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.
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
What else can I say that isn’t in the title? Last year I placed fourth at the Disneyland Half Marathon in the 35-39 age group. My goal this year was to place in that race again but it didn’t happen. Luckily I was fast enough to place third in my age group in the Disneyland 10K which was the day before the Disneyland Half Marathon as part of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge. I think it’s pretty cool to receive an award for the inaugural running of the 10K so I’m not terribly disappointed with missing my goal of placing in the half.
The Disneyland Half Marathon has always been one of my favorite races. This year runDisney upped the ante by adding the Disneyland 10K and the Dumbo Double Dare for those wishing to do both. I’m always eager to run a new race through the “Happiest Place on Earth” so I was up for the challenge.
We started the weekend off by going to the expo right when it opened. We usually get there long after it opens but this time a few people in our party wanted to make sure we got there early before all the good stuff disappeared. It turns out a lot of other people had the same idea. There were huge lines just to get in the door when we got there at 9:30. 30 minutes before the expo was to open.
Once inside we went straight to the official event merchandise and it felt like Black Friday times ten. People were all over the racks like carrion ants on a carcass. Luckily I was able to find the one shirt that I wanted in my size on some random rack and a medal for my Vinylmation. Once everyone in our party got what they wanted we made our way to the checkout line which nearly stretched to the back wall of the expo. Fast forward about 45 minutes and we finally checked out and were ready to go pick up our bibs and shirts and then check into our room.
Later that afternoon the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney was hosting a meet and greet with Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings, Rudy, and Goonies fame. One member of our party heard that we had the honor of meeting Sean at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo earlier this year and as a huge Goonies fan was hoping to meet him too. We weren’t sure what time he was going to be there but somehow guessed correctly and she got to meet Sean.
Next up was an early dinner followed by an early bed time. All runDisney races have one thing in common. They start early and the new Disneyland 10K wasn’t an exception.
After a short night’s rest we were up before the crack of dawn to head down to the staging area and eventually our corrals. After a quick stop in the staging area to check a bag we headed over to the corral staging area. This year the Disneyland 5K preceded the 10K and we had to wait until after they cleared out before we could queue up.
After a some banter from the runDisney announcers Carissa and Rudy we were off! The plan was to go out easy for the 10K in order to save my energy for the half marathon the following day. It WAS a good plan. One that I quickly abandoned once I realized I was sitting in around 20th place after the first mile. The top three in each age group get awards and I figured I had a shot so I cautiously went for it. The new plan was to hold my position and pass anyone that appeared to be struggling with the heat and humidity.
Shortly after the second mile we entered Disney’s California Adventure. After a trip through Cars Land, around Paradise Pier, and Hollywood Land we headed over to Disneyland. So far my modified plan was working. I was holding position and passing an occasional runner. At the same time I wasn’t pushing the pace in order to leave something in the tank for the half marathon the next day.
Once inside Disneyland we headed down Main Street, through Tomorrowland, Toon Town, Fantasyland, through Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and finally out through Critter Country. In between some of the lands we made excursions backstage.
After exiting Disneyland we had a little less than a mile to go through Downtown Disney before reaching the finish line by the Disneyland Hotel. I picked up the pace for this and passed a couple runners including some of the final 5K runners who were still on the course being trailed by the infamous sweeper wagon.
After reaching the end of Downtown Disney you make a sharp right and the finish line is in sight. With no one around me I casually cruised through the finish line with a time of 41:13. Somehow, with a pace slower than my half marathon pace at this race last year I was able to secure 3rd place in my age group. I think the combination of people taking it easy for the half marathon the next day and the stifling heat and humidity lead to some soft times across the board. Regardless, I’m excited to have placed in the inaugural Disneyland 10K!
After a month of waiting it’s finally here! For the past month I’ve been waiting for a special shipment from runDisney. In my mind there was going to be a knock on the door one night while the family was sitting down to dinner and something like this would have been wheeled into my house.
Even if the delivery didn’t live up to my expectations the award is pretty cool. The plaque measures six inches by eight inches and has the race logo along with my age group and place printed on it. My goal going into that race was to earn one of these and it is great to finally have it in hand. Next year my aim is to grab another!
|2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Age Group Award|