It seems a bit cheesy to say it but Tinker Bell half marathon was a truly magical race. When I set my A goal of beating last year’s BMO time of 2:08:25 I truly believed that was a stretch goal. After all, I had more race specific training for that event (a proper build up of long runs and speed work), a good taper, no 10K race the day before, plus I also ran with my friend Shannon that day. Here I was, coming into the race with my last long run being a somewhat dismal 2 hour run the weekend before. I also knew I’d be on my feet walking around the parks before the race more than I should be. In fact I managed to clock over 30,000 steps between the Tink 10K and walking around Disneyland the day before the race.
Oh well, I had done the best I could. It was time to race! In order to be a bit less stressed about time my mom and I left the hotel earlier than we had for the 10K. As we walked through Downtown Disney I munched on a peanut butter sandwich for my pre-race breakfast.
I also made plans to meet up with some Oiselle Flock runners before the race as well! We didn’t have a ton of time to chat but it was really nice to connect with these ladies.
After a quick trip to the porta-potties (hurrah for short lines) I made my way to my corral. I wasn’t sure if I needed to take my pre-race gel since I hadn’t finished my peanut butter sandwich all that long before but I decided to take it anyway.
After Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck wished us luck and the national anthem was sung, it was time for us to get on our way.
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report
I made the mistake of not pushing farther forward in my corral so when the race started I was stuck in a pack of women running slower than I wanted at around an 11:30/mi pace. I made the decision to weave a bit to find a bit more room. It was a struggle to get my pace down into the 9:xx range and it took me almost a full mile to get to the pace I wanted to be at. Once I was running fast enough I was scared to take my first walk break and slow down so I just kept running. At that point I somewhat threw my race plan out the window and decided I’d only walk through the water stops for the moment and we’d see how that would go.
We ran through the California Adventure in the early part of the race. It was so much fun!
We then ran from California Adventure and into Disneyland right around 3 miles and I spotted Neil and my dad cheering. I then hit the 5k timing mat right at 30:00 for a 9:40/mi pace.
Running through Disneyland there were so many twists and turns! I worked hard and tried to run the shortest line possible which was a challenge at times. All of those twists and turns resulted in a bit of a slow down through the park.
Once I was out and running the back roads I just settled back into my old pace. I spotted Neil around mile 5.5 when I ran through Downtown Disney and that gave me a huge boost. We then ran past the huge group of Red Hat Society ladies cheering us on outside of the Disneyland Hotel.
Apparently they were setting up their cheer section at 2 am? The energy from these ladies was unbelievable and I clocked my second fastest mile of the day. I then hit the 10K mat at 1:00:01, still at a 9:40/mi pace.
At this point we were out of the parks and on the streets of Anaheim. While we had been somewhat shaded in the park the sun was coming up and shining on us. Would it start heating up now? I knew that a lot of the excitement was behind us now and this was where the mental challenge would start. It was time to put my head down and go to work. I don’t remember very much during this section. There were people cheering outside of their homes and school band and cheer teams out. I listened to my music and focused on moving forwards. I was still only taking short walk breaks through the aid stations so I could drink Poweraid. I didn’t look at my watch a huge amount and I was only looking at current lap pace, not overall lap pace. I think this helped me focus on the here and now. I hit the 15K timing mat in 1:30:03, still a 9:40/mi pace.
I did some quick math in my head and realized that I was well on target to beat my A goal and if I worked hard I may be able to get close to my 2009 PR of 2:05:22. I tried to run a little bit faster.
Before the race coach Angie had sent me this great interview with Heather Wurtele.
I kept thinking about what Heather Wurtele said and worked to embrace that challenge. I kept repeating the words STRONG and BELIEVE to myself. I kept telling myself that this feeling I had was why I was racing and that I wanted to push through that feeling and redefine what I’m capable of.
Just after the 12 mile mark we turned onto a back road in Disneyland to start making our way to the finish. There was an underpass we had to run down and up. The up was so hard and that was the one and only time I walked outside of an aid station.
The last push to the finish line was so hard. I wanted my legs to turn over faster but my legs felt like noodles. No doubt I was grimacing and I was gasping out in how hard this felt. I knew I had given my all today.
I don’t remember very much about the finish line. Were there characters to high five? Were Neil and my dad nearby? I didn’t know, I was just thinking “push, push, push” to myself and when I was across that line I was done.
I was all done in 2:06:00, well ahead of my goal and 38 seconds short of my PR from 2009. My second fastest half marathon to date. A moment after I crossed the line I spotted Neil in the crowd. I gave him a wave and then let out a sob. I had pushed so hard today and ran faster than I thought I was capable of today.
I’m so proud of my race. I didn’t expect that I could have run so close to my PR time, especially since I had run a 10K the day before. I enjoyed every step out there and I worked hard to embrace the mental challenges. I threw my plan out the window, ran by feel and it paid off. I stayed on point with my nutrition. I also did a good job running the course as I measured it at 13.17 miles! I even managed to speed up over the last 6.1K since my average pace dropped down to 9:37/mi pace after consistently holding a 9:40/mi through the first 15K.
Did you run the Tinker Bell half marathon? How was your day?