Disneyland Half Marathon, the so-called "happiest race on earth". While I was thrilled with how the race went, I was less impressed with the organization and logistics.
Before I get into my race report, let me give you some background on this race. Initially, I had planned on running this race with my friend Sarah, who ran Seattle with me, and my roommate Jordan for whom it would be her first race. After getting verbal confirmations from both of them, I saw that the race was filling up fast, so I let my eagerness got the better of me and I registered right away. Well plans did not go accordingly. Sarah found out she had a wedding that weekend and Jordan waited too long to register, leaving me a solo runner! I was a little bummed, especially since it was such an expensive race ($120 for a half!) and didn't seem like it would be nearly as fun alone. But I decided to make the best of it, signed up for a pace group, and tried to focus on training.
Then we were out on the streets of Anaheim. There were plenty of water stations and cheer teams and music were scattered along the course. It was also pretty flat, which Katy and I both appreciated. We had kept up with the pace group pretty well up the that point, thanks to the fact that they walked about a minute at each mile marker while we kept running. Around mile 5, much to our surprise, we discovered we were about a minute ahead of pace! We felt pretty good and the next 5 miles continued to see consistent split times. In fact we even left the pace group behind us for good around mile 7! We were starting to realize that a 2:30 finish was totally doable, and that put a little more pep in our step. Mile 8 was a ridiculous loop in a an empty parking lot...yes, I said a parking lot. Also, the so called "river" we were supposed to pass after this turned out to be a dried up canal : / Mile 9 to 10 of the course made up for these issues, taking us through Angel Stadium! It was such a neat feeling running onto the field, rounding the bases, and seeing yourself up on the big screen TV for a moment. By far one of the best parts of the race. As we left the stadium and reached mile 10, a quick glance at my watch and consult of my pace bracelet told us we were actually 2 minutes ahead of our goal pace! It was weird because neither of us felt like we'd sped up at all. The last few miles we were just in the zone, confident now of reaching our finish goal and even contemplating the idea of coming in under. The final mile took us back through Disneyland and we kicked it up a knotch, waiting to round the corner and see the finish line.
2:26:28!! We were given our enormous, castle-shaped medals (so ugly!), grabbed some fluids, took some post-race pics, and then sat in the shade, basking in the warm feelings of our accomplishment.
It ended up being a fabulous initial half marathon experience, although I don't think I'd do another Disney race. I have 3 more halfs planned in 2009, and after this great weekend I'm pretty excited. Since I didn't go into this one with very consistent training it will be interesting to see how I can do if I really focus my training and put in more time and effort. I'll keep you updated on how training goes!