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Disneyland Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Anaheim, California
United States
Disney's Wide World of Sports
74F / 23C
Total Time = 1h 39m 20s
Overall Rank = 306/11643
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 20/492
Pre-race routine:

It's been a pretty tough month-and-a-half leading up to this race. I had a freak hamstring pull in mid-July, less than three weeks before my first IM (Vineman on Aug. 1) and had been rehabbing it ever since--apart from really aggravating it over the course of 140.6 miles, that is. I was not sure I'd even be able to race this HM until a week or so before...and then I aggravated a chronic arch injury, just to throw things up in the air further. I considered just doing the race alongside my wife to help pace her to a PR, but decided at the last minute that I was healthy enough to go for it. My goal was to at least equal the trail HM I did in March (1:44+).

Disneyland HM starts ridiculously early to allow all the 12,000 runners to get through the park in time for it to open--that means lining up for a 6am start. We got up at 4:30 and I downed a couple Nutrigrain bars. The race is started in waves and, for the second year, I was in the first wave. Liz and I stayed in the resort this time (last year we stayed just off property) and we had her niece in town from Boston for the weekend as a one-woman cheering section. We left the room later than we did last year and regretted it a bit, as we had to fight through more of the crowd to get to our corrals (Liz was behind mine in the 2nd wave). But we ultimately made it.

When I said goodbye and good luck to her, I warned her that my arch wasn't cooperating and she might actually finish ahead of me. Fingers crossed that this wouldn't be the case I moved up as close to the start as I could.
Event warmup:

Because we got there a bit late and I didn't want to risk aggravating my PTT and PF, I only did a bit of ginger jogging and a few stretches and trusted that I'd gotten loosened up sufficiently on the walk over.
  • 1h 39m 20s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 35s  min/mile

First few miles are before sunrise, but the weather was pleasant. More of the course was actually in the Disney parks this year and it's fun to have the staffers out there to cheer you on. I wanted to be under 7:45 pace if at all possible and my initial miles were right where I wanted them to be--between 7:40 and 7:15.

Around mile 4, after leaving the parks, I really started to feel both my chronic PTT and the new bout of PF I'd been dealing with. At about mile 4.5, it got real bad. I seriously considering dropping out at that point so as not to screw myself for Malibu Tri the next weekend. I decided to stick with it for at least another half mile to see how it sorted out. By mile 5, the PF was receding enough that I felt I'd just have to manage the PTT and that seemed doable (albeit real painful).

I was chugging along generally in the 7:29-7:48 range through the streets of Anaheim. I was getting passed more than I typically do, but I realize now I went out pretty quick relative to my pace overall, so I was seeing people with a bit more constant pace passing. Going up a bit of a hill in the Honda Center parking lot (home of the Anaheim Ducks NHL team), the Clif Bar Pace Group for 1:40 caught me...right at mile 8. This was a little disconcerting as I knew I had a shot at 1:40 up to that point. I tried to stick with them, but they started to separate from me.

After a short stretch on the Santa Ana River Trail (where I caught and dropped a Tinkerbell costumed woman who'd been one of the folks who'd passed me earlier), we ran into Angels Stadium, which was filled with Scout troops cheering us on. As I ran around the warning track in the outfield, I highfived as many kids in the front row as I could. (This was more fun than last year when the Scouts were strung out along the course in the stadium parking lot and we didn't go inside.)

I knew from last year that the stadium was the point to start to turn it up a notch. I decided to try to catch the Clif Pace group if I could...I'd never lost visual contact with them. I knew that they tend to aim for under the designated time so as to get as many of their runners under the goal as possible...which meant if I got close to them, I'd probably get to sub-1:40...which would beat last year's time of 1:42. (Secretly, though professing to just want to get under 1:45 because of my foot pains and being de-trained with the hamstring rehab, I really wanted to see a "3" and not a "4" in my time...)

I was sticking to my usual strategy of alternating a couple gulps of water at the even numbered aid stations with a gulp of sports drink and a gulp of water at the odd numbered stations. I'd eaten one gel about 25 minutes into the race and took a second with about 4 miles to go. My legs were tight with 5K to go, but the foot pain was tolerable and I started to try to negative split the remaining miles.

