Since this past week was pretty much a rest week Im going to instead post about the Half Marathon. We left off with getting 7 solid hours of sleep the night before. Disclaimer here, for pretty much all of my Disney races I have gotten less than 5 hours of sleep pre race. There is always so much I want to do in the parks I typically put my sleep on the back burner. After talking with my doctor and new coach the goal for this race was to not get injured and sleep is a big part of that. I decided to not see fireworks the night before the half marathon and make sure I was at least in bed if not sleeping for 8 hours. When the alarm went off at 4am I was actually ready. A little sleepy because hey its still pitch black outside! When I synced my fitbit it said I had slept for a little over 8 hours with a few times restless. Wow! I get ready and headed down to the bus again. The temps were in the 40’s and I was happy about it. Ate my protein bar on the way to the start line and drank a bottle of water. Took some pre-race photos, of course!
By this time the announcers were calling all runners to the corrals. Perfect time to hit the porta-potties. The lines were a little long but I would rather go now than later…or so I thought 😉 Went to the restroom and headed to corral B. The race started about 10 minutes late waiting for road clearance and then we were off! First half mile was looping back into the parks then only 2 short miles in the park. Ok so after 5 minutes of running I realized I had to pee…again! What! I thought it might just be nerves but once we got into the parks and into Carsland I decided to make a quick pit stop in the real restrooms located there. I figured better get it over with now when there is a real restroom facility and probably no line (which there wasnt) then risk it on the public roads we would be on for most of the course. I have no idea why I had to go again so soon. That has never happened before, but once I made the second pit stop I was good to go for the rest of the race. I also needed the stop because my lower calves were SO STIFF from yesterdays small hills. I gave each leg a good 2 minute stretch per leg and they felt better for the rest of the race. Luckily all the stretching/foam rolling I had been doing paid off for the rest of my body.
Terrible selfie time! It was dark and not many cast members around to take photos so selfie it is. This was at the 1 mile marker. I didnt stop again for Black Widow or Hawkeye and skipped Captain America (his line was super long) but I had to stop for Thor. Oh, by the way can you tell which superhero I am? I’m Brunhilde/Valkyrie today. Thor thought I was She-Thor…ummm hello I have a sword and a blue cape, get it right Thor 😉 A few people knew who I was and that was awesome.
Really blurry of me and Thor but I love him he is fantastic and the accent was spot on. Side note—yesterday and today it was so awesome and a strange rush of energy when people would yell “Go Thor!!” or “Yes, Valkyrie!”. I think it was just as fun for the supporters as it was for the runners to see the costumes. Both days there was great energy from the spectators and it really helped give me some energy as well.
Running through the parks I stopped for a few selfies and got a terribly blurry shot with the castle. I was ok with all these stops though because I knew how boring the rest of the course was going to be and didnt plan on stopping much if at all once on the surface streets. Out of Disneyland we headed down Anaheim and made our way to Angel Stadium. This was a pretty desolate stretch of Anaheim but thank goodness for Disney there were marching bands and cheerleaders as often as they could station them. Around mile 6 we started running through this kinda sketchy causeway area where there were a few homeless camps. I admit I did feel a little uncomfortable and was happy for the crowds around me. This was probably the most boring stretch of the run and had the most ups and downs with ramps. Then all of the sudden there were about a hundred cos-players! You guys, these cos-players were FANTASTIC! They were all lined up on this stretch of sidewalk that was just dirt and they were just cheering, calling out character names (mine included) and just looking spectacular. It was a much needed energy boost at a point in the race I usually hit a wall. You cant see all the amazing detail in the below photo, but everyone did a great job and really got the energy up.
Once we passed them Angel Stadium was in my sights…literally. But first was the Cliff Gel Shot stop. Other than the selfie stops in the park this was the first time I stopped to walk. I need water with the gel shot and didnt want to splash it all over myself. Ate the vanilla gel shot, drank a cup of water and walked just a little to catch my breath and take a picture of the sign before heading into the stadium.
I wasnt super pumped about running through the stadium as some other people were but it was cool and when the announcer said my name I got a little excited and ran just a smidge faster through the ball park. After exiting the ballpark we were in a parking lot. My legs were feeling a little tired at this point by my mind was doing well so I powered on. At the end of the parking lot was a large group of vintage 20’s era soldiers and current vets. It was so cool! I was confused at first, then off to the side I saw swing dancers and almost jumped in. I should have, this girl did and had a blast! After running past them I only had a little over a 5k left. I was surprised actually how fast the race went by considering how little was in Disneyland. It was also around this point I started thinking about a PR. I KNEW I was going to get a runDisney PR but also thought it might be possible to get an overall PR. Thats when I made the decision to not walk again unless I absolutely needed to. I walked a little before mile 12 to get my head in the game and hunker down for that last mile. Luckily the last mile there were plenty of cast members and hotel guests our cheering all the runners on. I honestly didnt have much left in the tank and was only able to kick it up a smidge for the finish line. I looked up at the clock crossing that finish mat and wasnt sure if I had made it. According to my watch though…PR you guys!!!!!!!
