My "gateway" race!

My "gateway" race!
My "gateway" race!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tinker Bell 10K & 1/2 Marathon Weekend

Tinker Bell 10K & 1/2 Marathon Weekend
January 18-19, 2014

            The inaugural Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon in 2012 was what I'm calling my "gateway" race. It's the race that started it all for me and my running journey. My motivation began in 2011, when I saw my childhood friend, Heather, training for races and then Disney released the photograph of the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon medal. I was in!! I didn't care what I had to do, but I needed that medal and I WANTED it bad! I emailed Heather for some get going pointers and printed the photo of the medal and taped it to the wall in front of my treadmill. My training was off!
            I already knew that I'd be doing the 2014 Tink, but the added bonus was the new Tinker Bell 10K. Of course, Disney has to tempt me with a new race and new medal. I've got to learn some self control!! The bummer was there was no bonus medal like the Dumbo Double Dare. Oh well! I love the bling. This race was also a family race, which it seems like most of my races are now involving my family. This is awesome!! Not only is it a great way to spend time together, but it's healthy!

On our way!!
            We left Vegas ahead of schedule, which is sometimes difficult, but yay, we did it! I wanted to be in Anaheim in plenty of time to hit the expo to pick up some goodies, but more importantly for the most awesome pre-race meet up with a big group of #run3rd team captains. There were several team captains coming in for this weekend from all over and I was so excited to meet them. It was also a very special birthday and race goal accomplishment that weekend for one of our team captains, Tracy. The meet up was great. It's so funny how we all knew everyone already and didn't have to guess at names. Technology! We've been communicating and seeing each other for so long, we already knew each other, the in person meet up was just a technicality. 
#Run3rd Downtown Disney Meet Up
            On the morning of the Tink 10K, we had another official #run3rd meet up. We were all very happy to see Linda again. It was very early and pretty chilly for us West Coasters! We chit chatted, snapped photos, and then wished each other well on the race. My hubby, daughter, and I headed off to the corral. Of course, I wasn't in the same corral as them. This I find very weird because my daughter and my last 10K time was only off by literally 10 seconds. She was very upset this time that we were in different corrals. She threatened to cry and make a big scene at the race people monitoring the corrals. She's so funny. I told her, it's fine, just come in my corral and we can still be together!! Before the race started, all three of us decided we were setting new personal records! 

            The race began and I knew Jason would be off. We had our normal kiss goodbye and see you at the finish line. Gillian decided to stay with me. The sheer volume of people was crazy. It was very difficult throughout the race to get around people. Once again, my most frustrating complaint that seems to remain especially at Disney races is the lack of race etiquette. I mean, by all means, I am not a fast runner at all, but if I'm going to take a break or slow down I move to the right. There were so many people who just don't do this and stand right in the middle of traffic to snap a photo. I'm sorry, but it's so irritating. Gillian and I weaved in and out the whole race. Since we decided that we wanted new PRs, I explained to her that we would have to push ourselves. This worked great for the first few miles. Then I got attitude, big time. I decided to just keep going and she'd catch up. She did every time and was a little madder each time.  

            The miles seemed to "fly" by and we made it to the finish line. Gillian was so irritated with me that she ran ahead and beat my time by ten seconds. She was so happy to discover that we both PR'd by almost 20 minutes. Two PRs out of three is pretty darn awesome!! The best thing about being at the finish line was Cheyenne, a fellow #run3rd team captain, was there and placed our medals on us. We knew she'd be there so we were looking out for her. It was the greatest experience ever to have someone we know put our medals on!! The day couldn't have been any better! 

Cheyenne placing the medal on me!
Cheyenne and Gill!

            The weekend wasn't over. Next stop, Tinker Bell 1/2 marathon. Three in the morning arrived way too fast, especially after laying in bed trying to get to sleep for three hours. Sunday mornings meet up was much chillier than the day before. The only good thing was I saved our blankets from the previous day to keep us warm. Our meet up was short and sweet with a quick photo, then off on our own ways. We wished everyone a great race. My hubby, Jason, and I headed to the corrals. Again we were in different corrals, but he chose to stay with me (at least until the race started)! We stayed together for the first half of a mile or so. We basically had to since there were so many people that we had nowhere to go except forward. I tried to keep up with him but it just wasn't going to happen. We said our goodbyes and had a sweet kiss, to which a fellow runner said "isn't allowed", ha ha ha~!

