I did it!
I finished an actual half marathon on early Sunday morning. All on my own. And then I walked around Disneyland for another 7 hours that day. Oh yeah.
The day began with a wake-up call at 3:30am … but that really translated into me waking up and wildly checking the clock every 30-45 minutes from my 9pm bedtime on… so there was a significant lack of sleep that occurred from Saturday night to Sunday morning. Luckily Auds was just one floor up in the hotel, so I got dressed in my distinctly not-girly-bright outfit, threw my iPhone in my ifitness belt and went up to eat our banana breakfast with her before hopping on the tram to the race course.
We got to the staging area around 4:30am, so I guzzled three cups of water and visited the bathroom before they started urging us to jump into the corrals around 5:15ish. Auds was in the A group (of course), so I squeezed the way to the front of my C corral and made friends with some of the lovely ladies in my vicinity. Since this was techincally a “women’s race” the guys were excluded from the first two corrals, so most of the 900 guys running were in my group, including the oh so awesome Sean Astin. (remember when Miss L got to meet him last time we were at Disneyland?) But the rest of the group consisted of women in varying degrees of pixie-powered outfits with Sparkle skirts and wings and everything in between.
We were serenaded by an awesome rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, there were fireworks, and live announcers and music and characters to get us off to our start… and then we were off on the course!
The first couple of miles were on the streets surrounding the park, but pretty early into the race they wound us through backstage and then into the streets of Disneyland. It was a blast to see backstage again and all of my old work haunts (even if they wouldn’t let me take a photo outside of the animal house…) and to pop into the park at twilight.
This is where you begin to realize that this is less of a race and more of just a 13.1 mile running course. People stop to go to the bathroom. And take photos. And wait in line to take photos with characters. I actually stopped for two bathroom breaks within the park, because I trusted them more than the portapotties at the water stops. And I didn’t feel horrible or bad… because it was all about just getting to the end. I think the people that were trying for PR’s and racing were a bit peeved (or so I overheard from those after the race was over) but I guess they’ll know next time around. I was happy. We were all trying to get to the end together. I liked that goal.
After we left Disneyland, the course winds away north from the park and east into downtown Anaheim on the other side of Interstate 5. This was the “boring” part of the race, but it was still lined with lots of people cheering and high school bands playing crazy happy music. My satellite radio (I listened to Hits 1 the whole time) went silent for about a mile in this area, and I didn’t die of boredom, so that was a good thing.
Once I hit mile 8, I started taking photos at the mile markers. You know, since I hadn’t ever run more than 8 miles before thanks to the rain storm in my last week of training. (Forgive the random expressions on my face – I never promised to stay sane throughout this process!)
By the time I hit the 13 mile marker, I was truly in disbelief. That I was at the finish line… and I had did it. And I wasn’t dying. And I was still running in intervals. And I was about to get a medal and say that I did it.
I’m not quite sure I believe it even right now! Well, except that my legs have a severe aversion to stairs at the moment. That part sort of makes it all real.
[there were 12,000 entrants… 11,080 women and 920 men – 10,280 people finished!]
Unfortunately, something wasn’t aligned in the stars the morning of the race, because my GPS tracker on my iphone decided that I had run a full 14.1 miles on Sunday instead of just 13.1. So while my mile splits are obviously a little off, they’re probably decently accurate as my overall time was about 13:35/mile. I set my runkeeper intervals to a run 2 minutes/walk 1 minute pace and kept to that for the majority of the race, outside of water stops and a few extra walking breaks. I knew that would net me a 12 minute mile time… and for the extra walking I’d near the 13/14 minute mile pace. And you know what, it was perfect. I’d been pushing myself in longer intervals while training, and then I’d die at the end of it by running really really slow. This time, I was still running at a nice pace at the very end of it all.
And for all of the hurt I feel today… it’s nothing like the hurt I felt when I started this process long ago. Those first runs hurt so badly. Every muscle in my body ached after those runs and I could barely make it upstairs at the end of the day. And that was just going 2 miles.
So now I just need to find some prominent way to hang my medal with pride (cause wearing it around my neck causes a whole new sense of pain) and revel in the fact that I did this crazy and unthinkable thing.
I have to put out a HUGE thank you to all of my supporters, whether they were family or friends cheering me on this past weekend in person, on another coast at another race…
…. or online ready with cheering words of suppport or congrats. You guys are seriously the best cheering squad this non-runner could ever ask for… you really helped me believe that I could actually do this, and made my smiles at the end just that big because I proved you all right! :)
Oh, and while this whole exercise proved that I can run, I’m still nowhere near being “a runner.” But who cares, cause I totally did this!