I rolled out of bed, put on my race clothes and equipment, and headed for the start line. I've been in quite a few races now, but this was only my second half marathon, so I was a little bit nervous still. My only goal was to beat my previous time, last year's amazing-to-have-finished-without-proper-training just over 3 hours. My unstated goal was to be a heck of a lot closer to 2 1/2 hours than to 3 hours, but I wasn't going to hold myself too hard to that. I started out trying to follow a pacer who was going to get her group in just under 2.5 hours, but I couldn't keep up with them after the first few miles, so I decided to just trust my watch and my training. As I made this decision, I saw my heart rate return to its familiar territory when it had been hovering rather high, and I knew I had made the smart choice.
The Disneyland Half Marathon is truly an experience. If you are all inclined to try one, I highly recommend it (and I'll bet its counterparts in other seasons in Florida and in California would be lovely too). I hope to do it again someday. Of all the races I've done, this one by far had the most awesome cheering sections. Highlights included running through California Adventure and Disneyland before opening hours, greeted by various cast members and costumed characters; running right next to the Big A at Angels Stadium; actually running ON THE WARNING TRACK of said stadium while being shown on the JumboTron to a large crowd of scouts and their parents who were squirting us with water and blowing bubbles; the cheerleaders and marching bands of every local high school out in force at an ungodly hour for teenagers with just as much enthusiasm as a pep rally; the mariachi band and mini-hula dancers along the course; and all the crazy Disney-themed costumes many runners wore. Popular choices were Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell. I also saw Huey, Dewey, and Louie toward the end, complete with padded duck bottoms and yellow "duck feet" slipped over their running shoes.
Two humorous side stories: Just after mile 10, a woman dressed as Pocahontas and her companion, a gentleman wearing a tiara, stopped to meet a friend, who opened up his cooler and handed each of them a can of Tecate beer. I can only assume they were going to slam the said beer and continue on with the remaining 5k. I could never do that but I found it hilarious. The other is just about all the fun signs. My personal favorite was one that simply said "Just Keep Swimming," Dory's favorite mantra/song in Finding Nemo. I love that movie, and it makes no sense in a foot race so it's a fun thing to keep in your head while running crazy long distances. Someone else was holding a sign that said "If Mickey can run this, so can you." Ha...none of the costumed characters actually employed by Disney were running with us, but I saw Mickey and Goofy at the start line and Chip, Dale and Minnie were jumping up and down as I crossed the finish, so there's that.
Oh, and I finished in an official time of 2 hours, 35 minutes and 42 seconds. That put me pretty squarely in the middle of over 11,000 finishers. I was thanking my lucky stars for the recent cooling trend since extreme heat zaps me and it had been in the 90s until this weekend. Today topped out at 83, but it was only in the 70s by the time we finished, I think. One mysterious phenomenon that always seems to happen to me is that once I see the finish line, no matter how tired I felt right before that, I can suddenly pull out a sprint (or at least what feels to me like a sprint right then) and pass a few people on the way there. It makes me feel good, anyway.
After I got showered and felt relatively human again, we got to meet up with a good friend of mine from about 5 years ago who currently lives close to the park and has an annual pass. It was great to see her and introduce her to my son and my mom. She was able to show us a few of her tips for getting through the park quickly, which came in handy with a sleepy guy. He got to see the Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, the Winnie the Pooh ride, and the Tiki Room as well as going on "It's a Small World" yet again. He still loves it. He seemed to enjoy everything, actually. Probably the funniest thing with him today was that we waited to see a parade on Main Street before heading home, and despite it being loud and right in front of him, my boy fell asleep before it was over. He didn't wake up till we had to get him in the car from the stroller. What a sweetie.
in Venezuela shut down;
prez sez they hate him.
claims Shaun Merriman choked her;
could reach health care compromise
with trigger system.