I love runDisney races. I know they are expensive but I think they are fun and completely worth it. I have run races with terrible support and terrible logistics and race directors that just don't seem to give a damn about the runners in their races. Say what you will about runDisney but they know how to treat runners right.
I had a goal going into the race. One goal actually. And it made me nervous! Which is a good sign that I'd picked a challenging goal. Now all I had to do was use the force to execute it! Yes, I had to go there. Come on! I HAD to! :)
On Saturday morning, I did a 5K shakeout run then headed down to Downtown Disney and the race expo. I was hoping to get there by 9 to see some of the kids races and I made it just in time. The kids races were a riot. The kids were so cute in their costumes. I loved it.
Then it was time for the expo. Bib pick up was fast and so was shirt pickup. Then it was time to do some shopping and some having fun. I listened to a couple of speakers (Sean Astin & astronaut Steve Lindsey) and bought some stuff. Took a few pics. A fun time was had by all. Well, by me at least.
I ate lunch in Downtown Disney at the ESPN zone. Maybe, sort of, because I heard a rumor they had Storm Trooper mugs...and they did! Yes, I am a total geek. Here are some of the things I picked up at the expo & Downtown Disney (clockwise from upper left hand corner: car magnet, I Did It! Wookie shirt, another Raw Threads tank top (OMG the back! I guess it's supposed to be a wolf but I am calling it a coyote!), vinylmation Mickey (a gift from another runner!), postcards from WonderGround, some BeeCause shoe charms, and that Storm Trooper Mug (being inspected by Jenks)
After I left the expo, I went home to finish my costume. I had decided to run as Chewbacca and last week I decided I wanted to run with ears. But did you know that they DO NOT have Chewbacca ears? How is that not a thing? Hello? So I decided to make some! I think they turned out pretty good.
I spend the rest of the afternoon finishing Gone Girl (wow, wild!) and resting up. I set my alarm for 2:30 and then went to sleep. Or tried to. I tossed and turned most of the night. I may have been a little more nervous about my goal than I thought! I got up with my alarm, ate breakfast, and got ready. I was out the door by 3:30 and drove down to Disneyland. Parking was a breeze and I paid for the parking of the car behind me (I promised the runner who gave me the Mickey vinylmation that I would pay it forward - done!).
It was race time! Let's do this!
The thing about Disney races is that it's a complete show. They keep the theme of the race from beginning to end. Pre race had CP30 and R2D2 and Jedi knights. Their were short clips from Star Wars movies playing too. And it was fun to check out the costumes of everyone around me.
The race started right on time at 5:30 am. First the wheelchairs, then corral A, and finally Corral B, my corral. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1... We were off!
AND I was so excited I didn't start my Garmin! LOL. Oops! I started it late and settled in. The course was different from the other Disney races I'd run before but we still got to run through the parks, different routes too that went through Tomorrowland and Cars Land. The most beautiful, jaw dropping moment was running into Radiator Springs as the sun rose. The sky was on fire with a spectacular sunrise and it was perfect for Radiator Springs. Seriously cool! I wish I had a go pro so I could share it with you. :( But I was there to race! Speaking of...
So, since I forgot to start my watch right at the start, I was off on each mile marker at the beginning. It wasn’t until about mile 4, I think, that I started a new lap when I passed that Mile Marker clock and got back on track. I hadn’t looked at the time either when we started so I didn’t know how much time had passed before our corral started. I would see the time on the clock but didn’t have a clue how close that was to my time. Oops!
My ONLY goal for this race was to finish between 2:05 and 2:10. I had intended to run the first part at 9:55 pace (2:10) and then pick it up the 2nd half. But that didn’t happen. Ha! I have zero discipline at the start! The gun goes off and I take off! I actually did force myself to slow down a little at times in the first 5K and I actually did look around when we were running through Disneyland and California Adventure. And I also checked out the behind the scenes stuff too. I think that kept me from getting too crazy at the start. So I was only a little nuts.
Once we left the parks and got on to the street, I was more focused and conscious of my time. I know some people think the street parts are boring but I like them with all the bands and the cheerleaders. I get pumped but I’m not distracted. Well, maybe a little by the costumes. There were some very, very cool ones! I was just cruising along and I felt good until 10K when my energy started to lag. I had a gel at about 6.5 miles. With the energy drop and me not being too coordinated when it comes to eating gels, I slowed a little then. I also slowed some when we went by the Star Wars cosplayers group which TOTALLY ROCKED! So much fun and you have to high five them! The 5K between 10K and 15K miles was my slowest but not too bad.
When we hit 10 miles, I looked at the clock and saw the time and I was pretty sure if I kept my pace below 10 min miles that I would hit 2:10. I think I pretty much left it all out on the course because I didn't have an extra gear at the end liked I'd hoped. I'd wanted to run the last few miles at about 9:20 or faster pace. That didn't happen. But when I saw the 13 mile marker, I gave one last kick and then I was high fiving Minnie and crossing the finish line! Then I got my medal! Woo!
As you can see, I did slow down for each 5K. But I think I did really well. :) I think I could have done better if I'd had 2 gels instead of 1. I'd planned on 2 gels but my pre-race energy bar I was going to eat was as hard as a rock so I had one of my gels instead. It might not have made much difference but I think it would have helped. I think.
So yeah, I was pretty happy about hitting my target time and being under 2:10. I wasn't sure until I looked it up which felt kind of weird. :) I really need to not be so excited to race! No, scratch that. Hopefully that never happens. Racing is fun! Especially runDisney races!
So, like I said, runDisney races are expensive but I love them. Here's my top 10 reasons why:
- They are really well organized and pre & post race and especially the race go off very smoothly.
- The aid stations are plentiful and also really well organized. They tell you as you get to them whether water is first, etc. They volunteers were really encouraging and funny too.
- There are a LOT of people running these races but I have never had a problem running the pace I want because they are very good about corral placement AND then making sure people get in the right corral. So I have never had to dodge around slower runners/walkers at runDisney races.
- Hello? Running through the parks! And behind the scenes! This is a nosey, people watchers dream!
- Seeing all the characters along the course is a blast. One of these days, I'll relax and stop and take pics during the run!
- The Disney park employees totally ROCK! They are awesome cheerleaders and I love high fiving them with their Mickey hands!
- The cheer squads and spectators also rock and make it so much fun.
- Running races is a celebration with other runners. You feel like you belong. These are your people. But a Disney race...you get to be your geekiest, nerdiest, craziest self and be completely normal! These are my people!
- You get high fives from Disney characters when you finish!
- And last, but not least...the bling rocks! Cool race shirts and awesome medals! Notice anything familiar in this pic?
Thanks for reading! My next runDisney race is the Pixie Dust Challenge! I'm already working on my outfits for the 10K and Half!