Pre-race ignorance.

Okay, we didn’t exactly “fly,” but Mr. Awesome and I can now say that we have run a half marathon. And with decent times. Any finish time is a huge accomplishment but I’m proud of my 2:37 for a first attempt.

Seven months of training and anxiety, one pair of New Balance runners, running gear for all kinds of weather July through January, a completed half marathon…I think I can actually now call myself a runner. Which is the WEIRDEST thing I’ve ever called myself.

For those that don’t know, we did the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon, which weaves its way through California Adventure Park, Disneyland and the streets of Anaheim. It was awesome. It starts at 5:00am as everything needs to be cleaned up before the parks open. That means a 4:00am arrival time. UGH. But probably best because if I’d been any more awake I may have let my nerves get the best of me.

Post-race glow.

We were very lucky to have friends near San Diego come up for the night and look after our kids as of 3:00am. Not sure how other parents do it, but judging by the fact that there were VERY few men (1600 out of 12,000) participating, I guess all the dads were on kid duty while the moms were running.

I started to get quite nervous the day before. There was no turning back and it got very real. It had always been so far in the future but all of a sudden we were there and it was happening. A colleague of mine and experienced runner shared some advice she’d received that had stayed with her. John Stanton, founder of the retail chain Running Room, had said “Trust your training.” So I did. I never actually trained to the full 13.1 miles, the furthest I went was 10.3 during my training runs, but I felt that I could handle the extra distance. Granted, the last 2-ish miles did kind of hurt, but it was manageable. The good news was that the first 10.5 hurt a lot less than they had in the training runs…just goes to show they make those programs for a reason and the system works!

runDisney puts on a great race, with all the polish and pizzazz you would expect from a Disney-related event.  You get a unique after hours (actually, before hours) peak into the world of Mickey Mouse, and behind the scenes too as some of the course goes behind the magic. The Disney “Cast Members” are out in force throughout the parks, cheering you on. I know they were getting paid, but the fact that they were out there at 5:00am was pretty awesome.

We would definitely do it again, but now I’m scouting other destinations…why not use them as motivation to keep going? Vegas? San Diego? Walt Disney World? New York? It’s a whole new world of possibilities!

Speaking of motivation, I got to meet someone that was part of mine when I was going through my weight loss. Ali Vincent was winner of The Biggest Loser season 5 and she was at the pre-event Health & Fitness Expo. I watched all the seasons online while losing weight, and they really did inspire me. Thanks Ali!

I know lots of people complete half marathons every week and it’s not an earth-shattering accomplishment for everyone, but this was a big deal for me. I used to skip runs in high school feigning exercise-induced asthma. I hated running and avoided it at all costs. There were definitely times I considered packing it in and forfeiting the registration fee, but several things kept me going:

  • Mr. Awesome. He was always encouraging, supportive and telling me he was proud of me. That and the fact that he was registered too made it hard for me to quit. 
  • My friends and co-workers. What an amazing group of people I have around me. Always checking in, always encouraging and when the time came to head south, everyone was coming by my office with good wishes. Two friends even gave me this awesome pair of socks to inspire me. 
  • Sheer determination. I made the process public on Facebook and I’d be damned if I gave up and disappointed anyone, let alone myself. 
So, first one down. I went for a short run the other day and it didn’t kill me so I guess I will keep going. That and the fact that I’ve already registered for the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 5…more motivation. 🙂
My bling.
Wahooo! I’m a runner!