|Tinkerbell Half Marathon: The Wingening
||[Jan. 21st, 2013|04:10 pm]
Well, I survived.
No lie, even with all the prep and training and feeling basically ready... it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm not sure why it was so much more painful than the 14 mile training run. I think it boils down to the event itself; you spend a lot more time weaving and bobbing and thinking about the other people in the race than you do about your form. By the time I was thinking about form, I was in so much pain that better form didn't really matter much.
But I gave it my best and I really rocked that shit. I ended up taking very few walking breaks, which is a departure from my training... I averaged in training a walk break per mile. Granted, my training times were about the same (12 min. mile with a 10 min magic mile) but I think that has to do with having to run slower on average in the event due to the crowds. But it was pretty amazing to go "Wow I haven't stopped to walk once in 6 miles!" I only stopped for a brief bathroom break (Hooray for real bathrooms!) and when I did stop to do any walking breaks in Miles 8-13, they felt so odd and counterproductive that I was back to jogging soon enough.
|Place||Name||Bib||Age||Div Place||Gender Place||5k Split||10k Split||15k Split||Clock Time||Net Time||Hometown|
|4326||ANDREA DANEK||10237||33||694||3624||35:06||1:12:49||1:50:11||3:07:47||2:38:07||CASTAIC, CA|
The official results are correct. I had a runner tracker going to post my results to twitter and FB... a few folks tweeted me back during the race, which I was able to see, and was an awesome pickmeup. It did say that my first 5K split was 20 min. miles... and then I apparently completed my 2nd 5K split in a lightning fast 8 minutes. Three minute miles! I'm the Amazing SlowFast Girl! It said my friends' estimated finish time according to the first split was like 10:30am... at that rate they would have been dodging cars and park goers to finish! I think they measured the first split from gun start, maybe? Still... my brother watching the tracker results thought by the 5K split that they would have swept my butt by Mile 1, and my husband thought I must have been having major stomach problems. Nope, just wonky chip tracker.
Pre-race was tough. If I ever do this event again, I will stay at the resort for the weekend. Took me nearly 45 minutes to get OUT of the park after the race, not counting the brainfog 30 minutes I spent wandering around trying to find my car. I tried to go on Friday night to the expo to pick up my bib and it took me 2 hrs to push through the Orange Crush and go 34 miles. Insanity. So I missed being able to pick up my stuff, but I did get to have dinner with my Twitter friends @saalon and @LWQuestie (the people who are the reason I signed up for the race)
This really threw off my pre-race plan. I work a night shift, so the idea of getting up on Sunday at 2am to drive to Anaheim (when 2am is usually when I'm going to bed) is a heartburn flipper nightmare for this IBS girl. I was going to sleep as late as possible on Saturday (til 5-6pm) then stay up for the corral time of 4:30am. Now I had to get up like normal on Saturday at 12:30pm to rush down to Anaheim. It still took me 2 hours to get there on a weekend. I then went to my friend Mark's house - He lives about 20 min. from Disney and is a vamp like me, so we laughed our asses off at Breaking Dawn Pt 1, ordered in for Chinese food, and I fretted and catnapped and jittered til 3:30am.
Even with getting there at 4am, it still took 45 min. to get into the parking garage, hit a bathroom, and walk over to the massive starting chute. I was hoping to start with my friends, but they had already weaved themselves up to the front of our corral. It wasn't like Everest where the corrals were open - These were fenced off. I worked myself as far forward as I could, no doubt smacking many people with my wings in the process. I was the sorry!sorry!sorry! girl.
I got up as far as I could til it reached maximum pack. I texted Eric for an arm raise and we saw that we weren't too far off.
They moved the corrals up and in the course of the walk, by the time we stopped I saw with surprise and delight that we had ended up in the same row, so I wingsmacked my way over to the E's for an epic YAY!hug. When they're the reason you got your butt off the couch and ran your first half marathon, it's damn rewarding to find them in the thousands of people for a "Holy shit we're doing this" starting line hug. One of those REAL, in the NOW moments of awesome that resonate in your mind for a long time. I've learned in this whole journey that just getting to the starting line is half the battle.
