To complete the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare, on August 31 I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon. It started out like it was going to be a great day. My legs felt rested from plenty of compression and elevation the day before after the 10K, I’d carb-loaded like crazy and I was low maintenance about my gear. I’d bought some new Champion running apparel to wear with my (new favorite) green Team Sparkle running skirt (my plan to dress as the Mad Hatter went to pot when I couldn’t find a good top hat to feesibly wear for a half marathon so I just went for something fun and loony and colorful) and it felt easy breezy and comfortable.
I was calm and content on the shuttle to the start line, while most everyone else chatted nervously. Most of the people on my bus wore bibs for the Half Marathon rather than the Double Dare, so perhaps it was the fact that it was my second race morning in a row that had me pretty chilled out. I had looked at the course map, I knew the end of the race was a decent downhill, I was stoked to run through Angels stadium, and I wasn’t anxious about finding anyone or taking a ton of pictures before the race started. I had 13.1 miles of running through the happiest place on earth ahead of me and after that, a day in Disneyland with one of my all-time best friends Liz.
I was just happy and calm. Starbucks opened at 4am, which is the precise time it ticked as I was walking toward it through Downtown Disney from the shuttle area, so I had a banana for breakfast and got my caffeine. It was still cool out but not cold enough that I’d wished I’d brought throwaway layers. But I was also very glad I had my visor – I knew it would get California sunny pretty soon. I finished up my breakfast and wandered over to the start area. There was plenty of time until the first corral was released and again, I was so stress-free. When I first went to Disneyworld to run the Glass Slipper Challenge, I was so anxious about catching all the shuttles and getting back to my hotel on time and getting plenty of photo opportunities – I knew it would all work out just fine.
That is, until I checked my bag, leaving me with just my water bottle full of fuel and my phone/headphones for the run, and went to use the porta-potties before heading to my corral.
And promptly dropped my phone in the porta-potty toilet bowl.
And retrieved it.
I am sorry to you germophobes reading this. Or really, just any normal person having a normal gagging reaction right now. I’m truly sorry. But this recap just would not be truthful to the morning and the agony on my mind the rest of the morning were I not to be truthful about what happened that morning. I will leave it at that, but suffice it to say, I thought I might never feel clean again.
I won’t bore you with the anxious details of my freaking out about what to do, how to keep in touch with Liz, whether to try and use the phone during the race for music/pictures, how I was going to get to a Verizon store, how I was going to afford a new phone, etc. and just get to the race. For which I have no original pictures nor the money to download Marathonfoto’s pictures. So here you have a recap full of Marathonfoto proofs. Again. I am sorry. I would rather the case be different.
They released corrals two at a time, so as I was in Corral F, we were released at about 5:42 with Corral E. I started the race off feeling a bit achey in my upper thighs but maintaining a steady clip. I did keep tripping up a bit over the little bumper lights on the lane divides as we headed out onto Anaheim streets. So much so that I finally tripped over one so bad I faceplanted.
Thank you to the three or four generous runners who, without missing a beat, grabbed my elbows and upper arms and lifted me effortlessly back on my feet, brushed the gravel off my shocked body, asked if I was okay, and continued on their way. I almost cried with gratitude, but I was too mad about how the race had started, from the phone to the faceplant, to cry.
I began running again perfunctorily, and had to then laugh to myself. What a way to kick off a half marathon. There is always, for me, when things start to go wrong, a moment where I consider just saying “fuck it” to the whole thing. Dropping out of the race to try and instead run to a convenience store, buy a bag of dry rice and try to save myself a couple hundred bucks by saving my phone. Crying. Cursing. It only happens momentarily, and then I always have a way of saying to myself, Oh MAN is this going to make a great story.
So I went with it. I ran hard but not for a PR. I ran happy but not without a few winces and questions to myself of why I choose to run. I goofed off for some photographers and blew by other ones. I figured if the morning was going to conspire against me, I would run with the tide and go with however I felt in the moment. I stopped for a picture with Jafar and Maleficent, and if it hadn’t been for that I would have blown through the 5K marker on pace for a half marathon PR. Instead I crossed it at 34:05 with this little gem attached to my bib number.
I continued at about the same pace, pausing for a couple of photo opps I’ll never see because even though the camera was still working on my phone, the phone later died before I could upload them, and crossed the 10K marker faster than the day before’s 10K as a whole. (I kind of knew the phone would die so didn’t bother to stop for as many pictures. I kind of wish I’d been consistent and just taken none of my own pictures and perhaps saved at least the photo or two I took before dropping the phone.)
