I Just PR’d…I’m Going to DCA!!

Post Race – Sunday, September 2, 2012

After I limped back to the hotel room after the half marathon, I quickly got in the shower so I could take a hot bath.  For whatever reason, I love to take hot baths after a half marathon, something about it soothes my achy muscles.  My right leg was feeling fantastic, like it hadn’t just run a half marathon but my left leg was in an extreme amount of pain and it felt like the pain was getting worse.  After I pulled myself out of the tub, I really felt like I was in trouble.

Because we were guests at one of the Disneyland resorts, with applicable park tickets, we could have early entry in to the parks.  The night before, I told K he and D should take advantage of the early admission in to Disney California Adventure (DCA) and not worry about seeing me at the finish line.  It was more important to me that they got in the park and experience Cars Land before the park opened to general admission.  So that’s where they were when I was trying to get myself ready in the hotel room.  But the pain I was feeling was unlike any pain I’ve felt after a half marathon and whatever annoyance I had in my leg before the race was now completely pissed off and rearing its ugly head!  I was in tears trying to get dressed and out the door but I finally made it.

As I limped towards DCA, I was wearing my medal and hoping that people would see limp + medal = injured and move out of my way but that was not the case. I started to feel like I was somehow invisible.  I also started to think my time in DCA was going to be spent sitting on a  bench.

I finally joined D and K in the park and D was famished.  Apparently they had been taking advantage of their early admission by riding lots of rides and hadn’t taken the time to stop and eat.  They were able to ride all 3 rides in Cars Land before any lines developed.  They rode everything in Paradise Pier with no wait at all.  I was happy for them, considering I was going to seriously slow them down.  I was especially happy to hear that K had secured 2 FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers and that by 9:30, all the Fastpasses were gone, just like I told him they would be.  So I was actually going to have an opportunity to ride the much anticipated ride…that’s if I could limp my way over there.

But now this blog posting has become too wordy.  You get that I was in pain and slow.  Let’s get on to the fun stuff…the pictures!

K and D in the passageway between Cars Land and Pacific Wharf.  (Disregard the photo bomber!)

Mater just rolling down Route 66!

“Mommy, take my picture!”

“Please don’t make me ride Tower of Terror!”  We’re awful parents, we made her ride!  (Don’t worry, she was really yucking it up for the camera!)

New Mad T Party Dance Area..K and D getting their pretend groove on!

Finally time to ride Radiator Springs Racers with D.  Don’t worry about K, he made his way to Pacific Wharf and the beer cart!

Gorgeous and looks just like home..well, north of us.

Time to buckle up and ride this thing!

On the ride!

At the end of the ride!

We had a great viewing spot for the Pixar Play Parade!

I don’t think I could swing back and forth on those things the entire parade but it sure would be fun to try it out for a couple of minutes!

The Pixar Play Parade is a “wet” parade with many of the floats and characters in the parade squirting you with water from their various toys.  Because we were at the very end of the parade line, it seemed a lot of them were out of water but we did get squirted by a couple…like these guys!

In the picture above, notice the guy swinging? Now look at the picture below!

Oh my goodness.  Can you 1) imagine doing that and 2) doing that on a moving float?  Wow!!!  Wow..  that’s all I could say!

At one point we left the park and returned to our room so K could change his shoes and we could drop off some stuff.

I’m normally the leader, not the follower!

I think I took a couple dozen different shots of this during our weekend stay..

 When we arrived back in the park, it was dark and the neon lights were all aglow in Cars Land!

Every time we walked in to Cars Land we would comment that it totally felt like you had just stepped in to the movie.  It was amazing and totally lived up to all the hype!

I don’t know why I loved the waterfall so much but I did!

D and K dancing again..

We had dinner at Pacific Wharf and not just because it was near the beer truck..but because it was in close proximity of where we needed to be for World of Color!

I love World of Color.  It’s an absolute “must do” on our trip to DCA!  Pictures cannot do it justice!

It wasn’t long after World of Color was over that we called it a night.  I was exhausted and surprised I had managed to do as much as we did in the park.  I’m so glad I didn’t give in to the pain and park it on the bench.  I can confirm that my legs barely joined me on the bed before I was passed out asleep for the night!

I’ll leave you with this…I video taped the ride with D on Radiator Springs Racers.  It’s not the greatest video but it does give you an idea of how fun the ride is!

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The big day finally arrived.

The race started at 5:45 am and runDisney urged all runners to be in their corrals by 5:15.  Since I was staying at the Disneyland Hotel, right next to the start line, I didn’t need to leave my room until 5 am.  Which meant I could sleep until 4:30!  Much to my surprise, I got a solid 8 hours of sleep the night before the race.  I woke up feeling really refreshed and awake!  Yay, me!

