Wednesday, November 16, 2016

runDisney Super Heroes Half Marathon Recap

Hello from somewhere over the US!!! I am on a plane headed from California to Nashville and couldn't wait to share my recap of this weekends runDisney Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland.  This weekend was full of all the feels for me and I am literally sitting on a cloud (not just cloud 9) writing this post.

This was a milestone race for me - my 20th Half Marathon & my first Coast to Coast Medal
My first Disneyland race blew me away. It was 100x better than I ever imagined and I smiled through the entire 13.1 miles. I've never smiled for 13.1 miles straight.

So let's start from the beginning. For all you Orlando runDisney runners - my alarm was set for 4:45 am. Yes - you read that right, 4:45 am!!! For all you non Orlando runDisney runners, this is a huge deal. Last weekend, my alarm was set for 2:30 am for the Wine Dine Half so I welcomed that extra few hours, plus with the time change in my favor, it was like sleeping in! We stayed at Disney's Grand Californian which is adjacent to Downtown Disney (which has two Starbucks that opened at 4am on race day!).

I grabbed a toasted bagel and a double shot of espresso from Starbucks and headed to the start line, which was right outside of the hotel. No shuttles, no walking 20 minutes to the start line. This was paradise. To say I started the race in a fantastic mood was an understatement.
Since I was running this race alone, I had a goal which was to stop at every character stop. I am proud to say I did that and more!
We started off the race by running past the hotel we were staying in and into Disney California Adventure. We had visited that park the day before and knew the layout. I will say this was my favorite theme park I've ever visited so I was very excited to run through it. We ran through Cars Land (coolest place EVER) and then hit our first character stop which was Spider Man.
I didn't have time to set my ear phones back up before we hit character number two, Captain America.
I absolutely loved running past Mickey's Fun Wheel with the World of Color lights going on. Plus California Screamin had the Avengers A lit up in the circle!
Before I knew it, we were face to face with Black Widow. She was super nice but I was unhappy being this was supposed to be my costume but I had pieces that didn't show up in time. Oh well!
Those three stops were so close to one another that I didn't have my ear phones in and was holding my phone and not sticking to my 3/1 run walk ratio (I just ran to the stops and used the waiting time as my walking time).
Then we got into Disneyland and I saw the Main Street horses. I ran right over to them and got quite the surprise - I got a gentle nibble on my shoulder and a giant kiss! I had the biggest grin on my face for many miles following this interaction.
I had to stop for the castle photo, as I do for any race in Disney World. I will say, the smaller castle allows you to get the entire thing in a shot!
After we ran through the castle and past the Disneyland landmarks such as Mr. Toads, Dumbo and the Teacups, I found myself face to face with Thor, accent and all. Swoon. After waiting in a decent line for him, he squeezed my arm and told me I was stronger. Double swoon.
Our next character was Hawkeye who wasn't thrilled I wanted to stand normal. Everyone else was doing fun stances with him. What can I saw, I am boring.
Dr Strange also thought I was boring. When we exited Disneyland, I found myself in the longest line of the day. Dr. Strange was very unimpressed with my Megan stance, but I honestly have no idea who he is and practiced his spell stance while in line and knew I would screw it up.
After Doctor Strange, we went into Anaheim. It was awesome running along the streets and seeing all the crowd support out there. As a Florida girl, I will say that I loved no humidity and seeing all the mountains!
Before I knew it we were over halfway done and entering Angels Stadium parking lot.
I didn't think we were actually running inside the stadium, so more on that in a second. Leading up to it, we passed the most amazing group of people outside of the entrance. Dressed in vintage army gear, hundreds of people lined up to give us high fives. People were swing dancing. It was AMAZING. I nearly cried.
Then we entered the stadium. I was not expecting this at all and I instantly facetimed my Mom and Hank which got caught on photo.
Hearing my name over the loud speaker of a MLB stadium brought a feeling of pride that I haven't felt since crossing my first full marathon. I thought that feeling was long gone.
Speaking of amazing crowd support, there was a large group of people dressed up. They were very supportive and encouraged the runners.

Miles 10-12 flew by. I texted Gabe at mile 10 to let him know it was time to head down to the finish line. Those miles are a blur and the only thing I remember about them is that I adjusted my run walk ration at that point to 1/1. For the first time ever, when my alarm went off to walk, I wanted to keep running. This happened throughout the entire 13.1. I had adjusted to a lower ratio because I didn't want to push myself too hard knowing we had plans to meet friends later that day for brunch on the beach.
I looked for Gabe the entire last half mile and didn't see him. There were so many people around, I may have missed him. He texted me right after I crossed the finish line "how much further do you have". HUH!?
I sent him a pic of my medal and he told me I flew through the final 5k. Seeing my time, I wouldn't exactly say that but for my turtle butt, it was pretty impressive.
So stopping 7+ times, waiting 3 - 5 minutes each photo stop, my finishing time of 3:01 isn't too shabby considering about 30 minutes of that was me waiting around for photos. This race brought me back to wanting to run. I haven't had this feeling in quite some time and I am glad to have it back.

At the end of the day, this was one of my top two runDisney race and would suggest this in a heartbeat to anyone looking to do a runDinsey California race.

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