For anyone counting, this race was my 16th half marathon, and was unfortunately set to be the last runDisney Disneyland half marathon for the foreseeable future. We were planning to participate in the Avengers races for at a minimum of 5 years, or 6 to get all the infinity stone challenge medals (each year the challenge medal has a different infinity stone on the back) and we had already been discussing doing the Tinker Bell once in awhile instead of every year after the most recent race let down. So although abrupt and sooner than planned, this break comes at a good time.
I did spend a little extra time combing through the event expo, because this will be my last one at Disneyland for a long time and they do have some pretty good gear, shoes, and other neat things to check out. I’ve never participated in a run with a better expo. One of our friends got some special edition shoes, I got a couple of new tops, and Chad and I both got some great runDisney pins to add to our collections.
We had dinner at Naples Ristorante on Friday night because they have lots of pasta options and the very important glass of red wine that puts me to sleep. They are also always able to accommodate our very large group – most of our runDisney friends participate in the 10k and eat dinner with us on Friday night.
I slept surprisingly well and was ready to go the following morning despite the race time starting at 5 instead of 5:30 (I’ll take all the sleep I can get before a race, thank you!). It was a little muggy outside (95% humidity ugh!) and a little chilly but otherwise great race weather.
Chad was going for a record, and I was just hoping to finish under 60 minutes so we separated at the starting line. This was the first race course since we’ve started participating in these races that was 99% inside of the parks. I put last year’s map (Dr. Strange 10k) to the right so you can see what I mean, last year we didn’t enter the parks until mile 2, and this year we were inside the park within a few 100 yards. I definitely prefer being in the park more! I enjoyed the sights, the characters, and ran the entire time – which is a first since my hip injury.
I was happy with my finish time and was feeling great for having run a quick 10k. Chad wasn’t entirely pleased with his time, but it was still really fast. You guys, the medal though, like all of my favorite medals: spins.
We got some breakfast (Jamba Juice … like responsible, boring, adults), went into the park for Magic Hour and hopped on a bunch of rides and as soon as the park opened to all of the regular peoples, we wandered back to the hotel room to rest our legs and open some pin packs.
A tradition we started last year was seeing the 10k Hero themed movie at the Downtown Disney AMC Theater, which this year was the new Thor movie. We rested our legs some more and enjoyed the movie – it definitely wasn’t as bad as the first two!
This year we tried something new and had dinner at Steakhouse 55. It’s hard to come by pasta places at Disneyland, but I know from attending a lot of medical conferences, that steakhouses always have a lot of carb filled sides. The pastas, potatoes, and breads were perfect for what we were looking for, and it was a nice quiet and relaxing place to have a pre-race dinner. I think I did a little too much relaxing during the day because I had a little trouble getting to sleep, and I woke up about 45 minutes before my alarm. But in between that, I slept well enough.
Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon
It was still muggy and chilly but not windy like the first Avenger’s race. Chad decided to run with me and so we mostly stuck together (he likes to get photos so he will run ahead and then catch up).
This year’s course was a lot different from previous races. As soon as we left the park, the course was the reverse of the race course from the last 3 years, even taking us through Angels Stadium backwards from previous years. There were a couple of stretches where it looked like we were in the wrong part of town, nothing but dead space and the backs of buildings. For some reason, the regular group of Superhero Cosplayers and Military Veterans who were always just outside Angels Stadium, were missing, which was kind of a bummer.
The upside was that I figured out proper race fueling from failing at my previous race, and felt pretty great the entire time. I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted, but I was maintaining a good pace and I ran the entire time save some 15-30 second walks through the water stations and up two “hills”. I definitely didn’t get the finish time I wanted but I finished without feeling like I had nothing left to give and managed to make it through the park until 8pm without wanting to pass out. That’s a big win in my book.
We arrived the weekend that Christmas time officially began at the parks, so Festival of Holidays had just begun. It’s basically a food and beverage festival in California Adventure that winds from below Buena Vista and into Paradise Pier. We took advantage of the food, and I seriously took advantage of the champagne flights (sadly, not pictured).
1 Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Crème Cup | 2 Holiday Ham Slider with pineapple relish | 3 Holiday Eggnog Cocktail with whipped cream and nutmeg | 4 Reuben Potato Smash with Russian dressing and rye toast crumble | 5 Festive Beer Flight with Bottle Logic Brewing, Blonde Ale; Oaskar Blues Brewery Pinner, IPA; Barley Forge Brewing Co. The Patsy, Coconut Rye Stout; and Modern Times Fruitlands, Passionfruit and Guava Gose | 6 Seared Salmon Filet with lemon-caper sauce | 7 Egg Nog Macaron | 8 Roast Turkey Slider with cranberry sauce
Disneyland park was a little more crowded than we are used to but we still got in some staples and even got to ride the Railroad for the first time since it re-opened. We also got to ride the Mark Twain and between them both, see the new parts of the Rivers of America and it’s new waterfalls. I don’t know when, but the pass through from Frontierland to Fantasyland opened back up. They put up a bunch of fake rock walls to cover where the BBQ, ranch, and old Rainbow Mine tunnel used to be.
We spent a lot of time in Paradise Pier and at Cove Bar because the next time we visit the park, they will be gone 😦
Hopefully the bar taking it’s place will still serve Mickey’s Fun Wheels! Goodbye Paradise Pier … FOREVER
Well that’s a wrap on our West Coast runDisney races for who knows how long. Hopefully when they come back I’ll be running sub 2 hour half marathons again. I need all the time I can get to be ready before the park opens!
Event Managed by: runDisney
Location: Disneyland (+1)
Event Expo: Yes
Event Expo Size: Large
Race Start times: 5:00 am (-1.5)
Race Day Weather: 55-65 degrees
Race Features: Costumed Runners Encouraged, ChEAR Squad, High School Bands, High School Cheerleaders and Dancing Teams, Cast Members, Disney Characters, Disney Animals
10k Water Stations: 3
Half Marathon Water Stations: 9 | Every 1.25 miles or less
Energy Supplement Station (Half Marathon only): Yes | Cliff Shot Station at Mile 9
Race Courses: Mostly flat, a couple of hills, several miles through both parks, one mile in a parking lot
Running with Traffic: No, roads are blocked for race
Finisher Medal: Yes
Special Category Medals: Yes
Event Rating: 9.5 out of 10