I was so excited for the Pixie Dust Challenge at Disneyland last month, but I was nervous too. When I registered for it back in August I couldn’t believe I was going to run 19.3 miles in one weekend. I wondered if it was ridiculous to even consider for a fairly novice runner like me. After successfully completing three half marathons in the fall (slow as molasses, but I crossed the finish line under my own power all three times) I felt much more confident, but then I got hurt in January and that feeling of disbelief returned. I did almost no running in February while my knee was healing, and then I had to practically start my training from scratch in March. How in the world was I supposed to finish both a 10K and a half marathon without a decent regimen? The longest run I completed prior to the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend was 8 miles. It wasn’t ideal, but it was enough to make me reasonably sure that I’d be able to survive the 19.3 miles to come. I gave myself permission to run slowly and take as many walking breaks as I needed to avoid burning out in either of the races.
The Tinkerbell 10K on May 9th was lovely. The weather was cool, the sky was overcast (as I wrote about a few weeks ago), and I felt great. The course for this race was almost entirely on Disney property so it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it more than any other Disneyland event I’ve participated in. After I crossed the finish line and got my 10K medal I walked back to my hotel for a much-needed shower. I was a little rushed because I had a brunch reservation at the Carnation Café inside Disneyland for later that morning. Fortunately I was able to get ready and walk back to the park in time. (There was a lot of walking over the weekend, in addition to all the running. My poor legs!) I had a delicious meal of eggs, sausage, potatoes, toast, and fruit to refuel after running 6.2 miles. It probably wasn’t necessary after that short of a distance, but I justified it as preparation for the half marathon the next day. I walked around Disneyland and California Adventure for a while after I finished breakfast and then went back to my hotel to rest. Not only were the races going on that weekend, but the “Tomorrowland” movie premiere was being held at the Downtown Disney AMC theater on Saturday night. Due to the crowds I couldn’t get a dinner reservation anywhere I wanted to eat so I just got some takeout lasagna (carb loading at its best!) from a restaurant at Downtown Disney and took it back to my hotel. I wanted to go to sleep early that night, but I had to wait until after the Disneyland fireworks to even have a chance. Luckily I slept well after they were over.
I woke up on May 10th and was disappointed to discover that the sky was clear. A sunny day is not good for running a half marathon. I crossed the start line of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at 6 AM, which is right around the time the sun came up. The race course didn’t leave Disney property until almost the 6 mile mark so the first half was really enjoyable. But around mile 8 I started to get tired. Since it was my first healthy half marathon in months I allowed myself to take extended walk breaks as needed. That kept me from getting frustrated with my slow pace and I didn’t get completely exhausted. At one point I saw the 3-hour pace group ahead of me and I was determined to finish the race before they did. And I succeeded! My final time was 2:51, which is far from my slowest half marathon. I was happy! The best part was getting my medals, though. Not only did I get the Tinkerbell Half Marathon medal, but I also got the Pixie Dust Challenge medal, and my Disney Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon at both Disneyland and Disney World in 2015. (All three are in the above photo.) It felt so great! Granted walking back to my hotel with all of the medals clinking around my neck was a little annoying, but I was too proud to care. I had conquered my first Disney race challenge!
Boeing on the Move 2015 has started! When I woke up on June 1st I had to remember to clip on my pedometer to make sure I was getting credit for the maximum number of steps. Not only does this eight-week challenge provide motivation for me to exercise more (plus keep up with my chores and spend less time on the couch less), but earning an Amazon gift card is a pretty good bonus. As long as I maintain an average of 13,000 steps/day I’ll get a $100 gift card. And since my normal running/walking schedule makes this a breeze, it’s basically free money. I’ll take it! We’re two weeks into Boeing on the Move and I’m averaging about 21,000 steps per day so far. On the days I don’t go running I take a long walk around Seal Beach in the evenings to make sure my step count average is maintained. Also, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful June weather. While I was out waking tonight I found myself daydreaming about fall, but then I realized I should be savoring the beautifully cool evening that I was experiencing at that very moment! This weather makes exercising outdoors a pleasure. I know the heat of summer is right around the corner so I want to spend as much time outside as I can before those days arrive.
