Monday, February 18, 2013

Race Recap: TinkerBell HM 2013, Part 1 : Pre-race

2nd Annual TinkerBell Half Marathon (AKA my worst race...ever)
Race Day: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Location: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

So, this was supposed to be a benchmark in my running "career." This was the second running of the TinkerBell Half Marathon and my second step towards achieving "Legacy" status (running in each of the first 5 years of a race) in a Disney race. Let's just say that it didn't go according to plan...

Race Day -3 (Thursday, January 17, 2013)

This was a travel day for me. Since I had organized our TinkerBell Half Marathon Facebook Group meetup, I was traveling with 2 suitcases for the first time for any race (thank you for the free bags Southwest Airlines). Unfortunately, they were two different types of bags which made handling them a little difficult. One was a softsided 360° spinning bag and an old hard shelled suitcase that was the only thing that I could fit the sign that I had ordered for the meetup into so that it wouldn't get damaged. Along with that I was carrying 150 button name tags that would be passed out to members of the group.

My flight out wasn't until 2:50pm CST and I made sure that there was no repeat of my travel woes that happened for the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. I left plenty early to allow for the lost hour for the time change into Texas. In fact, I arrived almost 3 hours early for my flight giving me enough time to pick up some last minute items and a sandwich before entering the airport. Most of my time waiting was spent on the laptop either playing on Facebook/Twitter or watching my Pitch Perfect DVD...yes, even when traveling I have to get my fix of this movie at least once a day! lol! The flight out of Amarillo and into Las Vegas was late but uneventful and it still blows my mind that McCarran International Airport has a severe lack of outlets/computer charging stations in this day and age. I mean, really?? After a short layover we boarded the short 45 minute flight into LAX. There really wasn't a whole lot of time to do anything on this flight so I just listened to my music and tried to nap with a 6 year old (or so) talking at the top of his voice sitting in the row in back of me.

My flight landed a little early and I had hoped to catch a 6pm Disney Resort Express shuttle to the hotel, but found out that it wouldn't be making it's next pass through the airport until 6:30pm. Thankfully it was warm outside with only the slightest of breezes, much different from the windy, 30-40° back home in New Mexico, so I just sat on my suitcase and waited outside while playing on my tablet and listening to music. Once I finally arrived at the hotel, I met one of my room mates, Jessica, who was a total stranger other than our interactions on the Facebook group. A couple of hours later my running buddy from the inaugural TinkerBell HM, Melanie, and her friend, Noreen, arrived to round out our group of four. Now, considering that the last time I had shared a room with 3 other chicks was when I was a young teenager I knew that this would be an interesting event with 4 grown women sharing a single room. lol!

This was a night to stay in because the race expo would be in the morning and I'd need to be there early to help work the SparkleSkirts booth through the morning and into the early afternoon. So, after chatting and catching up on things we all turned in at around 11pm in preparation for the next day.

Race Day -2 (Friday, January 18, 2013)

My earnings/purchases and official race shirt from the Expo minus
the ear buds and mini Minnie ears/barrettes thatI lost on race day.
Pic taken about a month late...whoops! lol!
Melanie was up bright and early in order to go attend the runDisney Galloway Meetup, she had been lucky enough to get her name on the RSVP list that literally closed within minutes, if not seconds, after opening. In fact, she had to change her travel plans and leave a day early because she had originally planned to arrive on Friday rather than Thursday but this meetup was an opportunity that she couldn't miss. I was already up and just procrastinating on getting ready. Once I finally did get up and out of bed, I got dressed and prepared to walk over to the Disneyland Hotel with Noreen (a first time Disneyland/Disney California Adventures visitor) so that she could eventually meet up with Melanie. Jessica did the right thing and headed to the gym when we all went our separate ways.

After I got Noreen to the Disneyland Hotel, I headed down to the expo to start work at the booth. Now, I try to volunteer for the SparkleSkirts booth whenever I can just because I believe in their product so much and this was the second time I would work with them, the first time being at the WDW Wine & Dine HM. I truly love Leah and Tom and have purchased their tech skorts and medal hangers several times. I always have fun working with the customers and trying to eventually get someone to convert to the brand.

My first time back on the Tower of Terror in
probably a decade?? Last time was at WDW.
While I was working, Jessica was kind enough to pick up my race packet for me and drop it off so that I could walk around the expo after my shift without having to wait in the pick up line. The girls stopped by the booth for a bit with Melanie making an unplanned purchase and we eventually met back in the room and headed over to the parks for an evening of rides. We really didn't get on too many rides...a couple of turns on the Tower of Terror, plus Buzz Lightyear, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise and we had FastPasses to Space Mountain but it had broken down before we got a chance to get on. :( All in all we were probably in the park for 3-4 hours tops before heading back to the room with a stop at Denny's for a late dinner. Since Jessica had to be up early the next morning for the Neverland Family 5K and I had another morning shift at the SparkleSkirts booth, we both turned in fairly soon after arriving back in the room so that we could get an early start.

Race Day -1 (Saturday, January 19, 2013)

This day started out just like any other. I knew it was going to be busy since I was going to be working the booth, then managing the group meetup to be followed by the group pre-race dinner. Unfortunately this meant no trip into the parks for me on this day since the race was scheduled to start bright and early at 5am on Sunday morning. I realized early that I had been scheduled to start work at 9:45am but that the expo was scheduled to open at 9am so I decided to head over early just to see if they needed help sooner rather than later only to find that the expo had opened at 8am for a special group of people so it was serendipity that I showed up early.

In the afternoon, the next set of volunteers showed up and noticing that there was an hour overlap with 6 volunteers in a small booth, I opted to leave early so that I could get things ready for the group meetup. After resting up for about an hour I packed up the buttons/name tags, my label printer and the sign and headed over to the meetup location in front of Apricot Lane at Downtown Disney. Members of the group started to trickle in starting at about 3:45pm and by about 4:15pm I was catching up on name tags that I had missed making, started to introduce each other (the main goal of the meetup is to put faces to the names that we see on Facebook) and prepare for the group picture. This is the second of what will hopefully be an annual meetup although for me the 5 year legacy mark will likely be my final Tink HM. We all hung out for as long as we could with many of the original crew staying the longest catching up with each other. Then I was off again just after 5pm to bring back my bag of stuff to the hotel so that I wouldn't have to drag it around to dinner.

Our pre-race dinner race participants!
Our group dinner was held at Naples Ristorante in Downtown Disney at 6pm. In all there were 21 of us with about 11 being actual participants in the race the next day. This was a good mix of new Tink runners and original crew. We had a great dinner with great service and I think I would be speaking for all of us in that this is a great place to eat and would come with some very good recommendations from us. At about 8:30pm we said our goodbyes and headed out to prep for the race early the next morning. It had been a long but great day being able to meet new members of the group and catching up with some year long friendships that have continued courtesy of Facebook.

To be continued...and will include my medical issues that cropped up during the race and the aftermath.

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