“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” - Walt Disney

Friday, March 30, 2012

Race Report: Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Just a short three weeks after completing my first marathon (yay!) I was standing at the starting line of a half marathon at Disneyland - clear on the other side of the country from Disneyworld, but not a world away.  Once again I was nervous, but amongst friends, and decked out in "costume."  So how did this happen?

When RunDisney made a big announcement about the Tinkerbell Half Marathon last year, I was a little skeptical...  After all, I'd heard from quite a few people that the Disneyland races weren't on the same level as the Disneyworld races, it was so close to the Disneyworld Marathon, and getting to and around Disneyland is just plain more complicated than Disneyworld - there's so much more that goes into a Disneyland trip!  But, it didn't take us (my parents and BFF Carrie) long to realize that of course we wanted to be in on this inaugural race, and we began planning!

My parents and I flew into LAX on Friday afternoon, and after getting settled into our hotel room at the Ramada Maingate (I love this hotel when we're at DL) we made a late night trip to SNA to pick up Carrie.  Saturday morning Carrie got up early to attend the Jeff Galloway Meet Up while Mom, Dad, and I spent a leisurely morning walking through Downtown Disney.  We stopped at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express and got chicory coffee and beignets, and sat out on the patio watching the world go by while we waited for Carrie to re-join us.

Deciding on souvenirs.
After breakfast, we lined up for the Expo, where we made a mad dash for the RunDisney merchandise area to pick out our "I Did It!" and "Coast to Coast" shirts.  We spent a little more time wandering the Expo, where I bought a new SparkleSkirts Sparkle Light skirt to go with my "costume" for the race, and caught up with some ROTErs.

Tink's Garden at the Expo

Storyteller's Cafe Dinner
That afternoon, we did a little more shopping around Downtown Disney, and then met up with friends to head to the CAST MEMBER STORE (because a ROTEr friend is a cast member) where we were able to pick up some cool Disney merchandise at ridiculously discounted prices - so awesome!!!  After all our shopping, we hung out around the pool for a while until it was time for dinner.  My parents were meeting up with some old friends, and we had plans with a big group to meet up for dinner at Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian.

Megan & me in our corral
Big Group Pre-Race
After a whirlwind race prep and an early night on Saturday night, finally it was race morning!!!  I'm not a huge Tinkerbell fan, and I look terrible in green, so I decided to dress up as a pink fairy - pink wings and all! One of the perks about a Disneyland race is that we can walk to the race start from our hotel, so it makes for a not-quite-so-early morning (but it's still early).  After meeting up with more ROTErs, we made our way to the corrals.  Carrie was in B, and Dad and I were in C (all the guys had to start in C or higher).  My friend Megan and I were planning on running the race together, and we were just running to have fun and to finish.

Saw mom in the first mile!
In front of the castle!
Honestly, I don't remember many of the details about this race.  What was fun was that it was an unfamiliar course for me, but we were running through areas that were familiar - so it was a nice mixture of old and new.  Just before Mile 1, we saw mom out on the corner.  One thing I do clearly remember is being rather dazzled by a cast member dressed as Tarzan in a barely-there loincloth outfit as we ran through Fantasyland...LOL. 

In Downtown Disney
In Fantasyland.
After leaving Disneyland, we ran through Downtown Disney, where we were greeted by lots of boyfriends/husbands/dads cheering on the women in their lives that were running.  And then, perhaps, the coolest part of the entire race - the WALL of Red Hat Society ladies who were decked out in their finest purple and red outfits and chEaring their hearts out for all of us as we ran by.  Those ladies were amazing - I hope Disney invites them back every year because that was a great experience!!!  Then it was time for the miles through "scenic downtown Anaheim."  That's in quotes because that's how Disney describes this section of the race...again, I don't remember much of it, but I don't really describe Anaheim as scenic...  Either way, Disney had invited lots of cheer squads, bands, and volunteer groups to be out chEaring on this section of the course off of Disney property.

Past the Tower of Terror
Mom & Dad's hotel room
I do remember that Megan and I were having a lot of fun out on the course, talking, laughing, commenting  on all the great costumes, and dodging some out-of-control wings (unfortunately some people went a little overboard with their costumes and wore some very wide pairs of wings and then weren't aware of the damage they wrought as they passed people while wearing them... :-/  ).  We were doing 1:1 intervals, but as we hit miles 9 & 10, I was really getting tired and slowing down, and we walked through some of the run intervals now and then.  Finally, we were headed back towards the parks, and just before we entered a back entrance of California Adventures, we passed our hotel and could see my parent's hotel room!

We made it!
The finish
Leaving California Adventures, we hit the 13 mile marker, and finally could see the finish - we'd made it!  Mom, Dad, & Carrie were waiting for us just past the finish line and they seemed just as excited to see us as we were to see them!

Family of runners
All three medals!
After getting our Tink medals, I got my Coast-to-Coast medal, and we all headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and rest a bit before going to play in the parks.

Castle pic with medals!
Family & friends at DCA!
Sunday afternoon we headed over to Disneyland to ride some rides and eat dinner at the Blue Bayou (yummy and a must-do for us at DL).  Monday morning we met up with an old friend from UT and her husband, who now live in L.A., for a day at DCA.  We had such a great day!  Sadly, on Tuesday we had to drive back to LAX and head home.  It was short trip, but another fun one!