August 31, 2014
It’s funny that I flew all the way to California to meet someone from Florida. I met Will on Friday. He and his wife and family live on the east side of Orlando. I live southwest of Orlando. Will and I are in some of the same Facebook running groups. I think I posted something about being in California for Dumbo Double Dare and he messaged me since he was coming out to run the half marathon. He is earning his coast to coast this weekend as well. We had never met each other in person until this weekend and we’re going to run the half together today. We even happen to be at the same hotel.
I eat most of my breakfast while I’m getting dressed. But, I take my granola bar with me so I can eat it while we’re waiting for our corral to start. Will is downstairs having the hotel breakfast bar so I stop in there to meet him. He finishes up his breakfast and the we start making our way to the race start.
This is a much shorter walk than the corral walk at some of the Florida race weekends. There is a large group of runners and several others have commented on this as well. It’s nice to have someone to chat with while we’re walking.
Neither of us have a bag to check so we go ahead and walk to the corral. Will is moving back to my corral (corral H) to run with me. He isn’t trying to PR the race and just wants to have a good time. I’m not really interested in pushing myself either so this works for me. We try to make our way forward in the corral but it is already quite crowded. But, we see the 2:45 pacer making her way to the front of the corral so we fall in behind the line that is following her and push through to the front to run with them. She is planning to do 5/1 intervals; run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute; so we’ll just run with this group.
We talk to a couple of the other runners around us that are also sticking to this pacer while we wait for corrals to start going. Once corrals start moving, it isn’t long before it is our turn to run. (Course map for the Disneyland half)
Our pacer, Star, is immediate to communicate her plan to us for the race. She lets everyone know the intervals that she’ll be keeping and that we’ll be walking through the water stops. She is funny and definitely seems to enjoy pacing. Will and I both like her.
At the Disneyland half marathons, most of your early miles are in the parks. From about mile six on, you are in the streets of Anaheim. The courses are very well supported though and the residents are simply incredible. They really seem to embrace the runners by cheering and even handing out snacks, drinks, and other goodies along the way. Many even come out in costumes and pose for pictures.
Once we’re out of the parks today, we have Angels Stadium to look forward to. We’re going to be running through the Stadium. I’ve run through one other baseball stadium, Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, and I’m really looking forward to this.
Star, our pacer, is incredible. She points out when water stops are coming, where porta potties are located, and she is just generally encouraging and informative. She really looks like she is putting forth a two or three (on a scale to ten) for effort. She’s just chatting to all of us and even starts singing at one point. I seriously hope I can have her as a pacer at another race!
We run along a trail before turning into the parking lot for Angels Stadium. As we approach the stadium, the marquis is there so we snap pictures as we run by. Then we turn into the parking lot, grab a quick water at the water stop, and then head into the stadium.
There are many people in the stands and there is a band playing on the field (actually taking a break when we run through). There is a man on the mic and, as people cross the timing mat, he welcomes them into Angels Stadium. The atmosphere is electric. The crowd is cheering and it’s just beyond cool. And, it’s over way too quickly.
We’re between miles nine and ten when we exit the stadium. Only a few miles left. We continue through the streets of Anaheim making our way back towards Disneyland. The people lining the streets are cheering and there is even one group handing out small cups of ice. It isn’t super hot outside; oh, it is hot though; but I am hot and the ice is very welcome. I may have even dropped one piece into my shirt. 🙂
The final stretch of the race brings the runners back to the Paradise Pier Hotel. We run beside it and then turn to run through the parking lot behind it. We cross back into the street that runs between Downtown Disney and the Disneyland hotel. We pass the Downtown Disney area and we run the final stretch. Will and I finished just ahead of the 2:45 group (my official time was 2:43:32).
We both collected our half marathon medals and then made our way to the coast to coast checkpoint. I also had to stop to collect my Dumbo Double Dare medal. We also stop for a couple of pictures. Then we head to get some refreshments.
Running with Will today is the first time I’ve ever really ran with someone. I’ve never really run with a friend for an entire race, especially a longer distance race. I had such a great time running with him. It was nice to have someone to chat with since we weren’t pushing. We changed up our intervals in the last two miles and we were able to keep up with and even pass the pacer. This gave us a bit of extra energy in the last stretch where all the spectators were lined up and cheering loud.
We walked back to the hotel together and cheered for the other runners coming into the final quarter-mile. While we were waiting to cross the course, we were even giving high fives to passing runners while we shouted words of encouragement to them.
Now I’m going to rest and then eat an early dinner. I fly home tomorrow and I leave from LAX. I catch my Super Shuttle about 7 AM and I won’t get home until about 11 PM. It will be a long travel day.
Dumbo weekend dollars:
Hotel (4 nights): ~$600
Parking, gas, tolls: ~$80
Transportation (airport shuttle): ~$30
Pins and Souvenirs: ~$118
And I got off a little cheaper because someone dog-sat for me so I didn’t have to board them! This is truly an expensive habit and the most expensive “free sport” ever!