Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017 Disneyland Half Marathon

Labor Day weekend means it's time for the Disneyland Half Marathon!


Ugh. It's super early. These runDisney races are starting at 5am, which means I'm awake around 3:15am, leaving the house by 3:30am, and getting to the parking garage before 4am. Luckily there's no traffic on the freeways this time of morning and there was no line at the structure.

I parked and hustled over towards the main stage to meet up with the other Legacy Runners. There's a Facebook group for Legacy Runners and I still haven't met many of them in person. Everyone was going to gather around the main stage at 4am for a picture.
Well like I said, I was trying to get there but had to get through security first. Apparently my 9" frying pan is a security hazard. I had to take it back to the car. I was allowed to keep the spoon though.

After yesterday just dripping sweat as a Monsters Inc CDA agent, I knew I couldn't wear that costume today. Instead, I'm pulling out something I've done before. Still pretty unique though. I was the only Alfredo Linguini from Ratatouille that I saw on the course! Here's me sporting the same look back in the 2009 Disneyland Half Marathon. And Theresa was running then too!

After returning to my car, then making it back through security, I headed to the stage anyway to confirm what I already suspected. I'd missed the rest of the group. Oh well. There's always next year (right runDisney?).

With a little bit of time before heading to the corrals, I wandered around checking out people's costumes and see what else was offered. Cool Angler fish costume! And the only Hank costume I saw too!

An etch-a-sketch.

A life-size Pizza Planet truck!

There was even a tent set up for Annual Passholders. Just have to dig my AP out of my running belt.

Not too much going on in there right now, but there is a photopass photographer taking pictures.

The race is supposed to officially start at 5am. I wandered over to my designated corral around 4:45am. I'm back here in corral F because of the anticipated finish time I submitted when I registered. Corrals A through E are in front of me with a few thousand runners. Corrals G through J are behind me with another 6000 runners. There's around 12000 runners today, which is a bit smaller than some of the previous years that had up to 16000!

While waiting, I chatted with Kathleen who was recognized on Friday for having run 100 runDisney races! Wow. This half-marathon makes 102! Congratulations!

5am came and went, with some unknown delays. The corral in front of me is starting to fill up.

And look at all the people behind me. Wow.

Not too long after that, the race started and the wheelchairs and elite athletes were off, followed shortly by the rest of the corrals (spaced maybe 5 minutes apart).
By 5:25, corral F was walked up to the starting line.

I know it's a Pixar themed race, but I missed seeing Mickey and Minnie on the stage.

At 5:30am we were counted down and off we went! Being in the very front of the corral, I had a good half mile or so where it was just me and a couple other people running, until we finally caught up to corral E. After that it got crowded again.

Backstage there were random Pixar Play Parade floats along with performers. Not too much of a line for them either, so it didn't take much time at all to stop for a picture.

So let's talk for a second about pacing and training. Disney requires that you maintain a 16 minute per mile pace and finish in under 3:30 hours. I know that's their minimum pace if you're in the very last corral, and if you go slower than that, they'll sweep you off the course. I'm not sure if you're in an earlier corral if you can finish slower than 3:30 hours and still have your time count officially, but with my legacy status there's no way I'm going to risk that.

Now about training... I really should train for this one of these days. I just don't ever get out for a run. In the months leading up to the race I had zero training runs. I keep fit enough by playing hours of beach volleyball and walking miles and miles on the weekends either around the neighborhood or at Disneyland, but running isn't as fun for me to go out and do. So because I'm not too sure of what kind of pace I can keep, I'm picking and choosing which character stops to hit. If they have a long line, I'll probably be skipping them.
Long lines like in Radiator Springs, where Mater and Red had people backed up for a few minutes while waiting to take a picture.

Nice to see the Disney Photopass photographers on the course. And really nice to be able to download all the photos for free with my annual pass.

Selfies were quick to get.

Of course Mike and Sulley had a line that stretched past the entrance to the Frozen theater.

Even Roz garnered a following.

But Princess Atta, just a couple people there, so no problem stopping for a photo.

Cruz Ramirez and Lightning were there.

And after a run around Paradise Bay, a cast member was taking photos in front of World of Color and the Fun Wheel.

Dug, Russell, and Carl Fredricksen had a line stretching from then entrance of the Redwood Creek Trails almost to the path to The Little Mermaid. Maybe because they're rare characters?

And even Merida had a good size line.

Merida's horse Angus (played by Dallas today) has a very short line.

A short time later, the run took us across the Esplanade and backstage into Disneyland. Here I got to see the holding pens for some of the Main Street horses, and got to pet all three. They're so incredibly tame.

The Green Army Men cheered the runners on and yelled after me "See you in the Mess hall Chef!"

I was hoping someone from Ratatouille would be here. Sure enough, Emile was in New Orleans Square. I heard that Remy was out earlier. Bummer I missed him.

If Woody and friends were down where the runners were, I'm sure they'd be mobbed. Being on top of the Golden Horseshoe is a much safer option for them.

One of the highlights of the race is always running through the castle, and you always hope to get a good castle picture to go along with it. Before you get there, you make sure there's a good size gap between you and the person in front of you, so the photographers can get a clean shot. Not bad this year.

Running through Tomorrowland, Buzz Lightyear had one of those great big lines I was definitely avoiding.
So you put Sadness right in the center of the Hub? Hmm. Interesting placement.

Next time I'll try to line myself up better to get a better view of the castle in the background.

It's Frozone!

And Mrs. Incredible!

There's the pair I've been waiting to see. The line for them stretched for a bit around the flag pole, but I've been skipping a bunch of characters at this point, and now the portion of the race inside Disneyland is almost done, meaning there's not going to be any more character stops. I figured I could spend 5 minutes in line and still be okay.

And I ended up with a pretty good pictures of me and the mouses.

After 3.5 miles you're finished running in the parks, and are now running the streets of Anaheim. I didn't pay particularly close attention to the course map this year, so I was pleasantly surprised when I left Disneyland and didn't have the giant uphill overpass of Ball Road crossing over the 5 freeway to run.
These mariachi bands and mexican dancers are a staple after 12 years.

Nice Maui. Even running with the fish-hook.

Whoa. A full-up Indiana Jones. Leather satchel and even a real bullwhip (but I can't take my frying pan through security).

It's really awesome the people from Mouseplanet.com come out and support all the racers. They start by offering "candy from strangers" plus they draw up a bunch of supportive signs. And if you know someone who is racing, but can't make it yourself or just want some support, they'll even make a sign just for you!

Mouseplanet - Request your FREE personalized sign for the 2017 Disneyland Half Marathon


After Mile 7, the classic cars were out on the course. Not nearly as many as last year. I missed seeing the Delorean, but I was happy to see these two back again.

These guys cheering for all the runners, and they even yelled out Linguini! One of the few people who actually knew the character's name instead of just saying Ratatouille!

Did I mention it was hot? At 5am this morning it was 81 degrees and 65% humidity. I was sweating just standing there. One the race started, it was hard to keep up and drink enough fluids. Every water stop (which thankfully with Disney, there's plenty of them) I made sure to take 2-3 cups of Powerade and 2-3 cups of water. Even then, I was still fairly dehydrated at the end of the race.
This yellow-flag warning for the race would turn into a red-flag warning by the end of the race.

Over to the Honda Center, I was also pleasantly surprised to see that we didn't turn into the parking lot and run down the narrow dirt path by the Santa Ana River. That's always been such a bottleneck in past years, I was happy to avoid it.

Over to Angels Stadium. We're taking a different route into the field this time. I'm used to having a long line-up of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts cheering, plus the Clif Bar company handing out treats. I didn't see the Clif company at the expo, so maybe they're not sponsors this year.

Running around the warning track at Angels Stadium is always fun.

And taking a picture behind home plate.

Out front they had the Angels Mickey Mouse statue on display.

Ah, here's the snacks. Jelly Belly is giving away packs of their Sport Beans to runners. I thought they were great!

Well most of the fun part of the race is over. About 3 miles left to go.

How these cheerleaders kept up their energy, I have no idea. They were still yelling and cheering for us as we passed like we were the race leaders.

I love the signs people make for the race.

Nearing the finish, there was a big band ensemble and flag squad cheering for us.

Turns out I didn't do a very good job spacing myself out for a finish line picture. Oh well. I did get a shout-out from the announcers though for my costume. Everyone wanted me to make them breakfast!

Here's my own finish line photo.

Time to pick up my medal. Legacy runners head this way.

Whew! Done! Thank goodness. That was a rough one.

Afterwards for your official picture, Disney has improved the processes. Instead of a dozen short lines, they have one long line, and a Disney employee directing people where to go. It really moved fast!

And at every photo stop, they had a table to put your stuff on! Much better than in years past! Bending down to pick your stuff up off the ground after running for so long isn't that easy.

A quick look at the stage in the daytime.

And back over to the Pizza Planet truck. Now that it's light, you can see the additional details inside. Like the little green men hanging from the rearview.

And Buzz in the front seat.

And Woody in the back.

Time to head back to the car and change out of these clothes. Parked on Donald 5 levels up? Sure, why not take the stairs.

Checking out the goodie box. Mmm. A combination of sweet and salty. Perfect.

In years past, parking to get out of the structure has been a nightmare. I was happy to see that Disney must have made some changes here too, because there was no backup of cars. Looked like you could get right onto the freeway without much wait.

Nevertheless, I still planned on heading into the park to do a few rides. I basically walked on to Radiator Springs Racer in the Single Riders Line.

And as soon as I entered the park, I snagged a fastpass to Guardians.

After taking a flight on Soarin, I walked over to Disneyland to get a few more photos in front of the castle.


And by noon, I decided to head home. Walking by the finish line, things are already getting packed away on a truck.

At home, my fan club was waiting for me.
Ian and Alli - "Did you win Daddy?"
No, but I finished, and they gave me this great big medal.
Ian and Alli - "Toy Story!"

I'd usually end one of these with a picture of the ice bath that I'm about to freeze in. This year though, I decided to forgo the ice bath, and instead strategically ice certain muscles. Ian asked what I was doing, then insisted that he have some ice on his muscles, since he ran the kids race yesterday.

Well it wasn't easy, and it was certainly hotter than usual this year. I'm still happy to have done it. Year number 12 is finished. From what I understand from the other Legacy runners, there are ~375 of us left who have run every single one. Next year is lucky number 13!

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