For the 3rd day in a row, I was up before the sun. Oh the things we do to run at Disney. I ran through the same morning routine as the morning before for the Disneyland 10K, jumped on the bus and walked through Downtown Disney in the dark to the start line. It’s oddly peacefully at that hour…
I happened to look to my right as I was walking towards the Disneyland Hotel and saw a very empty starting line…oh the calm before the storm.
I met up with Amanda at what was becoming our “usual spot” at the Sorcerer’s Hat. We were both a bit tired, but excited to take on the 2nd have of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge despite the warm temps. You know it’s hot out when she shows up to run in a tank top…
We met up with Ashley who we ran with the day before and all headed to the corrals. We had such a blast during the 10K that we all wanted to run together again! Even though we were all tired we were determined to have a “PR IN FUN” for this race, which became our motto along the way. The road to the corrals was a bit different this morning as these long chutes were put up leading to different corral areas. It kind of felt like a cow being led to slaughter…odd.
But thankfully we made it to the other side unscathed and headed into our corral with time to spare. Look we even ran into our friend James!
An interesting thing about Disneyland races vs. Disney World races are the lack of fireworks. In the World, each corral goes off with their own fireworks which adds to the excitement. But in Disneyland, they can’t do that because we are technically in a residential area and there are noise restrictions. Booooo. But I was excited to see some super quiet fireworks during the National Anthem. How do they get them so quiet???
It was our turn to be counted down and we were off…well, slowly…
Before I knew it we were about to enter Disneyland just after mile 1. This is also where the mile 12 marker which we came across at around the 41 minute mark. Here is where we saw an amazing site….the lead wheelchair competitor came zooming through. Unbelievable! I got the chills seeing this and couldn’t get my camera out fast enough. It just goes to show that you can do anything with determination and drive. On days where I’m doubting myself, you better believe I will be referring back to that moment.
Unlike the 10K, the half marathon enters the park in Paradise Pier and loops around into Carsland, so you get a completely different perspective from the morning before.
I of course stopped for a bathroom break while I had the real facilities available and told Amanda and Ashley I would catch up. Little did I know they were speed demons that morning! I was able to catch up with them right on Main Street USA, but I had to run WAY faster than my usual half marathon pace to get there. But I’m glad I did so we could take our picture in front of the castle!
I also met up with my favorite green army men in Toontown where I promptly dropped and gave them 20…nah, more like 2 🙂 Definitely my favorite photo op!
And before we even reached mile 4, we were out of the parks. It was kind of a bummer that there was such a short time spent in the parks, especially since the majority of the 10K was spent in there. We headed out onto the streets of Anaheim and we greeted by an enthusiastic group of cheerleaders…the first of many! These girls were awesome.
With the sun comes the heat and we were starting to feel it. We found any shade we could on the course and wove across the road to try and stay cool. Thankfully it wasn’t as oppressive as the day before, but with more than half the race to go I knew I had to try and stay cool where I could.
The entertainment on this race was much different from the other Disney races because there weren’t any characters outside of the parks. Instead there were TONS of local entertainment! This was pretty cool…check out these amazing dancers!
And an awesome group of signs and spectators…
Somewhere around mile 6, RAD reader Hanna came up and said hi and we talked for a bit as we ran. We also ran into Colin (@ParadisePeer) who went flying past us in an awesome Dumbo costume! I seriously LOVE chatting with you guys on the course…it’s probably the next best thing after cats!
Next came the classic cars! This was SUPER cool and was just like the cars on the WDW Speedway during the WDW Marathon, but better! There had to be at least 300 cars along the course all with their owners cheering us on. They must have had to get there at by 5am at the latest to be set and ready for the runners…so RAD!
One of my favorite spectators!
Apparently the wake up call was too early for this woman, but at least she had the Disney spirit!
After the cars, we came upon the Honda Center where the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks play. Being a huge hockey fan (Go Rangers!), this was an unexpected surprise. Plus there’s that whole Disney angle to the team 🙂
The course turned down the Santa Ana Trail, which was actually a dirt trail that created quite the dust storm with all the runners. Some volunteers were even sporting bandanas around they face to not breathe in all the dust. Not fun while trying to run.
I’m assuming the trail used to run along the Santa Ana River that now seemed to be completely dried up. Nonetheless, it was quite beautiful despite the dust.
We were coming up on mile 9 and off in the distance we could see Angel Stadium. I had heard that this was one of the highlights of the race and it also meant we were in the home stretch. What I didn’t expect was the crowd…wow.
