C Talley Run

Rumblings and mishaps of a Strava and runDisney obsessed trail and road runner.

Star Wars Half Marathon Start


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Race Recap: Inaugural Star Wars 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Rebel Challenge

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.

Down in front! Empire is on!

Down in front! Empire is on!

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

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.

Chewie

We had to stop for the wookiee.

Done with the 5K.

Done with the Star Wars 5K.

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.

Star Wars 10K Start

Star Wars 10K Start

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.

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Medals

Star Wars Medals

Jabba

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Race Report: 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon

Disneyland Half Marathon

When training started for this race I had high hopes and big goals. I set big PRs at this race the last two years by breaking 1:30 and 1:25 respectively and this year the goal was to break 1:20. Two weeks into training I realized I had a problem. I had focused much of the year on ultras and setting PRs there that I had lost a bit of my speed. I resigned to trying to get back where I was last year and chose a different race later this year to try to break 1:20.

Training didn’t go so well. Last year was pretty cool which helped me train through the summer. This year wasn’t so forgiving. It made hitting my paces during speed work extremely difficult and turned long runs into a suffer fest. My motivation for this race was in the dumps until about three weeks out when I started to string together a few decent training runs.

There was one other factor that I would need to take into account for this year’s Disneyland Half Marathon. I had signed up for the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Challenge which means I would be running the Disneyland 10K the day before the half marathon. The plan was to take the 10K easy and then shoot for a 1:22 for the half. While I didn’t push it on the 10K, I didn’t take it easy.

Race morning came quickly with a 4 AM wake up time so I could get ready to meet with Kris and Mindy. The plan was to run with Kris who was looking at a similar goal time. Luckily they were staying a couple doors down at the Disneyland Hotel so it was easy to find them. After a short walk we found ourselves standing in corral A waiting for the gun to go off.

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Start

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Start

The first mile started out fast and I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be my day. We clocked a 6:18 mile on our way into Disney California Adventure but it felt like so much more work than it should have been. I silently let Kris fade away from me and tried to lock down a pace that I could maintain. The next mile took us through the back of DCA and then around Paradise Bay. I slowed down to a 6:35 but I was still miserable. As we entered Cars Land I saw DJ parked outside Flo’s V8 Cafe and I honestly contemplated stopping for a picture which is something I’ve never done before in a race. Mile 3 continued the slowing trend with a 6:57 and my 5K split was 20:55.

Upon entering Disneyland I was defeated mentally and we were only three miles into the race. I decided to ditch any time goals and turn the race into a training run. Then it happened. I stopped to take a photo with Disney characters for the first time ever during a race. Genie, Jasmine, and Aladdin will always hold a special place in my runDisney history.

Genie, Jasmine, Aladdin, and ME!

Genie, Jasmine, Aladdin, and ME!

Now that I had officially stopped racing I could focus on getting through the miles and to the finish line. The run through Disneyland took us through Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Toon Town. There was a decent array of characters out including Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers in Tomorrowland, Daisy Duck and Clarice in Town Town, and Princess Aurora with Prince Phillip outside her castle.

After exiting Disneyland you pass the four mile mark which I clocked in 7:15. Last year I didn’t log a mile above 6:40 so logging something over 7:00 brought me down a little. The next few miles brought some cheer squads, bands, Hula and Mexican Dancers. Mile 5 clocked in at 7:14, Mile 6 was 7:12, and my 10K split was 43:21.

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

The next mile was rough for some reason and I clocked a 7:31which would be my slowest mile. Shortly after the 7th mile you turn left onto Cerritos Ave and are treated to about a mile long car show. runDisney started having car clubs line the street starting last year and it has really helped spice up this boring section.

After passing the Honda Center the course ends up on the Santa Ana River Trail. This year we spent a little more time on the trail than in previous years. There is construction where we previously left the trail so the course had to be altered. I found the new transition from the trail to be a little easier. Mile 8 clocked in at 7:28 and mile 9 was 7:14.