The only time I was really, truly upset about my phone – other than just anxious – but truly upset, was running through Angels stadium. For one, runDisney had no official photographers in this area so I snapped some pictures on my wonking out phone knowing I probably wouldn’t see them afterward. So I have no photographic commemoration of getting to run around Angels stadium. I mean wow. I wish I could describe it. Spectators filled the home plate and third base line area cheering for all the runners, and I actually paused a moment at home plate to take it all in. I love baseball, I’ve grown up and been raised on baseball, and this was one of the coolest moments of the whole race.
This is the best the race photogs managed:
But more importantly, my dad’s cousins live in Anaheim and we’d made plans that they would come to cheer me on at Angels stadium, as they live within walking distance. I had no way of letting them know I was approaching the stadium, and looking for them everywhere I didn’t spot them and later found out they never spotted me. I even slowed to a walk through most of the stadium spectators, searching as many faces as I could, but there were so many people and I just never saw them. So instead of posting a picture of me gloriously posing with my cousins near Angels stadium home plate, or making Angels wings motions a la baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Angels in the Outfield (which I totally did, I just don’t have evidence), I will instead include this picture of two really wonderful human beings, my cousins Sam and Paul.
Coming out of Angels stadium we passed the 15K mark, which for me was at 1:42, leading to a decent 10-miler time though and still barely on track for a half marathon PR if I REALLY pushed for the last 3.1 of the race. But that would have been QUITE a push and for Disney, nah thanks. I wanted to be able to walk through the park later. And I was really, really struggling after that 11 mile marker. I even started to wonder how I would ever complete a full marathon if I wasn’t even done with a half and struggling to run for longer than 5 minute stretches.
What finally kept me going was that I was running alongside a group of people all dressed to the nines as Toy Story characters. And I mean full on Halloween costumes, not just conceptual characters in running clothes that matched the right colors. A full on Buzz Lightyear bodysuit, a guy dressed in a full on dinosaur costume as Rex, and they were hooting and hollering and saying they were going to cross the finish line and run the whole race again. I was huffing and puffing but on the inside I was laughing. It was hot and sunny and I was tired and thirsty and my feet were killing me, but they reminded me to have some fun crossing the finish line.
I was so glad to be done and kind of glad I couldn’t use my phone, as my brain was too scrambled to put words together. I collected my medals – the half marathon medal, the Dumbo Double Dare challenge medal, and the Coast to Coast challenge medal – tried to wipe myself off and muster up as photogenic a smile as possible in case I ever do want to buy my pictures, and caught the next shuttle back to my hotel.
I had no idea what my official time was until I checked runner tracking on Twitter back in my room. I hadn’t bothered to stop my watch on time. I officially finished in 2:25:53, making it my 5th fastest out of 8 half marathons, and about 15 minutes faster than my Princess Half time. (Way, way fewer photo stops.) I have no idea how to mark that against how much I’ve progressed or regressed since February, since for Glass Slipper weekend I had tapered the week before and was feeling as strong as I’d ever felt, but also stopped for long, long picture lines throughout the race. I also know I just had a huge 10-miler PR and I have a half marathon at the end of the month that I won’t have to run the day after a 10K, so I’ll use that as a better benchmark.
But I have to say I’m proud of my relative stats in the race.
Overall Place: 4365/15977
Gender Place: 1971/10142
Division Place: 411/1983
Top third for Overall, and almost top 25% for Division, and top 20% for Gender? I realize very few people run Disney races for time, but neither had I, really. This makes me feel better about myself to look at after struggling ugly through my 16 mile long run this past weekend. (Marathon training is hard, guys, especially when you try to include the Dumbo Double Dare smack in the middle of it.)
Things worked out in the end. I didn’t get a new phone until half a week later, but through good old-fashioned landlines in hotel rooms and writing things down on sticky notes and choosing meeting places, I met up with my friend Liz successfully and we had a blast in Disneyland the rest of the day. We rode Space Mountain after a celebratory reunion beer, we rode Splash Mountain twice in a row during the fireworks over the castle, we screamed our faces off on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we got stuck in the Caribbean with Pirates and were late for our dinner at Blue Bayou, we stuffed our gullets with funnel cake, and best of all, we got to say hi to this guy.
So I’m happy with the Dumbo Double Dare weekend. I don’t know that I’d do it again for quite some time unless I lived on the West Coast. It was one of the most expensive weekends of my life, very much a vacation and vacations get expensive. But as a combination graduation/birthday present? Collecting all that bling and seeing so many very dear people made the very tired feet and very steep debt pretty worth it.