In the parking lot there was a HUGE gathering of Boy Scouts. I can’t even begin to tell you how cool it was to see all those kids out there screaming and jumping for us.
And there was this lady…wha??
Then we entered the stadium and the stands were FULL of spectators, once again putting the trip around the Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to shame. Not only were the spectators amazing but the stadium was beautiful and we got to see ourselves on the Jumbotron!
Back on the road, we were making our way back to the Disneyland Resort. I have to say that this stretch of the course was pretty boring, but we were met with more cheerleaders and even a color guard team to liven things up a bit.
I was feeling pretty good considering that I had run the day before and it was unusually hot out. My legs felt fine and I had a ton of energy. The only issue I was really dealing with was chafing from the excessive amount of sweating that was going on. TMI? The girls and I were keeping our spirits up by reminding ourselves that we were having a PR IN FUN and actually managed to keep laughing through these long 2+ miles.
As we got back to the parks right at mile 12, I witnessed a wonderful family reunion where a runner was beyond excited to see her parents and grandparents. There were hugs all around and they were clearly so proud. This made me smile from ear to ear 🙂
The road to the finish line took us through a backstage area of Disney California Adventure where we were able to see some of the disabled ride vehicles…I always love that stuff. Who knew those rafts were so deep??
Seeing the Paradise Pier Hotel was an incredibly welcoming sight. We were almost there…just under a mile to go and I was about to complete my first back to back race challenge! As I’m writing this, I still find it a bit unbelievable that I even attempted this, let alone finished it.
And then I saw this guy…dressed as Darth Goofy! Kudos on the costume but DAMN he must have been HOT! He had gloves on and all…insane.
We turned the corner towards the Disneyland Hotel and there was another HUGE crowd there to greet us. The home stretch is so exciting…you can’t help but pick up the pace and really give it your all for that last half mile or so.
I found my own personal cheerleader Cindy (read all about her awesomeness in my 10K recap!) and of course had to get another photo…
And there she was…the finish line! I grabbed Amanda’s hand and we finished together like we have every race we’ve run together since my first half marathon a year and a half ago. So emotional and I wouldn’t want to do experience all of this with anyone else.
Again, not our fastest race by any means (3:25:31), but we did manage to get that PR IN FUN! Running with friends is so different that running for time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, this is what makes Disney races so special and I will NEVER be ashamed to be a slow runner here. We crossed that finish line and we crossed it with a smile on our faces 🙂
B was in the family reunion area waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to see him. It’s always great to see his smiling face after my races. Amanda had to leave to catch her flight so I gave her a sweaty hug and headed to the photo area to get a few pics. I had B bring all my medals so I could do this…
WEAR ALL THE MEDALS!! While I was waiting to take my photo, I ran into a woman who I met on the plane out there…crazy! She had run Goofy earlier in the year and was also waiting to take her photo with all of her medals!
And the fun didn’t stop there… After a shower and a quick nap, B and I headed to Downtown Disney for lunch at Uva. Ever since my first half marathon when I had Fish & Chips as my post race meal, that is something I now crave after most races. Unfortunately it was really hot, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as I would’ve liked, but a nice cold beer definitely helped 🙂
After lunch, we jumped on the Monorail and headed into Disneyland. I LOVE that you can take the monorail from Downtown Disney into Tomorrowland and the ride is so fun how it winds through the trees and above all the attractions! What would be nicer is if it had air conditioning, but like many things in Disneyland it doesn’t. HOT!!!
I was hoping to get in some of my must do attractions like the Matterhorn and Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, but the combination of long lines and heat prevented that from happening. But I DID have more fun with my medals!! 🙂
The day (and the trip) ended with an incredible dinner at the Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose. Expect a full review of this meal soon!
What a crazy few days. The Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Challenge was a lot of fun and something I would definitely do again. However, traveling out to California is VERY expensive and I don’t think it is something I will be able to do every year unfortunately. Living on the East Coast it is much easier (and economical) for me to go to WDW even multiple times per year.
I also prefer the races in WDW. Maybe it’s because I’m more familiar with the roads there and I know exactly where I am at all times. Or maybe it’s because they feel more “Disney” to me. Running through Anaheim was nice, but I could do that in any local race. There wasn’t much about it (except for the 2 miles through the parks) that made it feel like a Disney race. I love seeing characters throughout the whole course and it’s definitely something I missed here. I’m not sure what my future for Disneyland races holds, but I do know I would love to go back…just maybe not next year.
Do you want to run a race in Disneyland? Have you done so already? What is your favorite part?