Sunday, September 4, 2016

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon

3am on a Sunday. What are we doing up so early? Well it's Labor Day weekend, which must also mean it's the Disneyland Half Marathon!
As a Legacy Runner, Disney emailed me and told me they were holding a spot just for me (and the 371 other Legacy Runners), in case it sells out and I don't get a chance to register in time. I signed up right on time though and had no issues.
Prices are right around the $200 mark for the Half Marathon. While past years have sold out in days, and in some cases hours, this year the event did not sell out.

Leaving so early in the morning, the freeways were completely clear. And traffic getting into the structure wasn't bad either.

New this year were the security checkpoints before heading into the corrals.

Having no qualifying race this year to show a proof of time, Theresa and I found ourselves back in corral H. The race started at 5:30am, and we were in place by 4:45am. Guess we've got at least 45 minutes to kill. Luckily one of our extended friends is out from Florida to earn his Coast-to-Coast medal and he happened to be in the same corral. Forty-five minutes went by quickly as we caught up.

At 5:30am, we hear Go! Hearing is all we can do. We're so far back, and the road is curved, so we can't even see the starting line.

Slowly we creep our way forward until finally at 6:10am, Theresa and I start our race.
Oh yes, Theresa is running this year too. Back in January when we signed up, we both had high hopes of training well for this run, getting into a schedule, doing long runs, and even get a qualifying run in. Yeah... None of that happened. Well let's give it a go and see how we fare. It's only 13.1 miles.

The first mile passed quickly and we were soon running backstage in California Adventure. Even though it didn't sell out, there's still something like 18,000 runners doing the event, so it's pretty crowded. I'm sure this would have been a nicer shot of Radiator Springs with the sun just starting to rise if I'd have stopped.

No surprise that Lightning and Mater were posing for pictures.

Now this is one change that I haven't really talked about for this year. In all the past races that I can remember, Disney contracted an outside company to take photos of runners during the race. Afterwards, these photos would cost anywhere from $25 for a single downloaded photo, to $80 for all your race photos.
Well this year, instead of contracting it out, Disney utilized their own PhotoPass photographers along the course! Now photo downloads cost only $15 or you can get all your photos for $40. But... if you have a Signature Annual Pass like I do, all your PhotoPass photos are free to download! Awesome!

Running from Radiator Springs towards Paradise Pier, we saw Pocahontas and Meeko with a pretty long line. With a minimum 16 minute/mile pace, I guess we're not stopping. Instead we posed in front of the World of Color fountains and took a selfie.

The Three Caballeros were atop a parade float and posing for pictures.

And in Bugs Land, Flik and Atta had a good size line forming. I thought this was a pretty clever costume. Mickey's Fun Wheel.

Crossing the esplanade and then over to Disneyland, we quickly turned backstage beside the Mad Hatter shop. Tinker Bell sprinkled us with pixie dust from atop the building.

While the third shift custodians cheered us on.

Popping out from behind the Innoventions building, we came across a couple Stormtroopers.

Lilo was out for pictures.

Princess Aurora and Prince Philip were cheering runners from the carrousel.

More PhotoPass photos.

And a photo I could never get myself. Running through the castle.

Now selfies I can do.

Jane and Terk.

Some of the gang from Robin Hood, including Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. So is Disney going with a "rare characters" theme this year?

The Dapper Dans serenaded runners from the Starbucks entrance on Main Street.

Clever Yzma and Kronk outfits.

Crossing the esplanade once again we ran down Buena Vista street.

Mike Wazowski posing for photos in front of the Animation Academy.

And with that, we're outside the parks! I was curious how we were going to be re-routed this year due to all the Star Wars Land construction. With Big Thunder Ranch gone, there were no horses or sheep along the course this time either.
Decision time for Theresa. Now that the Disney part of the race is finished, does she call it quits and head back to the car, waiting for me to finish?
No! Let's keep running!

T was really good about giving high fives to the people cheering us on. The Bravo Mexican Restaurant doing their part, cheering us on year after year.

The Mouseplanet.com tent set up at the halfway point is always a very welcome sight. We were too late for any of the 1000 lbs of orange slices they had cut up to give away, but there were plenty of red vines and ice cold sponges available. Thank you for coming out to support every year!

They also provide motivation signs along the way.

At Mile 7, we're greeted by Hawaiian dancers.

