Here it is..my third and final installment of my race recap for the Dumbo Double Dare Weekend. This post is all about the Half Marathon. The Disneyland Half Marathon (DHM) will always have a special place in my heart. As I have mentioned before, I ran the DHM in 2010 with one of my running inspirations, my friend Tara. I also ran that DHM as a celebration of turning 30 and I managed to squeak in a PR.
Three years later, I am still in love with this race. It isn’t as “entertainment” filled as the Disney World Races–simply because only the first 4-5ish miles are in/around the Disneyland Parks. After that, you are running in the City of Anaheim, in what looks to be a business/industrial park followed by a smidge of trail running, and then the LA Angles Baseball Park, before slowly making your way back to the Disneyland Hotel for the finish. These non-Disney areas are filled with cheerleaders and bands from local schools, boy/girl scout troops, Mexican bands and dancers, and car club members and their amazing cars. This is one of the biggest changes since I ran in 2010–the non-Disney areas had less entertainment/support then.
I woke up at 4:15am for the race–I had to be in my corral for 5am as the race started at 5:30. I got myself dressed in my “lite” Chershire Cat Costume–which was essentially a Raw Threads Cheshire Cat T-that I preordered for pick up at the expo, pink CEP compression socks and some new Lululemon pink and plum striped tights. Here was the final look: (ps. pardon the “proof quality” photos–I still haven’t decided what to buy/how much to spend on pictures)
Now…onto the race. I took my time getting to the starting line–mostly because of the bottle neck I stood in the day before…there was a bottle neck again, but closer to the start–actually, I didn’t even get into my corral until after the gun went off. The most frustrating thing about standing there had to be the self important people who pushed and shoved their way past everyone else in line…this is such a massive pet peeve of mine, but I digress. It didn’t really matter where I was in the corral as I had a lot of miles to make up for any potential slowdowns from the crowd at the start.
It was rather congested at the start, but for the most part…everyone was running and people were generally following race etiquette, which was a huge relief. I stumbled rather severely, though still managed to stay upright, over the raised lane line reflector things they have in the streets in California (in Winnipeg they would simply get ripped up by the snow plows in the winter). It served as a good reminder to keep my eyes on the road ahead and it didn’t happen again for the rest of the race….THANK GOODNESS!
I felt surprisingly good during the earlier parts of the race. The sun still had not rose so it was cool (relatively speaking) and running in the parks in the dark was rather fun–especially in the new Cars Land in California Adventure. It has a ton of neon lights and it just looked great. The rest of the park, around Paradise Pier and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are also fun to run by in the dark, which kept me motivated.
Once we hit Disneyland, I got excited. There is something really fun about seeing all the lights down Main Street USA, leading up to the castle…it makes me slightly teary eyed. For whatever reason, my time in Disneyland for this race seemed immensely quicker than my time in Disneyland for the 10K. I also had a moment where I thought I was going to stop for a character photo–something I have not done in ANY of the four Disney races I have now run–they had Darth Vader and a few Storm Troopers out in Tomorrowland. As a child raised on all things Star Wars, it was hard not to stop…but I couldn’t–I felt too good at that point and felt that a PR could be possible if I stick with with m no stops plan.
When I finally left the park, the sun was only just starting to come up…and fortunately it was nearly completely hidden by clouds. It stayed that way, for about 3-4 miles and was clearing just as I hit the Santa Ana river trail area…or the Dead Body trail as I like to refer to it as when I ran the race three years ago, the area surrounding the trail was a bit sketchy looking–fortunately it has cleaned up a ton since. The entertainment pre and post Dead Body trail included Mexican bands and dancers, a bunch of fancy cars (old/new models, all shined up–was quite fun–some even had novelty horns), cheerleaders and school bands.
Running the Angles park was next–and it is such a massive thrill–even if you aren’t an Angels fan. Something about running that warning track (starting out from behind home plate, leading to the outfield), and seeing yourself on the big screens, with kids screaming and cheering for you in the stands, makes you feel like a total rock star. Also, it is even better if by pure coincidence you specially timed playlist somehow falls out of sync with your run and you end up perfectly timing your entry into the ballpark with Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song. It seriously intensified the experience 100-fold…future DHM runners, you MUST try it. 😉
Shortly after leaving the park I started to struggle….big time. I knew from my Garmin that I was running faster than I was intended for a number of my splits (see below)..but I figured I would go with it and see what happens. Unfortunately the sun had started beating down on me with a vengeance, my faster than planned race pace miles in the middle were catching up with me and my brand new Yurbuds headphones proved to be faulty (have since been replaced with a functioning pair, no questions asked) as when they got sweaty, they started trying to connect to Siri, the internet and mysteriously turning my volume up and down (the volume thing also happened at the 10K but only briefly at the end), without me touching it. *ugh*
This proved to be too much to deal with so I just ripped those darn things out of my ears and tucked them into my arm band (which led to a smidge of chafing but whatever). It sucked to not have my music for the last few miles–especially since I had my timed playlist with my most favourite Disney and running songs saved for those last miles. Plus, the whole process of trying to wind them around my arm band thing and secure them into the arm band took my focus off my running and my pace..and looking for those stupid road reflector things–I am amazed I didn’t stumble over one again.
