Before we get to another 4 AM wake up call, let’s back track a moment.
For me, one of the most critical pieces of back to back races was self-care (if you missed the 10K recap, you can find it here). I have problems with my hips even on good days and while I had time goals, I mostly just wanted to finish. Not only did I have a half marathon finish line on the line, but I had two Coast to Coast Challenge medals and a Pixie Dust Challenge medal on the line as well. I also wanted to go to the park after the race and enjoy my day. So, from the start I planned to be gentle and smart.
After our walk to and from breakfast, I foam rolled (yes, I did bring my foam roller with me… as well as a lacrosse ball and a tennis ball) and then took a nap. My parents asked to come down and meet up, so we met them for dinner. I loved getting to see them and tell them about the 10K and have their support for the half.
After dinner, we hopped in the jacuzzi for a little extra love for the muscles and then we called it a night with Chopped and bed time.
Now, about that 4 AM wake up… it’s tough two days in a row! I couldn’t fall asleep on Saturday night. I was so restless and felt so bad for Emily because I knew I was moving around like crazy. I don’t know how people do all three days (or four for Dopey!). Once we were up though, we were up.
I stuck with my planned outfit for the half, packed my headphones and nutrition, taped and body glided to help that 10K chafing, filled up my water bottle, and soon enough, wrapped in our mylar blankets from the day before, we headed to the corrals for the half. We stopped in the family reunion area and Jen checked a bag. We used the restrooms and then headed to the corrals. They were definitely WAY more crowded (and so were the porta potties) for the half. I read there were just over 13,000 finishers and it’s estimated there were about 16,000 registered.
We were all in different corrals for the half, so once we got past the final porta potty line-up, we went our separate ways. With my proof of time, I was up in C. I expected Jen and Emily to both catch up to me during the half (but then again, I’d expected them to catch me during the 10K too and they didn’t due to a bathroom stop).
I weaved through the crowd in C in an attempt to get to the 2:45 pacer (or in between the 2:30 and 2:45 pacers), but I couldn’t make it that far before the National Anthem and race start. My goal was to catch and stay with the 2:45 pacer for the first 6ish miles and then if I had it in me, pull ahead during the last six or so to see if I could beat my Princess (and PR) time. What a treat it would be to complete my challenge with TWO PRs!
Mile 1: The half course started exactly the same as the 10K out to Ball and over the overpass. I was able to catch the 2:45 pacer just around the half mile mark going over the overpass. It sounded like she’d be doing a half mile run interval with a 1 minute walk. I read later it was listed as 5:1 which was the same as Princess’ 2:45 pacer. I stuck with her and didn’t pop my headphones in. Nike+ Pace: 11:44/mile (right on track with Saturday 10K).
Mile 2: This mile was the defining mile in the race. No question about that. We went a little further down the road this time to enter Disneyland from the main entrance instead of from the back in Toon Town for the half. I needed to use the restroom so I pulled ahead of the pacer to give me some time and then I ducked off to the side restroom. In retrospect, I had time to wait until I could get to a less crowded restroom and I wish I had. My Nike+ only put this mile a couple minutes behind pace, but I estimate it was probably more like 6-7 minutes if not more. I know the app paused and while I tried to start it again, I know I missed some time accuracy. Nike+ Pace: 14:46/mile.
Mile 3: My goal through Mile 3 was to catch that pacer (okay, the rest of 2 as well). The run through the park, the castle, down past the Rivers of America, and back down Main Street was awesome. But where was that pacer?! Nike+ Pace: 10:50/mile. Official 5K: 40:39. 13:05 pace.
Mile 4: On to California Adventure through a bit of a reverse from the day before. Out along the scenic route and past the World of Color fountains and back behind the pier. Then we were headed through Cars Land and into Hollywood. Nike+ Pace: 11:16/mile.
Miles 5 & 6: From here, we headed out and into some back lot areas. A portion of the Mile 5 and 6 route ran parallel with Mile 13 and while I was running here, the first wheelchair racer was headed down Mile 13. Incredible! It was awesome to see how many people cheered from her from the Mile 5 & 6 side. But, it was also a little tough to see the first person so close to down when I knew how far I had to go, haha! Plus, still no sign of that 2:45 pacer. We hit the start of the Anaheim roads just before the Mile 6 marker. I popped my headphones in right after the 10K mat. Nike+ Pace: 11:15/mile; 11:56/mile. Official 10K: 1:18:26; 12:37 pace.
Miles 7 & 8: Mile 7 felt so fast. It wasn’t. In fact, according to Nike+ I slowed down a TON this mile (Nike+ Pace: 12:42/mile), but as a long straight road, it felt like it went by quickly. I was taking in the scenery, any signs and spectators, and all of the runners around me. Mile 8 took one turn and took us toward more spectators. Nike+ Pace: 12:18/mile.