0023tNext up is my favorite part of the course. As an Oakland A’s fan I hate the Angels but I love running through their stadium during this half marathon. runDisney fills the stadium with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and their cheering is loud and infectious. I tried to give a high five to as many scouts as I could while I was running though here. Feeding off the energy from the scouts mile 10 came in at 7:09.

Entering Angels Stadium   Running the Warning Track of Angels Stadium

The next couple miles I just focused on finishing. There are a few more cheer squads and bands during these miles. Miles 11 and 12 clocked in at 7:14 and 7:11. I usually feel good on this section of the course and try to push the pace but with nothing to gain I just cruised it.

For some reason I decided to try to pick off a few runners in the final mile which helped me drop the pace down to 6:55 for mile 13. With the finish line and Mickey and Minnie in sight I felt relieved that this race was done. A quick high five to Minnie and Mickey and I crossed the finish line in 1:33:35. Good for 98th place overall and 15th in my age group. Not even close to what I was hoping for.

Home Stretch   High Five Mickey   Double Bling

In retrospect the one thing that killed my half performance more than anything was lack of sleep the two nights before the race. I can usually get away with one poor night of sleep before a race but more than that leaves me feeling drained. Of course the heat and humidity played a role as well. Last year’s men’s winner Jimmy Grabow was a little more than two minutes slower than last year and women’s winner Cindy Lynch was about a minute slower.

Next year I’ll probably pass on doing the Dumbo Double Dare. I loved being a part of the inaugural running of it but I prefer to give the half marathon my full attention. I’m not focused on the bling so the additional medals aren’t enough to sway me to come back… at least not until they change them for the 5th anniversary!

Dumbo Double Dare Medal Haul

Dumbo Double Dare Medal Haul


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Race Report: Disneyland 10K

Dumbo Double Dare

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.

runDisney Vinylmation

runDisney Vinylmation Sporting Two Medals

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.

Meeting Sean Astin

Meeting Sean Astin

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.

Disneyland 10K Staging Area

Disneyland 10K Staging Area

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.

Carissa and Rudy with Special Guests Alice and the Mad Hatter entertain the runners.

Carissa and Rudy with Special Guests Alice and the Mad Hatter entertain the runners.

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.

Running Through Cars Land

Running Through Cars Land

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.

Disneyland 10K Course Map

Disneyland 10K Course Map

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.

Running through Downtown Disney

Running through Downtown Disney

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!

Disneyland 10K Medal

Disneyland 10K Medal


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Strava Challenges = Funk Breaker

Up until recently I’ve been in a pretty big running funk. I’ve had little energy or motivation to go out and pound the pavement. Part of that is due to some sleep issues I’ve been having but those are starting to get under control. I have two half marathons coming up and I want to survive the first and do really well in the second. What I really needed was a short term goal to get myself moving again. That’s where Strava comes in.

ROLL Recovery R8KStrava Half Marathon

After returning from a short vacation to San Diego I noticed there were two challenges awaiting me. The first was the Roll Recovery R8K sponsored by ROLL Recovery to promote their R8 roller. 8K is five miles so no big deal. This challenge was time based but I had little intention of competing. I just wanted to complete it. I ended up finishing it five times in the one week period we were given between August 1st and 7th. My fastest pace ended up being 4:31/km which was good for 1319/8750th place.

ROLL Recovery R8K Finisher Badge

A few months ago Strava hosted a Spring marathon training series consisting of three challenges. One month you have to run a half marathon. The next is a 20-miler. Finally you have to log a marathon in the third month. They’re back at it with a Fall marathon training series. You have until the end of August to complete a half marathon and I was able to check it off during the first weekend. It was far from a good run but it helped to motivate me to get the miles in.

Strava Half Marathon Finisher Badge

It was nice to knock off two challenges in one weekend. It’s kind of amazing how a little virtual badge is enough to inspire you to go out and run. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to finish the Fall Marathon Training Series without having a marathon on my schedule!