As I got back to California Adventure and knew I had about 1.5 miles left (Garmin had never found the satellites--since I'd forgotten to activate it in the proper mode until after I was on the move--so I was flying a bit blind), doing the math, I was sure I had a shot at 1:39 if I didn't ease up. I started targeting rabbits to pick off ahead of me and several of them obliged by trying to hold off my pass...and failing.

Making the final turn for the finish line, I really stretched it out. I'd been having a bad stitch in my side since mile 12 (exact same place as in City of Angels 1/2), but I was determined to finish strong. Crossed the line and stopped my watch: 1:39:20. Second fastest HM for me, despite the constant arch pain and almost complete lack of training since Vineman 5 weeks earlier.
What would you do differently?:

Well, I went back and forth and back and forth on what combination of orthotics to wear--old prescription, new prescription, off-the-rack, mix and match? Settled on an off-the-rack pair (Foot Soldiers) literally at the last minute. I think that minimized the pressure on the PF injury, but exacerbated the PTT. But that was probably the right decision all in all.

Definitely would have PR'ed this race if I hadn't trashed my hamstring in July...and then re-trashed it three weeks later in my IM. It was healed up completely for this race, but there's no way to reclaim the fitness lost to downtime for rehabbing.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around a lot. Arch felt surprisingly good. Stretched a bit. Re-hydrated.

Noticed after a bit that my left shoulder was jacked up. WTF? Hurt like an SOB when I swung my left arm back behind me. Went to the medical tent and got some topical analgesic and Tylenol. Eventually subsided but while it lasted it sucked and was a pretty mysterious pain.

I was getting text msg updates on Liz's run and it was pretty clear she was going to PR. Sure enough, I got her finish update and she'd improved over last year by 6 minutes with a new PR of 2:10. Met up with her and her niece (who was spectating, not racing) and some Disney Tri Team folks and then went off to lunch and then way too much walking around Disneyland.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Really just the chronic arch pain. I've been struggling with it off and on all year and even my new orthotics haven't really resolved it. Limping around with the hamstring injury for a month started the chronic arch issues back into a spiral of increasing pain. I was really, really, focused the whole race on not blowing that injury up and taking myself out of Malibu Tri next weekend.

Otherwise, this was a good second fastest HM and an improvement of almost 3 minutes over last year's effort. I can honestly say I was thrilled with a sub-1:40 finish when I was pretty sure two weeks earlier I would have to be a DNS.

Event comments:

This is a destination half mary for a lot of folks...lots of first timers (and walkers) and a heavily female field. The organizers make changes to it each year and mostly these are improvements. Much more of the course was in Disneyland proper this year, which had to please the destination racers. Generally a very, very flat course built for PRs for veteran runners and a good chance at finishing for first timers. There is a cutoff, though, based on a 16:00/mile pace. Great finisher medal. Lots of course support and fun sights...including the new touch this year of running through Angels Stadium.

Last updated: 2009-03-07 12:00 AM
01:39:20 | 13.1 miles | 07m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 20/492
Overall: 306/11643
Performance: Good
Garmin wasn't synched with satellites, so this run was "naked" except for stopwatch.
Course: First 4 miles are combination of access/service roads and a couple loops through, first, Disney's California Adventure, then Disneyland. Then it's off to about 8 miles on the streets of Anaheim (and about a mile along the Santa Ana River Trail). This year the run went through Angels Stadium, then headed back to the Disney resort. Last 1 1/2 miles or so is through California Adventure and the resort hotels.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-09-09 1:26 AM

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Northridge, California
Subject: Disneyland Half Marathon

2009-09-09 8:02 AM
in reply to: #2396008

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san francisco
Subject: RE: Disneyland Half Marathon
Great job on sub 1:40, Todd!  With all that you have been through injury-wise this summer, that is one smoking fast time.  
2009-09-11 11:30 AM
in reply to: #2396008

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the desert
Subject: RE: Disneyland Half Marathon
Great job... I was looking for a much faster time myself - - damn these stupid hamstring problems.
2009-09-11 9:46 PM
in reply to: #2396008

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Subject: RE: Disneyland Half Marathon
Good race, Todd.  I bet you'll be glad to get back to injury free running. That's a great time you posted, if you were 100%, who knows what you'd hit! Keep up the good work.

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