Reflecting on a better race day

Today was a first for me.  I registered for a race and couldn’t do it. Up until today, I’ve never not finished a race I started (though there were a couple during which I thought I wouldn’t finish) and I’ve never not started a race that I paid to do.  I woke up yesterday feeling nauseated and dizzy. The feeling passed after a couple of hours so I thought it was something I ate.  The feeling came back this morning.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a couple of hours to see if it would pass. Against my better judgement, I got dressed for the race and walked the almost 2 kilometres to the start.  I checked my bag. I went to find my friend Karen and then I broke down in tears because I knew I couldn’t do the race. I was still dizzy.  So I got my friend Barb to take my bib as my bag was already on its way to the finish and then I walked back home. On the way home, I cried a little. I didn’t cry a lot because it wasn’t the most expensive race I’d ever registered for and it’s not like I would miss out on a Disney medal!  All my friends in the race today seem to have set Personal Best. I know I didn’t have a PB in me today.

I decided this would be a good time to write about my second half marathon ever, which was the 5th anniversary Disneyland Half Marathon on September 5, 2010.

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It’s hard to remember all the details of the trip that was so long ago now or even the race. I flew in the Friday before the race from Buffalo on Southwest through Phoenix. I rented a car and treated myself to an on-property stay at Disneyland. I remember that I searched for hotel rates on a bunch of different sites at all hours of the day. I got a great deal (stay 3 nights and get 2 free) at Paradise Pier where I spent the last five nights. The first three nights were the big treat – the Grand Californian.  I loved the Grand Californian but unless I get rich, I’ll probably never stay there again.

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And if I don’t lose weight, I won’t be able to treat myself to one of these Mickey brownies either!

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I didn’t go to the parks until after the race as I didn’t want to tire out my legs.  I did the expo and ran into some friends from Whitby who were staying at the hotel too so I hung out by the pool with them. For dinner, we went to Olive Garden to carb load.

The best thing about racing at Disneyland is that you don’t have to get up ridiculously early to take a bus to the start. Even if you are off-property, it’s probably walkable to the start but when you’re on-property you can practically roll out of bed to start the race!

Sunday was race day. The weather was almost perfect. It was dark but warm enough to not need a jacket.  The corrals were set up so that I could see a sea of people between my corral and the start.

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The race went around the perimeter of the Disneyland Resort before heading into California Adventure where we walked past the construction for what is now CarsLand.

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They had floats from the Pixar parade and the puppets from World of Color (that they don’t use anymore, sadly) out as entertainment on the route.

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Then the route went across the through Downtown Disney across the plaza…

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to Disneyland…

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and then out into the streets of Anaheim.

I remember stopping to pee – once in California Adventure and one in a porta-potty before Angel Stadium.  The dry river bed with the homeless people living under the bridge is probably my least favourite part of the route….

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Other than walking through the parks, Angel Stadium was my favourite part of the race.

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We walked from first base to home plate then to third base. We even got to be on the Jumbotron!

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Angel Stadium is where they keep the majority of the sweeper buses that come along to pick up the people who are going too slow.

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I wasn’t one of them!!

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These were my splits as emailed to me (I keep everything!!)

TARA STYLES @ 5K in 00:51:36 (NET). Pace: 16:35. Predicted: 3:37:34.

TARA STYLES @ 10K in 01:40:49 (NET). Pace: 16:13. Predicted: 3:32:41.

TARA STYLES @ 15K in 02:27:11 (NET). Pace: 15:47. Predicted: 3:26:57.

TARA STYLES @ Finish in 03:25:00 (NET). Pace: 15:38.

Negative splits!!!! I had no idea what negative splits were until I had done them and I didn’t know they were what I should be trying for….I just did them! I still do them with less consistency. I think the main reason I do them is because I’m afraid to run out of steam so I start slow and get faster. The thing I have yet to master all these years later is the sweet spot of pushing myself just hard enough. I’m never that tired at the finish so I know I have more to give.  I’m going to work on that this summer.

This is my Facebook status from after the race….

Tara Styles finished the Disneyland Half Marathon in 3 hours and 25 minutes (and zero seconds!!) which is her new personal best beating her first race by almost 9 minutes! It’s not quite the 13 minutes I wanted to shave off my time but this time I had to take two bathroom breaks (they were absolutely necessary or I wouldn’t have finished) so I’m happy with the result…particularly since my legs started hurting at about 17 km.

After the race, I think I took a nap and a bath but I really don’t remember. I know that night I dressed up as I treated myself to the most expensive meal I had eaten (well had paid for) to date! I was at the Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose.  Here are a few photos of my celebratory meal.

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