Yesterday was a really big day. Everything about The Disneyland Half Marathon felt special and significant. These RunDisney races are incredible. They are a huge giant production and Disney does not disappoint. From the moment you arrive to the moment you walk back to your car, every single moment is magic. But that's why these races cost a ridiculous amount of money and this is why we all happily throw our money at the mouse because "every mile is magic."
But yesterday was huge. It was huge for me, it was huge for my sister and best friend Irene, and it was incredibly huge for one of my best friends from high school Stephy. Stephy is one of the most inspiring humans I have ever met in my life. We met our Junior year of high school and became instant friends. We clicked, we meshed, we spoke the same language, and we had equal amounts enthusiasm and power. I love her. She was huge in student council and knew everyone in school. She was the person everyone loved. I on the other hand was the funny girl who was a little too intimidating to approach. So Stephy helped me drop that facade.
A few months ago she ran the Tinkerbell 10k and decided she was going to go for a Half Marathon. 13.1 miles is a long freaking way. It's an incredible feat. So the past few months were not easy for her. She struggled to find motivation and she struggled to find the time (she's in grad school, she teaches, and she has a job). But she kept with it. And then yesterday we met up before the race. She was cool as a cucumber and we all embraced in big giant bear hugs. We said our hi's, our good lucks, and have so much fun and we separated to our corals. Then we ran into each other after the race. We were exchanging sweaty hugs when she told us that at mile 12 there was this sign that said, "Remember that time you thought you couldn't do this?" And it gave me goosebumps. Because everyday when I lace up my shoes I remember when I told myself it was impossible. And for Stephy to see her do something she thought was impossible was inspiring and it was exciting and it was unbelievably special.
For me, yesterday was a really big eye opener. I ran the first four miles through the parks with my sister and Irene. I have a really bad habit of charging from the start and pooping out for the last few miles. I wasn't even remotely nervous about the race because my last long run was 18 miles as I am training for the NYC Marathon. This week was a kickback week so 13.1 was a welcome change of distance. I really wanted to practice running the first half of the race comfortably and then charging the second half. My sister hadn't been feeling well and after we got out of Disneyland told us to go on without her. Irene and I charged on and started to pick up the pace dropping about 20-30 seconds per mile.
Irene is a badass. She is the reason I started running and she is the reason I ran my first half marathon. She convinced me to run The Tinkerbell Half Marathon with her two months after I started running and showed me how incredible being a runner was. She is the person who had to calm me down when I panicked the day before I ran the Rock N Roll marathon in 2014. She has this incredible calm and ease to her. She's been my rock for years and we haven't been able to see much of each other these past 3 years because she studied abroad in Chile and then I moved to NYC before she got back. We text and instagram each other but we haven't been together in a while. She ran the Rock N Roll marathon again this summer and decided to take some time off from running. She ran yesterday having done 0 training and still ran a sub 2 hour marathon. That's how much of a badass she is. I can't even tell you how special it was to be able to run with her. It felt like we were coming full circle running together at this place that really started it all for me.
Around mile 6 she goes, "I can tell you want to go, so go girl." I said, "Are you sure?" And she was all, "I'm right behind you." (And she wasn't kidding, she finished 2 minutes behind me) so I took off. For the first time I ran a smart race. I didn't feel exhausted at any point, tired absolutely but nothing a smile and a little "You are killing this" pep talk couldn't handle. From the moment I left Irene I ran 8 minute 30 second to 8 minute miles getting faster each mile of the race. THIS IS HUGE FOR ME. I have been trying to do this for about a year and a half. I was able to get myself to punch it at mile 11 and gun it at mile 12 without getting winded or convincing myself that I needed to "catch my breath." Running is a mind game. There's no doubt about that. It's mind over matter and I now understand what it means to let your body do it's thing and really focus on staying in the moment and propelling yourself.
As I rounded the final corner I was able to high tail it to the finish. A leap across the finish line and it was all over. I threw my arms in the air, screamed "YES," and then remembered to stop RunKeeper. So how did I do? WELL here is the one really unfortunate part of the race. They didn't get my time. I have no clue what happened but Disney collected my 5K time and then poof, it all disappeared. So I don't know what my official time is. I mean I passed over every single time station, why didn't my chip work? It's a let down because I know I PR'ed. My last PR was at the Brooklyn half and was 1:56. I forgot to stop RunKeeper after I crossed the finish line and remembered after I got my medal. My RunKeeper time is 1:56:37. So there's no doubt I ran a 1:55 which for me is a really big deal. But I have my splits and I feel really incredible about my performance so even though it sucks that the most expensive race can't get it together to collect my time, it is what it is. I know how well I did.
Hottie Hunting was impossible. We started in the dark and then it was overcast until the 12th mile. I couldn't get an unblurry picture to save my life. AND THERE WERE NO PRINCES! There were also no characters out in the parks! I think we saw maybe 6 or 7! I don't know if that is because we were in a faster coral but it was really a let down. BUT I didn't let that stop me from finding some handsome gentleman so let's relive the magic that is #HotGuysOfTheDlandHalf:
So there we have it! And in case you weren't aware IT'S THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER WHICH MEANS IT'S TIME FOR THE 19 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS! For the first 19 days of September, in celebration of my birthday, I am giving a hat away a day! To enter upload a runfie (A running selfie) to instagram or twitter with the #RunSelfieRepeat and I will pick a selfie a day to receive a free Hottie Hunting hat! So our first winner is @KimmyTee with this awesome action shot! Get it girl! WEAR THAT HAT WITH PRIDE!
Happy labor day everyone! I'm spending the week in Southern California and today I am off to the beach with my family and friends! Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.