Wow, boy did I need this weekend! What a difference hydration makes! As you may recall I did not have the best of runs in Disney World last January (20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon: 6 1/2 Hours and 27.3 Miles Worth Race Recap). So on to Disneyland, I decided to do the Dumbo Double Dare, which involves running a 10K on Saturday and a 1/2 marathon on Sunday. I will get to the runs in a minute. The only downside to the weekend was the long lines for registration and packet pickup. Normally Disney is great at logistics but something was a little off this weekend. I talked with some folks looking to buy some official race merchandise and they were waiting for over 2 hours to just check out. Past that it was an awesome weekend.
Overall both runs were great, although the weather was unseasonably warm. To start the 10K was a new run for Disneyland and it is fun seeing the word inaugural on the medal. The run started early 6:15 am and the course was almost solely through the parks so we would have lots of chances for fun and photos. Jimmy and I decided to take as many pictures as we could. I was carrying the camera and away we went! I thoroughly enjoyed the course and we made frequent stops. We even hopped in the really long line with Mike and Sully, it was close to 10 minutes long to get up for the photo opportunity. Unfortunately during that time my camera developed a technical glitch and would not turn on. As it turned out I think the camera got wet from all of my sweating (the camera worked fine on the 1/2 the next day). So Jimmy and I just decided to run and finish, we still had some good photos before the camera died. The most interesting thing is when the run was done, I was 9 minutes away from a 10K PR. I did not really worry about it too much because had the camera worked, I am sure I would have been a lot slower. See my 1/2 marathon times. It was a great way to start the weekend!
With the first 1/2 of the Dumbo Double dare down now it was time for the 1/2 marathon. Again it was another early start and we were running at 5:30am. The first 4 miles of the course were all in the parks. This morning was great, Jimmy and I were joined by our good friend Dan. The run weather wise seemed a bit cooler as we started to run. After our first picture stop as we started running, everything came out of my bag (cliff bar, cash, room key…etc.) I had to stop and for a minute lost Dan and Jimmy. I figured they decided to go on and run, and I saw a character photo opportunity and stopped. I looked up and Jimmy and Dan were just a few yards away waiting for me. To be honest I felt bad, I had not expected them to wait for me but it was nice to see them. So off we went to run and I could tell Dan was ready to just run. Then we saw Phineas and Ferb. The line was long, but I decided to get the picture, Dan however was ready to go and he decided to go on, and Jimmy went with him. Although I think Jimmy was torn but ultimately he went with Dan.
At first I was very disappointed that my running buddies left, but would lead to some important revelations mention below. We train together almost every weekend, and I am convinced we have solved world peace during our runs. So I was disappointed we would not have the pictures together through the park. Back to the run, I did PR (my slowest 4 miles ever 1:17 @19.23 a mile). However, I did have over 20 pictures in that span. The lines were long to get the pictures, but talking with folks waiting in line it was worth it! After the first 4 miles the run goes to the streets of Anaheim, and Disney did a great job at making those nine miles go fast. They had lots of bands, cheerleaders, dancers and very cool cars! I did my share of dancing, cheering and in general having fun. More importantly this reminded me how much fun I have running at Disney. In the end I finished in 3:15 with the 9 ending miles at 12:26 a mile. So I was happy with how I finished.
After the 1/2 marathon and as I was in the hotel pool in the cold water I had two revelations about running in Disney.
- The Dopey challenge in 2015 is going to be hard. If you do not know what the Dopey challenge is it is 4 days of running in this order: 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, full marathon. After running the 10k then the 1/2 I was glad I did not have another 26.2 to run the next day. I also came to the realization that it will be a different kind of being in shape for the run. As I begin to feel my stiff legs the next day, and all the time in the park it will contribute to how I approach the Dopey Challenge. More importantly I think I will need a nap, that will be 4 mornings in a row waking up in the 3-4 am range.
- I used to think there was only 1 philosophy when you run Disney and that was to have fun. I thought that for a few reasons. If you were not an elite runner your most likely not going to win, hence my philosophy is to have fun. There are a ton of characters, roller coasters (in Disney World) and lots of photo opportunities on the runs. The races are pretty pricey and if your going to spend all that money, you might as well get your money’s worth. This is the only way I ever thought of Disney, but running with my good friends Dan and Jimmy. I learned there is another philosophy, and it is simply this, if you are going to pay all this money you might as well PR the run. Which is exactly what Dan did! Congratulations Dan!
So in the end, what did I learn from running Disneyland? I have great running teammates and as training partners go they are simply the best! When it comes to running the races like the Disney runs with lots to do, you have to make a decision. Do you try to PR or Do you try to have fun? Which ever decision you make, I only recommend one thing go at it 110%. Trying to split the run between fun and a “good clock time” really is not going to let you do either.
If you are going to run your PR, then GO! If you are going to have fun, then take all the pictures you want, dance with the marching bands, get the cheerleaders fired up. It is up to you. For me, my personal preference is to have fun in Disney! I learned whatever decision I make, I do not want it to impact others decision or ruin their runs. It is okay to not have the same goal during the races you run and having that decision made before you cross the start is important. This is where I was reminded that running is a highly individual sport. From the shoes you wear (love my Altras), the way you run, food you eat..etc. You have make decisions that ultimate fit for you and only you.
Enjoy and who is with me in 2015!
You can see my run through the 10k course:
You can see my run through the 1/2 course: