Those Summer Nights

Anyone who’s familiar with Southern California knows that we don’t believe in seasons.  I live in a little part of CA known as the I.E. or Inland Empire.  Which means there’s no off shore breeze where I live.  We have two temperatures, hot and slightly less hot.  Both of which may or may not be accompanied by the Santa Ana winds.  Summer starts in May and ends in October, which makes running during half the year really, really, really, really sucky.

I know, I know.  I sound like a whiny bitch.  It's because I am.

I know, I know. I sound like a whiny bitch. It’s because I am.

I don’t know about you peeps, but I’m what’s considered a “heavy sweater” and no I don’t mean like a cable knit.  I mean shirt completely drenched after a 60 minute yoga class heavy.  I mean wiping up my sweat after push-ups so I don’t slip and break my neck kind of heavy. I know sweating has its benefits, like, you know, that whole eliminating toxins thing.  But the last thing I want to do when it’s 100 degrees outside is run.  I’ve been going to RIPPED and Body Back at 5 am for this very reason.  So far I’ve been able to keep up with my cross training, but with the Dumbo Double Dare rapidly approaching in August, I’m starting to feel a little nervous.  Because, yeah, August in SoCal sucks the life right out of you.   I know I need to train and I need to train in the heat.  I’m just finding it very very hard to actually get out there and do it.

How do you stay motivated when it’s hotter than Hades?  Any tips for running in the heat?  Has anyone ran the Disneyland Half in August?  Am I going to melt out there?!?

Jumbo Double Dare (no, that’s not a typo)


When my Pooks was little, he refused to call Dumbo anything but Jumbo, because calling someone Dumbo is just plain mean.

So, while the rest of the people running on August 30th and 31st will be completing runDisney’s Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, I’ll be completing the Jumbo Double Dare Challenge. I’m sure runDisney will modify my shirts and medals for me, right? (Just don’t play Baby Mine or there will be tears.)

Of course, it’s always better with a friend or two and I’m super stoked that I’ll be running with my California girls, Jess and Cam. Oh, if you could only see the group text that was happening on Tuesday during registration. Wait! You can…

There was a lot of flailing going on previous to this portion of the message but I'll spare you that part.

There was a lot of flailing going on previous to this portion of the texts but I’ll spare you that part. You’re welcome.

I’m sure that I drove both of them crazy with my emails and texts leading up to registration, too. After all, I knew from previous years that Disneyland races tend to fill up quickly. And sure enough, this year was no exception! You can see above that only a half hour after registration opened, the Dumbo Double Dare was already at 85% capacity and quickly filled soon after. There is no time to hesitate with these races!

How amazing are these medals?!

How amazing are these medals?!

Cameroo and I have run Disneyland together before at the 2013 Tinker Bell half so it was naturally the next step to try a challenge. This will be our first runDisney challenge and the most logical step for us, with the 10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday, equaling 19.3 glorious miles.

It will be Jess’ first half marathon ever! Like any good bossy friend, I’ve already been giving her tips. I know that she delights in getting emails of running thoughts at random times.

Wondering what I’ve told her thus far? Here are a few tried and true nuggets of wisdom. What can I say, I’m a giver!

1. Run a 10k race (or longer if so desired) prior to June 1. This way she will be able to provide the timed event for her pace and will be placed in the proper corral.

From the registration email: “If you did not provide proof of time at the point of registration or acquire it after you have registered, then email this information to before June 1, 2014 to have your start corral placement changed.”

2. Follow Jeff Galloway’s plan provided by the world class Olympian athlete on the runDisney website. Currently, the plans from 2013 are still on the site but it’s really easy to take them and apply them to 2014. How easy? Well, I took the half plan and am following it for the April 6th half that I’m training for! (And so is Cam because we are running together and I sent her the dates/plan. See? Bossy.)

Click for the link to the beginner plan. Running less than 6 months? This one is for you!

Furthermore, there is a training plan specifically for the Dumbo Double Dare which you can check out here.

That’s basically all I’ve sent so far so I guess you all get off easy. Jess and Cam? Not so much.

