This morning I was up before 4 a.m. to get ready for the first leg of the Dumbo Double Dare, the inaugural Disneyland 10K. I tend to be a morning person anyway so this didn’t throw me off much — I think I prefer this to night races, at least that’s been my experience so far.
I’ve been watching the weather forecast for a while, and I have to say, if accuracy in forecasting matters I’m not sure how any of these meteorologists stay employed. Every day for at least a week, the temperature has been significantly above forecast — 99 on a day where 90 was the forecast high, for example.
The forecast for this morning was about 73 degrees, and one of the first things i did when I got up was check the temperature. 81. Well, it’s not going to be a PR day, that’s for sure; and visions of the Tower of Terror race came back to me. (Actually, this is my third runDisney race — Tower of Terror 2012, WDW Half 2013, and now Disneyland Half 2013, and all 3 have been “unseasonably warm”. I hope things balance out and give me 40 degree temps for the Wine & Dine half in November, that would be spectacular.
The bus service was a pleasant surprise — I’d asked drivers a few times over the past few days where the bus stops were going to be, and they were not really sure, which made me a bit nervous. But when I got downstairs, there was a prominent runDisney sign in the lobby indicating our pick-up was in front of the Embassy Suites (right next door). So I walked over and joined about 8 people already waiting; we had a full busload of 25+ by the time the bus pulled up 10 to 15 minutes later.
Our dropoff was about half a mile from the starting corrals — a nice stretch and warm up pre-race, but I suspected it would seem far longer after. (Actually, not too bad today, but the real test comes tomorrow).
The Disneyland 5K ran before our 10K started, so they sent the 5K runners ahead to the corrals while the 10K runners were held in a pre-race staging area, with entertainment, water, backdrops to have photos taken, and tents sent up by various charities and race sponsors. I stayed near the water tables to get extra fluids in me, the high temp and high humidity combination made me want to make sure I was hydrated, even though that probably meant I’d be making a pit stop along the way.
The 5Kers took off – I heard they were a bit late starting but I hadn’t memorized the schedule so I didn’t notice the discrepancy. We then made our way over to the corrals. I was in corral G and honestly — I never saw it. I saw balloons for D, E, and F (A, B, and C were off in a different direction) and started making my way to the back of F where G was supposed to be. I never saw it, but eventually started seeing G bibs mixed in with the Fs so I just merged my way into the crowd. By this time the early corrals had already begun running so we started surging forward to get to the start.
I started my Garmin at 6:37 a.m. so that’s when my section of the mob was crossing the start. Sunrise has been just a few minutes earlier, the temp had dropped a few degrees (79 now) but was still uncomfortable.
Our first two miles was on surface street. We started on Disneyland Drive next to the Disneyland Hotel, and proceeded south. We crossed Katella and turned left to run in front of the convention center, where the D23 Expo banners were still hanging.
I had a run-walk strategy of run 20 seconds, walk 40, which was slower (more walking) than the ratio I’ve used in past races. But I thought it would give me a better chance of finishing strong. As it turned out, the race was just too congested for any sort of strategy other than run when there’s pavement in front of you, walk when there are people in front of you. I tried to avoid doing too much running side-to-side, but occasionally when there was obviously clear space ahead I’d occasionally make a detour to the side to get around a slower group.
We continued down Convention Way to Harbor, and made the left to take us toward the parks. We entered Disney’s California Adventure through Cars Land. Mater and Lightning McQueen were out for photos. Disney employees waved us ahead with checkered flags — I appreciated the well-themed encouragement. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was whirling to add a little fun and background music to the run. For some reason I missed getting pictures of any of this, but here are a few backstage shots as we headed into DCA.
From there we continued onto Paradise Pier, and made a big loop of the lagoon. The World of Color show was going … obviously it loses a lot during the daylight, but I loved running to the music and enjoyed glancing over at the fountains. I saw the first race photographer of the morning along here but I’m not sure if he got me. Mickey’s Fun Wheel was also going — in both parks, a few rides were operating (riderless) just to add a little kinetic energy to those of us who were losing ours.
A loop around the west side of the park brought us to Mile 3, just in front of Soaring Over California. We continued across in front of Carthay Circle and headed down toward Tower of Terror, where we exited the park.
Here we descended and ran through a tunnel I didn’t know existed — I’m not sure exactly where it’s located but it seems it must be running under the shuttle bus drop-off area at the East end of the Esplanade. Coming back up, we were in backstage areas surrounding Disneyland — I saw Cast Scheduling and Cast Costuming buildings, along with others that weren’t as prominently labeled. We went from backstage to the Esplanade, through an open gate, and then under the train tracks onto Main Street USA.
Running down Main Street was obviously a highlight so I stopped for a few pictures, then made the turn into Tomorrowland and continued around to it’s a small world. From here we went backstage again, and passed a succession of interesting areas — vehicle maintenance, parade floats, seeing the backside of various areas such as ToonTown, etc. At this point I checked my timing and realized I had enough of a buffer that I didn’t need to fear the sweepers … so I started taking more pictures, talking to those around me more, and just enjoying the morning walk. I’d still take off at a jog when there was clear space in front of me, but that wasn’t happening all that often.
We came back onstage into Mickey’s Toontown and made our way through Fantasyland. Dumbo was running, appropriately. Of course, getting a picture running through the castle is one of the great shots everyone hopes to get, but I think after some couple decided to quite literally jump in front of me and mug for the race photographer’s camera I probably missed that opportunity.
We headed through Frontierland and then were backstage again .. I remember seeing what I assume is an employee commissary and Imagineering, as well as the back side of Indiana Jones. We then came out into Downtown Disney for our final mile (or so). A lot of the early finishers had made their way back here to cheer on those of us bringing up the rear, and with that motivation I did a bit more running along this last mile than I’d done for miles 4 and 5. When I turned the corner past the ESPN Zone, I could see the finish line, and kept my slow jog going until I crossed the timing mat.
From the finish, we were herded through the finisher chutes where we picked up first our medals, then Dumbo wristbands for those racing again tomorrow, then water. Race photographers were there to take pictures with the medals, the lines were a bit long but I felt it was worth the wait. Then we picked up our runner refreshment boxes and were turned loose into the wild to reunite with family and friends. I’m solo on this trip and while I know several other people who were running today, I hadn’t made any plans to meet up with them. So I decided that heading back to the hotel for a shower and some rest was the way to go … and then see what I felt like after that.
A few hours of rest and I made my way back to Disneyland, wearing my 10K race shirt and finisher’s medal. I hadn’t checked out the photo ops available in Fantasy Faire before, so I thought this would be the perfect time. I got pictures with Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora, took in a few rides, and then decided to head back to the hotel again rather than spending more time on my feet.
I’m very happy with today’s result — and more than a little worried about tomorrow’s. It’s supposed to be cooler, but I have zero faith in the forecasters on that. We are scheduled for an earlier start and that will also help with the heat and humidity. I think I will again start by trying to do 20:40 intervals, although in the early going it’s quite likely there won’t be space enough to stick to any predetermined pattern.
Should be an interesting, and challenging, morning. Looking forward to it!
- Disneyland Half Marathon and 10k Courses Are Here! (lifelaugheatrun.wordpress.com)
- DDD Race Goals (prairieprincessrunners.wordpress.com)