I brought my bread and peanut butter with me on our trip so I wouldn’t have to “try anything new” on race day. I ate my breakfast on my walk to the corrals.

I was excited to wear the new sparkly skirt made for me especially by M!

runDisney is really good about starting the corrals every 5 minutes so I was crossing the start line shortly after 6 am!

The weather was perfect.  I think it was in the mid 60’s.  I felt really strong, straight out the gate, and was passing a lot of people.  Running felt effortless, which was not how it’s felt this past summer.

I love running down Katella and seeing the beautiful palm trees!

About 2 miles in to the run, we started running in the back area of Disney California Adventure.  The funny thing about the 2 mile mark is that it was also near the 12 mile mark – lots of runners around me commented, “We’re almost done!”  Ha!

Before we entered the park, we were greeted with some floats from the Pixar Play Parade!

We entered the park through a gate in Paradise Pier.  I liked that the route for the half marathon through the park was different than the 5K, it’s nice to switch it up!

Going in to the race, I debated if I was going to take pictures or focus on hitting my PR goal.  But if you know me, you know that 1) I take lots of pictures and 2) I love Disney.   It wasn’t very realistic to believe I could run this race without taking photos.  Especially not when photo opportunities like this presented themselves.  I mean, World of Color music and the fountains all a-glow.  Hello friendly Cast Member, kindly take my picture, please!!!

Unlike the 5K, our race did not finish in Cars Land but we did get to run through it..so cool!

And unlike the 5K, there were characters out for photo ops!

During the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon, Disney California Adventure was “under construction” so running through it was short and uneventful.  It was really cool to be back a year later and see all the changes and updates.  Very cool!!!

We entered Disneyland near the Fire Station.  To our right, Main Street station!

There is nothing cooler than running down Main Street with Sleeping Beauty’s castle to welcome you!

I crossed the 5K mark at 38:13.  A little behind my “training” 5K time but considering it was a Disney race and all the weaving I was having to do, or being forced to reduce my speed simply because of the congestion in front of me, I was happy.  Shortly after crossing the 5K, I stopped to use the restroom in Fantasyland. I don’t normally stop for a bathroom break during other races but since this was Disney and I would soon only have port-o-potties as an option, I always take advantage of flushing toilets and running water in the parks.   I also knew I would have an opportunity to make up time once we hit the streets of Anaheim.

As we left Tomorrowland, it was neat to see the monorail decorated in celebration of the new Cars Land!

As we rounded the corner to Small World and down to ToonTown, I could see that our time in the park was coming to an end.  These beauties were out to see us on our way!

And I had to cross traffic and double back for an opportunity to pose with this kick a$$ chick!

I don’t know if you’ve seen Brave but I think it’s one of the best “girl power” and “mother love” movies Disney has made.

We left the park and were soon greeted with our one and only steep hill climb on Ball Road and…blinding sun!

At the bottom of the hill is when I decided to get my Nano and headphones out but as I did, one of the rubber pieces on my headphones popped off and fell to the ground.  I considered, for a split second, recovering the rubber piece but I saw the massive crowd behind me and I had flashbacks to that scene in Lion King when Simba finds himself in the path of the stampede!   The rubber piece was road kill!

I was fully prepared to suffer for the next 4 miles of the race because it’s in an industrial area and last year, there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment and spectator support.  I was ecstatic that not only did I not suffer this year but there seemed to be a lot more entertainment along this 4 mile stretch than there was last year!  Cheerleaders, dancers, marching bands and DJ’s playing music!  Whoo hoo!!!  I crossed the 10K mark at 1:21.  Considering the bathroom break and multiple character stops between the 5K and 10K mark, I felt like I was doing really good. I also still felt strong and not sore.  Last year, I felt really sore around the 10K mark because of the hard surface in the parks and streets of Anaheim.  In Phoenix, we have rubberized asphalt so it’s a little easier to run on.  Having learned my lesson last year, I did a lot more training on the sidewalks here in Phoenix this past season to prepare for the Disneyland race this year!

Another new addition to this year’s race was the classic cars!!  They seemed to go on for miles, when in all actuality it was probably only a couple of miles.  But it gave us something to look at in “industrial land” and the owners of the cars were cheering for us and honking their horns.  It was a cool treat and unexpected, I liked it a lot!

At the end of the classic car line-up, I spotted this beauty in the Honda Center parking lot!

