Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dumbo Double Dare Half Marathon Recap

I put a lot of thought into how I wanted to tackle recapping this race. As much as I want to report that everything was awesome and spread around runDisney love, this race just didn't go well at all for me.

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.

Lesson 1:

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.

Lesson 2:

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.

Lesson 3:

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!

Lesson 4:

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.

Lesson 5:

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.


  1. Every half marathon is a learning experience in one way or another. The heat over the weekend was rough and probably had a lot to do with the difficulty you had. That's interesting about the blisters. Maybe try a different type of socks? For my part, I learned no more girls weekends with this group of friends. This time there was tension between two of them that blew up just as everyone was packing to go home. I'm not kidding. The last hour! Oy! Don't give your performance another thought. Every race can't be a PR.

    1. I'm not sure what to do about the blisters. If I walk too much, no matter what the shoes, even regular shoes, the balls of my feet get ripped up. It also doesn't matter what kind of socks I wear. Maybe it's just how I walk? Idk, but it sucks!

      Yeah, the heat just did me in. And actually, it was really the humidity that made it so rough. It felt like Florida! I was having Goofy Challenge flash backs!

  2. The weather was not our friend for race weekend. Every time we prepare and train for a race, I always remind myself that I cannot control the weather. Most of our Disney races end up with high humidity and sometimes heat, but thankfully 2011 was a great year for the DL Half. Hopefully it will be good next year when you return!

    1. I'm just praying to the weather gods that Princess weekend isn't as terrible as this year's Marathon weekend. Man, that was terrible!

  3. It was just soooo miserable!! I'm so glad we ran into each other - I made a pun. Those last miles were so much more enjoyable! Once I left the park and before we saw you again - I was downright cranky! I was just soooooooo hot!! My body felt good like it wanted to run, and then every time I tried I wanted to die. We needed rain!

    Anyway - soooo much fun, despite the misery of the elements! FREEEEEEDOMMMM!!!

    1. If it wasn't for Team Freedom, I would not have had such a fun weekend, so thank God for you, Tara, Shawn and Abby.


  4. Love. Really, one of the best and most honest recaps! And you made me laugh a few times, so there's that too. I always start off fast and the first mile I'm arguing with myself about why I should and shouldn't slow down. It's neverending. :)

    1. Thank you! Every time I start too fast, I ALWAYS hit a horrible wall around mile 6. One day I'll learn!

  5. I feel like the mental "I did Goofy so I can survive Dumbo" was a common theme for a lot of people. I'm sorry you didn't PR but the good news is I'm pretty sure NYCM will be a PR bc it won't be hot!! Woohoo!

    I definitely don't think my experience would've been as awesome without Team Freedom!

    1. Yes, hopefully I will have learned my lesson for GSC!

      I'm bummed I won't be doing NYCM this year, but maybe that'll give me time to get myself a sub 5 hr time... Wishful thinking?

      Team Freedom is the best. We need tech shirts.

  6. I'm totally with you. It was NOT my favorite race by far. The last two Disneyland races I loved, and I'm guessing the heat played a HUGE factor in why I didn't enjoy this year. Doing this makes me question Dopey now!

    1. I was planning for Dopey 2015, but honestly, just the idea of that much racing in conditions like this year's Goofy is making me really question whether or not I really want to do it....

    2. Ssh, but I'm kinda with you on the Dopey thing. I am so over the miserable conditions, but I seriously want to just be like "hey, look at me the chubby girl, I can do Dopey, too!"

    3. I know I'm CAPABLE of doing it (even though it would take a ton of training and mental stability, lol) and I'd love to add it to my running accomplishments but seriously, right now, I can't imagine doing it. I hope Princess weekend rekindles my love of WDW races....

  7. the heat, my gaaaawwwddd the heat! It was bad. But you still rocked it. WTG!

    1. I know! Blah!! Thank you, you guys rocked, too!!


Thanks for reading!