Monday, January 30, 2012

Race Report: Tinkerbell Half Marathon

It was almost exactly a year ago when I ran my last half marathon.   It was awful.  I was all of 2 minutes pregnant.  So recently pregnant, that we didn't even know it yet, but I had a sinking suspicion due to just how badly I ran that race. Well, that, and the fact that my breasts were having a hard time being contained by my bra.

I had planned to run the Safari Park Half Marathon during my first trimester.  I trained for it and everything.  But I held off on signing up, because I wasn't sure how I was going to feel.  I kept waiting for the morning sickness and fatigue that are the hallmarks of pregnancy.  Hallmarks that never showed up.  But by the time I realized that I was going to be able to run, it was sold out. 

Shortly after I heard that Disneyland was introducing a new half marathon - the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  I'm sure it was spurred on by the popularity of the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World.  A women-centric half.  I thought it would be the perfect way to make up for the horrible half and missing the Safari Park Half.  The only issue was that it was in January, 3 months after I was due to deliver.  Before I signed up, I talked to my Nurse Practitioner about whether I'd realistically be able to run.  She gave me the green light - assuming an uncomplicated delivery, she promised I'd be up and running within a couple weeks after giving birth.

So I signed up.  And made sure to keep up my running all through the pregnancy.  Even though it meant I got slower and had to decrease my milage to 2 miles a day because I couldn't fit in 3 miles before work in the morning.  I even ran the morning before I went to the hospital to bring Thatbaby into the world.  When it became clear I was going to be induced I told the nurse I'd like to avoid a C-section because it would pretty much mean no half marathon for me.

3 weeks after I gave birth I started training.  Running felt so good without the extra 20lbs and the additional lung capacity!  Even though most of my training had to be done on the treadmill after Thatboy got home from work.  But last week I realized that the training 3 weeks after giving birth wasn't what was going to make this half marathon tough.

You see, Thatbaby isn't especially developmentally advanced.  He's plodding along right where he should be, with the exception that he has decided to enter the 4 month wakeful period about 2 weeks early.  Up until last week he slept every night until around 6:30, waking up once to eat around 4am.  Last week he decided that schedule wasn't to his liking.  He added a feeding between midnight and 1:30am and moved that 4am feeding to 5:30.  Which took away my lovely 6 hour stretch of sleep. 

So on Sunday morning, I was awoken at 1:40am, 4 short hours after bedding down for the night.  I fed Thatbaby and managed to snag about 45 extra minutes of sleep before my alarm went off at 3am.  I got dressed and ready before waking Thatbaby to feed him again before we headed out.  

I am a walking endorsement of Nike.  Gotta love connections - thanks UDubb!

I found my way to my corral, which was packed with women of all ages and sizes.  Over 11,000 women were running and the excitement was palpable.  Lights, music, guest stars, even fireworks filled the air with energy.

And if you want to get a lot of attention at a half marathon, bring your husband and not quite 4month old.  I made a lot of friends early on when people wanted to figure out what psycho would run a half marathon with a baby that tiny.

Real men wear their children.

It wasn't long before it was time to get going.

Minnie and Daisy started us off on the right foot (Get it?)

The race began and we were off.  I had turned my music on to Pandora's Disney station to keep up with the mood of the event.  Which was nice because songs like "Hakuna Matata" and "Spoonful of Sugar" were  definitely fun and inspiring.

Right away I noticed this was a different atmosphere than many of the races I'd done.  And I'm not just talking about the fairy wings and glitter.  Most of the time when I race I surge ahead - going out far too fast, far too soon because that's what everyone else does.  But this race everyone around me seemed to keep a really comfortable pace, and so I just stuck with it.

When the race starts at 5:45 in January, it's still dark.  Which meant Main Street was all lit up.

And so was Sleeping Beauty's castle.

The characters were out to play, the way they usually are during the Disney Races  - which makes for fun photo opportunities. 

The sun started coming out as we left the park.

And then we were on the streets of Anaheim.  Which was kind of boring.  I knew it would be.  The rest of the race went really really well.  The miles kind of flew by.  The first 4 were quick, like always.  I felt like I had just passed mile 7 when mile 8 popped up.  Usually around Mile 11 I start questioning my sanity.  I call it the 11 mile wall.  But around mile 11 I thought - wow, only 2 miles left? 

And then the finish line was directly in front of me. And then it was behind me!  I missed a PR by less than 2 minutes, which I attribute to three factors:
1) Stopping for photo ops in Disneyland.  I decided not to stop in California Adventure because I wanted to keep my good momentum going.
2) Starting off nice and comfortable instead of pushing too fast too early.
3) Staying nice and comfortable throughout the race.  

On the other hand -
1) I was 2 minutes faster than my last half last year.
2) I had negative splits!!!!!  I never have negative splits.  Probably because of that whole starting out too fast thing. 
3) I stayed nice and comfortable throughout the entire race.  Which felt good.  I never felt out of breath, never had rocks for legs, never was tired.  I never hit a wall.  In fact, my only complaint during the entire race was that I really needed to feed Thatbaby.  (Which I did as soon as the race was over - I had warned Thatboy before we even started that Thatbaby was going to need to eat when I finished whether he liked it or not.)
After the race we headed over to breakfast where I loaded up on cottage cheese pancakes!

Because every race should end with pancakes and powdered sugar.


  1. Woohoo! I've done the Disney half in Florida and it is a lot of fun...definitely a more easygoing race. I'm so glad you did so awesomely! Way to kick off the year and your return to racing!

  2. Loved the recap. Umm with that crowd, characters and just having a baby you did insanely well. Congrats!

  3. Yay! That sounds so fun and like a great race to enjoy and feel good running.

  4. Congrats! You are a rock-star for sure.

  5. Love your outfit! And congrats, you are one totally amazing mama :)

  6. Way to go! I had no idea you were back to such hard core running.

  7. So sad that I didn't bump into you among the masses! Next year for sure... if you run again? :) Jackie DM ran it as well... and who knows who else! :) Way to go super star mom!

  8. Congrats Kate on the race and becoming a mom! I echo Kim - next year we'll all plan to bump into each other :)