Monday, December 15, 2014

The Deadpool....Avengers Half Marathon

Yes, Stark said I was an Avenger!
Lately, I have been trying to get back into the fun of running.  Specifically, I wanted to get my mind to think of something other than a new PR, or how to win, or possibly qualify for Boston.  This meant that I needed to start doing runs and races where I could just let loose, have some fun, and not care where I place.  Enter the Wonderful World of Disney ™.  Earlier in the year, I had signed up for a string of Disney races:  Avengers Half-Marathon, Star Wars Half Marathon, and the Dopey Challenge.  None of them sound serious, and none of them truly are.  The first of these races would be the Avengers Half-Marathon, two weeks after the grueling NYC Marathon at the beginning of November, and after a mile and 5k race the weekend before.  The Avengers Half would be hosted at Disneyland in Anaheim, which would be a new course for my wife Sallie and I.
Off to the Expo, not Bob!

Saturday – Expo and Disneyland

Sallie and I flew in Friday night, knowing that the Expo opened Friday, and that all of the cool race-specific items would be gone by the time we got to the expo Saturday.  This was reinforced as our friend Shannon, a coach for Potomac River Running, who got into Anaheim Thursday and went to the expo Friday.  Lines were the name of the game for her, and most of the gear had already been purchased by the time she got to the official store.  She did get me a “Hulk Smash Avengers Half!” t-shirt, which was awesome.

Sallie outside the Expo
We made it to the expo early Saturday morning, after I knocked out my shakeout run.  A run that wasn’t very good and displayed just how much I haven’t yet recovered from the last two weeks of racing.  My Achilles was not happy, nor was my hip.  Tomorrow wasn’t looking to be my “Happiest day”, as Disney would hope.  Sallie and I got in line for our packets, which we expected to be long, but was not.  We got our packets quickly and headed off to the Expo proper.  Here we found the normal gear, from shirts, to shoe.  We headed straight to the official store to see what was left.  Each of us grabbed a few sweatshirts and “I finished…” shirts, then went back into the Expo to meet Shannon to grab the hulk shirt.

Saturday – Park Time!

Once Sallie bought her new backpack, we headed to the hotel, dropped off our swag, and headed to the park.  It should be noted that the day before a race, the runner should keep off of their feet and rest.  Do your walking after the race.  With that in mind, Sallie and I, as well as Shannon and her husband, walked both of the parks, logging in 12 miles and having a great time.  We also ate and drank like we were in a park and not about to race.  Having done this earlier in the year for the Dopey marathon, I knew this could backfire.  Especially with the costume I planned to wear the next day.  After dinner and we met up with Shannon to watch the Holiday Parade, and then headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the early start that would be Sunday.  On the way back, we got stuck on the wrong side of the Cheer-leading Championship Parade, each of us wondering why they would have that at Disney this weekend. 

Sunday – Pre-race Preparation

 Like every Disney race, this one started early in the morning. This would ensure that the majority of the runners would be done before the park opened.  Sallie and I got into our costumes; Sallie was Rescue and I was Deadpool.  Disney didn’t allow full face masks on the course, so I left that in the room, and took the hat instead.  While our hotel is within walking distance of the entrance to the park, we decide to take the bus with the mass crowd of runners, which allowed us to socialize a bit before getting to the long walk from the front entrance to the starting line.
Deadpool, not Bob!
Pepper Pots as Rescue

We got to the corrals with 15 minutes left before my corral released, so we hit the porta-potties.  I had to strip and ended up leaving my new Garmin 920XT in the porta-pottie, which I didn’t realize until 5 minutes before we had to be in the corrals.  Luckily, I had placed it in a dark corner that no one saw, and I was able to remember which one I used.  After stressing a bit on losing an expensive watch, we hurried to our corrals for release.  Shannon caught up to us, and we took a quick picture of the three costimes, with Shannon as She0Hulk.  Seemed I wasn’t the only one who thought Deadpool was a good idea, as I saw at least two in my corral.  With the gun going off, my corral, corral A, was off. 
Shannon, Sallie, and I before the race

Saturday –Racing Like I Have a Healing Factor!

Painting on the underpass leading into the canal
I had decided to try and feel the pace and ignore looking at my watch.  I also decided that if anyone in the crowd knew who I was, I would stop and either high five them or hug them.  That started early when I passed the first group of entertainers who called me out as I passed.  This caused me to do a u-turn and run back to them for a line of high fives!  Then I was back on the course.  The first 3 miles were inside the park, but since Disneyland has limited property, we were dumped out into Anaheim early.  The crowds were initially light, due to the wind and time of day.  At mile 4, the mile marker blew over and from that point on to mile 9 we had to fight 20 mph headwinds.  Just what I needed, since I didn’t get enough in NYC. 

The Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim
After passing the Crystal Cathedral, we started towards the Angels stadium, which took a path alongside the dry canal.  With the headwinds, this became a dusty mess, which made the long line of superheroes Cosplayers a site for tired legs.   The Club Cosplayers of Anaheim showed up in force, in character, and ready to cheer the runners on.  As expected, the first Deadpool was oblivious to me, so I stopped and stood in front of him, waving, until he finally gave me the attention I deserved!  This lead to a hug (Deadpool Corp does not shake hands..) and I was off again, high-fiving all of the heroes, except that damned Spiderman.  Hate that guy!

A small number of the Club Cosplayers out cheering

Fighting stronger wind, we finally reached the Angels stadium, which we race through and headed back to the park.  At this point we had 6 minutes of tailwind, so we made the best of it.  I ran into another Deadpool, who was struggling, so I ran ahead of him and flipped around to run backwards while taunting… inspiring him to push on.  It worked, as he picked it back up and ran with me for 38 seconds, but since he wasn’t me, he started to fall back.  He kept pushing though, and ended up finishing strong, which is what you would expect from Bob, being a Hydra member.  Off I went through two more tunnels and back onto the pack.  Here we had wind at our back again….22 mph wind, so we floated a bit.  I took advantage of that, and my healing factor, and picked the pace up.  At the final stretch, I got the crowd into it, and sprinted to the end, almost running over that damned Spiderman again….

Saturday – Post-race

After getting my medals for win… finishing the race (and the coast 2 coast medal), I joined the crowd to cheer Shannon, Sallie, and all the Deadpools as the crossed the line.  It was fun to call out the more obscure costumes and watch the smile as they passed by.  I lost my voice from all of the screaming.  I wonder why my healing factor failed there.  Might have been the tacos.  Funny thing I noticed while cheering was that they never called out to any of the Ironman costumes that crossed the line.  Caps, Thors, Rockets all got love, but nothing for tin man.  It seems that Disney was concerned that using Ironman in any way for a race would be a trademark infringement with Ironman the race.  So everyone was calls Tony Stark.  Anyways, we all finished strong, and both Sallie and I showered and headed out to the airport, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. 

Sallie had a PR for the race at3:07:23, as did I at 1:47:26. 

Note:  At no time did I test my costume fore running, nor did I test the socks or hat.  I got lucky, but always run at least once in your costume before a race to reduce the chance of things going horribly wrong.  This is why I had red spandex until that suit….just in case.