Has anyone ever ran a race at one of the Disney parks? A few months ago, my sister and I did. Let me tell you the backstory.
The summer of 2014, my sister Shavonne started running. She began pinning things to Pinterest about running. She started talking about it on Facebook. She made herself a wall of running related quotes, inspiration, and motivation. Then she called me.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing from her. She was excited to go running! She was bubbly and enthusiastic and telling me that I should start running.
I have never been a runner.
I have never wanted to be a runner.
I really don't enjoy it.
I fail miserably at being a runner.
But darn it. She just sounded so excited.
Before the conversation ended, she got me to commit to starting a running routine. I was about a month behind her, in terms of when she started, but that was ok. I already had the couch25k app on my phone, from previous good intentions, and I also downloaded the couch210k app. I made the commitment to try.
We also joined Runkeeper, and added each other as fitness friends, so that we could keep track of our runs and be each other's cheerleaders. Even though she lives in Washington and I live in Colorado, it could be like we were training together.
This was in June. The very last few days in June. By August, we were doing pretty well. I can't say that I enjoyed running yet, but I definitely enjoyed when the run ended. Shavonne calls up.
"I think we need a big goal. Something to motivate us to keep on running. If we are working towards something, then it'll make it easier to get out there and run."
Well, her big goal had us registering a few weeks later, for a Disney Race in Disneyland, that would be the following May, 2015. Here's the part that blew my mind. Not only were we registered to run the half marathon, but we signed up for the Pixie Dust Challenge, which meant that we were running a 10k race the day before the half marathon.
Well, we let that sink in, as we continued to train. The 10k will just be a great warmup.
The very end of September, Shavonne had a 10k that she had registered for. Even though she was in WA and I was in CO, we ran together. At the appointed time, Shavonne began her race, and I began my run. It was cool to know that Shavonne was experiencing the same thing I was.
The month of October wasn't good for Shavonne, in terms of running. She started really feeling some pain in her shins and feet and hips. She started seeing a physical therapist and it was determined that she needed to be off her feet as much as possible for a recovery period of about 12 weeks. (Shavonne, if I'm getting this part of the story wrong, then correct me.)
So Shavonne had to stop running, and quite honestly, my running began diminishing as well.
In January, I had a major surgery. Shavonne was still in the "no running allowed" recovery, and I also found out that I had a business conference the same weekend that the half marathon was scheduled. So, we made the decision to defer for a year, and run the races in 2016 instead of 2015.
Towards the end of 2015, with our running careers hit or miss, we got re-motivated. After all, it was an expensive race and we didn't want to waste it! We backtracked dates, from May, and made a training calendar of how far we needed to be running every week, and how often, in order to complete our races. We had a lot of conversations about how were were going to run it, and in the end, decided to do the Galloway method, and have run/walk sessions timed out throughout the race,
We also invited our sisters to join us for the weekend, and cheer us on. We decided to get 3 Day Disney Passes and make a great adventure out of it. We had three sisters who decided they wanted to join us. Kim, Sharon, and Karissa. So fun!
Another development happened in the spring! Shavonne found out she was pregnant again! This didn't necessarily change our plans for how we were going to run the race, but it definitely sucked some motivation and energy from Shavonne, during the last 6 weeks of our training.
So the first weekend in May came, and we arrived Thursday morning. Shavonne and I went and picked up our race packets and then we spent the rest of the day walking around Disneyland and utilizing as much of our Day 1 pass as possible.
Friday we woke up super early and spent the whole day walking around between California Adventure and Disneyland. Shavonne's fitbit said we walked close to 10 miles. Wowza! Shavonne pulled her foot tendon or something on Thursday night, so although she was with us much of the day, she ended up resting a lot throughout the day, and by late afternoon, she went back to the hotel to rest.
Saturday morning, we needed to catch the last early morning shuttle bus by 4:15am at the latest. The race started at 5:30am, and we were in the 3rd heat.
Shavonne and I started off good. We were happy to get moving...we had been sitting under an underpass for more than an hour, in the cold and wet weather, and the noise of everyone talking sounded like the climax of a zombie attack.
The 10k consisted of a running course between and around and through Disneyland and California adventure. Below is a screen shot of the route, from my Runkeeper. Shavonne and I stopped quickly at a bathroom by the Matterhorn, to empty our bladders and take a picture!
About halfway through the race, Shavonne's foot was really hurting her. She sent me on ahead, to finish the race, not knowing if she would finish it herself. She was hobbling pretty good, and in a lot of pain. So I finished the race alone. My sweet sisters got up early to cheer us on at the finish line, but they ended up missing it because of the crowds, re-routed streets, and overall craziness of what was going on.
We were texting each other the whole time though, and a little while later, Shavonne said she was close the the finish line! She had decided to finish the race! Yay!
After that, we all went to Ihop for breakfast. That was a delicious breakfast!! Shavonne's foot was really really hurting her, so by the time we made it back to the hotel, she had opted to stay put and rest her leg. We still had the half marathon the next day!
The rest of us went back for Day 3 at the parks, and boy was I tired! We racked up another 7 miles of walking. I started to get a pretty bad cramp the length of my calf. Sharon massaged it a bit, but it was really hurting by the end of the day. I hoped that rest would help, and that it just needed to get stretched out.
We got back to the hotel late again that night, and it was evident that Shavonne was in no shape to run the half marathon. So the next morning, I got up and went alone. This time, I was in the 4th heat and I was a bit more prepared for the zombie noise.
By mile 4 into the half marathon, my calf started seizing up and it hurt so much. I couldn't walk without limping, and I couldn't run anymore. I wasn't sure if I could run anymore, but I thought I could keep on walking.
By mile 8, I was hurting beyond words, but by that point, I was in the middle of Anaheim and I wasn't sure what to do, other than keep on going. So I kept walking, but by this point, it was a very bad limp/walk.
I finally finished it, and with plenty of time to spare before the cutoff time, mostly because I had a good pace for the first 4 miles. Although I could barely walk by that point, I was very proud that I finished it and didn't quit.
My calf ended up getting torn, pulled, and stressed so much that if someone had offered crutches, or even better, a wheelchair, I would have gladly taken it.
So, while I am upset at how the race turned out, and although I was determined never to sign up for a half marathon again, at this point, a few months later, I think I need to give it another go. I need to have a better experience with a half marathon.
However, I'm not sure I'd sign up for another Disney race again, but if I do, then I'm not going to have a 3 day park pass before the race! I think all that walking is what pulled my calf and made the race unbearable.
So, until next time Half Marathon. I'll be ready.