I'm also very proud of myself that I didn't need to take a Xanax for a panic attack. It came close many times this week for sure, but I fought it down. The Everest 5K corral wait almost gave me a panic attack, so I tucked a few pills into a newly found zipper pocket in my jogging shirt that I dubbed my Xanax pocket. I'm happy to say that the corral weaving distracted me enough that I felt like I was *doing* something rather than just standing there waiting and fretting.
It was surreal to be in such a long chute that you couldn't even see or hear the starting line. I only barely heard the gun start fireworks.
The first few miles were a bitch - The normal leg burn of the first few miles piled onto two freeway overpass climbs. I remember being astonished at the Mile 4 Marker because it felt more like a Mile 6.
However, running through the park was MAD cool. A twisty, distracting, bright colorful wonderful madness. The soothing Celtic music at Mile 3 was oddly out of place. Mary Poppins and the chimney sweeps were hanging out at Main St., where I cursed the lack of curb warning in the round as I stepped off a curb HARD. (Curb stepping is my sciatica causing nemesis but I was lucky to not sustain an injury here). There were so many surreal Disney moments of running through a patch of darkness only to burst into a shock of light and music. They had the color fountain dealy going, the castle lit up, the rides lit up.
Speaking of the Castle, I had major brain fog. I was complaining to J. that they had changed the course this year and failed to meet their promise of letting us run through the castle. Last year, the runners ran up Main Street and through the Castle. Then I saw some pictures of the course, with people running through the castle and was stunned to think I could have missed or shortcut any part of the course. THEN it hit me, duh, I *DID* run through the castle, but it was misleading because we came through the back rather than the front. One moment I'm looking at the Lost Boys on the carousel and Peter and Wendy hanging by the side, and thinking to myself if I have a chance to hit a park bathroom before we got to the Anaheim section, and the next I'm bursting through the Castle tunnel and catching on to people's excitement at a great photo-op moment. It was such a brief blip that it didn't even register on the Pain Painting that had become the race in my mind.
I totally missed seeing Tink herself - she was hanging on top of this building before Main St. Honestly I think she was absent from last year's race, and on top of something for this race, because it would have been too much of a bogdown to have a pic opp with her along the course.
THAT BEING SAID - I completely missed seeing Jack Sparrow by Pirates of the Carribean. Either he was on a bathroom break or being swamped by ladies, because I saw him in a pic directly in front of the Pirates ride, and I saw that same damn sign during my run and no Jack. Just a couple of cute pirates. That's one char opp I would have stopped for... Disney doesn't do many Jack Sparrows in the park anymore because naturally he's just too popular with the ladies. Jack Sparrow at a womens' race? Nicely played, Disney!
It was bitchin' to see Darth Vader and some storm troopers pic opping in TomorrowLand... it didn't occur to me until later how important and WHY they would be there: the Lucasfilm acquisition.
ETA: My stepdaughter tells me that Darth hangs out for the StarTours stuff, but I haven't really heard of them showing up in races before (and the line to see him was looooong) but it was still verra cool to see them!
Long line for Cinderella - Apparently some folks waited so long in character lines that they got swept! LOL.
