Every Mile is Magic…
The 2014 Tinkerbell half marathon weekend was my 4th Disney race weekend having already completed the 2012 Disneyland half marathon, the 2013 Tinkerbell half marathon, and the 2013 Disneyland 10K and half marathon.
Luckily, this was not my first rodeo and after the chaos at the Expo for the Disneyland half marathon/Dumbo Double Dare weekend, I was prepared for it. Meaning, I knew that I wanted the official Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon jacket and wine glass, so I arranged to have a friend who was hitting the expo mere hours after it opened on Thursday to grab these for me. And it is a good thing I did as by lunchtime Friday, both were sold out.
I worked on Friday until about 3 and then left for Anaheim from my West Hollywood home. Not surprisingly, it took me more than 2 hours to traverse the 35 miles between my house and Disneyland. As my BFF and running buddy Sigrid was flying in from Vancouver and not landing until 830p, I was armed with waivers and releases and hit the expo to pick up our bibs and gear. That accomplished I needed FOOD as I had not eaten more than a handful of nuts and dried cranberries all day in my effort to get work done AND get to the expo for our bibs before it closed. After all, we were running at 6am the next day.
I grabbed dinner with Jennifer and Laurie (and Jenn’s adorable niece) and once my blood sugar leveled out, I was feeling more human. Sigrid got in, we shared some wine and caught up and then it was off to dreamland as we had 6.2 miles to kill in the morning.
Sigrid is a much better runner than I am. Disciplined, faster, more experienced – I am in awe of her. She decided to run with me on the 10k and enjoy the park, the opportunity to stop briefly to take pictures, and to pace me.
We started out with a 9:40 mile, not my fastest ever, but within seconds of it. (Fastest was mile one at 2013 Los Alamitos Race on the Base). We ran together through the first nearly 4 miles and then I slowed and Sigi sped up. Had I not given up– and let’s be clear– I GAVE UP – I could have finished the 10k alongside Sigrid. But I slowed to a walk and then had a hard time getting back up to speed. Still I PR’d by nearly 3 minutes in the 10k.
Saturday morning was hilarious. We both finished the 10K in less than 1:06 ish, were back at hotel and showered and on our way to breakfast at Ihop before many of the “runners” Disney races attract were done. As we made our way down Katella Blvd in jeans and a t (me) and a sundress (Sigi), some runners just finishing asked us if we’d run in those clothes. HA! I’ll be honest, it felt good to feel like I was one of the faster crowd.
We hit the expo again on Saturday, spent some time at the pool, and I wrote an article for CelebrityNetWorth.com. Then our amazing friend Jan drove down from Pasadena to have dinner with us and the three of us had a highly amusing time eating and splitting a bottle of wine.
Sigrid and I have a ritual on pre-race day Saturdays. We get ready for bed and then watch 48 Hours together, speculating on the more nefarious citizens of our continent. We are dorks and pretty proud of it.
On Sunday that 3am alarm went off and I thought “Oh good God WHY do I do this?!” Disney races start so brutally early it is inhuman. In fact, I keep remarking to Sigi that Surf City this coming weekend starts at such a civilized time (7:45a) that I expect to have an amazing race because I’ll actually be AWAKE for it.
We got ready and headed over to the start line, where we met up with fellow members of the Half Fanatics club for a photo. We made our way to the corrals, Sigi was in A, I was in B. I met up with Jennifer and my friend Heather in the B Corral and we all started the race together.
Now I need to explain something I call “Time in Motion”. It is an especially useful trick for new runners and absolutely necessary at Disney races. At this point, I’m fast enough that I’m starting ahead of the walking six abreast masses that Disney attracts. (race etiquette just does not exist at Disney) That’ s one reason for time in motion – sometimes you are simply STOPPED DEAD trying to get around walkers. Another reason is bathroom lines. I’m sorry, if I’m in line for 10 min I am PAUSING my running app and so that I have an accurate read of my time in motion — only the time moving FORWARD. Chip time can tell you total time on the course and in the case of Disney, let you know how long you spent goofing off in line to take a picture with Darth Vader.
And that is it right there– the most important reason of all for “Time in Motion” during a Disney race is the photo opportunities. Look, I’m a Disney kid. I love all things Mickey and Pluto and Sully and Mike Wazowski. And Disney races are very very spendy. So, why not relax and enjoy the time you spend running through the parks? I do. I stop and take pictures and if there are more than a few people in line, stop my Nike app so that it only records time moving forward.
So Heather and I ran together through most of the parks, taking pictures and goofing off and enjoying the fact that we were running through Disneyland and California Adventure before dawn.
Once out of the park though, I hit the turbo button on my legs. I am not even sure how it happened but at mile 8 when my app told me I was averaging an 11:17 mile pace through mile 8, I was astounded. At mile 10 I was down to 11:15. At mile 11 I was down to 10:45. I just kept getting faster.
Not only was I getting faster, I was running it all! I had short 30 second walk breaks here and there, but overall I had the strongest race I’ve ever had. My time in Motion time for 13.29 miles on my Nike app was 2:29:37, another PR for the weekend.
I cannot wait to run Surf City this coming weekend. Sigrid is once again going to pace me and we are aiming for a 2:20 or less finish.
It was so important, this Tinkerbell weekend. I needed to know I could keep up with a (slightly slowed down) Sigrid in the 10k and I needed to know I could run the entire half marathon. PRing in both has increased my runner’s confidence and made me ready to tackle my next goals.