Saturday, February 8, 2014

2014 Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Re-Cap

 I cannot believe how long it has taken me to get this post up!! I guess, writing my re-cap was just really hard because I just don't want to admit that Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Weekend is over! I loved it that much!!

This was the race that started it all for my sister. If you remember back to April of last year, my sister had never run a race, and she was very "anti-race". I begged her to travel with me to Disneyland to run the Tinkerbell 1/2, and she flat out refused! She wanted nothing to do with racing. So, I devised a plan in which she wouldn't be "racing" at all, but helping me pace myself, and she would run with me. She went for it and we got signed up.

Of course, she needed to actually run a race in order to have a time to submit to RunDisney for corral placement, so her very first 10k was in August. It was at this race that she got CRAZY about racing (and very competitive!!).

Fast forward to January 19, 2014 --

We had just finished running the Neverland 5k and the Tinkerbell 10k the two days before this race, and now we were up at 3am again, to run the Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon!! Only 13.1 more miles stood between me and the amazing Tinkerbell medal!! I was so excited for this race, as it was going to be my first 1/2 marathon that I actually had someone to run with!!! I was very excited!

Anne and I got ready in record time, and made our way to bag check, and on to corral B. Anne had a time good enough to be in corral A, and while I knew it was killing her to fall back and be in B with me, I was overjoyed to be able to run with someone!!

As we waited in the corral to start, I was amazed with how "fresh" my legs felt!! I wasn't tired, or sore!! This was going to be another GREAT race!!

We were right at the front of corral B and it didn't take long for us to be called to the starting line. After the count down we started running!! I know I had tears in my eyes, I was just so excited to have another chance to run in the beautiful weather (55 degrees!!) and through the parks again!

For the first mile, we ran on some roads outside of Disneyland, these included a few small "hills", but I really don't remember too much of this part of the race, it was dark, and I was just trying to settle into a pace that would be happy for both Anne and I. Anne was struggling with her (bought the night before!) RunDisney tutu, and ended up taking it off and throwing it to a very excited spectator! She is not a costume girl!

About 1.5 miles later we entered Disney's California Adventures! Here we stopped for our first character stop, and I noticed that Linzie from @SeeSharpRun was right in front of us!! I took a quick pic with him! The first character line was short, and didn't take us very long to get through. We then devised a plan that Anne would run up to the character line and wait, I would run and catch up to her. This worked for much of our time in the Parks!

This is probably the reason I loved the Tinkerbell races, you actually run through the parks for an extended amount of time! We ran in the parks for just over 4 miles!! It was so much fun!!

Anne and I stopped for just about every photo op during these 4 miles, and it was funny to watch the time on our Garmins tick by! We actually "ran" mile 3 in 25 minutes!! hahaha! I think seeing this time really got to Anne, it got into her brain and she just panicked!

After meeting Cinderella, Rapunzel and Finn Ryder, Anne took off, saying she would wait at the next stop. When I got to the next character, she was nowhere to be found, so I ran to the next character, and again, there was no Anne. I knew, I knew she had left and I wouldn't catch up to her again, so I settled in to run my own race.

For about 2 miles, I was mad, I was really mad. Usually when I run mad, I run fast, but this time I was trying to choke back tears, I had really wanted to cross the finish line with my sister.

As I made my way down the streets of Anaheim, I got over it and just enjoyed the rising sun, and the views!

Some people complain about running on the streets of Anaheim, that it "isn't' Disney", which is true, unlike races at Walt Disney World, which are run all on Disney property, Disneyland is small, and the city of Anaheim hugs Disney on all sides. Disney cannot have their characters outside of their property, so after mile 5.5 there are no more character stops. I didn't know how I would feel about that, but I was shocked by how the city supported this race!! It was really awesome!! There were very few spots without spectators, and there were multiple places set up handing out food -- I ate the best orange slice I think I have ever had, I even thought about turning around to get another one!!

I had a really great time running this part of the race, I didn't worry about character stops messing with my time, and I was just able to run! It felt really good!

I was able to admire the costumes that everyone was wearing, and chat with a few other runners. At around mile 10 I caught up to a woman who was wearing one of those skirts that belly dancers wear, the ones that make noise, you know those? Well, it annoyed me so badly!! I couldn't focus on anything else but the noise her skirt was making, I actually thought about hitting her!! That's when I knew that I had to get this race over with!

At mile 12 we were back on Disney property, backstage of DCA, and the bottom of my right foot started throbbing. I didn't know what to do, it hurt so bad!! I have never had this type of pain before, and it was bad!! It hurt really bad when I ran, and not as much when I walked, so I walked a while. I didn't want to have to walk across the finish line, but I was in so much pain!!! I just wanted to take my shoe off!

I started chatting with a girl who was also walking, she gave me some encouragement, and at about mile 12.5 I high-fived her, and started running towards the finish line.

The crowd was amazing, and it helped me not focus on my foot!! I sprinted through the finish line, as tears streaked across my face! I think I was crying because I was sad that the weekend was over, that this race that I had planned for so long to run, was over, but I was so proud of myself for finishing!

I seriously skipped over to get my medal!! It is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love this medal!!

I met up with Anne at the same place we met the day before, and at first I got a little angry with her, but I didn't want to ruin the moment. Her excuse was that she "lost me" but I know she needed to run her own race, and just took off. I'm still sad we didn't get to share the finish together, but I understand.

With that said, she only finished 8 minutes before me………

Oh well. I'm over it!

We collected our checked bag, in which we had put our other medals from the weekend, and we got a few pictures taken with all of our medals on!

My sister also had a special surprise for the at the end of the race. All week she had told me that she had something and that it would probably make me cry. She was right! She gave me a vintage (1950's) Tinkerbell charm that she had put on a Alex and Ani bracelet. The charm was very much like the one my mom got as a child in Disneyland. It melted my heart, and if I had had the energy to, I would have bawled. I held it together though. This bracelet means the world to me, for so many reasons!!

Even with all the post-race excitement, I couldn't forget about my foot, it was still throbbing in my shoe, so we made our way back to the hotel, had some breakfast, showered and got ready for our last day in the parks! Once I released my foot from my shoe, it was better…..thank goodness!!

We spent the rest of the day at both Disneyland and DCA, it was super crowded, and we actually had 2 rides shut down just before we got on them (after waiting over an hour in line!!).

It definitely wasn't our favorite day in the parks, but we made the best of it!!

My final thought about Disneyland's Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Weekend are simple, it was a magical experience! And even though I have only run 2 RunDisney races (PHM and Tink), I am declaring Tinkerbell as the winner (although I am going to let PHM weekend impress me if it would like to!).

Tinkerbell is great because:

1.  time spent in the parks during the run (the 5k is completely in the parks - start and finish!)
2. getting to the corrals is much easier than at WDW, less walking
3. it is a smaller race, not so crazy
4. the weather!! No HUMIDITY!!
5. smaller parks mean less time spent on your feet in between races!
6. everything is much closer: expo, hotels, parks, etc.
7. the great people of Anaheim who come out to cheer on and support the runners
8. the medals!! They are HUGE!! and BEAUTIFUL
9. California!! I love California!!

I seriously have to run this race weekend again! I know many people had issues with parts of this race weekend, I did not experience any of these issues, and I overall had an amazing time that I will never forget!! It was amazing to travel with my sister, and experience Disneyland for the first time with her. I am so glad she decided to run this race "with" me!! I hope we can do it again in the future!!

Now, it is time to focus on Princess 1/2 Marathon weekend, and earning my coast-to-coast medal!!

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