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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

This was only my 2nd Half Marathon this year and 19th Half Marathon overall.

I know I have been missing a few race reports for the past few races, I have been slacking off lately, so in order for me to catch up, I need to get back on it by doing this report first, then I will slowly but surely catching up on my reports.

So this was actually my first time signing up for ANY Disney's races, I have ran the Disneyland Half Marathon 2 years ago but I was just running for my friend was injured at that time so she couldnt run it. The reason that I never signed up for their races was they are just too expensive for just a half, but after I saw their medal of last year's, which was their 5th Anniversary, I figured I just wanted to sign up at least for once. So I did, and I am I did.

The Expo

I went to the Expo on Friday since I had to work late on Sat and didnt think I could make it. I got to the Disneyland Hotel like around 11:30am, expo opens at noon, there were a lot of people waiting in line already. There were 2 sections of the expo, one was underneath the hotel where we pick up our bib, print out our waiver and stuff, then we had to go back to the main floor for the actual expo where we pick up our goodies bag and shirt and visit all the vendors.

The Marathon Show Joe Taricani and me at the expo

After I picked up my goodies bag, I walked around the expo to see if I could get some freebies, which I got a few!!! I got a water bottle from Geico's booth, got an Angels' hat from the Anaheim Angels booth, I also got a tote bag, notebook, t-shirt, a discoball keychain, etc.. I caught up with Joe Taricani from The Marathon Show who was doing the interview at the expo and also at the race!! Always fun to see him doing interviews. So after about an hour and a half, I left the expo and heading back home so I could get ready for work.

Pre Race Carbo Load

Since it was only a Half Marathon,  I decided to just to cook myself a box of  Mac n Cheese while watching the IAAF World Championship Marathon in Korea on TV. I hate to feel too full on race day, so just a regular size box of Kraft's Mac n Cheese would do it for me.

My carbo load meal.

Race Day

I woke up at 3am, wore my brand new pair of Nike, which I bought a few months ago at the Outlet by Las Vegas, they are very comfortable to wear right out of the box, then left my house around 3:30am, drove up to Anaheim in half an hour without taking the freeway since I live on the same street as the Disneyland, just a few cities away. Once I got to Anaheim, I stopped by 7-Eleven to get some coffee, Gatorade and 2 donuts, which tasted nasty!!! I only took a bite each and threw them away!!

I tried to drive around the area to see if I could find a street parking so I wont have to pay for parking, but no luck, so I decided to just give in and park at their designated parking structure, where I had to pay $15!! Disneyland sure doesnt make my wallet happy. At around 4:45am, I started to gather all my stuff and headed to the start area, I was suppose to meet up with my Maniacs/Fanatics friends not too far from the start, but there were just too many runners that I couldnt make my way there, so I had to skip. I then walked my way to the gear check area to check my bag, which was my goodies bag's bag,  this huge see thru plastic bag kind of reminded me of NYC Marathon which they can see the contents of your bags, just for security & safety reasons.

After I gathered all the stuff that I needed, I walked my way toward the starting corral. The starting area was very well organized, volunteers were doing a great job telling us where to go to our designated corrals. Once I was inside the Corral A, I heard someone called my name, and it was my fellow Maniac Emil, he was sitting by the curb getting some last min rest, he has been running the Disneyland Half Marathon every year since their first race 6 years ago, he also ran the Disney World Marathon so he was on his way to get the Coast to Coast medal just to complete both races. We chatted for awhile before we headed toward the front closer to the start.

Moment before the start, the annoucer was introducing the runner, whose name is Whitney Henderson,  who had run all the way from FL to CA to raise money for  Souls4Soles Charity. She started the journey back in June, ran thru 6 pairs of shoes and said she will end her journey in Manhattan Beach on Labor Day. What a incredible runner!!!

