Thursday, November 11, 2010

Race Report: Disneyland Half

Over Labor Day weekend, I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon.  I ran the race before in 2008 - here's the race report, if you're interested. It's Disney so of course it's a fun race. But is it an amazing one that everyone should run year after year? No, not really. Once is plenty, if you ask me. However, I needed to run this race again this year for one reason only:

Note: This is the one from 2008. You'll see my new one later down the post.

Ah, yes, that would be the elusive Disney Coast-to-Coast Challenge medal. In order to obtain this special prize, you have to run either a Walt Disney World half or full marathon (or in my case this year - both) in Orlando, Florida AND run the Disneyland Half Marathon in Anaheim, CA in the same calendar year.

So basically, it's for the super awesome runners... you know, just like how doing Goofy was for the super awesome as well. My goal during race weekends is to one-up as many people as possible (in a way that does not involve speed). "Oh, you're doing just the full? Not me, I'm doing Goofy." *smirk* "Just getting the half marathon medal today, huh? Not me, I get the awesome Coast to Coast one, too. See my special wristband???" *double smirk*

I'm just kidding about that part. Well, kind of. But it's no fun to have your accomplishment overshadowed by something bigger. Right? OK, whatever, so yeah it's probably definitely just another way for Disney to take more money from suckers like me yet still make me feel good about it.

Disney: 234078329857329573987
Audrey: 0

(I don't know what those numbers represent specifically... not dollars, although sometimes it feels like it.)

Anyway, to be honest, I really wasn't looking forward to this race since I have pretty much been on a running hiatus since the Goofy Challenge in January. But I needed to get that medal plus it's Disney so it's not like I need to worry about my time so off I went.

This was another one of those "wham bam thank you ma'am" kind of trips. I flew down to Anaheim Saturday afternoon and flew back Sunday afternoon. Unlike 2008, I didn't even get a park ticket.

I will say this about the Disneyland Half - it is a very convenient race in terms of getting around. You don't need a car, I just took the Disneyland Resort Express to the hotel, which by the way, can be quite affordable. If you want to be as close to the race start as possible, you could definitely stay at one of the official Disney hotels. Otherwise, they have tons of less expensive motels that are still nice enough that are right on the perimeter of Disneyland so it's still walking distance to expo and race start (I would guess 20 minutes vs. 5 minutes.) I stayed at the Anaheim Camelot Inn both years, mostly because it's cute and is not far from the main entrance to the Disney parks. Save more money and grab a runner to stay with you - that's how I got Roadbunner to be my roommate. :)


I got there a little toward the end of closing. When I first arrived, there were all these signs about previewing some of ABC's new fall lineup. In case you didn't know, I'm a TV junkie and I'm all over stupid things like getting early access to new TV shows. I did one in Vegas with my sister where we got to preview this medical drama called Three Rivers and then answer this 45 min questionnaire afterward. I'll be honest... I thought that was fun! One of the main things I remembered was that the show didn't have that "processed" look yet so instead of a primetime drama, it looked like a daytime soap opera and it was really hard for me to get over how cheesy that looked. HA! I'm sure that was helpful info to the production team.

ANYWAY... I was tempted to ditch to watch TV shows but knew I didn't have the time for that nonsense. So I went straight to packet pick up to collect my stuff. As usual, the shirts were a unisex style and ran large so I would be swimming in the one I got. I noticed a bunch of peeps were waiting in the "Size S" line. I guess they would allow you to start swapping sizes at 5PM (a couple of hours from that point).
This is very boyish.

I walked around the expo for a bit but surprisingly didn't see anything I liked. Not even at the official merchandise booth... I don't know if it's a Disney issue or a Champion issue but somebody is dropping the ball because they rarely have cute stuff. Not like the cute stuff that Nike delivers.

By the time I finished my rounds, I decided to go ahead and wait in line for the shirt exchange as well since I had time to kill. The line eventually got really long and once we finally moved, a lady cut in line. Now I believe it's possible that she just got confused where the line ends since it was really crowded in that area, but I was completely amused at how quickly the other women ahead of me were all "I don't think so!". I guess there were only 20-something size S shirts left and there were at least double that in line. So, you know, it was a DIRE issue.

After that, I shopped around Downtown Disney, making sure to text my Disney-loving sister images of where I was at to make her jealous. Bwa-ha-ha-ha... It's OK, I got her and her little boy some souvenirs so she didn't hate me.

Then I went back to the hotel to wait for Roadbunner to arrive. We later had a late dinner with my favorite Glee crew member, Penny. This was my first time meeting her so it was nice to actually hang out with a good Twitter buddy. Sadly, we forgot to take any pics at dinner.


Race start was at 6AM. I have this thing where I like to consume all my pre-race liquids and fuel as close to 2 hours before the race as possible so I was up at 4AM. Bleh.

