First of all, my apologies for this very late post. I got back from California very late on Tuesday, rested a bit on Wednesday and was back to work Thursday and the entire weekend. I was drained!
Saturday night, my running friends and I gathered at Naples Restaurant in Downtown Disney for our carb-loading pre-race dinner. Dinner was nothing special to be honest, but having dinner with everyone who shares the same passion for Disney and running is just priceless.
I got back to the hotel and rested, watched a little TV and set every single alarm clock there was in that room, as I’m always afraid I’ll sleep right through. Needless to say, despite setting up alarms, I woke up almost every hour. I hate when I do that!
Met my running buddy at the hotel lobby at 4:15 and we headed for the corrals. It was a good mile walk and the corrals were jam-packed!!! I was in Corral D, and luckily I got there early enough, because the corrals were filled to capacity, D runners were being moved to E. We were told by a runDisney volunteer to hop over the fence, but even then it just felt claustrophobic.
It was little after 6:00 AM when we crossed the start line. The group paired up in two’s and I headed out with Miss Vanellope for our 13.1 mile run.
First photo stop: Disney California Adventure Park. (Also when I realized I forgot to turn on my Garmin!)
In Disneyland, since the parks are right next to each other, your first 4 miles are through the parks and then you’re out on the road. Very different from Disney World but didn’t make it boring though.
Running through DCA’s Cars Land.
I love when you turn the corner and there it is, in all its glory, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Once we exited the parks, we were on the road. The sun was coming up and it was quickly getting really hot and bright out. It seemed that every turn we made was East, which didn’t help at all. The spectators were phenomenal as usual. There were dancers doing a traditional Mexican dance around mile 5 and alongside the road were gorgeous classic cars, I mean, gorgeous! Cheerleaders were performing, yelling our names as we ran across.
The sun was beaming and I started to feel sick. I felt horrible pain on my right side, along with feeling nauseous and having stomach cramps. I felt like I hydrated well during the previous days but Anaheim was hot; when I arrived Thursday, the temp was 101. Awful, just awful.
Around mile 7, there were tents set up by spectators and they were giving out pretzels, candy, oranges and they had huge buckets of cold water, which they were dipping in sponges and wringing them over the runners who wanted to cool off. What a blessing those people were!!!
I nibbed on a few pretzels and an orange slice and tried to run, but every time I would start running my stomach would feel worse. At this point, we’re doing 1:1 run/walk intervals. I couldn’t take the pain anymore.
Mile 8 and we’re running through the back of the Honda Center . We ran through sand as we ran through the back parking lot of the center and into the Santa Ana River Trail, which had a killer hill I’m sure I yelled at.
Once we got through, we were right at mile 9 and into Angel Stadium. I was in pain and pushing through.
I was feeling sick still and so I told Vanellope and Amanda that if they didn’t mind I’d be running ahead since I wanted to get it over with and get back to the hotel.
Once I finished, I was given the Disneyland Half medal, then proceeded to a tent where I received my 2013 Coast to Coast medal. Let me tell you that the C2C medal is so worth it. It’s gorgeous and it’s so heavy, and of course, there’s nothing like running in both coasts, through both castles in one year.
I’m skipping Wine and Dine this year since I’ll be home running the Philadelphia Marathon, but most likely will run it next fall (it’s an anniversary year too, so perhaps a new medal?) 🙂
I grabbed my medals, took some pictures and sat on the hot asphalt for a while, ingesting it all in: the pain, the pleasure, the relief of being done and the satisfaction that my body and my mind got me through.
I spent the rest of the night in my hotel room, sick and sitting in an ice bath for a while. If there are any lessons to be learned is this: Follow a proven training plan, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!, never try anything new on race day (Not shoes, not fuel, not outfit, not anything!), but most of all, just go and have fun. Disney races are meant to be fun. While you want to go out and set a personal record or personal best, running through Disney is meant to be a fun and exciting experience. Running through castles, taking pictures with the characters, running in costumes, whether that be a villain or princess or anything that you want to run as, just enjoy it. All I can say is that during this race I learned so much – what I need to do and what I shouldn’t do. Best of all, I had a great time running with my friends and finishing.
Love and Pixie Dust,