Last weekend I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon and completed the Coast to Coast Challenge (run a Disney race on both coasts in the same calendar year...and get three medals for the price of two).
Annie and I headed to Anaheim late Friday night. Our trip was uneventful and we both slept like babies on both of our flights (better living through Chemistry). When we arrived in Orange County, we picked up our bags and snagged a taxi to our hotel. Both of us were concenred about the temperatures for the race the next day, so we were assessing the climate at 9am as we walked out of the airport. I believe the comments were "well, I guess this is ok...in the shade." We were the first of the group of 8 to get to the hotel, since everyone else either had a later flight or was coming from LAX. We checked into the hotel, grabbed a snack, and waited for the rest of the crew to show up.
Once everyone else got there, we headed to the restaurant by the pool and had lunch, then went to the expo to get our bibs, shirts, and bags. Pretty painless and well organized. After a quick trip through the expo, we went back to the hotel, reorganized and headed off to the park for some rides and the Pasta in the Park dinner.
Dinner was ok, nothing spectacular, but after our less than stellar experience with dinner at Disney World, we figured we were getting a better deal and faster service.
The cupcakes were the best part of dinner.
We took pictures with all the characters...this one is my favorite though...all the ladies!
Even better is the random girl that isn't in this photo because Annette kindly said "excuse me, can you get out of our picture?" Apparently we are awesome enough that perfect strangers want to have their photos taken with us. We all had a good laugh about that one.
After dinner was more rides. Here we are on the Alice in Wonderland ride...I love the caterpillar cars!
3:30am wake up calls are not my favorite.
The next morning we had a hard time getting moving, but we managed to make it out the door by our 4:15am deadline. We got on the shuttle to the start, walked the 500 miles from where the shuttle dropped us to the starting line, used the bathroom, checked our bags, and went to our corrals.
Heather kept telling me that the course was super flat (I was not necessarily concerned about this given I had run Lost Lake a mere 8 days prior to this race and pretty much anything is flatter than that), on our long walk to the start I told her that I didn't care if the course was flat, but I was concerned that she failed to mention the half marathon walk to the starting line!
We were all split up in different corrals so we said our good byes and good lucks and planned to meet up at the end. I was supposed to be in corral D, but by the time I got there they had cut off people from going into it due to a human traffic jam and were redirecting people to corral E. I started at the back of corral E and slowly worked my way as far up the the front of it as I could. I made a little more people dodging progress when they moved our corral to the starting line, but not enough. When we finally started (just after 6am), I realized I had a lot of work cut out for myself. My plan was to run the first part of the race faster than the last few miles because I knew it would be really hot by the end of the race, and I don't do well in the heat.
I spent the first 4 miles trying to get out of the crowd of run/walkers. My Garmin says I ran 13.22 miles and I attribute the extra .12 miles to all the zig zagging I had to do in the beginning.
You can kind of see the wonkyness of my route in the GPS tracing...
After I hit the 5k mark, things went better. Miles 5, 6, 7, and 9 were my fastest miles. Right around mile 6, I started feeling the effects of having run Lost Lake the week before. It wasn't anything terrible since the course was so flat, but it did take a bit of effort to run though that. Mile 9 was actually my second fastest mile (after mile 5), which I think was because I passed the 2:30 pace group right after the mile 8 marker, then I passed Leah and Sue shortly after that. I wasn't trying to beat anyone, but it was encouraging to me to see all of them because I knew they had started at least 10 minutes ahead of me. After another half mile or so, I caught up with Heather (right before we went into Angel Stadium) long enough to give her a thumbs up and keep going. They were announcing where random runners were from as we were running though the stadium, she said she heard "Anchorage, AK" right as she was entering the stadium and knew it was me!
Mile 10, 11, and 12 were probably the hardest miles for me. It was starting to get really warm and there wasn't much shade. I decided to have my last Gu around mile 11 (which I don't usually do, but I needed something to help me keep going). I remember looking at my watch and deciding that it was more than ok to slow down if I needed to because I was still probably going to PR. I picked up the pace a little sometime around mile 12.5 telling myself that I had less than a mile to go.
As we got closer to the finish there were more and more people cheering on the side of the course. That was really encouraging. I remember at some point during mile 12 someone even said "Good job Martha, you're almost there" and I smiled (our names were printed on our bibs). I pretty much thought that I might die when I hit the mile 13 marker, but fortunately I was able to pick up my pace a little once I actually saw the finish line.
I finished in 2:16:06, which is a PR by 5 minutes! Seeing that time, I'm kind of disappointed I didn't make it in 2:15, which was my goal, but given the heat and my race the week before, I'm pretty ok with how things went.
After I crossed the finish line, I got my cooling towel (best post race thing ever), but my fingers were so fat and hard to move that I had a really hard time getting it open! Then I limped through the medal line, and the Cost to Coast medal line, got my water, PowerAde, snack pack, picked up my bag, and went to our meeting spot. Amanda and Annette were already there waiting.
I was so excited to get my stupid shoes off and put my flip flops on! I'm so glad I remembered to put those in my bag. We waited around for everyone else to finish, which might have been the hardest part because it was hot and I was getting really stiff and sore. Once we had everyone, we took some obligatory photos...
Then walked the 500 miles back the the shuttle, saw that there were 5,000 people waiting for the shuttle, and decided to walk the extra mile back to our hotel. We all felt pretty good if we kept moving.
After showers, lunch, a dip in the pool, and naps, we dragged ourselves off to California Adventureland for the evening.
We rode a few rides and ate whatever we wanted.
I definitely think the highlight of CA Adventureland is the new Cars Land, it looks just like you're in the movie Cars!
Monday afternoon we all packed up and said goodbye until our next adventure. Thank goodness the Orange County airport had Pinkberry to distract me from my sore muscles and sadness about having to go back to real life!
I'm looking forward to another race weekend with these girls in the not too distant future! We haven't planned our next adventure, but I'm sure wherever it is, it will be a good one!