Running this half marathon was seriously one of the most empowering experiences of my entire life. In the days leading up to the race, I was on a roller coaster of emotions. I went from being crazy excited to crazy nervous and up and down and everywhere in between.
This post is one big ol’ photo dump of me running, which you obviously all need to see, so do yourself a favor and scroll on down. You will also be rewarded for your scrolling effort with all the deets of the race.
My aunt, Darla, flew into town on Thursday evening and we raced off to get airbrush tans because when you think half marathon, you obviously think amazing tan minus any risk of skin cancer. But the thing is, with a spray tan it has to process for like 10 hours before you can shower. In that 10 hours it like doubles in darkness and then once you rinse, it’s all gorgeous. But we wanted to leave so early on Friday morning that we wouldn’t have made it through those 10 hours yet so we were forced to head off on our expedition as we got continuously darker.
We got to California Friday evening and headed to Downtown Disney for dinner with my Uncle (who graciously let us stay with him during the duration of our trip). While my Uncle waited for our table reservation at The Jazz Kitchen, which was superb by the way, Darla and I headed off to get our packets and info for the race.
^^We naturally took an obscene number of selfies in the process.
^^Posing in front of a map of the race. Notice the dark tans. Don’t worry, they lighten up by race day.
^^Give me wings Tinkerbell!
They had this cool expo with a bunch of vendors selling awesome Disney workout type merch. Plus lots of people selling tutu’s and and bows and glitter and all that good stuff. I ended up with a cute “leg day” Ariel shirt and Darla got a glow in the dark Tinkerbell half shirt.
We spent Saturday at California Adventure and low and behold I started to get sick. Like so sick I couldn’t breath through my nose at all (Thanks children). I ended up running around the park in search of nasal decongestant. I started getting way worried about the race. How do you run 13.1 miles when you can’t breath through your nose? Like for real? Much to Darla’s dismay I convinced her to call it an early day, hit a few drugstores, go to bed early and set our alarms for 3:00 AM. Eeek!
Surprisingly on Sunday morning it wasn’t at all hard to wake up. I think we were both just so excited. The race officially started at 5:30 AM but everyone started in corrals based on their speed. We didn’t care to pretend that we were going to finish in any exciting amount of time so we ended up in corral E of A-F.
By the time we actually crossed the start line, we had already walked over a mile and it was 6:00 AM.
^^I made our tutus and Darla made our shirts
I tried to keep pace with Darla but it turns out I’m actually pretty competitive and really wasn’t a fan of people passing me, so I found myself weaving in and out of people and I lost her before we made it to the first mile marker.
We had these electronic things in our race bibs that corresponded with the mile markers and kept track of our pace. The coolest part is that we set it up to send texts to our families to update them where we were. That was especially nice for us because we didn’t have any family members on the sidelines cheering us on. In retrospect, I’d really like to have my family there for the next race (yes, I did say next race. How perceptive you are).
Additionally, I was taking selfies the whole time and sending them along to my mom and Chris. You’ll notice the time on the mile marker boards. However, it was based on the race starting at 5:30 and we didn’t actually start until 6:00 so you can factor that in with your mad math skills.
The race started in downtown Disney and we worked our way into Disneyland.
I got stupid weepy as I ran into the park. Like seriously, I started tearing up. There were these families on the sidelines holding up signs and little girls with their dads cheering on their moms in the race and I just couldn’t help but wish that my husband and kids were there.
I saw one guy like three times over the course of the race and he had a sign that said, “Go first timers, you got this!” And once again, I got all teary-eyed, every time I saw it.
The course took us behind the scenes of Disneyland and California Adventure. The park wasn’t open yet but all the cast members (Disney employees) were clapping and cheering and encouraging us. They even had some of the rides going, like Dumbo and the carousel. It helped that I had just been to Disneyland with my family so everywhere I looked I was struck with a sweet memory of my daughter seeing Disneyland for the first time.
^^in cars land, although it forreal looks like I’m in Moab, Utah. Disney is so cool.
^^The Photopass photographers caught my strong selfie game on camera. What do you call a photo of someone taking a selfie?
^^”Gang gang bang bang!” Or is it “Bang bang gang gang”? I’m so old.
By about mile 6 we were out of the parks and just on the streets of Anaheim. This was kind of a bummer because Anaheim is not the prettiest of cities and after about mile 6 you’re starting to get tired and run down and could really use the motivation of being in the parks.
I was able to run straight for about the first 6 miles, so by the time I did hit mile 6 I started taking a lot of walking breaks. Also, TMI here, but my shorts, which I borrowed from Darla, kept riding up and created a sort of chaffing situation making it so that every time I moved my legs in a walking or running motion it was like taking fine grit sandpaper and rubbing it on my inner thighs with full strength.
The good news is that it hurt whether I was walking or running, so it didn’t keep me from moving faster. I kept thinking that the more I ran, the faster I could finish and sit down.
I never really got too exhausted though. All along the streets of Anaheim people were sitting and cheering us on and holding up posters. There were high school marching bands playing and cheerleaders cheering and dance teams dancing.
Every so often there were tables set up with water and Gatorade and like a million volunteers handing them out to us as we ran by. I made myself stop and get a drink of water every time for an extra boost of energy. Although one time, I was so caught up in the moment that I forgot to stop running and ended up pouring water all over myself.
There were also people handing out snacks. I passed on the freaky energy gel, but accepted candy from strangers. They were holding up signs that said, “Take some candy from strangers!” “It’s legit, we’re wearing gloves.”
They were passing out licorice which sounded disgusting at first but then all of a sudden as I was passing them sounded really appealing.
My two favorite signs were,
“Go Random Stranger, Go!” and even better,
“Never trust a fart!” — So fitting for runners.
^^Crossing the finish line like a boss!
^^Go ahead and just hum the Rocky song here for full effect.
^^Darla got some amazing burst of energy and actually sprinted over the finish line.
After crossing the finish line, everyone was handed their medal, a bottle of water, a bottle of Gatorade, and led towards the refreshments. On the way was the first aid tent where I waddled like a cowboy and got some vaseline to soothe my wounds.
Darla met me right outside the refreshment line. While she went to the bathroom, I collapsed onto a weird spacey trash bag blanket thing (you know what I’m talking about?) and immediately took of my shoes. And then I couldn’t really find the energy to put them back on.
Our little refreshment boxes had chips and nacho cheese and Oreos which sounded super unappealing. But they also came with bananas and apple sauce which also sounded terribly unappealing but Darla made me eat them anyways.
When we finally managed to get up and go back to the car, we decided that if we went back to my Uncle’s apartment we’d lay down and never make it back to Disneyland. Which would be awful since we did buy 3-day park hopper tickets. So we took a little break sitting in the car for a while and then went to Downtown Disney where we bought overpriced yoga pants (since we were basically naked) and flip flops and made our way to Disneyland.
^^Chillin’ in the car.
We stayed in Disneyland ALL. DAY. LONG. By that evening we were ridiculously slap happy. Like laughing at everything. And I mean everything. In line for Pirates of the Caribbean at the end of the day, we realized we had been awake for 20 hours. 20!
We had a super yummy dinner but ended up sitting on the porch of the restaurant because we didn’t want to wait forever for a table inside. And unfortunately it was super cold and we were still basically naked in our running gear.
^^Just so tired. So much sleepiness. Also, the server gave us warm towelettes and we promptly put them in our shirts. Because brr.
At the end of the trip we decided to keep doing Disney races together and involve our families. But only sometimes. Because sometimes it’s just nice to have a weekend at Disneyland with your bestie and without your kids.
Stay tuned for all the exciting adventures of our Disney trip aside from the race itself!