Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend Part 2

Check out part one here!

Continuing with part 2 of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend…on Sunday morning we were up and heading to the race start at 4am. It was actually quite nice out. I believe it was around 57/58 degrees with a slight breeze as we were walking to the starting corrals. We ended up getting through security and into the race area pretty easily and found a bathroom near corral B (our starting corral).

We found several of our running friends and made our way into corral B to hang with them before the start. The race got started a few minutes after 5:30 and before long we were off!

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Our plan was to take it easy and enjoy the course, weather and overall experience. We both had run solid half marathon times just two weeks earlier at the Tear Drop Half Marathon.

Now even though we had run the Disneyland Half Marathon for the past 3 years, we had seen that the Tinkerbell course was quite different. We ended up spending the first 4+ miles in the parks. And while the WDW races only give you bits and pieces of running through the parks, the DL races give you much, more more.

 

Once we got out of the parks, the next 7 or so miles run you through a lot of the surrounding Anaheim area. It was flat and fast. Rachel and I found a nice groove/pace and knocked out these next miles.

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After getting past around mile 12, we found ourselves back in the DL resort area near Downtown Disney. We ended up crossing the finish line in under 2:28, which for taking it easy, is not bad at all.

We grabbed our Tinkerbell finisher medal and made our way over to the Coast 2 Coast (C2C) tent to grab two additional medals! We ended up with two C2C medals this year, since we “ran” the WDW Half Marathon in January and ran the Princess Half Marathon in February. Rachel was especially excited about the special Pink C2C medal for completing both the Princess and Tink in the same year!

We snapped a few pictures, grabbed water/Powerade/fuel and began the journey back over to the hotel. The only downside to these races is the walk back through security and Downtown Disney. It takes a good 20-25 minutes to walk back over to the hotels.

All in all, we had a great race and experience. Honestly, it was one of my favorite Disney races! The number of runners was a little smaller and the course/weather were excellent. I would consider doing it again in the future!

After we got showered/cleaned up, we made our way back over to the parks to celebrate with food/snacks/desserts/drinks for the next two days.

We ended up having dinner at the Blue Bayou on Sunday (race day), which was excellent! We had eaten there last year and loved it, so we definitely wanted to be sure we ate there again.

We also got super hooked up by our friend AJ with amazing seats for the Main Street Electrical Parade that night. We ended up watching the parade front and center on Main Street with basically private benches. It was awesome!

After the parade, we walked into one last store before calling it a night and who do we run into…but Mickey and Minnie!

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On Monday, we spent our last day hitting up a few remaining rides we hadn’t gotten around to yet. We ate lunch at Cafe Orleans and had Monte Cristos for lunch. They were absolutely amazing!

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We finished up the day by grabbing one last picture by the Partners statue, before making our way back over to the hotel to pack up before heading back to Atlanta the next day. It was a wonderful trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth!”

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Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend Part 1

Hello friends! If you’ve been following me on social media or the blog, you know Rachel and I went out to California/Disneyland a few weekends ago for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend. This was our 4th straight year running a race out on the west coast, but our first year running the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.

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We flew out mid-morning on Friday in order to get to California around noon PT. We wanted to be able to (hopefully) check in to our hotel, grab a quick lunch, and hit up the parks for a good half day. Fortunately, the hotel had a room available, so we were able to drop our stuff off, grab some lunch down the street, and make our way over to the Disneyland Resort!

Our plan was to take it easy the first couple of days, since we had a half marathon scheduled for Sunday morning. We didn’t want to overdo it too much. Plus, since we’ve been to the parks several times now, we knew we didn’t have to do everything. The bonus of this trip was the fact that the weather gods had decided to shine down absolutely perfect weather while we were there! I mean it was literally low 70’s during the day and high 50’s at night. We actually needed a light jacket/pullover most evenings.

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We started out at California Adventure, since it’s typically less crowded than Disneyland, and spent several hours there.

We ended up hanging out for a while before making our way over to the race expo to pick up our race numbers/shirts and check out the different vendors.

Once we finished with the expo, we headed over to the Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel for our dinner reservation. It was sooo good!

