The Casual Runner

2015 Disneyland Half Marathon

Event: 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon
Event Date: September 6, 2015
Event Location: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California

You can check out Jennifer’s review of the newly-rebranded Villains 10k, which is the first stage of the Dumbo Double Dare during the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  You can check out all of our coverage from the 2014 event: 
– Part 1: Event Expo and Coast to Coast Overview & “Signs” Video.
– Part 2: Stitch’s 10k race reviewall along the course video.
– Part 3: Disneyland Half Marathon race review & all along the course video

Why I decided to run this race.

The original Disneyland half marathon?  Who wouldn’t want to run that? Especially during the race’s 10th anniversary and the park’s 60th anniversary?

Getting there/the lead-up to the race

After the 10K the day before, we took an easy day to prepare for the half marathon.  After our mid-afternoon nap we had an early dinner at PF Chang’s and then went to bed.  Unfortunately it sounded like there was a party going on at the hotel behind ours, but it was nothing that earplugs and a pillow over the head couldn’t fix.

The race Expo and Swag review

Check out my 10K review for my opinions of the expo and swag (Ahem, shameless self-promotion!).

The gear

In keeping with the classic Disney theme I choose to do Lady from Lady and the Tramp for my half marathon costume.  I wanted to keep it subtle and easy since I knew it would be hot during the race.  The complete look was probably most effective when I was with my husband since he was Tramp.  And I was mistaken for Pocahontas once.  But I was pleased with it nonetheless.

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We’re a pretty cute pair of dogs, if I do say so myself!

The Costume: Khaki Sparkle Skirt with built-in shorts, loose tan A-line tank, foam dog collar with a 60th anniversary tag made by my husband, and two ponytails for ears.

The Rest of the Gear: Brown Bondi Band headband, white Nike tank top (since the tan tank was not tech material, I didn’t want it right next to my skin), white Adidas sports bra, Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Camelbak Marathoner hydration vest.

The pre-race

Once again we were a little too late to our corral, but this time we were completely shut out.  Apparently Corral D filled up so the volunteers stopped letting people in, but this information was not funneled down to the volunteers at the very beginning of the chutes who continued to route runners down to it.  As we all bunched up in what was supposed to be a walkway, the full-time RunDisney staff had to quickly troubleshoot the problem.

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Corral E Plus: all the displaced runners who were stuck in the walkway outside their real corrals.

They decided to release Corrals D and E, and then they would release us (dubbed Corral E Plus) right behind E and we would start our race with them.  Although the solution kept some of us out of our rightful corrals, it also allowed us to avoid getting shoved into the very last ones.  A staff member kept us informed as to what was going on and it all seemed to go down pretty well.  I was pretty impressed with how runDisney handled the situation, even though one could argue that some of the way they organized the corrals and the paths to them contributed to the problem in the first place.

Along the course

Shortly after we crossed the starting line we dropped into the parks.  Since we didn’t have much room on the streets to naturally space ourselves out, this meant that the next several miles continued to be pretty crowded.  This actually worked pretty well for my race plan since my coach and I agreed that I needed to take it really slow for the first several miles given all the problems I was having with my foot and ankle.

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Running through the parks…casually of course!

My intervals of 10 seconds running to 45 seconds walking ended up matching up almost perfectly with the pace of the crowd around me and helped me to warm up slowly without becoming frustrated at the lack of room to maneuver.  Throughout the parks, Disney continued the good and evil theme with the character photo stops, pairing the main hero/heroine with the main villain at each stop.

While this may have disappointed some runners who were looking forward to the usual prince/princess couples, it allowed us to see some less common characters like the Hun from Mulan and Prince John from Robin Hood.

Once we exited out of the parks and onto the streets of Anaheim, the course opened up and it was easier to settle into your own pace.  Because Disney doesn’t bring their characters outside the parks, they invite local bands and dance groups and others to line the course and provide entertainment.

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The closest I will ever get to home plate.

Cheerleaders lined up the inclines to encourage us up the hills.  Automobile enthusiasts parked side-by-side for about a mile before we entered the Honda Center to wish us well and show off their shiny cars.  Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts filled the stands as we entered Angels Stadium and rounded home plate.  Although we come to Disneyland to run through the parks, I actually liked the part outside of the parks better since there was more variety and the people just seemed so genuinely happy to be out there performing and cheering for us.

