Monday, January 28, 2013

Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Half Marathon #2 is in the books! (Sorry that I haven't written about it until now - almost a week and a half after actually completing it - I have no excuses other than I just haven't sat down and got everything together.)

Two Sundays ago I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. It was my second half marathon. I actually signed up as a fluke (it was already sold out before I was even thinking about running it). runDisney had posted on their Facebook page the week leading up to Thanksgiving that there was going to be some sort of Green Friday announcement (since it was on "Black Friday" and everyone was speculating that it was going to be about the Tinker Bell race). I texted a friend and asked if it would be crazy to add another half marathon to my schedule if that was what the announcement was going to be (since I had already signed up and was training for the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in February). She obviously encouraged me to do it (thanks Megan) - saying that people do the Goofy and A Half Challenge (Half Marathon Saturday morning and Full Marathon Sunday morning) so I could probably do with adding another race a month before!

Since I already had a half marathon in the books, I decided that this one would be more of a 'fun run'. I didn't plan on stopping for pictures with characters, but I figured I didn't want to push super hard and kill my legs since I would have another race (with my sister-in-law) a month after. My out-loud goal (meaning when people asked me what I was aiming for) was 2:10 or faster (which is 9:55 minute mile pace). My inside goal (meaning what I was really shooting for) was 2:05 or faster (which is 9:35 minute mile pace). (My first half marathon I finished in 2:12, so I was just hoping to do a little better.) [Side note, my goal for the year was do run at least one half marathon under 2 hours.]

I have to say, I wasn't nervous for this race. Although the course was different from the Disneyland Half Marathon, I felt like I had already sort of run the race before. Instead of running east to the Angel's Stadium like in the Disneyland Half Marathon, in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon we ran north to City Hall and through a bit more of historic Anaheim. There were a few big differences with this race than the Disneyland one.

Photo Credit: runDisney
First, this race was in January instead of September. There are a few changes that this brings with it. A. It is colder (I think my hands were numb until about mile 10 - which is extremely difficult to take water at aid stations when you can't grip cups). B. It is darker (I brought my sun glasses, since during the DLHM we ran directly into the sun for a good chunk of the race, but held them until about mile 11 or 12) [As you can tell from the series of shots below from when I was running through Downtown Disney, Ryan was having trouble shooting in the dark as well].


Next, I was in a better corral. For the DLHM I just had to give a estimated finish time and didn't have proof of finishing time, so I was put in a further back corral. Since I had a prior finishing time (2:12 for the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon) I was actually placed in the FIRST corral. This means that we didn't have to wait for faster waves to start. The main benefit of this was that there was less weaving that I needed to do. Everyone in Corral A had a prior finishing time of 2:15 or faster, so they were all pretty speedy and were a little more serious than the further back corrals.

Debbie Downer Alert - I didn't like the course as much as the DLHM. I don't now if it was because the DLHM was my first one so I was just super excited, or if because I enjoy baseball so I loved running through the Angel's Stadium, or if it was because I was running with a friend, but I liked the other course a lot better. As I mentioned earlier, this race was darker. And it was ESPECIALLY apparent when we were running through the Anaheim neighborhoods. Some stretches were pretty much pitch black. They had security and police along the side roads, so I know it was a secure and safe course, but it is a little difficult to run the second half of a half marathon in dark neighborhoods that you aren't familiar with. Also, there seemed to be less 'entertainment' along the route for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I am not sure if being dark and cold had something to do with it. Maybe the folks that were in later corrals or that were further back in the pack had more spectators and cheering sections...

All-in-all I had a great run. I was keeping around a 9 minute mile, which I knew would put me below or right around my 2:05 goal (I walked through all but one of the water stations, which does add a few seconds on my time, but much better than choking on water because I can't run and drink at the same time). Around mile 11 or so I looked at my watch and realized if I booked it I might even be able to be under 2 hours. I high-talled it in at the end and actually went sub-2 hours (by 7 seconds).

I WAS ON CLOUD NINE! I would have never thought, when I started running LESS THAN A YEAR AGO, I would be able to do what I have done! I think I had a smile on my face from ear to ear just about all day. I was so excited to have accomplished a goal that I wasn't even sure I would be able to meet IN THE FIRST RACE OF THE YEAR!

After the race they gave us our medals (the Tinker Bell even spins on the medal - so cool), a space blanket (you know the ones, made out of foil), a goodie box, banana, power aid, water, and even a bag to put it all in - which I thought was a GREAT addition! (It is awfully difficult to have just run 13.1 miles, be handed all of this stuff, and expected to carry it around when looking for your loved ones in a mass of people. )

The nice thing about a race starting at 5am, was that I was done around 7am, we were back at the hotel by 8am, and we were back home by 9am.

I am so glad that I was able to sign up for this race. Not only did I PR (personal record) by 12 minutes, I also finished my first leg of my Coast-To-Coast journey! Now on to Walt Disney World to run the Family 5K with my parents and hubby and the Princess Half Marathon with my sister-in-law.

The official results showed that I came in 657 place (which is crazy since I think there were close to 12,000 runners), 72 place in my age division, and 477 place out of all females. Not too shabby for a morning of running if I do say so myself.

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