Sep 18, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fastest of Them All?

After months and months of waiting, my sister and I were finally able to participate in one of the Disneyland races over Labor Day weekend. And yes, it was everything we expected and more!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  Thursday night we drove to Albuquerque and stayed with my godparents. Thanks Ray and Anita for letting us crash with you guys!  Friday morning found Steph, Marlena, Noah, and myself waking up at a ridiculously early 5:30, ready to hit the road and drive the remaining 11 hours to Anaheim.  Luckily the drive went pretty quickly, and we made it in one piece.  And we definitely appreciate Noah driving in the California rush hour traffic!

By the time we checked into our hotel, it was bedtime, because our day was starting early on Saturday.  My alarm shook me none-too-gently out of sleep at a whopping 3:40 A.M.  I was the only one running the 10k race that morning, but my sister was kind enough to wake up early and hang out with me until I had to head toward my corral to start the race.

Disney characters getting us pumped for the race!

The crowd was huge!  I had never seen so many people lined up for a race. The positive energy was incredible!  It's always amazes me just how insane runners seem - waking up at all hours of the morning (or night) to run who knows how many miles. Not only that, but being excited about it! It must be all those endorphins.  And I love that I'm one of the crazies who is a part of this awesome and spectacular community! 

I was jittery as we prepared for the start.  I had tweaked my knee a few months earlier and hadn't been training all that much.  For weeks, I had to mentally prepare myself to not overdo it, and to not be upset with myself if I didn't do as well as I hoped.  And with the help of the positive atmosphere, I knew it would still be a blast no matter what the outcome.

The race started and all my nerves disappeared, and immediately I felt the exhilaration that only running brings.  As I ran, the crowd disappeared, and I felt happier than I had in ages.  The bliss that accompanies running is the true feeling of freedom.

I finished the race with a personal best time, and later found out that I came in 19th out of 389 individuals in my age division.  Time to start training for the next race to improve my time and standing!

After the race, we spent the day at California Adventure, riding roller coasters and watching parades.  Marlena, who worked at Disney World, was pro at getting us in the fastest lines, using fast passes, and making sure we made the best out of our experience!

Enjoying Radiator Springs

Steph and I got the exact same score.
It happened on the Buzz Lightyear ride, too.
We must be sisters!

The Mad Hatter knows how to throw a Tea Party!

Steph and I woke up at 3:40 again on Sunday morning, ready for our half marathon.  If I thought the crowd was huge for the 10k, it was nothing compared to the mass of people we joined for the half.

The race started, and, if possible, the energy was even more alive and exciting than the day before.  Swarms of spectators lined the course, complete with high school bands and cheerleaders, girl scouts, small business employees, groups handing out water and quick energy foods, and friends and families of race participants.  Just when we would feel so tired that we wanted to stop and walk, the crowds would grow, and the encouragement was enough to keep us going, to push through that mental barrier holding us back.

Ran the first 6 miles non-stop!

At about mile 9, we came across a group of runners wearing green T-shirts.  A woman and man were each holding onto the end of a small bungee cord.  The man yelled, "If you're having a good time, let me hear you!" The group of runners nearest, including us, cheered.  The man then said, "I can't see you, but I can hear your energy!"  The man was blind, and the woman and his fellow runners were ensuring a clear path for his safety while he ran.  He was an inspiration, and Steph and I were invigorated by his stamina, and his energy kept us moving.

Probably the best part of the entire race, in my opinion, was running through Angel Stadium.  When we ran into the stadium, we were greeted with loud, upbeat music, and shouts from spectators sitting in the stands.  We had just hit about mile 10. We were tired, sweaty, and hurting, but that extra support pushed us, reminding us that we would finish strong.  And finish strong we did!  As we ran the last mile, it was as if all the aches in our feet, knees, and legs disappeared.  Our energy was renewed as we sprinted, excitedly, across that finish line!

We did it!  And you know what? I think our next endeavor will be the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World 2017, which includes the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon races, for one exciting, tiring, and fun-filled weekend!

The four of us spent the rest of the day at Disneyland, going to shows, riding Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones, convincing Steph to ride Splash Mountain, watching the 60th anniversary light parade, and doing everything else Disney.  We also went to the animation academy where they offered a fifteen minute drawing session to teach us to draw Piglet. Probably the best part of the entire trip, though, was the Frozen sing along. Yes, it really happened, and it was AWESOME!  It really was a spectacular day with amazing fun and wonderful people! Though leaving Monday to go back to reality was not near as exciting as heading toward Disney, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have had a fantastic trip with my sister and friends.  Can't wait to go back soon!

Animation Academy

Frozen sing along!

No comments:

Post a Comment