I know I sound like a broken record, but it is SO hard to believe that we arrived in California a week ago!
Even harder to believe that I ran 13.1 in glorious rain-free (unlike here) temperatures just five days ago…
But this jogs my memory a lil! 😉
I am so very proud of this accomplishment for 2011, as just last year, I had put one race under my belt – the Moss Park Running Festival 5K near our house in Lake Nona, back when we were living in Florida. I logged that one in at 27:39 and couldn’t be more ecstatic! And here I am now, 13 months later, with stats like these:
Seriously! This race was definitely one to remember…not only for it being at Disney (because let’s face it, Disney does know how to put on a race!)
Oh, and can we just revisit the fact that this is my second half-marathon and I ran that one in 2:04 and was over the moon about it? #brag
But enough about me…let’s talk about the race!
The start time of the race was a very reasonable 6 AM…however, the cut-off time for dropping your bags was 5 AM – despite this early hour however, it was an amazingly stress-free experience getting out to the staging area! You see, unlike the Walt Disney World race, it is totally walkable from many resorts – both on and off property! This basically means that at Disneyland, you get to sleep in an hour! Another bonus? The temperature was around 60ish that morning – which meant surrendering my Mickey Mouse hoodie a little before 5 AM wasn’t painful in the least.
Our California trip involved two hotels: Disney’s Grand Californian and the Anaheim Desert Inn. Ideally, we would have spent the whole trip at DGC, but alas, it was all booked up – next time I will remember to call THE DAY that I can book with DVC 😉 Anywho. ADI was but a jaunt across the street from Disneyland property so it took me all of ten minutes to reach the race staging area, instead of the 2-3 minutes it would have taken to get there from DGC!
Fortunately for me, as I walked over, I heard some familiar voices! Some good friends from my WDW days, in fact! Jeanne, Ryan and Kim!
As the DJ warmed up the crowd with some high-energy tunes, we chatted a bit about our race goals – we were all Coast to Coast challengers, after all! Jeanne and Ryan said that 3 hours would be a good goal, and Kim said she was there to have fun and finish! All good goals, IMO!
Before long, it was time to move into our corral placements, so we bid adieu. In some crazy twist of events, I had a corral assignment that I found pretty astounding: A! It was definitely an inspiring experience to be around so many fast looking people 🙂
(Again) unlike the WDW race, the time waiting for the race to start didn’t seem to drag endlessly. There was a big screen monitor ahead of us that was spouting fun race facts…like the average age of this year’s DL 1/2 Marathoner (37!) Two other cool features were the presentation of Whitney Castro, who literally spent the summer running FROM Florida to California (true C-toC’er!) and also the triumphant return of Captain Ivan Castro, a blind army officer (more fun finisher stories here.)
I also chatted with some of the runners around me and learned about some pretty cool races from them (especially The California International Marathon in Sacramento.) Two of the runners I chatted with were running their very first Disney race but were actually training to qualify for Boston! Their goals for this race? 1:30 – 1:40! Dang!!
After wishing each other luck, it was about time to go!
As I started out, it was an amazing feeling! So much speed surrounding me! I wanted to try and slow it down as much as possible to achieve negative splits, but also reminded myself that ‘it’s just a race.’ So, I chugged along, hitting my first mile at 8 minutes and some change…
I was actually quite a big fan of this course! See, it started around the Downtown Disney area, then looped down Katella, up Harbor a spell, past Disney’s California Adventure and then, Disneyland! Amazing…see, by the time you loop out of the park, you’ve already put down four miles!
Inside Disneyland, it was such a happy feeling – lots of characters to greet and I waved at all of them! It really did make me smile…I didn’t bring my camera because, hey, as much as I wanted to have fun, I was there to race, y’know! 🙂 Anyway! In Disneyland is also where I experienced my first pace band group – the 1:40 group ran by me around Adventureland, and in Frontierland, the 1:45ers passed. In all truthfulness, I spent the rest of the race wondering when the 1:50 group was going to pass… 😉
Once we were on the streets of Anaheim, I switched my Walkman on (I raced with this) and just let the miles roll. I kept checking my watch when it chirped mile markers and though they were not synced with the official ones, it was nice to have the information available to keep track.
I think one of my favorite moments during the race was right after hitting Mile 8 – this song came on:
…and we were headed into the parking area of the Honda Center! From there, the course hit back onto the Santa Ana River Trail – packed dirt, which felt great on the knees and was just what I needed for a bit of a power boost!
By the time we ducked into the Angels Stadium, were were on the Mile 10 approach!
I would totally be lying if I said that I wasn’t tired at this point…but I kept telling myself…all you’ve got is a 5K left! You can do this! I looked down at my RoadID’s quote – “Keep Moving Forward.” I waved at every single spectator. I gave tons of high fives…it felt like a video game! Each one was like a 1 UP!
Before I knew it, I could see the “Disneyland” road signs…and once I was back on property…I could see that glorious word just down the road…
Yes! I could see the banner…I could see the timers…I was going to finish in LESS THAN 1:50!
I was done-zo! It was an amazing feeling! I saw that 1:49 time and was so stoked…but even more so when I pulled out my iPhone and saw my tracking via FB and twitter – I forgot that my chip time would be even faster than the clock time! OMG…
“runDisney – Disneyland Half Marathon: KRISTINA MURPHY – Finish in 1:48:47. Pace: 8:18.”
Boom Shaka Laka! Hahahahah! Delirious happiness, that’s for sure!
After walking down the shoot, I picked up both medals, picked up a mini bottle of Blue Powerade and a mini chocolate brownie Clif Bar – chowed on that instantly snapped an official finish pic!
I walked along out and around the finishing area, then headed out to hubs + my meeting spot…JAMBA, of course! I had a 16 oz smoothie, congratulated fellow runners, checked on my watch + splits (somehow I did run negative splits!) and then we headed back to the hotel so I could shower and get into some dry clothes. Yowza!
All in all, it was an AMAZING experience and I am so glad I got to take part in it! I would do another race at Disneyland in a heartbeat, and would recommend this one to runners of all ages and experience – from the elite to walkers alike.
Do you have any questions about this race or my experience? I would love to answer any questions!