I stopped my watch to meet Thor and run into the restroom so my official time was 2:49:22. Still a runDisney PR and dang proud of the time. My pace hovered around 11:50 for every mile. I can truthfully say this is the first long run in a long time where I didnt feel like I was going to die and knew this was going to be my fall race again next year. After getting all my medals (3!!!) I took a few photos with the professional photographers and sat and stretched for a bit. It ended up being a cloudy day so the sun wasnt beating down on me which made me happy.
After stretching and taking a breather for a few minutes I went to Earl of Sandwich for a breakfast sandwich and to rest the legs a little before walking back to the hotel. I got back to the hotel around 9:45am, took a much needed shower, detox soak and a nap. I only meant to take a 30 minute nap…60 minutes later I was getting park ready and walked over to Disneyland. My friend had a tour at 2pm so we met up did a few rides at Disneyland, got some lunch at Bengal’s Barbecue (skip it, totally not worth the money and I know Disney food prices) then she went on her tour and I took some castle pictures with my medal…because obviously.
I really loved the clouds here, around dusk they turned pink/blue. How appropriate with Sleeping Beauty’s castle. I took quite a few photos but am limiting myself here because Im sure you dont need THAT many pictures of me 🙂
Why take a serious selfie when you can take a fun selfie. My mickey ears are custom Thor ears (etsy shop here) and the necklace (which you cant see very well) is also a Thor necklace. While my friend was on her tour, this is when I went over to Trader Sam’s (review here). I took the monorail back and met Ariel who is telling me that while I could beat her in a land race, she would beat me at swimming, to which I 100 % agreed 🙂
After my friend was done with her tour we headed over to California Adventure for dinner at Carthy Circle (almost exact replica of the Carthy Theater where Snow White premiered) and to watch World of Color-Holiday. Carthy Circle was pretty good, I think the Chef got a little TOO creative with some of the flavor combinations but the atmosphere was amazing and the company was great! I didnt take any pictures of the Holiday World of Color but I did enjoy it. Olaf was the host and it was much cuter an expected. Granted there were 2 sections of Frozen songs…you cant escape it people!!! After World of Color we decided to head back to the hotel. It was cold, very windy and surprisingly crowded…like Christmas Day crowded. Everything has over a 50 minute wait and my body was in no mood for that. Went back to the hotel for some more stretching/foam rolling and super sad face…packing 😦
Summary for the race, what went well:
- Sleep!! I was not tired at all which also played a big part in why I felt so good today
- Weather again, because today was slightly overcast and cold with a slight breeze. Perfect conditions for me, and even a few times to myself actually thought “this is why I love running”.
- Mostly flat course which made keeping the pace consistent pretty easy
- Positive attitude! This is major because most of my long runs recently have been plagued with doubt, frustration and irritation
- On course entertainment. I had low expectations which probably helped but honestly it has been a while since 13.1 miles have flown by
- Hydration-at every water stop I got 1 cup of powerade and 1 cup of water. I have to remind myself LA is in the desert and drink more water than I normally would to prevent dehydration like what happened during Tinkerbell.
What could have gone better:
- My right arm was being chaffed by either the arm hole of my shirt or the arm band. I ignored it best I could but party foul on my part for not trying this out sooner.
- Stiffness, I didnt stretch the calves enough from yesterday and had to deal with that issue today.
- Getting the photographers to take non-blurry pictures! Ok so this one isnt running related but still, come on get the camera to focus people!!!
With both races done back to back and both done at almost race pace Im very happy with my times and how I felt after. I wont make a habit of doing challenges like this but I do see myself doing the gauntlet challenge next year. I really enjoyed both races, they had smaller crowds (about half the number of people than what is at WDW), much more laid back and the weather is ideal. I dont have any regrets (other than the blurry pictures dang it) and am so glad to have been reminded of why I enjoy running and races in general.
Something I havent mentioned for either race so far is what I ate. Im not going to go into detail because I think thats not important but what I did do was make sure I was eating enough protein/carbs and limiting my sugar as much as possible. Being in Disney that last part is VERY hard but I didnt want any gastric issues and I think it really paid off. Like Ive said a few times I havent had a better race in a long time and its because of all these factors. Food though plays a huge part in that and I know I would have done much worse if I ate all the dessert like I wanted to. It was tough but definitely worth in.
CHIME IN!!! Are you a runDisney fan? Do like running when its cold? What is your favorite superhero?