Ok, it's been a good week (or more 🙈) since my TinkberBell half marathon. I mean at this point, why should I even write a recap? Yet, I have had one more race this past weekend and it seemed silly to jump into that recap before addressing the awesome experience I had at Tink!
A little background beforehand. About a year and a half ago I told Dave I wanted to run all the RunDisney races before I turn 40. Well, I have had to modify that bucket list just a bit. For one, the prices, OMG they have gone up and keep going up. There is no way to keep up with that pricing increase. Second, they keep adding races! Since I made this "goal", they added Paris, Star Wars Dark Side race weekend, Wine and Dine 10k, and a 10k for Avengers. Well, I am no spring chicken so all the races before 40 was NOT happening. So I said the new goal will be all the West Coast RunDisney races prior to 40. That left me with a couple of 5ks, a 10k and the Tink half.
I admit, going into this weekend I wasn't too stoked on running this race. For whatever reasons, I just wasn't looking forward to the early wake up, the corral crowds, the weaving around people and so forth. I was tired just thinking about it. Not to mention it was Mother's Day weekend, I wasn't going to be able to spend it with my own mother and my eldest son couldn't come because of school so it wasn't looking like it was going to be the best. However, once in Disneyland how could I not be excited?
First stop, @werunsocial meet up! If anything was to get me excited for race weekend it was seeing all the running peeps! It was great to chat it up with running friends, hear about how the 5k and the 10k races went and to simply just laugh. It was fun after the long and "scenic" (sarcasm) drive down I5 to get out of the car and immediately laugh and eat cupcakes (yum!!! Happy Birthday to @Ivie!) Werunsocial always hosts great tweet ups. If you ever have a chance to attend one, I highly recommend it. Don't be intimidated, EVERYONE is super welcoming, nice, and genuinely interested in knowing about you. Oh and a huge congrats goes out to @jmangilit who ran his first half marathon!
There really isn't much to say about the expo itself. Typical RunDisney expo. Bib and shirt pick up went smoothly. They really do have it down to a science. The expo, like all their others, had the typical vendors. We didn't stay long. Trying to avoid the purchasing trap. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and think you really do need all the things. I do regret not making my way through the crowd to visit the @Sparkleathletic booth. The donut skirt is seriously calling my name!
Now for race day aka Mother's Day. Early morning wake up as is typical for Disney races - not as bad as WDW - but still early. I got up and of course Asher sat right up. Poor Dave then had to be awake at 4am with a whiny 2 year old who only started to cry a little louder when he saw me with running clothes on. I grabbed my Honey Stinger Strawberry Waffle which was a new flavor for me (race day rookie move, I know) and headed out the door. Finished off about half of it and started to jog towards the corrals. For some reason, people get a little upset when people are warming up, jogging past them. "Show off" was yelled my way, meant to be funny, sure, but ouch. Just trying to warm up the limbs, not trying to show off. I got to Disneyland Dr and it was bottlenecked too much to jog much more so I walked. They had us loop around into the Paradise Pier Hotel parking lot and cross in front of the port-o-potties. That didn't seem like such a good idea. It was so congested, people were jumping bushes, pushing to keep up with friends and others were just trying to get to an open bathroom. I finally made it up to corral A and spent more time jogging up and down to keep loose and to also not stress to much about the race. Race day jitters are real and everytime I am placed in corral A or anything near the front, I start to doubt myself and worry about being in the way of "real runners".
I entered the corral with about 15 minutes until the start. I spied the 1:55 pacer and decided to stay about 2-3 rows behind her. This was not an "A" race for me, so I wasn't trying to rush out from the start. I have a terrible time pacing myself and figured 1:55 would be a good place to be. Well, not even a quarter mile in and I had to get around the 1:55 pace group. She was cute and all, but she was chatty, even chattier than I am when running. Not to mention the group was HUGE! They basically took the whole expanse of the road. I sped around them and used her voice as motivation. Whenever I heard her voice close, I sped up. This lasted for maybe 2 miles and then I no longer could hear her or see her.
At this point I had to change my game plan. I wasn't looking at my watch, I wanted to run each mile by feel, run the mile I was in basically. I was having a blast, feeling good. I stopped for a picture in the hub. I had wanted to take a picture in front of the castle, but some random lady kept jumping in the middle in front of the cameras to get the "perfect" jump shot. What I had noticed as I was leaving Disneyland were the same ladies around me. I had then decided to keep an eye on about 4 runners and try to stick with them. Whether that meant I was in front or they were, I was going to use them to pace me. I had no clue what they were running, but I felt good and it felt relatively comfortable.
However, at about mile 6, things changed a little. The 4 runners I was keeping an eye on had dwindled to one. I had passed them all and I think lost them at the water stops. Side note: I was taking the water stop like a boss! Didn't have to slow down too much, no sloshing water on myself or in my nose and nailed each garbage can. I was in the zone. Haha! The one woman remaining had her game face on. She was determined. Headphones in, eyes straight, no posing for the camera. Ummmm, I decided to just ham it up the whole time. I cheered on the other runners that I passed, high 5'd the water stop volunteers, did a little fist pumping with the bands, heck I was having a blast. I passed my secret pacer a few times, but she would charge ahead. I had no goal of trying to beat her, although I think she was determined to not have me beat her. At mile 11, I saw her pick up, but at this point the finishing miles met up with mile 4-5 and we ran next to each other for over a mile. I decided to let her go, I didn't need her anymore and I ran cheering on the mile 4-5 runners. Oddly, I find rooting for others probably does more for lifting my spirits than maybe theirs. When they look back at me and smile, I just want them to realize how awesome they are and that they truly are doing a great job. Every step is better than the last, every effort is better than quitting.
As I made my way down the chute near the Disneyland hotel, I got a glimpse of the mile 13 marker with the time 1:43:xx on it. In that moment, since I had spent the whole race not looking at my watch, I said to myself, "Holy crap, I am going to PR this race. Ruuuuunnnnnn!" I lifted my hands up, shouting thanks to the spectators and charged ahead, rounding the corner and eyeing the finishing line. I typically have Dave's hand to hold up when I finish a race, this time it was all me and I made a bee line towards Mickey (sorry Daisy on the other side) and gave him a fierce Hi-5. I looked at my watch to stop it and immediately had tears in my eyes. I could not believe it. One week after a marathon and I was able to take down a two year half marathon PR by 2+ minutes. Best. Feeling. Ever!!!
I have done many many Disney races and this was one of the most emotional times I had receiving a medal from volunteers. I think they saw those happy tears in my eyes because I went to the first girl to get my medal and either side patted me on the back and said congratulations, as I made my way past the 2 rows of volunteers behind her, they did the same. Although I was dreading this race in some ways - I am not a huge TinkerBell fan (gasp) and it was Mother's Day weekend being celebrated without my oldest - it is also one I will never forget. I even bought the race photos (or Dave bought them for me) and I have shamelessly looked over them a million times laughing and smiling.
- Mother's Day this year, although not what I had thought it would be in terms of celebrating, was nearly perfect. After the race, Disneyland gave carnations to mothers. It proved to be the perfect addition to my Tink medal. The boys took me to eat and I even had a drink! I had to pick one from the menu that looked "pretty" because I seriously have no clue. I couldn't have asked for a better Disneyland Mother's Day - spent with (most) of my boys, running a fun race, enjoying every moment, and obtaining a PR.