Disnyeland Half Marathon, September 2, 2012, Race Recap

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ok, first things first.  The moment a lot of you have been waiting for, my Disney race recap.  So as most of you know I had planned on doing the Disneyland Half Marathon the first weekend of September.  A couple of other Spark friends, Kirsten and Carrie, and I had been planning this trip for several months.  We were all really excited about it.

Well, 3 weeks before the half marathon I decided to do a trail race.  I got just past mile 2 in the trail race and fell and sprained my ankle really bad.  I could barely walk.  I was on crutches for almost 2 weeks trying to get the swelling to go down so I could walk.  The time for Disney keeps drawing nearer and I am still unable to walk.  The week of the race comes and I tried a couple of times to run, with no luck.  My ankle just hurt too much when I tried to run.  I did not know if I was going to be able to participate in the half or not but I was still going on the trip.

In the meantime, Kirsten had told me that Carrie was not going to run because her knee was bothering her too much.  She told me no more spectators were allowed.  I told her I know and I didn't plan on watching.  I knew at that point that I might have to walk it, but even at that I wasn't sure I would be able to finish.

By the time I flew out to Denver to meet Kirsten and Carrie I was able to walk but I was still slow and my ankle was still swollen.  That was a mere 2 days before the race.  I told them I would be starting and with any luck finishing too.

On Friday, at the expo I had the KT Tape people tape my ankle.  They taped it nice and tight, to the point that it hurt sometimes because it was so tight.   Kirsten and Carrie also got all taped up so we were ready to go.  Well, skipping ahead a couple of days to race morning.  We were up and at the starting line nice and early, about 4:00 AM.  I told them I was going to try to run a little before we headed to our corrals to see how my ankle was going to feel and see if I could run or not.  I did a couple of very short distance runs and my ankle felt OK.  I knew it was going to be a struggle to finish.

After we get to our corrals we were there for ever before the race started.  I was ready to go because the longer I stood the more my ankle started hurting and the more it swelled.  Finally, race time arrives.  I was in corral D so I still had to wait but once the race started it wasn't long and we were off.  I started out running and my ankle was hurting but it wasn't near as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I decided I was going to run as long as I could keep that pace and not hurt too bad.  I knew there would be plenty of time for walking later if I needed to.  After a while my ankle stopped hurting, or at least I stopped noticing it.  I thought I might actually be able to do this and finish!  I got more excited as the first few miles went by.

I was doing great until about mile 8.  Somewhere around mile 8 we hit a gravel/dirt path leading up to the Anaheim Angels baseball stadium.  I had fell on dirt 3 weeks earlier and I didn't want to to take any chances so I walked most of that trail.  Before long we entered the stadium to cheering a clapping fans.  Everyone was holding there hand out to give us five and cheering for us as we went by.  They gave me a new energy and I decided I was going to get on the inside, by the fans, and give everyone 5 that I could as I went by.  It was a lot of fun to run around the warning track of the baseball field and having everyone cheering for you, a lot of them cheering for you by name.  How could I not run!!!!

After we exited the stadium I sat down and cleaned the dirt and gravel out of my shoes to help keep me from getting blisters, then I was on my way again.  Not long after that I decided I needed to walk and take it easy.  I knew I was going to be able to finish and that was all I really wanted to do.  So I started walking more.  Well, somewhere around mile 10-11 I started getting a cramp in the calf of my other leg.  I thought, oh great, this is just what I need (NOT!!!!), being so close and having fought so hard in the first place.  I could not get the cramp to go away no matter what I did.  So for the last 2-3 miles I continued on with a cramp that hurt like crazy.  I began to wonder again if I was going to be able to finish or not.  Not finishing at that point was not an option!!!!  I walked, I slowed down, I rubbed the area, all with no luck of getting the cramp to go away.  

Well, after 2-3 long, slow, grueling miles I finally crossed the finished line and received my medal.  I don't think I have ever been so happy to cross a finish line or receive a medal in my life!!!!  It was definitely well earned.  After I got my first medal I asked where I could get my Coast 2 Coast medal and they told me and it was such a great medal when I got that second medal.  I had accomplished what I came to accomplish, despite all the pain and uncertainty.  I could not have asked for anything more!!!!  I finished in 3:23.  God gave me the strength and determination to finish a race I wasn't even sure I would be able to start, much less finish.  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13.

The Coast 2 Coast medal is an extra medal you receive if you do a Disney World race and a Disneyland race in the same calendar year and you finish both of them in the allotted time frame.  It was something I wanted to do once and may never do again, or have the opportunity to do again.  That's why I wanted to finish so bad.

Just a brief update on Kirsten and Carrie.  Kirsten fell in a crack in the electric car tracks somewhere around mile 3 and twisted her ankle.  She wasn't sure if she could finish but she got back up and went on.  She said she walked most of the rest of the race but she was able to finish and she finished in 3:24.  I don't there her time and my time were even a minute apart but she started in corral E, just behind me.  

Carrie did end up doing the race too but she was unable to keep the time requirement pace and she was picked up at mile 10 I believe.  However, she was really happy because she made it a mile further than she did at Disney World and she started when she had told Carrie and I about 3 weeks prior that she wasn't going to participate.  Had there not been a time requirement she would have finished too.

Needless to say, we were all having a hard time walking the next few days.  We did go to Disneyland, Adventure Land, and Universal Studios during the weekend while we were there though and we had a great time.  We went to Adventure Land the afternoon/evening after the race and we went to Universal the next day.  Yes we were tired and barely able to walk but we still enjoyed every minute of it!
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