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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

i am one with the course, the course is with me

somehow i managed to actually get some decent sleep before the alarm went off at 3:30 on race day.  i'd already laid out all of my stuff in the bathroom and the living room so that i didn't have to make any unnecessary noise at that ungodly hour, and it didn't take me too long to get myself ready.

i met lilcee and dailygluttony down in the lobby, and we headed out into the cold morning to catch the shuttle next door.  it was just after 4am, and the bus happened to be waiting there with plenty of seats available.  it was a short ride to the resort, and we got through security and were walking through the concourse and downtown disney in no time.  we found our way to the warm-up area, where we snagged our annual passholder backpacks.  i stuck them into the bag i'd packed a jacket and a pair of uggs into and dropped it off at bag check, and then we headed over to see the pre-race entertainment going on at the stage.  darth vader was there with some of his minions.

pre-race photo.  i crack up at the side eye i was giving this guy who decided to wander into our shot:

but he realized what he was doing pretty quickly, apologized and darted outta there so we could get our picture.

i'll never understand why they leave this tiny opening for thousands of runners to funnel through on the way out to the corrals.

we were separated pretty soon afterwards, with me in the G corral and the other two in I.  i noticed that there were more corrals this year, with fewer people in them.  this is actually a good thing, although i have to say that it wasn't fun having to wait through all of the other corrals to be released before i could finally get going.

i was, however, pretty amused at my choice of a throwaway jacket.  bye bye, ugly ass girl scout jacket!

the national anthem was performed by a few members of the disneyland band, and then they finally started releasing the corrals one by one.  with a start time of 5:30 and six corrals ahead of me, i didn't actually get to start running until damn near 6:00.

despite the cold and the hordes of people in front of me, i managed to get into a pretty decent groove fairly quickly.  i think it helped that the course took us in the opposite direction that it normally does, giving us a nice downhill start rather than having to go up disneyland drive and over the freeway at ball road.  pretty soon we were turning into the backlot area of california adventure, and not too long after that i spied the first mile marker.

i tried to take some pictures as i trucked along, but between the low lighting and the motion they were mostly blurry.  i did stop to take these, though, because the lights are so pretty here.

just before the (closed down) tower of terror, i came upon this photo op that didn't have a line and stopped to take a quick goofy picture.

mile 2!

i always love running through the backlot areas.  it's my favorite part of doing races at disneyland.

and before i knew it, i was at the next mile marker.  3 down, 10 to go.

it's always fun to see random pieces of rides back there.  the monkey cage is my favorite place to sit on the casey jr. circus train.

i was a little surprised to see that the holiday overlay at "small world" was still in place.

i always stop for a potty break at the restrooms next to the fantasyland theater.  i don't know why, i seem to always make it a point to go to that one during races.  tradition?  anyway, after i got out of there i found that the stormtroopers were stationed nearby for photos.  now, while i really wanted to finish in under three hours, i reminded myself that this was likely my last half for awhile.  and so i decided to stop for as many photo ops as i could squeeze in.  i was making decent time, so i joined the line.  i'd already passed up the wait for C3PO and R2D2 because the line was so long.

as i headed through tomorrowland i passed up another photo op with a super long line - for BB8.  you can kinda see him in this picture if you look hard enough.

running through the castle is another favorite, but my photo op was totally ruined by this couple who decided to run in front of me while holding hands and hog the camera.

i settled for a picture in front of it instead.

and the disney photographer managed to catch this one of me that's my favorite from the entire day.

as i made my way towards main street, i stopped to pet this sweet horse who seemed more than happy to pose for a picture with me.

the 4th mile marker told me that it was almost time to exit the parks and head out onto harbor boulevard for a long stretch.

and while the line was pretty long, i decided to stop for a picture with my favorite wookie.

i'm pretty sure this guy is supposed to be scary, but i was dazzled by his shiny uniform.

and then i was running through the concourse and back towards where the shuttle had dropped us off.

as i headed down harbor, i spied our hotel and wished i were warm and comfy in the bed with the girls.

i had been running for over an hour by the time i hit mile 5.

just before i got to the next mile marker, my watch buzzed and i saw a text from the bean: "GO MOMMY!!!!!!"  which totally made me smile.  and so i sent her this to show her where i was:

i still haven't been inside the great wolf lodge.  i wonder if i'll ever get to go.

