Dumbo Double Dare 2015 Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon
Picking up where we left off in the 10K recap! At 4:15 am on Sunday it was time for the boyfriend and I to head back down to Disneyland for the half marathon. This was the third day of driving down and this time I briefly wondered if we should have splurged on a hotel instead of going back and forth all weekend. In hindsight, even though it’s far enough to be a bit tedious to make the trip multiple days in a row, it’s really not a big deal since there’s no traffic at that hour.
By 4:40 am, the exit for Disneyland Drive was at a standstill and stretched back quite a ways. Even the carpool exit wasn’t moving for minutes on end. We weren’t too concerned since there’s a good buffer between the official start at 5:30 and when my corral (D) would be up. We were able to park, check our bags, and reach the corrals a few minutes before before A started.
We took off a little after 6 am. A difference from previous years was instead of going out onto Katella Ave before turning into the parks, the course went into California Adventure right away. This was a bit unfortunate because even though the stretch on Katella isn’t very long, it’s enough to spread out the pack a bit, as those who were overzealous at the starting line slow down, which somewhat lessens the bottleneck going into the park. This time, many were still going on that initial rush which caused the entrance into the park to be much more crowded.
With that in mind, I decided to stick behind groups of walkers while in the parks. Much of the course, especially in Disneyland, is narrow and congested, and I didn’t want to spend too much energy so early by weaving through the crowd. I took it so easy that I spent almost an hour getting through the first 4 miles.
It was exciting to see the cast members cheering again and running through Sleeping Beauty Castle for the half marathon, but I don’t have much else to say that would be different from my 10K recap. Once out on the surface streets, I decided to walk up the overpass, then on the downhill started a slow jog that I kept for most of the remainder of the course, except for breaks at the Powerade/water stations.
Much of the on-course entertainment of dance troupes, local school bands and cheerleaders, and the display of classic cars were the pretty much the same as previous years. I love that because it’s almost like something you can count on, and there’s that warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing “familiar faces.”
My least favorite stretch is between the Honda Center and Angels Stadium, along the flood control channel. It always feels so hot at this point, and since it’s dirt it’s super dusty.
But luckily that dirt trail is a fairly short portion and the reward is getting the Clif Shot Energy Gels (I always get the mocha) and then running through Angels Stadium and hearing the happy crowds in the stands cheering the runners (thumbs up right back at that happy dude in the above picture).
The stretch after mile 10’s water station until the next water spot before mile 12 has always been difficult for me. At this point, while I was tiring out and thinking back to February and the excitement of registering for this event, Ok Go’s “A Good Idea at the Time” came up on my iPod Shuffle, which I found hilarious. The amusement I got from that, plus knowing I was so close to the finish, helped me pick up the pace towards the end.
My finish time was under 2:50, which is quite slow but good enough for me. With inconsistent and minimal training, my only goal was to finish under 3 hours and not walk too much on the surface streets. With an overall average of 12:40 min/mile that included my leisurely stroll at the beginning, I was happy with it.
After getting my Half Marathon and Dumbo medals, the first order of business was to head towards Jazz Kitchen Express for a coffee and beignets, a treat I had been thinking about since the night before. It was a lot of fun to sit outside the restaurant and see other runners, some still in their costumes (like the woman in the adorable and awesome Mr. Toad car!), walking around.
We returned to the Mickey & Friends lot, but noticed that nobody was moving. It was a veritable carmageddon, the likes of which had not been seen since President Obama last visited Southern California. Instead of even attempting to head out, we decided to hop on the tram and lounge in the luxurious and air-conditioned Grand Californian lobby for an hour and let the madness subside.
As always, runDisney put on an amazing event that left me wanting to sign up for another race as soon as I got home. There were fewer corrals this year (last year, it went up to J) and I’m not sure what kind of effect that had on corral G, but from what I could see, crowd control was handled very well. While running through the parks is undoubtedly the main draw and highlight of these events, I still had a great time going through the course in Anaheim thanks to the amazing volunteers who keep the excitement in the air mile after mile.
I really appreciate that runDisney has brought running to people like me, who would otherwise never participate in any races, or really run at all. While there are many elite and serious runners in these events, runDisney has provided an opportunity to reach these 5K, 10K, half marathon, and even marathon goals to those who would otherwise be too intimidated to participate. There is a real sense of welcoming and light-heartedness, where no one takes themselves too seriously and we’re all there to have fun and it all just happens to be good for us to be out and active. The atmosphere is truly joyous which is what makes runDisney races so addicting.
Looking ahead, I’d like to eventually run the Avengers or Star Wars races, and I’ve even started wondering if I might try the Goofy Challenge someday. I’m also itching to revisit Europe within the next 2 or 3 years, and I’d love to do the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon whenever I make it back there.
In the meantime, I will continue to run on my own, though I am not currently signed up for any races. I’m also taking a break from the Disneyland Half Marathon, at least for a few years, since I don’t want to get burned out on this race. I’m trying to exercise moderation to avoid having these events become “just another run.” However, I loved running the 10K, which is the perfect distance for a course that runs through the parks, and since the theme changes every year, it’s one I’d likely do again.