Race Recap: The Disneyland Half Marathon

Bangarang Runners // 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

I was given the chance to run this race again, thanks to Team Up! with Autism Speaks. I surpassed my $1250 fundraising goal by an additional $200 hundred dollars. Not bad for my first time fundraising for a race! I also dedicated my run (and will be giving my medal) to my cousin, Kyle, who has Autism.

I figured this year, the Disneyland Half Marathon was either going to redeem itself into a weekend that I would enjoy, or further my conclusion that I hate this race. Last year was just “meh,” but this year, I was traveling to Anaheim with my team, the Bangarang Runners. I thought that maybe, just maybe this would be a great weekend.

Long story short: It WAS a great weekend!

Saturday, August 30 – Day before Race
I actually skipped out on all the crazy expo festivities. (Which I was very lucky for, because I hate crowded expos.) My teammates were nice enough to pick up my race stuff, as I still had to work from 9a to 12p the day before the race.

Once I was done with work, I made my way to the airport for my 2:35p flight. The flight down wasn’t so bad; the guy sitting in my row really enjoyed talking. I honestly wanted to sleep but didn’t want to be rude. lol Nice gentleman though. He was older, and he was explaining how he lived in both the Bay and LA. Nice.

I got to LA around 4p and hopped on my shuttle to Anaheim. I met up with my team (including me, there were 5 of us total!) and was able to drop my stuff off at the room before we went to the GardenWalk for dinner. We decided on California Pizza Kitchen, and we all ordered pasta. We brought our food back to the hotel grounds, and had dinner at the pool. It was really chill.

It also dawned on me that I had a race the next day. 😛 The last few years when I went down for the Disneyland Half, I would arrive around Friday afternoon and have time to gallivant before the race. Not this year! I chose to work as late as possible before heading down…..

After our poolside pasta dinner, we all went back up to the room and got our stuff ready. I think we were all in bed by 10p.

Sunday, August 31 – Race Day
As with all runDisney races, the alarm went off really early in the morning. I forgot what time we were up, probably around 3:30a or something. Since we didn’t have a car, we walked to our starting corrals.

My ultimate goal was to try and PR the course. I didn’t need an overall half marathon PR, just PR the course. I knew that goal was decently attainable because I’d been busting my butt off the last month with Nike Women’s Half Marathon training.

Anyway, so the race starts. I went out really fast, somewhere at a 10:30-pace. Luckily, the pace was enough to get me through the first mile and hoards of people. I slowed it down to about an 11:20-pace once the course took runners back into the Disney parks.

I was feeling really good, and kept up a pace somewhere between 10:45 and 11:30. It was a nice range of pace to be in. I have a really bad habit of looking at my watch, it’s something I need to break eventually, but it helped me see what kind of pace I was holding as I was getting those miles in.

The weather was overcast, and not really as hot as I thought it would be. But I still needed to beat the sun, because once that sun comes out, I would’ve been done. I do not do well in heat, despite doing my training runs in the middle of the day. (Thank you, work schedule!)

By mile 8, I knew I was going to hit not only a course PR, but an overall half marathon PR. With 5 miles left in the game, I tried not to get too cocky about it. I simply kept on running. The only time I walked was during the water stops, and yes, I hit every single water stop on the course. 😛 I’m the kind of runner that will feel every ache and pain if I stop running to walk for a long period of time. So with that in mind, I kept the walking to only the water stops.

I finished strong, and when I looked at my watch, I saw my (unofficial) time: 2 hours and 25 minutes! HOLY MOLY! That was a whole 21 minutes off of my previous half marathon PR of 2:46. Not only did I hit my goal of a course PR, I hit an overall half marathon PR, at the Disneyland Half Marathon, nonetheless!

In terms of my half marathon goals overall, I originally was aiming for a sub-2:45. And once I had hit that, my goal was to hit a sub-2:30. I killed both of those goals in one day.

It goes to show that consistent training along with speedwork really does pay off. I’m lucky to finally have a big group of friends who share the same passion for running (and triing) as I do. The Bangarang Runners have helped keep me grounded and accountable for the training. I’m looking forward to our next race, which will be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon next month in San Francisco. Woot!

With the redemption of the Disneyland Half Marathon this year, it’s hard to say if I’ll be back next year. If my team decides on it, I think I’ll go back. I had a lot more fun this year than last year!

Again, thanks to Team Up! with Autism Speaks for giving me the chance to fundraise and run this race. It was an awesome experience!

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