When we left Honda Center, we had to run along a canal for a very short while.  I take advantage of the change in ground and run on the dirt to give my body a break from the concrete.  I always find it interesting how so many runners stay on the pavement instead of moving to the dirt, it’s also a lot easier to pass the masses on the dirt!  This stretch of the run can be difficult because the course narrows and can get slippery with the sand/dirt on the pavement but seeing the big A serves as motivation to keep pushing forward!

Arriving at Angel Stadium is really electrifying.  There are dozens of Boy & Girl Scouts lining the path in to the stadium and they are cheering their hearts out.   It really revs up the engines!  After entering the stadium, there’s even more Boy & Girl Scouts and their cheers are deafening and their signs are motivating!!!

So many of the kids lean over to “high five” as we run past them!

You don’t really “run” through the stadium, it’s more like a  “runner shuffle”.  But it’s awesome to slow it down and take it all in.  After all, how many people get to run through this portion of the Angels Stadium?

Two great things about reaching Angel Stadium is: 1) if you’ve made it this far, chances are excellent you will make it to the finish line and won’t get swept and 2) There’s only a 5k between you and the finish line!

It was at this point that I noticed my left leg was really, really sore.  I knew going in to the half marathon that I was possibly running on an legit injury but I had fooled myself in to believing that it wasn’t a big deal.  As I rolled past mile 10, I couldn’t fool myself any more….the pain was very real and my body just wanted to stop.  I started to worry because I was supposed to spend the day in California Adventure with D and K and I was feeling more than just sore, I was feeling pain.  For my runner friends, you know how you often have to convince your brain that you want to run and that a run would be good for you?  The body is able, you just gotta get the brain on board?  At mile 10…my body wanted to quit but my brain was completely hyped up because a PR (“Personal Record”, for all my non-race-running blog reading friends) was still within my grasp.  Maybe not the PR I hoped for earlier this summer but a PR, nonetheless.  My brain just kept willing my body to keep moving forward.

My left leg kept begging to stop but my brain kept pushing forward, I wanted that PR, I could taste that PR, it was right there in front of me and I was going after it.  I refused to think about the pain, I refused to worry about “afterwards” and the possibility I may be putting myself out of the game for awhile..all I could think about is that I had worked super hard all summer for this moment and I wasn’t about to give it up just because of some pain in my leg.

Before I knew it, I was coming up on that 12 mile mark again.  I had to stop for the Mile 12 photo opportunity because just 2 miles ago, I was almost convinced I would be out of the race at any moment.

Now there is only 1.1 miles between me and the finish line and the pain in my leg was growing.  I was taking more walk breaks than I cared to but I was willing myself to push through and get to the finish.  When we finally came out on the stretch of road that lead us straight to the finish line..I pushed as hard as I could and ran as fast as I could to cross that line.

I crossed the finish line of the 2012 Disneyland half marathon with an official time of 2:45:44!

Last year, I ran the Disneyland half marathon in 2:59:07!

I beat my “fastest” half marathon time by almost 14 minutes.  I was stoked and I cried tears of pain joy as I limped back to my hotel room!

I just PR’d at the Happiest Race on Earth…I’m going to DCA..maybe!

Cars Land 5K Rally

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It was finally time for the Cars Land 5K Rally.  The night before the race we laid out all our race gear so we had no problem getting up and dressed on race morning! Upon arrival near the start line, runDisney was hosting a dance party and I pushed D in to join in the fun!   When the official runDisney video camera showed up to video tape the dancing crowd, the dance floor cement quickly filled up! The “corrals” opened at 6 am but before we rushed over, we posed for a quick photo! The reason I quote “corrals” is because there weren’t actually corrals – we were at the tram loading area for the Mickey & Friends parking structure but there was no distinction of who should line up where.  We literally lined up in the order in which we joined the crowd.  I was relieved to see we were more towards the front than the middle or back.  K got nervous about being too close to the front because he was worried we’d get run over.  I assured him we wouldn’t.

runDisney suggested everyone get in the corrals at 6 am and that’s what we did.  But then we stood around for 45 minutes waiting for the start of the race.  D was bored and antsy.  And my feet started to hurt just standing there, waiting.  So I took pictures to distract ourselves.

