Thank you again to all the generous donors of my Disneyland Half Marathon run in support of ocean protection. It was a long road of fun and worthwhile action. Thanks to the backing of some great supporters I was able to raise almost $2,400 for our ocean and I still have a few promises of support to come!
I’ve never been a runner and generally hate cardio! I’ve always said I can’t run because it hurts my knees but I decided to give it a try and be careful with stretching afterwards. Luckily it worked. My knees were a bit sore after the event but delightfully fine the next day. This was my first run event and I’m glad I went for it because I imagine this has to be the most fun run event on the planet.
I wanted to share some details of how it went and prove that I actually did it ;)
With a stated 5:30 am start to the run I decided I had to wake up at 4 am (on a Sunday!) to have enough time to eat my usual breakfast, drive to the Mickey & Friends parking structure and then walk to the starting line. In the back of my mind a little voice was telling me that I could have slept a bit later but I wasn't sure how things would go and didn’t want to be stressed before the run.
I was almost right to leave extra time because in my sleepy haze I turned the wrong way off the freeway and lost 10 minutes getting turned around to the parking structure. To my surprise the Disneyland trams weren’t going at 5 am either so there was a longer walk than expected to the starting line. I could see there were still a lot of people heading towards race corrals so I didn't worry. I could hear the loud speaker announcing the handicapped runners would go first so I was safe to be a little late.
I could see runners were directed to find their corral. I looked down at my run number and could see I was in corral J (the very back!). There were corrals A through I in front of corral J and corral J was deep! I swear my corral was at least a mile behind the actual starting line. My corral crept a few feet every five minutes. It took a full hour for corral J to start the run.
During this fundraising campaign I learnt a lot:
1. If you have an opportunity to fundraise for a cause you are passionate about, go for it. It’s really interesting to see who supports you and the conversations that can be started. You may discover you have greater friends in all sorts of places. Many will thank you for opportunity to consider the issue.
2. When you have no confidence in your running ability when registering but decide to train you should be more aggressive with your expected run time or you are lumped in the very back and you can afford to be an hour late to the event.
3. Wear light up Nikes – they are a comfy and a great conversation starter (It was great meeting you Laura & Kelly!)
4. At the beginning of the run, when the runners are so packed together and have no choice but to go at the same pace, you feel a sense of shared energy. I assume in the same way that a flock of birds all fly in the same direction at the same time or a group of fish school.
5. Wearing a polyester/spandex mix, Star Wars dress is a surprisingly good choice to run in. It’s fast drying and you can finish the race barely sweaty!
6. Running an event is a lot more fun and interesting than training on a treadmill or even the streets.
7. Seeing each mile marker is very motivating.
8. Take advantage of the Disneyland staff toilets when you hit the back lot – no one is looking out for them and there’s no lines.
9. Blue cups that look like they are water are PowerAde.
10. Dasani water bottles are full of PowerAde.
11. They really push PowerAde on you. (I don’t want PowerAde!)
12. A lot of runners are shameless litter bugs even when there are many trash bins in close proximity to the drinks stations. (Note to self: write a complaint to the event organizers to have signs asking runners not to litter even though there are plenty of volunteers to clean up the pointless mess – this is why our ocean is full of debris.
13. Disneyland staff have their own Starbucks in the backlot.
14. The Disneyland backlot is really ugly and industrial looking (where’s the Disney magic for their cast members?)
15. You’ll see the same runners dressed as Dalmatians, Buzz Lightyear and Ariel along the route no matter how many times you pass each other.
16. Everyone wants in on the action. It was heartwarming to see so many cheer squads, car show guys, Polynesian or Latin dancers displaying their talents along the route making the run that much more lively.
17. It’s really cool to run through the Angel’s Stadium as the crowd cheers you on. Go Angels!
18. The last tenth of a mile feels like the longest part of the run. Why show us the 13 mile marker – just give us the finish line!
Thank you again for the motivation, support and encouragement. Please don’t let the action stop here. Take a minute to learn more about the ugly journey of our trash - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzFqELV3P3w or maybe add your voice to take positive action for sharks and rays - http://www.projectaware.org/action/take-action-sharks-and-rays