note: this is going to be a pretty lengthy recap post, and chock full o'pics. don't say i didn't warn you.
so yeah - the tinkerbell half marathon was finally here. despite the super comfy bed courtesy of the disneyland resort, i woke up every hour between 10:30 and 3:30. so much for getting a good night's sleep before the big day. gah.
no worries, though. i snatched up the phone as soon as the wake-up call came (with the music from the closing credits of "finding nemo") and hopped right up to start getting ready. i consulted my phone for the weather and was pretty pleased to see that i wasn't going to be freezing my ass off after all:
have i ever mentioned that i'm pretty terrible at doing my own hair? i'd envisioned doing a simple ponytail with a little back-combing to give it a bit of extra oomph, but i'd forgotten to pack a comb and i really suck at teasing my hair anyway. i did the best i could, pinned the tiara into place, put on as much makeup as i thought i could without sweating it all off (i bought waterproof mascara just for this day. vain much?), sprayed on the glitter, and by about 4:15 i was as ready as i'd ever be.
after blowing a kiss to my sleeping family, i gathered up my throwaway hoodie and headed out. there were lots of folks already out and about, and it wasn't hard to find my way.
i took note of this tent for later:
and sent up a prayer that i wouldn't need this one.
i found my team gathering here:
and pretty soon we could hear the announcer calling out for people in the various corrals to start making their way towards the start line. after a quick team photo, we headed on out. because i'd been entered with an estimated finish time of 2:45, this was where i got to go:
i passed the time eyeing other people's costumes (some of them were super elaborate like whoa) and chatting with my fellow corral c'ers. a stage with the announcers was set up ahead of us in corral a, and they bantered back and forth and told corny jokes and brought up megyn price from "rules of engagement" and sean astin (who will forever be dave from "encino man" to me, regardless of the other stuff he's done). we learned that out of the 12,000 runners present, there were just 920 men registered.
we were treated to fireworks as the national anthem was sung and the race officially began. it was probably about ten minutes or so after corral a was released that we finally got the green light.
although a lot of people later complained that tinkerbell only appeared in animated form on the screen, i can tell you that i truly didn't give a shit. i was pumped and ready to go, and just really excited to get started.
a super blurry shot of the stage, where daisy duck and minnie waved to the crowd along with the announcers.
despite the fact that the race handbook instructed those who were walking the route to stay on the right side and not to walk in packs of more than two, i found myself having to navigate my way around countless folks as i attempted to get a good jogging start to my 13.1 miles. a little annoying, but i managed.
oh, and that fanny pack i was so proud of crafting for myself? yeah, it ended up being a major pain in the ass. i'd been so intent on making it super cute and using that tinkerbell-themed ribbon, not realizing that it would be slippery and ride up constantly. this resulted in me having to adjust and readjust the damn thing oh, about every three minutes or so. poo. but those wings? so not a burden. they were so light and comfy, and since i'd had the forethought to pin them on and wasn't relying on the armbands to keep them on, i didn't even notice their presence.
i'm gonna admit this right now - a lot of the run is kind of a blur to me, especially the parts that were outside of the disneyland resort. i remember groaning a little to myself as we started running up ball road, as i'd eyed that hill driving into the downtown disney area the day before, but i got through it and around the corner, following the crowds as we made our way back towards disneyland. we entered through a backlot, where the road narrowed considerably and people were tripping all over each other left and right. and then we turned another corner and started seeing some fun stuff.
there was quite a line to take pictures with the princes and princesses. needless to say, i didn't interrupt my running mojo to join in.
i did pause just for a brief moment to try and capture myself running up main street and then through sleeping beauty's castle. not the greatest pictures, but it's all i got.
and just past the castle i found captain hook and mr. smee. since i was tinkerbell for the day, i decided to stop and get a shot with them. there was only one person ahead of me, so i figured it wouldn't kill my time too much. again, super blurry, but you get the idea.
there were official race photographers stationed all along the route as we went through disneyland, and you know me - i hammed it up for every camera i spotted. i didn't stop for 'em, but i sure did give 'em a wave or a thumbs-up or a cheesy ass grin whenever i could. and because i'd ensured that there would be a decent number of "pro" photos of me, i wasn't too concerned about taking too many myself. i knew they'd suck anyway. heh.
amazingly, i was crossing the line for the 5K mark. i totally smiled as i pictured the hub and the teen receiving their text messages as to my progress, most likely still in bed. ha! and then before i knew it, i was here:
and pretty soon, here.
thanks to team sparkle for this action shot:
i recall lots of marching bands and cheer/dance teams, all of who cheered us on as we ran past. the water stops were plentiful, well-organized, and stocked with both water and powerade. and there was a gigantic group of "red hat ladies" stationed along one block, and they were all so enthusiastic and supportive. i wish i'd have gotten a picture of them, all decked out in their red and purple finery. but i did manage to catch this group of hula dancers. they were really cute.
i'd brought my own gu energy gel as i'd trained with it and knew it wouldn't screw me up, but as i passed the clif shot station somewhere around mile 9 i picked one up anyway. i figure i can give it a try as i train for the next run.
final water stop.
once i made it into california adventure, i knew i was home free. i was feeling great and totally excited to cross that finish line.
i had to stop and pose with characters from one of our favorite movies - "monsters, inc."
disney should really provide the race photographers with a stool or something to sit on so that they don't have to shoot up at their subjects. seriously, i have the fattest freaking face in most of the shots they got of me. boo.
right around mile 13, i spotted a familiar face - my friends jess, kim and aline had come out to cheer me and our other friend kirkette on. i was so excited to see them, and waved happily as i scampered past.
never been so excited to see a mile marker in all my life.
one last photo op:
just before the finish, i rounded the final corner and the first thing i saw was the bean, who was grinning like mad, sitting on the hub's shoulders and holding this sign:
can you see me? that is one happy camper right thurr.
i happily accepted a mylar blanket, my finisher's medal, took my official photo, grabbed a few luna bars, and made my way through the tent to find my family and friends.
and of course, i promptly burst into tears.
wanna hear something funny? the teen took one look at me and turned to rock-ell to remark "she's wearing a full face of makeup." muahahahahaha.
my friend kelley and her family made it after all! so grateful for their support.
i was completely dazed at this point, and after we said our goodbyes to my friends, we headed back to the hotel so i could shower and get cleaned up. it was such a relief to be just across the street, and i was thankful yet again that we'd stayed at a disney hotel. upstairs, we looked out the window and watched the madness for a few:
there are no words to describe the feeling of crossing the finish line after all of those months of mental and physical training. it's an indescribable joy and a tremendous sense of pride, and something that i really never imagined i'd ever do. the high that i was on for the rest of that day (hell, i'm still flying from the whole thing) was so awesome, and i'm really excited to do it again in september.
i'm committed to doing at least a 3-mile and a 5-mile run every week till around june, when i'll need to pick up that half marathon training program again. yeah, that'll mean long runs on sweaty ass summer weekends, but as long as i do them early i should be okay.
besides, now i know how fabulous it is to run alongside thousands of other runners and hear the cheers of countless volunteers and spectators as i fly by. i want that again. it's really cool as all hell.
you hear that? i can fly!