Sunday, August 31, 2014


Today was my half marathon! And it went surprisingly well, despite the fact that I parked in the wrong place and had to walk a mile through all of Downtown Disney to get to the start. The whole thing was really overwhelming, in a lot of ways. For one, they start the race at 5:30, so that they can clear the park by the time the tourists arrive. For two, there are 25,000 participants, so it's very, very crowded, especially back in the cattle corrals. And for three, unlike Tim, I am not familiar with Anaheim and the Disneyland area, so I didn't really know where I was going or where to park or essentially, what was going on! All I knew was that I had many, many miles to run. But I'd eaten my good breakfast and had some coffee and water and I had high hopes that I could shuffle my way through the whole course.

I accidentally got in the wrong corral, but that ended up being okay because I was more than able to keep pace. I was back behind the 3 hour pacer, and I passed them along the way. The first couple miles are all through Disneyland and California Adventure, and there are characters out to cheer you on, and for picture taking. I didn't have my phone with me, so there are no Disney-magic selfies of my sweaty face. Also, they allow costumes, so there were a lot of people dressed up - mostly girls in princess get ups, including tutus, fairy wings, and Mickey ears. It made me itchy just to think about. I did however, proudly wear my Special Olympics Southern California shirt. Next year though, I will give into my own vanity and put on some eye make up, since there were people in full faces, including false eyelashes.

Around mile five, we were dumped onto the streets of Anaheim. They had marching bands, cheerleaders, and some very nice people holding signs. My favorites included "worst Disney parade ever," "best Disney parade ever," and "Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon." My other favorite people were the folks with a bunch of orange slices and Twizzlers, and a sign that said "free candy from strangers." OKAY, SIGN ME UP! I took a Twizzler, not an orange slice, obviously. We passed mile nine as we headed by the Pond and under the Big A into Angels Stadium. The course went along the dirt of the warning track, and they had a person calling out our names as we ran by - my name went over the speakers at Angels Stadium and a bunch of spectators cheered for me! And as we left the stadium, it was only a 5K left to go.

I knew I could make it 10 miles, and I felt good up to that point. Miles 10 and 11 were harder because it seemed so long, and I just wanted to be DONE. Thankfully, as we approached mile 12 we were back to the park and there were lots of spectators cheering us on. Then during the last mile I passed the 2:45 pacer and he was leading a group of people walking, and I thought, I'll be damned if I'm going to get beaten by people who are walking like that (true story though - I'm sure I got beaten by a lot of people who took walk breaks. I ran except for when I stopped to get water, but I'm slow enough that someone doing a brisk run/walk combo could have probably passed me.) HOWEVER, I did manage to suck it up enough to blow past the 2:45 people and put together a pretty good kick towards the finish line. My splits show that I got a lot faster as the crowd cleaned out a little.

Disney loves to print money, so if you wanted to spectate at the finish line, you had to pay to be there. And yet, those people were not cheering very hard for those of us hobbling toward the finish! It was really crowded too - I was glad I hadn't demanded my family buy their way in. I was zonked enough without having to search around for my personal cheerleaders. Then I had another mile walk back to the car, which took me forever to find, since I had parked it at a random hotel on Harbor. I'm lucky I didn't get towed. Unlucky in that I spent twenty minutes looking for it, while wishing I wasn't using my legs any more.

I had joked with Eileen that instead of coming to see me race, they could really be supportive by inviting Tim and the kids over for breakfast so that I could nap. She and Don were happy to oblige, so I got to take a bath in peace and then sleep for a few hours. Tim and the kids came home for nap time and Ellie asked me how my sweaty run was, and then she was INCREDIBLY impressed with my medal, because I told her that it was Anna and Elsa's castle, and I'd seen them during the day.

Ultimately, I finished in 2:37, which was better than what I was thinking. I felt good, I feel good, and now I don't have to run any more unless I feel like it, which is the best reward of all!

Next year, more eye make up.

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