So I “ran” the Disneyland Half Marathon last Sunday, and it’d definitely be an understatement to say that it was an interesting experience.

I knew that I would be treating the Disneyland Half more as a “13.1 mile fun run” than as a serious race. Going into the half, I definitely did NOT feel as prepared for it as I should have. I had conflicting feelings of excitement and outright fear. Would I be able to run most of it? Would my knees go out? Would I have to let my friend run ahead of me b/c I didn’t want to hold her back?

I hadn’t been on a real run in weeks b/c I was scared of aggravating my knee. I had only felt pain in my right knee, so I purchased a knee sleeve.

Saturday morning, I woke up and tried to pump myself up. Sure I wouldn’t be running at my full ability, but I was there to have fun!!! Took forever getting ready, checking and re-checking my bags to make sure I didn’t forget any of the essentials (outfit, charged iPod, charged camera, spibelt, water bottle, gu/shot blocks). After dropping the furbaby off with a friend, we headed up to Anaheim to pick up my bib and packet.

We walked around DTD (Downtown Disney for awhile) and went to the World of Disney store to buy a “It’s my birthday” Mickey ear hat for my friend. Carbo loaded at her birthday dinner, and then spent the night at my parents’ house in LA county. I attempted to fall asleep at 9pm but kept tossing and turning. By the time I was able to doze off, it was nearly 3am and approximately 3 snoozes after my scheduled wake up time. Got up, showered (yes, I shower before long runs!) and woke the BF up. Spent 15 minutes chatting with my brother, who woke up to wish me luck and assure me that all would be ok. Then it was time to meet up with my friend, and we carpooled to Disneyland.

After a 40 minute drive (that I babbled incessantly throughout), we finally arrived in Anaheim. Instead of heading to the race start, I procrastinated a bit at the car (adjusted my bib, took excedrin, fixed my knee sleeve, tied and re-tied my shoes). I consoled myself with the idea of a 5am pre-race massage.

We headed out to corral around 5:15 am and struggled to find a place to stretch out. Around 615, our corral was released out of the gates, and from the moment I passed Mickey and Minnie, everything was a blur.

Remember, the reason I was running this race was to celebrate my friend’s bday with her. I was determined to keep pace with her as long as I could, but promised myself not to hold her back. Turns out, she was not as prepared for the race as I thought she was (or maybe had a bigger case of nerves). I lost her soon after we left the gates, but was determined to find her. The next 13.1 miles were a blur of running ahead, realizing she wasn’t with me, slowing down, and then freaking out. After a few incidents involving a visit to the porcelain god and a turned ankle (both her), I realized that pacing with her and keeping her motivated was more important to me. There would be other races, races I’d be more prepared to go “balls out” on.

Miles 1-8 involved me running what I could, then pacing back to keep an eye on my friend. Somewhere around mile 8, I realized that my bum right knee wasn’t feeling any pain, yay! Bad news was that I should have used sleeves on BOTH knees b/c now the left knee was killllllling me. Around mile 9.5 (past Angel stadium), I had lost my friend (again) and was beginning to feel the stress of the situation. I had to mentally push myself forward and it was a struggle not to cry.

I finally found her around the 10 mile mark, and stayed with her for the remaining 3.1 miles. I told her that all we had to do was complete a 5k, and we’d be done…unfortunately those last 3.1 miles were the hardest miles I’ve endured in my entire life. I had been following the Hal Higdon novice training plan and it has you running up to 10 miles. I definitely want to run the full distance or as close to it as possible when I train for my next half! I definitely did not feel prepared for that last stretch.

I had been drinking my water/gatorade mix throughout the race, and stopping for water and powerade at the aide stations (located roughly every 1.5 miles). I ate a shot block at mile 6, a goo at mile 9 and another block at 12. My legs felt like lead, my knee was killing me, everytime I tried to stretch my foot would cramp up. It was SO HARD to walk that last 5k while staying positive and encouraging my friend, who had her mental breakdown at mile 5, when she turned her ankle. At one point, she asked if childbirth hurt more than what we were feeling, haha.

In retrospect, I’m sure all the stopping helped build the wall I hit, and for my next, serious race, I’m leaving all my friends behind, haha.

I couldn’t even stretch out properly at mile 12 b/c I had to pee soooo bad. I guess all the liquids got to me. Spotting a port o potty at mile 12.5, I made a quick stop and continued on. We finally crawled to mile 13 nearly 4 hours later (siiiiiiiigh). I had texted the BF to let him know our situation earlier on, so that he wouldn’t worry about us collapsing on the course (or being driven by the shame shuttle). I tried to push my friend to run the last mile or so, but she was over it. At that point, I left her behind, and ran as fast as I could towards the finish line (really, I was running towards the big bucket of ice bags!)

It was definitely not the experience I was expecting to have, but it was fun none the less. Pictures with characters! Funny hats! Who doesn’t love it? Plus, my medal is so pretty =)

People compliment me on finishing the half, but I almost feel like a fraud. I hesitate to consider this a new PDR (and in turn, a new PR) b/c I did not give this race my all. I have a few other races I’d like train for, but first things first: Get my knees checked out!

I was going to make an appointment with my Dr. to get a referral for a sports medicine Dr. but she’s booked up until the end of October. I tweeted my local running store instead and made plans to visit their on-site doc to see if he can help out. Hopefully it’s nothing major, and I can continue running soon =) If I can get back to training, the first thing I’m going to invest in is a Garmin…running the half was SOOOO stressful when you’re pacing an injured person and don’t know what pace you’re walking at… and you’re afraid of being picked up by the shame shuttle!

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