We hadn't heard many great things about this race, mostly about the course and about how little you run through Disneyland compared to how much you run through industrial areas. I'm not going to lie, we were pretty sure we wasted our money on this race. To be honest, we spent the same amount of money on this half marathon that we did on the full marathon.
Rachel and I drove to Anaheim Saturday afternoon in order to check into our hotel for the night and attend the expo. I must admit, for a race that had over 17,000 people enrolled I was highly impressed with the expo. I never once felt overwhelmed or crowded. There was a lot to see and a lot to do.
This was my first time inside the Disneyland Hotel.
This was the first expo that I have purchased something at as well. I bought a t-shirt that says "If you see me collapse, pause my Garmin."
I also liked this one:
We also got to see Jeff Galloway again. He gave us some great advise and suggested instead of us running 45:1 we run 30:30. I froze again. I wish I could tell him all of the amazing things he's done for me and that if it wasn't for his program I probably wouldn't have stuck with the training and I wouldn't have made it across the finish line. This is the second time I've talked to him. The second time that he's made me feel like I'm the only person in the world. And the second time that the only words I can get out are "Thank you."
Sunday morning came early. We went to bed early Saturday night, however it didn't feel like enough sleep for either of us. Rachel had trouble falling asleep in the first place and when she did she got woken up by the fireworks from Disneyland. I woke up at 12:44am wide awake and ready to go. I ended up falling back asleep but had some difficulty staying asleep. I had a dream about the race, so when I woke up I thought it was over..
We got up, got ready and made the 1.32 mile walk over to the starting area. Out of 17,000 people we were lucky to find the other members of our running group. We said good morning, wished them luck, then made our way to our specific corral to get ready for the start of the race.
It didn't feel like we had been there that long before the National Anthem was sung, complete with red, white and blue fireworks. Then each corral was given it's own send off, Disney style. Complete with Minnie and Mickey waving to us as we started our 13.1 journey.
The first mile brought us around Downtown Disney to the outside of California Adventure in order to bring us into the amusement park. We ran by the roller coaster, through the new Cars Land, by the Tower of Terror and out to make our way to Disneyland.
We started our run through Disneyland down Main Street and started the character sightings then as well with Princess Tiana. At the end of Main Street was Princess Jasmine, Aladdin and the Genie. We turned to run through Frontierland running by Thunder Mountain and making our way to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. We passed the carousel with Peter Pan and Wendy on it, along with a few pirates.
After making our way through the castle we turned to head to Tomorrowland, passing Darth Vader and a few Storm Troopers. After passing the Matterhorn we saw Ariel, Snow White and Cinderella on our way past It's a Small World and into Toon Town where we left the park.
This is when it got difficult for me. There wasn't a lot to distract me from the fact that we were running a race. There were a lot of cheerleaders and a lot of bands, which helped. There was also about a half mile of old and restored cars. It was amazing and I will always be grateful to the volunteers and to the people cheering on the side line. They always help push me through.
It wasn't long before we could see the "Big A" in the distance. It made me really excited and I couldn't wait to get to the stadium. I was under the impression we would be running through the stadium, however I was very excited to find out that we were able to run on the warning track and actually be on the field. There are no words...
It was shortly after leaving Angel Stadium that Rachel was having difficulty catching her breath. There's no wonder it didn't happen sooner for either of us considering it was extremely hot outside, add to that running it seems like a crazy idea.
We did more walking than running the last 3 miles, but we made it to the end and that's the important part. Our original plan was to finish the race in under 3 hours. We crossed the finish line in 3 hours 3 minutes, which considering we stopped a few times for photo op's isn't a horrible time for us.
I am highly impressed with the organization of this race and the price is actually worth what you get. I'm glad we had the opportunity to have this experience.
I'm planning on running this race again, in 2014. After I run The Goofy Challenge in January 2014 I will get 3 medals, for completing the half marathon (a Donald Duck medal), for completing the marathon (a Mickey Mouse medal), and for completing both (a Goofy medal). If I also complete the Disney Half Marathon at Disneyland that year I will receive two more medals. One for completing the half marathon and the Coast-to-Coast medal. A medal for completing a Disney race in both Florida and California in the same calender year.
I am not obsessed... I'm dedicated.
I'm not sure if I have to tell other people that to make them believe it or if I'm trying to convince myself. Either way I guess there are worse things in life to be addicted to.