Dumbo Double Dare Part 2: the Disneyland Half Marathon

Read my recap on the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Part 1: the Disneyland 10k here. Now, for the second installment!

Before we knew it, the Disneyland 10k was in the books.

Obligatory pre-race photo at the Disneyland 10k

A 10k novice, my friend Kari (dressed as Alice) and I both had a great time. We even managed to meet up with a couple of friends who had made some great run costumes. They had the best Tweedle collars I saw all weekend, and they made their own sparkle skirts. Freaking cute!

Kari and I stayed up probably a little later than we should have making sure everything was ready. When we had arrived Friday, I had sized her apron – a modified cloth napkin with trim and elastic – to fit for running. She had made a great iron on for her Will Robinson outfit for the half marathon, which she applied in the hotel room. We were hydrated. We had our ‘flat runner’ outfits laid out.

Flat me Maleficent! Spoiler alert: I ditched the tank top, but wearing my competition brief proved a stellar decision.

Now all that was left was to sleep and RUN THE RACE!

Side note: I had no idea there was a movie coming out when I chose Maleficent as my Disneyland Half character costume. A long time fan of Disney Villains, when I was in kindergarten my mother sewed a Merriweather costume for me. She made my bodybuilder father a Maleficent costume, which he wore outfitted completed with a staff and green face to take me trick-or-treating on at least two occasions.

Hindsight is unfortunately, as they say, 20/20 and looking back on this race and my splits I see my errors. I did not hydrate properly the week of the race, only the day or so before and day of. I did not fuel well, especially for the heat and truth be told I was on par to possibly PR. However, my splits tell me that I bonked at the end, and certainly felt it – but we’ll get there.

In the beginning, despite the fact it was over 95 degrees out and muggy at 5:30am, I was in good spirits. Clearly.

What a goober!

Things were going okay for me overall. I had hit the potty line and fueled with a banana and Clifshot gel pre-race. My lack of training was already nagging at the back of my mind. I talked myself through keeping a steady pace, telling myself to go purposely slow for the first mile so I would have plenty in the tank to push out a PR in the final 5k. Yes, that’s right – I was hoping to PR. Who doesn’t? Things seemed steady and like they could stay that way. (Miles 1-3: 10:23; 9:26; 9:11. Hey, I never said I was fast!)

And then, it happened: someone woke the sun the hell up. Things were fine, then KABOOM, it was as though the sun jerked itself out of bed and hit the ground with combat boots on. We were running out of the parks and into the open expanse of black, uncovered asphalt of Anaheim as the heat hit me. I reasoned with myself that if yesterday had been hot, today may be even more so and despite my ego’s protests, that it may be a good idea to keep a steady run-walk ratio in order to stay moving the whole time. (Miles 4-5: 10:23; 9:59.7)

runlike

Nothing like mid-race Instagramming!

However, the aid stations were helpful and I fueled with a Clifshot gel at the station somewhere around mile 5. Course entertainment definitely showed in my mile times – great music, dancing and cheering folks all injected energy in my stride and it showed in my times. Somewhere along the line, I ran into Mrs. Cookie (Nicole) of Cookies on the Run. (Naturally, I like to think her sign was just for me.) And wouldn’t you know it, I had been using an Aurora randomly found on the course to pace me? I doubled back to take a picture with Mrs. Cookie and Aurora randomly showed up! Random Aurora, whoever you are, you rule and your costume was stellar. (Mile 6-8: 9:16.3; 9:43.0; 9:55.3)

Somewhere between miles 7-9 I started feeling the bonk coming. I fueled as soon as we came upon water, but despite run-walking I was feeling the toll of the heat. The looks on our faces in this picture says it all!

Not-so-happy campers.

Thankfully, a bit of fuel and hydration helped, as did running through a stadium with cheering Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It gave me chills to hear their joyous little voices. Maybe I was a bit dehydrated and had a bit of heat stroke, maybe I was just emotional, but it was a magical moment. Notably, I did pull over a few times throughout the race to shake my legs and stretch. The runDisney crew had loaded bikes out in full force! No sooner had I started stretching my calves on the curb when I had a friendly and very attentive staffer on a bike upon me! He offered me water, pain relievers and gels, fuel and to call a medic if needed. I declined with a smile because thankfully, I really was okay (maybe I should have taken the water) but I was really glad he was there. Had I been bonking hard, I know I would have been safe. (Miles 9-11: 9:43.8; 10:11.4; 10:51.1)

By mile 12 I felt a bit of a second wind, an especially optimistic one. If and only if I could push my last couple of miles out fast, I could still PR, even if it was only by a minute. However, with insufficient training for the conditioned, poor fueling, and the heat, sub-9 minute miles to close out my first Dumbo Double Dare were simply not in the books. In the last mile or so I started to lose hope, let the bonk take hold and walk. Oh well, I thought, so much for my hopes. If I’m not going to PR, why run? (BAD, right? More mental training needed!) That’s right when I heard a deep male voice boom out behind me as I pulled over. He yelled something like, “Not now! Don’t give up now! You’ve trained for too long to stop now.” Too tired to turn around and thank him properly but fully heartened by his rallying cry, I raised up a fist and trotted on. I was going to make it across that finish line. (Miles 12-13.34 as per my Garmin: 9:52.4; 9:28.5; 2:51.6)

Powered by that guy’s words.

Fine. I didn’t PR. In fact, I came in about three minutes slower than my first half marathon time. However, I had completed the Dumbo Double Dare and was still upright and smiling. There were many smiles, laughs, some moments where I really had to dig deep mentally and times where I wasn’t sure exactly what was carrying me along the asphalt through the heat. A lot was learned, the experience priceless. The finish line had been crossed. My third half marathon and race 9 in my run103 mission was complete!

BLING BLING: MEDALS EARNED!

While I was thinking I was going to cull things down and have Tinkerbell be my one annual runDisney event, I am quite tempted to become a Dumbo legacy runner!

Did you run the Dumbo Double Dare? Have you ever had a less-than-perfect race that taught you something valuable?

[About my race outfit: Maleficent horns – DIY; shoes – Brooks PureConnect 2; socks – ProCompression marathon sock; under skirt – Oiselle competition brief; sports bra – Juno by Moving Comfort; visor and skirt – Team Sparkle (visor Headsweats exclusive.) Other: Fitbit Flex, RoadID Slim, Garmin 210; anti chafing – newskin  and BodyGlide; sunscreen – Kinesys]

Originally published on Scrinina.org

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