So, I did it. I’ve completed my first, but hopefully not last, half marathon. I’m still coasting off of a bit of a post-race high, which can be evidenced in the fact that I was still aching from this weekend’s race when I signed up for my next half marathon. It’s an addiction, I guess.
But, I did it. It’s done. Achievement unlocked. All of the panic that I wasn’t going to make it was apparently unfounded. Okay, the pre-race jitters were still important, but still, it’s nice to have this cool feeling of accomplishment float over my head.
The Expo was a bit epic and a little overwhelming. We didn’t actually make it until a couple of hours before it closed (and after Kristina had finished her race all together), but there was still quite a bit to do. Finding my way around was a bit confusing and it turned out that we skipped a few steps and had to do a lot of back tracking. I could have spent much more time in that Expo. Being that I’m kind of a sucker for running shoes, I completely avoided the New Balance set up to avoid dropping a few hundred on some fancy Disney shoes. I knew I was going to put in some money in the actual Star Wars gear section, although I came out spending slightly less money than I had predicted.
I also introduced myself to athletic tape, which I feel actually helped certain body parts significantly during the race. My feet came out slightly less sore than they would have otherwise. Maybe next time I won’t blow more money on the Minnie Mouse colored ones, though 🙂
Waiting for the race to start was probably the worst part. For one, it was insanely early. To get to the corrals for a 5:30 race start time meant that we had to be up at 3 am. That’s a wake up call that I save for my 6 am flights and even for those I have at least a flight that I can sleep on. It was also cold. Not nearly as cold as I expected, but it got surprisingly chilly in the corrals.
And then there was the waiting. Since it was my first half marathon, I was in the last corral. We started after 6, which meant I just spent an hour in line waiting and wondering if I’d be able to finish and if I actually made the right decision doing a half marathon to begin with. I finished a full album by the time we were at the starting line. Unfortunately, C3PO was gone by then though.
It’d be crazy and lying I were to say that the race was easy and that it flew by because it didn’t. Not really. The first few miles flew by because you’re running in Disneyland and California Adventures. The novelty and excitement of running through the Happiest Place on Earth really is an adrenaline boost.
The next few miles actually weren’t too bad either. There were stretches of the race that dragged on, but they were interspersed with high school marching bands playing songs from Star Wars and assorted people dressed up as Star Wars characters (speaking of which, it was truly inspiring to see the amount of people out there cheering the runners on). I’ve also come to find that listening to podcasts when running make the time go by a little faster (Thanks, Comedy Button and Throwing Shade!).
Nevertheless, running 13.1 miles was hard. There were moments that I wanted to stop. Moments where I didn’t think I could keep going. But you go on and on until you cross the finish line to the perfectly timed soundtrack of “Wrecking Ball.”
Now that I’ve done my first RunDisney Race, I can understand why people pay what I still feel is an absurd amount of money doing these races. It’s quite the spectacle to do one of these races. The races are great at showcasing the Disney magic. That 3am walk up call was worth it to see the parks somewhat empty and at sunrise. A lot of the first mile involved running around the back lots, which I thought was a really cool behind the scenes look at the parks. There were even some Splash Mountain cars sitting around.
Also, apparently Joey Fatone was there, so there’s that. I’m very jealous of my friend Erin for standing mere feet away from him.
I want to do more now. Definitely this one again and the Avengers race. I’d also love to eventually one of the Disney World races, even if the thought of running in Florida humidity sounds awful.
My speed was slower than usual (even if I did technically PR this half marathon), but I’m happy with myself in the end. I’m glad I did it and I’m glad that all my training culminated with this race. I know that I’ve got ways to go and I signed up for the next half marathon, in part, to keep me training myself at this distance.
I’m glad that my family and friends were there to support me. It was nice to cross the finish line and come out to a group of supporters.
I know now that I need to keep training for this next race, to be serious about cross training and strength training, and to keep at the long runs. I’ve got more races lined up – a 10k next week, an 8k in March, and a half marathon in April. I guess there’s no stopping now.
Until next time…