Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Destination #1: Racing through the happiest place on Earth

Actually, it's the second happiest place on Earth. Disneyland, that is. The park in Florida's a little bigger. It's got that Epcot thing that everyone's all gaga about. And it got there first.

So Disneyland, right here in Southern California, is the happiest place with no mosquitos. And no humidity. And . . .

Wait a minute. Maybe it IS the happiest place on Earth, after all.

Just ask this woman here:

That's one of the organizers of the First Annual Disneyland Half Marathon, run last month by more than 10,000 people, including Our Woman in LA and me. She's at a pep rally held the night before the big race. I don't want anyone to get the idea that this woman runs around with pom-poms all the time.

She might. I really don't know. Haven't done the research. And that's not really what this post is about.

What is the subject of this post? Fine, cut to the chase.

As most of you know, last month, Steph and I went down to Anaheim, which we've established is at least one of the happiest places on Earth, to run in this race. We did really well - both of us cutting a lot of time off our first race speed, and more importantly, both of us raising a good deal of money for people in LA with HIV/AIDS.

Sure, you all knew this before. But you hadn't seen the . . . photos!

For the uninitiated, Anaheim is south of LA, in Orange County. It's home to Disneyland, the California Disney Adventure, the Pond hockey arena, Angel Stadium, and Knott's Berry Farm.

I have no idea if anyone actually lives there.

For all I know, it might just be where stadium and theme park employees go to work. If there are residents, the good news is that I imagine that they never have trouble finding parking. There are always spots in the Goofy Garage and Dopey lot at the Magic Kingdom.

I'm just saying.

Anyway, on with the photos.

Here's Our Man in LA and his lovely bride, the day before the race. We're not sweating, our muscles aren't sore, and we're eating carbohydrates. What could be better?

Here I am with my running team. We did our entire training together, averaging between 11:00 and 11:30 per mile. We finished the race together, too. But when this was taken, it was 4 a.m. and we were crowded into a corral in the streets of Downtown Disney, waiting for the first gun to go off.

Our Man and Woman in Disneyland, moments before the race. In two hours and change, this'll be over for both of us.

Running on the field at Angel Stadium, a self-portrait. When we completed the race through the stadium, we had finished ten miles. I am not exaggerating when I say that miles 11 and 12 were the least fun.

Why? Well, it's not just that your body has come to the conclusion that you're really going to run more than 13 miles. That's part of it, sure.

But it also has to do with the scenery. By this point, we'd run through Disneyland, the California Adventure, the streets of Anaheim, past the Pond, and through one of the coolest baseball stadiums in the country (and home to the Rally Monkey!). What was left?

Freeway overpasses, low-rent stripmalls, and hotel parking lots in miles 11 and 12.

Mile 13 was cool. Don't get me wrong. We were back in Downtown Disney, almost to the finish line. But oh, that 11 and 12.

But in the end, was it worth it?

I'd say it was. Good cause, good run, nice day in the Magic Kingdom.

And yeah, those are medals around our necks, dude. Medals.

Can't beat that with a stick.

That's all for now. Tune in tomorrow for another day of "Where in the World is Our Man in LA?"

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