Around Mile 8, it was time for a classic car show! I told Theresa ahead of time that if there's a Delorean I'm stopping for a photo. In all the years I've been doing this, I've never seen a Delorean here, but you never know.

Around here, we ran into another Legacy Runner who saw my shirt and said "Go Legacy!" We started talking and it turned out she's a Legacy Runner too, who said not even pregnancy was going to slow her down! T asked how far along she was. 7 months! The worst part she said was all the bathroom stops! Nice work keeping the Legacy alive! You go girl!

This classic Mini Cooper reminds me of Professor Z from Cars 2, even though I know he's based on a different model.

A Delorean!!! I might have darted from the left side of the course all the way to the right side in my excitement.

His and Her Love Bugs.

Brent Mustangburger complete with headset along with Lightning McQueen.

Just after the Honda Center before you run along the Santa Ana River Trail, there is a major choke point. Everyone slowed to a walk as you transition from pavement to dirt, and the entrance is maybe 10' wide.

Running along the trail we eventually came out to Angels Stadium. Here I knew that good people from Clif would be giving away their Gu to give runners the energy they needed to finish. Now first off, I'm thankful for them giving away anything, but mocha flavored Gu? The people giving it away kept telling everyone, "Only mocha left. Only mocha left." Guess we needed to be in a faster group to get lemon-lime.

Into Angels Stadium and a quick lap around the warning track.

Plenty of girl scouts and boy scouts were cheering us on. T made sure to give high fives to as many as she could.


Look who is on the Jumbo Tron! It's Theresa and Joe!

We're making the push to the finish line. Around Mile 10 we each collected a magic feather to help us fly.

Big thanks to all the people who come out to cheer and provide support to us crazy runners.

Now this group is really cheering on all those Dumbo Double Dare runners. Those who ran the 10k yesterday and the half marathon today.

CheerLA performing for us as we run by.

Cranking out those last couple miles and finally the finish line is in sight.

There it is! After 13.1 miles, we're finally done!

Congratulations Theresa! How much did you train? None? Crazy girl.

Receiving her massive finishers medal.

And me getting my special Legacy medal. It has an extra purple lanyard on it.

Medic!

Just a quick stop for some ice on the knees before we continue. I know Disney races are expensive, but this is what you're really paying for. All the support! There's water/powerade stops almost every mile, 3 medical tents along the course, plus a massive medical tent at the end. After the finish line there's bottled drinks, snacks, cool towels, and even a massage tent. Combine that with a flat course and I'd say this is the perfect race for someone new to distance races to run.

Snack boxes filled with Oreos, a Clif bar, tortilla chips and cheese, apple sauce, and a moist towelette.  Just behind these was a large stack of bananas.

One more official photo.

And one more personal photo. Since it's such an early start, it's not even 10am and we've already finished a half marathon. Let's get home to the kids.

Uh-oh. This isn't good. Probably the very worst part of all the Disney races I've done. Trying to leave.
This has been terrible in the past, and this year is no exception. These roads just aren't equipped to handle the crush of people trying to leave. With the overpass closed, the only thing metering people is a single traffic light on Ball Road. It cycles every 3 minutes, only letting people out for ~30 seconds. It's horrible!

Not even trying to exaggerate here. It took us 40 minutes to move from point 1 to point 2. I'd put the car in park, then 5 minutes later we'd move forward 1/2 a car length. Ridiculous. There's got to be a better way.

And you know what? There is a better way! Just before the point of no return, going down the ramp of the parking structure, a cast member started waving cars back the way we had already came. They said they were changing all the up-ramps into down-ramps and routing us through the cast member parking lot.

5 minutes later, we were back on surface streets and headed home. Sigh... I can only hope this becomes permanent. Either that or next year, I'm heading into the park after finishing the race.

Ian liked the medal. It's got Mickey and Pluto!

Hi Alli!

Medals for the entire family! We all had a great race weekend!

A closer look at the medal. Mickey and Pluto both on a run.

Looking at the lanyard.

For the longest time, I was missing my 2008 finishers medal, but just this past year, I found it!!! I changed offices at work and came across it in one of my desk drawers! So here they are! All 11 finishers medals!

Well after 11 years, I wonder how much longer this will continue. Guess we'll see what happens next year!

Ah, nemesis. 70 pounds of ice and a bathtub. It's so not fun but it really helps your muscles recover.

See you there next year!

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