Thursday, January 24, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

I'm not sure how I'm ever going to remember all of the details of the race, especially since it's now 4 days later, but I'm going to do my best! This race was so incredible and amazing, I'm sure I will remember the feelings for a very long time!

My mom and I flew in on Thursday morning, leaving the east coast very early and getting to LA by mid-day. We didn't plan any Disney parks time for that day which was good, because I wanted to make sure I was well-rested. Too often in Disney races, I wear myself out at the parks in the days leading up to the race and end up with tired feet and legs before the race even starts. But this time, I planned smarter. So Thursday afternoon was spent with feet up on the bed watching TV! We went out to dinner with a friend on Thursday evening, during which time I set the restaurant on fire. I think it's far safer if I'm not allowed to roam free on race trips.

Friday morning was my planned shake-out run. I had been given a fairly simple area route from a ROTE friend, but the free wifi connection wasn't set up for tablets like the Kindle Fire, so I had to wing it. I ran between the two parks and into Downtown Disney. My idea was to run straight through and come out on a road on the other side. But instead I ran right into the Disneyland Hotel, passing the folks who were waiting for the Galloway Meet-up to start. I turned around, pretending that I knew what I was doing, and went back to find a road. And I found one. But I had no idea where I was! I kept running until I found a road name that was familiar and finally, I found my way back to the hotel. I was very close to calling my mom in the room and asking her for directions! LOL The shake-out run was done and everything felt pretty good!

We opened Disneyland Park that morning (benefits of being on East Coast body clocks) and enjoyed some attractions before the Expo opened. The Expo wasn't crowded and I had my bib is no time.

I didn't spend much time looking at the vendors, but I did get a chance to see Leah from Sparkle Skirts, and I ran into my friend, Cindy, from ROTE. I also spoke to a very nice lady who was running for Autism Speaks in honor of her daughter. I cannot remember her name, but we talked for awhile about autism and she was carrying a sign with her daughter's picture on it. If you happen to know her, could you direct her to my blog so I can get in touch with her! I had meant to bring a card with my name/email address to the race start to give to her but I forgot.

Saturday was spent in California Adventure where I ate my traditional pre-race dinner of cheese pizza!

Early night to bed, laying everything out for the morning!

I actually got a very good night's sleep! Probably the best night-before-a-big-race sleep that I've ever gotten! I'm not sure if it has to do with my frame of mind or the fact that I was on East Coast time or what, but it was fantastic! I was up by 2:30 to roll and stretch and have plenty of time to get myself ready. I met Cindy at 3:45 for the walk over to the start line. I really like the Disneyland races because you don't have to get on a bus and stand around for 2 hours before start time. In fact, I felt like our time with the other ROTErs at the H tent was over too quickly! By the time we took some pictures, it was time to hit the corrals!

I wasn't incredibly nervous. In the last few months, I have really come to terms with what racing is to me and what I hope to gain when I sign up for a race. I wanted to enjoy myself, and to do the best I could do, but in the end, it was all going to be OK whether or not I got all upset and worked up! So I chose not to get upset and worked up! And that worked (with God's help, of course! LOL)!

I was in Corral B, thanks to my still valid super-fast 10K time from 2011. I lined up at the very end of the corral so my walk intervals wouldn't mess up anyone's PR attempt. Sooner than I ever imagined, it was our turn to start! I was so excited to finally be on the side of the road where Mickey usually stands on a stage, only to find out it was Minnie and Daisy for this race! LOL Oh well, they are cool, too!

This race course was phenomenal! We had a ton of time in the parks... 6 whole miles, if my memory serves me correctly! It was dark, though, and some of the water stops were quite slippery. But I wasn't in a huge hurry so I did my 3/2 intervals as planned. I got a few really great pics on the course, even though it was dark.

Tower of Terror!
Paradise Pier
Ran through the new Cars Land!

Flo's Cafe in Cars Land
Another shot of Paradise Pier

Main Street, USA!
There's Tink!
Getting ready to "Run Through the Castle"! :D

I saw my mom 2 times on Disney property, and she took a few pictures of me! I didn't want to stop because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to start back up again!

From the parks we went out into Anaheim, but instead of going through the industrial parts, this course took us through neighborhoods and what appeared to be the downtown office area! It was really pretty and there was lots of crowd support! Of course, being in California, it also has the benefit of being completely flat! Woohoo!

My race plan was to do the first 8 miles at a 3/2 interval which is what my training plan called for. I had been adding 2 miles to each of my training runs at a 1/4 interval, but I decided to keep going with the 3/2 for as long as I could. Around mile 7, I started to feel like I my sleeve was rubbing. I hadn't really run too far in this new shirt, but I carry a tiny thing of Body Glide with me. I got it out, and promptly pushed it right out of the container where it felt to the ground. I shrugged it off and decided I could stop at a medical tent for vaseline if necessary (and it never was).

My toes also started to feel like the Body Glide was wearing off, but then it went away. I was still feeling really great! Around mile 11, my hips began to ache a bit, so I focused on maintaining proper form, and that really helped! I texted mom at mile 12 that I was going to run the rest of the way... 1.1 miles without stopping! I hadn't run a nonstop mile since the summer of 2011, before the full marathon training and my injury! But I was feeling so wonderful, and I just knew in my heart that I could do it! Mom was waiting around the finish, nearly Disneyland Drive and she snapped this picture.

Ponytail flying and feeling fine!

After a very wonky loop through the parking lot, I crossed the finish line and received my Spinning Bling that I had wanted so badly! I was sure I would cry, but I didn't. I was just filled with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for having finished this race in such fine form, despite being completely undertrained! I couldn't thank God enough for seeing me through yet another crazy challenge! I don't deserve His many blessings and yet He keeps pouring them out on me!

I caught up with the ROTE folks at the H tent and enjoyed hearing how everyone's races went! There were many PRs and almost PRs among our little group. I didn't get a PR, but that didn't matter to me! I finished, after a year off from long distances. And that meant so much more to me than a PR ever could!

I am still feeling quite well all these days later and I'm ready to keep up my training for the Princess Half Marathon! I'm halfway to the Coast to Coast Medal with just a little bit over 4 weeks to get there! My fundraising has gone very well and I'm going to really give it a push in the next week or so! If you would like to donate, please click here! I really would like to make it to my $1000 goal if at all possible!!

Thanks to everyone for sharing this experience with me and for your good thoughts, prayers, and pixie dust!


  1. Congratulations on finishing the race! Especially running the last 1.1 mile without stopping. That must've been a great feeling, particularly since it had been a while since you've done so. And good luck with the Coast to Coast!

    1. Thank you so much! It was truly a great feeling after so much time off from half marathons! :)