Finally, at 6:45 am, it was time to start! It’s always great to start a race with support from friends! And we were off.  We followed the same route the trams follow when transporting park goers from the parking garage to the parks.  Except, instead of going through the front gate area to enter the park, we entered in a gate to the side.  We were running in the back area and D was getting confused as to why I said we’d be running “in” Disneyland.  In spite of the confusion, both D and K were going strong, D never even asked for walk break (even though we took them)!  We were running 3 minutes, walking 1 minute.After a mile (give or take) we entered in to the park near Splash Mountain and that’s when D’s excitement hit an all time high.  She instantly recognized where she was! D started calling out every attraction she recognized…which is everything!  Her head was going from left to right to front…her speed increased – not just her feet but her mouth! Just beyond the Pirates ride, we stopped for the first and, subsequently, ONLY character photo-op we noticed, Chip and Dale.  Later in the day I discovered that the Cast Member didn’t actually snap the picture of D and I with Chip and Dale!   Upon my “missing picture” discovery, D cried a river of tears.  Having run 2 previous Disneyland half marathons, I knew Disney was great about having characters and floats out.  Except, none of these things were out for the 5K.  Seriously, Chip and Dale were the only characters we saw along the route that we could pose with.  I had to wonder why that was.  I figure it’s because there are so many kids running the 5K and the lines would be insane if characters were out.  I wasn’t aware there wouldn’t be very many along the race route and I had set the expectation with D that there would be characters.  So I can appreciate how devastated she was that the only characters that were out and we stopped for, the picture didn’t take.  I can neither confirm or deny that D has cursed that unknown Cast Member.  I digress.

We ran through Adventureland and made our way in to Fantasyland.  D was ecstatic when she saw the castle! As we ran through the Castle, I think D actually giggled.

In Tomorrowland, we encountered our first and only water stop.  You may not have noticed that I am not wearing my water belt during the race. I would never run without water in Phoenix, not even for a mile, but the weather was so nice in Anaheim, I went without the belt.  I was worried I’d regret it but that regret never happened.  At the one water stop, we each drank half a cup of water and were good to go!

After a tour through Tomorrowland, we were back in front of the castle and stopped for a quick photo before making our way down Main Street! We exited the park and made our way across Downtown Disney to enter Disney California Adventure at a side gate near Soarin’ Over California.  This is when K started playing tour guide pointing out attractions he recognized.  Ha! I loved how much time we were running through both parks .  D and K were both  holding up great in spite of how they look in this picture after the “hill climb” coming out of Paradise Pier!  (They’re such posers!)Shortly after taking the picture leaving Paradise Pier, we rounded the corner to this discovery! D and I screamed, hollered, and cheered as we raced past our good friends!
Then we rounded the corner to the new addition to Disney California Adventure, Cars Land! Finish Line dead ahead!!!  K told us to go for it so D and I launched in to a full blown sprint and tore off down Route 66 to the finish line!!! After we all crossed the finish line, I stopped my Garmin.  We finished in 43 minutes!!!  Excellent work!!!  So proud of D and K for their amazing accomplishment.  They trained the past 5 weeks in Phoenix and all their hard work paid off.  They both crossed that finish line with so much to be proud of!!!  I’m so glad I registered myself to run this race with them so I could experience, with them, their proud moment!  Even though K said the best thing about finishing the 5K was knowing he didn’t have to go home and train any more!  Ha! After a lovely breakfast, we played around in the pool.  Later in the morning, we returned to our room and I fell asleep for a nap.  When I awoke, I discovered Sleeping Beauty had joined us for a post-race snooze!

I loved the experience of running the Cars Land 5K Rally with D and K. I wish I had known there wouldn’t be characters along the route so I wouldn’t have hyped that up to D.  Lesson learned.  The lack of characters did not distract her from enjoying the experience of running through the parks – she really enjoyed every magical step!

Disneyland Health & Fitness Expo

Friday continues…

After a surprisingly good lunch at ESPN Zone…now it was after 12 pm and the Expo was officially open!  We made our way over for packet pick up!  Along the way we saw what would become a “beautiful sight for sore eyes legs” in the very near future!!  The “Finish” line of the Disneyland half marathon!!!!

You never need to question if you’re in the right spot at Disneyland – there are signs everywhere letting you know exactly where you are!  Just look up!

Disney is very welcoming!

Loved the logo on the path leading to packet pick up!

The area for packet pick up was a bit insane hectic – so no pictures.  But we picked up our bibs (a total of 4), pins, confirmed my D-Tag worked, and picked up our theme park tickets in less than 15 minutes.  Then it was time to make our way upstairs for the Expo and t-shirt pick up!

If you look carefully to the left of the picture, you will see the light sign reading “Half marathon T-Shirt and gEAR Bag Pick-Up.”  There were lighted signs like that all over the walls making it very easy to figure out where you needed to be!

It wasn’t too crazy in the Expo, yet.

I hit up the booths I listed as “must do”, KT Tape, Clif, and Nuun!  I lingered at the KT Tape booth the longest to discuss my “injury“.  At the 2 other booths, I was in and out.  I find that going to the expo’s prepared with cash makes the transactions go a LOT faster!!  Consider that my “expo tip”!

