15 December 2013

Dumbo Challenge Recap

Inspired by Sean Astin, our Castle jump shot
So, I'm going to make myself put together my race recaps from my #90daysofinsanity... and as I get ready to start doing these I realize I haven't even recapped the Dumbo Challenge from Disneyland back over Labor Day!  Geesh - I am so behind and I apologize.  So, without further ado...

I had been looking forward to this weekend for months! It was going to be the first time since WDW Marathon Weekend that I was going to see Captain Linz, Jen, and my brother from another mother Joe, fellow #CorralG members.  Linzie and I checked in a few times in the weeks leading up to the race weekend, and it was going to be so much fun to see him and to catch up with our other #CorralG buds!   I kept hoping my Disney CM friend was going to be coming out, but life was a little crazy for her, with ordination exams being right before the trip, so she opted for a different trip.  I was able to secure a spot in a room at Disney's Grand Californian Resort with the wonderful folks from the Bacon Challenge, and again bought myself a ticket via my Delta Skymiles.  The room was gorgeous but a little cramped because it was 5 of us in one regular style room!  But that didn't really matter because we were hardly in the room.  The best part of the Disneyland resort overall is everything being right there!

I got in Thursday night and my chariot was waiting - a special pick up from the Captain himself, even though he had secured a spot in the meetup early the next morning and my flight got in late.  Gotta love family :)  On Friday morning we headed over to the expo after Linzie finished up the fun at the meet up, and it was a ZOO!!  I'm not even going to bother with a recap of the expo - there are plenty out there.  It was not the best Disney experience but it was fun running into all my Disney buds: Krissy, Jen, Brandi, not to mention seeing Diet Diva Tara on stage and Carissa announcing.  We grabbed the important things and stood in line for over an hour to check out - but then it was on to the real fun of the weekend.

Best ride photo of the weekend!
I had secured a three-day park hopper ticket and it was so much fun to hang out in the parks, and see Carsland (and ride Radiator Springs Racers multiple times) with my #CorralG buds.  And the highlight of the weekend was definitely getting the call that #babyChambo had finally made her appearance!  Oh yeah - and hanging out with my fam at Club 33!  I have to say - there are some things about Disneyland that I love more than WDW, but there are some things that Walt just made better once he got to Florida.

I was lucky enough to run the Dumbo Challenge for Team for Life with Lazarex Foundation.  The Lazarex Foundation is an amazing foundation that assists terminal cancer patients in identifying and applying for trials, and also helping both the patient AND a support person (family member or friend) get to the location of the trail for the duration of their treatment.  And 100% of funds raised go to patients - the founder has donated her own funds to the administrative costs of the foundation!  I initially started my fundraising efforts in honor of our family friend Steve, who is defeating stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Given a 6 month diagnosis over two years ago, Steve is still here and we are so grateful for the treatment he is receiving.  While he is not a Lazarex patient, he is undergoing nontraditional treatment for his cancer, and this is what has saved his life.  But as I continued fundraising, I learned of other friends that were impacted by cancer and realized that #cancersucks.  So I began raising money for every cancer warrior I know, those we have lost and those that keep fighting, and met my goal.  I'm also super pumped that my friend Adam, another #CorralG member, whose dad I ran in honor of at Dumbo, will be running the Boston Marathon for the Beth Israel Medical Deaconness Medical Center who has been crucial in his dad's success fighting cancer.  It's so amazing to raise money for great charities like this, and then to run races in honor of those we raised the money for!

10K Team!
10K Team Castle Shot
Wow - I've already written so much and haven't even talked about the races!  Yes - races, plural.  This was my first challenge - 10K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday - in my craziness.  I have to say, I really loved the 10K course because so much of it was in the parks.  The downside of racing at Disneyland is that it is so much smaller, so most of the half marathon takes place out in Anaheim.  A group of us were pacing with a friend who was doing his first challenge as well, not to mention his first half marathon on Sunday.  We were taking it easy on the 10K, since we were all running the next day and didn't want to burn out too early on the half course.  We stopped for some character shots, but there were some long
lines, so we skipped those.  I had a ton of fun running with Erica - who blasted her music from her iPhone on her arm so we could both listen - especially when we turned around to go back because we realized we'd missed the photographer!  It was a PR in terms of my slowest 10K time, but it didn't matter because we had so much fun as a group!

Group photo before the race
The next day, we all split into our respective corrals and ran our own races.  Linzie, Joe, and I met together in the corral and crossed the start together, but I knew they were working towards a goal I wasn't ready for, so I sent them off.  It had been awhile since I'd run a race by myself, just for me, so I set myself to my pace - 4 min run, 1 min walk - and took off.  I enjoyed the scenery and took a few photos, but for the most part, just ran.  I loved getting text support from Jill, and even later seeing my sister's response to my Facebook post a mile 10 - where she got confused that I was at mile 10 but posted "only 5K to go!" - mixing of units and all!  I set myself up to listen to my favorite Disneyland music - World of Color - as I was coming in to the finish.  And as I came back onto Disney property, I started thinking about what I set out to accomplish with this race, racing for Team for Life.  I thought about Steve and how amazing his cancer story is.  I thought about Adam's dad and Cindy's mom who are fighting cancer.  I thought about my Aunt Marsha who had breast cancer, but is in remission.  And I thought about my friend Chelsea, who lost her dad to cancer when she was younger.  I started to get emotional - there were definitely tears in my eyes as I crossed that finish line and received my half marathon medal, and then my challenge medal.  I had done what I set out to do - raise money for an amazing charity and conquer a super fun challenge!  And then I saw Linzie and Joe, who had finished just ahead of me.  There were hugs all around and we were so excited about our day.  And then I realized I had gotten a PR!!  It was a great day.

This was the second year that I've run the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend for a charity partner.  I am seriously considering doing it again - and making this my charity race each year.  And I would love to run for Team for Life again.  Keep an eye out for that announcement :)

Celebrity Sightings of the Weekend:

Sean Astin, Paul, me
Me, Dennis, Erica
Me, Joey Fatone, Erica
My Disney CM friend is already scouting rates, and with her first runDisney half under her belt, I think I've converted her.  Can't wait for next year.

Sweet Weekend Bling!

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