Just a few short weeks after racing in Missouri, I headed to California to again run as part of Girl Power 2 Cure to raise money for Rett Syndrome. This race was the inaugural Avengers Half Marathon. I had never been to California and flew out a few days before the race to spend some time with a friend, see Disneyland and California Adventures and spend time at the ocean.
We went to the expo, which can take awhile as the Disney expos are HUGE! We spent our fair share of time walking around to see all the vendors, but made sure not to try any new drinks, gels or chews. Nothing new the week of the race!
We ended up going to Disneyland and California Adventures the ENTIRE day on Friday. I grew up a huge Disney fan, so I wanted to get in as much Disney time as we could! Luckily we had all day Saturday to recover from all the walking, rides, food, and fun that was had Friday.
Saturday we went to the beach and just relaxed. The temperature was perfect for me, but not great swimming weather. Luckily we were pretty pooped and just laying in the sand was what we needed to do before heading back to our hotel for a nice pre-race dinner with Girl Power 2 Cure.
Running as part of a charity is an amazing experience. It really helps to run for something OTHER than just a PR (not saying that that's not plenty of run either!) It was great to meet the other runners that were part of Team GP2C and see the girls we were running for. All these little ones have Rett Syndrome and fight against it daily, so to run 13.1 miles for them seems like nothing!
Race morning dawned dark, warm and WINDY. The race announcers told us that there was a solid chance the Santa Ana winds would be coming through during the race and they were not wrong!
The Avengers course took us through Disneyland in the first few miles, so it was neat to see the park at "night" all lit up. All the characters were out on course, especially the super heroes! They came out in full force for photo ops.
Once we were through the park we hit the roads to head towards the Angel's Baseball Stadium in Anaheim. That's right when the winds kicked up and MAN were the winds strong! I ended up having to pull my cape to the front and holding it in my hand to keep it from whipping around everywhere.
We were able to run one lap inside Angel Stadium which was pretty cool, however there weren't really any crowds inside. After exiting the stadium we had a long stretch on a paved trail next to a giant ditch. I thought the wind was strong before... but now it was wind throwing sand right in our face!
We made a few more turns and were so close to the finish!
I was surprised to see that I was coming into the finish close to a PR on my watch, especially with the winds! Once I saw that I decided to really kick it in to try to get that new record.
I was able to! I just barely snuck under 1:45 with a time of 1:44:54 (8:00 flat pace). I ended up taking 7th in my age group and was the 29th woman overall.
This race also completed the Coast to Coast challenge, awarding me with a second medal. The CTC challenge is completed when you run a Disney race both in Florida and California in one calendar year.
After completing the race I headed back to the Girl Power 2 Cure tent to wait for more team members to finish. Due to the wind they actually made us leave the finish area! Some of the team tents and the grand stand were blowing away! Even then, I hung out with one of the amazing Rett mom's, Allison. She's speedy!
Running for Rett Syndrome has really changed my life. I've met so many amazing people and found even more reason to keep running. We will run until she can!
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