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A Local OC Moms Journey to Run Inaugural 2013 Disneyland 10K 1/2 Marathon

2013 Disneyland 10K

Disneyland 10K finisher

One mom’s journey to run her first “Run Disney” race.

Back in February I decided it was time to start running again to get back in shape. Being the mom of 6 kids it can be hard to find “me time” but as all moms know – it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family. So, I decided the best way to guarantee success was to set a goal. Since I’m a big Disney fan (like many OC moms) I decided to sign up for a Run Disney Race. I chose the new 2013 Disneyland 10K that took place this morning as part of the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend.

My journey to finish the Disneyland 10K was not without it’s ups and downs. I began running 3-5 times a week for 3-6 miles. I was pleased that within a matter of months I had shaved about a minute off of my per-mile pace. Things were going well with my training & I decided to add another goal – The Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in January. I was already running 6 miles without any problems and Tinkerbell is one of my absolute favorite Disney characters, so it made sense. Registration wasn’t open yet, but I knew that would be my next big running goal.

Unfortunately, in May I began having serious problems with vertigo. It would come on without any warning and I was completely unbalanced. Needless to say this seriously impeded my ability to train. So, after visiting with a specialist & getting some diagnostic tests I was put on a round of steroids that would hopefully solve my vertigo problems. During the 3 weeks I was on the medication 4 things happened: 1)The vertigo gradually disappeared, 2) I shaved another minute off my time 3) I ran 13 miles for the first time, and 4) I gained 10 pounds. The speed & distance improvements were very encouraging, the weight-gain, not so much. When you’re only 5 foot 1 an additional 10 pounds is a big deal. Then, when I was finished taking the meds I had a significant decrease in energy – I was literally taking naps in the afternoon every day because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. But, I was determined that this was all just a minor set back & I would get back to “normal”.

Things did begin to improve again. I was able to get my pace back down and my endurance is coming back too. But, a new problem arose. There’s this thing that is known as “runner’s knee syndrome” – yeah, I got it. I began having problems with knee pain during my runs. The pain would get so bad that I had no choice but to stop running and walk during most of my training runs. 3 weeks out from the race my left knee hurt so badly I could barely walk. I visited a therapist, and a chiropractor. I scoured the internet and begged all my runner friends for the best stretches and therapy for my knee problem. And fortunately, things began to improve. I was still having pain, but not as bad & I knew what to do to help alleviate the pain.

That brings us to today – August 31st, 2013 – Race Day! We were told to arrive by 5:15am for a 6:15 start time. I was as prepared as I could be. I had experienced setbacks but I had persevered. I knew that there was a chance my knee would give me problems even with all the preventative measures I had taken. Plus – the humidity this week has been unbearable. My personal best during training had been 57:08. I was hoping to match that, but knew that with my knee it may not be possible – I would be happy to finish in under an hour.

Running a race through the Disneyland Resort was a great experience. They have cast members and Disney Characters along the path cheering you on and giving out “high fives”. If you aren’t concerned about your finish time, you can stop and get your picture taken with the various characters along the way. We ran through California Adventure first – through Cars Land, Paradise Pier and around Grizzly River Rapids. Then we went out near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and headed across the way to Disneyland. We ran down Main Street and through Tomorrowland, around Matterhorn and up behind Small World and back into the park through Mickey’s Toon Town. Then we traveled through Fantasyland & straight through Sleeping Beauty Castle towards Adventureland , New Orleans Square and then out through Critter Country. We finished by running through the Downtown Disney District to the Finish line located on Disneyland Drive.

That Finish Line was a very welcome sight when I got there. The humidity was almost unbearable. Fortunately I didn’t suffer from any knee problems during the race, but the heat & humidity wore me out. There were water stations located throughout the race & I brought a water bottle along – hydration was really important today. I ended up finishing in 58:30 – not my personal best, but a good time considering the conditions and I made my goal of finishing in under an hour.

Running at Disneyland was an amazing and wonderful experience. I am so excited to run the Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon in January – I’m hoping the weather conditions are better than they were today 😉 I have 4 more months to train and hopefully I’ll be able to finish Tinkerbell in 2 hours.

If you’re interested in races held at Disneyland or Walt Disney World check out www.rundisney.com the official website for races held at the Disney theme parks.

Disneyland 10K Finisher Medal

Disneyland 10K Finisher Medal

Julie is an OC Supermom to six beautiful children in Orange County. She is an editor with Astraea Press, active in the community and enjoys running in her free time.
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2 Comments

  1. Congrats, Julie. Way to go! 🙂

  2. Congrats Julie! I’m running the half marathon tomorrow. Disney puts on a great race

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