we picked up some dinner at old spaghetti factory too, because the old lady and i had been craving it forever and what's better than pasta before running a half the next day? checking in at the hotel was super quick and easy, and our room was nice and - well, roomy. we've stayed here before, the night before the disneyland half i did a few years ago.
gotta love the custom luggage we bring to our overnight getaways, huh?
we capped off our evening with a viewing of the fireworks at disneyland. it was nice to enjoy them in the comfort of our room, and we were pretty excited at the great view we had from the bedroom window.
i really like the embassy suites - i was able to get up, close the bedroom door and get myself dressed and ready without worrying about waking anyone up. i had the entire living room area to use...with the lights on, no less. score! and even better, the stop for the shuttle to the start line was right in front of the hotel entrance. it was a quick ride, and the bus was full of excitement from both runners and spectators alike. i followed the crowd to the staging area, where i dropped off my gear bag and met up with a few members of team superhero:
i was so happy to stroll up to corral c instead of trudging all the way back to the last corral.
i'd managed to time things so that i wasn't waiting around in there for a long time. i listened to the banter between the announcers and then a cast member came out to sing the national anthem. after releasing the two wheelchair participants, it was time to start releasing the corrals one by one.
by the time they got to c, it was pretty light outside.
i managed to get myself off to a pretty good start. i even found myself feeling energetic enough to run the one and only hill we get during this course, over the freeway overpass on ball road. and then before i knew it, i was one down with twelve to go.
the beginning of the course was pretty familiar to me, but i knew it had been changed up quite a bit because of all of the construction for star wars land. we found ourselves going through some fairly narrow areas this year before making our way into disneyland.
we ran through a bit of backlot, where there were a handful of cast members out to cheer us all on. it seemed like there were a lot less of them out compared to previous years.
i look like i'm photobombing these runners as we went through tomorrowland.
one more mile down.
there were huge crowds just past this mile marker, and i soon saw why - tinkerbell was stationed there for a photo op. way too many people.
i did stop here, though, for a shot with "it's a small world" in the background.
soon afterwards, we were running through the castle.
you can see how many people there were as we ran past the rivers of america.
and then we squeezed through that part of adventureland that's always congested when the park is open. i usually try to avoid this area unless we're headed to the indiana jones ride, because there's always a giant crowd to maneuver through.
we wound our way back down main street and out the gate towards downtown disney.
it's a little blurry in my head, but i think we went into a cast member-only gate into california adventure park, where we hit our 3rd mile.
i look like i'm holding up mickey's fun wheel here.
i waved at goofy and chip & dale as i scampered past.
we were greeted by a character from "a bug's life" in the backlot.
cars land is my favorite part of this park. it's just so well done.
we ran right past the area where the shuttle had dropped us off earlier that morning.
i thought there was a lot more backlot/parking lot on this course than before. i guess it's still better than being out on the boring streets of anaheim, though, right?
i noticed that my nike+ app was calling out mile markers way before i was reaching those course markers. i guess i did a lot more zigging and zagging than i'd thought.
and then as the course finally dumped us out onto the public streets, we reached the 10K checkpoint.
there were a few spectators hanging out in the residential areas, some just cheering and clapping and some who'd come prepared with signage.
more than halfway done!
you know you're kind of a sucky runner when you get passed up by someone like this. womp womp.
as we made our way through anaheim, we came upon tons and tons of those red hat ladies. there were hundreds of them this year, and they're always my favorite part of the course.
8 miles down!
mouseplanet is a great website with tons of information about all of the disney parks, disney cruises, adventures by disney...pretty much anything disney related. and they always have a tent out on the course where they offer red vines and other pick-me-ups for runners who need a little boost.
the next three miles went by in a blur. i don't even really remember running through them anymore.
we ran by the freeway for a bit and passed a bunch of the "good neighbor" hotels, where there were more spectators out cheering us on. and then we turned a corner, where i spied the top of the matterhorn and knew i was almost done.
we entered the parks again and turned left to go down through the tunnel.
and then i hit my wall.
it was a little disconcerting to see the 5-mile marker again. kind of screwed with my head, even knowing i was in that final stretch.
and then we were in downtown disney again and i knew it was almost over.
this...is a most welcome sight.
i'd finished in 2:45, which was a lot slower than my first go-round but not terrible compared to the last, oh, maybe five or six half marathons i've done. i'm getting old, okay? i'm slowing down in my old age.
i happily accepted my box of post-race goodies and then headed to gear check to pick up my bag.
i've never checked in a bag before, but because prior experience told me that i'd end up getting cold while i waited for the shuttle to take me back to the hotel, i figured i'd give it a shot. i threw in a jacket, my sunglasses, and a pair of flip flops. and as i started the long walk back to the shuttle pick-up area, i used my handy dandy starbucks app to place an order for a cup of the nectar of the gods. i knew it would be crazy crowded in there, and i hoped that this would cut down on a little bit of my wait. and i was right.
it was wonderful to pull those socks and shoes off and throw on my jacket as i sipped on my coffee, and i was relaxed and patient even as it took what seemed like half my life for the shuttle to arrive. i was a little annoyed when the driver didn't stop at my hotel, leaving me to walk a bit more than i'd anticipated, but after you've run 13 miles, what's a couple more blocks, amirite?
i ran into the girls as they were getting off the elevator on their way to grab some free breakfast. gave me time to get myself cleaned up and dressed, and they brought me some food when they came back. it was nice to actually eat something so soon after getting back - i'm used to having to wait a bit, typically digging into that box of post-race grub while sitting on the bed.
next year's tinkerbell half might be a bit of a challenge for me. brother wan is getting married the day before mother's day...in nashville. yikes. right now my plan is to brave the crowds at the thursday expo to pick up my bib, and then the old lady volunteered to fly back with me on a red-eye flight after the wedding. i'd pretty much sleep on the plane going home and then head right to anaheim to run the race.
sounds crazy, i know. but i can't let go of my legacy status. i just can't do it!