The Happiest Place on Earth (Except for Mile 12 When You Hate Everyone)
*Disclaimer. The clock time in that Mile 12 photo is the actual race time. Not my time. Subtract 45 minutes for my time. Because I started the race in corral F. And we had to wait for A-E to go first. Clearly they were slow.
At 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning I reflected upon my day. I had already run 13.1 miles.
“Why?” inquired a concerned cousin. “Were you in grave danger?”
The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. Because the race started at 5:45 a.m. This seemed obscenely early to me. (And this is opinion coming from the mother of two tiny people. However, my tiny people sleep past 4:30 – just not necessarily in a row. Additionally, there are no muppets in this post. Because they were back and GrammaJ and Papa’s house sleeping soundly.)
I rolled over feverishly trying to make the wake up bells stop. Who’s terrible idea was this again? Oh right, mine. (Note to self – if thought, “It seems like a good idea” crosses mind, run. Hmm, that seems to be the exact sentiment that got me into this endurance exercise of insanity.)
The temperature was 66 degrees. Please note – I am not skipping ahead here. I’m still back on that 4:30 a.m. time thing. 66 degrees. In the middle of the night. (One more six there, and that’s pretty much what I thought about that wake up time.)
Forty-five minutes after the national anthem trilled out across the theme park and fireworks awoke anyone attempting to sleep until a humane hour, I plodded across the start line with the masses.
Right past the first support sign of the race. “Worst. Parade. Ever.” I loved it.
We ran down the streets surrounding Disneyland. A sort of cantering foreplay for Disney enthusiasts.
Suddenly (as the loudspeaker man warned us all) there was a sharp turn in the road. And we entered California adventure.
I was In. My. Element. Disney! These are my people! My place!
Absofuckingtabulous, some might say.
We ran through the new Cars Land. Having now seen the movie about 13,100 times I knew every stop and car by name. (I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my boys I met Lightening McQueen – IN PERSON…er, um… in machine?)
Runners were stopping to take pictures with characters lined up alongside the track to cheer us on. “Oh sure. I’m running a marathon. But I’m gonna stop and take pictures,” mocked a fully green GI from Toy Story. He was totally right though.
I didn’t take a picture with him. I waited until we got into Disneyland proper to take a picture with Snow White.
Yeah. I stopped to take pictures along the way. Come on people, I ran the race dressed as a Disney princess. Lighthearted merriment was pretty much required.
Costumes are a big thing. I had a blast noticing all the different clever characters people came up with. There was even a mini high school reunion for me. Way to represent Chaminade Class of ’98!
Before I knew it, I was passing mile marker 7. More than half way. And I was suddenly struck by a horrifying realization.
I was having a good time. This was fun. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I caught a glimpse of another sign on the side of the road. “Be proud of yourself for enduring this far. The elite runners quit after only an hour!”
So true, I thought. Thinking that I am by no means a runner – moreso that I possess the ability to force myself forward in perpetual motion for an extended period of time.
Then, as we continued to canvass the streets of Anaheim, before I could get bored I encountered the Mustang mile. Every make of the beautiful car – from a gorgeous cherry red ’66 through a tricked out blue 2013 GT – lined the road.
It’s like they knew I was coming!
And you know what was at the end of that mile? The Honda Center. (Ha. Ha. I kid – that’s where the NHL Ducks play. Obviously the baseball stadium is way cooler.)
Angels Stadium. I was ON THE FIELD.
I ran through the tunnel and on to the warning track. The Indian Summer sun beating down. The echo of concrete transitioning into the crunch of red dirt beneath my shoes. I won’t lie – this was close to orgasmic. (Or I was delusional after 10 miles. Either way.)
Three miles later, and about 12 “One more turn till the end” bold-faced lies, and the giant pink FINISH banner loomed directly ahead.
I turned to my friend. “Burn whatever you’ve got left in the tank,” I grinned. And I took off at a full-fledged sprint.
My sparkly skirt flared and my Snow White cape blowing behind me, I flew down the final straightaway, across the finish line.
“Done!” I texted my high school girlfriends. “Not dead!” They immediately tried to persuade me to join in the TinkerBell Half Marathon fun this coming January. TUTUS FOR EVERYONE!
I ran my ass off. Literally I think. And I liked it.