Labor Day weekend has become my FAVORITE time of the year on my race schedule!
- The cooler temperatures, I finally get a break from the Vegas summer heat.
- Traveling to Disneyland!
This was my fourth year to participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend and 3rd year for the DDD. I was just as excited as I was my first year (2011)!
In addition to the run training, many preparations are needed for this trip. I have to prepare mine and my husband’s costumes, prepare our race gear and of course, what we will need to visit the park!
Our initial plan was to arrive on Thursday, do the expo and go to DL on Friday…boy, did our plans change (and for the better!)
We left our Vegas home around 5am, in the hopes to arrive at the expo around 10am. We arrived at 10:30am and quickly picked up our bibs for the 10k & Half. This year, they required participants to have their pictures taken, not receive a plastic wristband for the DDD. I am told that RunDisney found out that runners were removing their wristbands and giving them to other runners, so they could pick up a FREE DDD medal. That’s stealing folks, you didn’t earn nor pay for the medal, shame on you!
After the bib pick up, we retrieved our shirts and I was so excited about the shirt designs. I loved all 3 of the shirts.
After the shirt pick up we made our way to the merchandise at the expo. They led us upstairs to get a wristband and told us a 30-45 minute wait. Ummmm, no. 2 hours later, we are still there and we had not made our way downstairs, that had another hour wait. The reason they said they did it this way was the size of the merchandise area is so small. We were in a HUGE ballroom, upstairs. Why not move the merchandise to upstairs? They could also sell more vendor space. We left, without buying a thing.
Next, we met up with my sweet friend, Andrea Kooiman for lunch. She was also the RunDisney Expo announcer, so I was hanging with a celebrity! Our good friend, Joe Spatafore joined us, with his friend. (Joe is also one of my coaching clients, he and his wife are HUGE Disney fans).
Within the next hour we were gifted with a bunch of surprises from a dear friend. We were given 2 treats:
- A park ticket
- A parking pass
Which meant, we could go into the park that night and see the Paint the Night parade and have some Disney fun! I was so giddy, I almost started crying.
We checked into our hotel and since I have been a regular there, they gave me free parking. 3 kind gifts in one night…I almost could not contain my excitement.
As we entered the park gates and I saw the Castle, like every time before, I am in awe. I never grow tired of the castle view. It welcomes me Home.
Of course, we headed straight for Small World. I couldn’t smile big enough to contain my excitement. I noticed right away, they painted the facade and I am glad. It needed it and next year is the 50th anniversary of the park ride (which I will be there!).
Once I sit in the Small World boat and I hear the music, my calms arrives. I am in my happy place. We rode Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and a few more. We chose not to wear our pin lanyards, so we could just mill about. We met up with Thor, hubby was pretty excited about that.
A few hours later, we decided to line up for the parade. Experience tells me to get as close as possible to the Exit/Entrance. This way, we can leave pretty quickly. We had a big day, the next day – back to the park!
I was always a fan of the Magical Electrical Parade and I have never seen a Disney parade that matched that magic. I had heard from many Instagram and FB friends that Pain the Night was out of this world. They are right. I stood there in total awe of the lights and music and then came the tears. (Do you get the impression I cry a lot at DL? It’s true) If it had not been for the generosity of a good friend, we would of not seen the parade.
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, we headed out to DL and we were ready for pin trading! We LOVE chatting with other Disney fans and cast members. Our day was magical and we left around dinner to get back to the hotel to ensure a restful night before the 10k.
10k RACE DAY
I had not raced a 10k since 2011. I had one 10k in 2014, after my leg injury, but that was nothing more than a test run. I was in this 10k to push, I had a long marathon training session throughout the summer. However, I knew after a day and half in the park, my legs would be…meh. I was still going to run, the best I could. No costumes, it was singlet time. My heart was a little empty as we had to leave my brother at home, while he is still recovering from hip surgery. Having him at my races is a tradition and so, I promised him a strong run. I didn’t think I could PR, but I thought I could at least give it a good push.
Gun time was at 5:30am. I started in Corral A and my husband started in Corral D. Typically, we run a bit on Katella Avenue, but this time, we were in the park, pretty quick. I liked staying in the park, as much as possible. I wore my watch, but I didn’t turn it on. I had a basic goal time, but I was going to run strong, as I promised my brother.
I felt myself start to waiver at Mile 4, so I briefly walked at the aid station to swish some water around my mouth. After that, I was able to push and get the job done.
Joe Spatafore was waiting for me at the Finish Line and I could tell by his facial expression, he had PR’d! He PR’d at the Tinkerbell Half and now, at the Disneyland 10k! He has worked so hard and I am honored to be a part of his racing journey. I love coaching him! See picture below:
Joe was text tracking me, so I could know my time, right away. I had a 1:30 PR and 4th in my AG – Go figure! I promised my brother a strong race, and I gave him a shiny new PR. (He loves green dragons, that’s why I have a green dragon charm on my shoe). **UPDATE** I was informed by RunDisney, I earned 3rd in my AG (not 4th) as the original 3rd place was a man (verified by race photos).
We waited for my husband. He struggled to finish and I thought he needed more carbs, since we had been on our feet for the last day and half. We had a great breakfast at a quiet place in Downtown Disney. I want away from the crowds very quickly during Disney events (I am hot, sweaty and hungry) so this was perfect.
Afterwards, we headed to Hollywood. My husband has never been to Hollywood Blvd. We didn’t stay there too long. If you have been to Hollywood Blvd recently, you know how awful it is.
Back to the hotel for rest and get ready for the Half Marathon day.
HALF MARATHON RACE DAY
Today, hubby and I would run the half marathon together. We have run 5k’s and 10k’s, but this is our first Half, together. I made us Mouseketeer costumes and I wore a running skirt!
We started about 30 minutes after gun time (his corral, not mine) and by Mile 2, he was struggling. By Mile 4, I knew he would not reach his PR goals, so I shut off my watch and told him, that we are strolling the rest of the way. He ran when he could, but we spent the most of this race walking and enjoying the sights. My favorite is the muscle car alley. Over 400 cars. Here I am with one of my favorite cars.
Here we are at Anaheim Stadium home plate.
Here I am in front of Small World. (My hip is in such a weird position, my stomach looks like I am 5 months pregnant. haha)
Our picture at Mile 11-12.
We got through to the finish and completed our 3rd Dumbo Double! This is my husband’s only running event, every year – so he was pretty excited to be Perfectly Dumbo.
We met up with Joe Spatatore for brunch and then headed home.
Avengers is only 2 months away, and I cannot wait. Brother should be walking crutchless by then and possibly even jogging. It is my birthday month, so I will spend a day in the park – celebrating my birthday.
Looking forward to the Fall/Winter racing season!
Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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