I’m coming at you this Wednesday with my Disneyland Half Marathon race recap, including my opinion on the race course, thoughts on how it compared to the Disney World Half Marathon, and everything I ate in Disneyland when runger struck after! If you need to catch up before diving in:
The half marathon kicked off with a 4:20am wake-up call again, but going to bed at 9pm meant seven hours sleep and only a little yawning. We made it to the corrals around 5:15, perfect to get in but not stand around too long. I was in Corral B, just as I was for the 10K, which meant starting around 5:40am. The first mile was heading around the back of California Adventure, and the second was through the park. I enjoyed it all lit up again! I was a little sore, and my game plan was to start slow and really enjoy the limited time in the theme parks for the half marathon, then get going afterwards, so I stopped for plenty of photo ops again.
I did the same in Disneyland Park. I was really happy I took all the photos on my phone this time around, since I have them now and don’t have to pay MarathonFoto. Anyway, before I knew it I was crossing the 5K mark, bounding through the castle, and heading out of the park. I sped up a little during miles 4 and 5 after a very slow 5k that included a restroom stop and many photos that made for an 11:43 pace. I picked it up on the flat and less scenic terrain, beginning to listen to music. I haven’t listened to music while running in a few months and didn’t during the 10K, but was glad to have it! My pace went to 11:26 overall at the 10K mark, as I got closer to my normal steady long run speed.
The course got interesting again at Mile 6. For the next two miles, classic cars were displayed on both sides of the street, on the way to the Honda Center. I really enjoyed this part, as the owners of the cars were out cheering and I feel like this was the perfect section to have such awesome scenery and support on the sidelines. After Mile 8 I felt like I was in the home stretch, and right after jogging away onto a sandy trail we were en route to Angels Stadium, which was also fun to run through. These areas made this half marathon feel more California, if that makes any sense.
At the Disney World Half Marathon the stretches of highway between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were on Disney property, so there were characters to pose with and music playing along what I think was a four-mile stretch. But it was still mamy miles on a highway, and the way the course looped meant you were repeating some of it. On the other hand, after leaving the theme parks in California, you were on the streets of Anaheim and there were no more characters. But there was other entertainment, and there wasn’t any doubling back that I noticed, so it felt like something new was around the corner each step of the way. I think the total mileage in the theme parks was roughly the same on both coasts, it just came all at the start in California versus in the middle and at the very end in Florida at the January half marathon. I’m not sure what I prefer, but I know I really enjoyed the California course.
The 15K mark was right outside Angels Stadium, and I crossed having brought down my pace to 11:05 overall. There was not 20K marker on the stretch of road taking us back to the Disneyland Hotel lot for the finish, but my final overall pace was 10:54/mile so I must have gotten to the 9:30-10/mile that is my usual by the end. I finished in 2:22:43, well off my half marathon PR and even my Disney World half pace, but I was happy because I really took advantage of running in Disneyland by stopping for photos, enjoying the scenery, and focusing on having fun. It was also about 65 degrees when I started and over 70 when I finished, and I remembered to sip water at most of the stops and kept in mind that a slower pace was probably best. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised to find that keeping it slow and steady meant I didn’t feel my hip or knee acting up the entire race. My calf did pull a little when I really sped up to the finish during mile 12, but I felt like I could run a few more miles at the end 🙂 Of course I didn’t, because I had to fetch my hardware – a Diamond Anniversary Half Marathon medal, a Dumbo Double Dare medal, and a Coast to Coast Challenge medal.
Once back at my hotel, I ate a bunch of string cheese, Kay’s protein pretzels, and a Greek yogurt. I was so hungry after the race because I wanted to avoid stomach issues and just had some apple slices before the start. An hour later, my cousin and I went to Disneyland Park for a repeat Carnation Cafe brunch since we liked it so much the prior day. I seriously considered another round of the Mickey waffles, but opted for something different – the spinach and tomato Mickey frittata with baby red potato home fries, fruit, and a side of the same chicken apple sausage. All of it was delicious.
We had to take a post brunch whirl on a Dumbo to celebrate our accomplishment. Then, already feeling the heat, a trip down Splash Mountain was in order, followed by the Jungle Cruise and the Nemo submarine voyage. After seeking refuge in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and an air conditioned theater, we took a break until dinner. For me it was a break filled with another banana and apple, popcorn, and counting down the minutes to my next meal. It was odd because usually I am not very hungry in the hour or two after a half marathon, the runger kicking in later in the day. But I felt like a bottomless pit from finishing at 8am for the next twelve hours.
Around 5:30pm, we arrived at Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland for dinner. When I told the waiter I had allergies, he had me wait at the counter for the chef, who came out to speak with me and to discuss my options on the menu. I chose the soft chicken tacos in gluten free corn tortillas, and he made them for me himself. Just like in Florida during the half marathon in January, I really felt taken care of eating in Disneyland. The meal was hearty enough to make me feel stuffed, which was also impressive.
We decided to head over to California Adventure for turns on on the Golden Zephyr and Mickey Fun Wheel, two rides we had missed. Both were great because of the panoramic views of Disneyland and Anaheim. We tried to figure out where we had run in the morning but it was tough! After that, it was back to Disneyland Park for one last Mickey Krispy treat, a journey with Mr. Toad on his wild ride, and viewings of the Paint the Night Parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks. I absolutely loved the fireworks – I like to just take it all in and not photograph what looks so amazing in person, but it would have been impossible anyway because the fireworks were part of a big light show projected onto buildings on Main Street, USA that happened all around you.
I’ll be back tomorrow with final thoughts on the whole experience. Until then, have a magical day!
Have you ever run a Disney race? If so, which is your favorite course?
Which do you like best, parades or fireworks?
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