I got home yesterday from an awesome weekend in Anaheim with Mr. Awesome. Yes, we went to the Land of the Mouse without our children. We didn’t actually GO to Disneyland apart from the 40-ish minutes we were running through the parks, so they weren’t really missing out.

This was the first half of our 2015 Coast to Coast Challenge. The runDisney group have this challenge whereby you run a race in each of the resorts – Disneyland or Disney World – in the same calendar year and you get an extra medal. We will be heading to Orlando in November for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon to complete this challenge. The day AFTER that race just happens to be my 40th birthday so it seemed an appropriate way to celebrate. And yes, the kids are coming on that trip. See? We don’t completely neglect them!

So back to the race we just ran. My training for this one was terrible. Utter crap. From the Scotiabank half last June to now, the furthest I had run was 10K and only a handful of times. The rest of the runs I did were no more that 4 miles, with one exception of a 10 mile run the weekend before this race to just make sure I wouldn’t pass out mid-course. And these were a maximum of three times a week. I DON’T like running at night because my night vision is basically non-existent, so I was fairly limited to my options.

So, like I said, utter crap. But here we were, packing to head to Disneyland for a half marathon.

The theme, thanks to Disney for acquiring the Star Wars brand, was Star Wars. “Let the Wookie win” and “May the course the with you” were common catch phrases.

The last time we did a runDisney event was our first ever half marathon, the Tinker Bell in 2013. This one was every bit as well organized and polished. They really do put on a phenomenal event.

Aside from the great support staff, the characters along the course for photo opps, the emcees, the music, the organization…one of the best parts of a runDisney race is the Health & Fitness Expo in the days leading up. It is the best race expo I’ve ever attended – the best exhibitors, best speakers, best free samples. My favourite, Sparkly Soul, was there but I resisted their charms given I already own seven of these fantastic headbands!

I picked up some KT Tape to try and alleviate some strain on my knee, a SpiBelt to carry my Gu gels and the final piece for my costume. KT Tape normally retails for $20 per roll but their show price was 2 for $30 so OF COURSE I got two rolls. Love show specials!

Last time I was completely jealous of all the fun costumes and had not gone prepared so I made sure I was ready this time around. I picked R2D2 with a tank top I bought from Amazon and a Sparkle Athletic skirt (which is awesome, by the way). I topped it off once we got to Disney with the purchase of the R2D2 Mickey ears.

I felt appropriately attired and completely adorable.

This picture was a test run the night before as the 3:30am wake-up time did not leave me confident in my ability to get everything together!

The Main Event

The race started at 5:30am and we arrived in plenty of time. All was good and we started off with a good pace, right where I was hoping at about 10:30min/mile. We kept that pace, even with the “tens and ones” walking a minute every ten, for the first 8 miles or so. Mr. Awesome runs a lot faster than I do normally, but he was committed to running the race for fun instead of time and he stuck with me the whole time. He may have been the most chipper guy on the course and while it was completely endearing and fun, I did also want to punch him a little as the going got tough.

Especially when he started skipping.

I started to fade a bit around mile 9 and by mile 11 I was in some trouble. The backs of my legs were in quite a bit of pain, I was tired and pushing the whole way. I never suggested that we walk the remaining miles, even though I was desperately considering it. I started to feel a swell of emotion and as I tried to swallow the near-tears, my throat got tight. Well, THAT isn’t conducive to getting in all the air I was needing so I started to panic when I couldn’t breathe properly. I took a minute and bent over to stretch my hamstrings and get my breath. That gave me the relief I needed and we kept going, at a slightly slower pace.

The last two miles are a bit of a blur, but suffice to say that finish line couldn’t come quick enough. Mr. Awesome tried to hold my hand as we got close but I freaked out that in the moment I was going to trip over my own feet if I didn’t keep doing EXACTLY what I was doing. When the finish line finally came into view I rallied a little and we crossed it holding hands and smiling. We claimed our awesome medals and I hobbled to the main area to do some much-needed stretching.

Official time – 2:26:24. Twelve minutes faster than my first half marathon time, and third best time overall. Pretty pleased with this, given the difficulty I had!

Yay for bling!
The hotel shuttles were trapped as Harbor Blvd was blocked for the slower runners and walkers still completing the course. We decided to walk the 30 minutes back to our timeshare, which was probably the best thing we could have done for our legs.
Monet and me
After a quick hot tub and clean up, we headed to The Original Pancake House for refuelling. The best part about this was that we met up with Monet, one of the coaches on my Beachbody team, who until Sunday I had only known online. It was so awesome to finally meet in person, and the perfect way to celebrate the race. That and ALL THE FOOD. My favourite meal after a race is pancakes with eggs and bacon and that is EXACTLY what we ate. It was SOOOOO good.

 

Aliso Beach, California

After brunch Mr. Awesome and I headed south to the beach, as you do when you’re in California! We ended up at Aliso Beach and although it was a little cooler than I would have liked, we sat and enjoyed the sea air and just relaxed for a while. It was a wonderful way to spend our last day.

 
More Non-Race Fun!
Linzie, Dani and me at the #RebelTweetUp

Another great part of our weekend was a social media meet up arranged by Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders and Linzie from Sharp Endurance. I have followed Dani for several years and she is a huge source of inspiration. She is a Weight Watchers leader and I’ve always felt a kinship with her so it was amazing to finally meet her “IRL.” Plus they were giving away prizes and I won a pair of Pro Compression calf sleeves! WOOT!

 

The #RebelTweetUp
All in all, a fantastic weekend. I am proud of completing my sixth half marathon and despite the struggles I am excited to register for the Wine & Dine! Now to start planning that costume…something that can use my gunmetal grey Sparkle skirt. Perhaps this?