Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stephanie's Dumbo Double Dare race report

Submitted by Stephanie A. Harris @Steph_Harris12

I first learned about the Dumbo Double Dare [Disneyland 10K plus half marathon] at the 2013 Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon. I never gave it a second thought, it was totally out of the question. 19.3 miles, are they crazy? I was perfectly happy with my 13.1 miles and just getting use to doing those.

As my husband and I sat around the supper table with a great group of runners listening to stories of their races, my good friend Heather piped up and said "You should do it!" I thought to myself, yeah right! After a couple text messages and a Facebook message from Heather, I decided I was doing it. I recruited my husband against his will. He was already unhappy with me that I had added him to my crazy year of completing one half marathon a month. Registration day came and I found myself sitting at the computer waiting for it to open up. I kept refreshing the screen until it was time. Done, two Dumbo Double Dare registrations and a single 10K registration for my daughter. My wallet screamed at me. It had officially become a family event.

I'm one of those costume wearing racers. So, planning out what to wear and what my husband would allow me to design for him was a small challenge. I'm not too crafty, so it needed to be simple. For the 10K, I decided on dressing as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and our daughter was Alice. For the 1/2 marathon, I went with Mickey and Minnie. Simple costumes with NO tights, as I was instructed by my husband.

We left our house in Vegas and headed to Anaheim the day before the 10K. The closer we got the more excited I became. I was excited to see friends and to get my three medals. I was also excited because this was going to be my first meet up with my #run3rd family and Sean. I'd met Sean briefly after the Neverland 5K in January and he took a picture with my daughter who had just completed her first Disney race. It was pretty exciting for her!

As we neared Anaheim, I began to experience a bit of anxiety that we were going to be late to the expo. As I've gotten older, some weird clock inside me hates the thought of being late. I know the expo goes all day, but I wanted to be there by 1pm to hear Sean speak and I was meeting two friends at the talk. I made it to the expo just as Sean began to talk. I had to then listen to my husband, "I told you we'd make it", over and over.

Friday seemed to fly by. I realized that come Saturday morning, it's the first of two races. I was a little bummed. I'm so use to getting down to Anaheim and having at least a day and a half to get settled, relax, and prepare. My stomach already started churning.

Saturday morning came way too fast. I slept terrible. Nervous stomach. I just don't get it. Why does this continue to happen to me? It's a fun race, my stomach should leave me alone! My husband and I were dressed and ready to go. It took a little bit to get Gillian to get up. At one point, she even told me to leave her alone. We made it to the meet location and had just missed the #run3rd meet up by literally one minute. I was bummed, but several #run3rd-ers were still there and were happy to take another photo (Dawnley and Tracy).

Being born and raised in Southern California, Disneyland has always been my favorite place in the whole world. I'd spend every birthday there, which most of the time it was too darn hot since my birthday is in August. I'm also one of those crazy people who need to be in the park from open until close. I love Disney races, but what I don't love is the outrageous cost. I love the people who dress up, the volunteers, the vibe, and the overall experience. Oh, I almost forgot the BLING, love the bling. After completing 12 half marathons to date, Disney, by far puts on the best race and the support along the course is outstanding.

The announcement was made to head to the corrals. The three of us managed to stay together in the corral, even though one of us was in a different corral. At the last minute, Gillian decided she was going to run with me instead of her dad. I was pretty happy because I'm always alone and it's nice to have someone by your side. This was the first 10K for all three of us. In the past, I usually don't stop and take any photos because I feel like I just don't have time for that. I'm already slow as it is. I'll just have to cherish the mental photos. This race ended up being a little different. Gillian and I decided to get a few photos in. I let her decide when we were going to stop. We got a few photos with the mile markers. Some of the mile markers were way too packed to wait, so we ended up at mile markers 2, 4, and we decided to just stick with the even numbers and get mile 6. When we hit mile marker 5, there was no passing it up. Alice and the Mad Hatter were there. We just had to get that photo!

Gillian crossed the finish line shortly before I did. She got ahead of me and was so sweet. She kept looking back for me. I told her "Just go, it's okay!" We were both eagerly looking for my hubby and he wasn't there. Gillian was a little sad at first, but then he found us. We did it, out first 10K. I loved every minute of it, except for the humid weather that day!

