What can I say, Disneyland is my favorite run of the year. Running through the park before-hours, running around Angel Stadium, participating in a race with over 11,000 participants… the energy, the support, the thousands of volunteers, the fantastic organization, no run I do beats this. It may not be Boston or New York, but it’s amazing.
So when I look back and see that I preferred to socialize over perform, I have no complaints. I spent the first five miles with Harry, took my first ever half marathon bathroom break, and walked with Harry through a couple of water stops. I also spent the last few miles with a MMA-fighting entrepreneur, running with a brand new eight-inch plate on his tibia, waited for him at the water stops, and enjoyed the time meeting someone new. And after the socializing, I didn’t push myself or make any extra efforts, I just ran for fun and training and had a fun time. So if 8:30s wasn’t my best run (closer to my worst), I’m still happy. I had a fun run, I came out ready to walk all day long, and complain the least of the family over pain… enjoying the entire trip.
Overcast, 80 degrees, man was this better than last year! I was disappointed a little that we didn’t get to run through Angel’s stadium again, but the in-park portion of the course was better attended by characters, parade floats were out and turned on, and the run through the park was even better than I remember. With water at ten of the thirteen mile points, thousands of spectators, cheerleaders, scout troups, and more, this is definitely the best of the races I’ve done, and I look forward to doing it again next year.
I started out with a 1:45 pace group, and having the support, distraction, and people to talk to kept me at a strong pace, and pushed me a few times that I needed pushing, and kept me happier in times that I needed nothing. Rachel was a great pacer, though a bit of a cynic, and kept me chuckling at her comments on “training the spectators” and her commentary on racing throughout the world. Her helpful comments like “relax on the downhill and stay perpendicular to the ground” or “pump those arms and get yourself up this hill” helped keep us at a steady pace, up and down, and her group seemed to stay strong.
At mile ten, after sprinting through to “high-five” the hands of scores of boy scouts, I decided to keep my break-away lead from the pacers and push the last three miles, as I did in my last PR. And like Shamrock’n, I was able to keep the pace up, knock out a few miles at a 185+ HR, and take a few minutes off my steady pace. I loved it, and am very glad to add this to my results page, especially when I see that I’m in the top 4% of racers and top 8% of my AG. w00t! An average HR of 177 and max of 195 says I really did push myself, but it stayed sub-180 for the first ten miles, and only in the final push did I spike upwards.
I trained less, and did better. Racing smarter, having help and support to push me, and knowing when and where I can push, cut another two minutes off my PR. Add in a flat race with great weather and fun, and this race was wonderful once again. I hope to be back next year!
Lowlights: ramping up to a 108 degree day, my time, my knee post-race, the size!
The first five miles looked about like the picture to the left…
For those of you who don’t get the reference, here it is another way: I passed 7,136 people while running, the majority of these in my first 5 miles. What this means is that my time was horrible (for me), to say the least. I felt like I was running intervals for those first miles, and yet, it was a whole lot of fun! The nature of the run kept Harry and I together for that time, because even if I’d wanted to go faster, I couldn’t. Sometimes he’d find a path through the people, and I’d sprint to grab it before it disappeared, sometimes I did. That in itself was a fun new scenario.
The day was about as awful as possible, Anaheim was the second hottest city in CA that day, at 108 degrees. The low during the night was mid-70s, putting our race in the 80s and 90s, with >50% humidity. Less than pleasant.
Fireworks went off at the starting line with the gun, which in itself was pretty neat. Then down the outside of the park along the streets, followed by a path through the employee areas into the back of California Adventure. Through CA Adventure, seeing characters there, and employees rooting you on. Then off to the main park, my favorite moment of which was when a character in the Mad Hatter costume is yelling “faster, faster!” in a great Hatter voice, while the teacups are spinning and the music is going behind him. Running through the castle, then back out to the streets.
Several of the rides were turned on, solely for our enjoyment. Then off across the freeway, through boring streets, marching bands playing along, high school cheerleader squads along the route, and lots and lots of water stations. Then through the inside of Angel’s Stadium and around the baseball field, then finally a return back to downtown Disney. The race logistics were solid, the support structure was great; 1900 volunteers and they were still short.
1:59:34 (9:07 min/mi, blech!), 1030 overall, 77th age group. Not good for me, but considering, I’m not too worried about it. I almost feel like it was more fun passing all the people, even with the time hit, just to say I passed over 7000 people! 🙂 Save the PR for another course, and another day. I had a great time, and a great vacation.