This year, for “my birthday” (since I consider Labor Day weekend my birthday, although my actual day isn’t until Wednesday this year), I decided I wanted to do something healthy and active vs. Vegas like last year.

So in January, when the Disneyland race registration opened up, I made the advanced decision I would run the Half Marathon. Before I knew it, August 31st rolled around and it was time to make our way to Disneyland.

It took me until the week before to decide what “costume” I would be. I felt obligated to dress up since it’s Disney, but also wanted to be practical. I decided I would go with a t-shirt costume (similar to RNR LA costume).  I ended up cutting the sleeves off, which allowed it to be a little less restrictive (and made running in the humidity a little more bearable).

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I’m not even the biggest Disney fanatic and this race was “magical.”

First, it started off with the ease of navigating the corrals. We made it over to G-H (the last 2 corrals) around 5:23. With a 5:30 start time I was worried we wouldn’t make our way up to A-B. There were also more porta-potties as you made your way up past F. I didn’t think there was a line, but apparently I cut an entire line and slid into the first open bathroom.

The race start (by Downtown Disney) was SUPER crowded. Originally, my plan was to run the first 5 miles at a 1:42 pace (7:45) but I could barely break out under 8:30. Within the first mile I could feel the heat and humidity (like, I started sweating already), and decided this wouldn’t be a race to push it, but just really enjoy it and try to minimize “the struggle.”

Mile 2-3 we ran around California Adventure, backstage, around Paradise Pier, Cars Land, Hollywood Boulevard and Condor Flats. Mile 3-4 the race continued through Disneyland, on Main Street, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. There were a variety of characters throughout the course, although I didn’t stop for any of them (lines start to accumulate after a while). It was still dark at this time (this is the earliest race start I’ve ever had) so some of this kind of just feels like it was a dream.

Mile 5-8 we ran throughout the streets of Anaheim, which could have been really dull and boring, except for the crowd support was AMAZING. And not just a couple people standing on the side of the street, but big aggregates of groups and people.

Mile 8 we ran by the Honda Center, and then mile 9-10 we ran through the Angels Stadium. I had no idea what to expect, but I got chills as we ran around the outskirts of the field. The stadium was filled with people. My gait definitely picked up from running close to 9 minute miles to a 7:30 pace. It was definitely at the right place and at the right time. From there on out I just focused on making it to mile 12 to pick up the pace.

The heat was definitely oppressive and I didn’t feel like there were enough water stations, even taking water at every available one. However, everyone was so happy and I felt myself thanking every volunteer as I took a cup of water.

We rounded back towards the Disneyland Hotel. At mile 12 I saw that I was still under 1:40 and could make it sub-1:50 even if I ran a 10 minute mile. I picked up the pace a bit and finished in 1:48:07.

I ended up not doing as bad as I thought. I wasn’t paying too much attention to my watch, just trying to take in the “Disney-ness” of the course and enjoy it. I thought I had a few miles over 9 minute miles, but it appears I kept it pretty consistent for the most part.

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:48:07):
1- 8:04
2 – 7:49
3 – 7:50
4 – 8:04
5 – 8:00
6 – 8:12
7 – 8:31
8 – 8:37
9 – 8:37
10 – 8:19
11 – 8:21
12 – 8:16
13 – 7:42
Last .25 – 1:38

photo 1_24Recovery via OH! Juice Maca Mylk

Have you done a Run Disney event before?

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