I signed up for the TinkerBell half marathon last July while nursing an injury. It was a way to keep me motivated while going through ART and PT treatments for four weeks. Also, the finisher medal was so cool ! I wanted to add it to my collection. I have to be honest, I didn’t have the standard sixteen weeks to train.Up until the last week of November, I ran only up to 8 miles on my weekend long runs and 3-4 miles on my weekday runs. I began to have doubts about running, but with a couple of tips from my fellow SF Marathon Ambassadors, I tweaked my weekly mileage and felt confident. My main goal for this race was to treat it as a training and to prove that I still had it in me to run.
Travel Day & Expo
I traveled down to Disneyland on Friday and arrived in the afternoon with enough time to relax and get to the expo. It was unseasonably warm down in Southern California with temps in the 80s in the middle of January. It felt like summer not winter at all. Off I went to the expo on Friday afternoon and took the shuttle from the hotel. I took a stroll through Downtown Disney and made my way to the bib pick up at the Disneyland Hotel. Bib pickup was easy and painless. I went back up the ramp to get my shirt and walk around the expo. Did some damage at the Expo with a few purchases. It was time to go back to the hotel and meet up with family for a pasta dinner. I have to give props to the Disney for being so organized with signage and the amount of staff and volunteers on hand to answer questions or direct participants . Saturday was pretty low key with hanging out by the hotel pool and doing a little walking to keep loose. Before I knew, it was time to rest and sleep..
I woke up at 2:45 am to eat some breakfast, tape my ankle and dress up. I boarded the shuttle at 3;45 am with fellow participants. So many were dressed up in tutus, sparkle skirts and other costumes. I felt somewhat out-of-place because I didn’t have any of the like. Just my plain old running gear. The walk from the shuttle stop to the bag drop was a good warm up. I loved how there were endless amounts of porta potties. Bag drop off was organized by first initial of your last name and bib number. Again, props to Disney for all the volunteers for being helpful. I made my way to my corral.
Running the Race
The race started and it was crowded in my wave but I didn’t mind. The course starts out on the streets before entering California Adventure and Disneyland. There was a lot of grumbling that there was an incline about 10 minutes into the race. It wasn’t a biggie for me. I train on multiple inclines in the Presidio and through SF. Miles 2-5 took me through Cars Land, Paradise Pier, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Small World and Downtown Disney. I wish I took pictures but it was just too crowded. Mile 6-9 I was feeling good but I felt my foot acting up. Still I kept going. We were out of the park and I began to speed up since the crowd was getting thin. When I hit mile 10, I was hurting and could feel my foot throbbing. I started doing my run/walk and just kept telling myself just one foot in front of the other. You can do this. The crowd support and aid stations were amazing.. Seeing the smiling faces and the crowds cheering was just what I needed. I high-fived whoever I could and just kept moving. When I got to mile 11, I knew I was in the home stretch and just went for it. I got a little emotional and teary eyed as I crossed the finished line. I just completed my 2nd half marathon. A big accomplishment for someone like me, who was in a different health situation three years ago. I finally earned my wings and it’s beautiful!
Post Race Thoughts
The race was pure fun and not once was I bored ! I never had to use my iPod even as I was running on the streets of Anaheim. My time may have been a little slow but it was a joy to complete my first destination half marathon. I definitely recommend the TinkerBell Half to anyone! Thank you to everyone for all the support and well wishes! On to the next race.
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