Thursday, March 6, 2014

Race Recap: TinkerBell Half Marathon 2014


TinkerBell Half Marathon, Year 3
Date: Sunday, January 19, 2014 @ 5:30am
Location: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

This was a special trip to TinkerBell this year because it's the first sisters trip that my little sister, Paula, and I went on together since childhood. Considering I'm almost 50 years old and she's heading into her mid-40s that's a big deal. You see, we're 6 years apart and by the time she became any fun I was leaving home. Of course I was the mean older sister who terrorized her as a young child...just ask her, she'll say she still has emotional trauma from that! lol!

She's also part of the reason I decided to start running in the first place back in 2011. She had been running half marathons for a while, and me being the brash big sister figured that if she could do it then I could do it. Maybe not as fast but I could certainly do a one and done half marathon. Little did I know that 2 years later I would have over 30 half marathons, 4 full marathons and several obstacle course races under my belt.

Travel and Expo Day: Thursday, January 16, 2014

I took off at 0'dark thirty to begin my nearly 4 hour drive to Albuquerque to catch my flight to Los Angeles. Why do I travel so far to catch a flight? Because if I'm flying to the West coast it costs me about $200 more each way to travel out of Texas rather than to fly out of Albuquerque. Yes, I am cheap! I also love that there are direct flights that I can catch there. 

I met Paula (P) at LAX, her plane having landed about 30 minutes before mine and we took Super Shuttle to the hotel. After checking in and meeting up with some of our room mates (we shared a suite with 6 other chicks), we headed over to the expo to check everything out and pick up our packets. As usual the runDisney expo was large and had my favorite booth, SparkleSkirts (the only running skirts I wear almost exclusivly) where I normally would have volunteered at least one day during the expo but I decided not to leave P alone while I worked a shift so I pulled out of the volunteer pool. I was really happy to see that entry into the official merchandise store was well controlled versus the madness that was at Princess Half Marathon last year. 
Paula and I at the expo.
Bumped into Run Kat at the expo and we screamed like
little girls when we saw each other! lol!
Silly Sisters
As many times as P has brought her family down to Disneyland Resort, she doesn't spend a lot of time in Downtown Disney...primarily because she has young kids and that can get expensive. So after we finished at the expo we wandered around DTD before grabbing some dinner at Brennan's Kitchen Express. We ended up exploring DTD for an hour or so after dinner before heading back to the room to chill, meet up with the roomies and get things ready for the upcoming days. 

Parks Day: Friday, January 17, 2014

I woke up early (while P slept in) to join some of the room mates who weren't running in the 5K to cheer on the runners. Afterwards P and I headed across the parking lot to Denny's for breakfast. The plan was to be at Disneyland before they opened so we could hit up some of the major rides before it got real busy. We headed back to the room after eating just to wait a few more minutes and check in with the room mates and then headed over to the resort where we all went our separate ways...the rest of the group to breakfast or the expo and P and I to Disneyland. Our first stop was Space Mountain, a childhood favorite, and then we made our way around the park to hit all the major rides with usually less than a 15 minute wait at most rides. Yes, we're too cheap to buy the photos that Disney takes so I just shot pics of the! Cheapness is an Asian thing!
First roller coaster ride together since I was about 15 (Space Mountain).
On the Matterhorn Bobsleds
She whooped my butt on Buzz Lightyear
After about 5 hours in the park we decided to head out to lunch and walked to the Garden Walk to have lunch at PF Chang's. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel so that I could start getting things ready for the Facebook group meetup the next day and for a rest before heading to California first real time exploring the whole park. The furthest I had gotten in 2013 was to Tower of Terror and we (hubs and I) didn't even go in 2012. The 2012 TinkerBell was the first time I had actually stepped foot in California Adventures...ever.

We headed back to the resort after a couple of hours bumping into, actually running right by my friend, Lyn. We roamed around California Adventures with me again terrorizing P by making her go on Tower of Terror once (she actually liked it I think) and I finally got to ride some other rides in the park.

That's us on Tower of Terror, down in the bottom left corner.
My first time on California Screamin'.
After a few hours we were done at DAC and headed back to DTD to meetup with some of my Facebook friends so that I could show them taping technique for KT Tape then headed over to La Brea Bakery Cafe to have some dinner. We ran into my friend Eric, who I met at Princess HM in 2013 and ended up having sitting down to dinner with him.

After dinner it was back to the room to continue work on getting things put together for the meet up the next day.

Cheer Day/Park Day/Meetup Day: Saturday, January 18, 2014

This was another 0'dark thirty wake up call...again not to run but to cheer for those doing the 10K. I had made a sign (the one below) and borrowed my room mate, Melanie's, sign to use to cheer on the runners/walkers as they went by our hotel.  I saw several friends as they went by and a few stopped to take pics with me. By the time the race was about halfway through I was well on the way to losing my voice from yelling so much.
Jessica (Snow White), Tammy and I during the 10K.
MJ, the admin ouf the TinkerBell HM Facebook group
I belong to and I while I was cheering at the 10K.
I had the unfortunate opportunity to witness taking a nasty spill just after she passed me. She must have just tripped and landed on the street face first leaving her with a nasty abrasion and bleeding on her temple. I'm sure she ended up with some pretty serious bruising and possibly a black eye as well. I dropped my sign and ran back into our room to grab a ziplock (I always have some for ice packs) and some ice and brought it to her. To her credit, she eventually got back up to continue the race after several minutes.

