Friday morning we lined up outside of the Disneyland Hotel for packet pick-up and the Health and Fitness Expo. The line moved quickly and soon we had our bibs, finals race instructions, and commemorative pins in our hands and we were heading upstairs into the expo hall and our wallets were getting nervous. We walked the entire hall and made sure that we checked out every booth. Team Sparkle, Sweaty Bands, and the Official Merchandise booths were our must stops. BeeCause Charms was a new discovery and we picked up adorable shiny charms to put on the laces of our running shoes. On Saturday morning we went back to the expo when it opened in the morning to go to the KT Tape booth and get taped up for the next morning.
With Kelly from Team Sparkle!
Sunday morning, the alarms on our cell phones started blaring at us at the extremely early hour of 2:45 am. By 3:05 we were out of our beds, getting on our Lilo and Stitch costumes and lacing up our sneakers. By 3:45 we were out of the room and meeting up with Dad and Amy who were there to cheer us on as we tackled the race. The four of us headed over to the festivities near the Disneyland Hotel and after a few pictures, Patty and I headed to Corral C. The nerves started hitting us as we were standing in the corral waiting for the 5:00 hour to arrive. We could hardly believe that it was really here and we were really about to run (well, mostly walk) a half marathon!
Lilo and Stich at the stage before the start of the race.
At about 5:12 am it was time for Corral C to get running! The first mile ran down the streets around the perimeter of Disneyland before we headed into California Adventure after Mile 1. Running through the parks was one of the coolest parts of running this race. The lights were up and there were cast members cheering for us along the whole route. We ran with our cameras and took a few character pictures as well as stopping to take a picture of every mile marker. Somehow we missed Mile 3's marker, but it was probably because we were caught up in the excitement of running through the park.
Photo Stop #1 with the Monsters, Inc. characters!
The 5K mat was in the entrance to California Adventure and we made our way across the way to run into the Disneyland park. Disneyland was so much fun to run through and going through the castle put huge smiles on our faces. Once we made our way through the park, it was through Downtown Disney we went. At this point I heard someone shouting my name, and there were Dad and Amy cheering us on. At about Mile 6 were headed out onto the streets of Anaheim and the sun was rising. While running down the streets wasn't quite as cool as running through the parks, it was still a good course.
Once we reached Mile 9, that's when things started getting tough. We had stopped trying to run at all about two miles before and we were getting exhausted. I kept saying out loud "only 4.1 miles to go!" while on the inside I was saying "we're never going to make it." We pushed through and began counting down the miles left. At Mile 10 there was only a 5K left to complete and we started dreaming of that finish line. Soon we were at Mile 11, then Mile 12. At about 12.5 we turned a corner and could see the finish line ahead of us. Unfortunately we weren't quite there yet, but we knew that we were almost there and I got choked up from the emotions of knowing I was actually going to make it. We had to do a little out and back through the parking lot before we came upon the Mile 13 marker. At this point, we looked at each other, then looked ahead, then started running. As we approached the finish we joined hands and crossed the mat.
Crossing that finish line hand in hand with one of my best friends and then having that medal placed around my neck is one of the absolute greatest moments of my life.
All smiles after we completed the race
Our official finish time was 3:25:55 and even though it wasn't as good of a time as we had been hoping for, it was a miracle that we finished. We were hurting, we didn't know if we would finish, but we did. The pride and excitement of making it outweighed any pain that we experienced.
Our countdown has already started now for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando at Walt Disney World where we will complete the Coast to Coast Challenge.