Sunday, September 13, 2009

Disney, Disney, Disney....

This week has been insane, I intended to post an update on Disney waaaay before now. For a short week, it felt like the longest week in the world at work. Enough about my time issues, on to Disney...

I am really glad I did it. Overall, I would have to give the edge to the Disney World races over the one at Disneyland. Having never been to Disneyland, I was surprised by how close together the parks are on the property. If you have ever been to Disney World, you drive for what seems like miles once you take the exit to get itno the park area so there is a lot of land for running within the park. At Disneyland, it is more like driving up to a mall. It is right off the road and if you blinked you could miss the entrance. Just not what I expected based on what I knew Disney World was like. The folks in CA are quite proud to have the original!

I left my house around 6A for an 8:30 flight to LAX. I arrived in LAX and by the time I got to a car it was around 12:00. The packet pick up was the quickest I have ever experienced at any race. I don't know if it had to do with the time of day or what but I was in and out of there in less than 5 minutes with no waiting. The EXPO was the usual stuff. I think the only thing I remember that was something I had not seen before was ABC studios were there pimping the fall lineup and giving away prizes advertising some of the shows. There were also screenings of some of the new shows at various times throughout the day. I didn't stick around for the screenings but thought that was kind of cool if you didn't have other plans.

After picking up the race swag, I checked into my hotel and got to see the end of the Melanie Oudin/Maria Sharapova match. Very exciting! I met Melanie a couple of times at a tournament here in GA where I was a volunteer. She is truly a genuinely sweet girl. It is so exciting to see her hard work paying off.

After the match, I decided I at least wanted to see California Adventure while I was there since they don't have that one in Disney World. When you first walk in, there are a lot of similarities to Disney's Hollywood Studios but they do have a pier area with traditional type carnival rides that makes it unique. I ended up making a whirlwind tour of it as I was afraid to walk myself out on Saturday night and have nothing left for the race.

California Adventure.

and when you turn 100 yards in the other direction, the entrance to Disneyland.

You think you have seen palm trees. These are gi-normous.

As with the other Disney races, they start EARLY. They want you to be in the corral at 5A for a 6A start. The upside to the California race is that you can walk from your hotel to the race start so you can leave much later than you would be able to in Florida since walking to the start there is impossible. In Cincinnati, I was able to walk to the start too and really love not having to worry about parking or transportation or adding extra time in for that aspect. Love that.

I was lucky to get in the 1st corral so within a few seconds of the race start I was rolling past the start line and the crowds were breaking free. The California race also gets points for their placement of people based on time in the corrals. For whatever reason in the March half at Disney, there were A LOT of walkers in corral A which made for a difficult start. Lots of running around peopl in limited space.

The route of the race went through the parks, out into Anaheim to Angels stadium and back to California Adventure for the finish. My favorite part is running through the parks. We went through both parks within the first 3 miles which left a pretty big 5 or 6 mile gap of running along the road with not a lot of distraction. (Here is where I start to sound spoiled but it is Disney and I am used to a certain level of distraction from them when I run). They did have high school bands and local entertainment here and there. For whatever reason it just seemed a little bit less than the Florida races. Florida did have A LOT more of the characters out for pictures and maybe that is what seemed to be missing. Not sure...

I ran with Tinkerbell for several miles. She even ran a bit like I might imagine Tink would run, up on her toes. Her heel never hit the ground. I couldn't help but wonder how that might feel at the end of 13 miles.

WOW, those reflective strips on my shorts sure are reflective. who knew?

Can't escape HSM3

The backside of Disney.... I think you have to pay extra for this tour :) They had hundreds of old bicycles back there that the employees must use to get around the park. They all looked like something Walt Disney would have ridden back in the day.

Hey... this race was supposed to be flat...

Mary Poppins and Bert out for a ride

Sleeping Beauty's castle. Cinderella might have one upped her but I do like the pink.

The Toy Story crew were oddly excited that someone noticed they were standing there. I think that is the main difference between the CA race and one in FL. Most of the characters were not where you could get a picture with them.

Headed towards Angels stadium

California Adventure

Me and Lilo.

My running partner for the last 8 miles, Vicki.

Mickey and Pluto welcoming me back.

Peter Pan picking up his Coast to Coast medal. Not sure if he took Delta or used pixie dust to fly to California.

As for the run itself, it actually felt pretty good. I had not trained like I wanted to going into it so the last 3 miles were a test in mental fortitude. I hooked up with another lady who had run the race before and we ran together for at least 8 miles. If it had not been for her, I probably would have slowed down or hit a run-walk pace those last three miles. I ended up running the whole way with the exception of a few quick picture stops which is great considering I was off my training plan by quite a bit. My ended up being 2:09ish. Not a PR but I wasn't expecting one at this race. Overall, a much better result than expected :)

In Nike news, I had to scratch it from the schedule. The economic forecast in my household is starting to look a little sketchy so we will have to do it another time. I have PLENTY of other races in the area to fill my time over the fall .


Cindy said...

that hm looks like so much fun! i love all the pics you took--how did you have time to take all the photo ops and still finish in 2:09? that's awesome!!

k said...

That is a great finish time! I can only dream of such a fast time when I run the Princess Half at WDW in March!

ShirleyPerly said...

Wow, I can't believe how many photos you took during the race! That was certainly an interval workout in itself, I'm sure. Congrats on your finish!

PS - Are you going to post a photo of your two race medals so we can see and compare them? I've only run the Disney Marathon and half marathons held in January and haven't seen the medals from the other Disney halfs.

Lindsay said...

great race recap and loved all the pics! glad all went well with your travels and running. sorry to hear you are out of nike but i know you will hop into many other closer races anyway :)

Kevin said...

Looks like you had a blast. That is a great finish time with all those pictures you took