Sunday, September 23, 2012

Disneyland 1/2 Marathon 2012 Recap

I'll just start off by saying that yes, Dearest was right... It's not often I have to say that! I kid, I kid. ;) During our last couple months of training for our second go at the half marathon at Disneyland, Dearest was convinced that we'd run the 13.1 miles in less than 2.5 hours, cutting 18 minutes off our original time. I didn't think it was possible- our current runs were barely cutting it and we never ran the full distance. 

Race day I was still convinced we'd never make the 2.5 hrs and even worried that I'd have a worse time than last year. I decided to play at Disneyland the week prior to the race, instead of taking it easy, and managed to hurt my knee. Nothing like nursing a hurting knee knowing that you've got 13 miles or running ahead of you. 

We started in Corral D this year (up from last in G). A bonus was that the 2.5 hour pace runner was at the start of Corral D. If we kept up with him, we'd make our time goal. Only problem was when we funneled into our corral, we ended up at the back, behind tons of people and probably closer to the 2hr45min pace guy. 

For the first few miles of the course, we ran through Disneyland and California Adventure (and the newly opened Cars Land). Pardon the poor photos. ;) Disney really does a great job of making the course fun- the World of Color fountains and lights were on, there were characters out and random staff cheering us on. [Side note: I had the recent "opportunity" to be part of SC's Big Kahuna triathlon- our normal, and very public, running path was part of the course. The poor guys had to dodge people, bikes, dogs and other things all while trying to race each other. You think they would have at least blocked the path off...] 

Anyway, back to Disney's awesome race. We spent the first 6 miles or so looking for the 2.5 hr pace guy. To make him stand out, he runs with a bunch of balloons on a stick. On top of the already increased speed, we also had at least 5 minutes to make up. So many times I'd turn to Dearest and say "I still can't find those stupid balloons!" 

And then we saw them... It was just after the halfway point, coming around a large corner, we saw the pace guy carrying his balloons and the promise of a time under 2.5 hrs. We caught up (and passed!) the pace guy outside of the Angel's baseball stadium. 

At this point, my knee was really starting to get to me. There was a lot of breaks and walking and although Dearest could go on, he stuck with me. What an excellent partner to have in this (and in life as well!) My main fear was having the pace guy catch up and then pass us, so whenever he'd come in sight, it meant running again. 

Last year, I slapped Mickey's hand crossing the finish line and Dearest really wanted a picture of it, but... last year I was also really tired and just wanted it to be over, so I didn't bother pulling the camera out for him. This year, we were prepared. But Mickey was no where to be seen! I had to settle for a chipmunk instead. :) 

The best reward was meeting our time goal- by a lot! We finished in 2 hrs 23 minutes, shaving 25 minutes off our first time. I was more surprised that we averaged under 11 minutes/mile, something we rarely did when training. 

After- victory lunch at our favorite place in Disneyland. 

And next year, we're shooting for 2 hrs 15 minutes. And I actually think we can do it.