Disneyland: The Day Before & Race Day!
As early as we could manage we got out of Ely and back on the road toward SoCal. Although we weren't even in Nevada for 12 hours, it was money well spent so we could make it to Anaheim early enough for the race check-in which closed at 5 pm! After a quick Target run in Anaheim (biggest.Target.ever) - we dropped the car off at the hotel parking lot and made our way to Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel, where the Run Disney Expo was held.
Check in was quick and easy, I picked up my shirt (woo!) and we looked around the Expo.
Todd was feeling a wee bit jealous - there was lots of nifty themed merchandise, but with my shirt and (hopefully) a medal the next day, I didn't feel the need to get anything else - we did take advantage of a few photo ops though😊. The best part, we both said, was just seeing something new and different at Disney that we would never experience any other way.
By a serious miracle 🙏🏻 Jen made it in time to check-in as well (her plane landed early, the shuttle was ready and waiting for them, and they went to her hotel first even though they had said they weren't) - so we weren't going to have to wake up an extra hour and a half early the next day! After a not-very-glamorous healthy dinner, we headed to an early bedtime. Up at 4:45 am, out the door at 5 am - we walked along with thousands of others (over 13,000 in the whole race) back to the Disneyland Hotel and our starting point. Corral F was the last corral, so although the race started at 5:30, we didn't actually cross the starting line until after 6:00. It was CRAZY how many people were there! You can see in front of us and behind we couldn't see the end of the line! There was lots of Disney music playing and and a pretty entertaining MC to listen to while you waited.
We were definitely ready to get going by the time it was our turn. The chips in our bibs tracked our start time, mile marker times, and end time - they would send texts to whomever signed up to let folks know of our progress.
The only negative of this whole race, I would say, was the amount of people vs. the amount of space. I think we figured it took 20 minutes to get through the first mile because of several insane bottle-neck situations (the backstage of Disneyland isn't prepared for that many people), plus there were a TON of people walking, so that caused several slow-downs. It wasn't until we were out of the park area (after 5 miles) that space really opened up. But running through the parks was AWESOME! I told Jen this was what it felt like to be a kid and get your wish of wanting to run through the parks and see everything all at once! There were lots of characters to interact with (even take pics with if you wanted to stand in crazy long lines) and lots of workers there cheering you on and giving high-5s.
It was neat to run through Anaheim and see some cute old houses and their really fun looking Downtown Area (there were also some sketchy parts😕) - we really ran further than we ever have, other than slowing down to grab cups of water or Gatorade. I think mile 9 was when I made my first request to walk a little because my knees had started bothering me. If Jen had done it on her own, I doubt she would've have to walk at all.
We were a bit nervous after our slow start (so frustrating to lose that energy and adrenaline at the beginning) about making the 3:30 time, but we went pretty fast - faster than our usual pace, which in the end with the slow-downs averaged out to 14 min. miles - and were able to finish in 3:02. A) If I had only known how close we were to being under 3 hours I would've not been such a baby about my knees. B) I know the time would've been under 3 hours if it weren't for the bottle-neck traffic stops. I will say that, for me getting supportive and encouraging texts from friends throughout the morning really gave me a boost of confidence!
I do not look cute when I am on runs. Jen does. The end.
I cannot tell you how good it felt to run through the finish line and hear them call my name and see the family waving, and then to have that gorgeous giant medal draped over my neck.
As quickly as was possible with the hordes of people at the finish line - we headed out and to Disneyland so we could all enter together. I was sweaty and gross (there were white salt crystals covering my eye-lids, sick), and my knees KILLED, but I was oh-so-happy. What a seriously fantastic experience. I figured that we ran over 200 miles since January! Our standings just recently were emailed to us and I was pleasantly surprised to find that although we began the race in the last corral, we placed in the middle of the pack! (You can see in the certificate that it took 36 minutes for us to actually begin the race.)
Although I probably won't do a half again, I'm definitely open to a 5 or 10k - even Todd thinks he could do a 5k! The experience is worth it! I am so glad this ended up on my sister's bucket list :)
Aaaand the Disneyland portion is coming up next...
Aaaand the Disneyland portion is coming up next...