RACE RECAP: Disneyland Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon | Part 2 and LOTS of wind!

In case you missed my Part 1, CLICK HERE

After an exciting day at Disneyland park, celebrating an (early) birthday, I was ready to give the Half Marathon shot.  I felt very rested (thank you foam roller) and I felt I could have a strong performance at the Half.

Bro, mom and I left the hotel around 3:45am as Bro had a special meet-up (details, coming soon).

It was chilly and I absolutely needed a jacket. I was wearing my Team Super Hero singlet, shorts and arm warmers.  I put my hair in pigtails and wore a sparkly head band (for my mom), instead of a visor. This move, would prove to be the smartest thing I could of done for my race.

We made our way to the corrals and my brother was escorted to behind the announcer platform.  During a special Veterans moment, he was representing the Air Force, with Captain America (character).  I was giddy at that thought of him being up on the stage.

Disney had representatives from Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army and Navy.  I couldn’t be more proud to see him up there.  My bro is the one in the Team Red, White & Blue (red) shirt.

Avengers Half Marathon 2014 20141116_050452

Photo courtesy of Emil Cheng

Afterwards, he made his way back to Corral A and we had our traditional pre-race selfie. I am cheesing it here,don’t ya think?

Sis and Bro

We started the race at 5:30am and I was anxious to get it done and well, be done. I love Disney races, but I wanted to go home. As you know, I am cutting back on my traveling and I couldn’t be happier.

The course was slightly different vs the Dumbo Double Half.  Different direction throughout the park and then we made our way into different sections of Anaheim.

As I made it to Mile 3, I was at a 8:12 pace and holding it without much effort.  Then…right at the Mile Marker sign there was a huge gust of wind. So much so, that people’s bibs were ripping off their shirts.  One runner ran right into me and I was able to catch him from falling to the ground.

Palm tree leaves were flying everywhere and the DUST!  Ugh!  I put on my sunglasses, even though it was still dark.  I needed to protect my eyes from the dust and debris.  In my mind, I thought “okay – this won’t last long”  I was so wrong.  So, very wrong.

Mile Marker 4 was DOWN.  If you have run Disney, you know how huge those signs and clocks are, it was down.

I don’t remember seeing a Mile Marker for 5 or 6 or 7. They must of all been down, too

Coming into the parking lot of the Crystal Cathedral, I saw aid stations tables down and one was tumbling across the pavement.  Tumbling!  Runners were tossed and pushed aside from the famous Santa Ana winds.  This was bad and I wondered if they were going to Black Flag the event.

We all kept going and I felt like I was running through mud.  Dirt in my mouth, leaves hitting our faces and I began to think about mama being at the Finish and how cold she must be.

Around Mile 6, I knew my race was out the door, as was everyone else’s.  It was a matter of staying upright and trying to stay safe.  I felt I was running at a 13 minute pace, I couldn’t imagine being at a sub2 pace (9min miles).

We made our way to a bike path leading into Anaheim stadium. The wind got worse and worse.  I stumbled a few times, but stayed upright.  Several runners were tossed to the ground.

Along the bike path – there was a long line of Avenger characters.  I would say every character there ever was.  I felt so bad for them and the volunteers braving the elements to help us out.

Making our way into the Stadium, the photographer got this picture of me.  This is a screenshot of MarathonFoto.com – you can see the dust & haze.



Ran through the Stadium and coming out on the other side, we had a bit of rest from the wind, I decided to surge to possibly gain some time, so I can finish sooner vs later.  That didn’t last long. Back came the winds and flying Aid Station tables.

I saw the Mile 10 marker ahead. I knew I needed a 1:30 to hit my sub2 and even though I felt I wasn’t on track, I could have an idea of when I could finish.

I passed Mile 10 at 1:27:##

I gasped. There was no possible way I was running an sub2 pace in this wind, there was no way.

I passed Mile 11 and I was still on a sub2 pace.  The winds were still just as strong and I was more determined to finish.

The self talk had to kick in and I remember thinking, “oh come on now…you trained all summer for moments like this.  You trained your legs to run when it hurts”

As we continued, I felt if I could just hold my pace, I could squeak in a sub2.  That would make me really happy in this race.

Finally, into the park and running by Paradise Pier. I knew the Finish Line was just around the corner.

Once again, Rudy Novotny cheered me and always has a knack for making all the racers feel loved and welcomed.

I crossed at 1:54:33.  I have never hurt so much after a Half Marathon. I felt like I had run for 48 hours straight and used every ounce of my energy.  I couldn’t get to mom nor Kirk (the barracades), so I picked up my medal and food and met them at gear check.

Here is my exhaustion picture – I am pointing at mom and Kirk at the Finish Line.


Ladybugs Ball



My legs were thrashed.  From Miles 3-10, it was the more exhausting thing I have ever done.  I really should of slowed it down, but I ran by feel and what I could manage.  My right leg started hurting again (like my old injury) but since I didn’t feel a pop, I think I twisted it from the windy gusts.

I liked the course, I just wish I could of enjoyed it more.  I will certainly be back in years to come. 

We had a chance meeting with Jose, who is an Island Boost Ambassador. Always great to meet new people, as the opportunity arises.


All of us were freezing cold, dirty and tired.  We headed back to the hotel within 30 minutes of my finish.  I couldn’t wait to get into a warm room and out of that wind.

Packed up the car and started the long journey home.  YES!

