Sunday, September 21, 2008

Did we land? At Disneyland!

By necessity I do much of my mid-weak training on roads, but I have never been much of a road runner. My one and only road marathon was about 3 1/2 years ago. My one and only road 1/2 marathon was almost 7 years ago. But, when my wife agreed to train for a marathon, enticed by the lure of amusement parks and people dressed as giant cartoon characters, I was more than happy to hit the roads. Keeping with the Disney theme, the first stop along the path to Orlando was the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon during Labor Day weekend. So, the week after Cascade Crest, I was back on a plane headed in the opposite direction for my wife's race and my recovery run. That and a whole lot of fun.

The really short summary of the weekend is that my wife did awesome and we had a really fun time. If you are going to do a road race, it might as well be in a unique and entertaining venue. The course winds through both the Disney's California Adventure Park as well as Disneyland proper. It then takes a less entertaining trip through the streets of Anaheim going out and around Angel's Stadium before returning and finishing through Downtown Disney.

No mountain vistas, no winding forest paths, in fact, no real trails of any kind. Just my wife and I running around enjoying the "Happiest Race on Earth." So, if your not one for big crowded road races or you just don't like amusement parks, this is not for you. But, if you can appreciate a trip on Space Mountain as well as a trip to the mountains, then enjoy the pictures and report below.

Our hotel was close enough to the start of the race that we could just walk there in the dark hours of the morning. It was hard to figure out which exact group you were supposed to line up in, but certainly not hard to find some place to be. We were supposed to be in last group since Zane had never run a the distance, but we landed in the middle group which ended up being pretty much exactly where we finished the race.

Here we are at the start waiting for the start...
From Disneyland half


...with a bit more than 10,000 other people.
From Disneyland half


Some people chose to wear costumes including this couple who both dressed as my wife's favorite Disney character, Tinker Bell. They were actually near us for much of the race. They were a lot of fun and I came to think of them as "The Tinks."
From Disneyland half


Eventually, the race began with a bit more fanfare than most trail races and we all moved forward.
From Disneyland half


After about a mile circling on the roads, we headed into the California Adventure park.
From Disneyland half


I stopped to take a lot of pictures most of which were pretty blurry like this one
From Disneyland half


We then headed over to Disneyland.
From Disneyland half


We, of course, had to stop for a photo op with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell
From Disneyland half


Lot's of other characters were around cheering us on as well
From Disneyland half


From Disneyland half


But, there's only so much running you can do around the parks so we eventually headed back out onto the roads.
From Disneyland half


The typical road race bands and cheer squads lined the course.
From Disneyland half


But, The Tinks were on hand to keep the Disney theme. Of course, the downside of this is that my wife is now scheming some sort of idea for next year.
From Disneyland half


Then more dance squads, cute little hula girls and other such groups to distract us from the more mundane scenery of office parks.
From Disneyland half


From Disneyland half


From Disneyland half


But, the Disney theme still there.
From Disneyland half


There was a little bit of "trail" along the canal.
From Disneyland half


Then it was on to stadium.
From Disneyland half


Then, it was finally time to head back for the last couple of miles.
From Disneyland half


My wife said that mile 11 on were tough. We found a great bracelet that I bought for her at the Expo the day before that helped get here through this section. It read "Tough Times Don't Last, but Tough People Do." She said she looked down at it about a dozen times in those last miles. I can't exactly wear the bracelet, but I will certainly remember the saying the next time I need it in an ultra.

Then, we were back into the Disney area.
From Disneyland half


The final stretch through Downtown Disney seemed a little longer than when we strolled down it the day before.
From Disneyland half


But, the finish line came into view and Zane kicked it in to finish in just below 2:30. An awesome, awesome job.
From Disneyland half


We made our way back to the hotel shuttle.
From Disneyland half


But, as we sat there with our post race goodies (which included yummy little mini pies), we eventually realized that the shuttle wasn't coming and we had to walk back to the hotel, but that didn't stop the smiles.
From Disneyland half


After some food and rest, we spent the rest of the day having fun riding rides and then went to dinner with the boys at the ESPN restaurant where we enjoyed eating from lounge chairs in front of giant screens showing about a dozen different sports.

The whole weekend was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to adding the full marathon medal to this one.
From Disneyland half

2 comments:

angie's pink fuzzy said...

what fun!!!

and I may see you again at JJ100...

SLB said...

Eventually, the race began with a bit more fanfare than most trail races

err yeah!