Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disney Half Marathon

I ran the Disney half marathon over Labor Day weekend with Girldoll and her friend, Kaycie. Kaycie and I also ran the Tinker Bell half marathon together in January 2013. 

The training started really well - that is, until late July when Girldoll had her wisdom teeth removed. Neither one of us anticipated the nightmare of having four teeth removed would be for her. Girldoll ended up developing dry socket. If you don't know what that is, I assure you that it's as horrible as it sounds: the blood clot that forms as a barrier between the bone and nerves becomes dislodged, leaving exposed nerves and creating excruciating pain. To make matters worse, she was misdiagnosed as having a reaction to the pain medication - so the doctor told me to have her stop taking it. My daughter was in excruciating pain...with no pain control. I was beside myself with worry and frustration.

futurama gif
As a matter of fact, this is exactly what I look like when
I am beside myself with worry and frustration. Why do you ask?
Despite missing over two weeks of critical mileage due to Girldoll's wisdom teeth, we were able to get one more long run in before beginning to taper before the race. It was the first time Kaycie joined us during our training, and the farthest my daughter has ever run. 

Girldoll and Kaycie after finishing our long run. So fierce!
Oddly enough, the race was the 'easy' part. We ended up being plagued by several setbacks shortly before and during the race, which had the potential for disaster. 

Right off the bat, Girldoll discovered her phone was missing before we went into the corral. She originally thought that she had left her phone in the car. After mentally retracing her steps, she remembered where she set her phone down: in the port-a-potty. Yeah, I know. #allthegerms

We went back to look for her phone, but it was already gone. Even though it was very early, a woman told us that she'd seen a custodial crew cleaning the potties. It almost spoiled the event for Girldoll because she was worried about having to replace a stolen phone. I told her that there was nothing we could do but wait until after the race, and hope whoever found her phone had turned it in to a volunteer.

Since this was Girldoll's first race, we decided to play it safe and start in the last corral. At 5:30am, the emcees began announcing the release of the runners. For every corral that was released, the Frozen theme song was played. This was kind of novel the first two or three times...but after listening to 'Let it go! Let it go!' eight times in a row, we were over it. Oddly enough, it was a fitting mantra after the cell phone drama:

Enough already.
You can't contain this much cute! 
Babydoll, Girldoll and Kaycie - ready to roll!
This is probably TMI -- honestly, when has that ever stopped me? -- but, due to the early hour, I didn't get to take my pre-race poop (PRP). Ordinarily, that isn't a concern of mine: I have a gut like a billy goat. When the PRP didn't occur, I just shrugged it off. That is, until we hit mile 7. Things were starting to...shift  and I was beginning to struggle. I kept trying to put it out of my mind, but after another half mile with no port-a-potty in sight, I was starting to panic. I desperately looked for a store that would be open, despite the fact that it was 7:30am on a Sunday morning. Thankfully, we spotted two potties set off the course in a parking lot. 

Kaycie said that she would keep going, but she would walk slowly until we caught up to her. I should have known better and told her to wait; Kaycie and I got separated during a potty break during the Tinker Bell race, and we never found each other until after the race was over. 

I'm not sure why I expected a different outcome, other than the fact that it's the hallmark of alcoholic thinking: doing the same thing, but expecting a different result each time. To think that that we could easily find Kaycie among 16,000 runners was ridiculous. Except this time, we had no way of reaching each other. Since I anticipated both girls would have their phones, I left my phone (and room key) with Kaycie's mom - who also happened to be our ride. When we still hadn't found Kaycie by mile 12, I was starting to worry. It occurred to me that we had no way of contacting them, no way of getting back to our hotel, and no room key. Even if I borrowed someone's phone to text or call them, we didn't know their phone numbers without looking at the address book on our own phones. 

It was a good lesson in staying in the moment and focusing on the task at hand. I decided to put it out of my mind, and concentrate on running the race. After running through California Adventure and Disneyland, there was a tough point where we were just slogging it out on the freeway and through residential neighborhoods. There was little to see and it made the miles feel longer for both of us. 

Around mile 9, there was a huge vintage car show parked along both sides of the course: Model T's, muscle cars, vintage Mustangs, vans from the 70s, and movie themed cars. My favorite was the hearse that was decorated like the Nightmare Before Christmas movie. We moved off the street and ran along a dry aqueduct that had a long, sketchy drop down before reaching Angel's Stadium. I was completely unprepared for the thousands of spectators in the stands. It was a highlight of the race...aside from running through the castle, of course:

I still can't get over the fact that we ran
through Tinker Bell's castle!

Kaycie (and photo bomber) at the castle.
Babydoll, Army Man, Girldoll and Kaycie
The last mile felt more like tacking on another 5k to the race. As we reached the finish line, Girldoll surprised me by reaching for my hand as we crossed the finish line together. 

Out of all the races I've run, training with my daughter and running the half marathon together was sweeter than any PR or race that I've done alone. Like all good fairy tales, everything had a happy ending: someone had turned my daughter's phone in to the information table, and we ended up finding our friends. Hooray! 

And they all lived happily ever after...


  1. I love this post!! I'm glad that everything came out alright in the end. Sounds like a good time (as much as a half marathon can be). Congratulations, my friend!

    1. Thank you Cristy! It was a great day. I don't know if I ever will talk my daughter into running another half marathon - but we had a great time.

  2. Congrats on your race! Disney races are always fun! Cute pics!

    1. Thank you! It is a very special memory and an incredible day :)

  3. Aw!! I love this <3 I wanted to run my son's first 5K with him but he chose his non-runner dad (boo hoo!) but I did get some cute pics out of it. Hopefully my daughter will run with me when she gets bigger. :)

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It was a special day πŸ€— When my daughter was 8 she kept talking about wanting a jogger for her baby dolls. I couldn't figure out why… And then I realized it was because she wanted to go running with me after seeing me push the jog stroller. I found a few fun novelty races to do together, like the Color Run or the Electric Run, and the kids seemed to enjoy them.

  4. Wow, what an adventure! If I have a daughter one day I'd love us to be able to run races just seems like an awesome experience. I'll be doing Disney Princess with my sister for the first time, it looks like so much fun!

    1. Thanks Janelle! 😊 It truly was the most amazing experience.

      I am so excited for you! You'll have so much fun with your sister. Disney races are the most expensive half marathon...but they are also the cleanest (pristine pot-o-potties), have the best food, and the most well-organized events out of the 20 half marathons I've ever participated in. Plus, their finisher's medals are fabulous! And that's just the aesthetics. The memories will last a lifetime πŸ’›