209 days to go! Let’s talk runDisney! Who will we see at the Jumbo Double Dare (or, the Dumbo Double Dare)? Brooke and Vic will be at the Glass Slipper Challenge in February – who will be at that?

Special thanks to Anya for the pictures from her 2013 Dumbo Double Dare recap!

Guest Post: Anya takes on the Dumbo Double Dare

When my girls at Scoot A Doot asked me months ago if I would write a guest post for the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Dumbo Double Dare I, of course, said “yes!” I thought it would be an easy-to-write recap of an epic day. Little did I know how epic my day would end up (and how difficult it would be to put into words).

The Dumbo Double Dare was a challenge presented this year by runDisney where if you ran the Inaugural Disneyland 10K and then the following day ran the Disneyland Half Marathon you would receive an extra medal (and some extra pride).

Two weeks prior to Dumbo I was playing soccer in an over 30’s Women’s tournament and was tackled HARD.  I flipped and the first thing to hit the ground was my left shoulder.  Immediately I knew something was wrong.  I couldn’t lift my arm and the pain, oh the pain!  Later, as we sat in the ER, it dawned on me that I would not be running the races that I had so diligently trained for.

Before my shoulder injury, I was feeling so good and prepared for the Dumbo Double Dare!  Based on my training runs, I truly felt I could PR both the 10K and the Half Marathon.

In my over 28 years of playing soccer this would be my worst injury.  My Orthopedic Surgeon informed me that I had separated my shoulder, torn some ligaments and had some nerve damage.  He followed that with the best news I could have heard: I could probably run the half marathon, it may hurt but I would not do any further damage!  Since I had already come to terms with the fact that I would NOT be running Dumbo this was all amazing news for me!  I was cleared to use a stationary bicycle, so I hopped on and cycled my heart out.  The Thursday before the race I was finally cleared to run both events.  I did a short run and it was awful.  My shoulder hurt so bad that I got nauseous during the run (it probably didn’t help that it was 90 degrees that day).  The good news is that every day my shoulder was better than the day before, so I had hope that it would feel better by Saturday morning.

We packed the car and drove up to the Expo on Friday morning.

me at the expo in my awesome Scoot A Doot t-shirt

Me at the expo in my awesome Scoot A Doot t-shirt

how cute are the bibs for the Dumbo Double Dare?!

How cute are the bibs for the Dumbo Double Dare?!

Fast forward to the morning of the Disneyland 10K.  As I stood in my corral I was so nervous to take those first few steps!  I had an amazing cheering section (my wife and dog) and a ton of support from family and friends so I knew that no matter what happened that day I would be okay.

I ran the first mile very carefully and quickly realized that my shoulder felt good, my legs felt good, my lungs felt good and it felt so good to be running again!  When I crossed that finish line- I crossed it with the biggest smile ever!  I checked my time and I PR’d the race by 6 minutes!  I don’t run too many 10K races so it was a PR that was long overdue, but it still felt so good to get it!

here I am with my 10k medal – loving life!

Here I am with my 10k medal – loving life!

I woke up the next morning with my shoulder aching a bit and my legs feeling a little sore from the day before otherwise I felt good and I was so excited to be running the half!  My wife, Laurie, and I left the hotel and walked to the starting line – with our little dog in the basket of Laurie’s bike.

people loved seeing him and kept calling him “Toto”

People loved seeing him and kept calling him “Toto”

Once we got closer we parted ways and I headed over to Corral C to get ready to get going.  This was my first runDisney race that I would be completing without Laurie next to me (along with the 10k).

it was very dark and crowded, but everyone was so friendly!

It was very dark and crowded, but everyone was so friendly!

The energy at runDisney races is incredible and contagious.  I was once again very nervous but all the excited people around me helped to clear my mind.  It was an abnormally hot and humid day in Anaheim and my legs were already a little sore, how would I do in this race?  I knew I would finish, but how bad would it hurt?

They did a countdown and sent us off with some fanfare and Mickey and Minnie waving to everyone.  I tried to take photos but my water bottle was very full and I could not hold it in my left (injured) arm for very long.  I tried to take photos with my left hand but that was a total failure!  I did manage a few photos through Disneyland and CA Adventure- but they were very blurry.

