Hi, everyone! I know I am RIDICULOUSLY late on this recap, so I hope you’ll forgive me! I do have another exciting race recap coming this week; I was in Philadelphia this weekend to run my first Rock n’ Roll half marathon! More on that soon.
After running the 10K on Saturday (recap here!), and then soaking up some park time for the rest of the day, by the night before the half marathon my legs had pretty much had it. I spent some time with my new best friend, The Stick, and made sure to sleep in my Pro Compression socks. Still, when I woke up on Sunday morning around 4am, I knew that I would be running this race on anything but “fresh legs.”
Of course, the excitement of a runDisney race always manages to somehow make me forget about any physical discomfort I might be experiencing, so I threw on my Mike Wazowski costume and took my walk to the starting line with thousands of fellow runners. I stopped for a few quick photos along the way, and squeezed into my corral shortly before the 5:30am start time.
It was during the opening festivities right before they let my corral go that I realized I had made a teensy little boo-boo. Despite remembering to pack everything from an extra camera battery to some just-in-case cash in my iFitness belt, the one thing I did forget to bring with me in my FUEL belt? Um, my FUEL. That’s right; I totally forgot to bring my Clif Shot Bloks with me…and I’ve NEVER run anything longer than, say, 6 or 7 miles without taking something.
I tried not to let myself panic, but I’ll be honest — I freaked out a little bit. I had no idea how I would survive the next 13 miles without my fuel, especially since I knew that the on-course option — Gu Energy Gel — makes me nauseated and my stomach can’t tolerate it. I decided to keep a positive attitude and hope that my adrenaline and excitement — and, oh yeah, MONTHS of training — would be enough for me to finish this race.
I’ve gotten a few questions about my costume, and let’s just say that NO, I did not do the intelligent thing and take it out for a test run prior to the race. I added foam to the inside of the helmet (once again, thanks to Todd’s mom, who is clearly a costume-making genius) so I wasn’t really concerned about it being uncomfortable…it was more the whole “will this bowl stay on my head for 13.1 miles?” issue that I knew might be a problem. You all know I’m very committed to my race-day costumes, and I really wanted to wear the stupid thing for whatever reason…so I decided to just go with it.
Well, no surprise here: it was all over the place in the first few miles. It was sliding down over my face, the back of my head, and constantly tilting on either side. Fortunately, by the time I made it to my first character stop, I was able to tighten the strap (read: shoelace) a bit tighter, and it stayed pretty still for the remainder of the race.
Other than my headwear issues, the first mile or two was pretty uneventful, as we once again ventured off the Disney property and onto the streets of Anaheim. Like the previous day’s 10K, I tried to keep my pace a little bit on the quicker side (around a 9 minute/mile), and spent a decent amount of energy weaving around other runners. My goal in a Disney race? Get to those characters as quickly as I can to avoid the longer lines that build up as the later corrals start to catch up. Hey, whatever motivates me to run faster, right?
Also like the previous day’s race, it was freakin’ HOT. It had cooled down just a little bit from when we first arrived in California, but it was definitely not ideal racing weather, even in the wee hours of the morning. By the time we ventured into California Adventure, I was a hot, sweaty mess…but then, I saw my most longed-for photo opportunity. I reeeeeally wanted a picture with the Monsters, Inc. characters in both of my costumes, and fortunately, Mike and Sulley were out for both races!
I was feeling pretty great as we made our way through both Disney parks. Once again, the second I’m inside the park, any exhaustion or physical discomfort seems to completely disappear.
I temporarily forgot about my sore legs or the fact that I was (literally) running on only a few hours of sleep, and had a blast enjoying the sights and stopping for plenty of pictures…including, of course, one with the Dumbo ride!
I did notice that there weren’t as many characters out as the Princess Half…but, then again, Disneyland doesn’t seem to be as “into” the characters as they are at Disney World. I made sure to enjoy my time in the parks, though, because I knew there wouldn’t be any other stopping for photos once we left.
I saw my personal ChEAR Squad on Main street, and I have to say…for anyone who might be considering the additional expense, I’m not quite sure if it’s worth it at Disneyland. In Disney World, ChEAR Squad participants are allowed to park themselves right in front of the castle for an optimal view of that moment that all of us runDisney fanatics live for — running through the castle — but here, my sister and mom were told that they could have a seat along Main Street, but weren’t allowed anywhere near the castle.