After dinner, we walked around the parks a little longer before finally calling it a night. We were both exhausted since our bodies/brains were still on eastern time.

Our plan for Saturday was to hang out at the parks and hit up the #WeRunSocial meet-up in the afternoon.

We spent time at both of the parks before heading over to the WRS meet-up, where we got to see so many of our running friends that we’ve made through social media.

We ended up making a plan to meet up with AJ, Ivie, and Kara later to eat dinner in California Adventure. AJ (who works in Guest Relations at Disneyland), his fiancee Ivie, and Kara (who lives in Michigan) have become great friends. I was so grateful for some extra time with them. Plus, AJ is honestly my brother from another mother. I love this guy!

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After dinner and walking around for a bit, Rachel and I called it an early night since we had a very early wake up call the next morning. We got our race stuff organized and ready to go before heading on to sleep. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon was calling!

Stay tuned for part 2 of the race weekend recap!

Allen Updates

After almost 2 weeks off from the blog, I’m back! It’s been a fun, but quite busy month of May for sure. Here are some things that have been going on this month.

  • Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend Rachel and I spent 5 days out in California over Mother’s Day Weekend for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort. We had a wonderful trip at one of our favorite places! The weather, people, atmosphere, food and race could not have been better. I plan on doing 2-3 blog posts about our experiences soon.

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  • Job Shift Once we got back from California, my job officially shifted at the church back to overseeing the Activities/Gym exclusively. I am very much looking forward to focusing my attention on one specific ministry at the church.
  • Rachel’s Birthday This past Sunday, Rachel turned 32! We had a very laid-back and low-key day celebrating her birthday. We weren’t able to see her parents, so we are planning on celebrating with them this coming weekend. Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife!

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  • May Running With the temperatures and humidity rising in Atlanta and a 5 day vacation, I’ve started to see my mileage and pace drop a little this month. I typically average around 100 miles a month, but as of today I’m only at 60 miles. Plus, the weather has been quite rainy the past few days, which never helps. With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, my guess is I will still get above 80+ miles for the month. But it will definitely be my lowest monthly mileage in quite some time.

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So that’s just a small snapshot of what’s been going on this month in my world. How’s your month been going?

Tear Drop Half Marathon Recap (Part Two)

Check out part one here

So continuing with part two of the Tear Drop Half Marathon…Rachel and I were up and at it very early Sunday morning. We made our way over to Chatsworth to meet up with the buses that would take everyone to the starting line at the top of the mountain. Fortunately, there was plenty of parking (this was where the race finished) and several buses running simultaneously in order to accommodate all of the runners.

Rachel and I got on a bus a little after 6am and started the journey up the mountain. It was about a 20 minute drive to the top. I knew just from the drive, we were in for a fun and fast downhill race.

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On the way up to the top of the mountain

Once we got to the top, the first thing we noticed was how foggy, chilly and windy it was. We knew the race was going to end in the mid 70’s, so we both decided to dress for warmer weather. However, we weren’t quite prepared for how cool it would be at the top of the mountain. Plus, we had a good 45 minutes to an hour before the race started. 

After killing some time, we got into the starting area and got prepared for the 13.1 mile journey. Rachel and I had not planned to run together, since we both had separate goals for the race. We made plans to meet at the finish line and text each other if we needed anything.

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Pre-race picture

Once the race started and the crowd began to spread out, I said goodbye and started moving ahead. The course was very interesting. It started by basically going downhill for about 1.8 miles, before turning around and going right back up to the start. And then it began the actual journey down to the bottom, which is roughly mile 4 to mile 12.

I tried very hard to pace myself, especially for the first 1.8 miles downhill, as I knew I would have to conserve energy for the uphill climb. But, y’all, it was hard. I made the turn to head back uphill and the hill almost took me out. This was a brutal climb back to the start. This was my slowest 2 miles for sure.

Once I got to the top and made the turn to head down, I remember seeing Rachel coming up the hill and giving her a big “You’ve Got This!” since she still had a little ways to go.

