Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Disneyland Half Marathon Experience...

So, if you have ever wondered what it's like to finish a half marathon, I will fill you in. I finished the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday. The morning began around 3am. It's tough getting up that early, and that's my least favourite part of these big races. We caught the bus from our hotel around 3:30am and were soon walking through Downtown Disney to get to the place where you hang out until it's time to move to the starting corrals. We hung out for about an hour sitting on the pavement of a parking lot while the little green army men from Toy Story walked around entertaining people. Around 5am, it was time to head to the starting corrals (A-G). We were in Corral F.

The race started promptly at 6am. I crossed the starting line about 24 minutes after the race had begun (that's what happens in a field of 13500 runners). I made a last minute decision to visit the portapotty on the way to the start line (and there wasn't even a line up for them!!). The start had no fireworks, but did have some fancy flame things and of course Mickey and Minnie. Soon after crossing the start line, we were running under the monorail and Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale were waving at us from the monorail.

My heart rate was pretty high, so soon in, I started walking. My shins were absolutely killing me. I was watching my heart rate closely since I was running with a child onboard and didn't want to over exert myself. At mile 1, I was doing okay. Soon after, we were heading into California Adventure. I stopped to get photos with the characters along the way (a bug's life, Buzz and Woody, Brother Bear). We could see the people in front of us who had already cleared Paradise Bay. By the time I cleared it, there were hardly any people behind me. This made me panic just a bit. Since I was walking most of the time, I could only go so fast.

We came out of California Adventure and crossed over to Disneyland. It was fantastic running through Tomorrowland. I got pictures with Pinnochio, Nemo, in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle etc. Again I was made aware of how few people were behind me. At the 4 mile mark, I ran into the pace crew for the first time, telling me I was 10 minutes ahead of the cutoff time. This made me panic huge time so I put in bits of running, but as soon as my heart rate went up, I had to back off to walking. At mile 5, I was 9 minutes off. At mile 6, 8 minues off and decided I didn't want to keep seeing them. Mile 7, I was 7 minutes off the cut off. I then ran on any downhills I came across or shady bits. It was effective and I never saw the pace crew again.

The section from mile 4 to mile 8 was tough because there was not much to see. There were several bands and cheerleading squads, and they were fantastic. The kids were cheering & kept me motivated.

At about 8.5 miles, I approached the Honda Centre. This is where the Anaheim Mighty Ducks play. Coming through the parking lot, there were lots of spectators cheering us on, including a 4H group. Next up, we joined a dirt path, & you caould smell the dirt in the air. It was along side a river, but there was not one drop of water in the river. Soon was mile 9 and the Clif Shots stop. This was the third gel I had, as I was having one every 3 miles to keep me and the baby hydrated and nourished.

Next up was Angel Stadium. There were huge numbers of spectators there and tons of girl scout and boy scout troops. It was very inspiring. There was an announcer saying we had reached the 10 mile marker but it was forever after we passed him that we actually got to the 10 mile marker. Grrr... I hate it when people tell you that you are somewhere, but then really you have about another half mile to go!! By mile 11, my feet were feeling heavy, but I kept plugging along.

At 12 miles, I took my last gel, and soon we were back inside California Adventure again. I took a photo of the Tower of Terror, and then stopped for pictures with Monsters, Inc, Mrs. Incredible and Ratatouille. From there, I ran through Downtown Disney (loving the air conditioning from the open doors we ran past), then turned the corner at mile 13 for the final stretch.

I finished in 3 hours, 29 minutes, and 42 seconds. This was only 18 seconds less than the official cut off time. Nothing like cutting it a little close!! More than 400 people finished after me though. I was so excited to be under the official time though, and knowing that many people finished after me meant that I passed a lot of people, since at mile 2, there were less than 50 people behind me!! And, I did most of the race walking, looking out for my little guy. I earned my castle medal and the coast-to-coast medal (for having also completed a race in Florida in January). It felt so good to finish!!

It's been a busy racing year. I mentored with Team In Training for 2 seasons, completed 3 half marathons, one marathon, was part of a team for the Banff/Jasper Relay, the Mother's Day 10km (in support of Neonatal Intensive Care), the Ronald Mcdonald House Rock the House run, and still have the EMS Ambulance Chasers coming up in October. I know I'll be taking it easy for a few months after this, but I'm already looking ahead for races for next year. I'm thinking maybe Seattle, or San Francisco, or perhaps maybe I'll move into the world of triathlons. Time will tell I suppose, but I have to keep following my dreams!!

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Once again - I'm so jealous and you must be so proud! All that bling, all those photos, all these goals met. You rock!

I'm also trying to work out when my next race will be, gotta keep the motivation up and as I'm planning to get some more running skirts, well I gotta use them right?

Maybe we'll run together some day. I like your pace :)