The Disneyland Half Marathon is this weekend! Good luck to all of this year’s runners!
I had this recap posted on my old website before I even had a blog, but now it’s time to share it! In honor of this weekend’s festivities, here’s my Disneyland Half-Marathon recap from 2006!
Originally posted on September 17, 2006
I was so excited, and nervous and anxious. I feel like I didn’t train enough, didn’t eat well enough… didn’t sleep enough. A combination of things was making me less and less confident that I was ready to run a half marathon race. I had my bags packed and ready to go, but it still hadn’t hit me that I was about to run 13 miles the next day. With two of my best running friends in my car, we headed off to Disneyland. It took us 2 hours to get there, because of traffic. I thought Alex was going to faint in the backseat because she was car sick. But finally, we got to our hotel.. the lovely Best Western right near the park.
We checked into the hotel and walked to the Convention Center to pick up our race bibs and see the Expo. Apparently there are two convention centers at Disney, and we went to the wrong one, but finally we got there. I thought the bibs were so cute! They even printed your name on the front, in addition to the race number. That’ll look great in the scrapbook. SPEAKING OF SCRAPBOOKS!!!! They were giving out free scrapbook paper that had the Disney Marathon Logo on them. Cool, huh? It was so perfect.
We got a few more things at the expo.. some samples of stuff. Chely bought a new pair of shoes because they were so cheap. Alex bought a new race jersey to have, and some Gold Mickey Ears!!!! I was too cheap to buy anything, but we did get a free long sleeve dri-fit shirt. (In the marathon world, this is like GOLD!!!) Its so cute! I love it.
When the expo was over, we went back to the hotel to change before dinner. Then we headed over to Marri’s Pizza. I organized our reservation, and about 20 people ended up coming, it was great! It was some people I haven’t seen in a while, and some really good friends. So it was so much fun. We ate pasta and bread (Carbo Loading!!) We laughed and had fun. And I could feel some of my pre-race jitters disappearing already. I didn’t eat dairy or sugar for 2 days before the race, I had stretched and Iced my legs beforehand.. besides maybe running a few more miles a week, there was nothing more I could have done to train. I am ready to go!
We tried to go to bed at 10pm because we had a 3:30am wake up call. I was too nervous, and didn’t get to sleep at all. I laid in bed all night and just tried to picture myself running and visualizing the race. Surprisingly, when 3:30am rolled around, I wasn’t tired at all. I was pumped. I took an Excedrin that had caffeine in it to give me a boost. I ate a banana and an English muffin with Peanut Butter. That’s all I needed. Our hotel offered free breakfast to runners at 4:15am. Everyone in our hotel was running, so it was fun to see people prepping.
We walked to the starting line around 4:45am. They closed the gates down at 4:30.. so we had to bushwhack through the brush to get to our corral. They organize the people by pace group… and since I run a pretty slow marathon, I was in Corral D. (There was still a Corral E behind us, so at least I wasn’t in the SLOWEST group. Hee hee). We stretched, and drank some water before it started. It was kind of cold, and pitch black out still. I had my marathon foil from last year’s Nike Marathon to keep me warm. It was perfect.
Check out the Starting Line!
At 5:55am, they sang the national anthem. I was so far back that I couldn’t see anything. But just hearing the song gave me chills. I kept telling myself "you can do this, you can do this… its only a half marathon!"…. We’re all crazy… what sane person gets up at 3:30am to run a 13 mile race? Its just crazy.
It took us 12 minutes to cross the start line, and when we got there, Mickey and Minnie were there, all dressed up in running clothes. They waved us on. They had parked the Disney monorail above the start line, and some of the characters were waving to the runners from above. It was so amazing!!! I almost cried, I couldn’t believe I was a part of this!!!
I had my GPS watch on, and it was tracking our pace and distance. That was pretty neat to see. But I think it is a little too accurate, and each time we weaved in and out of the crowd, it was adding miles.. So it was off by a little bit, but still really neat to keep track.
Mile 1 came so quick, as it usually does. Only 12 more like that, and we’re done!!! We were being entertained by the runners who chose to dress up…we saw people dressed up as Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Tigger. Ursula… you name it, people were dressed up like it. Next year, we’ll have to think of something creative.
Mile 2 was in the California Adventure Park. The sun was starting to rise already, and we could see the day beginning. It was so beautiful. Its probably so rare to be the only one in Disneyland. They had all the rides going, but no tourists, or visitors… just the runners… and the characters. It was so cool!!!!! Every few yards were some of the Disney characters. They had staff there to take your picture with them along the way. We saw Aladdin, Buzz Light-year, A Bugs Life, Cars, Woody, Jack Sparrow, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Aurora (from sleeping beauty), Alice in Wonderland… It was so exciting!!!
Mile 3 was in Disneyland Park. Here, we saw some more Disney characters, and ran through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It was so beautiful.
Mile 4-8 was a Five- mile stretch on boring roads in Anaheim. There wasn’t too much action, not too many spectators, but they did have a TON of marching bands. Every mile or so, they had a band playing awesome music to pump us up. It went by surprisingly fast. One band played the Y-M-C-A and all the runners were doing it too. So fun. We ran past the Arrowhead Pond, which is wear the Anaheim Ducks play hockey. (Formerly the Mighty Ducks Stadium). They had the little league kids there cheering us on. It was so cute. They were so excited to cheer us on. I was feeling great, except for some minor pains in my feet and knees. The pain would switch off between my knees and feet. Its funny, because looking back, I didn’t even think twice about the pain… I just took on a "whatever it takes" attitude, and it didn’t hurt my game at all.
At Mile 9, we entered into Angel’s Stadium. We got to run the bases inside of the park!!! The chip in our shoes tells the race officials where the runners are, and when we rounded second base, the announcer on the loud speaker was yelling "AND HERE’S KELLEY, COMING AROUND THE BEND"… it was totally awesome. Around 3rd base, they had a camera man, and they were putting the runners on the JumboTron screen. It was so cool!!!
Mile 10-12 was fun because we knew we were almost done. We ran a little bit on the freeway, and then back to the streets of Anaheim. I was feeling great. I was eating power bars here and there, we were eating our salt packets. I was drinking my sports drink and water… I cant believe how we were doing. Chely, Alex and I stayed together from the beginning to the end. I was so happy!!!
Once we past mile 12, we thought we were closer than we actually were, so we decided to screw it and just run the last mile in fast. We started sprinting, and dodging people, and running so fast. We were like "Where the heck is the finish line?" We rounded the corner into Downtown Disney, and we could see people who had already finished walking around with their medals on. We were so determined to get it done with and we kept going FINALLY, we could see the finish line, and all three of us came in together. It was the most amazing experience of my life. We finished in 3 hours and 12 minutes. When we were done, I was just like "that’s it?" I wasn’t really that tired or out of it. It was this calm feeling of accomplishment. I feel like it was an out of body experience. I was so proud!!!
Watch Me Cross the Finish Line Here!
We got our medals (WHICH ARE AMAZING!!!!!) and we got our Foil Blankets, and then we waited in line to take pictures. (I hope they come out good!) Then we got some post race food (oranges and bagels.) and got a massage. It felt soooo good!!! My GPS watch said that I burned 2,100 calories… hmm. I wonder if that’s right.
Anyways, as we were waiting in line for a massage, some guy came around giving out box lunches, so we got cookies, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. They were sooo good!!!! Then we had a SLOW walk back to the hotel to shower and change.
As we were headed back to LA, we stopped at In-And-Out, where I had the best tasting Double-Double of my entire life. MMMmmmm!!
It was the Perfect race, and it really was the "Happiest Race on Earth".