Fueled by Pixie Dust

It's been a minute since there's been any talk of my journey as a runner (it's still so weird to consider myself a runner, I'm not sure I'll ever feel comfortable with the term). But, the last race I ran was November of 2014

Eight months ago I decided it was due time to pull up my boot straps and get to work really pounding the pavement. 

I'd been longing for a finish line, as well as some motivation to push me past my typical three to four mile runs to which I'd become complacent. The Disneyland Pixie Dust Challenge sounded like a swell idea. A 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday morning, followed by a half marathon (13.1 miles) the Sunday after. Before I knew what I was doing, I was all signed up.

When it was time to train I stuck to my running schedule like it was my only ticket to heaven. I didn't miss a single run. Most of the time I was pushing one, if not both kids, in the jogging strollers. Thankfully due to friends and family, my long runs were spent solo. I cannot fathom pushing a double jogger for anything over four miles. 

Race weekend came and my nerves, per the usual, we shot to hell. I will never understand why I get this way. It's not like I'm going to win the damn race, and it's not like I'm planning to break any records. But, alas, my stomach was still a ball of knots. 

Saturday - 10k
My alarm went off at precisely 4:25am. I was out the door by 4:40, and in the F Corral (the. very. last. corral) by 5:10. Thanks to the lack of races I've run in the last three years I had no official race times to get me in a better corral. Whomp whomp. Lesson learned. 

The start gun went off at exactly 5:30, and it wasn't until 6:00am that Corral F finally made its way over the start line. 
I took my pace nice and easy, yet still spent what felt like most of the time ducking and dodging around walkers. 
Instead of running for time I spent the 6.2 miles looking for the course photogs. If you can't PR you might as well get some good pictures out of those miles!
I tried to keep a few mental notes while running the 10k:
1) I could not believe just how many people were actually participating. Though it was kind of annoying trying to get around people just to have space to move, it was pretty awe-inspiring to see so many showed up to log 6.2 miles before breakfast. 
2) Never, ever, in any race I've ever run have I experienced more mindful runners, particularly at water stations. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE threw their water cups in the trash cans. Usually water stations are littered with empty cups.
3) People were stopping to take pictures with characters. There were LONG lines of people waiting to get pics with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Hook, and several of the Lost Boys. It blew my mind, and I just kept on running.
4) The costumes! Of course there were guys dressed as Pan - tights and all -, about six million fairy wings that were reminiscent of Tinkerbell, Lost Boys at every turn, so many Mr. Smee's, a Rufio or two, and even a handful of people in full crocodile suits. But, the one costume that took the cake (or should I say churro)? A SPARKLY CHURRO COSTUME. It was worn a lot like those giant banana costumes, and it. was. amazing. I hope that chick, whoever she is, won some sort of costume award. 

Finally, after a pace which I'm almost too embarrassed to even mention - 1:05:07 (9:57/mile pace [I don't even run that slow when I'm pushing BOTH kids!]) - I crossed the finish line and completed the first portion of the Pixie Dust Challenge. 

Sunday - Half Marathon
More of the same Sunday morning. 4:30am alarm, out the door by 4:40. In Corral F by 5:20. I was completely blown away by the number of people participating in the half. This was, by far, the largest half marathon I've ever participated in. It was a sea of people for as far as the eye could see.
I should mention, that not a race has gone by where I haven't been completely overwhelmed with emotion as I'm waiting for the start. There is something about the sun rising over so many people all joined together with a common goal. Those moments alone also leave me with a lot of time to reflect on how grateful I am for my family for supporting me, my friends who've helped care for my kids when I just couldn't push a jogger one more mile, as well as my body for allowing me to run.

Again, a 5:30 gun start, but Corral F didn't get to the start line until 6:05. After the 10k I knew I should run for the experience, the atmosphere, and not the time. But, I just couldn't help myself. For a solid 6 miles I spent ducking, dodging, and just trying to break out of the heard and find some space to open up my stride.
 I noted more of the same from the morning before. People were so courteous with their water cups, and the lines to take photos with characters was insane.
I just kept an eye out for those race photogs.
I also apparently only have one race face/pose: arms up, jazz hands, mouth wide open... But really, what else is a runner supposed to do? I made one pathetic attempt at jumping up in the air, but quickly nixed that idea and decided to just leave my legs to running.
After the first frustrating six miles, miles 7, 8, 9, and 10 were pretty smooth sailing. It was the dreaded last 5k that played mind games, as is the norm with me and the half marathon distance. But, the mind won over the legs, and like a beacon of light, the finish line appeared just when I didn't think I could go another tenth of a mile.
I spotted Scott, Marcus and Julia at the finish and the tears immediately welled up in my eyes. Seeing my favorite people in the world, at one of my favorite places in the world, doing one of my favorite things in the world, at the end made the finish oh-so sweet. 
Crossing a finish line never, ever gets old, no matter how many times it's been done. 

And while this is certainly not my best time - 2:04:09 (9:08/mile pace, I was REALLY hoping for a sub-2 time) - there wasn't a single regret in completing the Pixie Dust Challenge. 
This week I've spent allowing my body to rest a bit. I think it's deserving of a few days off and a few easy recovery runs. And then it's back to work. I like the idea of another half or two before the year is over. I wouldn't mind running this particular race again next year, but in a better corral assignment. But, really? Truly? I'm seriously toying with the idea of a full marathon, I think I need to go ahead and get that out of my system already...

Until I decide which race is next I'll be over here admiring the Pixie Dust Hardware.


  1. No joke, this had me smiling the whole post! You look so happy and excited to be there and I love that you were having fun while running! You look fantastic and so fit!

    I think even I would do the run for those medals and I'm horrible at running, haha.

  2. You. Are. Amazing. And those are the BEST race photos I've literally ever seen! Congratulations!!!

  3. Oh my gosh!!! Seriously even my eyes welled up just reading that you saw your favorite people in your favorite place while doing one of your favorite things. I am so, SO glad your family got to see you and so, so proud of you for completely such amazing races! Seriously it must have been so awesome to be running through Disneyland! And your pictures are epic. I love them all. It looks like you truly enjoyed the races!

  4. You're WAY too happy in these pictures to be running ;)

  5. Way to go girl! Love the jazz hands :)

  6. 1. What a fun race! I would love to do this after baby is born, and ya know, I get back in running shape. 2. I love how similar all your picture poses are. 3. The medals are the best. Proud of you friend!

  7. That's so great. I love that you were looking for the photographers! If it makes you feel any better, the kids and I walked a 5k in 54 minutes so 1 hour is not that bad!

  8. You are amazing! Way to go! I love the joy in your face in each photo!!

  9. SO cool!! You're amazing, and a serious inspiration!! You did great - you embraced the journey!

  10. Congrats, that's awesome! I've always wanted to run that 10k.

  11. You go girl!!! If I ever were to do a run it would have to be at Disney. Nothing else would even remotely motivate me (unless its a life or death situation.) I adore all your photos!!

  12. Congrats! I've always wanted to run in a Disney race!

  13. I am so so impressed with you! You ran not one race, but two! You are a badass, Desiree.