around the corner was a tent hosted by team mouseplanet, a website dedicated to all things disney.  there are trip planners, reviews, menus, discussion boards, you name it.  and there was a group here who was holding up fun signs and offering snacks and water to the runners.

more than halfway done!

it was around this time that i noticed i was keeping pace with this guy.  like, when i stopped for a walk interval, he was walking too.  and we would pass each other and then catch up to each other during the run intervals.  whenever i'm doing a half, i usually find a fellow runner like this that i end up kind of keeping an eye on to make sure i'm staying on pace, and it helps get me through a good stretch of the course.  thanks for being my pacer this time, guy with cool t-shirt.

i was feeling pretty good about how quickly i was coming up on the mile markers.

this is when i came upon the large groups of cosplayers that i remembered from last year's half.  there were lots and lots of people lining the streets dressed as various star wars characters, and one of them had brought this awesome R2D2 that i stopped to take a picture with.

love the signage.

and the cars.  it amazes me that people do this to their rides.

i got my chance to take a picture with BB8 here:

and then around the corner we found even more cosplayers.  they were all cheering and clapping, and it was fun to run past them all.

it was when i got to mile 9 that i noticed that my calves were getting tight.

i stopped just past the 15K marker to do a little stretching and see if that might help.

it didn't.  not really.  i decided to use social media and posted on twitter to see if anyone might have any suggestions for me and texted my group too.  mr. lilcee, who's done a lot of running, told me to find a medic and get some salt packets.  and so i continued on.

the old lady and i have been talking about visiting this place.  the stanley ranch museum has a bunch of historical buildings and interesting things to look at, one of them being the garage where walt disney first started drawing cartoons when he moved to california.  it had been relocated from his uncle's house in north hollywood after it was sold and the new owner decided to do some renovating. anyway, we'll have to make it a point to come down here one day.

none of the medics or medical tents had any salt packets.  in fact, they all looked at me like i was crazy when i asked for it.  i had to settle for grabbing some biofreeze to put on my calves and hope it worked.  i also ended up having to cut out all of my run intervals for that last 4 miles, which sucked.  it killed my time, and those mile markers stopped appearing so quickly.  dammit.

watching people run past me was beyond frustrating, but i could tell that my legs were not having it anymore.  and i made it even worse when i leaned down to give a little girl a high-five.  i mean, when there are cute little kids out there cheering you on, you gotta acknowledge them, right?  but it backfired on me because as i leaned down, my calves screamed in agony and i was terrified that that was it and i'd have to quit.  but NO.  i don't quit, dammit.  walking or not, i was going to finish that damn race.  and if there had been any photographers during that final stretch, they would have captured my angry, determined, non-smiling face.  not a pretty picture.

since i'd texted mr. lilcee and the old lady when i hit mile 10, i knew that they were out on the course near the hotel looking for us to cheer us on.  as soon as i found the 12th mile marker, i knew they were nearby.

lilcee took this picture.  this is the same view i got when i found them - familiar, excited, cheerful faces.  and i promptly burst into tears.

i pulled it together long enough to catch this.  i was kicking myself last year for not taking a picture with them, so i knew i had to do it this time.

when i got to the last mile marker i thought, well...it's only .1 of a mile left.  i can run this.

the lack of smile in this picture tells you that no...i really shouldn't have even tried.

but hey...i finished!

it took me so long to finish that the mop art that some cast member had done on the ground was drying up.  heh.

i grabbed another dose of biofreeze for those calves.  this stuff looks so gross, but i suppose it did help.

dailygluttony and lilcee weren't too far behind me, and we took a bunch of post-race photos.  because when you run 13.1 miles, you deserve all the photo ops.

we were annoyed to find that they had run out of mylar blankets by the time we finished.  and even the nesquik booth ran out of chocolate milk.  vanilla is not the same.

i was extra glad i'd packed those uggs to change into.  my feet were very happy.

the shuttles were running really slowly.  it seemed that we got there just after one had left, and it took a solid half hour (maybe more) by the time another one finally appeared.  a pretty long line had formed for it by then, and everyone cheered when it arrived at our stop.  although this couple apparently decided that they didn't need to wait in line like everyone else, because they strolled up and cut the entire line, taking seats right in front of us.

yeah.  i took a picture.  it's not cool to cut lines, people.

we cut it so close that by the time we got to the hotel, we had just half an hour left till check out.  and we'd already been denied a late check-out, so we all skedaddled and hopped into the showers to get cleaned up.

guess it was a good thing we'd gotten our own room after all!

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