Warning: This is a picture-heavy post. Really picture-heavy.
When last we left our heroine, she was trying to get some sleep before the biggest athletic feat she had ever attempted. I actually slept pretty well, despite my body waking me up at 2:30 and my brain telling it to knock that off. I was able to fall back asleep and woke instead at 3:30, a half hour before my alarm but I knew I would need the extra time. I tried to get up and start getting ready quietly so as not to wake up Hubby, who's plan for getting ready involved only throwing on his clothes and a hat. By 4:20 I was pretty much ready to go.
Hydrating - very important
They tell you never to wear new clothes for a race. I didn't listen. I should have.
We left our hotel and started the short walk over to the park. The closer we got, the more people we joined, until there was a steady stream of racers making the journey to the starting area.
Guess I was anxious
Some of the crowd
Hubby said to pose. What I am really thinking here is "Please don't leave me. Once you leave, I have to wait in a crowd of strangers for an hour and then run 13.1 miles."
Me and my support team
Once we got over to the general area of the starting line, we talked a bit, I stretched a little, used the bathroom, and we wandered towards the corrals. Too soon, it was time to leave Jon and find my corral. I hugged him, teary, as he whispered lots of words of encouragement in my ear. Finally I broke free and headed through the gates to where everyone was lining up. I'm really bad at goodbyes, and I was getting nervous.
Getting into my corral took a while - things bottlenecked at a certain point while people tried to figure out which way they were supposed to go. I was in the second to last corral, and once I got the found that it was only half-full. That changed rapidly. The race was scheduled to start at 6, starting with corral A (obviously) with each subsequent corral leaving 5 minutes after. Which meant that my corral wasn't scheduled to leave until 6:25, and I was in the corral (at the organizers insistence) by 5:25. So I stood around for an hour, taking pictures for groups who needed a cameraman, but generally feeling lonely as I listened to the pairs and groups of runner chat with each other. I really wished someone had signed up to run with me.
The sea of people waiting in front of me - there were many many more to the left and behind.
One thing I didn't get a picture of that was really cool was when they sang the national anthem. At the point where the man sang "And the rockets red glare" red fireworks shot into the morning sky - it was really beautiful and the crowd just went crazy. There were also more with "the bombs bursting in air." Beautiful moment.
The race started on Disneyland drive and headed out onto Katella, one of the four roads bordering the resort. Then we hooked a left on Harbor, which ran us (eventually) right by my hotel. Hubby was standing out in the road waiting for me - I loved seeing him! He shot a video - forgive the unflattering nature of it please.
So a word about my new running skirt that I (foolishly?) wore. I had a running skirt already that I had been wearing to train in, but it was boring and grey and when I was at the expo I saw this one from runningskirts.com which was totally cute. I tried it on, it fit, I loved it. Now, it is an inch or so shorter than the one I am used to (which is not the same brand) but I thought it would be fine. Well, when I started running, the compression shorts underneath started riding up a bit. Which does happen with my other skirt. But the difference is the length - way more of my thighs were visible than I am comfortable with, and things were rubbing together a bit higher than I am used to (but I did Body Glide up there too just in case, so that was covered at least) and I spent a lot of time in the first mile or so pulling things down as I ran. Not my favorite thing. Eventually I got used to it, or it got better, or I just forgot, and fidgeted with it much less (unless there was a camera coming up that I knew about.) Who can say if my other skirt would have been better? I just know that I spent more time being concerned with it than I would have liked. This shouldn't deter you from purchasing one of their skirts - they are great and comfy and I will continue to wear mine. It is more a statement that you shouldn't try something new on race day - which I had already heard but apparently didn't take to heart.
Anyhow, next we headed into the parks - first California Adventure and then Disneyland. I planned to stop and snap pictures with some of the characters - I wasn't going for time or anything, and just wanted to really enjoy the experience. One of my favorite things about going through the parks was all the maintenance and cast members who stood along the route to cheer us on. Some pictures are blurry - I was running after all!
Phineas and Ferb - my family loves this cartoon so I had to stop!
Coming into Disneyland - so exciting!
Darth Vader had a long line, so I got a pic from the side. The storm trooper kept going over to try to pull people out of Darth's line to take pictures with another trooper - it was funny.
Flora, Fauna, Merriweather, and Princess Aurora were on the carousel
Maleficent kept harrassing people, telling them they should be running
Going through the castle!
Backstage - some really cool stuff back there
Ignore the times on the mile markers - they weren't accurate to me since I started a half hour after they did
Me and Louis
First hydration station - ah, Powerade, nectar of the gods
When we left the parks and hit the streets again, we were at mile 4 already. Those first few miles went by so fast and were so easy. It wasn't until we got out to the road that I realized how much background music and noise there had been in the parks - suddenly it was almost silent save for the pounding of feet and heavy breathing.
Lots of people walking already - it was a real challenge for me not to walk when everyone else was, but to run until I really needed to walk a few steps. This is when having someone with you comes in handy, to encourage you and feel like someone else is suffering too.
There was entertainment every mile - dancers, bands, cheerleaders yelling - so fun!
"Why am I doing this again?"
Crazy costumes - these guys had the teapot, saucer, and candelabra, and knocked into me trying to pass.
Once the sun came out, the temperatures started to climb. Those first few miles had been in the lovely overcast Anaheim morning, but alas, it was not meant to last. Just after mile 6, I made a video, knowing that my husband would enjoy watching it, and figuring that if I was crazy I could post it here. Apparently I am.
One thing I remember from running is, for the most part, not really realizing how long I had been in motion. That was a good thing. So, we're six miles in, and I am still running, and haven't died or passed out, nor do I want to. I passed a medical tent and didn't even need to stop in. Successes in my mind! Part 3 will wrap the race up. Tune in later, followers, when you can hear our heroine say "How much farther until the finish line?!"