Ok…so here we go with Part 2 of my Dumbo Double Dare Recap–the Disneyland 10K…
I woke up around 4:30am…we had to be in our race corrals for 5:30am. I essentially rolled out of bed, popped in my contacts, slapped on some sunscreen, got dressed and walked over to the starting line in the parking lots of the Disneyland Hotels. I stayed at the Best Western Anaheim Plus–it was a great location on South Harbor, right across the street for Disneyland. This is one of the main benefits of doing a west coast race (the other is a far friendlier time zone for getting up early).
Did I mention that it was a hot one? It was super humid and in the mid/high 70s or in the mid twenties Celsius to start–and the sun wasn’t even up! But I won’t go on re: the weather, as everyone else has talked about it at great length in their recaps. I will say one thing–I was glad that I kept my “costuming” very basic–I can’t imagine wearing some of the things I saw, given the heat.
My dad and I walked over to the race and around 5:30, I joined the massive bottle neck of people waiting to join the corrals. I have no idea what the deal was regarding the bottle neck, as when I got into my corral it was far from full.
My dad, being the awesome support and experienced road racer/run coach that he is, lined up along side the first corral in the spot where he thought I should go if I wanted to run “my race” and attempt a PR without getting caught up in the crowd. Little did I know at the time, but it ended up being nearly perfect placement–score one point for Dad!
Now…the beginning of the race–with my most excellent placement, I was running at a good pace and making my way through the crowd relatively unscathed…until I was almost taken out by one of the runDisney celebrity runners–Ali Vincent, the first female Biggest Loser winner–ironically my favourite of all the biggest loser contestants/winners.
I am not really sure what was going on…I was running around two walkers, hopping up on the curb and as I was coming down I heard someone screaming a name repeatedly. I quickly looked to my left to see what the commotion was about as I tried to navigate off the curb safely and was instantly met, or should I say crashed into by Ali Vincent, who was running completely perpendicular to ALL of the runners in Corral A of the 10K. I stumbled over her, nearly wiping out, let out a few f-sharps out of pure frustration, shock and disbelief of the situation, and somehow managed to stay both uninjured and running.
Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed by this brush with potential injury, which could have ruined my DDD and my vacation. Given her presence at all of these Disney races (and other races as she said at the Princess Half Marathon that she was attempting to do 13 half marathons in 2013), surely she must know that running against traffic like that isn’t cool or safe. Makes me wonder who she was chasing and what the rationale was, as it was pretty haphazard and frustrating to someone trying to hold a competitive space in the crowd.
My near wipeout/injury situation had me rather agitated for the next few miles of the race–it started to fade but then I saw a young guy injure himself on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland. He rolled his ankle rather severely on the train tracks in the middle of the road. I felt really bad for him–especially since he was a DDD-er. As you can see from the photos–I was totally rubbernecking–I felt like it could’ve been me only a few miles earlier.
I made no real notice of the water stations–something that others runners were complaining about on the 10K route–especially in the heat. I tend not to drink water while I’m racing as it gives me wicked stitches….so it wasn’t something I really took note of. There was, however, a box of snacks and many bottles of water and Powerade made available once was done the race.
I also heard some complaints about there not being enough characters and issues with poorly performing photographers during the 10K (and truthfully, I heard it for the half, too). I felt that the character presences was more than adequate, (though I didn’t stop for any photos, just high fives and waves while running), given that it was only a 10K run and the half was the next day (which I also thought was great). I didn’t have any complaints about the photographers either as I got a lot of great photos at both the 10K and the half. You can check out some of my favourite pics below.
The course was rather flat and mostly took place on Disney property, which was nice. A good portion of it was in the proper parks, and a decent amount was also in behind the scenes territory–which was ok. They had farm animals, employees out to cheer runners on, which was nice.
There appeared to be little to no shade on the course–which would arguably be a problem for any of the folks who were starting in the later corrals or those who were maximizing their time on the course by running a slower pace, taking character photos or simply enjoying the scenery. I watched a number of runners around the marker for mile 6 at a clock time of about 90 minutes and they looked horribly hot. This is one area where I felt that I benefited from not only being in the first corral but having a PR strategy for the race–I was in and out before temperatures really started heating up.
The finish was a mixed bag of good and bad. As for the good…well, the finish line itself was very organized–I got my DDD bracelet without incident…and my medal and my finisher photo without crazy lines. I also got my medal engraved with my name and time for $20 and it was a rather quick experience, waiting maybe 10 minutes tops. So worth the $20–plus you find out your chip time quicker than waiting for online results to be posted. Score another point for my dad on this one–he prepaid and filled out the paperwork as a PR achieving/congratulatory treat–all I had to do was to give the guy my medal.
The bad was getting back to my hotel room, post-race, was frustrating. Since the last 1.5ish miles of the race course ran through Downtown Disney (which was great as a runner–so many people cheering you on), you couldn’t make your way back to the hotels on Harbor Blvd by walking. You either had to go climbing through shrubs and over the barriers they put in for the race or you had to wait in this massive group, opposite Earl of Sandwich, which was supposed to cross…but never seemed to change/move…rather the group just kept getting bigger. #race
Eventually I went back to the finisher’s area and asked for different directions out–we were told to head towards the parkades for the Disneyland hotels and to take the tram–which we did…and even then we had to move through the race to finally make it out (but in this case it actually moved quickly around the racers). Would’ve been nice if this information was shared will all of the runDisney workers.
Below are my splits as per my Garmin…as you can see, I was really began struggling at mile 6–pretty much like I always do–that is definitely going to be something to work on in the future. Otherwise I feel like I ran rather consistently.
Mile 1: 7:36
Mile 2: 8:01
Mile 3: 8:02
Mile 4: 8:06
Mile 5: 8:09
Mile 6: 8:13
Mile .2: 7:16
I am pretty thrilled, overall, with how I did in the race (in case you can’t tell by the picture below). I satisfied my goal, by PRing–taking off 66 seconds off my last 10K time, finishing in 50 minutes flat. What was even cooler is that I placed 13th in my age group (1,013 finishers), 52nd out of all the women (5,132 finishers) that completed the 10K and 212th overall (7,835 finishers). Not too bad, if I say so myself.
Overall, I have no massive complaints about this race. Given it was their first time doing this particular race, I think they did really well. Provided they do a better job at communicating an exit strategy for finishers of the 10K for the next time, I think running through Downtown Disney was a great idea–there were so many people cheering–it was impossible not to run that last bit with a smile, no matter how tired you were.
Agree or disagree with my take on the Disneyland 10K? Would you run it again? Let me know in the comments!