My sister snapped a few photos of me, but I was disappointed that they weren’t allowed to have better seating closer to the actual castle. Then again, I found Sleeping Beauty’s castle a bit disappointing in general, compared to what I’m used to seeing at The World!
There was only one cast member available for photos in front of the castle, and no MarathonFoto photographers, which I thought was a bit surprising.
Once the excitement of running through California Adventure and Disneyland was over, I must admit that things took a turn for the worse for me. The second half of the course, while pretty flat, is also a bit on the boring side. Don’t get me wrong, runDisney does a fantastic job with having plenty of spectators and on-site entertainment, but I still found myself struggling. My legs were sore and tired and stiff and heavy, and the sun was beating down on me (I was especially grateful for the helmet then, because it at least kept the blinding sun out of my eyes). I was exhausted, and found myself having to resort to talking to myself (silently, of course, haha) and jamming out to my Disney music playlist to keep myself going.
We did run through the Honda Civic Center, and they had tons of cars out on display, which was cool and everything but…I’m really, really not into cars. At all. Let’s just say that I’m still driving a beat-up old ’96 Buick that was purchased in college. So that did little to distract me from the agony I started to experience around mile 8 or 9, when I felt my quads getting tighter and tighter and the bottoms of my feet were burning from all of the walking I had done in the days prior to the race.
Meanwhile, as mentioned, I did not have any fuel to take for an added boost, so my strategy was to keep sucking down the Powerade along the course to at least replenish everything I was sweating out. There were also a few spectators along the course who were generously handing out snacks like Twizzlers and animal crackers, and while I normally NEVER reach for that kind of stuff during a race, I grabbed them in the hopes of having ANYTHING that could keep my energy up to finish the half marathon.
I was definitely looking forward to running through Angels Stadium (once again, not a big baseball fan or anything, but thought it might be a good distraction). I loved the energy and the crowds and the cheering that we were treated to as we ran through the stadium — it was actually really exciting!
After we left the stadium, it was time for me to focus on FINISHING THIS RACE. I still was having a heck of a time, physically. Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling all that fatigued in general…it was just that my legs were really, really sore, and just didn’t want to move any longer!
I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and kept thinking about that beautiful Dumbo Double Dare medal and the Coast to Coast medal I wanted SO BADLY. I thought about all of the months of training that I had poured into preparing myself to run a 10K and half marathon in the same weekend. I thought about how the thought of running a half marathon was CRAZY to me back in January, and here I was about to finish the challenge of running 19.3 miles over the course of two days. I wouldn’t let myself stop…I just kept going.
I also decided to turn off my iPod and feed off the energy of the spectators — who really seemed to enjoy shouting “MIKE WAZOWSKI” at me. Not going to lie — I loved it!
Before I knew it, we were back at Downtown Disney…and I was ready to complete the Dumbo Double Dare!
I probably don’t even need to say it, but despite any physical difficulty I may have experienced, crossing the finish line and successfully completing not only the Dumbo Double Dare, but the Coast to Coast Challenge, was an INCREDIBLE feeling. I really can’t even put it into words.
People look at me like I’m insane when I tell them I’m running ANOTHER half marathon, or taking on some kind of crazy race challenge like Dumbo or (ahem) Dopey…and I get it. Yeah, it hurts, and yeah, it’s time-consuming, and yeah, there’s almost always a point during these longer races where the idea of throwing in the towel and walking off the course seems so very, very appealing to me. And yet somehow crossing that finish line and feeling the weight of a medal around my neck (or in this case, FOUR MEDALS!) and knowing that I accomplished something that is such a far cry from the person who I used to be makes it SO worth it. Plus, seeing Disneyland for the first time was so much fun…even though it will never hold a candle to my beloved Disney World.
We stayed in California through Monday to soak up some more Disney magic and revel in the accomplishment of the AWESOME medals I snagged through this race experience. I know I’ve mentioned it here once or twice, but runDisney medals are always GORGEOUS…the bling never, ever disappoints!
Now, it’s time to get serious…let the Dopey training begin!