Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

I don't even know where to start! The trip was a crazy, incredible whirlwind. Here's some #s to start it all off:

25: hours spent traveling
44: hours in California
5: flights taken and airports visited
2:  people I met who "live in my computer"
100+: number of tweets, facebook comments, likes, and wall posting I got in support just the morning of the race! My friends and family are amazing!!!
3: times I ate Mexican (my husband is not a fan so I rarely get it!)
2: margaritas drank 
13.35: miles ran
4:29: minutes PRed by
9: # of Disney rides I went on
18: hours on my feet on Sunday
3: minimum # of days it's going to take me to recover!

It was so great to meet Stacie! (Yep, I'd actually never met her before. We've been friends through a 'mommy message board' for years!) This was my first big race including an expo which was really cool. It was also my first time to Disneyland and California Adventure.

Race Results
Offical time: 2:16:54. (average pace 10:27)
Place: 1563th out of 9,386 runners.
Times from my Garmin if you geek out on such things like I do:

We were up at 3am (wowsa!) to get ready as we had to be at the race area by 4:30am and in corrals by 5am. We laid out all our goodies the night before and Stacie made fun of my type-A-ness (mostly because it made her feel better about hers ;)).
Race clothes ready to go

Gear and breakfast ready to go
I had some coffee, oatmeal, and a banana when I woke up, and geared up. It was surprisingly warm that morning (which freaked me out a bit as I'm a cold weather runner), so we didn't really even need our throw away clothes but grabbed them anyway. I wrote my mantras on my hands and we were ready to go!
I can do hard things.
 We were sparkling our way to the starting line.

The trip to the start was wonderfully uneventful. We made our way to Corral B, hit the potties, and got ready to wait. We were much farther back in Corral B than we should have been but once you got in there was very little shuffling for place so we just had to go with it. The National Anthem was sung with fireworks, Corral A headed out, and we were right behind them. 

The first few miles were crazy packed which I expected, but add in all the fairy wings and costumes and it was nuts. I spent the entire time weaving in and out of people knowing I was adding all sorts of distance I shoudn't be running but also knew I needed to be going faster. Stacie and I bobbed in and out of the crowd trying to keep each other in sight. The route is mostly a blur to me. There was lots of back lots of Disney, running through the castle in Disney Land, out onto the streets of historic and scenic Anaheim (some of which was both and some of which was neither historic nor scenic - ha!), through Downtown Disney and into California Adventure (though not necessarily in that order). Around mile 3.5 or 4, Stacie and I parted ways to find our own paces.

I had my eye on a 10:30 goal pace despite it being a pretty big reach. So miles 3-6 were spent making up time that I spent weaving in the first mile or two. My Garmin was already showing an extra .15 miles so I knew I couldn't go by my average pace on there. Each mile marker, I'd check my Garmin overall time and do the math to see where my average pace was at. By mile 6, I knew I was at a 10:30 average and that I just had to hold on.

Mile 4.5. Photo courtesy of Team Sparkle
I took gels at miles 3, 7, and 11 which worked out great. I took water at every water station but did not walk through them, just grabbed a cup, a sip, tossed and kept dodging other folks. I was pushing pretty hard early on, but I just knew I had to hold on. Some of my favorite spots of the course were running the castle in Disneyland, seeing some of the characters (though often they were blocked by the lines of people to take pictures with them), and some of the cheerleaders and bands out in Anaheim. I felt pace noticeably quicken when I hit stretches with really high energy cheerleaders or bands. It was great! There was also an enormous group of Red Hat ladies somewhere along the way that were awesome! The stretch through Downtown Disney was really awesome packed with spectators.

By mile 10 I was hurting but holding on. I had some twinges in my right achilles and a weird ache in my mid-back which I think was from how I slept on the plane. I knew I was on target for a PR and that point it really just mattered by how much as long as I could hang on. Mentally I was fading. I talked myself into walking for 30 seconds at the 11 mile marker to take my last Gu. It was a waste of time, but I was doing what I could do to convince myself to keep pushing. From there I took off. As we weaved through California Adventure I was passing people left and right, but also breathing hard and grunting. Some people looked at me as I passed them like what is she doing?! and I wanted to tell them, it's a race! we're at the end! I'm running hard, duh! 

I got to a point where I felt like I had no push left and just maintaining a 10 minute pace was hard enough. My Garmin was off on distance so I was trying to ignore it and just get to the finish. The finish was in a parking lot and we had turn into it with a very short but distinct uphill driveway at which point I cursed out loud because I did not have that fight in me. I kept going and crossed the finish with a new PR by 4 minutes and 29 seconds! I got my first ever mylar blanket, got my medal, and anxiously waited for Stacie who had a hard race but pushed through for an awesome time!

This was half marathon #3. My first was just 8.5 months ago. I've taken almost exactly 30 minutes off of my time in those 8.5 months!
Another photo courtesy of Team Sparkle
We bypassed most of the post-race festivities in a daze and hobbled back to our hotel. I took a quick ice bath and threw on my compression shorts and sock so we could hit the parks. I think limping my way through the parks all day was as much a test of my will power as the race was but we had a blast! I stumbled, literally, back to the hotel at 9pm and crashed. (warning gross foot picture coming up, but first a fun one!)
The latest action figure strangely dressed in cargo skirt, KT Tape, compression socks, and a race shirt! :)
My gross blistered foot because Stacie wanted photographic proof


  1. Do follow Ashley and Sundance? She is a Utah blogger and ran this race in Team Sparkle gear, too! Sounds like a great race - congrats on the PR!!!

  2. The feet still scare me. I just can't imagine.

  3. Ann - I just started following her from a link on your blog a little bit back. I just read her recap - so fun. Thanks!

    Stacie - haha.

  4. I've been crazy busy this week and finally found time to read your recap. You are amazing!! 30 minutes in less than 9 months. You are gonna so rock that marathon :)

    Keep smiling and keep moving
    (and cursing those end of race hills..lol)


  5. I love those pics, it was a nice race event. Congratulations to all the participants for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates. Thanks for sharing !


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