The race may have been back on November 10, 2016 but my age group award from the Doctor Strange 10K arrived in the mail last night! This race was a part of runDisney’s Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. You can read my race recap here.
I’m not sure what motivated me, but I decided to dust off the old blog and post a new entry. From November 10th through the 13th runDisney hosted their Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland. This time around I was only running the Doctor Strange 10K since I am still rebuilding after running the Cascade Crest 100 in late August.
My initial hope was to take a shot at the masters win but a few training set backs put that goal in doubt. I settled on goal to finish under 39 minutes which should at least land me in the age group awards. Given some of my training paces this should have been achievable, but again, some late training set backs may have made it an overly ambitious goal.
The first mile is mostly a straight shot down Disneyland Drive/West Street before turning left into the Anaheim Convention Center. I was slightly over goal pace clocking in at 6:18 and it didn’t feel as easy as it should have at this point. I was sitting in around 15th place overall and figured I needed to be top 10 for the masters win. At least I knew I could throw out my original goal at this point.
The second mile of the race weaves through the Anaheim Convention Center and its neighboring hotels before dumping out onto Harbor Boulevard and later a left hand turn on Disney Way which takes you backstage of Disney California Adventure. While running through the convention center I was still feeling decent but once on Harbor I could feel my pace slipping. I found a comfortably hard gear that I thought I could maintain and clicked off a 6:27 second mile. Not even close to goal pace.
The third mile took us through the wharf and into Radiator Spring’s back entrance by Radiator Springs Racers. We then ran through Bug’s Land, up the parade route, and started cruising around Paradise Pier. Thor was hanging out on the parade route by the main Cars Land entrance. My race performance was holding steady at this point. I wasn’t where I wanted to be but I was maintaining pace. Mile three was in 6:30.
Mile four is the last in DCA finishing off the pier, winding down Grizzly Peak Trail, past Soarin’, through Hollywood Land where Black Widow was hanging out and past what remains of the Hollywood Tower of Terror, and going through a stretch of backstage DCA. 6:35 for that mile and I got passed a few times. I was likely sitting in around 18th place at this point. At the rate I was slipping, age group awards may have been out of the question.
Mile five takes us through the service tunnel between DCA and Disneyland, through a long stretch of backstage Disneyland before entering Toon Town, and by “it’s a small world” which was decorated for the holidays. This mile was slow and miserable for me. It seemed like there were a lot of sharp turns that wreaked havoc on my pace. I don’t even recall if there were any characters stationed along this portion of the course. Mile five took 6:55 and I lost a few more spots. I think I was sitting around 22nd place at this point.
Mile six takes you by the front of the Matterhorn before heading into Tomorrowland. You exit by the hub and head towards Pixie Hollow and the back of the Matterhorn where Dr. Strange himself was waiting for runners. We took a quick jaunt through Fantasyland before darting through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Finally we headed down Main Street, through the front gates, and started through Downtown Disney towards the finish. After a pitiful fifth mile I decided to make an effort on mile six. I ran it in 6:39 and even passed a runner.
The final two tenths takes you through the end of Downtown Disney and finishes by the Disneyland Hotel. I was able to pick off one more runner in this stretch who started his kick too early and finished in 20th place overall in a time of 40:24. Somehow that was good enough for an age group win.
While I was thrilled to get the age group win, I was pretty disappointed in my pace. Earlier this year I ran a half marathon at that same pace. I still have a bit of work to do to get myself back to where I was earlier this year before I got injured.
My wait is finally over. After five weeks of waiting my second place trophy for the Princess Enchanted 10K arrived in the mail today. It’s prettier than I ever imagined it would be. You can read my race report here.
After running races at Disneyland since 2007 I finally got the chance to run a race at Walt Disney World. The Princess Half Marathon wasn’t my first choice but since all of my runDisney friends and family are women I lost that vote. That’s okay because I was finally going to get my Coast to Coast medal which you get for running a half marathon or greater at each park in the same calendar year. I usually don’t care much for the bonus medals but this one is pretty cool.
I’ve done a few multi-day race challenges before and I’ve had a hard time balancing efforts between the races. This time I was doing the Glass Slipper Challenge which consists of the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Since men aren’t eligible to receive awards in the Princess Half Marathon I planned to race the 10K and use the half as an easy paced training run. Since the Star Wars Half Marathon I had been doing a bit of speed work on the track and I was looking to PR. The only thing that would work against me was our arrival date and itinerary. We landed in Florida on the Sunday before the race and would spend five days walking around theme parks before the 10K.
Saturday morning came early. As in 2:30 AM early! I had heard warnings from several people that you should try to be on one of the first shuttles to the race from the hotel. At 3:20 we made our way down to the buses which started running at 3:30. The first was full and we hopped right on the second one. No lines, no fuss. A few minutes later we were unloaded in the Epcot parking lot.
