California Adventure Day 3

Day 3 – May 13

We got up a little late at 2:30 am. I got a whopping 2 hours of sleep. I have to admit time management is not my strong suit. The drive to the shuttle was pretty intense. My Dad was in his zone again. I reached the shuttle at 4:30 just in time to catch one of the last shuttles heading to the start line. The start line and finish line were in two different places so we had to get shuttled to the start. A girl sat next to me and we chatted on our way up the mountain. She is from Denver, CO and will also be running the Rocky Mountain Half. This was her very first half marathon.

It was so cold…so very cold. I believe it was in the upper 30s when I reached the starting line. They had fire barrels that were surrounded by masses of people. They also had hot chocolate and hot coffee.

I ran with the first heat of the first wave. The projected finish time was 1:30-1:55 for this heat. I was the first person to walk over to the start line and got to take a few pictures before everyone came over. I chitchatted with the time chip people setting things up for the race and the man was born in College Station!

I found myself tolerating the cold only by jumping in place and keeping myself moving. By the time the race started my toes were absolutely frozen and my hands were too. Other than being cold, I felt really good at the beginning and ran the first 2 miles at about a 7:30 min/mi pace. Then the altitude hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to walk a little and figure out my sweet spot. I noticed another man walking and he began to talk with me. He was from Sacramento and seemed to be having a similar issue with the altitude. I saw him again later and he had nicknamed me “Texas.”

The first 5 miles were on a trail and the last 8 were on a road. After mile 5 or 6, it was all downhill from there for the most part. The course was mostly downhill which sounds like an ideal situation…however it does a number on your toes with them constantly pounding against the front of your shoes. It also does a number on your shins which I found out later. I stopped and took quite a few photos during the race.

I ended up finishing 374 of 2537 overall place, 129 of 1641 gender place and 23 of 268 division place (30-34 year old females) with a time of 1:49:40 (8:22 min/mi pace). My stomach did great and other than being really tired from running 13.1 miles, I felt really good after the race! My big toes tore holes in my socks…that downhill stuff is no joke.

This was by far the most beautiful run I have ever been on! I loved seeing mountains, trees, lakes, and rivers. It was really cool to start in the forest on a trail too. The race was very well put together. Vacation Races did a phenomenal job with orchestrating all the moving pieces. I am so excited for my remaining 4 races this year!

After the race my Dad and I went back into town and ate at Denny’s again. Then we headed back into the park for some adventures! I saw in the Yosemite Half Marathon packet that they have a few challenges for runners after the half marathon. One challenge (trifecta challenge) is to visit three spots in Yosemite National Park and take a picture at the spots with your race bib and finisher’s medal within 72 hours of the end of the race. The other challenge (club hike) is to hike one of three different hikes all at the “strenuous” level of difficulty within 72 hours of the end of the race and take a picture at the top of the hike with your race bib and finisher’s medal. I thought this would be a good way to visit some key places in the park so we decided to go for it!

We did the trifecta challenge today. We went to the Lower Yosemite Falls, Giant Sequoias and Glacier Point. We actually ended up at the wrong waterfall first. We got absolutely soaked by Bridalveil Falls. Neither of us was wearing our waterproof jackets and it was not exactly “warm” outside. Below is a picture of my Dad trying to take a picture of me with my bib and medal in front of the waterfall without success. The camera lens was wet and wouldn’t focus and I was getting drenched in the back while my Dad was getting soaked in the front. It was definitely a memory for the books. That is the best thing I can say about that! 🙂

Not too long after this we ran into a few other half marathoners who ended up telling us we were not at Yosemite Falls. So yeah it was totally worth it…. The park was extremely crowded. We were waiting in a long car line to find a parking spot. We ended up parking about 1.5-2 miles away from Yosemite Falls and walked over. There were plenty of photo ops along the way! We went across Swinging Bridge and got an absolutely beautiful view of the waterfall. I finally got my picture at the right place and we moved on to our next destination, the Giant Sequoias.

We travelled across the park to Tuolumne Grove and took about a 2.5 mile round trip hike down to some giant Sequoia trees. The trail was flat dirt but had some very steep inclines. This is when I learned about what downhill running does to your shins. My legs were definitely feeling it after this walk. We walked down 400 feet and then had to climb it back. The giant Sequoias are quite the sight! They are absolutely huge! Pictures really don’t do them justice. Below is one giant Sequoia that is dead now but you are able to walk through it.

On this hike we were able to see how much the pneumonia took a toll on my Dad. Before he got sick he was able to keep up with ease and even set the pace when we went hiking. He was having to monitor his heart rate on the 400 foot climb back up. It is crazy what sickness can do to you not just short term but long term. It has been about 4 months since he was in the hospital and he is still overcoming things. My Dad is one tough cookie though! He is hanging in there!

After the Sequoias, we went back to Glacier Point so I could take a picture up there with my medal and bib for the challenge. I still cannot get over the views up there.

We travelled to a new hotel and got some pizza for the night. This pizza was the first one I have ever had that was spicy. It was so hot and my lips were already chapped!…but you better believe I finished every last bite of it! When we got to the hotel I had to recharge every piece of equipment I used for the day. I took up a whole power strip! 🙂 Tomorrow we will go for one of the club hikes. I’m super excited! Squeeze the lemon!

Check back later for Day 3 video!

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