Yup, that's right! I ran my first half marathon AND finished! Over labor day weekend, Dearest and I headed down to LA to put our endurance skills to the test. What had been an idea over Christmas dinner turned into a commitment back in the spring and just over a week ago, turned into a reality. Along with three of our cousins, we ran the 13.1 mile Disneyland half marathon as first time racers.
We left the hotel at 4:30am, runners bibs pinned to our shirts, ipods charged, and fitness packs stuffed to the brim with fuel for the run. It didn't quite set in until we got to the race start and saw the thousands of other runners. As we made our way through the crowds, I saw a guy with bib #11 and squealed to Dearest, "Look! It's #11!" Random, I know, but seeing as how the numbers are determined by expected finish time and we were in the 12,000s, #11 was a hero in my eyes.
The sun began to rise as we headed off. If there's one think Disney knows how to do well, it's entertainment. Mickey and Minnie were there to send us off at the start line with music blaring the the energy pumping. As the last corral (G), we started about 35 minutes after the first corral left. Dearest made the mental note, so we'd be able to track our progress at each mile marker.
At mile 1, the adrenaline was still flowing.
The course took us through Disneyland and California Adventure, with a little "behind the scenes" running as well.
We then headed out to the streets of Anaheim. This is probably where I got worn out the most. The sun was beating down on us and the water stations seemed too far apart.
Angels Stadium was a good pick me up. It was definitely exciting to see crowds of people cheering you on. I confess I'm not much of a baseball fan, but it was pretty cool to run on the field.
Back to Disneyland we went. During our training, we never made it more than 8 miles, so hitting that 10 mile marker was an accomplishment in itself. But as we got around mile 11 or so, I wasn't sure I'd finish. It was so great to have Dearest running with me. He says we motivated each other, but I know it was a lot of him encouraging me to keep up with him.
At mile 13, we made our last final push to the finish line- of which I do not have a picture. What can you expect? After running for 13 miles, I wasn't about to waste anytime getting past that finish line so I could rest my weary legs. I am pleased to say, as I crossed the finish (at 2hrs 48 mins), I high-fived Mickey. :)
I am also pleased to say, all 5 of us finished! Kudos to my cousins for finishing! Extra kudos to my cousin who, despite having a baby not too long ago and not being able to train as much as the rest of us, still finished!
Finishing the race has given me a sense of accomplishment and a healthy new lifestyle. I'm cashing in on my reward of a new wardrobe and we're gearing up to head back to the gym. My next goal is the Coast-to-Coast medal that Disney offers. If you run at least a 1/2 in both Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, you get a special medal... Ok, so I'm really after the bling. But I suspect it'll have to wait until we can make it out to Florida.
In the mean time, Dearest and I are planning to do the 1/2 again next year with the goal of finishing under 2hrs 30 mins. Notes for next time: wear a hat and don't let Dearest drink tons of water an hr before the race. I'm blame his pee break for costing us at least a couple minutes. ;)