Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

My Mom is awesome and two weeks ago she rocked the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  I asked her to share her experience on the blog, so today you'll be getting Mom's story of the Tink Half.  She's a serious track athlete (National Masters Champion to be exact), but not a serious distance runner.  She loves Disney and the Galloway run-walk-run method.  I hope you enjoy Mom's race recap.  Way to go Mom!
Tinker Bell Half Marathon from Carissa’s Mom:

There is nothing like running a Run Disney Race.  If you are a runner, a RunDisney Half Marathon should be on your to do list!  I have been lucky to be able to run several Disney races including this weekend’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  The course, the fun, the energy, the entertainment, the announcers … OMG … you have to run one!

Many of you may know from Carissa’s blog that distance running is not really my thing … Masters Track and field; multi events; is my happy place running.  I run distances to challenge myself and for Carissa as it is her happy place running.

I started running half Marathons after cheering on the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  I never believed distance running was in me.  After cheering on all of the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon finishers, I started to feel the itch to run a Disney race.  I did not believe I could do it.  Carissa encouraged me to try.  This Momma will not let her baby down so last year I ran my first Disney half marathon. 

One of my favorite parts of a RunDisney weekend is the Expo.  All of the vendors are great and there is the Speaker series.  I have attended most every speaker’s presentation at least once.  You can learn so much from them.  Since I’m a newbie distance runner, I had lots to learn to be able to successfully run a half marathon.  From Tara Gidus I learned about nutrition.  From the RunDisney staff I learned about race day preparations.  From Jeff Galloway I learned the run-walk-run theory.  Without that run walk training, there would be no half marathons for me.  Every race and every Expo you learn and grow.
So I have to go back to the week before Tinker Bell to talk a little about my mindset …. 

Warming up for an indoor track meet, I injured my hamstring and groin.  Carissa said I did not have to run Tink, but there was no way I was backing out.  Secretly, I was worried I could not do it … but I refused to listen to the doubts.  I am soooo glad I ran it because it was my best race ever!  Not that I set my best time.  It was the best race ever because all of the learning came together …. Because I FOUND MY PERFECT RUN WALK RATIO !!!    Because I listened to ALL that I learned from Carissa and the speakers.  Thank you, Thank you … Thank you!

Race Day: Sunday January 19, 2014 and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Yes I was nervous about my injury from the weekend before.  It was not really bothering me but it was still “there”.  I think it was more mental than physical at this point.  As I dressed for the race I pulled on my thigh support and my shin supports, swallowed an Advi,l and walked out the door of Disney’s Grand Californian to the race start.  The corrals were literally right out the door of our hotel. Loving that!

The start of a Disney half marathon is epic.  Your announcers Carissa and Rudy are entertaining and inspirational.  I would say that even if Carissa were not my daughter!  There is the National Anthem with fireworks and then Rudy says, “ GO!”
I admit it – before this race I had not been listening to all of the race training that I received.  I always ran the whole first mile and EVERY STEP INSIDE OF THE DISNEY PARKS. Even though I knew the key was to start slow and start walk breaks right away.   So with my injury and more encouragement from Carissa, I started walk breaks in the first mile AND in the parks. They said take breaks all the way.  They said run negative splits.  They said I would finish stronger if I did.  So … hard headed sprinter me finally listened.  I think that injury indirectly made me a better distance runner.

The race starts; I finally took a walk break in the first mile.

Porta potty line … not for me this time … the doubts told me my leg would gave out and this would be my worst race ever.. I planned to stop in the parks.  There was a 3 to 4 minute error.  Did I mention that I have a goal to run a sub-230 half marathon?
Stop in backstage Disney to re-rig my iPod?  Sure …. Doubts told me this would not be my day.  This was another 2 to 3 minutes added to my time.

Error corrected: From the speaker series I figured out that I was not taking in enough calories during my long runs.  But my belt only holds so much … solutions … don’t laugh … I stowed sports beans in my bra!!!  It worked like a charm and no chaffing!

RunDisney constantly changes the race courses.  This course was  fun!  We ran through the Disneyland and California Adventure more than ever before.  Was it 5 or 6 miles?  Time flew right by.  I took walk breaks in the park …a first … and I ran the new run walk pace that I was trying both backstage and on the streets of Anaheim.. I run 2 minutes and then I walk 30 seconds… repeat for 13.1 miles.

The miles flew by.  I felt like a million! 
The streets of Anaheim were loaded with pep bands, cheerleaders and Red Hat Ladies cheering you on!  WOW  soooo fun!  I ran through each group high fiving every extended hand …. Note: high fiving every hand in a race is exhausting … and invigorating…. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!  The miles flew by and like Pavlov’s dog I adhered to the beeps of my Garman telling me when to walk and when to run.

Feeling great!  Smiling as I run!  I am lucky to be able to run in the happiest place on Earth!
OOOOOHHHH mile eight is coming.  Mile eight is my nemesis. In previous halfs, that is where the wrong socks I chose to run in began their reign of pain one race.  Another race that is where to GU that I tried for the first time in a race once attacked my stomach. Mile eight is where it usually gets hard for me somehow….  NOT THIS RACE!!!  I feel like a million.  None of my body parts are really complaining.  I am not sweaty; I am not tired; I am singing at mile eight!  Bless my run walk ratio!  The miles fly by!  I am having so much fun! 
Mile eleven; I did not even begin to tire until well after mile eleven!!!  EUREKA!!!  This is it… I had the race of my life.

The finish line comes into view and I hear Carissa say, “Here is my MOM!”  I run these races to challenge myself and to run across the finish line with Carissa.  She is announcing all the way!  I am grinning like a fool. 

Actually I could not stop grinning … and grinning …. For about 5 minutes after my finish.  I got my medal, water, Mylar, and post race nutrition form Disney … and was still grinning.
This was the race of my life.  It was wonderful!
I crossed the finish in 2:36:22.
Mom made her skirt and arm sleeves!
I worked my way to the Cheer Zone to enjoy the finish line fun, dance, and cheer in all the runners finishing until the last runner crossed the finish line. 

Like Tinker Bell herself I flew through this race.  I found my happy place in distance running! 

Thank you Mom for sharing your race story.  Here's to more happy miles and a sub 2:30 in 2014!

Love and Mom's fairy wings, 
Carissa & Kyle


  1. Aww I love this post. I also run races with my daughter so this was really fun to read!

  2. How exciting for your mom :) She looks so happy!

  3. Too cute! Congratulations to your mom! (I think all of us runners are a little stubborn at times!)

  4. Your Mom's a star Carissa! I saw her in the VIP tent and planned to say hi. When I finished doing whatever it was that I was doing though ... she was gone. Great article! SUPER MOM!

  5. So cool! And wow, you guys look so much alike! My mom runs races too, I love that!


Your comments make me smile! :)