Sometimes we achieve a bucket list item without even realizing it. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment that once that moment flies by all we are left with are memories, and perhaps a few mementoes of the milestone. Such was the case with RunDisney’s Superhero Half Marathon weekend earlier this month.
I love this race weekend. In 2015 it was my first RunDisney experience, and coming back to this event at this venue, I just wanted to grab onto every moment. I knew it wouldn’t last, and that the weekend would soon be over, but this was truly my favorite race weekend I’ve ever experienced.
First up was the 5k, and this was pretty easy. My 9 year old son, my husband, and I ran together. Even though an early wake up time (3:30) was tough, my son handled it like a champ. Our plan was to run hard the first mile, then slow down and walk or jog through the parks to stop for pictures and characters. At the start, we put ourselves right at the front of the corral, so could dash out ahead of the pack until we got to the first mile, then we slowed to a walk. We got some fun pictures before we jogged our way into Disneyland park. We stopped for a few characters, which was so weird for me, because it just goes against everything I’ve ever tried to accomplish as a runner. I usually just run hard, especially on a 5k. Toward the end, stopping for all the pictures put us behind quite a few walkers, so there was a lot of dodging and weaving. Adrenaline was high, and I actually had to slow a bit, since all that dodging was starting to nag at my hamstrings — I should probably add agility training to my list. Overall, though, we had a great run! We dressed as Dr. Strange (me), The Ancient One (my husband), and my son was dressed as Spiderman. I created my husband’s and my costumes from scratch, and I have to say, I’m very happy with how they turned out!
The next day was the 10k, and I ran by myself, starting in Corral D. But, there was a problem. I didn’t set my alarm! I opened the app, and looked at it, but didn’t set it. So dumb. Luckily for us though, the staging area for the race was right across the parking lot from our hotel room, so the Start Line festivities woke me up. I looked at my phone: 4:00 am!! (Race start is at 5:00). With Dave’s help, I got my costume on, but didn’t get coffee (still don’t know how I got through the day), and I was at the staging area within 10 minutes of me feet hitting the floor! I spent a lot of the next hour before the start trying to calm myself back down and remember my strategy. I got up to the front of my corral again, and pushed pace for the first mile. I decided I didn’t want to stop for much except for characters, so I took only a few selfies otherwise. I did run a bit faster through the parks…I definitely still fought off that early morning wake up stress. Stopped for a few characters, and didn’t calm my pace down until the last mile or so. I feel like I finished strong, and after the finish line, I bought the biggest coffee I could find. My time is pretty respectable given the stopping time! Running at sea level after training at high altitude definitely reaps benefits!
And last but not least, the half marathon. I had done a group costume with other Youtube friends, and my plan was to “run” (using that term loosely) with them through the parks, then take off for the rest of the time. I had no idea what it would be like to run in a group. I had to seriously put my ego in check, because the first 5k took 1:10 minutes! We got some adorable pictures, but I needed to meet my family after the race for our last few hours in the park. At the 5k mark, I took my leave of my friends, and ran hard. I set a soft goal for myself to hit the 8 mile mark by 2:00 elapsed clock time (I was close, too)! I was able to sustain a strong pace (again, altitude training is amazing), for most of the rest of the race. Outside the park, there was nothing going on, so I felt I could test my training from this last year. I really felt as if all the work we’ve done has paid off. I was so happy to feel my legs turn over fast, and sustain such a strong pace. I took on a GU at 4, 8, and 11, but that (ahem) caught up with me after that 3rd one. I had accidentally grabbed a Powerade early on, so I wonder if that had something to do with it…I was happy with my result, though! Such a fun race — I got everything I hoped to get out of it: running with friends, getting cute pictures, then a strong run.
Overall, this is my favorite race weekend! I felt prepared, but not as rested as I’d like to be. Of course, it is a RunDisney event, so I’m not sure if preparation and rest go hand-in-hand. I was careful with my nutrition for the most part: chicken sandwiches instead of big sloppy burgers. However, I did have my first Churro, and a caramel apple, but other than that, I was well hydrated and well nourished. Still haven’t had a Dole Whip, though…maybe in January…
In the end, I got the 5k, 10k, half marathon, Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, and Coast to Coast medals. I was so happy with this last. The Coast to Coast medal (running a half-marathon race or longer at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year) is successfully checked off my bucket list. I know many people out there are saddened, and even a little angry that Disneyland races have been put on hiatus. The whys and wherefores aren’t important, and honestly, I have other things going on that raise my ire. I was able to go to this weekend well-trained, I met amazing people, I ran with my family and newfound friends, I enjoyed the parks and the beautiful southern California weather, and it is all those things I will choose to take with me. Those are the memories to which I will cling…there is no asterisk on this weekend…no “gosh, it’s too bad…” I choose to see the positive only — the joy in the experience — in this weekend.
For those of you who said hi, and introduced yourselves, thank you. I loved meeting you all.