I am not going to lie–I was truly relieved to see the Disneyland hotel and know that I was close to finishing. When I saw the clock time from the straight away to the finish line, I couldn’t contain my excitement…I knew I was well under my time for a PR and I just made a beeline to the finish. They announced my name (which made me smile big time) and I veered just a bit behind me to give Mickey and his pals a high five as I finished.
I have never felt so proud of finishing a race in my life. I PR’d in this race by a whopping 3 minutes and 26 seconds. For the half I placed 32nd in my age division (1923), 174th out of women (10,017) and 710th overall (15,868). Below are my splits with my garmin–though for the record, it showed me as running 13.26 miles vs the 13.1 so it isn’t exact.
Mile 1: 8:54 Mile 2: 8:39 Mile 3: 8:24
Mile 4: 8:33 Mile 5: 8:27 Mile 6: 8:20
Mile 7: 8:24 Mile 8: 8:26 Mile 9: 8:19
Mile10: 8:16 Mile 11: 8:33 Mile 12: 8:45
Mile 13: 8:36 Mile .1: 7:37
Getting my Dumbo Double Dare and Coast to Coast Challenge medals, along with my DHM medal was rather easy. I was also able to sneak over to get my previous medals (ie my Princess and my Disneyland 10K medals) from my dad after the photo area and sneak back so I could get a picture with all of my medals…I’m so thankful that security let me do this and my dad was kind enough to carry those medals around, in two separate socks, all morning.
I love the medals–which kinda goes without saying. The Dumbo one is lovely with the coloured bits and is reminiscent of the first Disney medal I earned–the DHM 2010 which had a running Mickey Mouse on top of a number 5 as it was the 5th anniversary that year. The Coast to Coast is really heavy and just really nice with the ribbon…something about it…I just really like it. The disappointing one, for me, was the Disneyland Half Marathon–not because it wasn’t nice (it is, though it looks exactly the same as the past year…aside from the ribbon if I recall correctly), but because of the durability.
See…I didn’t have a lot of free hands after the race. I was really dehydrated and hungry, and quite honestly feeling really proud of my accomplishment, so I just wore my medals…much like most other people at the finish.
Unfortunately, this resulted in my DHM medal (and only my DHM medal) getting rather scratched along the upper curve of the D, over the 30 minutes or so that I wore all of my medals. I was shocked and really disappointed, but considered it a lesson learned–this medal is a bit fragile so treat it as such. I then threw all of my medals into socks to protect them from scratching during the rest of my trip and the flight home. Unfortunately, this didn’t help either. By the time I got home, some of the gold finish was starting to wear off of my DHM medal, even with the protection of the socks. So, please, runDisney, if you are going to make this glossy, gold medals in the future please make them much more durable.
Getting home this time was much easier–mostly because we knew to take the tram and also because there wasn’t as much of the DHM going through downtown Disney. I was home in around 30 minutes, and that includes waiting for my medal to be engraved with my time and waiting for a tram.
Overall, I think Disney did a great job with this race, and the 10K. I thought there were ample aid stations, but I don’t typically take advantage of them, so I am biased. Aside from strange bottlenecks at the beginning of each race and some struggles to leave at the end of the 10K, I thought it was decently organized. I think that my only complaint at the end of the day would be the expo–something needs to be done to make the event less like Black Friday shopping, be it limiting it to only runners, limiting the amount of items one can purchase or allowing for pre-orders of merch. Oh and that DHM medal–make it more durable–that is probably most important to improve. 🙂 After all, we all run these things for the bling. 😉
Much luv and happy running ya’ll!
P.S. Want to read my other recaps from the Dumbo Double Dare–check ’em out below
- Race Recap Part 2: 2013 Dumbo Double Dare Disneyland 10K (prairieprincessrunners.wordpress.com)
- Race Recap Part 1: 2013 Dumbo Double Dare Race Expo (prairieprincessrunners.wordpress.com)