While D worked on a cheering sign, I watched Dimity and Sarah Bowen talk to us about race tips!  I read their book, “Run Like A Mother!” awhile ago and learned a lot.  During their talk, and I can’t remember who made the point, but one of them shared that the half marathon is the “sweet spot for a mother runner.”  (I think someone in the audience asked about a full marathon?)  One of the reasons I won’t consider a full mary right now is because I don’t have that kind of time to train.  I really enjoyed listening to their talk and I was amazed how easily they seemed to transition from one another for speaking parts..they were totally in sync.  I was in awe!

I think it was Sarah that shared tips about the finish line and how so many runners are more concerned with stopping their Garmin’s than having a great finish line moment.  She urged us to forget about the watch for a nano second and have a strong finish line moment!  She demonstrated how we should lift our arms in victory – straight up and down over our heads (locked elbows), not bent at the elbows like a football goal post.  I loved it but by the time I reach a finish line, I can barely keep my elbows driving back, let alone raising my arms above my head!!  I think K took her advice..judging from the sights of his 5K finish line photos! 🙂  But her main tip was wait until you clear the cameras and then stop your Garmin – good tip for me, I followed it on race day.

After their talk, we hit up the “official” Disney race merchandise area but that area was a little insane so I told K I would return in the morning to go through it.

On our way out, K and D stopped for a must-do photo-op!

All my purchases from the expo…necessities!!!

No, I cannot just buy 1 of something.

BTW, the KT Tape Pro stays on a million times better than the other stuff did!!!  I give it two major thumbs up!!!

For the rest of the afternoon we splashed around in the pool, water slides and hot tub.  It was a chillaxed afternoon!

We went to bed pretty early since we were up SUPER early and we had an early wake-up time with the Cars Land 5K Rally to contend with in the morning!

I love taking pictures of my babies sleeping.

Up next…Cars Land 5K Rally!!!

To the Disneyland Hotel…and Beyond!!

Let’s go back in time, shall we?

Early on Friday, August 31, 2012, we made our way to the airport for an early morning flight to Orange County.  Since we were running the Cars Land 5K Rally on Saturday, we had to arrive on Friday for packet pick up!  The airport adventures and flight were uneventful.  While we waited a really long time for our luggage at the Orange County airport, I noticed the artwork above us!

I thought it was awesome the details on the wings were flight paths!  Neat-o!  D wasn’t as impressed as I was.

Because it took a super long time for our luggage to arrive, we missed the Disneyland Express shuttle by 4 minutes so had to wait a whole hour for the next bus.  The wait wasn’t too horrible, gave me time to charge my camera battery!

After a short shuttle bus ride (maybe less than 40 minutes), we arrived at our destination, the Disneyland Hotel!!

Upon arrival, we were able to check in, which meant we could drop off the heavy, heavy bags in our room!!!  Okay, only the bag for D and I was heavy – weighed in at 45 pounds at the airport – I blame the running gear!

It’s all in the details!

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We were in the Adventureland Tower, 2nd floor, overlooking the pool.  It was an awesome location.  It was nice to sit in the chair by the window and just watch the world walk by, swim away, and be surrounded by so much greenery!

Normally we don’t splurge for such expensive hotels.  But when I do destination races, I try to make things as easy on K as possible when it comes to getting to/from the finish line area.  The easier it is on him, the easier it is on me.  So that is the only way I justify the splurge of the Disneyland Hotel.  During other visits to Disneyland, we stay off property with no issues.

Justification story over.

It was nearly 11 am so we made our way to the Expo because I have a one-track mind!  The sun was beating down on us and when 11 am came and went and the line to the Expo kept growing behind us (only about 20 people in front of us), I looked up on my phone what time the Expo “actually” opened.  12 pm!  Say What?!  We decided to ditch the line and get some lunch – we were starving.

I had read that Downtown Disney was getting an Earl of Sandwich and it was supposed to open in June.  Dirty liars.  It was still under construction.  We were tired, hot, and hungry so we settled on the next closest thing, ESPN Zone.  *Insert deep, hilarious laughter here!!*  If you know me and K, you know we are not sports people.  So we must have been really desperate to settle on ESPN Zone!  Ha!

The place was pretty empty!  We learned something about D we already suspected but had completely confirmed for us that day!
She WILL watch anything!!  And yeah, those are two big glasses of beer for K and me.  It was yummy.  And the food wasn’t bad at all. We were happy travelers!   Lesson learned, don’t judge a restaurant on its “theme”.  Big mugs of beer can win over the biggest of skeptics!