So after the national anthem was sang by an Army soldier, a few fireworks were fired up above the sky, and then we were off we go!!! My goal was to get between 1:50-1:55, I even printed out my split time wristband on my right wrist but I never looked at it since it was hidden underneath my arm warmer, which wasnt necessary since the weather wasnt really cold at all!! I should have left them in my bag,  I was warmed up the momemt I started to run. It was around 65 degree, kind of humid early at 6am in the morning, the sky was still dark early on. I was trying to run the left side of the road so I could run my own pace and worry about other runners. There were already a lot of spectators on the street cheering once we got on the main road within a mile. Then we ran the next 3 miles inside the Disneyland which was really cool since the park was closed early on, we even ran thru some backlots area where only the employees are allow to go during park hours.I saw a lot of Disney's characters cheering for us runner, I tried to not  to stop and take pictures with them cuz I wanted to try to run a fast half marathon and get under 1:50. I was running around 8min pace so I was really running faster than I should. I was even passed by the 1:40 pace group, I knew that wasnt my goal so I didnt bother to follow them.

Then after Mile 4, we started to run  outside the park on the main road, there was this little uphill to cross right over the freeway, I tried to maintain my speed and pace myself on the over hill. I saw this guy running with the back of his shirt stated that he is single and actually put his phone numbers on it!! that was really clever!!

Around Mile 5, there were a bunch of marching bands from a local school playing on the right side of the road to entertain us, then around Mile 6, there were a group of Hispanic Heritage performers with full on costumes performing on the left side of the road this time to cheer us on. Then around Mile 7, another group of performers, this time they were Hawaiians performing some Hawaiians dance and musics, it was awesome that we get to see different ethnic groups out there on the course.

Now around Mile 8, we started to enter the Honda Cener parking lot where they have TONS of people cheering us!! even more cheerleaders from local high school!! Then we made a right turn on the Santa Ana Rive Trail about Mile 9 and ran for about a quarter of a mile on the dirt, the sun was already up at that point so I was a little bit heat up, I stopped to walk a little bit just to take a break. Their aid stations were incredible, they were fully stocked with water and blue Powerade, the volunteers were awesome as well. I had to take 2 cups of water/powerade everytime cuz it was pretty warm.

Now the best moment finally comes, running inside the Angels Stadium, just before we ran inside, the great volunteer held a sign that said "SLOW" since there was a downhill leading toward the the Stadium. Once we were inside, there were even MORE spectators waiting for us to run thru, even some were from boys and girls scouts, I even saw the Angels' cheerleaders, aka The Strike Force. There was also a jumbotron showing the runners running by. Then after we exited the stadium, there was another orchestra band playing outside to pump us up!! Sometimes I really think these bands are WAY better than those rock bands at those Rock n Roll's events. I stopped by the aid station a little bit to rehydrated and continued my run, with only 3 miles to go, I had to stay focus and finish strong.

Getting ready to enter the stadium

Here is a video of me running thru the Stadium, it's a bit shaky though.

The Angels cheerleaders, aka The Strike Force

I told myself that I had to maintain a 9 min pace for the next 3 miles in order for me to get under 1:50, so I just stayed focus and tried not to stop and get thru the last 3 miles. I tried to count my steps to 100 and if I feel good after 100 steps, I will start over from 1, this helps me to maintain my pace when I am tired.

After Mile 12, I knew I could get under 1:50 even if I walk the final mile, so as we ran thru the back of the California Adventures, more spectators and cheerleaders were cheering continously, I was giving high five as I ran thru, then after I passed the Mile 13 marker, I saw there were a few photographers on the side, kind of surprised me that they have that many photographers on the course!! I raised my arms as I always do when I see them so I would look good in the pic, then once I see the Finish Line infront of me, I did a nice sprint to the finish and finished at 1:47.38!!! A New Disneyland PR!!!

Met up with my running friends at the finish.

Here are my splits: I ran a negative split the last 5miles!!! I am still shocked!!

Mile 1 - 8:02
Mile  2 - 7:54
Mile 3 - 7:58
Mile  4 - 7:51
Mile 5 - 7:59
Mile  6 - 8:07
Mile 7 - 8:10
Mile  8 - 9:01
Mile 9 - 8:56
Mile 10- 8:24 
Mile 11-8:11   
Mile  12-8:07  
Mile 13-8:05  
.1 mile - 57 secs

Overall, I really enjoyed this Disneyland Half Marathon, although they are a little pricey, but it was all worth it at the end, a very well organized race with great volunteers, great aid stations, great course entertainments, great crowds!!! I would love to do it again next year!!!

1 comment:

  1. I love the Disney races too. So much fun it makes me feel like a kid again. BUT they are pricey for sure! Nice race Mitch!!!