My fellow runners were a pretty epic tribe. I expected lots of rude walker walls, picture opp stoppers, wing face smackers, but it honestly was very well spaced out. I ended up in a pack of a hundred folks or so that were moving at more or less a similar pace, even with starting at the rear corral. I loved the runner patter - I was feeling pretty wretched at Mile 11 and I heard a lady say to someone else "I have no strategy left. At this point it's just one foot after the other" because that's exactly how I felt at that point. Loved seeing guys in rainbow colored tutus. Loved the Peter Pan who was pushing a lady Cap'n Hook in a wheelchair. Loved the little girl in PJs happily waving at us through her living room window. Loved hearing that a runner later left her a pair of wings on her front yard bushes. Loved even more hearing that other runners saw her jumping for joy at receiving the wings and that even LATER runners saw her wearing them while waving. Epic to look back along the freeway overpass turn in Anaheim and seeing a mile's worth of green tutus and wings, as a spectator commented "I didn't realize there were so many runners in this!" I broke into tears at seeing the amazing turnout of the ladies in the Red Hat Society... it's just awesome to think of all these sweet little old ladies waking up at 3 in the morning to come cheer us on. (And paying 15 bucks to park at Disney) There must have been a hundred of 'em. Lots of awesome local h.s. bands and cheerleaders to help us along. I like the spectators who tell you where you're at in the race "80% done, guys! Keep it up!" ... "Halfway there, it's all downhill from here!" "Mile 11! You guys are doing great!" Very appreciative of the awesome lady hollering "Strangers with candy!" at Mile 8, handing out twizzlers. The Mile 8 Twizzlerers were also apparently at the WDW half. Saw the "I didn't wake up this early to watch you walk!" sign dude like THREE times, now there's a dedicated heckler! Loved the "Pain now, vodka later" sign dude in Dtown Disney.
Miles 9-13 were basically just pain and a hypnotic bobbing of wings and tutus. Even the cheering was kinda losing its pickmeup power. What *was* comforting was not being alone in that pain. There was a long silent stretch right before re-entering the park where no one was saying much of anything because there wasn't much left. I was hurting at this point because something about my running form tends to crunch on my waterworks, leaving me with an urgent feeling of needing to pee even when I don't have to. Eff the finish line, I needed a bathroom! (I really didn't, my kidneys and the like were just unhappy)
They took us through the tunnel ramp again before coming through California Adventure... Everyone was walking the ramp. Just about everyone. I didn't want to lose any momentum so I half jogged it but it was again incredibly comforting to see that everyone else was just hurting at that point. Everything I read about marathons prior said not to expect a magical lack of pain - to trust that it would just hurt and be OK with it and know that every mile during the marathon was an EVENT mile and earned. What I was thinking at the time was that I have no idea how people run full ones. Looking around? Everyone was in pain. And then, to come around the turn into the final stretch and be assaulted with noise and cheering and excitement - You blink into it, stunned, uncomprehending. It ceases to have meaning. It was a Stephen King Long Walk moment.
"Last turn!" A cast member promises, but in Disney style, there's ANOTHER hair pin turn in the parking lot before the actual finish line, though you already saw the arch. Misleading as hell, but I put it together later that they had done this because of complaints last year of limited finish line cheering space. This gave more fence surface area for families to hang out and cheer the final stretch. And nuts to the spectators who were yelling at us to run so that we'd cross the finish line at a run: "Don't let them see you walking over the finish line! RUN! LET'S SEE YOU FINISH THIS WITH STRENGTH!" Easy for YOU to say, Standy McGee! I couldn't even tell which of the bumps was the finish, so my finish video will have me nonchalantly passing over it to triumphantly arm raise under the unimportant arch, LOL.
Yeah, I cried at getting a medal. 20 weeks of working toward something I could have never imagined doing. The 5K was hell on my sciatica and I couldn't comprehend doing anything more than that.
Will I continue to run after this? I'm not sure. I really enjoyed the paseo runs so I think an occasional weekend long paseo run will be doable. My first priority is to take my in-shapedness and hit it up against the mountain trail - Take an 8 mile trail that I've done before and see how my new lungs do against it.
Will I do any more events after this? I'm not sure. Maybe if friends or family run another one, I would. The 5K was really fun. This half marathon was fun but I reiterate that it was also really hard and painful for me. Maybe it'll be like what people say about childbirth ... after enough time passes you forget about the pain and remember the good moments and find yourself right back at another starting line.