Mile 9: Just before the Mile 8 marker, we hit a course highlight: The Red Hat Society ladies. These ladies lined the city block; they were loud, they were energetic, they were happy, they had signs, they were amazing. Seriously. To have that energy and support at that point in the race was SO crucial. Plus, the Mouse Planet people had licorice. “Free candy from strangers!” – “It’s legit, we’re wearing gloves.” Somewhere around this point, I realized in calculating my pace from the mile markers (I had alerts off on my app), my pace was too consistently slow to catch the pacer. I was doing too close to what she was doing. Nike+ Pace: 12:01/mile. Official 15K: 1:58:23; 12:42 pace.
Mile 10: It was somewhere around here that Spotify cut out and slowed down a TON to try and fix it before ultimately turning off the music and putting the headphones away. I knew I was wasting time and I didn’t really need the music. I learned that the day before. The run continued on and I know we passed more spectators and I think some bands and/or cheerleaders? My memory is a little fuzzy. I was mostly thinking, “only a 5K to go from here!” Nike+ Pace: 13:08/mile.
Mile 11: That “only a 5K to go” spirit helped me push a little hard during Mile 11. It was crazy to realize how close I was to finishing. I wasn’t going nearly as fast as I wanted to be going and yet at the same time, it felt like the miles were racing by (definitely a shift from previous races! am I turning into a “real runner”???). Nike+ Pace: 11:45/mile.
Mile 12 & 13: By the end of Mile 12 and into Mile 13, we hit familiar ground. Some was familiar from just an hour or so before and some was familiar from the day before. My shoe lace was cutting DEEP into my foot and that was tough. I finally had to stop and just retie my shoe. As much as I didn’t want to, knowing it’d take time and how close I was, I also didn’t want my foot to be in pain the rest of the day (as it turned out, I pushed it too long anyway and it hurt for a couple days). It was somewhere in here that we went through the tunnel like the day before. We had some great Cast Members cheering us on almost the entire way at this point. Many props to the guy who said “one mile to go! really! I’m the 12.1!” Nike+ Pace: 12:17/mile; 11:31/mile.
Mile 13.1: I finished! I kicked it hard to come in strong. Official Finish Time: 2:45:17. 12:36/pace. Nike+ clocked me at 2:44:59, which is pretty close considering how much longer I thought think that bathroom break was. It also clocked me at 13.68 miles (12:04 pace). I think it was probably less weaving than that and I probably did something between official distance and Nike distance. Note to self: Fix hair before finish photos. 😉
Jen beat me to the finish line with a stellar official time of 2:15 and some odd seconds for her first half marathon ever. Total. Rock star. I knew she’d catch me and was looking for her, but I missed her apparently. She said she caught the 2:45 pacer, but I’m not sure if she crossed at the same time or a little before the 2:45 pacer. Jen’s clock time was about 7-8 minutes ahead of me, so I was somewhere between 3-8 minutes behind the pacer. I am bummed a bit by my time, but I know that given the break, I probably wasn’t significantly slower than Princess AND this was a Day 2 race which I’d never done before. So, all in all, I feel good and I know that I can beat that time in September. Always have a goal.
Emily came in not too long after me (hooray for live tracking!) and we all met up in the ice area. Emily killed it too – 2:35… something in her first half! But there we all were, getting ice. Knees, hips, shins, calves, feet… we looked like a hot mess. Or would it be a cold mess? 😉 But wow, what a rush finishing. It was so awesome to walk through the finish shoot collecting medal after medal too. Also, incredibly surreal.
We took our time making our way out and collecting our runner’s boxes (same as the 10K – cheese flavored cheese!). We stopped and ate some before we attempted the walk back to the hotel. I was feeling surprisingly well. SHOCKINGLY well, in fact. I’m still surprised by it. I guess I have training (though haphazard at times) and recovery prep to thank. I also had experience to thank – Jen and Emily did not. I remember how it felt after that first half. I can’t imagine my first to be a Day 2 race. Seriously, my friends are incredible. Goals.
Overall, I really liked the Tink Half course. I appreciated that there were some not Pixie characters (Lost Boys!), but still felt it was lacking compared to the DL Half in the past. I know the race I ran was VERY different from the races Jen and Emily ran (they hit some serious hang ups in the park and played a lot of frogger). I loved Photopass in the park, but was disappointed by the lack of photographers after the park areas. I also really liked that I almost never got sent directly toward the sunrise on the course, but that could have also been timing and some cloud cover. Still, I’m calling it a course win. 🙂
And so, Coast to Coast – check. Pixie Dust – check. Go to Disneyland and eat all the thing? CHECK CHECK. 🙂 After a wonderful afternoon at Disneyland with a great friend, I met Jen at our hotel room and we headed over to DTD for a final celebratory meal that consisted MOSTLY of fries (Emily had already gone home to her little humans for Mother’s Day :)). Then, an early and well earned bed time.
I’m still riding that finish line high. I’m also on the hunt for more goals and more races. I’ll be back later this week to discuss. 🙂
Did you run the Tink Half? Have you run it before? What did you think of the course? Are you still on finish line runner’s high? What food do you HAVE to have after a big workout or race?