On a related note, on the second day of Boeing on the Move I registered for yet another Disney race. Last year when I wrote about the beginning of Boeing on the Move 2014 I mentioned signing up for the Star Wars 5K and 10K at Disneyland in January 2015. This year I made an even bigger commitment by registering for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge – a combination of the 10K and half marathon – in January 2016. The reason I’m able to do these races is because I decided not to train for the 2016 Walt Disney World marathon, which is also in January (as detailed in my New Year’s Resolution #1). There’s always a silver living, right? (Don’t worry, I’m still planning to run a marathon eventually. Hopefully the Disney World marathon in 2017.) Not only am I excited for the Rebel Challenge itself, but in general I’m looking forward to participating in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend when I’m not injured. Last year I was still hurt after the Disney World half marathon so I didn’t really get to enjoy the Star Wars races because I was in pain. I have every expectation that next time will be different, especially since I’ve figured out what the root cause of my knee pain is. No guarantees, of course, but I’m going to do everything in my power to stay healthy for all of the awesome fall and winter races!
I’ve had a couple of interesting learning experiences over the last two days. First of all, I had jury duty yesterday in Santa Ana. It was the first time since I’ve lived in California that I’ve had to show up in person for jury duty. When I was in Los Angeles County I had to call in every morning for five days, but in my three summons I never had to actually report to the courthouse. That was lucky for me, but Orange County is a different story. Here you show up for one day and then see if you get chosen for a jury. I got to the Santa Ana Courthouse around 7:15 AM yesterday morning thinking I was in for an extremely long day of sitting around and doing nothing, but it didn’t turn out quite that way. Almost immediately after the juror orientation I was pulled into a 60-person jury pool for a trial and went upstairs to one of the courtrooms. The jury selection lasted all morning and part of the afternoon. I was fortunate to just sit in the audience the whole time and not get put in any of the hot seats where I would have been interviewed by the lawyers. The judge was pretty strict and shot down a few flimsy excuses that folks made to try and get dismissed. By 2:30 PM the jury had been selected and sworn in, and the rest of us were excused. That was the best outcome for me considering I have some really important stuff to do at work over the next week. So now I don’t have to worry about jury duty for another year!
One of the things I was looking forward to after avoiding jury duty was going to Disneyland this morning. I had a grand scheme in mind. The next in a series of Disneyland 60th anniversary pins was being released this morning and I was going to be there to get one this time around. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out the way I hoped. I arrived at Downtown Disney at 6:15 AM, which was only 15 minutes after the line for the pins was supposed to start forming. But I guess that particular guideline wasn’t enforced because I noticed that the only open parking lot was pretty full and there was already a very long line. I hurriedly parked my car and queued up as quickly as I could. Less than a minute later, though, a Disney cast member told me that they already had 500 more people in line than they had pins for sale. That meant there were already 2000 people in line ahead of me! I couldn’t believe it. There was no way I was going to stand there for the next hour for something that wasn’t going to happen. Since I’d already made the drive to Anaheim I figured I’d wait for the Earl of Sandwich at to open at 7 AM and grab a delicious breakfast, at least. Then I discovered that they weren’t going to open until 8 AM (even though the website said 7 AM). And since the parks didn’t open until 9 AM today, I decided to just go back home rather than wander around Downtown Disney doing nothing for hours. So I wasted a lot of time driving all over Orange County this morning, but I learned a little bit about the 60th anniversary pin buying process. If I can make it there next month when they release another new pin I’ll be more prepared!
This may already be obvious, but I have a confession to make. After discovering Disney races I’ve become slightly obsessed with running as many as possible. Hence the fact that I participated in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend (not the half marathon, but the 5K and 10K) at Disneyland one week after the Disney World Half Marathon back in January. Oops. It’s really hard for me to see the registration for one of the races approaching and not at least consider signing up. Most of the Disney World events are out since I can’t make it to Orlando that often, but each and every one of the Disneyland races makes me drool. The combinations of running and Disney is irresistible. The shirts and medals are pretty attractive too!
Here is the latest example of my ridiculous dilemma. This morning Run Disney announced that they’re adding a 10K race as well as a challenge (10K + half marathon) to the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend in November. Cue the temptation! I ran the Avengers Half Marathon last year, and besides the gale force winds which made the middle of the race miserable, I enjoyed it. In fact, it’s my fastest half marathon time so far. (Fast for me, but not for anyone else.) For a number of reasons I’d love to sign up for the new Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. My only reservation is that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is the weekend before at Disney World. I had been planning to do Wine & Dine for a while so signing up for it this week was a no brainer, even without the new Avengers race information. The big question is, should I commit to another big race just a few days after I get home from Orlando? I’m torn! The obvious compromise is just to run the 10K to make sure I don’t injure myself with too much running (I can survive 6.2 miles in just about any circumstances), but part of me is dying to do the challenge! One reason is that I have a chance to be a legacy runner for the Avengers Half Marathon if I participate all of the first five years. It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but as of now it’s be the only race where that’s even a possibility for me. Annual pass holder registration opens on Tuesday morning so I have until then to make my initial decision. I’ll think about it. If this isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is!