Friday, September 5, 2014

My First runDisney Race! {Disneyland 10K}

Last weekend I achieved my goal - I ran and finished the Disneyland 10K! I was slow and feared being swept the entire time but I did it! Nine months ago I decided I needed to be more active and I needed a goal to work toward for motivation. I went to the runDisney website and noticed that in just a few days I could register for the Disneyland 10K and it coincidentally was happening the day after I turn 30. Fate right? If you know anything at all about runDisney events it's that they often sell out the first day registration opens up so I was pretty pumped! I emailed my cousin and we both signed up (and got matching shirts of course!) 

I admit I didn't train as hard as I should have. I was incredibly out of shape. Running has always been something that I hated. Like really, truly hated. Many times over the following eight months I wondered what I was thinking but I pushed myself and it paid off! Once I was running through Sleeping Beauty's castle I was so glad I decided to go against all my natural instincts and become a runner. 

The weekend was awesome! We arrived at Disneyland Wednesday and the race was Saturday. I got to spend my 30th birthday at Disneyland with people I love. You can't ask for much more!
Thursday afternoon I picked up my race bib and it began to feel real!! I was going to do this. After spending 2 1/2 days in the parks I attempted to go to bed early to be up at 4:30 for the big race Saturday. One thing I decided is I think for my next race (oh yes, there is a next race) I won't spend 3 days in the parks before I run. I was pretty exhausted and with only 4 hours of sleep before the race and being very nervous that exhaustion was only exaggerated. Now that I have done a race though I am hoping next time I won't be as nervous!
For some reason I was placed in Corral A while my cousin was in Corral B. Considering I estimated I would have a 13 minute mile I am thinking runDisney was playing a joke on me! When we walked into Corral B (runners can change to later corrals but not earlier ones) someone said "Now, don't be showing off!" Oh boy, if he only knew. As we started I felt completely out of place with all these "runners" but Rebecca was great and stayed at my pace. 
The first 2 miles of the race were not in the parks. We kept wondering when we got to the fun part (ha!). Once we saw the neon lights of Cars Land we were pumped! How can you not be, right? I think aside from running through the castle my favorite part was running on Paradise Pier with the world of color fountains on and lit up. So beautiful! 

As we ran down Main Street toward the castle I started to tear up. It was just so surreal that I was running a race let alone one down Main Street!
We wanted to stop for some character photos but because I am not that fast yet we had to pass and just keep moving. Thankfully aside from Chip and Dale we weren't really tempted by a lot of characters as there weren't that many. We definitely expected more. We did stop at every other mile marker for a quick photo and of course an obligatory castle selfie! 

The last bit of the course was through Downtown Disney. The support from the crowd was unreal. You can't help but be motivated to push through that last bit and get to that finish line!  I wish I had taken photos of some of the signs. Many said things like "I'm proud of you complete stranger!" It was amazing. There were also some hilarious ones like "You're tired? My arms are killing me!" or "Run now poo later!" 

Once we crossed the finish line my husband found us. Though he was taking photos of the wrong girls for a minute (they had on the same shirts we had on) he got some photos of us crossing the finish line. I am so glad he was there to support me for my first race. 

I am proud of myself. I really am. Though I didn't get enough sleep, was dehydrated on the run, ran slower than I wanted to, and had to crash for a couple hours after the race to recover - I did it and that's what matters! 
After the race and my big nap it was time to hit the parks with my brother who arrived the night before! Since he had not spent the past 3 days in the parks he wanted to take advantage of his one day and do as much as possible. That resulted in 13 hours in the park!!
I finally got to photograph Cars Land right as the lights came on which was a perfect way to end a great day!
When I signed up for the 10K I was told runDisney is addicting. I thought for sure I could just run this one race and then feel like I achieved my goal and that's enough. Well you got me runDisney! I am addicted! I want more bling. Yesterday my friend and I signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon (Girls Weekend!!). Yup. 13.1 miles...what was I thinking? Oh, I know - "that medal is so pretty!!" My goal for next year is to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge by running the Tinkerbell Half at Disneyland in May and then the Wine and Dine Half at Walt Disney World in November. (I also discovered that at least at this point my husband is totally supportive of race trips to Disney if it keeps me motivated to be healthy and active! Score!) I have a lot of work to do to be able to run a half marathon but now I know I can do anything I put my mind to! 

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