JENN: I had set no less than three alarms for 3AM, but I woke up no problem to the first one and actually felt pretty okay. Hooray for Eastern Standard Time!
MOON: I was already awake! And terrified!
JENN: Did you sleep at all?
MOON: I did BEFORE the fireworks started going off. I mostly listened to music all night, I think.
JENN: Oh dear. I seem to recall that you weren't feeling too hot...
MOON: Yeah, I felt pretty bad that morning. I was really scared to get out of bed and put on clothes because my energy still felt low and it still felt like 30 degrees to me. So, I checked my phone when I decided to get out of bed. In my text inbox I had the BEST message. I will not disclose it here, but I finally felt the resolve I needed.
JENN: Yeah, I remember asking you if you were up to running and you were all I'M DOING IT.
MOON: Yeah! Although, I was still scared I wouldn't have enough energy to run the whole thing. This was my inner dialogue all night: "Nooooo..."
JENN: I was a little worried, but I'm not gonna lie - I was relieved you meant to try. Didn't want to go without you!
MOON: Anyway, I ate a Clif bar and tried to mentally tell myself all would be well.
JENN: So yeah. We dressed and ate and put on makeup in the effort to improve photos and walked down to Disneyland. We were by no means alone - there was a constant stream of fellow runners all around us, acting as shepherds.
By contrast to the Princess Half, it was COLD out. Moon and I had on hoodies. These will be important later.
MOON: And very much missed pieces of clothing...
JENN: We headed past the Disneyland/DCA courtyard and through Downtown Disney, then banked I think a left into the Paradise Pier hotel area. We briefly hit the family reunion/pre-race area, but I hardly even remember what was in it. The tents for bag check, but we weren't using that service. We kinda milled around a bit and then left.
JENN: Yeah, the Princess pre-race was much more high-energy, with a dance party and photo ops. Of course, it was also much more crowded.
MOON: Yes, but you also knew where you were supposed to go!
We headed toward the corrals, gleefully skipping past the frequent security checks on your bib letter before you could proceed. Corral B, baby!
MOON: Hip, hip for Corral B! Starting in B was a huge improvement from the Princess Half. SO much less congested throughout the entire run. I stayed with many of the runners I started with; that's always kind of nice!
JENN: By that point it was only 4:30AM, so we had half an hour to kill. While it was a little boring, it did allow us to stand pretty close to the front of the corral, which was a bonus. We took some pictures and social media'd a bit to keep ourselves entertained.
MOON: So, I just have to say: once I started running, I was all set. I felt good (although coooold), and adrenaline kicked in!
JENN: By contrast - I did not feel good.
I have documented before how my lungs tend to react with extreme negativity whenever I try to run in the cold. It wasn't freezing out, but it was definitely chilly. We crested our first hill and, while it was very steep, I had to take in just enough extra air that I could feel the restriction kicking in. Gotta say, it scared me.
MOON: Maybe this is when my throat's weirdo illness worked in my favor. I didn't feel much!
JENN: Just like in the end of Signs when the boy doesn't die because he has asthma!
JENN: Luckily the feeling eased on flatter portions of the course, but I was rather tragically Not Feeling It.
This is where we have THEME PARKS TO THE RESCUE! We ran into Disney's California Adventure in short order and there it was: the World of Color fountains going. Quick calculations determined that if I stopped for a picture it would also give my lungs a brief rest, so I called Moon over and we took some quick photos.
JENN: Haha, you were in the zone! Whereas I was desperately seeking distraction, and the parks did not disappoint. We took our very first steps into Disneyland - running steps - and it was awesome. We stopped for a photo op with the castle - I had read that it was tiny by comparison to WDW's, but I didn't realize how tiny! It was still fun running up the drawbridge and through the tunnel.
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JENN: From there we ran through Fantasyland (loved the characters on the carousel!) and past it's a small world, its facade all lit up, and we stopped for a photo there too.
JENN: IF ONLY.
Roundabouts then we left the parks and it all goes downhill from here, folks.
MOON: So... The Anaheim Suburbs. Running through Anaheim was not the most exciting portion of the run...
JENN: I dunno, guys. I knew the second half of the race went through the streets of Anaheim but... really, Disney? That's IT? Cheerleaders? They weren't even doing any fancy routines, just yelling encouragement. Which we already have from spectators, and while they are less likely to come in coordinating outfits they sport funny signs. They win.
There were a couple marching bands, too, but I never saw any characters or the promised Polynesian dancers. Or puppets or displays or other ways WDW dresses up its boring street sections. Maybe we came through too early or something.
MOON: Well, at least there was lots of water!
JENN: You mean the water stations? Or did I miss a fancy water entertainment portion?
MOON: Ha, yes, you missed the part where World of Color shoots magical colored water into your mouth as your run past.
