Well, I knew September was going to be a busy month, at least the first part of it, and boy has it kicked my butt! I have tons to share, from recent trip highlights to tips & ideas for you! I can't wait to get back to it. I thought I'd start with the Disneyland Half Marathon recap today.
I gotta say, I went into this half marathon with mixed emotions. When I first signed up months ago, I was super excited about it, especially since it would allow me to get the Coast to Coast Medal in November after Disney World's Wine & Dine Half Marathon. However, my training had been pretty sporadic. Although I did get most of my long runs in, I missed a lot of my weekday runs as the race got closer. Plus, I never felt strong during most of my long runs and they were all pretty slow.
I joined a facebook group for Disneyland Half Marathon participants and the folks on there were super helpful and encouraging. If I ever had a question, it was answered quickly. The group was awesome and I highly recommend joining a facebook group for your next race, especially if it's a big one like the Disney races are. They helped me a lot with what to expect for the expo and packet pickup. I tend to get a bit anxious of the unknown and all their tips and info were super helpful. Thanks, peeps!
Friday morning, Jason and I took the 4 hr drive to Anaheim from Vegas. The kiddos didn't come along, so the drive was quick without any stops. I'd read people were in very long lines for packet pickup but, maybe because we arrived on the last day of the expo I had no line. I walked right up to get my bib and then up to the expo floor to get my bag and shirt with no wait either.
We had to wake up crazy early, 3:30am to be exact, so we were in bed before 9pm! Getting to the parking structure that morning and to the festival area was all very easy and streamlined. After a quick photo and a potty break, it was time to say good bye to Jason and get to my corral. I wanted to be in the corral early and I'm so glad I did. I was in corral C and I was right in the front and wasn't shoved or crowded. The announcers did their thing, yea, it was kinda cheezy, but I really liked the fireworks to start the race! At 5:30am, the first group took off and, before I knew it they opened up our corral and we walked up to the starting line for us to go. The wait time between corrals seemed to go quickly. I heard there were some issues with some of the corrals further back, but Corral C had no issues and we took off around 5:50 or even a little earlier.
During the race I never felt like we bottlenecked and it never really got so crowded that I couldn't keep my pace. Again, I think there was some bottlenecking towards the corrals further back, but I was good the entire time. I stopped to take a photo of the ferris wheel as I entered California Adventure because it just looked so pretty and also at the entrance to Disneyland. That's right when I saw Jason, between California Adventure and Disneyland. We hadn't really planned on him cheering me on at any point during the race, so that was a nice surprise. It was really cool running through the theme parks. I really loved seeing CarsLand and can't wait to take the kiddos there now! Of course, running through the castle was awesome! We also ran through a bit of the back lot or behind the scenes of the park and there were always cast members, custodians, and other Disney employees lined up cheering us on.
Once we left Disneyland property, I honestly didn't think there would be much to see or that it would exciting. Well, I was so wrong! In my opinion, some of the best parts of the race were through the city of Anaheim. There were high school bands, cheerleaders, and dance groups about every couple of miles it seemed. There were tons of water stations with friendly volunteers too! My favorites were the almost 500 cars that lined up both sides of the streets as we ran up to Angel's Stadium. There were all kinds of car clubs from antique cars to muscle cars and everything in between. There were VW Bugs, low riders, Mustangs, Camaros, just every kind of car. The car owners were also there cheering us on! It was so entertaining! I loved how it distracted me from the miles I was running and kept me motivated. The car show finally ended as we came up to Angel's Stadium. I was feeling so great from seeing all the cars and the energy from the crowd, that when I saw the 2:30 pacer just a little bit ahead of me, I pushed a little harder and ran right past them! At this point we were entering the stadium and I could hear all the cheering as we ran through the tunnel to enter the field. I came out to see half the stadium filled with tons of kids and their parents. I think every girl scout and boy scout troop from Orange County were there! It was so awesome giving all the kiddos high fives as I ran past them. Their energy was contagious and it kept me going all the way to about mile 11! As always, that last mile was tough, but just knowing that I was going to sub 2:30 kept me going at a steady pace. I finished in 2:27:04 and felt great.
I got my medal and called Jason right away to come meet me. He was waiting for me at the family reunion area, so we saw each other right away! We didn't stay too long because I was hungry and ready to freshen up and stretch. It was getting hot and I was super sweaty and gross after running 13.1! I had some of the snacks that came in our goodie box in the car and we grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. Went over to our friend's place to shower and freshen up before brunch. You better believe I celebrated with a mimosa and some bloody mary's! I also had the most delicious corned beef eggs benedict ever!!! Soon after brunch it was time to go back home to the kiddos :) Big thanks to our friends, Linda & Sean, for letting us crash at their house for the night & for being so hospitable! XO
I couldn't believe how well the race went! It was really so much better than I had anticipated it would be. I had prepped myself to expect massive crowds, delays, bottlenecking, and a boring course through Anaheim. This was all far from the truth! Yes, there were close to 18,000 runners but I never felt overcrowded and I absolutely loved the course! I really enjoyed the crowd support and I'm still in awe of how many residents of Anaheim were out there supporting us runners along the way! I really appreciated it so much and I know it was the reason I was able to push along and feel so good throughout the entire race. Now, I'm really excited about my next Disney race, the WDW Wine and Dine in November!!
Have you ever ran a runDisney race? Which one? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below, especially if you've ran the Wine & Dine Half ;)