I did it! The most FUN 13.1 miles I have ever run!
All Disney runs must have Minnie ears.
After a long hiatus from running (7 years, to be exact) I was tired of being sloth-like and decided to get out there and start running again. I had already reignited my quest for fitness, walking the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon with my Mom in January. But nothing beats the high that running gives you. It was tough, but after almost six months of sweat, injury and near exhaustion, I did it!
September 1st – Race Expo
You have to hand it to Disney. The race fees are super expensive ($150) but they are like a well-oiled machine when it comes to organizing an event of this size (17,000+ runners and walkers) and putting on a show.
On Saturday morning, my parents and I drove straight to the expo at the Disneyland Hotel. The bib pickup was easy. I picked up two Disneyland park hopper tickets at a discounted rate for my parents. The expo was at the grand ballroom of the hotel and we spent some time there looking around (and buying!) some merchandise. I got the “I Did It!” shirt even though I hadn’t exactly “done it” yet. I did this because I knew I would (positive thinking, hehe).
We had some lunch at Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney. The BF and I often go there when we visit Disneyland. I highly recommend their tableside guacamole (yum!) and their coconut mojitos. I did not partake in the latter because of the impending race.
Afterwards we checked into our hotel and basically rested for the rest of the afternoon. I was a little nervous, because for all the previous races I’ve done, I’ve always reached or gone past the race distance before the event (e.g., 26.2 before a full, 14 before a half). I had only done 11 prior to this race. However, I managed to get to sleep at 9pm (after checking my alarm a million times).
September 2nd – The Race!
The race started at 5:45 am so I was up at 2:45 am (whew!) and did my prerace eating and drinking routine. Toast with butter, a banana and coffee/water. I woke up super early because I wanted make sure I didn’t have to use the porta potties during the race.
My parents (God bless them for waking up early with me!) and I hopped on the free shuttle to Disneyland around 4:30am. That’s when the race became real! It was crowded by the time we got there. I used the restroom at the Disneyland Hotel, said goodbye to my parents, then used a porta potty by the start. I got situated in Corral D, somewhere toward the middle. Not as many people dressed up for this race as I saw for the Tinker Bell half (there were Tinker Bells and Peter Pans everywhere!), but there were a few fun costumes I spotted. (Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures, I was too nervous!)
After the national anthem and some fireworks, the wheelchair runners were off! Followed by the elites and then each wave every five minutes. I was off a little after 6:05am. Excitement!
My main goal was to finish strong, but I had secret time goals:
1) Please, please, let me finish before the walkers! (likely)
2) Please, please let me finish sub 3:00 (main goal)
3) Please let me finish sub 2:45 (A reach, but attainable. Based on my training, I would be super estatic with this time!)
4) Please let me finish sub 2:30 (!!!)
Miles 1 -3 were the best miles. We ran through Disneyland and California Adventure. I had a huge, goofy (*ahem*) smile on my face the entire time. I was feeling great and soaking in all the fun characters. I high-fived the pig and toy soldiers from Toy Story. I didn’t stop for pictures like some of the other runners because I was too worried about my time. I noticed I was running around 11 minute miles when I was expecting to pace around 12:30-13:00 for the race. Whoops.
Miles 4-8 took place around downtown Anaheim. The support from the spectators and volunteers were great. There were a lot of local cheerleaders, bands and dance troops performing along these miles and when they yelled my name (it was on my bib), it rejuvenated me. I was still feeling good and I settled into the right pace.
Around miles 7-8 they had a bunch of hot rods and classic cars on display. I’m not a huge fan of cars but even I could appreciate how great these cars looked and how well they were maintained. Wow!
Toward the end of mile 8 we ran along the Santa Ana river trail which was a dirt path and felt great for my feet. I started to get a little tired around this part and slowed down a tad.
Around mile 9 we entered Angel’s stadium. That was the other highlight of the course for me! Seeing myself on the Jumbotron and having a bunch of girl scouts and boy scouts cheering me on was beyond awesome. They had their hands out and I high fived them as I ran around the field!
Around the end of mile 10 is when I started getting tired. I took a GU and it did not sit well with me. I got a stomach crap/stitch in my side and had to walk for half of mile 11. Ugh. I saw the 2:45 pacer come and go. Oh well.
I recovered by mile 12 and decided to give it my all for the last 1.1 miles. I crossed the finish line just a little after 2:50.
That’s me with my hands up at the finish. Photo by brightroom.
I checked the stats on my Garmin and at one point I was running an 8 minute pace. Say what?!?
After resting and showering at the hotel, the parents and BF and I headed to the parks for some fun. We had some Dole Whip at Disneyland and Doc’s Wild Grape Tonic at Cars Land at California Adventure.
Doc’s Wild Grape Tonic (with raspberry foam) = AMAZING!
After about 4 hours, my left foot started hurting (whoops) so we cut the day short. We got back to the hotel and we ordered room service:
More deliciousness. The French Dip sub was TDF.
All in all, my first half (post-running hiatus) was a success. I had such a fun time with my family and boyfriend and accomplished my main goals for this race. I’m looking forward to training more and improving my times! The Santa Barbara half marathon is next!
Thanks for reading!