Overall I felt pretty strong during this race.  Per my race plan, I started with slower intervals and gradually shorted the walking every 3-5 miles depending on how I felt.  This was the right strategy for this race and it helped me to finish strong.  I also avoided the tummy troubles that plagued me during the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.

The main problem I had was a mental block that struck during mile 10 when I realized that I’d somehow miscounted and hadn’t just finished running the 10th mile…no, I was just starting it.  ARGH!!!!  Since my brain said I was running mile 10 for the second time, I kind of just lost my mojo for about a mile.  I mostly able to fight back from it, but it’s wasn’t a great way to end what had felt like a pretty good race up until that point.  (Another shameless plug: for more details on this course, check out Mike’s 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon race review and our all along the course video).

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The weekend’s haul: 10K, Challenge, and half medals

The SMOpinion

I love, love, love the medal for this race.  Disney carried the diamond anniversary theme into the SMO, making it a diamond shape with a spinner commemorating both the race’s milestone and the park’s.  Some people complained that it was small…I don’t agree.  I think maybe because it wasn’t as wide as something like the Dumbo Double Dare SMO and tapered down to a point?  I’m not sure.  But I am sure that it was my favorite SMO of the weekend.

Speaking of Dumbo Double Dare…having completed the challenge, we also collected our DDD SMO.  It was a cute image of a flying Dumbo.  It had some nice weight and color to it.  I didn’t dislike it, it just was my least favorite of the three medals I took home after the weekend.

The post-race experience

My husband, friend, and I knew we wanted to watch World of Color that night, so we came to the race prepared with our park passes.  I was the last person of our group to finish, so they met me at the finish line and then we walked over to California Adventure to pull Fastpasses for the show.  Since we were there and the line was short, we also hopped in line to ride Soarin’ Over California.  I felt terrible for the girl sitting next to me since I was still dripping with sweat and must have smelled terrible, but she was a pretty good sport about it.

We got off the ride and hunger took over, so we hurried back to the hotel to shower and change and head out for lunch.  As has become our post-race tradition, we went to Ruby’s for burgers and milkshakes.  And, in a random coincidence, we had the same waiter this time as we did last time.  My husband thought he recognized him, and as we were leaving we made an off-hand remark to the waiter about coming back in November.  And sure enough, the waiter said he remembered us from after Tinkerbell and he looked forward to seeing us after Avengers.

Playlist Peak

A multi-hour race by myself meant I had a lot of opportunities for potentially magical musical moments.  Since I don’t set a specific playlist—I just let my iPod shuffle through a massive collection of songs—I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get.  My three favorite musical moments from the Disneyland half, in descending order, were:

#3) Right as we exited the parks and all the runners were finally able to spread out and run our own races, “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks came on. I wanted to run down the street with my arms open and twirling around in big circles!

#2) During my “second time” running mile 10, I was really feeling sorry for myself. Luckily, my iPod decided to show me that I had it pretty good and I needed to get over it by playing “It Sucks to be Me” from the musical Avenue Q. (It’s impossible to wallow in self-pity when someone is singing “it suck-a, suck-a, suck-a, suck-a, suck-a, suck-a, suck-a to be me”.)

#1) Magical TMI Alert: Late in the race I ducked into a port-a-potty to take care of some urgent business. As I sat down and got ready to…you know…Elsa crooned “Let It Go!” And I did!

Looking back now

I enjoyed this race, but I’m not sure I’d do it again.  I didn’t like how the runners didn’t have enough time to spread out before dropping into the parks, so it was congested pretty much the whole time we were in there.  And while there were some great distractions on the streets of Anaheim—including the classic cars, the bands and dancers, and running through Angels Stadium—the street portion just really isn’t that scenic.  Plus, it gets hot in California in September, especially when you’re one of the slower runners.  So for me, some of the other Disneyland races are better overall experiences.  That said, this is the classic Disneyland race and it was great to celebrate its 10th anniversary milestone.

 You can check out Jennifer’s review of the newly-rebranded Villains 10k, which is the first stage of the Dumbo Double Dare during the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  You can check out all of our coverage from the 2014 event:
– Part 1: Event Expo and Coast to Coast Overview & “Signs” Video.
– Part 2: Stitch’s 10k race reviewall along the course video.
– Part 3: Disneyland Half Marathon race review & all along the course video

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