Monday, March 23, 2009

Race Skirt, My (2) Race number(s) and my medal

As I was packing to go home, I spotted my race skirt. Since November, I had my original race number tucked into my suitcase. Race morning I decide to wear both. The new race bib mostly covering the old one, but other runners would see it and smile. Also included, obligatory medal shot.

Race Notes: Pasadena Half Marathon (Now With Extra Drama)

This was the Re-do of the Inaugural Pasadena race. The race was scheduled last November. Unfortunately the race was canceled a 4 am the morning of the event due to poor air quality from the wildfires. I was disappointed for the competitors, but also for the race organizers. The organizers, a community non-profit, had tried to put on a great, high quality event only to be snuffed out by a natural disaster. A lot of competitors were pissed especially since the event didn't have cancellation insurance and couldn't refund entry fees. However, runners who were willing to try again were given a steep discount. (Lets keep this in perspective. Some people lost everything they owned in the wildfires. A race entry, while annoying, isn't that big.)

For the re- inaugural, I paid extra to pick up my race number on race morning. Last November, I very nearly missed picking up my race number when we got caught in the wildfire evacuation traffic. It's good that I paid for race morning privileges this time. Running to catch the Amtrak to Pasadena, we were confounded by a convertible roof that got stuck halfway up. Then when we changed trains in LA Union Station, Steve's wallet got lost or stolen. We finally made it to Pasadena long after the race expo had closed.

The race was challenging because it was rainy, windy and chilly. There were times when the race conditions were miserable, but there were also some really nice miles. The course was slightly hilly including a steady climb for miles 8-10. I had a little stomach ache and decided to stay off my beloved raisin nut trail mix on the course. I ended up finally using the Shot Blox I've carried in my race belt for the last 18 months. My tummy held up and I had plenty of gas to the finish. Along the course, there were a few spectators and some truly valiant volunteers. As I rounded the bend to the finish, Steve was waiting. It was awesome to see him at the finish line.

Steve and I spent the afternoon walking around the art collections and gardens of the Huntington Library. We barely covered half of the place. I was telling Steve that I wanted to come back and see the rest, but we haven't had much luck in our two Pasadena trips - wildfires, storms, lost wallets. He laughed and reminded me that we had three trips to Pasadena. The third trip was also a misadventure. Pasadena just doesn't like us.

Congratulations go to the event organizers - they did a great job and this was the quality event they envisioned. You'll have to pardon me if I don't show up for next year's race. After wildfires and storms, I'm worried the third race might have a swarm of locusts!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Disney Princess Half Marathon - Finishers' Party and Hidden Mickeys

After the race, Disney hosted a finisher's party at Disney Hollywood Studios amusement park. The park was closed with the exception of finishers and their guests. The park probably had less than 4,000 people in it. Normally, it would have about 20,000 people. There were no lines at all. It was awesome, because it is my favorite of all the Disney parks.

I did end of waiting at my favorite ride, the Tower of Terror - not due to a line, but due to a miscommunication with Debbie. As I was waiting, I met one of the Disney cast members and asked about the hidden Mickey's in the ride. He was incredibly well informed. He told me about the history of the ride and all 14 hidden mickeys in the ride. I'd already found 2 of them, but the others were a surprise. I've probably been on that ride 100 times in both Florida and California - searching for the hidden Mickeys every time. Somehow I missed 12 of them.

Just for fun, I'll give you an easy one. Can you find the hidden mickey on the concierge desk at the Tower of Terror? I shot this photo to make the hidden mickey easy to find.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Disney Princess Race Report

Gee, my race notes are 10 days late. Perhaps because there isn't much notable about my performance. It was not my best race or my worst. I had a consistent run with no complaints. Most races I come home with a few things to improve and a few things that were perfect. This time, I have neither. I had a good day, but not a great one.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon was a well produced event - flat race course, well organized, nice weather. It was, unfortunately, a bit boring. The course went through Epcot and the Magic Kingdom which was cool, but took up less than 3 miles of the 13.1. Between the two parks, there was a lot of nothing.

Here is what gives me faith that this race, which is already very good, will only get better. We met two people from the Disney Endurance Sports group. Both asked what went wrong, how could they improve, how did Disney compare to the Rock N Roll Marathon series and the Nike Women's Marathon? They weren't looking for kudos; they were trying to learn how to run a world class event.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Disney Princess Half Marathon Swag ... I Gots It

Two shirts, a pin, a race bag and my race bib. Swag. I love it. (I must concede that the commemorative Disney ears were a dud though.) Please note my race bib refers to me as Princess Christine.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Same As It Ever Was

Tomorrow I'm headed to Orlando to run in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Guess what the weather will be on Sunday. Did you pick hot and humid? Then you'd be right!

Because every race I do needs to be accomplished within 5 degrees of the record high for that day.




SSE 8 mph
Max. Humidity:66%
UV Index:8 Very High
Sunrise:7:44 AM ET
Avg. High:76°F
Record High:87°F (1974)

A Weekend of Surprises

Our Saturday run was supposed to go along the trails in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. It's a beautiful location, complete with a waterfall and lots of wildlife. I was really looking forward to it, even though I'm not much of a trail runner. Unfortunately, when we got there both entrances to the trail were flooded. (How exactly? This is the desert.) With the trails a no-go, we ended up running up (and by that I mean uphill) Black Mountain Road to the Highway 56 bike path. It was a route chock full of hilly glory. It was a pretty tough 8 miles - hot with no shade and extra heat reflecting off the asphalt. Again, my hydration wasn't the best and I had leg cramps on the hills. Must drink more water.

Sunday Steve and Donna rode the Grandfondo Century Ride. I met them at mile 60 with comfy chairs situated in the one shady spot available, lunch, sports drinks, sunscreen and 20 pounds of ice. As I was waiting for Donna and Steve, I got some strong clues that the Grandfondo was a tough ride. Relatively few riders made it to mile 60. The riders who made it in were all exhausted and this was only a bit past the midpoint of the ride. Plus, I saw a number of riders stop and phone for rides home. My last clue was that Steve and Donna were almost an hour later than they'd planned. Since they are both strong climbers, I knew it was tough out there. When they arrived, Steve checked his cycle GPS. The Grandfondo was supposed to have 4800 ft of climbing, a tough ride by any standard. However, at mile 60 they'd already climbed over 6,000 feet. Whew. Glad it was them and not me.

That's endurance racing in all it glory - you plan, you prepare and sometimes the course laughs at you.