At some point during the drive home, I decided to see the results.  I knew Kirk did well, as always.  I pulled up my results and let out a scream.  At that moment, I was 3rd in my Age Division which means I placed at a Disney race.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be able to say I placed in my AG, during a Disney race.  I cried, mom cried and Kirk was beaming.  What is more amazing to me, I kept a fairly consistent pace, after the winds kicked in.  Based on my Garmin, I was on a 8:12 pace at Mile 3 and by 3.1 it had already dropped to an 8:42.  That boggles my mind!

My results

I checked Kirk’s results and he won his AG…and the Military Division.  That’s my Bro!

When all was said and done, Mom had a 5k PR, Kirk won two awards and I won my first Disney award.  In addition, we had wonderful family time and made more memories.

I can say, this was one of the best birthday’s, I have ever had.

I want to thank…

  • my husband, my brother and my mother for making sure I came this weekend.  You knew, I needed to be there and you were right.


  • The volunteers, cheering squads, RunDisney staff and everyone who braved those wicked winds to ensure our safety.  I wish I knew every single one of your names so I could tell you THANK YOU, personally.
  • Island Boost.  I was toast at Mile 8 and you brought me back to life.


  • Altra Shoes.  While runners were falling around me, somehow you kept me upright and my legs stable. I swayed and staggered, but never came close to a fall.  I know your shoe design kept my feet planted and my legs strong.

Onward to the remainder of 2014 and resting my still, very painful and sore legs.

Have you raced or run in brutal winds?

How have you trained for windy races?

Sharing the Great News | My Adult Adoption Story

I have been waiting awhile to share this good news with all my FAB-O friends.  Now, is the time!

My blog followers know about #RunningMama and #RunningBro. Although we were not biologically or legally bonded, we are family. #RunningMama is my kids grandmother and #RunningBro was…well, my Bro and uncle to my children.

CPR family
I met Kirk and Laura in 2012. Over time, our bond became more than traveling to races. Evidence was the day of Mama’s tragic accident that caused her to break her neck. Bro and I were faced with the possibility of making end of life decisions for her. It’s not something I wanted Bro to make alone, and I didn’t want Mama to be alone. My love for them both had grown so much, I couldn’t imagine my life without either one. During Mama’s initial recovery, Bro and I partnered together to ensure what she needed. One of us would take her to the grocery store, while another one of us would take her to her medical appointments. It happened, naturally. Together with Bro, my family and I worked together to ensure Mama was healing & safe.

One day, Mama began joking with me that she wanted to “legally adopt me”. We laughed about it and I remember the moment I knew she was serious. My initial reaction was “huh? Okay, this is weird. Why would you want to do that?” 

Even though I had separated myself from my biological family many, many years ago – I never considered, nor thought about being a part of an Adult Adoption nor was I seeking to be a part of a family, legally.  I had my husband, kids and our closest friends. I wanted nothing else.

While sitting on her couch, I listened to her desires to have me as her legal daughter. While driving home, I cried. I felt such an overwhelming sense of love and respect from her. I was not sure what I did to make her love and trust me so much, but I was overwhelmed.

After I arrived home, I told my husband about Mama’s offer. He was stunned, yet happy as I was. I laid in bed all night, wondering and praying. By the morning, I knew I needed to call her to give her an answer.  I accepted her offer to adopt me. This was the right thing to do and we began the legal process to petition the court for an adult adoption.


Not long ago – Mama, myself, Kirk, my husband, my children appeared in the Clark County Family Courthouse to legally finalize my adult adoption. We are legally bonded, as if she was my biological mother and Kirk is my biological brother. It was such an emotional moment, words cannot possibly describe how I felt that day.

Here is the picture from the courthouse with our presiding Judge.

photo 3

Picture of myself, Mama and Kirk. Mama is holding a picture of her late husband, who is now my legal father.  We are also holding our Court Sealed documents, making it official.


Here is a picture of Kirk and I as we had a celebratory training run, later on that day (did you expect anything different?  haha)

We are a legal family.   We are still friends and becoming better friends every day. She stops by my work to bring me cupcakes, I come to her house to have girl time. My relationship with Kirk is growing, too. Being a biological only child, I am not sure how to share my life with a sibling, but he is very patient and understands my fears. It is a great joy, to see my kids respond to their grandma, even our dogs love her and Kirk. While the adoption was for me and Mama, it has affected so many.

  • My children have a grandmother
  • Mama has additional grandchildren
  • My husband has a brother-in-law
  • Kirk has a brother-in-law
  • For me, I have my Mama and Half Brother (we share the same legal mother, Laura)

Thank you Mama and Bro for accepting my thorns, my personality and quirks. I believe this adoption is our destiny. We took a few detours along the way, but we finally found each other. I couldn’t be happier and more at peace. Those who have known me for decades, can see the difference you (both) have made in my life.

To those who have been my family for so many years. Cathy, Kristi, Brian, Sheri, Julia, John, Karen & The Erekson Family. You are and always will be family to me, because we chose to be that way. I love you, all.

Lastly & most importantly, I would like to thank my husband and my kids. I couldn’t of imagined sharing that day without you! Words cannot never, ever describe the depth of my love for the 3 of you.

Running has many stories. We have heard of marriage proposals, weddings and even births during running. Now, here is an adoption story. It all began with a race and a chance meeting with Bro and I.

And who says running doesn’t change lives. It changed ours, forever.

This is my Adult Adoption Story

This is our family story.

We Believe Dreams Do Come True.