2:45 am.....it's early, but so worth it. Our Team was supposed to meet in the hotel lobby at 3:15 am to walk over to the start corrals. I was walking with Edna and Michelle- we were all in corral C, so we dropped our stuff off and then made a surprisingly quick stop at the porta potties and then made our way to our corral. It was a little chilly waiting, but I had my sweatshirt and gloves and I was pretty comfortable while waiting for the start time. Before we knew it the national anthem was being sung and shortly after that corral A was on their way and then corral B and then it was our turn!
My plan was to follow at 2 min run/1 min walk ratio for this race. I started off down the road and then turned to enter California Adventure and made our way through the park and got to see parts of the new Cars Land (which was so much fun to visit later that day!) and they had the the colorful fountains from the World of Color show on for us as we ran by, and I stopped to take a quick picture. When it was time to leave California Adventure, I received my first update text from runDisney about my 5k split. I realized that the timing was off for that split, so I sent a quick text to my husband to let him know that during one of my walk breaks. That split said my pace was 17:54 and I knew that was not possible. I had been checking my pace every now and then and the pace on my watch was showing an average of 13:11. I felt good, I was not too worried about falling off my pace, though I did feel like I may be going a little too fast, but I didn't intentionally slow down.
Next up was Disneyland! It was really nice to run through the park since I wasn't planning on visiting the park during this trip. I love seeing the parks at night, and since it was still dark out, I was able to see the castle all lit up. Again, I happened to be at a walk break right at the castle, so I stopped to take a quick picture before moving along.
After leaving Disneyland, the course took us through Downtown Disney and then we rounded the corner near the Disneyland Hotel and there were the Red Hat ladies! These by far, these ladies are the best cheering section of the race. Possibly even the best cheering section of any race. Shortly after that, I got my 10k split text from runDisney saying that my 10k time was 1:25:03, with my pace being 13:41. Definitely an improvement over the 5k split (they must have fixed whatever the original timing was). I was still feeling great, and I was surprised to see how quickly this race seemed to be going by.
I kept up with my 2:1 ratio plan and it was going great. Most of this race is through the city after finishing with the parks. runDisney does a great job of lining up schools to have groups out on the course to cheer us on, so going through the city isn't that bad. Plus, there are some mountains out in the distance that are really pretty to look at along the way.
Soon I received my 15k split (time 2:07:07, pace 13:38). Still really feeling good. I was really surprised to find that I was not hitting that wall that I usually do around mile 8-10. It was also then that I was surprised to find out that finishing this half marathon under 3 hours was a real possibility. I decided then that I was going to make it under 3 hours, and I knew if I stuck with my plan, I would be able to do just that.
Many times along the way, I was met with TNT coaches that checked in on me, most yelling "go Team!" and me giving the thumbs up in response. A couple coaches caught me on a walk break and I was able to talk with them and tell them that I was doing fine. I met up with one around mile 12 and she asked how I was doing and my response was "great, this should be my fastest time yet!" She congratulated me and I went along my way. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:58:29- my newest PR- by 16 minutes! And that is also a 31 minute improvement over last years time!
Immediately after crossing the finish line, my phone rang. It was my husband calling to congratulate me. It was so great to hear from him and all of my monkeys cheering me on from home. I got my medal, water and my snack box and then went over to check in with my TNT Flex team. I stayed for a couple minutes, checked in with a couple people and then I decided to head back to my room. It was a great way to cool down from this race and I don't think anyone could wipe the smile off my face.
Here are my unofficial mile splits from my watch:
Mile 1: 12:55
Mile 2: 13:30
Mile 3: 12:55
Mile 4: 13:16
Mile 5: 13:56
Mile 6: 13:29
Mile 7: 13:25
Mile 8: 13:40
Mile 9: 13:35
Mile 10: 13:18
Mile 11: 13:38
Mile 12: 13:18
Mile 13: 13:28
I was so pleasantly surprised to see that most of my miles were in the 13s and two of them were 12:55! I can't wait to see what comes next :)