The Hotlegs Runner RACE REVIEW: Disneyland Half Marathon | The Hotlegs Runner

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RACE REVIEW: Disneyland Half Marathon

This race was 6 months in the making. Seemed just like yesterday when I talked my running buddy, Gail, into joining this race. I'm so happy to have shared this wonderful experience with her.

As race day drew closer, I couldn't contain my excitement. Which I bet was pretty obvious in all my updates on my Facebook page, Dailymile and Twitter account. This IS my very first race event outside the Philippines. It has also been 4 months since I last joined a race. So my legs, no, my whole being was just itching to hit the pavement. I was very excited to see how it is like here in the States. I heard the races here are very well-organized and that you need not be afraid of running out of water or energy drinks or worse, getting lost due to poor marshaling.

I give this race 5 HOT LEGS!

Here's my review and a blow-by-blow description of the event...


Everyone was required to attend the Disneyland Health Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel to receive our event shirt, race bib, D-tag timing device, and goody bag. This was the day we met Mr. Jeff Galloway during his talks there. We also had time to do some picture-taking and window shopping since there were a lot of booths that sold running gear, accessories and souvenirs.

CORRAL PLACEMENT - Corral placement is based on your anticipated finish time. Upon registration you are asked for proof of time which must be from a race 10K or longer. Based on this time, you are placed at an appropriate corral. The elites, of course, were in Corral A. When I registered, I still wasn't able to achieve my best 21K time of 2:27. I registered my previous Pikermi time which was 2:36. Thus, I was placed in Corral D. During the packet pick up I realized I could move up to corral C but I wasn't able to bring with me my proof of time. Didn't matter really since the ChronoTrack D-Tag system will be used to time this race.

D for Determined!

RACE BIB - Now I know why they printed our names on the race bib. So the people watching can call out your name and cheer you on..."Go Julie!", "You got this, Julie!", "You're doing a great job, Julie!". I have to admit, all that cheering (even if I didn't know those people) really helped! Participants without a bib number will be removed from the course for security and safety reasons. In other words, "bawal ang bandits." (no bandits), hehe! There was also an Emergency Medical Information on the back of the bib number.

With our race bibs

TIMING - Our D-Tag was located on the back of our bib. We were asked to step through an area on the day of packet pick up to either activate it or/and to check if the tag is working well. I wasn't so sure. I just remember seeing my name on the computer when I stepped through the sensor. Clocks were located at every mile marker along the course. However. the time displayed was the time from gun start so it really is only for those who started in front of the start line (Corral A).

my D-tagged Mizunos



The roads were closed early so Gail and I had to run about 2K to our corral. It's ok, we needed the warm-up anyways. When we got to our corral, the area was packed! We were waaaaaay at the back of corral D and were being squished by the tall Americans. That said, we didn't have enough space to stretch. =(

we're so small ;p

RACE START - As it should be, the race started on time. Each corral started 5 minutes after the other. So being in Corral D, Gail and I started 15 mins after the actual gun start.

THE FIRST FEW MILES - Although Gail suggested a 2K run and 30 second run walk cycle for this run, we ran up to 4K during our first cycle. LOL! Yes, I didn't want to take a walk break just yet. I was too hyped up! It was hard to stop. So many people cheering. When we finally did slow down, I managed to take some pictures along the way. Most of which, were blurry since I took them while running.

Gail wanted to stop for a quick pic but I said NO! ;p

We first entered California Adventure. We were welcomed by cheerleaders and Disney Characters. When we entered the Disneyland Park, I got sooooo excited! We ran through the castle of Sleeping Beauty where we were greeted by Maleficent!

There's the castle!

who's up there?

HALFWAY MARK - When I entered the Angel Stadium, I remembered thinking...TOO COOL!!! I've never been inside a baseball stadium. And to think this was the home of the Angels! We were greeted by numerous people on the bleachers, clapping, cheering and calling out our names with matching words of encouragement. I noticed whenever this happens, my pace would increase! Proof that it really does help in terms of motivation. There were cheerers, dancers, bands everywhere, I didn't feel the need to listen to my ipod.

THE LAST FEW MILES - This is when it got serious. I put my camera away at this point and really focused on my running. I wanted to beat my last time. I felt my right calf muscle stiffen. I tried to relax and pulled up my upper body to lessen the weight on my already strained legs.

The LAST 100 METERS - I have never experienced cramping on my leg before. And it had to happen on my last few meters. In all my races, I would always sprint to the finish line. When I was starting to do so here, my right calf would stiffen and my right foot would simply feel dead. I tried sprinting 3 times and this would always happen, which caused me to almost trip and fall down on the ground! It was a weird feeling. It was like the lower part of my right leg would just lock. So what I did was to transfer most of my weight to the left side. My poor left leg. I talked to it and said, "please try to hold up, we're almost at the finish line". 25 meters from the finish line, I heard the love of my life call out to me, cheering me on. Exactly what I needed! He was like a breath of fresh air. Actually, it was almost like a scene from a movie!

craaaamps! ooooucchhh!

