

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Ring the bell for energy! We totally did. Not sure it worked. Malfunctioning bell?

Finally, someone took pity on us and told us we had less than half a mile. That kept us motivated until we crossed the finish line, which I have no pictures of because we were just so happy to be DONE.

And then we were! Done, that is. And my feet were so thankful, because dude. 13.1 miles. That’s a LOT of miles.

We got our awesome medals and Meridith put mine on for me, which was adorable.

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AWWWWWW.

I whipped this race (get it?)!

I whipped this race (get it?)!

We did it! Couples finish together!

We did it! Couples finish together!

 

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My first half marathon in the books. Thank god for Instagram filter.

We wandered around the finishers area like zombies for a bit, picked up Meridith and Cam’s Dumbo Double Dare medals (because they had run the 10K the day before like crazy people), drank all of the water and some bananas, and then made the painful trek back to our hotel.

I can’t tell you how not fun it is to have to walk back to your hotel after you’ve just completed a half marathon. But we did it. And then we did this.

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So yes. We went. We ran. We conquered. And we had an amazing time.

 

 

Time to Break Away From This Day to Day

People, I’m going insane over here. We just wrapped up an entire week of Little being sick.

Pooks was sick with the same thing at the beginning of the month but at age nine, he’s a much easier sick.When Pooks is sick, he stays in his room, relaxes, plays on his 3DS, and watches Netflix (you know, in between the vomiting and whatnot).

When five year old Little is sick, he’s on the couch with me. He wants to watch the same show twenty times in a row. He wants a drink. But not medicine. Never medicine. He wants to cuddle. He’s hot. He’s cold and wants a blanket. Gemma is allowed to lie with him, but only on his feet.

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With all this time around the house, I’ve been getting a lot done… so there’s a positive, I suppose. I’m at the point where ALL the laundry is clean. That will last two seconds but I’m going to enjoy this moment. All the dishes are also clean and in their spots. Straightening and chucking things that have been sitting around for far too long has also occurred.

What’s not getting done? Food shopping. Meal planning. Running. Playing. Breathing fresh air.

Although, being at home with kiddo hasn’t been all bad. I’m reading my third book of the week. I finally wrote an overdue letter to Victoria. And I’m planning trips for the summer! Getting in the summer mindset isn’t really too difficult because Little is constantly asking, “Is it summer yet? NOW is it summer?” Kids are always ready for the next big thing before this one is even over.

As of two weeks ago, my only solid plans were heading to California at the end of August to visit bestie Kelly -and her adorable family- and then meet up with my Chicks, Jess and Cam, for the Disneyland half weekend and shenanigans.

Now, more solid plans have fallen into place.

  1. We’ve joined a local swim club.
  2. Little is signed up for five weeks of camp for the mornings.
  3. Pooks is heading to Florida with Grandpa on the auto train. (shhhh, it’s a surprise!)
  4. We’re going to Florida too! We’ll be meeting them down there for a week of Beach, Pool, Ice Cream. I think that’s basically my version of GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry for those who have never seen Jersey Shore). Oh, and FAMILY. We’ve got a slew of family down in Florida and I want to see them all.
  5. California!

Throw in a couple of races, the ever-constant training – running and weights, our Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a Sweet 16, Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, and a wedding and we’ve got quite a full schedule!

With all the plans, there are still a couple of things that I’d like to focus on.

1.  Focus on swimming. Since we’ve joined the swim club, I would like my five year old to learn how to swim. Additionally, I’d like to get back into the pool and add that into my workout routine. I was on the swim team for years as a child but haven’t used it as exercise since my young teen years.

2.  Cook dinners, order out less, and focus on healthier food decisions. Why is this so challenging? Seriously. I feel like it shouldn’t be and yet, the planning of meals is something that has never come easy for me. Sometimes I’m REALLY on with things. And then there are times like this week/month/few months. Maybe I’ll see if What’s For Dinner? errrr, I mean BEC can come up with a meal plan for us.

3.  Be present in the moment. So much of my time seems to be spread out between things I want to do and things I feel obligated to do. However, with all of the moments, I would like to try to be more present. It might mean leaving my phone at home more but do I really need to be in constant contact with everyone all the time? No. I do not.

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Although look at the gorgeous pic I took just a few blocks down from my house while taking the pooch for a walk!

What do you have planned for the summer months? Do you leave your cell phone at home to disconnect for awhile? Any recipes or meal plans you can recommend?

 

 

Jumbo Double Dare (no, that’s not a typo)

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When my Pooks was little, he refused to call Dumbo anything but Jumbo, because calling someone Dumbo is just plain mean.

So, while the rest of the people running on August 30th and 31st will be completing runDisney’s Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, I’ll be completing the Jumbo Double Dare Challenge. I’m sure runDisney will modify my shirts and medals for me, right? (Just don’t play Baby Mine or there will be tears.)

Of course, it’s always better with a friend or two and I’m super stoked that I’ll be running with my California girls, Jess and Cam. Oh, if you could only see the group text that was happening on Tuesday during registration. Wait! You can…

There was a lot of flailing going on previous to this portion of the message but I'll spare you that part.

There was a lot of flailing going on previous to this portion of the texts but I’ll spare you that part. You’re welcome.

I’m sure that I drove both of them crazy with my emails and texts leading up to registration, too. After all, I knew from previous years that Disneyland races tend to fill up quickly. And sure enough, this year was no exception! You can see above that only a half hour after registration opened, the Dumbo Double Dare was already at 85% capacity and quickly filled soon after. There is no time to hesitate with these races!

How amazing are these medals?!

How amazing are these medals?!

Cameroo and I have run Disneyland together before at the 2013 Tinker Bell half so it was naturally the next step to try a challenge. This will be our first runDisney challenge and the most logical step for us, with the 10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday, equaling 19.3 glorious miles.

It will be Jess’ first half marathon ever! Like any good bossy friend, I’ve already been giving her tips. I know that she delights in getting emails of running thoughts at random times.

Wondering what I’ve told her thus far? Here are a few tried and true nuggets of wisdom. What can I say, I’m a giver!

1. Run a 10k race (or longer if so desired) prior to June 1. This way she will be able to provide the timed event for her pace and will be placed in the proper corral.

From the registration email: “If you did not provide proof of time at the point of registration or acquire it after you have registered, then email this information to disneysports@trackshack.com before June 1, 2014 to have your start corral placement changed.”

2. Follow Jeff Galloway’s plan provided by the world class Olympian athlete on the runDisney website. Currently, the plans from 2013 are still on the site but it’s really easy to take them and apply them to 2014. How easy? Well, I took the half plan and am following it for the April 6th half that I’m training for! (And so is Cam because we are running together and I sent her the dates/plan. See? Bossy.)

Click for the link to the beginner plan. Running less than 6 months? This one is for you!

Furthermore, there is a training plan specifically for the Dumbo Double Dare which you can check out here.

That’s basically all I’ve sent so far so I guess you all get off easy. Jess and Cam? Not so much.

209 days to go! Let’s talk runDisney! Who will we see at the Jumbo Double Dare (or, the Dumbo Double Dare)? Brooke and Vic will be at the Glass Slipper Challenge in February – who will be at that?

Special thanks to Anya for the pictures from her 2013 Dumbo Double Dare recap!