Last race weekend until Marathon and I am so ready to be done! What I was most looking forward to this weekend was the fact that its a smaller number or participants and the course is almost totally flat. You may remember I did this race last year (see my posts here and here) and most everything was the same from last year with 2 notable differences.
- The course for the half marathon was drastically changed for the better. Last year we ran down a drainage ditch for about 2 miles and around some sketchy territory. This year the course was changed to run on roads only which was nice and most of those roads were actually shaded. Great job runDisney on improving a course when last weekends course sucked HARD
- The medals this year were sad. Last years half medal was a spinner and large. This years medal was a basic circle with the Avengers “A” with no spin. Which, fine no big deal where I got upset was the challenge medal was so far down in quality. Last year the gauntlet medal had what could pass for stones on each finger and the back was a solid looking stone. This year its all painted on. So painted on that the display medal they had out was chipped in places and missing color. BAD JOB runDisney for dropping quality so quickly (Below doesn’t do it justice but in person it’s plain to see).
In terms of the expo I thought it was good. The merch wasn’t as good as last year but I was able to get the few things that I wanted (pins and workout pants). There were quite a few vendors as well with free samples which I really liked. Cliff even had a table where you could sample all their bars. Needless to say we didn’t need to buy lunch that day 🙂 The expo at Disneyland is much smaller than Walt Disney World but so are the races so its just fine for me. I don’t spend much time there anyways.
Now that the expo is over its time to focus on the main events for the weekend. The main goal for this weekend was to race the 10k and get a sub hour time. I knew I had the training to do it and my hip was feeling great. I went to bed around 8pm the night before the race to make sure I got plenty of sleep. While I didn’t sleep well it was time off of my feet so that’s always a positive. Race day is here and I get to coral B with about 30 minutes to spare. For those of you wondering…my body fully cooperated with me restroom wise for both race weekends and I am so happy about that.
Race starts pretty much on time and just like that we are off. My goal was to keep a 9 minute pace and move up to 8:40 if I could. The corals for the most part were seeded very well. I was running in line with most of my group and no spot felt very tight. I was maintaining a 9 pace when around mile 2 my feet started to fall asleep. Uh-oh, its not so bad though I can keep going. Keep my 9 pace, breathing was a little hard and there were so inclines that slowed me down a little but overall kept my pace.
Mile 4 I pretty much could no longer feel my feet and was forced to stop and loosen my shoes. This cost me some time but overall I was pacing to finish under an hour. My pace had slowed to about a 9:30 because of my feet and my quads were tight from the get go. I was keeping an eye on my watch though and knew it would be tight but I could do it, I could get a PR at Disney.
By this time I had passes all the characters that I knew would be out and was fine because I knew I would see them tomorrow. But then I saw Doctor Strange…and I stopped for him. The line was short (maybe 4 people) and it was his race after all, so I did it…I got in line and met him. This took all of 2 minutes but it cost my the PR I was hoping for. I get out of line with Doctor Strange and do the stupidest thing possible, up my pace to 8 minute/mile. Yup that lasted all of 1/2 a mile and I knew it was a mistake. This made me drop my pace to a 10 to get my breath back a refocus. That last 3/4’s was ROUGH. I was trying so hard to get that time and I was SO CLOSE. I ended with a 1:01:17 which to be fair is still a great time and still a PR at a Disney race.
I wont say I’m disappointed because I made the conscious decision to stop and meet a character. I had gone back and forth pretty much the whole race about it and made the last second call which ended up costing me. I was also not on fresh legs and I knew that from the start. I know for sure now that I have it in me to get a sub hour 10k I just need to give myself another change to get it officially. Lastly the one thing that kills me is the shoe thing. I have worn these shoes with the same lace tightness for months with no issues. I failed to account for swollen feet and didn’t loosen my laces and that cost me valuable time. These things happen and life goes on. Its still a great time and I’m very happy with how I ran with quite a few conditions working against me.
After the race I went back to the room to stretch and shower and eat breakfast then we headed out to the beach with Ralph for the day. We went to a few differnet beaches but ended the night in Laguna and if you dont follow me on Instagram I’ll post this here again. Just beautiful and what a great way to rest the legs for the half tomorrow. Oh and we carb loaded for dinner with pizza at Mozza.
Last day of the season!!! The half marathon is up and Im ready to get going. I went to bed around 9pm the night before and was as rested as I could expect to be. Again got to Coral C about 30 minutes before race start. Today the race started right on time and we were off. Most of the race was very un-eventful and I started my run/walk method at mile 2 with .2 miles walking .8 miles running with a goal pace of 10 during the runs.
