Friday, September 13, 2013

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

Don't forget to read my recaps of the expo and the Inaugural Disneyland 10K!

I'm back today with my recap of the Disneyland Half Marathon, part 2 of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!

Disneyland Half Marathon
September 1, 2013

State: repeat
Lifetime: #36

Sunday was another early morning (even earlier then the day before).  Despite having gone to bed early, this one was not as easy as Saturday.  The alarm went off just before 4 am.  Similar to Saturday, I made breakfast (oatmeal again and a banana as well) and got dressed.

As with the 10K, I had laid my clothing out and everything was ready to go (I was Snow White this time).  After breakfast was done and we were ready, we headed to the start area.  It was a little more chaotic this time around as this race was bigger.

I didn't get to see Abby before the race and Pam and I parted ways shortly after we got to the start area.  Despite having done 35 (now 36) halves before, I still get nervous before them and like to do my own thing.  I had my last pre-race snack - a pack of PowerBar Gel Blasts (the cola flavor is my favorite).  I can't eat the gummies when I run but they are the perfect fuel for me before a race.

I headed to the corral which was packed.  I could barely get in.  Fortunately I only had to be there for about 10 minutes before the race started.  I honestly can't remember how the race kicked off.  I remember the National Anthem being sung but that was about it.  Before I knew it people were moving and we were off.

It had been hot on Saturday during the 10K and all day afterward the race.  I knew Sunday would be brutal as well.  As soon as I realized how hot it would be, I adjusted my race plan.  I didn't want to overdo it - just finish and feel strong (not drained).  Once I decided that, I decided to run with my phone (in other words, lots of pics to follow!).

The start was similar to the 10K, but we headed to California Adventure quicker.  By the time we went into DCA, I was already dripping.  I kept reminding myself to take it easy.  The first 2 miles my 9:45 felt like I was sprinting.  We went into DCA a different way this time and ran around Paradise Pier first.  Since it was still dark out, we got to see the World of Color lights in full glory this time.

This time I got to see the Green Army men (from Toy Story) at the Pier.  Line was still short and since I wasn't planning on racing, I stopped for a photo.

We next headed to Cars Land.  This time we ran towards the mountains and it was a much better view! I liked running this way better.  I stopped again for photo with the firetruck from Cars, but the line for Lightning and Mater was pretty long so I skipped it.

From there we headed into Hollywood Land where this time I did get my photo with the Monsters U gang.  Definitely one of my favorites from the race!

After a quick circle around the fountain, we headed down Buena Vista Street and across to Disneyland.    Right at the front of Main Street was the Genie, Aladdin and Jasmine.  Loved that Aladdin was in his Prince Ali gear.  Couldn't miss that.

After a quick photo with Mary Poppins and Bert (and some carousel horses), we headed into Frontierland and around the carousel.  Captain Hook and Smee were going for a ride!  They gave me a nice reason to laugh in the heat.

Next we ran through the Castle (never disappoints) and got a photo with Aurora and Prince Phillip.

Next we headed through Tomorrowland where I got my favorite photo of the race.  Gotta have fun with it!

Next it was past the Matterhorn and it's a small world (again) and into Toon Town.  This was like Princess row and I had to stop - especially for my "Twin-cess" (Cinderella's word not mine I swear!).

These past 2 miles with all the photo stops were not good paces.  I knew all the characters would be in the park so I was okay with stopping and my paces being slow.  Plus with the heat, I knew this would not be my day to push it.

Mile 4 marked the switch from park miles to Anaheim miles.  While they couldn't bring characters onto the course, they did fill it with bands, dancers, cheerleaders and 2 miles of classic cars!  They were great ways to break up the course.

Once we got out of Disneyland, I kept telling myself to run how I was feeling.  So after the first mile, imagine my surprise when I saw my watch say 8:45 for that mile.  If you guessed shocked, you'd be right.  But I just kept telling myself to run how I felt (I had a similar mantra for the Montreal Full) and we'd see where the paces went.

And they stayed pretty consistent.  The next mile was slightly slower (8:55), but then they picked up again.  I seemed to be hovering around the 8:30 pace.  I could not believe it.  And I felt really strong.  It was a nice pickup.

After the 2 miles of classic cars (which I really enjoyed, but I know others did not), we hit a dirt trail.  I didn't realize this was coming.  I didn't mind the dirt, but it was a little narrow and the trail got a bit tight.  At the end of the trail we hit mile nine and were making our way to Angels Stadium.

This was one of the parts I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint.  Heading into Angels stadium all we could here was screaming and cheering.  I felt like I was making my major league debut.  I debated stopping for a picture, but was feeling really in the groove and did not want break it.

From Angels Stadium we headed back towards Disneyland.  My pace continue to hover around the 8:30 average and I still felt good.  I took a second gu to make sure I had enough energy for a final push.

Coming in the home stretch we ran into the backside of DCA - same exact portion as that morning (I was having deja vu).  The course only overlapped for a little bit and we were heading for the finish.  I picked it up a bit because I wanted to have a strong finish.  Mile 13 was a 7:58, so I would call that a strong finish.  Unlike Flying Pig where my sub-8 pace was gravity assisted, this was flat.  It was all me, which helped end the race on a high note.

I finished the race with a 2:10.  As I said in my training recap from that week, my time does not showcase my effort.  I think taking the first couple of miles easy helped and really warmed me up for some fast miles afterwards.  I still can't believe my paces the last 9 miles.  Looks like all that speed work helped!

After the finish line, I collected my Disneyland Half medal, my Dumbo Double Dare medal and my Coast to Coast.  I had been dreaming of these medals for so long and they were finally mine.  It felt as great as I hoped it would be.

Overall, I really liked this race.  I know some people didn't, but for me, it was a great mix of park/characters and open road to really cruise.  I enjoyed the challenge of the two races (which is good since I've got two more to do at Dopey) and the courses.  I liked the Tink course better, but I still liked this one.  I'll definitely be back for another Dumbo Double Dare next year!

Official: 13.1 mi, 2:10:03, 9:55 pace
Garmin: 13.3 mi, 2:10:02, 9:47 pace


Did you run the Disneyland Half or Dumbo Double Dare?  Let me know how it went for you!


  1. First, congrats on a great race! You held an amazing pace (awesome steady splits, by the way) especially in the hot and humid weather! Second, your photos came out really well! Did you use your phone?
    My husband and I ran the Dumbo Double Dare. The 10k was super fun, but there was more than one instance when I felt like I wasn't going to finish the half. I really struggled with the weather. Still, we finished, which was the main goal. :)

    1. Thanks Kim! I did use my phone for the photo's - I can't believe how well they came out either!

      Congrats on finishing to both of you! The half was hot, but you finished which is the important thing!