Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Orange County and Mickey Mouse

Alright, the much owed recap of my week…debating on doing this in parts, we’ll see how long it gets!! And what is it about a 75+ year old mouse anyway??


I woke up and was contemplating getting out of bed when the phone ran. Mom had arrived in Sioux Falls earlier than anticipated and was offered a chance to catch an earlier flight, so I got up and got myself together to meet her sooner…unfortunately didn’t quite get there soon enough to meet her at the gate, but it wasn’t too long before I got through security and met her, grabbed some cash and, at mom’s suggestion, got a beer, even though it was only 10 am…OK…we caught our flight and arrived in Orange County on time, headed to baggage claim and met Connie and Edie easily…Edie is my great aunt and Connie is her daughter that my mom was close to and grew up with. We headed to Connie’s and relaxed, visited some and then had a great dinner of chicken and shrimp kabobs on the grill with some really good chardonnay…some more visiting and then an early night.


I woke up around 7 still on Minnesota time so headed out for an easy run. Ended up doing 4 miles and then grabbed a starbucks before heading back to the house, showered got ready and then mom and Connie drove off in Connie’s Lexus SUV and I took the Lexus coupe and we went over to the expo. They were heading back to visit after the expo and I was meeting a friend for lunch. The expo was nice, had some good stuff, but the line for the merchandise was a bit ridiculous. There was a line to get into the store and then an even longer line to buy stuff…I did get a cute top that has “Get your ears in gear” on the back and my Mickey Mouse ears with the half marathon logo on them, along with the finisher’s pin. The shirts were nice long sleeved technical shirts which is very nice as well. I then headed over to California Pizza Kitchen to meet my friend 5K who I know from an on-line running group I’m part of…lunch was good and we had a nice visit and then it was back to Connie’s where we went and hung out by the pool for a bit and then had dinner of yummy ribs and backed potatoes…Connie is too good to her guests, I’m sure I gained weight while out there!! After lunch we had to head to Brea (we were staying in Yorba Linda and Brea is just the next town over) to pick up my cousin who is in the marines and stationed at 29 Palms, he had a ride into the city over the weekend and chose to come spend it with us. Another fairly early evening as we were still tired and it had been a long day.


The plan for today was the beach. We got up and called Edie to plan for meeting her and headed to her place to pick her up on the way to Huntington Beach to hang out and relax. The beach was great, it was a tiny bit cooler than we might have liked but it was nice, waves were high and we watched the surfer’s and I took a bit of time to wade in the water…then we wandered and shopped a bit before heading to Newport (it was kind of a joke to go there since I’m a closet OC fan) and wandered a bit there before finding a great Italian place to eat at Fashion Island, an upscale mall. We even had a great bottle of wine that I introduced everyone too, it had been my friend Leesa’s and my favorite when in Italy. Dinner was fantastic and then we headed back to Connie’s for an early night, had to be up by 3:30 to make it over to the race by 4:30 (a 20 minute or so drive) before they closed roads.

Sunday - Disneyland Half

Wake up at 3:30…ouch…and everyone chose to come with me, even though no one wanted to get up that early!! We piled in the car at 4 and were parked at Disneyland by 4:30 and headed to the staging area. I had somehow been assigned to Coral A, right behind the elites and thankfully it was looking to be a great day. The weather was cool, probably high 50s, no wind and no humidity. There were 12,000 registered for the race and it was set to be a pretty flat yet nice course. Mom, Connie and Nick hung with me till about 5:30 and then I went to use the port-a-potties and headed to my coral. I was into the coral just before they were cutting people off and making them go to the last one!! No idea how they gave out coral placement because it was not by time from what I could tell!! It was quite packed too. The race was set to start at 6:00 and they had guest speakers including the race director and the mayor of Anaheim and some great music, namely the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean which is a great pick me up. They then had the “special guests”, Mickey and Minnie started the race while Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto were on the monorail just above the start. I even managed to high five Mickey and Minnie on my way through the start! Then I noticed Nick to the side and Connie waving at me, didn’t expect to actually see them till later in the race so that was a nice surprise. I clicked off just over 8 minutes for the first mile, it was quite crowded and many people of course not placed well, but by mile 2 it was thinning out, an advantage of being at the front!! I came out of California Adventure and headed into Disneyland and saw my family off to the side, it was good that I told them I was going to stay to the left and I stuck to that!! Through Disneyland I saw all of the characters except Mickey and Minnie, including a fantastic Captain Jack Sparrow…out of the park and I saw my family again and then headed out for the not so exciting part of the course, but they had marching bands and cheer squads, some dancers and other groups out there to entertain. It was a nice course, fairly flat and I was clicking off good miles, although a bit fast when I had two at 7:20, plan was for a 7:42 average (marathon pace minus 30), the next few were around 7:40s and then started slowing a bit toward the end, the problems with being faster earlier and chit chatting a bit with a few other races. We ran around “the pond” along the river and then into and through Angel’s stadium where they actually announced your name coming into the stadium. After coming out of there we were around mile 11 and then on, back through California Adventure and when I saw mile 13 I managed to kick it up a bit for the finish, and saw the family again…mom even got a few decent pictures. I dashed in, and found Mickey at the end, I wanted to give him a hug, but settled for a high five…had my chip removed, got my medal, my mylar blanket and headed to the food stand. Another advantage to finishing early, no lines and no lines at the massage place either!! I got a massage and then got back and found my family. I grabbed my phone, called my dad and we headed back to Connie’s. When we got back I was able to get official results…my garmin had me running 13.4 miles, a 1:44:16, that makes sense that I was at a longer distance considering the weaving, this also got me a 7:46 pace, only 4 seconds per mile slower than hoped for. Official results had me at 1:44:12, 7:56 pace, 372 overall, 61 for my gender and 8 for my age group…I haven’t seen how many total finished, but not bad. I’m pleased with the results, although I know I can run a half faster than that. My training has been geared toward a marathon though, not the training I would need for a faster half…something to look at though. I know I’m not maxed on a PR there. The race was very well organized, especially for a first one, the expo wasn’t great to deal with, but the race itself was fine. It was a nice course, the weather was good, crowd was a little light in places, but not bad, and the weather was great. I would definitely recommend it for a fun place to run and a nice race…great shirt and medal too!!

After the race we went back to Connie’s, I showered, we ate a bit, then napped and watched football before heading to Edie’s birthday celebration. I met more family that I haven’t seen in 20 or more years and it was a great day…it sucked that we had to leave the next day though.


Flight home was uneventful, we sat next to a nice gentleman that designs theme parks for a living…and told me anytime I wanted to make a trip to one he’d get me in for free!! Nice huh?? After the trip I was ready to be home and relax, but I had to drive to northern WI for a work conference. More on that later though.

1 comment:

Firefly's Running said...

VERY nice finish!! I would be a little miffed about the organization of the corrals, but it's the first race and will now learn for next year.

It must have sucked to come back the ICKY weather we have been having after being in CA.