I kept the splits pretty even actually and didnt feel burnt out or tired or discouraged at all. Mile 8 we headed into Angels stadium and that was a great boost of energy. Again the 1920’s style army guys were out and the swing dancers as well. It was so great to see them again and there were so many more than last year! After Angels stadium there were the super hero cos-players who looked fantastic and motivated everyone. Then it was the home stretch!
Around mile 9 and 10 I did pour water on my head because it was getting so hot but I made it across the finish line in 2:29:55!!! A Disney PR and faster than last week by almost 10 minutes. I pushed so hard that last .8 miles I wanted to stop but I wanted that under 2:30 time more so I pushed as much as I could and finished with a smile on my face.
I do want to say that this race, the half particularly taught me what I’ve read so many times and knew but never really understood. This race was the first time I ran my own race. I didn’t worry about what others were doing or who was passing me. I ran what I knew I was capable of today and did the best I could. Its funny because I KNEW all this before but it would always bother me when someone would pass me or I was walking and no one else was. This race though, honestly thanks to Brittany, I didn’t care. I did what I needed to do to finish strong and without injury and I did just that. And before you ask, yes I carried that dang hammer the whole race and yes it did get heavy but luckily I have 2 arms and switched off. Probably wont be Thor for a race again though lol.
Since I did Wine & Dine Weekend and Avengers Weekend back to back I was able to see some drastic differences in the race weekends. Here is what I noticed:
- Disneyland had a better post race photo area. The logos at the bottom were automatically added where as Disney World you had to figure out where the “sticker” was through photopass. In general I HATE the use of a generic background and don’t appreciate this cost cutting measure. Its minor but its just another thing in a long line of cut-backs that I just don’t appreciate.
- Disneyland had a castle to chateau backdrop set up but you could only take your picture with it if you had gotten the medal there. I was really disappointed because Walt Disney World had nothing even though that’s where I got my castle to chateau medal.
- Disneyland was much less crowded than Walt Disney World and overall had a better course. This is really important if you are running for time.
- Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland no longer give those mesh bags at the end of a race which is another cost saving measure I’m really disappointed with. You still get your water, powerade, snack box and banana but now you don’t have anywhere to put it and have to hold all of that. Seriously Disney, with all the money I pay for these races you cant give me a mesh bag?!
- Disney World has pictures with characters post race and Disneyland does not. This may be a space thing but who knows. This one doesn’t bother me as much but if you are used to seeing characters after a race, don’t expect that at Disneyland
- There are more water stops at Disneyland than Disney World, at least from what i noticed. This may be because Disneyland is in the desert but either way it was appreciated. Disney World I always feel like it could use at least 1 more water stop.
- Since Disney World races are pretty much exclusively on Disney property there is more “on course” entertainment. I use quotes because this year the on course entertainment was a truck with a TV screen and music. Lame. Disneyland half marathons are mostly on public roads so they arent allowed to do the same things. There is decent on-course support but its not like Disney World.
I didn’t talk about fueling yet so let me take a second to do that now. I have trained all season long with Cliff Gel’s vanilla flavor. I’ve trained to take them at mile 4 and mile 8 and that’s just what I did race day. It wasn’t exactly at the 4 and 8 to make sure I had water but close enough. ALWAYS take water with those gels. It helps them go down and helps absorb into your body. I also took water at every aide station. I did take powerade a few times but now that my body is used to hydrating with Nuun the powerade just felt like it was drying me out. With LA being a desert its really important to hydrate early and often. Below is post race celebration drinks but I do want to note alcohol before a race is a really bad idea. The day before the half I did have one drink but it was at 4pm and I had water the rest of the evening and all that morning. Its ok to celebrate though when the race is over 🙂
Pre-race each morning I had a toasted english muffin with almond butter and a banana. I also would drink a water bottle full of nuun the night before and pre race to make sure I had enough electrolytes. This whole process seemed to do really well for my and kept my stomach happy even with those early morning wake up calls. Post race our hotel had waffles so I got my carb on and ate 1/2 a waffle each morning post race. Yummy!
After the race we went to Disneyland and took tons of photos. I brought all my medals with me this time so made sure to capture them in all their glory. For those of you counting that’s 9 medals total for 3 months of racing!
Then of course I had to go meet Donald because hey he’s #1 and he was not a fan of the mickey ears. I tried to tell him he was #1 but he was a little jealous 🙂
All in all it was a great weekend. The races went well and all my goals were met. We got to spend some time with my Uncle and try new things at Disneyland. It might be a while before I make it back out to Cali so this was a really nice way to end the season. Now its time to re-focus for the upcoming marathon. I have to say I’m not as nervous about it because I know Ill be doing the run/walk method. January will be here before you know it!
CHIME IN!!! When was your last race? What do you eat before a race? Are you a Donald fan?