It’s official! I’m no longer a RunDisney Disneyland newbie! Yippee!
On Saturday I ran my first RunDisney race – the inaugural Alice in Wonderland themed 10k – in Disneyland!
Shhh… don’t tell the other RunDisney races, but I think the Disneyland 10k had officially taken the spot as my favorite race of the RunDisney series (that includes both World and Land races). What I really LOVED about it is the course. Unlike the races at Walt Disney World or the Disneyland half, the 10k course is about 90% through the actual theme parks.
It’s seriously a GREAT course! You get to run more of the theme park than if you were running just the half!
Also, you can’t beat the start line location. Unlike Disney World races where you have to wake up three hours before the race to make it to the start line on time (even if you stay on property), my alarm was set a mere hour before go time. Race start was at 6:15 and my alarm was set for 5:15. Since I was staying at the Grand Californian (beautiful hotel, by the way), all I had to do was roll out of bed and WALK to the starting line! No buses, no shuttles, and no worries about parking or walking a million miles to the start line. Beautiful.
(Ariel themed costume thanks to Sparkle Athletics!)
There was a bit of a hold up getting to the starting line since the 5k only started 45 minutes before the 10k ( and the first runner of the 5k crossed the finish line before they got through all the corrals at the 5k start line!), but after the 5kers all crossed the start line it was smooth sailing. I made it to my corral with plenty of time before the start to enjoy the pre-show and even wave to a few friends.
Hi Rudy! Hi Carissa!
At 6:15 the first corral set off, then corral B followed quickly there after.
I was definitely riding a RunDisney high this whole race. I had no goals for the run, just to have fun and enjoy my time running through Disneyland Resort.
After the start, it wasn’t long before I ran into Heather (I heard Carissa announce her name at the start a few seconds before mine) and settled into a 9:00-ish min/mi pace with her around the first stretch of the race.
(photo via Heather)
We ran around the outer edge of the Disneyland resort and I saw Ali Vincent, Joey Fatone, and even met Pavement Runner for the first time on the course. I love the laid back feel of RunDisney races. Everyone’s always in high spirits and so happy to say hello and wish fellow runners words of encouragement.
Heather and I ended up sticking with each other for the first 4 miles of the race. We entered California Adventure through the back entrance and ran through Cars Land before making a left on Paradise Pier.
Here’s where the half and 10k differ. In the 10K you run the full circle of the pier, where the half you only run the inner edge. You also enter from the opposite direction.
We exited California Adventure through the back staging area and veered right before making a left into the Disneyland entrance. The route through Disneyland for the 10k is similar to the route through Magic Kingdom for Walt Disney World races (enter through main street, make a right through Tomorrowland, and make a big circle to the back entrance of the castle), but is different than the Disneyland half route, which is the opposite approach).
Though, they do take you an extra long route back to the castle. They sort of tease you by bringing you by the front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle when you first enter the park, then take you on a big loop of the back staging area and back through Toon Town.
I lost Heather in the back staging area when she stopped to take a gu. My legs were feeling really good at this point and I was ready to pick up the speed. I treated the last half of the race like an interval workout and was basically sprinting between photo ops.
Luckily I was still early enough where the lines weren’t terrible for characters. I waited 3 minutes tops for each photo. There was actually an “Eric” before me in one line and the photographers thought we were together. Nope, just a random Eric and Ariel waiting in line next to each other.
Finally, the castle!
You enter the castle with about a mile to go before the finish line. This may not have been my fastest 10k time ever, but the race definitely flew by as if it was. The 6 miles went way too fast!
The last stretch takes you straight through Downtown Disney, which was awesome. Tons of crowd support and a great, fast and flat piece of the route to finish on.
As soon as I spotted the finish line, I couldn’t help but sprint to the end. I finished with my hands in the air and the biggest smile on my face (especially after hearing Carissa announce my name at the finish).
Official time: 1:03: 32 – not bad considering the photo stops!
And, of course, you can’t forget the bling!
The 10k medal was legit! They weren’t messing around with this bad boy!
Once we got our medals, we were funneled through the exit and handed a recover Fitful box on our way out.
When the FitFul boxes first debuted at RunDisney a few years ago, I wasn’t impressed. The boxes of snacks weren’t the bagels or whole fruit I’m used to grabbing after races. However, I was happy to see it this go around. The snacks are all pretty tasty and even if I’m not craving it at that very moment, they’re all great for putting in a bag and nibbling on in the parks later on.
I took my recovery nutrition in my own hands and headed straight to the Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney for refuel.
I would like to petition to bring Jamba Juice to Downtown Disney in Orlando. Our Downtown Disney could really use one. 😉
After a quick shower, I couldn’t wait to wear my shiny new medal while exploring the parks with my twin brother (who lives in Los Angeles).
But, I’ll get to that in another post (I have SO MUCH to share about my first visit to Disneyland!).
What’s your favorite RunDisney race?