Ok, So here is the update you have all been waiting for.
I DID IT.
It was the most fantastic experience.
I got up SUPER early (4:30am) and got ready for the race, I had brought a Sparkly Soul head band to match my etsy print shirt. I was staying at the very affordable Kyriad Hotel, where even some of their staff were racing. The hotel was lovely enough to put on a breakfast at 5.15am as well as leave a little note to wish me luck.
I didn’t eat much for breakfast as there wasn’t much choice of what I could eat and wasn’t particularly aimed at running a half marathon, but luckily I brought some cereal bars with me just in case.
I left the hotel and caught the bus at 5:40am – it was filled with delightful runners ready for the half marathon. It was a good atmosphere for such an early morning.
I arrived at the expo centre around 6am – we needed to be in our corrals at 6:30am but as there wasn’t much to do other than wait around people were already queuing, so I checked my bag and made my way to the start line. I was in Corral B.
At this point it was a waiting game, it was cold and dark and as a solo runner it was annoying because everyone around me apart from the odd more experience runner were paired or grouped off, so they had a buddy to chat away the time with. I just found myself standing there, she I gave in and got data on my phone so I could let all of my friends and family know I was about to run!
There were things happening by Corral A, warms ups and such but I couldn’t see the screen as it was too far away and the sound wasn’t great quality. It would be handy if they had a few more screens closer to the other corrals.
The race kicked off late! Around 7:05am, and by the time they shifted my corral forward I didn’t get over the start line till around 7:15am.
The first 5km of the race were AWESOME, running through Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios and the back lots. I met a few characters along the way – missed a few because they were either of no interest to me or I simply ran past them.
I stopped for: Chip and Dale (made it on the rundisney snapchat, see below), The Incredibles, Star Wars, Cinderella & Belle, Alladin & Co, and The characters from Up. (I feel like there were more than that but as I haven’t got my photopass pictures I can’t tell or show you for sure. I did meet loads more over the weekend though in the parks!).
After the first 5/6km’s we left the parks and ran around the surrounding areas, two highlights for me were the track field – with a band playing, and the lake – which was so beautiful and peaceful even with thousands of runners.
After about 10km I found myself in the same pack of people, constantly surrounding each other throughout, I began to slow down a bit and walked a couple of times, as soon as someone saw me stop or flag the would ask if I was ok, which I thought was great and very encouraging.
I had my headphones one at this point, I stuck them on as I left the track field around km 8 to motivate me a bit more. It was only at about Km 17 I realised why they say you should wear them. A girl wearing headphones cut in front of a wheelchair racer who crashed avoiding her. I had seen the wheelchair user a few times before, she was flagging a bit on a hill previous to the crash so I supported her by pushing her up the hill a bit, like many others did. After the crash I stopped and checked if she was OK and needed anything. Along with some others we helped her back onto her wheels and got her going again. I pushed her along for a bit. I could see she was upset by the incident and due to the cause of it I thought I should be more cautious and remove my headphones. We were back on Disney territory so I didn’t have far to go anyways.
I crossed the finish line (woohoo) and collected my medal. I headed for a photo,collected my bags and met my friend. I didn’t record my time as I was thinking of the fun and not on the time, but guessed i finished in about 2:40 which is the time I put on my form anyways. I have since got my results and am please to tell you I finished in 2:27:06 way better than I could ever have imagined for my first half marathon baring in mind I stopped for quite a few characters. The first 5km Took me just over 45 mins because of all the stops, so I think it could be realistic to finish just under 2:15 for Royal Parks.