Roadbunner and I later headed to the race start. Neither of us had gear check bags which was nice. After the potty stops, we wished each other good luck and goodbye at the start corrals. She had an early airport shuttle pickup right after the race so I was certain I wouldn't see her then. Once in my corral, I realized I had lost one of my yurbuds - so sad.

I had no time goals for this race. All I wanted to do was take lots of pictures and cross that finish line, no matter how long it took. And boy did I take my time!

The course was pretty similar to when I ran it in 2008 - except for a big part that I will get to later. You start down Disneyland Drive and the course is pretty ho hum for the first mile and a half. Then you enter California Adventures! From there, it's about two miles of sightseeing through the parks with tons of characters to take pics with. And since I wouldn't actually be going to the parks separately, I decided to make the most of it. During those two miles, I had a blast! I was truly happy to be a runner and to be participating in this event. It didn't feel like I was running a half, it was more like a scavenger hunt where I was going from character to character collecting pictures. I was mostly successful, well except for Woody and his gang from Toy Story. So rebellious, that crew! Toward the end of the parks I ran into Penny and her running posse who were sporting the cutest tutus! (And I hate to brag, but me and Julianne did the tutu thing early on - are we trendsetters or what??? *snort*)

Here are just some of the highlights through the Disney parks:
Arriving at California Adventures
Moving on to Disneyland
Walt and Mickey - just like on our medal!

Approaching Cinderella's Home

Storming the Castle
Hanging with my fellow princesses - we went for tea later

What kind of chafing do you think this costume causes?

Once I got out of the parks, I was hit by the brutal realization that oh yes, I really am supposed to do a half marathon here. The middle of the race (miles 5-8) was pretty dull as we were just going up and down the streets of Anaheim. They tried to make it interesting with school bands and cheering squads which I appreciated, but they were definitely nowhere near as fun as going through the parks.

Again, I have to wonder about the chafing
After running past the Honda Center and along the Santa Ana trail - things got pretty exciting once again around mile 9. At this point, the course is slightly different from the one we had in 2008. This year, instead of running by it, we got to run *through* Angel Stadium. I had this weird idea that we would actually be running the bases, which we didn't because that would be dumb, but instead we ran along the outside while peeps were cheering from the seats plus cheerleaders on the field so it was still an amazing experience.

Oh did I mention we were also on the jumbotron? Like any good picture whore, I immediately tried to determine where that camera was angled at... I had to ask one of the lovely cheerleaders for assistance although to be honest, all I had to do was look for the line of runners (same thing with all the characters in the park). While waiting in line, I watched to see what the other runners were doing in order to capture the jumbotron shot. I pointed my camera at the jumbotron and then when I was ready, I looked into the big camera while clicking my point and shoot.


I was sad to leave the stadium because that was such a fun rush. Plus it was nice to experience something new from my previous Disneyland Half.

After that it was another 3 miles to the finish on nothing but boring streets. That was another part of the course they changed but not for the better. Last time, our last mile was through Downtown Disney which was fun because there usually would be a lot of people cheering at that point. But that's OK, I'll gladly sacrifice Downtown Disney for Angels Stadium.

I wasn't surprised by my finish time which is once again, a new personal worst for the half. Although I do find it funny that I missed a sub-3 finish by mere seconds.

At the finish area, I saw Penny again and this time we got a picture!

Check out the bling!

We got a special medal for the half because it was the 5th anniversary of the race. Now I know some people have some strong feelings about this (something to do with the 5 making it look like a 5K medal and celebrating a 5th anniversary is like "celebrating mediocrity" LOL) but I don't mind it. Actually, I *prefer* anniversary years at Disney races. Why? Because your medal is unique, no one else from any other year will have a medal like yours. Otherwise they use the same medal for at least four years in a row but just change the year and the strap. Like my Coast-to-Coast medal, it's pretty much identical to the one I already have. Makes me wonder why I went to all the trouble to get something I already own. :P I actually really like the castle medal this year... it's extra "blingy" which I like. And I also like that it has some color in it, too.

Official Results

Chip Time3:00:07
Overall Place9268 / 12372
Gender Place5447 / 7857
Division Place943 / 1311
Age Grade36.9%

Afterward, I picked up this post-race treat in Downtown Disney. A candy and chocolate coated caramel apple. It was delish!!! Although, admittedly, it took me days to finish... that would be a lot of sugar in one sitting.

So that's about it for Disney races. I won't say "never again" but I will say definitely not in 2011. I've already got plans to spend my race $$$ elsewhere next year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Race Report: Goofy Challenge Part 3 - The Full Marathon

...and this finally wraps up the Goofy race report series.  Part 1: The Expo can be found here and Part 2: The Half Marathon can be found here.

This race report will be mostly pictures because I really don't remember that many details of a race I ran 8 months ago, lol. Bad Audrey for being so delayed in getting this together.

