At 3:50 AM on Saturday morning, the first alarm went off. The second alarm went off at 4 AM and it was time to actually get up for the 10K.
Despite trying on a bunch of different outfits on Friday night (and debating a million tops at the Expo Friday day), Jen and I both decided to wear our official Tink 10K shirts after Emily put hers on. As we were getting ready, we thought we overheard people walking past our hotel room door. What?! Rain?! There isn’t rain in the forecast! But sure enough, we opened the door and there it was – rain.
Now, our original 10K plan was a “fun 10K” plan. I was going to drop back to D with Jen and Emily and we were going to walk, talk, and take pictures. We knew we had the half on Sunday and didn’t want to push ourselves too hard. Well, rain changed ALL of the plans. Walk? Heck no. We would be going as fast as possible. I would start in my original corral (B).
I typically run with music, but I knew this 10K course was almost entirely in the parks and backlot areas. I also knew it was raining, so I decided to leave my earbuds in the room. I also knew that I didn’t want to wear my “real” running shoes because I didn’t want them to be soaked the next day for the half. You know that saying about nothing new on race day? Well, I wore shoes I’d only run about two miles in. Ha. I’d walked and worked out plenty in them and for a 10K it was worth the risk.
So, just past 4:30 AM, we headed towards the starting area. In the rain.
It was that spitting rain at first and then a little heavier. We skipped the “family reunion” area altogether and went straight to the corrals. We parted ways and I headed towards the front of B. The benefit of the rain (and B in particular) is that the the corral was WIDE OPEN even just after 5 AM. Most people were hanging out at the back of the corral because it was under a bridge. Thankfully, by that time, the rain had stopped and I was able to get pretty close to the front of the corral. I was wet, but my socks were dry and that was such a saving grace.
National anthem, race announcements, and soon enough, the race began!
Mile 1: The first mile was out Disneyland Dr. towards Ball Rd. and then over the overpass before turning on Harbor. It was great hitting that overpass early before the sunrise (always one of the worst moments in the DL Half for me running directly into the sun) and while you have the start of the race not-tired momentum. It was odd not having music, but not bad by any means. Nike+ Pace: 11:15/mile.
Mile 2: From the Mile 1 marker, we continued down Harbor and then into Disneyland through backlot areas into Toon Town. Nike+ Pace: 11:08/mile.
Mile 3: Entirely in the park! Down past Small World, around the carousel, through the castle, and out to Critter Country through Frontierland. When I looked at the course map before the race, I expected the run along the Rivers of America and u-turn at the end to be horribly congested, but it was honestly not bad at ALL. On we went over the bridge and out Adventureland and around the hub towards Matterhorn before cutting down to Tomorrowland and out to Main St. from the backlot when we hit the 5K marker. Nike+ Pace: 11:09/mile. Official 5K: 35:49 (11:31 pace)
Mile 4: From the park and into backlot areas before we made out way to Disney’s California Adventure. It was crazy to know I was already half way there and that I’d be 2/3 done when I finished this mile. Nike+ Pace: 11:44/mile (Aside: I’m not sure if I actually slowed considerably at that point, but I do know I slowed down. This pace was much more in line with what the official pace was though, so I’d say it may also mean I did less weaving and what not to make it more accurate).
Mile 5: What?! Already? This mile was another combination of backlot and in the park areas. I loved running past Radiator Springs in that early morning light. Nike+ Pace: 11:40/mile.
Mile 6: Do you know what I love about the 10K? It’s just over 6 miles. It goes by SO fast. The final mile wound through DCA – over the bridge and around the backside of the pier and on to the “scenic” 49 route. Nike+ Pace: 11:23/mile.
Mile 6.2: Downtown Disney for the home stretch! Official Time: 1:12:48 (11:43 pace). Nike clocked me at 6.45 miles and an overall 11:18/pace. It’s always tough to say how accurate Nike is and how much you weaved and really did add distance to your race. My second 5K was officially 36:59 (11:54 pace) which is pretty consistent, but I’d like to be more consistent.
I’m thrilled I PRed on my 10K by almost four minutes! Granted, I have only one other 10K time (and, to be honest, I would have been surprised had I NOT PRed given the weather conditions of that first race, haha).
I really loved the course. I was happy it didn’t start raining again… okay, it sprinkled again for a moment, but not real rain. I was happy with my shoe selection. I didn’t miss my headphones which was a huge shock for me. I did learn that the rain makes a difference though clothing-wise though. The race tech shirt was awesome and my normal capris too, but I chafed with my sports bra and I usually don’t with shorter distances. BOO.
Now, you may have noticed that I didn’t mention much about the Disney parts of the run beyond park locations. You may remember, I don’t stop for characters, so the character stops didn’t register much. There were only pixies on the course with Tink towards the end (I didn’t see her, but I heard). But, there also weren’t any characters in non-character stop locations just out (like Anna and Elsa in the castle during Princess or other characters on floats just cheering in past DL races). This was a little disappointing. The signage for the character stops was awesome though. It definitely helped to prep people for where to go if they wanted to stop.
Speaking of character stops and photos… let’s talk about race photos. Disney moved from using Marathonfoto to their own Disney Photopass photographers during Star Wars Dark Side (their race weekend in April) and this was their first time using it at Disneyland. I thought it was FANTASTIC. The photographers were excellent, more plentiful, and more visible. The price was right too. It was perfect for the 10K. I had WAY more photos than I’ve ever had in the past and you can bundle with other people in your party. It’s the first time I have ever purchased race photos and I couldn’t be happier.
So, the 10K was done, but there was one more BIG race to the weekend. Up next, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon!
Did you run the Tink 10K? Have you done a Disney 10K before? What’d you think of the course?