At this point, it was basically all downhill for the next 7-8 miles. In fact, there was a sign telling runners to basically “Let It Rip!” I began to increase my pace and tried not to hurt myself!

 

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Blurry picture but part of the race course

Now running downhill for this long can definitely help your pace, but it is also very tough on the legs, especially the quads. After several miles I found myself thinking, this is much harder than I was expecting. While my pace was definitely great, I was starting to really feel it. Plus, the temperature and humidity were steadily increasing. 

After a while, all I could think about was at least breaking my number 1 goal of a 2:10 half marathon. Once I got past mile 10, I started realizing I had a great shot at breaking my number 2 goal of a 2:05 half marathon. 

I ended up kicking into another gear for miles 10-12, which ended up being 3 of my fastest miles. And then I got to the bottom and the final mile…

Friends, the final mile sucked to say the least. You hit the bottom of the mountain and immediately have to climb a yet another hill for almost half a mile. I was more or less exhausted by this point. I ended up having to take 2 different walk breaks just to catch my breath and sanity.

Once I finished this final hill, I made the turn towards the finish line and the final stretch. At this point, I knew I was in great shape for the sub 2:05 time, so I pushed myself one last time and gave it all I could to finish strong.

I ended up crossing in 2:04:21! I was pumped! This was my second fastest half marathon time ever! And while it wasn’t a sub 2 hour half, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I grabbed my medal and several water bottles/bananas and walked back over to the finish line to wait for Rachel. 

I knew Rachel’s PR was around 2:17 and she was hoping to get back down to that timeframe. The current qualifying half time she’s able to use is around 2:24, so anything better than 2:24 would be great.

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Go Rachel Go!

As it got to around the 2:17 mark on the finish clock, I saw her coming down the final stretch of the race. I knew she still had another minute or so to go, but she was easily going to break the 2:24 mark. I was so proud of her! I jumped back into the race course for the final 15 seconds and ran across the finish line with her. She ended up with 2:18:04, which is less than a minute from her PR! And honestly, in these conditions with these kind of race course, she rocked it!

 

Rachel grabbed her medal and water before getting a quick finisher picture.

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Finished!

And then we jumped right back into the car and drove straight to the hotel to shower and clean up. We were both very sweaty and very tired.

All in all, it was a great weekend. The race ended up being a win for both of us in regards to finish time. But I will say, we both were very sore and tired for the next several days. My legs were easily as tired as they have been after a race, and that includes some of my full marathons. Now, will I consider running this particular race again? Honestly, probably not. But, it definitely had nothing to do with the race itself or the company that ran the overall race. I’m just not sure it would be worth it to my legs and quads. 

Anyways…another half marathon in the books! Rachel and I leave tomorrow for Disneyland/California for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend! We are looking forward to several days out there and running yet another race! Recap(s) coming soon!

Tear Drop Half Marathon Recap Part One

Last weekend (April 30), Rachel and I ran the Tear Drop Half Marathon in Chatsworth, GA, which is about 75 miles northwest of Atlanta. We decided to grab a hotel room in Dalton for Saturday night, since it was only about 25 minutes from the race and much closer to the interstate for our trip home.

This race offers a very different kind of challenge, as the race actually starts at the top of a mountain and is mostly downhill. I knew this would allow for a much faster pace, but would be tough on the quads/legs.

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I also knew I wanted to run this particular race solo, so that I could try to get close to my PR (personal record) of 1:57. Rachel would also be running the half and was hoping to get close to her own PR of 2:17.

After my PR of 1:57 back in March of 2015, my next best half time is 2:07, but unfortunately, both of these times were from several years ago and I wouldn’t be able to use them as proof of time for corral placements for future races. At this point, my half time for corral placement was 2:24. I knew it was time to get myself back down closer to the 2 hour mark.

I had 3 different goals for the race…

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Goal A: Finish under 2:10. I had been really working on my pace/speed the past few months and felt pretty confident that I could get myself under 2:10, especially since a lot of the race was downhill.

Goal B: Finish under 2:05. This was the goal I wasn’t 100% sure I could pull off, but I thought I had a decent shot at. I knew it would require basically a 9:30 per mile pace for 13.1 miles, which I had been averaging for a lot of my training runs the past few weeks. However, a lot of those training runs were between 4-6 miles.