But if you're really interested in the nitty gritty of the WDW full, feel free to check out my much more detailed 2008 WDW race report.

Here is the course for the full marathon - there were still a lot of expressways but at least we got to go through all four of the parks this time. The weather was slightly better - still freezing cold (high 20s/low 30s, I think) but at least it didn't rain on us.
Hitting all four parks this time!

I had fun hanging out with Roadbunner at the start of the race. We were both bundled in sweatshirts and our heat sheets. I've never been so grateful for overpacking. It took a long time to walk from the staging area to the actual start corrals. I ended up missing the start of my corral wave so I was one of the stragglers. I was actually sad to start because that meant I had to get rid of my extra layers... so I kept my big hoodie on for the first mile or so.
Obligatory Cinderella's Castle Photo
For the full, I didn't really stop to take pics with characters as much as I did with the half. It was already going to take at least five hours and I really didn't want to add that much more time in the freezing cold.

But once I saw Mickey outside Animal Kingdom, I had to stop! I love how quick the picture taking guys (not the race photographers, but the character "escorts") are... they usually had two of them so while one runner was having their picture taken, the other guy was already grabbing the camera of the next runner so they would be ready to go.  These guys are seasoned pro's!
Of course I had to stop for Mickey!
Then later on at Hollywood Studios, I was thrilled to see the guys from Up! I think this was around mile 23 or something. It was perfect timing because I told myself, after this - no more stopping until the finish. (Keep in mind that I'm the kind of runner that likes to take quick walk breaks on every mile! *Especially* at the end because I'm usually so exhausted and slightly delirious.)
I was so excited to see Russell and Carl! New additions to Disney!
And guess what - I did just that! Sure, I was running super slow but I was proud of myself for sticking to it :)
Headed out of Hollywood Studios
Judging by the smile on my face, I must be close to the finish.
How could you not love a race that has adorable characters high fiving you on your way to the finish?
V is for Victory :P
Sharing all my medal loot with Daisy
Medal Mania: Donald for the half, Goofy for both, Mickey for the full
This race was pretty interesting... the freezing weather was one issue. Hazardous aid stations were another! All the water that was thrown on the ground would freeze creating ice patches. Luckily, the volunteers were really good with giving us warnings so I didn't have any slip ups. The other funny thing was that some of the water cups were frozen! Not frozen solid, just the top layer so I would have to crack it to get the water out. Such a crazy experience!

I know this will be no surprise to anyone, but I am a big fan of the WDW marathon. I like how the different parks break up the course. Kind of like with the Nike marathon, where instead of thinking 12 miles to go, 11 miles to go, 10 miles to go and so on... it's more: OK around mile 4 there's a hill and then it's flat... but then get ready at mile 7 when the the big hills start, etc.

Same thing here... instead of thinking how far to the finish line, my mind instead wonders how long until we hit the next park. It is pure joy running through the Disney parks especially with all the characters around. And once you hit Hollywood studios around mile 22, it's all downhill because it's pretty scenic from there to the finish.

Official Results

Chip Time 5:18:48

Overall Place 9368 / 16906
Gender Place 3699 / 8160
Division Place 630 / 1288

5 Mile 56:06
10 Mile 1:54:31
Half Split 2:31:49
20 Mile 4:00:14

This is a bit of an improvement from my 5:25 time in the 2008 WDW marathon but considering it was 30 degrees vs 80, it was to be expected.

Showing off my prized Goofy medal to Goofy

One last anecodote... I had a great time wearing my Goofy medal around the parks on the following Monday and Tuesday. (No way was I wearing all three - 1) it would be way too heavy and 2) I wouldn't be able to deal with all the clinging and clanging!) When I flew home the following Wednesday, I got stopped by airport security and he asked if they could go through my bag. He then asked if I had a bag of coins or something and I was at first pretty confused. And then I realized it must have been my medals which I had in my carry-on so I pulled that out to show it to him. I asked if he had seen other runners with their medals and he said yes, but with only one medal, not three! Then before I knew it, this came flying out of my mouth, "Well, they must have not been as awesome as me."

Seriously! So embarrassed... :-/

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running Belt Deals from Disneyland Half

Hello all! Had a great time at the Disneyland Half last weekend... race report will be coming soon, but not until I post the WDW Full Marathon race report, heh heh.

Until then... I saw a couple cool deals on running belts from the expo that hopefully, you can take advantage of as well.

This is the belt I have - love it!!!

Get a 15% discount when ordering online by using code: MagicRun

More info at


  • FREE SPIbelt with any other race pocket belt trade-in
  • 50% off any new SPIbelt when you trade in your old SPIbelt
  • 15% off online purchases by using code: disney10. Free USPS shipping by using code: ship10.
More info at

Friday, September 3, 2010

Race Report: Goofy Challenge Part 2 - The Half Marathon

Side note: I *started* this race report months ago, but in typical fashion, I never finished it. With the Disneyland Half coming up this weekend, I wanted to get the Goofy race reports out there. I attempted to fill in the blanks below, but apologies for any missing details. Enjoy!