World of Color and Mickey’s Fun Wheel! If you squint your eyes, it looks normal.

World of Color and Mickey’s Fun Wheel! If you squint your eyes, it looks normal.

running down route 66 at Carsland

Running down route 66 at Cars Land

my favorite part- running down Main Street Disneyland!

My favorite part- running down Main Street Disneyland!

At this point I was moving at a very cautious pace.  My legs were feeling a little sore, but my shoulder was feeling good (unless I held the water bottle with my left arm to take pictures).  I decided that I would just keep going and tuck my camera away.  But not before getting the one picture I really wanted:

 Me with the Dumbo ride, while completing the Dumbo Double Dare! Bonus: sunrise

Me with the Dumbo ride, while completing the Dumbo Double Dare! Bonus: sunrise over the Matterhorn.

At around the 4 mile mark you are out of the parks and you embark on your journey through Anaheim.  If it wasn’t for some amazing High School Bands, Cheerleaders, Dance Groups, and friends and family of the runners, this section would have been a very boring run on the streets.

I had last seen Laurie in between California Adventure and Disneyland and as I approached mile 6 I spotted her again!  It was so great to see her, as I needed a morale boost.  Every step was hurting and it was so hot out, but seeing her (and our dog) helped me forget that.  She rode next to me for a ways and then left to meet me somewhere else (I never knew where she would be).  As she rode next to me she snapped this shot with the GoPro camera (which subsequently ran out of battery):

one foot in front of the other!

One foot in front of the other!

And I took this picture of her:

Why oh why didn’t we have her dress as Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ?!

Why oh why didn’t we have her dress as Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ?!

I started having to dig down deep in order to keep myself going.  My doubts were setting in, could I go another 7 miles?! I just kept telling myself that I could do it, and it worked as I kept going.

At the mile 8 mark something amazing happened.  I saw this guy and took my last picture on the course:

The 2:15 pacer!

The 2:15 pacer!

I knew that the 2:15 pacer started a ways in front of me in my corral.  This meant I was going a little faster than a 2:15 half marathon!  My PR was 2:16.  Was I REALLY going PR pace?!  Right then I heard Laurie yelling for me.  I ran over to her and said “did you see the pacer?!” she immediately knew what I meant.  She had been doing runner tracking so she knew what my pace was but I did not (until I saw the pacer). I forgot to look at the clock when I started so I didn’t know how many minutes to subtract and I made a few guesses but nothing was official.  It’s always best when I don’t focus too hard on my pace (you’ll see why).  Laurie took this picture of us before I took off again:

I’m smiling! Could I actually PR?!

I’m smiling! Could I actually PR?!

This was around the area where there was about a mile of classic cars.  This part was so awesome!  So many people there with their extremely cool cars (eye candy) cheering for total strangers very early in the morning!

Mile 9 was just before Angels Stadium. Right around here I lost the pacer as he was in front of me and I could no longer see him.  I was feeling pretty deflated.  I had tasted a PR, I had it in my grasps and I felt like I had let it go.  I felt like maybe I should just walk, but I quickly talked myself out of that and just kept moving.

As we entered Angels stadium I got chills!  I had done this race twice before (2009 and 2010) so I knew this part would be incredible.  The stands are packed with cheering Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and many screaming families and spectators.  The noise is deafening yet uplifting.  Not all of us are professional athletes (clearly) so having a stadium filled with people yelling for you and everyone around you feels pretty amazing.

Shortly after we left the stadium we hit mile 10.  Mile 10 for me, usually (I have run 10 other half marathons), is where I get the most excited.  It is the point in the race where I know I have made it.  The point where I feel I am done with the hardest part of the race.  This day, alas, I did not feel this way at mile 10.  It was tough and I was really pushing myself to keep moving.

