Overall, I had a lot of fun at the Disneyland Half Marathon. It was my first time running this race and since I am doing a bunch of half marathons this season, I wanted this to be my fun one.
Just like the other Disney races, only bits and pieces are actually run through the parks. I think the first three miles were around and through Disneyland and California Adventures. Then the bulk of the middle miles were spent running up and down the streets of Anaheim where they had a pretty decent line-up of bands and cheerleaders for entertainment. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to go inside the ballpark in Anaheim, just around it. Last year, the course had you actually run the bases which I thought would have been cool. Finally, the last mile or so took you back through California Adventures and then Downtown Disney. Here's the course map in case you want the full view:
Running through the parks was fun as they had characters cheering you on. I had to stop to get a picture with these guys as my sister and I loved the Finding Nemo show at Disney. Definitely one of our favorite attractions that I highly recommend! On a side note, I didn't really see that many runners take pictures with the characters compared to the WDW Marathon where it seemed like all the characters had lines of runners waiting to get their pics with them.
Here's me running through Disneyland - very fun! But look what a mess I am, I've got my hands full with my iPod and water bottle. Not something I will be doing again.
My favorite part of every race... the final stretch to the finish line! It was so cute to have the characters there to greet you, too.
Here's me afterward with my two medals:
Pretty nice bling, right? The one on the left is the half marathon medal and the one on the right is the medal for the Coast to Coast challenge (running in the WDW marathon in January and running the Disneyland Half). Disney gives the *best* medals - you can see the Mickey one from the marathon here.
I love the Coast to Coast challenge medal - here's the inspiration!
Did you know Tinkerbell was there, too?
OK, let's talk about how I did. Final chip time: 2:17:20 (10:28 pace)
This was my fifth half marathon ever and the slowest time out of the bunch - the other finish times ranged from 2:08 to 2:13. I was a little bit disappointed because I felt my training runs were going really well this year but then when I thought about it more, it all makes sense that I didn't have my best showing and here's why (kind of reads like an excuse list, but really is meant as a reminder for myself for upcoming races):
1. Weather: Apparently, the temps this year were much better than last year when it was in the 80s when the race *started* at 6AM (yikes!). I think for us, it was in the high 60s when it started and then later on it was in the 70s. That is too warm for this runner. I prefer 50-55 degrees. And when I think about it, all my other half marathons were in much cooler temps, the kind where you needed to have some kind of layering while you wait for the race to start - always a good sign in my book!
2. Water stops: My usual approach to a half marathon is three evenly spaced stops - one for water, one for gatorade, another one for water and then on to the finish! That always seemed to work well for me. But since it was so hot, I stopped for water at almost all of the dozen water stations.
3. Other misc breaks: Since I approached this as a fun run, I was a little bit more disorganized than I normally would be. Examples: I stopped once for the Nemo pic, stopped again to put my camera back in my belt, stopped again to put my ipod in my belt, stopped again to turn off my ipod and shove my headphones in my belt, stopped again to dump some of the water in my water bottle since it was kind of heavy and I was mainly taking from the water stations anyway, etc etc... so yeah, I was a disorganized mess!
4. Bad refuel plan: I didn't really adjust my refuel strategy for the weather conditions. I probably needed more than just the gatorade I took at the halfway point - they did have Gu's or Clif shots of some sort at one point but for reason I didn't think I needed it. On second thought, I probably did need an extra boost in the electrolyte department.
Some other random notes (again, mostly for myself):
- This was the longest run I've ever done in my Nike running skirt and I was pretty happy with it... the compression shorts didn't ride up on me or bother me at all!
- Did NOT like carrying the water bottle - should have stuck with one of my fuel belts.
And in case you're curious, here are the splits courtesy of Mr. Garmin:
1 - 9:26
2 - 9:50
3 - 9:49
4 - 10:40
5 - 10:05
6 - 10:05
7 - 11:36
8 - 9:49
9 - 11:12
10 - 10:33
11 - 10:32
12 - 10:49
13 - 10:12
0.32 - 2:56 (9:10 pace)
Total: 13.32 mi, 2:17:34
Official Race Results:
Chip Time - 2:17:20
Overall Place - 3538 / 10849
Gender Place - 1439 / 6407
Division Place - 255 / 1061
In summary, the race was fun and although I don't think my finish time was *that* bad, I really do hope I can improve in my upcoming races.
I leave you with a picture of me showing off my new medal to Minnie: