Monday, September 03, 2007


Disneyland Half Marathon

Just finished the Disneyland half marathon this morning with ES. It was a hot race though - the officials suggested over the PA system that they may have to cancel the race if things got too hot which included disabling the timing systems. Clearly they didn't want to get in trouble if someone got hurt from heat exhaustion, etc. We woke up at 3a, and got to Disney by 4:15a. At that time it was probably 73 deg F or so already, and it was pitch black. I emailed into the race beforehand with my 10K results - I didn't want to get relegated to the last wave or anything.

The race organizers took my pace from my Brentwood 10K and placed me assuming I could keep that pace up for the entire half marathon. That didn't happen, so I was getting passed through the entire race. ES, on the other hand, was much more conservative in how fast she said she could run the race, so they placed her in the third wave in the back, so she was passing people during the whole race.

Anyway, race started a little after 6a, and by then it was easily > 80 deg F, and everyone was sweating before we even ran the first step. The race started by heading through California Adventure and then Disneyland before we headed over to the Honda Center (formerly the Pond). Next was Angel's stadium, and a pretty direct route back to Downtown Disney where they had the finish line.

I wore my camelback the whole time despite there being water stops. I knew I'd want a lot of water and I didn't want to have to wait until I got to the water station. But the backpack did get hot - not sure if I'd wear it again if I did this race again.

Along the route they had high school marching bands, flag teams, cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, girlscouts - a lot of people showed up just to stand along the route which was neat. I flashed the Boy Scout sign a few times, so hopefully they found that cool (recall, I'm an Eagle scout!). They had all sorts of costumed characters in the park (goofy, captain hook, monsters from monsters inc.). Some pirates on the (new) pirate island fired a canon at us and the cannonball splashed into the water just in front of us (heh - neat).

I took pictures during the race, and a video too as we exited the castle:

Then as we exited the park on Ball to the East, we were running uphill and straight into the sun - that was where I first walked. I wanted to be sure I had enough gas to make it the whole way, and I knew there'd be no way I could run the whole thing. Once we got to the 10K (~ halfway mark) I was doing a decent amount of walking - not really sure how my pace decreased as I went along, but I'm pretty happy with my time given the heat. I could have definitely prepped with longer runs, too! Well, should be easy to PR on my next half marathon, whenever that is.

Back to the race - once we got outside the park, a mariachi band was setup, and they had some hawaiian dancers and musicians playing also. During the race they suggested not listening to an iPod, however I always run with mine so I brought it. I listened to 1.5 hrs of Radio Lab shows - one was about "the placebo effect" and another about "sleep". When the marching bands were along the side of the road though I just paused the playback - enjoyed the race ambiance :) After too much of the "sleep" episode though I was getting really sleepy myself! I switched over to some techno for the last 2 or 3 miles of the race.

The 10 mile mark was in Angel Stadium - we ran in from the East through Tunnel A, and then in along the edge of the field (coming in from 1st base to home, then around to 3rd). They had a camera setup so everyone running got to be on the jumbotron, and then we headed past 3rd base and out of the stadium. I did a lot of walking during that last leg along Disney Way. But once we got to Downtown Disney, the home stretch, I decided to run the rest. So I think I ran the last 1.1 miles. A WHOLE BUNCH of people were in Downtown Disney. Some cheering on with things like, "Only .1 miles to go!" but I heard one wise guy with something like "1 mile go go!"

I ran across the finish at 2:21 official time, and was happy to find things were running pretty smoothly once I got in. I hate races where they funnel you down after the race - I need to cool down with some brisk walking, and there was plenty of room for that. I got some snacks and then walked around to recover, and when Emily showed up, we got some pictures.

I had no idea how long the race would take me let alone her, so I was relieved to see that she made it ok afterwards. Without any real idea how long it would take me, I was guessing a pace of about 10 min/mi, putting me at a 2:10:00 finishing ballpark. Even that was a little optimistic, it turns out! However perhaps with cooler temps I would be able to pickup that 10 minutes. It was certainly 90 deg F by the time the race was over, though, and there was not much shade to be had at the end. Add that to some black asphalt and we were really ready to get out of there. I think we made it home by 10:45a (after a McDonald's breakfast feast!).

All in all, beautifully executed by Disney - they just couldn't have controlled the heat wave though.

So here's my race stats:
Bib 1399
Div 25-29 M
ChipTime: 2:20:12
Pace: 10.7 min/mile
Official Time: 2:21:05
Overall Place: 2851 (out of 9768 finishers, 2851/9768=29.1%)
Sex Place: 1669 (out of 3984 finishers, 1669/3984=41.9%)
Divison Place: 164 (out of 445, 164/445=36.8%)
5K Split: 29:05
10K Split: 1:01:32
15K Split: 1:36:51

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