After hanging out for about an hour I headed over to my corral. Positioning was a little tricky since there is a corral staging area where they hold you until the group is escorted over to the starting line. A few people jumped in front of me on the way over but I weaseled my way back onto the starting line. After some words from the reigning Miss America, Kira Kazantsev our Fairy Godmother counted down and started the race!
I took off and found myself with an early lead. Maybe a quarter mile later Leonard Jackson shot by me and quickly dropped me. I had no intention of trying to hang with him since he was clearly much faster. My new goal was to try to hold position for the next six miles.
About a half mile in we went under an overpass where Frozen’s Anna and Elsa were hanging out. They were also blowing fake snow which I sucked in and nearly gagged on. At the first mile we did a U-turn and were greeted by the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. No time to wait, I’m late! Shortly thereafter we passed Tinker Bell and her sister Periwinkle. It was fitting to have the frost-talent fairy out on the chilly morning. Yeah, I know too much about fairies. My daughter loves them.
Before I knew it I had hit the 5K mark with a split of 18:47. This is about when the five days of walking around theme parks caught up to me. I slowed a bit on the fourth mile and knew it was going to be a fight to the finish.
About four and a half miles into the race we entered Epcot. I have never been in this park before but I wasn’t able to take in any of the sights. In all honesty between the darkness in the park and focusing on holding it together this portion of the race is a blur. I do remember passing Jiminy Cricket and Marie from Aristocats. Right after exiting the park my bike escort peeled off and I knew it was a sprint to the finish.
I crossed the finish line is 38:33 in second place overall! 9 seconds ahead of the third place finisher. I know this being a women’s themed race the competition isn’t as strong as usual but I’m excited to have placed in such a highly attended race (10,989 finishers). I was a little surprised that no one said anything to me after the race. After walking through the finish chute I asked information about awards and they said it would come in the mail.
Sunday was another early wake up call. For the half marathon the buses started running at 3:00 AM! I think we woke up at 2:15 and headed down to the buses at 2:50. Painfully early is all I really remember. Once again, there was little hassle or wait to get on the bus and we were in the Epcot parking lot in no time.
After hanging out on the bleachers in the family reunion area for about an hour we shuffled over to the corrals. Most people said it was about a mile walk from the reunion area to the corrals and it seemed close to that. Once I located corral B* it was time to wait for another hour for the race to start (*men can’t start in A).
The day’s agenda was vastly different than what I’m used to. I was going to take it easy and stop at most of the character photo stops. With a bunch of races coming up I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I was spending time recovering from a fast half marathon that didn’t matter to me.
The course would take us through the Magic Kingdom and then back to the finish outside Epcot. Unlike the Disneyland races, most of the time is spent running on roads outside the parks. There is significantly less park time than the Disneyland races but since all of the roads are on Disney property you get character photo stops along the way.
I’m not going to go into much detail about the race since it was mostly uneventful. Instead I’ll just share all my character photos! The only ones I remember I didn’t stop for were Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Sophia the First.
After a short jaunt through Epcot I crossed the finish line in 1:36:57. Good for 15th man overall. I collected my medals including the Glass Slipper Challenge medal for running the 10K and the half marathon and my Coast to Coast Challenge medal for running a half and Disneyland (Star Wars Half Marathon) and this one at Walt Disney World.
It was a great week in Florida and I enjoyed spending time with my family and taking my daughters to WDW for the first time. While I enjoyed the races, I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to run another runDisney race at WDW any time soon. My home park of Disneyland offers a better experience without the huge cost of travel. My only complaint is that there wasn’t an award ceremony after the 10K. I know it isn’t the marque race of the weekend but you would think a race with 11,000 people would have one. I’ll just have to wait to get my trophy in the mail.
I’m back. 2014 was a rough year and my fitness and running slipped. I watched all of my times creep up and performed horribly at the races I focused on. In July I ran my first 100-miler, the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. The learning curve was huge and while I thought I was in shape to do well, I made a few mistakes along the way and paid for them. I finished in 31 hours and 35 minutes. That was a long time to be out there and it took even longer to recover from. In August, September, and October I hardly logged any miles.
Towards the end of October I started training for a series of half marathons I had already registered for. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angels Half Marathon, the Morgan Hill Half Marathon, and runDisney’s Avengers Half Marathon. I progressively improved my times from a 1:41 at Los Angels down to a 1:35 at Avengers. Still a far cry from what I am capable of.
That brings us to 2015. I’ve been working hard. Track Tuesday is now a staple of my workout week. My training volume is increasing at a slow but steady rate as I prepare for a slew of upcoming ultras, but before that I had something to prove to myself. That I can still run a fast. Fast for me at least.
The first test was the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend! I would be running the 5K and the Rebel Challenge which consisted of the Star Wars 10K and the Star Wars Half Marathon the following day. I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan my entire life so a race that is put on by runDisney that revolves around Star Wars could not be missed.
On Thursday we attended the expo for the race. Merchandise for this one was going to be a hot commodity and likely fly off the shelves. Luckily we got there early enough that we were able to get everything we were looking for. I picked up a few pins and a pint glass. It ended up being relatively painless since runDisney had us queue up in a conference room where they were playing Empire Strikes Back on a big screen.