FINISH - So yeah, I made it! Yey! I limped my way into one corner to stretch my right calf and a medical personnel pointed to a wheelchair and asked me if I wanted to sit on it...NO FREAKIN' WAY!!! Hahahaha! Secretly I wanted to, but, the vain side of me screamed, NO! ;p


MEDAL and DRINK - The fabulous Mickey Mouse finishers medal were handed soon after I crossed the finish line. On the left side were tents full of water and Powerade. Organized!

Isn't she a beauty?

COOLING OFF - I followed the crowd to this area where they gave packs of ice and cling wraps. I sat on a bench and first wrapped the bag of ice on my right calf. Then a volunteer offered to wrap my left side. She did a better job doing so, compared to me.

Not too shabby

After that we were handed chill packs. Oh my, this is something I have never experienced before. The towelette was so cold and it had some sort of menthol in it. So I "bimpo-ed" my face, neck, arms and thighs. And I smelled good. You won't be able to smell, er, tell, that I ran 21 Kilometers! =p

Heaven in a bag

PICTURE - Walked some more and was led to the photo area where solo pictures were taken of all runners with the Disneyland backdrop. Tried to squeeze in a smile. I was so tired already!

Fake smile

FOOD - After the picture, there was the Refreshments tent. I have never seen so much bagels, oranges, bananas and Clif Energy Bars in my life! Too bad I could only carry so much.

BAGGAGE COUNTER - Tents were arranged alphabetically. Doing so, made everything fast and hassle free to get your checked-in stuff. How organized!

FAMILY REUNION AREA - Since the tents were arranged alphabetically based on your last name, it was very easy for me to find Mike. And there he was. Taking a pic of me coming out and holding up my banner. Aaaawwww....

Nice feeling to have a loved one waiting for you at the finish line =)

MASSAGE - Gail and I treated ourselves to the free massage. I thought I heard my legs say, "aaahhh yes, that's the spot". We had two masseuse each and there were about 20 to 25 massage beds in the tent. Nice!


I had my medal engraved (name and finish time) and then Gail and I went wild with the pictorial before heading home.

Oh Disneyland, you surely did not disappoint. I guess the only thing I didn't like were some areas where it bottle-necked so it really became crowded. But I guess this is fine since it helped me relax and slow down a bit. Also, I like the Photovendo pictures in Manila better where they really can get really snap happy and take 20 to 50+ pictures of each runner. Though I liked the fact that they take a pic of you crossing the finish line.

Starngely, my Garmin registered I finished at 2:20, not 2:24. Hmmm..

Thank you so much Gail for sharing this memorable race event with me. Thank you Carina for always being there for me, coaching me, always motivating me and answering my numerous questions about training. Thank you to my family for praying for us and wishing us well. Thank you to my 2 Mikes for being my inspiration and for being so patient with me and understanding my passion for running. And lastly, to God Almighty! For giving me the strength and the endurance to finish this race and for finally showing me the sign. My prayer was answered!

You see, I was choosing between two marathons (Santa Barbara International Marathon or the Rock n Roll Las vegas Marathon). I really wanted to do the latter but got scared when they changed the cut-off time to 5 hours and 30 mins!. It was so hard to decide! So I lifted it all up to God. I prayed and said, if I beat my last Pikermi time today, I will take that as a sign. A sign that I am meant to do my first full marathon in Las Vegas this Dec. And so the Lord has spoken. I come! Hotlegs runner is gonna run like a rockstar!!!!

View pictures of the Disneyland Half Marathon HERE. =)

*** Follow Up:  Got my certificate....

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  1. Congratulations, Hotlegs! I'm so proud of you! Good luck in training for your first marathon. I know you can do it. xxxx

  2. Congrats, Julieeee weeee! Galing! Your training paid off! Ang galing ng race! It's so organized!

  3. @Noelle: thanks so much Noelle! Come run here! Shoe em how it's done =)

    @Rachel: yup rache very! thanks =)

  4. congrats. looked so fun. btw, small world, i know gail.

  5. Nice one Ms Hotlegs! Good luck in Sin City Vegas :-) Was actually thinking of running it to raise my membership level in MM...Decided instead on Toronto in two weeks and possibly San Jose next month! All the best!

  6. Congratulations on your race. Its a great + to beat minnine and mickey :-). just kidding have fun in the states. and thanks for the tip on how to wrap ice on a leg injury with a saran rap. regards - patrick concepcion / runningshield

  7. Love the post Julie! Of course I was only able to read through it now (LOL)! Good luck running your 1st Mary! I know you can do it! You're BADASS! :p Hugzzzz!

  8. I enjoyed reading this post! I was there but I only ran the 5k this year..I regreted not going for the big race but next year I will be there for sure!

  9. Read every word - it was like being there!!! VERY COOL!!!

    I hope to run my first half a place as cool as Disneyland!!!

    I am a new fan!!!! Can't wait to keep reading your stuff!


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