When a Mermaid Decides to Take On a Half Marathon!

A little  bit of magic on a training run.

A little bit of magic on a training run.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a runner. I joke that if you see me running, you should run too, because there is obviously something very scary chasing me! The only thing that trumps my aversion to running is my LOVE of Disney. The main reason I would consider running any distance is the ability to be in the parks with far less people than your regular day and get some awesome pictures!

When the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was introduced in 2012 it was close to my 40th birthday. I thought it would be a great girl's trip with some of my friends who were also hitting the big four-oh. That didn't pan out, but ever since I've been wanting to give it a try.

Through a series of happy events my family was able to make a trip to Disneyland and we decided to go over Mother's Day weekend, which is now the Tinker Bell weekend. I walk regularly and thought I could stay above the 16 minute mile minimum for a 5K or 10K. Well, when I went to sign up for the race the 5K and 10K were sold out, but the Half Marathon was still open.  OK, go big or go home!

I registered for the race mid February, approximately 10 weeks prior to the event. I downloaded the RunKeeper app and started training. The app has training plans to get ready for various race lengths, I was somewhat apprehensive about that fact that the training plan for a beginner to half marathon is closer to six months, but I was in it now. I kept telling myself that as long as I made it through the parks there's no shame in being swept on my first attempt at a half marathon. As I continued training, my self-competitive side came out. I wanted to do this! The app uses the interval training method. To start you do some short runs 25-35 minutes one minute steady one minute slow. For longer runs on the weekends the distance starts at 3 miles with quarter mile intervals. At the beginning I couldn't complete the full steady interval at a jog. I'd slip into a bit of a power walk. After a while I was surprised at my ability to jog the steady intervals.

I would start training for a half marathon during an El Nino year.

I would start training for a half marathon during an El Nino year.

One of the great things about using the RunKeeper app was the ability to take pictures while in the app and it would save it along with other information about your run. This helped keep me motivated on my runs through my neighborhood as I tried to find different images to capture. I had fun trying to get images of my shadow.

Training run shadow pic

Training run shadow pic

Another good thing about the app is the ability to share your runs with others. I didn't need to let all of my facebook friends know I was out for a run, but it was nice that my husband could see where I might be in case I got hurt and needed him to come get me. I also wanted to test this feature to make sure it worked before the race so he could track me in real time.

I did my best to keep to two weekday runs of 30 minutes and one longer run on the weekends. As it got closer to the race I started to feel a bit better, especially since I was keeping a good pace on my intervals. I was hoping that the excitement and adrenaline of the day would give me a good boost through the parks and carry me out into the city street course of Anaheim.

Next up: What does a mermaid wear in a half marathon?




Stephanie is an avid paper crafter, scrapbooker, and lover of all things Disney. She also enjoys playing with geeky toys to create her paper creations! When not creating scrapbook pages about her husband and son, she can be found at HainingMade.com making handmade paper crafts for parties and events.