After the race P and I grabbed some breakfast and headed back to DCA for a few more rides before calling it a day around 1pm so that I could finish getting things ready for the meet up at 4pm. Now, our Facebook group has been doing these meetups since the first year of the race. We began with a group of about 70 and this year the group had grown to about 130 or more. I had name tags, items to be raffled and had to figure out how I was going to talk to such a large group in an open area with only half my voice. Thankfully, almost everything went smoothly...with the exception of checking in and getting nametags, but I'll work on that for next year...and we had a very successful meetup.
My friend Eric and I at the Tink HM Meetup
TinkerBell HM Facebook Group Meetup photo. Over about 130 of us.
After the meet up a group of about 40 of us headed to Naples Ristorante for a pre-race dinner, the second year we've done this. I have to admit, I didn't sit down as much as I did for dinner last year since we had 2 tables this time and things weren't going as smooth with the wait staff as it had the year before but it was nice seeing everyone bonding over their meals.
Dinner table #1
Dinner table #2
 The evening ended at about 7pm and we all headed out in our own directions to get back into the parks or get ready for the race the next morning. P and I headed back to the hotel to chill and relax after the events of the day and tried to get to sleep early...which for me hardly ever happens before a race.

Race day gear
Race Day: Sunday, January 19, 2014

Since this was race day we all woke up at around 3am to start getting ready for the race. We headed out to the start at just before 4am and luckily it was a nice, albeit dark, morning with perfect temperature to run and very little wind. We all split up once we hit the starting area and dropped our gear off at gear check. P was in corral B (told you she was faster than me) and I was in corral C. P had initially thought that she was going to walk the race since she had not trained, but decided while we were walking about that she'd try to run it. So we parted ways as we got to our respective corrals and waited for the start.

This was the first time at Tink that I didn't have anyone to start with in the corral. It wasn't for lack of trying but I couldn't get any cell reception due to the heavy cell traffic. Usually I use Facebook or text messaging to locate people to start with at Tink. It was not a big deal though since I'm used to attending races by myself anyway and I knew that I would run into people on the course.

TinkerBell HM 2014 Corrals A-G starting

As the race started I managed a slow jog as we passed thru the most crowded areas of the course. I had already planned to walk whenever I needed to but to definitely walk the "hills" (read over/under passes). I pretty much kept a slow 15 min/mile pace throughout the first 8 miles dropping to about a 16 min/mile pace after that. I felt much better than I did when running at Space Coast HM just about a month earlier even though my training was next to nil due to some foot issues that cropped up in December (seriously, when will I ever get away from my injury issues?). I finished the race feeling pretty good, if not a bit irked that I seemed to be getting slower every year but at least I didn't have the medical issues that landed me in the ER for six hours in 2013. Read about that little experience here (Part 1, Part 2).

P had already finished and had been in the hotel having had breakfast with Melanie's daughter so I stopped at Brennan's Kitchen Express to pick up some begniets and a burrito for breakfast. The rest of the day we just chilled in the room, ordering a Chinese lunch for delivery and otherwise being sloths. When we did move around we got everything packed...P just travels with one back pack while I on the other hand had 2 suitcases and a carry on since I had brought stuff for the meet up from home. It was simply leftovers for dinner and then sleep because we'd be catching an early shuttle back to the airport in the morning.

Travel Day: Monday, January 20, 2014

Again we were up at the crack of dawn to catch our flights out. Wasn't this supposed to be a semi-vacation? Shouldn't I have been able to sleep in at least one day? lol. I had changed our reservations so that we were supposed to be on the same shuttle but for some they had placed us on two separate shuttles. After getting hassled by P's driver we just decided to meet up at the airport.

Somehow I missed the self check-in at Southwest...just walked right past them...and ended up waiting in line to be helped by an agent. Then I put my bags on the scale to be weighed and found that one was too heavy so I was sitting there rearranging everything haphazardly before getting it below the max weight of 50 pounds (started at 53# and dropped it to 48#). There was no way I was going to pay for an overweight bag! We grabbed some breakfast and after we ate we said our goodbyes and headed to our respective gates.

The flight home wasn't bad...gotta love non-stops! And even the drive home from Albuquerque (after a quick stop for lunch at Japanese Kitchen and to pick up some Nothing Bundt Cakes mini-cakes) wasn't bad. All in all, another great TinkerBell HM Weekend.

What I like about this race:
Sentimental value...this was my first half marathon ever. The course keeps changing slightly each year, this year we were running in the parks for about 6 miles while in previous years it was 5 miles or less. I met the majority of my running friends at this race in 2012.

What I do not like about this race:
Nothing really, love it!

Would I do this race again?
Considering that it's my third year doing it, I would have to say yes. Without hesitation.

Official Time: 3:31:23

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