JENN: God, I'm so oblivious.
MOON: Yeah, water stations, ha!
JENN: It was in the streets of Anaheim that Moon started to pull away from me. All the ill portents aside, she had conquered sickness and was feelin' it. I was not.
MOON: I periodically looked back because I really wanted us to stay togetherrrr. Most of the time I could spot you!
JENN: I stopped at every water station for water AND Powerade, but Moon started up again sooner than I did and little by little she pulled away. But not TOO far away - I could see her up ahead, and I gotta say, she kept me going. Aside from those water stops, I didn't stop once, even though I was tempted to.
At one point I saw a hill coming and my internal monologue let out a belting NOOOOOOOOO but I saw Moon run right up it and I decided I would too. No walking for me!
MOON: I was pissed we had to run up the same obnoxious hill TWICE! Anger shot me up that one. And the promise of the race ending...
JENN: So Moon was keeping me going up ahead. And then around mile 12, when I was really starting to feel the sad, I heard the voice of the 2:15 pace guy. I had seen him in our corral before the start and I knew that if I could JUST KEEP AHEAD OF HIM I would pull out a good time. I intend to write a more involved love letter to the man who propelled me forward when I needed the push, but for now let's just say that without him and Moon I could never have pushed past my sluggish body and made a PR.
MOON: And to add: there were so many jackets on the ground! I was so cold near the end. I seriously wanted to pick them up and wrap myself in them.
JENN: Oh, right, I totally forgot to mention that part! So as we entered Disneyland part, we ran up Main Street, and we were elated - Moon was feeling good, I was boosted by the sites and sounds of Disney, and were happy. All that adrenaline warmed us up, so we counted it down - THREE TWO ONE!!! - and tossed our hoodies.
We had made a huge mistake.
MOON: Way too overzealous. I still regret it. I feel cold now.
JENN: By the end of the course I had salt crusted on my face from sweat that had dried too quickly in the cold. It was crazy. But anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The end of the race. I lost sight of Moon by the time I passed the 13 mile marker, but I had Pace Charming on my heels and even though I once or twice felt like I might puke I powered through and FINISHED BECAUSE STEVE HOLT.
MOON: Well, before I talk about that I just want to shout out to my favorite part of the race.While running through the Anaheim suburbs, I passed a lady who was out in her bathrobe, sporting a MIMOSA (the sun had not yet risen). When I ran past her she said, "Good morning!!" And that made me laugh, therefore... Great success.
JENN: Haha, excellent! I enjoyed the Red Hat Ladies, myself. But WHERE WAS THE GOSPEL CHOIR?! In the Princess Half we had a gospel choir at mile 13 and it was AMAZING.
MOON: Yeah, it's pretty hard to give a race that and then TAKE IT AWAY for the next. But, I did well at the end. I found the end a little ambiguous at first because I wasn't sure it was happening... and the kind of a windy path.
MOON: Sooooo, did you make it?!
JENN: Well, no. Technically. I had wanted us to be at the parks at opening and we didn't get on our first ride until 9:40AM. But that was my own fault - I dawdled in the shower and afterward. We probably could've made it if I'd really hustled us, but it felt nice to relax a bit. I think it was okay. I got a PR by about six minutes, and that's what counts. :) You?
MOON: While I didn't finish with my personal best time, I did finish with a new official best time!
MOON: I wanted to run the entire race - no walking. This happened, yay! I also wanted to finish under 2:20. This ALSO happened, yay! And those were my goals before getting sickly. The day before my only goal was, "Don't drop out."
JENN: Ooh, incidentally, my time was just under 2:15 and I think your official time was just over 2:13? The clock seemed a little off but that's where we ended up. Not bad either way. AND we stopped for several photos!
MOON: You're right! So, all in all we did really well. That pleases me. :D
JENN: I guess it would've been nice to get those 4-5 minutes back, but they really improved my morale and gave my crotchety lungs a rrest.
How did you feel post race? Those reflective blankets were a LIFESAVER.
MOON: Yeeeeeah, I wanted all the reflective blankets.
JENN: We pretty much just got our snack box, water, and Powerade, and got the heck up outta there. It was COLD.
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One thing I must say I rather enjoyed - the course actually ran right past our hotel. We had finished so early, runners from the last couple corrals were still coming through. To get to our room, we had to do the dart-across-the-course thing. Felt pretty good. :)
MOON: I still don't know what happened to my Powerade.
JENN: Neither do I. I also don't know what was up with that bibbed girl who was running on the opposite side of the street from the course as we walked back.
MOON: Haha, yeeeeah, girl was on the wrong side of the street. And this time it wasn't because of lost costume parts like our lobster friend from last year's race.
JENN: And that was our race experience! Next up: DISNEYLAND.
Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya real soon!