Goal C: Finish under 2:00. I was pretty sure this one wasn’t going to happen, but I figured I would at least put it out there in case the conditions (weather, course, etc…) were perfect.

On Saturday we made our way up to Chatsworth to pick up our race number/shirt and get the lay of the land. This is a much smaller race (about 400 total runners), so we were in and out in less than 5 minutes. But it was helpful to see where we would need to be to start the race early the next morning.

After exploring the area for a few minutes, we made our way over to our hotel in Dalton to check in. We decided to head up to Chattanooga to get some pasta, since there are way more food options and it’s only 20 minutes north of Dalton. After grabbing dinner, we headed back to our hotel room to rest and watch TV before calling it an early night. The next morning would be an early one….

Part Two of the Tear Drop Half Marathon Recap coming soon!

Friday Favorites

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Hard to believe we are already 5 days into May. The weather has been rainy and actually a little on the cooler side. Once the weather clears out tonight, it looks like an almost perfect weather weekend. Highs near 70 and lows in the upper 40’s. You know I’ll be getting in a good run tomorrow for sure! Anyways…on to another edition of Friday Favorites.

  • Tear Drop Half Marathon Last Sunday, Rachel and I ran the Tear Drop Half Marathon in Chatsworth, GA (Northwest of Atlanta). It was definitely one of the toughest races I’ve ever participated in (rolling hills for the first 4 miles and then downhill for almost 8 miles). And while the race was quite different than most of the half marathons I do, I ran my second fastest time! This will allow me to submit a new time, which should approve my starting corral placement for upcoming races. My PR (personal record) time expired this year, so it was time for a new one. Also, Rachel came within a minute of her PR! I was so proud of her! Anyways…an official recap of the race is coming next week.

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  • SeaWheeze Race Shorts Several months ago, I blogged that I got a free entry into the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver in August. I was pumped to have the opportunity to run this very popular race. One of the coolest parts of this particular race is that it’s sponsored by Lululemon! So instead of doing race shirts, they do Lululemon race shorts. If you know anything about me, you know my love of Lulu running shorts. And even better, they send you the shorts several months before the race, so you can train in them. All that to say, my race shorts came in today…and they are super unique and I love them! I can’t wait to break in these bad boys soon!

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  • Senior Recognition/Youth Sunday This Sunday is my last Sunday working with the Youth Ministry at the church (St. James UMC). As I’ve mentioned before, I am transitioning back to overseeing the Activities Building/Gym exclusively this month. For my last Sunday, the youth ministry is in charge of both Sunday morning services. This means they will literally oversee every aspect of the services, from preaching and reading scripture to ushering and serving communion. In addition to leading the services, we are also recognizing all of our graduating high school seniors. It should be a great morning celebrating our youth/seniors!
  • Family I love my family! There’s no question, we all truly love each other and celebrate each other’s successes. So for my last Friday Favorite, I want to celebrate something exciting that is happening for each of my immediate family members.
    • Dad My dad has been dating this wonderful lady (Suzanne) for several years now. A few months ago, they announced to us they are getting married in early August. We are all so happy for dad and excited to welcome Suzanne to our family!
    • Warren My older brother Warren and his family are planning an amazing trip to London and Paris for June. My dad is even going along with them. Just from my conversations with Warren, it looks like it’s going to be a once in a lifetime trip!
    • Will My younger brother Will is actually celebrating his birthday on Wednesday, May 10. He is hitting the big 40! Fortunately, we are only 17 months apart, so I’m not “that” far removed from 40. Rachel and I are heading up to visit his family (including my dad, who is in town) tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing him and celebrating this special birthday!
    • Julie My baby sister Julie welcomed a new addition to their household yesterday in the form of a new puppy, Lucy! She is precious and my nieces look like they are already in love with this animal. Looks like Rachel and I will need to get down to Auburn soon to visit!

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And there you have it! The “Cinco De Mayo” addition of Friday Favorites! Hope everyone has a great weekend! Until next time….