I did it. I finished the Tinkerbell Half Marathon last Sunday. I didn’t quite make it under my goal time, but I was close enough considering I was extremely ill the day before and slept fairly little the night before. But I finished it. And best of all, my cousin finished it too. I’m so proud of her (and myself too). It was hard and it was painful, but I did it. I never thought I’d ever run a half-marathon and now I can say I have. I have the fancy (and very heavy) medal to prove it.
The race was a lot of fun. It was incredible to be able to run through the Disneyland and California Adventure parks. I almost cried as I entered Disneyland that morning. There were characters and floats available for photo-ops and just a lot of magic (and perhaps so many good memories of my experiences there with family and friends). And on the streets of Anaheim, there were high school cheer squads, dance teams, and marching bands to encourage us all to keep going. Even the friends and family of runners were there to cheer on random strangers. It was incredible. For my cousin, she was moved to keep going by hundreds of red hat ladies out at 6-7am to cheer us on. It was very inspiring.
The morning started off way too early for everyone. But once we were corralled with thousands of people, you couldn’t help but feel energized. The national anthem was sung (with fireworks to illustrate “rockets’ red glare” even). And the race began. I stayed with my cousin for about the first mile before I left her to manage her pace while I managed mine. I kept my pace consistent until about mile 9 or 10. It was then that I started to hurt. And really that does make sense, due to complications with my busy schedule the farthest run I ever did in my training was only 9 miles. But I kept going. At mile 11, I was ready to throw up and everything had started to hurt. But I kept going. About mid-way through mile 12, all the staff along the route had started to tell us runners “You’re almost there. The finish is just around the curve.” After going around a couple curves, I wanted to scream at them “You’re lying!”. And then a couple curves later, it really was just around the bend. The finish was in sight and I could hear my mother’s voice cheering me on. I crossed the finish line and then kept going through the maze that made up the finisher chute. I picked up my reflective “blanket”, my medal, some water and powerade, then had to stand in line for a finishing photo, then got snacks, and then made it through the tent to meet up with family and friends. It was pretty awesome to have my mom and my aunt there to celebrate my accomplishment.
After I was able to calm my shaking muscles, it was time to find out where my cousin was so we could cheer her through the finish. And finish she did. It was one hell of a morning. I still can’t quite believe we did it, although our bodies certainly believed it. The rest of the day (and Monday too) was quite comical as we tried to keep our bodies moving to enjoy the parks. Getting in and out of rides was quite the hysterical challenge. And I don’t even want to tell you have much laughter and pain were associated with the before and after of watching the parade the next day. I’m just so grateful I had someone with me that understand every grimace on my face and strange sound effect that escaped my mouth as we continued to push our bodies all in the sake of Disney fun.
So, now that I’ve done a half-marathon, what’s next? I have several friends who did their first and caught the runners bug continuing on to do many more half-marathons (and even full marathons). I don’t think I’m there. While I kinda want to do one of the East Coast half-marathons to get that Coast-to-Coast medal, I’m not totally sold on it. And there’s a part of me that would like to do another Disney Half to not only improve my time, but also to try to take advantage of the amazing photo opportunities. But, then I remember I’d have to run faster if I plan to improve my time AND stop for pictures and that does not appeal to me. I’m thinking I might want to explore other entertaining events. Devil Dash or run from zombies anyone?