            I love Disney races, but they are starting to get out of control. I don't know what the answer to this problem is. The first at least three miles were crazy jam packed with huge volumes of people. So many that you could barely get a slow jog in and when you did get a chance to pick up the pace, bam, someone would stop in the middle of everything to snap a photo. I chose not to stop for photos for many reasons, but the main reason is I'm already slow. I don't have the time to spare to wait in the ridiculous lines at each character stop. So, my photos are in my head where I can treasure them anytime I want.  I loved seeing all of the wonderfully creative costumes and seeing all of the great race entertainment. This year's turn out for the Red Hat Ladies was incredible. There were so many smiling faces. I love them!

            This race was another positive mind race. I've said it in the past that my mind always tries to defeat me and tell me I can't do this. But not this time. I kept telling myself I can do it and I will finish. I did have a slight pain in my lower back on only one side that was constant the whole race. It was not going to get in my way though. I felt good and kept going. There was also no burning in my shoes. You know that feeling you get when you just know you are getting a blister? Well, I've finally mastered the sock issue that I had for so many of my early races. I thought I was going to have to suck it up and deal with blisters. I will definitely be buying more Asics socks! I love them and my feet love them too!!

            Around mile 9, I got a text from Jason. He was just ahead at mile 10 and was hurt. He was in a lot of pain from an injury he incurred while trying to do a trick on a skateboard. I told him he was getting too old for that kind of stuff!! It was bothering him so bad that he said he couldn't run anymore. He quickly encouraged me to put some pep in my step and meet him. I did the best I could but he still remained ahead of me by about a mile. While Jason was taking his time on his leisurely stroll, he kept himself busy. He was busy spreading the #run3rd word!! One of our team captains, Tracy, had made silicone bracelets just for the Tink 1/2 that had #run3rd and the website on them. She handed out several of them to the team captains at the meet up. It was our mission to spread awareness to #run3rd. I'm already proud to call him my best friend and hubby, but I wouldn't know until after we arrived home in Vegas just how much more proud I could be of him. 

            I finished the race! I was so happy, I saw friends and family right before the finish line cheering my name. I gave it one last push and sprinted as best as I could to the finish line. This time, I bypassed Minnie and Mickey just to get to the finish. I don't usually do that, but there was quiet a crowd plugging up the way. I managed to get my medal and only choke up a little! There's just something about this huge accomplishment and I think about all the dedications I'm carrying and it really gets to me. Each one of my dedications I carry is personal and touches my heart! I also always think of my daughter, Christensa, who never got the chance to run. I think of all of my loved ones who have passed who would be so proud of me. 

            Jason has always been there for me and has been my biggest supporter of this running adventure that I started in 2011. He was drug along by me and not always willingly, but he came. He's been at every race and is always there for me at the finish line. He's always there to hug me, congratulate me, and laugh at me when I'm crying after crossing the finish line (this seems to be a problem for me at every race)! He puts up with me when I need to retake a photo until I get the perfect one, even if it takes 12 times! 

            I was at home a few days after the race weekend and I was reading posts on Facebook. I came across this post:
            "I wanted to Thank the nice gentleman, dressed as Peter Pan this morning for the Tinkerbell     Half Marathon, who came up to me and mentioned my sign I always have pinned on my back. He took off his green #‎Run3rd bracelet & handed it to me, explaining what Run3rd is. My 3 friends I ran with also received one too! We thank you,  "Peter Pan" for the bracelets !! — at Disneyland."

My Peter Pan and I!

     I knew immediately that the "Peter Pan", Diane was referring to in her post was my "Peter Pan", Jason. I can't tell you in words just how proud I was of him and how he's taken my running journey and the #run3rd mission and made it his too! In most of my adventures, Jason takes the quiet back seat. Even though he's quiet, he still gets noticed. I think  back to the last time we saw Sean. We were chatting and Sean looked up at Jason and said to me "I know him!" I said that's my husband Jason. He immediately recalled when we first met at Tinker Bell years prior. I'm pretty sure I see a new #run3rd captain emerging here!!!