So, almost two months late, but this recap is right in time for Halloween! Why does that matter? Because I put more effort into my Disneyland Half Marathon costume than I ever have into any Halloween costume! This would be my second year running in the event, and my second year doing the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge. I did my recap on the Disneyland 10 km here. The Disneyland Half is held on the Sunday after the 10km, part of Labour Day weekend. The fact it is Labour Day weekend makes this event especially desirable to myself, because as a teacher, I have the Monday off. It makes the travel to California possible without having to book many days off!
I would be running this race with my best friend Ali. I have mentioned her lots in this blog, and she even has her own blog here. She is a relatively ‘new’ runner, as she started running in April 2014. She started running because I signed her up for the Disneyland 10km 2014. She has now done many other events, and this would be her 3rd half marathon. We were going to be aiming to get her a personal best time, specifically below a 2:30.00. Her previous personal best was a 2:44 and that was at the San Francisco
We arrived bright and early like with all Disney races. This time, we spent a lot of the extra time taking photos together. As my one friend said, I ‘upped’ my Mary Poppins game! I went as Mary Poppins for my 1st RunDisney event (Wine and Dine Half) but was dressed in her nanny outfit. For this race, I went for the Jolly Holiday costume. My mom made the arm bands, skirt and red waist corset. I made the hat, neck piece, and the carousel horse. That horse was interesting to pack! Since Ali would be next to me the entire race, I wanted her to be part of the costume too, however, I knew she didn’t want anything restrictive on. So she was one of the penguins from the Jolly Holiday scene! I think we looked pretty cute!
Ali had ran a fast enough 10km time at the Tinkerbell 10km to get into Corral C. So, we were the third group off and running. I kept Ali going at a pretty good pace through the parks. The first part of the Disneyland Half course is solely through the parks, and its a lot of fun! With it still being dark out, it is really cool to see CarsLand lit up and run through the castle! After exiting the park, we were well under pace. But I think Ali was starting to hate me! We were cruising!
We would power walk up any big hills (aka overpasses) and I kept encouraging Ali the best I could. I knew I would be pushing her limits. After leaving the parks, you are on the streets of Anaheim until the last mile. While the streets don’t offer a lot of picturesque views, there are a lot of spectators and groups out there keeping everyone motivated. I think Disney does an awesome job with this portion of the race, given the fact this could be a very, very boring stretch! Tons of high school bands, cheerleaders, dancers, ethnic dance performances, antique cars, people in costume and more! During this stretch, the sun was starting to come up and was shining right in our face. The heat was starting to bother me, but I wasn’t going to complain, because I knew the pace was starting to bother Ali and she really wanted to slow down. But I wanted to keep her going, as I knew she could do it!
We were still right ahead of the 2:30 pace group when we got to the Santa Ana trail before Angels stadium. This was the only unfortunate portion of the course, as it narrowed quite a bit and part of the trial seemed to be under construction. Being in the mid-pack of runners was a different thing for me, as I was used to starting in Corral A at Disney races, so now I see how it can get very bottle necked. We took a lot of walk breaks in here, and I knew we’d be able to make up the time once we reached the stadium. The energy in Angel Stadium is amazing! Rows and rows of Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts fill the seats, cheering us on. The announcer is there saying as many names as he can, and video footage of the runners coming in appears on the big screen. Ali and I were smiling through this portion and it felt awesome!
After the stadium, I knew we had to slow down. Ali was having a little trouble keeping the pace because she was starting to feel a bit dizzy, but I knew we had built a good cushion so she could still easily get a personal best. We kept moving and I kept encouraging her that the park was coming quick and we would be done before she knew it. As we approached the back entrance of California Adventure, we wound around back stage for the final stretch. This is unlike in the 10km, where you go through Downtown Disney. I like that the final stretches are varied for each race, but the 10km finish is a bit ‘more magical.’ As we went down the final stretch, this was one spot that I didn’t mind it was narrow. The crowds of people on each side really encouraged all the runners and pushed everyone until the very last moment.
While we weren’t able to break 2:30, we did manage to crush Ali’s personal best by over 10 minutes! The final time was 2:33.41! I was so proud of Ali! She has done so much in the past year to improve her running performances and is so motivated to keep on crushing her goals! I would not have wanted to run this race with anyone else, and I will always remember this Disneyland Half weekend!