I don’t know how I made it to mile 11.  It wasn’t pretty but I just kept repeating my mantra “I am alive” reminding myself I was okay, I was breathing, I was going to do this.  I hunkered down and pushed myself harder than I have ever pushed myself.  I wasn’t going to stop.  Right around here I saw Laurie once again.  She saw I was struggling and she asked me if I was hurting, I told her I was (but she knew this already).  She told me to keep going because I was going to finish!  I could do it!  I honestly would have stopped and walked if I didn’t have her voice in my head over and over telling me I could do it.  Let me be clear, there is nothing at all wrong with walking during a race.  We walked almost all of the Princess Half Marathon, but this race was just different for me.  I was so thankful to be able to run!  Laurie also knows me so well if I really looked like I needed to slow down or stop she surely would have stepped in and said so.  I trusted her and I just kept going.

At mile 12 I was absolutely shocked.  I caught up with the 2:15 pacer!  He was stopped and waiting for people to catch up.  My guess is that he was ahead of schedule.  That was my cue to stop doubting and start pushing.  I ran.  I ran HARD.  He would NOT catch me again!  I would get far enough away from him that if I needed to slow down I would still be in front of him.  I have never pushed myself so hard.  When I took the last turn to the straightaway to finish, I knew I was close and I sprinted.

I sprinted past the screaming/cheering spectators that lined the course near the Disneyland Hotel.  I sprinted past the mile 13 sign.  I only slowed down to high five Minnie Mouse before I crossed the finish line.  I couldn’t believe how hard I pushed- and what was my time??  I immediately checked my email because I was having my official times tracked and sent there.  There it was: 2:10:32.  I had PR’d by 6 minutes!!  I was in shock!!  I made it to where they put the medal around your neck and I was such an emotional mess.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I had actually finished this race after thinking that after months of training hard I wasn’t going to be able to run it- and on top of that I finished with a new PR!

Right after I got my half medal, I burst into tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of exhaustion.  Tears because I did it!  I tried to compose myself while they gave me my Dumbo Double Dare medal.

Wearing both medals felt great!

Wearing both medals felt great!

Shortly after I crossed the finish line my phone died.  When I plugged it back in a little later I got this text from my mom “Anya, you are my hero”.  She had apparently been tracking me and she sent me that text right as I crossed the finish line.  Cue the waterworks again.  Boy, was I emotional!

The breakdown of my race (from the tracking emails):

Just as I had trained! Negative splits!

Just as I had trained! Negative splits!

There’s something magical about the runDisney races.  I have always had such an amazing time when I run them, and despite this one being such a difficult race for me I finished with a huge smile on my face!  I don’t think I could have PR’d so close to my injury at any other race.  I am so thankful for every single stranger that cheered for me.  Thankful for all the volunteers who worked! Thankful for the volunteers helping me fill my water bottle again.  Side note- I drank 2 full water bottles during this race (that was a first for me as well) on top of Powerade at most of the later stations and 2.5 GU’s.  I am also thankful for all of the Anaheim police who were out controlling traffic on the course.  I am even more thankful that I had Laurie racing around on her bike to cheer me on.  She truly is the reason that I was able to finish.  I love the Disneyland Half Marathon and I am so excited to have a shiny new PR as well as 3 shiny new medals from running the Dumbo Double Dare (that’s a lot of shine!).

How amazing are these medals?!

How amazing are these medals?!

Of course I had to wear my Dumbo medal for this picture!

Of course I had to wear my Dumbo medal for this picture!

Oh and our dog?  Apparently it’s exhausting riding around in a basket!

Good night, little man.

Good night, little man.

This race really showed me that I have the strength to reach my goals if I get out of my head and just go for it.  I will never give up on myself again.  This race was such an emotional victory for me.  I feel like I really became a runner (like, a runner) this weekend.  I have so much support from the people that love me it’s overwhelming.  My friends and family were so awesome cheering me on and congratulating me.  They are my inspiration.  I am also proud of the training I have done this year.  It is a true testament to my training that I was able to take 2 weeks off from running (and basically all exercise/movement) and still complete 19.3 miles in 2 days.  I still feel
so good!

Oh, runDisney you got me again.  What a wonderful time I had!  I will be back!

Anya is an avid sports fan, career soccer coach, terrible chef, and an occasional blogger at  You can also find her on twitter at @AnyaBC18