I got to bed much earlier but to be honest, I laid awake for a little while because I was worried about the race the next day. After feeling so crappy during the 10k because of the heat and having such a yucky overheated kind of afternoon I was really worried that the half marathon would be the same way. Running in bad heat is tough for me and after a whole summer of marathon training in much hotter weather than is typical for Vancouver and two full marathons this year in "heat wave" conditions, I just didn't feel like having another tough race in the heat. I was so pumped and excited to be in Disneyland, I wanted to feel that way during my race too.
I met up with my friends and we walked over to the start area at the Disneyland Hotel. We mingled around the starting zone for a bit and then I wished my friends a great race and we split up so I could go check my bag. This morning the rush to the corrals wasn't nearly as crowded and before I knew it, I was ready to go in Corral B.
I feel like I got to the corral pretty early so I found a nice quiet spot at the back of the corral to sit down and stretch a little. Given the heat, I wasn't expecting to hit my estimated 2:10 finish time, so I made sure I was at the back of the corral.
I happened to overhear a couple other runners mention Calgary so I perked up and casually joined their conversation. It was nice to chat with some fellow Canadians while we were waiting and I ended up meeting a really nice runner from Toronto who was running her first half marathon. She admitted she was a bit nervous so we chatted until it was time to start. We wished each other a great race and off we went!
As mentioned, I wasn't feeling too optimistic about how I was going to feel at this race so my strategy was just to head out and run a nice, consistent and slowish pace. After the first few km however, I realized I was feeling great. It was warm but still dark and there was a cool breeze - I found myself running faster than I thought I'd feel like so I went with it.
We wound our way around a few streets and then headed back into the park. We started off in Cars Land and I couldn't resist snapping a few pics like this one - the V8 Cafe all lit up in the pre-dawn darkness.
After we ran all through Disneyland we headed out onto the Anaheim roads toward the Angels Stadium. Upon looking at the map this was the part of the run I was dreading most because I thought it was going to be super hot out there on those roads but thankfully the sun was just coming up and it was still nice and cool.
Pretty soon we were running toward the stadium and some local car clubs had brought out their prized cars to line the route. It was like running right through the middle of a show and shine. It was pretty cool and it reminded me a lot of running through the track at the WDW Marathon.
We ran down a short path along a dyke and then made a sharp turn into the stadium. The parking lot was lined with people and as I ran through I could hear the crowd inside the stadium cheering. I could help but smile like a fool as I ran into the stadium.
When we got into the stadium, the crowds and their cheers just hit me. They had filled the lower bowl of the stadium with kids and families, local cub scout groups and girl scout troops. They were all cheering like crazy and it was so awesome. I stopped for a minute to take it in and have to admit I kind of teared up a little. It meant so much that they were all there.
From the stadium, we headed back toward Disneyland and it seemed like the way back was shorter. I was still feeling good and keeping pace. I had been passing runners the whole way through the race. I don't really know Anaheim all that well but I could tell we were getting close and then all of a sudden there it was! The entrance to the backside of Disneyland!
I had no idea where we'd be going from here but just tried to pick up my pace a little for the last bit of the race. As we got closer and closer there were more groups and spectators cheering. It was awesome. The only bummer was one particular high school band who were all sitting in the parking lot, looking totally bored, overheated and very unhappy to be there. I thought their teachers could have been getting them on their feet to at least cheer or something because it was a very dismal sight as we neared the finish line!
I was happy to pass the dud students and carry on to the finish. As soon as I could tell how close I was, I tried to sprint and came across the finish with a huge smile. It had been a (totally unexpected) great race.
We walked through the chute to receive our medals and along the line to collect our Dumbo Double Dare medals and Coast to Coast medals. It was a super fun medal haul to receive.
We also got these fantastic, chilled towels and it felt so good to wipe down a bit before pictures. I grabbed my snack box, gear bag and headed off to find a shady spot to rest. I couldn't wait to sit down and have some chips and chocolate milk and check out all those medals! I chatted with some other runners while I cooled down, changed into sandals and put on my CEP compression sleeves. Of course, I also pulled out my other medals to add around my neck.
It wasn't a very long walk back to my hotel and I just may have stopped along the way to pick up a couple extra treats to go with my Disney snack box.
In the end, my official time was 2:11:06 and am super pleased with that time. It's right in the range of my typical finish times and it felt good to have what I felt was a good finish time. Especially since I wasn't expecting this race to go very well.
I was flying out that afternoon so after having a little rest, I got cleaned up and packed my stuff. I had some time to kill before the shuttle would pick me up so I headed out for a solo lunch and of course, a little wine to celebrate.
With such a busy summer of marathon training, I hadn't really focused on preparing for this whole Dumbo Double Dare event. In fact, the trip kind of snuck up on me and I felt somewhat unprepared. And with the super hot weather thrown in, I wasn't really sure how it would all turn out. The 10k wasn't awesome but the half marathon turned out to be fantastic and I'm so happy about that.
Running the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare was the perfect way to cap off my Disney running adventures for the year and earn that coveted Coast to Coast medal. I never really thought I'd be able to pull something like that off with having a young family and all but I am super thankful to my husband and family for supporting me and helping out with the kids to make both WDW and Disneyland possible.
I am one very lucky running mama.