I have been running around in my little pixie dust haze and rose colored glasses touting the Disneyland Half Marathon as my most favorite race ever. EVER. Yeah, well, somewhere around mile 6, I realized that I have rose colored glasses of steel because let me tell you, the 2013 Disneyland Half was a fairly miserable experience. And I had a vague memory that maybe I felt the same way last year at that very spot, but cleverly, my brain repressed that memory and tricked me into believing it was the best.race.ever.
Don't worry, in about a month, I'll be happily skipping along saying it's the best race and y'all can remind me that it's just the PTSD from this weekend kicking in.
Okay, to be fair, a lot of my misery can be attributed to the insane heat and humidity wave assaulting southern California last weekend. At that says a lot coming from this desert dweller that lives in a place where it's regularly 187 degrees... give or take. I'm not a meteorologist, people.
So instead of giving you a play by play of every section of the race and course (there's about a zillion other bloggers that will do that for you), I'm going to give you a brutally honest recap of the lessons I learned last weekend, sprinkled with pictures, mmmkay? Maybe if I share some of these lessons, those of you running your first back to back challenge at Princess Half weekend in the spring will learn from the mistakes that I made.
|To infinity and beyond! |
Or whatever it is Super Girl says.
Just because I survived Goofy Challenge doesn't mean Dumbo Double Dare will be a piece of cake.
I've been ridiculously excited for this race weekend since I signed up for it at the WDW Marathon weekend. I mean, I totally survived Goofy (barely), right? So this should be a walk in the park. WRONG. I did not train hard enough for this race weekend. I actually did get a lot more running in than in races past, but I definitely did not do enough back to back runs to prepare for 19.3 miles in one weekend. This is a scary thought considering the NYC Marathon is two months away,
|That's a lot of people to corral. |
Taking care of my body is not optional.
My first full (and only, so far) marathon was the WDW Marathon as part of Goofy. Since I had never run a full marathon and I was tackling my first the day after a half, I was completely neurotic about taking care of my legs and joints. After the half, I iced my ankles, knees and hips for over 45 minutes and I dragged my roller stick around everywhere for the rest of that day and rolled my muscles every single time I sat down. I only went to the parks for a short while and stretched my calves every chance I got. The result was that on the morning of the full, my legs felt so good, it didn't even feel like I had run the day before. I didn't begin to feel any stiffness until halfway through the marathon the next day.
I didn't ice my legs at all after the 10K during Dumbo and only half heartedly rolled my muscles once or twice. I ended up with sore quads and an ache in my right knee on the morning of the half. Going into the half with fatigued and sore muscles is a sure way to burn out all of your muscles half way through the half marathon.
|Lots of cool spectator signs along the course.|
I need to stop breaking my own rule of starting out too fast.
My current half marathon PR is from the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon. I ran pretty hard last year and I had an idea of exactly where I wanted to be at what times. I don't know why I need to prove to myself over and over that starting out too fast just doesn't work for me. I know that there are some runners that feel better at the start and so they push harder at the beginning, but this strategy just does not work for me. I've made this mistake more times that I'd like to admit. Every time I keep myself slow at the beginning, I get into an awesome groove by mile 6 and I can cruise along until things get rough at mile 12. Then I just have to suck it up until the end and I don't feel wrecked.
|Thank God, I ran into Ronda at mile 7. I needed a pick me up.|
|Hamming it up.|
Starting with significantly sore muscles (after a 10K?! What is up with that?) and then trying to push myself for a new PR combined with the excessive heat and humidity was just a recipe for disaster. I knew I needed to be through the parks and finished with mile 5 in the first hour if I was going to PR.
I pushed hard and used the excitement and crowd support of the parks to carry me way too fast, so that once I was looking at the giant over pass around mile 5, I knew I was done. I had made my goal and was just under the hour mark when I climbed to the top of that incline, but once there I suddenly felt so over heated and fatigued that I knew it was not possible to keep that pace for another 8 miles. I threw in the towel and sent out a text to Team Freedom (Abby, Tara and Ronda) with the hope that if I wasn't going to PR, I would at least enjoy the company of my little support group.
Luckily, I ran into Ronda and Shawn at mile 7 after multiple stops to look through the crowds hoping to spot one of them.
|It was nice to have someone actually take a|
pic with me in my traditional mile 10 shot.
|Yay for Ronda!|
Walking too much leads to horrible blisters on the balls of my feet.
During the WDW Marathon, I walked a lot after mile 20. Surprisingly, I wasn't that sore the next day (must have been all of the icing and rolling!), but the gigantic blister on the ball of my right foot was so huge that it was crippling. In training runs since then, I've learned that on bad running days when I end up walking a lot, I get blisters. It's better for me to jog at a snail's pace than to walk for miles on end. It's one thing when I don't have to be anywhere, but it puts a damper on your park experience when you have to limp along.
After I ran into Ronda and Shawn we walked pretty much the second half of the race and sure enough, I had a pretty good sized blister on the bottom of my right foot. It was nothing compared to what happened during Goofy when I could actually feel my foot squishing in my shoe for the last few miles, but it still hurt a fair amount the next day.
|Yes. Yes, I did need a hug at this point.|
Beating myself up afterward doesn't do any good.
I really wanted to PR the half. I knew in the back on my mind that PRing the day after a 10K was going to be difficult, but I still hoped I could pull it off. I ran harder off the start than I should have and I just know better than to do that. It has ruined races for me before. Plus, the weather really was terrible. I train in ridiculous heat at home and honestly, I never run fast here when it's hot, so why would I think that I could suddenly PR when the weather was not cooperating?
|The rays of the sun make me look magical!|
Despite the heat and misery all around, I gotta say that I love my fellow race buddies. I know we would have enjoyed ourselves a lot more for the whole trip in better conditions, but they really made this trip awesome, anyway. Thanks, Team Freedom. I heart you all.
|Shawn, Tara, Me, Abby and Ronda|
Will I do Dumbo next year? Most likely. I just can't resist this race. ;)
Here are the links to my recaps of the Expo and the Disneyland 10K.