Friday brought the Star Wars 5K which I ran with my wife and oldest daughter. We had a blast running through Disneyland and California Adventure. The lines for photos were pretty long but we couldn’t resist stopping for Chewie! After the race we collected our C-3PO medals and headed off to the parks.
Next up was the Star Wars 10K on Saturday. I had originally planned to take this race easy so I could save myself for the half marathon on Sunday but at the last minute I decided to see if I could race both. I took the first four miles at a relatively easy pace averaging a 6:20 mile which I thought would be enough to put me in a good position to get an age group award while still saving something for the half. The next couple miles I ended up running in no mans land by myself and slowed a bit to save even more. This ended up being a huge mistake as I ended up being bumped out of third place in my age group by a mere 5 seconds. I ended with a time of 39:45, a PR, and in 19th place overall and 4th in my age group.
After just missing out on an age group award in the 10K I was going to give the half marathon everything I had left. The first 9 miles went well and I was on PR pace. Then I paid for pushing it on the 10K the day before. The wheels fell off and my pace increased by 30 seconds a mile until the end. I finished in 1:26:52. My second fastest half marathon which I am quite proud of considering I’m still on the comeback trail. Unfortunately, I missed out on an age group award for the second day in a row. This time by 39 seconds.
Earlier this year I ran the inaugural Tinker Bell 10K at Disneyland. It was far from my best race but it was good enough to place second in my age group. For the last two years during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend men have only been eligible to receive co-ed team awards. This weekend my award showed up in my mailbox. It was nice of runDisney to give us men a chance for additional hardware for the 10K.
And I’m back. The past two months have been tough. I’ve battled illness and a total lack of motivation after not gaining entry into a couple races I qualified for. Add in some work related stress and I’ve become a mess. I’m undertrained and overweight. There is nothing like a race or two to verify it.
As a male runner the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is a tough pill to swallow. It is a women’s themed event and men can not start in the first corral. Men are also not eligible for overall or age group awards. The only reason why I do it is because runDisney races are great family events. My kids run, my wife runs, and my mom runs. This year runDisney made that pill a little easier to swallow by adding the Tinker Bell 10K to the weekend’s events. Men were eligible for all awards here.
Originally when I signed up I had a lofty goal of placing in the top three overall. I didn’t have anything else on my race calendar and the 10K was going to be the race I focused on for the fall. Of course that was before my training went into the toilet. My new goal was to shoot for an age group award. Even this might have been a stretch given the three weeks of training I had under my belt.
Right off the start both of my hamstrings felt tight. Not a good way to start a race that you’re underprepared for. You can almost see how awkward I started in the picture above (orange singlet). The first mile is the all-too-familiar trek from the start down Disneyland Drive before heading into the backstage of Disneyland. I was surprised that I felt relatively comfortable running with some speed. The first mile clocked in at 6:37. Far from what I’m capable of BUT much faster than I’ve been doing. The question then became how long could I hold this for?
During the second mile of the race we passed the Haunted Mansion. To my surprise the Bride and the Parasol Girl from the stretching portraits were in front of the mansion for photo ops. I have never been more tempted to stop for a picture during a runDisney race in my life. At this point of the race I was feeling good and running in the top 20. Despite the temptation, I carried on and clocked a 6:43 mile. Slower but still holding on!
The next mile would wrap us around the Matterhorn and past Pixie Hollow. Seriously runDisney, how do you not have the fairies out during their own race? From Pixie Hollow we made our way down Main Street and over to Disney California Adventure. After cruising down Buena Vista Street we made a hard right down Condor Flats and eventually wound up at Paradise Pier. 6:51 for mile 3. I felt like I was about to pop at that point.
The fourth mile took us around the back side of Paradise Pier, through Cars Land and out of the Park via Hollywood Land. I rolled through the 5K mark with a split time of 20:55. Shortly after that I popped and ended up running a 7:02 fourth mile.
After exiting DCA we headed up Harbor Blvd and hung a right onto Manchester Way. We followed this road along the freeway until intersecting with Disney Way where we headed back towards the parks. My fifth mile ended during this section. Clocking in at 7:05 it was my slowest mile.
When we got back to Harbor Blvd we turned left and headed towards Katella. At this point I knew all I had to do was hang on and I would more than likely place in my age group. I tried to as hard as I could to reel in a couple runners in front of me but I wasn’t able to. I even lost a spot to another runner who was able to run me down as I was closing the gap on the runners in front of me. My sixth mile came in at 6:57.
After a quick turn back onto Disneyland Dr and then a finish in the Simba parking lot and we were done. With a finish time of 42:48 it was far from a PR for me but it was good for 23rd place overall and 2nd in the 35-39 male age group. Another bonus of the race is that it coincided with a Strava challenge. I was able to log my fastest 10K of the month for the Strava Races 10K.
Shoes: Mizuno Ekiden