OK, I'm back with the next segment of the Goofy Race Report series. Part 1: The Expo can be found here.

It's now race time and first up is the WDW Half Marathon - a course that routes you from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back.

As I mentioned in my last post, we were treated to freakishly cold weather for marathon weekend. All of us runners were checking weather forecasts religiously leading up to the race. For the half, not only was it freezing cold (high 20's / low 30's) but we also got some rain (sleet?) as well! Oh joy!

Luckily, I was well-trained for running in this weather. CIM had similar weather (if not slightly "warmer") plus my peak training runs were in 30-40 degree weather in the snow back home in Ohio during the holidays.

I always say I want cold weather for race day so it's just like they say "Be careful what you wish for!"

On to the pictures...

Disney gang greets us at the start!

This was my first time running the half and let me just tell you, other than the short stint through Magic Kingdom, this course is BORING. Seriously. You start outside Epcot but don't actually run through it until the end. It's basically 5 miles of just boring WDW expressways and then you hit Magic Kingdom. That part is fun but once you leave, you're back to the boring expressways.

Below: Once again, guilty of jazz hands. It's like this weird reflex action that comes over me whenever I see a race photographer on the course.

The fun thing about Disney is they know people are running it mostly for the picture opportunities. And just in case the race photographers didn't get a good picture of you running out of Cinderella's castle, they set up a special location to the side to take a posed one for good measure. Of course, I had to take advantage of that!

And since I was obviously not in a rush, I made sure to take lots of pictures with the characters...

I especially admire the runners that ran in full costume!

ARGH! :)

This was a photo spot outside Magic Kingdom on the way back to Epcot. This captures the beauty of Disney races... no one is concerned about their time! I waited several minutes for this one but for Minnie and Goofy, totally worth it!

Finally crossing the finish line! Bet you haven't seen that time on the clock for a half marathon before, huh? ;)

All in all, it was an OK race. Definitely not one I would do on its own but that's just me. The worst part came after the race. It had rained on us during the race, but it doesn't really bother you while you're running. But once you're done with the race, standing in a very slow moving line waiting for food while shivering cold, you become quite miserable. I may have cried a little. OK, maybe not but I was very unhappy.

Normally, I would have skipped the food line altogether but I knew I didn't have anything in my gear check bag and I wasn't sure what food would be available in the meet and greet area. Knowing I had to run a full marathon the next day, I was especially concerned with getting some recovery food back in my system ASAP.

The nice thing was that my family was waiting for me so at least once I got through all of that, I got some much needed TLC :) [Although it did take some time to find them as well - one drawback to big races.]

I wised up for the full and packed post-race food and drinks in my gear bag and left that with my family to bring with them. The gear bag pickup line could be slow moving as well so I didn't want to take any chances.

Official Results

Chip Time 2:46:27

Overall Place 10346 / 17127
Gender Place 4989 / 9688
Division Place 799 / 1444

Age Grade 39.9%

5K Split 34:36
10K Split 1:17:02
15K Split 2:00:37

This ended up being my slowest half marathon time to date (ah, but stay tuned for this weekend!) but if you look at my rankings, it was actually pretty average for the Disney runners. This is why I love Disney races!!! WHEEEEE!!!

Next up, Goofy Challenge Part 3 - The Full Marathon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Medals Galore!

I've been meaning to do this post for awhile, especially after seeing this on the blogs of both Roadbunner and Aron.
What the heck do you do with your medals?

Most people know that I do races mostly for the medals. So you would think I would actually do something cool with them. Sadly, no. I don't exactly shove them in a shoebox, but I don't have them as part of my wall decor either. I don't know why.

For now, I have them haphazardly draped across a bulletin board on my desk.

I kind of like them there for now. They're displayed but in a subtle manner. I think at some point, I will pin them in a more organized fashion so that you can actually see all of them.

My #1 favorite medal: Disney Coast to Coast 2008

(Bonus medal for doing both the Walt Disney World marathon in Orlando in January and the Disneyland Half in Anaheim in August)

My #2 favorite medal: Walt Disney World marathon in 2008

It was an anniversary year so we got an extra special one :)

My #3 favorite medal: Cleveland Half Marathon in 2009

This was a toughie since I love all my Disney medals but this medal was one of the main reasons why I signed up for this race. I mean, it has a spinning guitar!!!

What are your favorite medals?

On a separate note... in case you don't already know, I have another blog, Pop Culture / Makeup Addict. It would be awesome if you could add it to your reader or subscriptions because it gets no love. :P That one is updated a bit more regularly. Thank you!
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