so last year, the tinkerbell half marathon had a start time at the ungodly hour of 5:45. think that's crazy? well, guess what - this time, they pushed it back to a nice, even 5AM. yeah. that may only be a difference of 45 minutes, but at that time of the morning, that's huge. at least for me it is.
my friend kelley and i shared a room at the ol' embassy suites this time around. it was her first half, and she was nervous and excited just as i was last year. although she actually despises running, we've done quite a few races together, and i was really proud of her for signing up for this one. that kelley, she sure loves a challenge.
i'd volunteered to take a shift at the sparkle athletics booth at the expo, where i got all gussied up in a cute fairy getup. it was fun helping them work the crowds that never seemed to dissipate, and i think i managed to talk quite a few hesitant runners into donning a pair of wings on the big day.
kelley met up with me when my time was up, and we headed over to california adventure to grab a nice pre-race dinner at the carthay circle restaurant. it was lovely as always, and although we held fastpasses for the "tower of terror" ride, we decided to skip it in favor of heading to the hotel to get rested and ready for the big day.
oh, and check out the awesome bag i won at that run disney meet-up. pretty sweet, right? i dig it.
i gotta say, that wake-up call at 3:30 was kinda painful. dang. but we wanted to be out the door and on the shuttle to disneyland by 4:00, and so as sleepy as we both still were, we were up and at 'em right on time.
for not being into the whole costume-while-running thing, kelley sure did a great job of putting together a cute donald duck getup. i was so proud of her. as for me, i'd hit up party city around halloween time and scooped up that tinkerbell costume on sale. i try to think ahead, you know.
my friend sean astin was on the jumbotron as we joined the crowds of people stretching and socializing near the finish line.
and this is about as close as i'll ever get to trophies for any sort of race:
all too soon, it was time to head to our corral.
no, i DIDN'T cry a little when the national anthem was sung and fireworks went off.
it was just after the elite and A corrals were released that i flung off my throwaway jacket and got someone to take one more pre-race photo.
and then just like that, it was our turn.
we started off running up disneyland drive, over the freeway, and then back around into the bowels of disneyland. about a mile or so in, i stopped to take a picture with these guys:
running through the parks is everyone's favorite part of disney races. it's always so cool to scamper through the various lands when it's empty, and because of the early hour, we were treated to the colorful neon lighting throughout cars land.
we were treated to the music, lights, and fountains of the "world of color" show, too.
it was right as i exited toontown at disneyland that i realized i needed to stop for a potty break. luckily, i knew there was a restroom nearby - and i was grateful that it hit me before leaving the parks. i hate porta-potties with the fire of a thousand suns. i think that's why i look extra happy here, aside from having just run through the castle (which is my favorite part of running through disneyland).
this glob of light is the tinkerbell half's logo on a wall in the backlot. and as i took this, i was chastised by a cast member: "no photos allowed back here," he said. oops.
after i left the disneyland resort and began the stretch of the course out on the streets of anaheim, i kind of lost the desire to take pictures. i was just focused on getting through it, and honestly a lot of it is a big blur in my mind. i do remember thinking that i liked this year's course better than last year's, though. i think we actually got to run more mileage through the parks and less on boring streets lined with industrial buildings. anyway, before i knew it i was here:
and then here:
the toughest part for me in all of the half marathons i've run is the very last mile. between here:
is always incredibly difficult for me, and i was also fairly bummed to see that i was far behind my awesome time from last year's half. i'm gonna chalk it up to that bathroom break i had to take, because i can't even blame it on waiting for pictures with characters. aside from that one i took in the beginning, i didn't stop for a single photo op anywhere. blah. nevertheless, the thrill of reaching this never dies:
and i earned my second one of these:
look, ma! i did it!
and not too long after that, kelley joined me:
i was so proud of her for finishing, especially after she told me how difficult the final four miles had been for her. she'd had to walk most of it due to some problems with her knee, and although she's smiling in these pictures, i'm pretty sure she was crying on the inside from the pain.
here's my round-up of pilfered pictures from the official race photographer:
one half for 2013 down, two to go. and back to weekly long training runs i go. give me strength.