Sunday oh Sunday, why did you have to arrive so fast and so early? Our alarm went off at 0300. I wasn't missing this #run3rd meet up! I went to bed early and still had a terrible night of sleep. I woke up around 0100 with a nervous stomach and actually thought I would vomit. We made the meet up no problems. Soon after, they were already announcing for everyone to head to the corrals. I was assigned to corral G, which of course was the last corral. My husband and friend were in E. They decided to come to G with me, since another participant felt the need to report me to staff. The race was to start at 0530. but by the time G made it to the start line, it was nearly 0620. I had began to lose some of the excitement I had in the very beginning because I started thinking about what time this would put my finish at.

I must say that this was the most challenging race so far. I also felt very defeated early on. From the very first race I did in 2012, I was deathly afraid of the "orange flags" and being swept from the course. I had only learned about these orange flags the night before my first half marathon. The mere thought of them made my stomach upset. I was happy to say that I had never seen those dreaded orange flags. You know that saying, "Never say never!"

I had a slow start and shortly into the park, I needed to use the restroom. I decided it was okay to stop as there was no line. To my horror upon leaving the Andy Gump, I got my first glimpse of the orange flags. I was completely horrified and began to cry, as I was only nearly mile 3. I immediately text my husband to let him know I was so far behind that I saw the flaggers. As always, Jason text me back with loving, encouraging words, and you better pick it up! I pulled myself together and pushed forward to gain a 30 second lead, and then a 5 minute lead. I could breathe a little easier once I got that 5 minutes. Around mile 5, I had another low point. I actually text a friend and asked her to just please come get me, which she refused and I'm glad she did. I began to breakdown and cry again after reading her text with all her positive encouraging words. I started to wonder what the hell is wrong with me? Since I no longer have a uterus, I began to blame my emotions on my pseudo menstration and the ovaries I retained. Damn hormones! It's the only possible answer to why I've already cried two times during this race. I plugged along and plugged along, constantly battling those damn orange flags. I'm pretty sure I even mumbled a few profanities under my breath of course. My next breakdown came in between mile 9 and 10, when I received a call from my daughter wanting to know what mile I was at. I totally broke down and starting crying to her. She tried to boost me up with her sweet words, only to be followed by the sweetest text, that of course made me cry again. It read: "Mom, this is Gillian. You are the most amazing and strong mom, you can do anything. I love you." Now, tell me, who wouldn't get choked up by that? Entering Angels stadium was pretty amazing, coming down that tunnel onto the field level and looking up into the stands. I was not prepared for people to be cheering. It was an awesome feeling. Just outside of the stadium was mile marker 10, and guess who I saw? The flaggers. They were resting in the shade and enjoying some water. It was news to me that once you hit mile 10, you are safe. I never knew this because I'd never experienced being so behind.
At about mile 11, I got a call from Jason, that jerk. He was already finished wearing his two new medals. He cheered me on from over the phone and guess what? Yep, I cried again. He assured me that he would find a way to sneak back into the finish area and be waiting for me like he does at every race. I love that guy! There's nothing like looking up and seeing your best friend waiting for you! I kept him posted as I hit mile 12 and then mile 13. I pushed on and sprinted the best I could to the finish line, where I cried two more times, one for each medal.

I'm not normally one who cries throughout the whole race, just when I cross the finish line. I'm not sure why I still do that, but maybe one day it will pass. This was definitely the hardest race for me! I didn't even mention the heat and humidity, that really took a lot out of not only me but lots of other racers. Yes, I live in Vegas and I should be use to the heat, but I never run in it. I'll choose a nice cool gym with an indoor track or treadmill any day.

What got me through to the end? There were many factors that got me to the end. As painful as this race was, I couldn't quit. I thought about it, trust me, but there's something inside me that will not allow quitting. My dedications in my pocket also played a huge factor and just when I was getting to a low spot, I tried something different this race. I began saying each one of my dedications out loud. I battled with my thoughts and my mind wanting to be negative, but I had the support of awesome family and friends. I marveled at the scenery and all of the costumed people. It always seems that during these Disney races that just when you need them, the on course support are just around the corner. From cheerleaders, neighborhood residents to marching bands and those perfect strangers holding up awesome signs.

While, I most likely will not do this race again, I am looking forward to my next Disney race. The Wine & Dine in November. I'm so excited, I want to start packing now!

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