Finishing the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge

I can’t believe that it’s taken so long to get this race recap up on the blog. However, here it is. If you want to go back and read my recap from the Inaugural Captain America 10K, click here. That will get you back up to speed with this race that happened so long ago.

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After surviving the cold while waiting for the Captain America 10K on the day before, I made sure to keep the runDisney mylar blanket I got at the end of the 10K.

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Others did the same. I decided not to to the staging area this time around. Instead, I headed straight to the corrals and wait. AJ and Ivie found me. So, I got wait for the start with two of my running friends for a second day.

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Here’s the scene fry where I was waiting. Even in corral C, there were quite a few people in front of me.

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Carissa and Rudy were doing their pre-race thing and keeping the energy high at the start line. One thing I really liked about this year’s Avengers Half is that they had a script that was in theme with the race!

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I loved being in corral C because we had such a short wait before it was time to GO!

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Something that was unique to the Avengers Half Marathon last year is that we made the turn into backstage Disney California Adventure right away. They made a similar change to the Disneyland Half Marathon this year. I love getting into this area so quickly!

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I do believe that our journey backstage at DCA was a little different this year in the beginning. We wrapped around backstage for a little bit.

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We came onstage in the back part of Cars Land.

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I love this view! Running by the Radiator Springs Racers is one of my favorite parts to run at DCA! We ran around the racers and up Route 66.

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Season’s Speedings from Cars Land! I knew there was a good reason to delay this race recap! Running up Route 66 brought us to the first character stop and the end of the first mile. The first character stop was Black Widow (if I remember correctly). The line was on the short side. However, if it isn’t Sarlett Johanson, it’s not worth waiting. I ventured off to the side to get this pic and continued on.

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From Cars Land, it was a turn to the right and heading up Buena Vista Street. The knock on the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon is the limited time in the parks. We were in and out of DCA in less than a mile and a half. It was really quick. That said, it’s always fun running across the Esplanade between DCA and Disneyland! At the WDW races, the crowds on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom is the place that’s most fun to run. At the Disneyland races, this is the spot. Lots of crowd support!

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Just inside of Disneyland, I found Kim and Gail who were getting pictures in front of the train station. I added on on their phones and they got this one of me.

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After the quick picture, it was off to run down Main Street U.S.A.! Even though they don’t get the crowds you’ll see running up Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom, I still love running here!

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We turned to the left at the hub and made our way through Frontierland. Then, it was back to run by the Big Thunder Ranch. I loved that the Christmas decorations were up for this race. It makes it a unique race at Disneyland.

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As we made our way to Fantasyland, I noticed that there was a small looking line to get a pic with Thor. So, I debated for a few seconds and decided to wait. I know that it would cost me some time. The estimated wait was 10 minutes. So, it sounded good. While I waited, I saw my friend Juliana who was further up the line.

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It was around 10 minutes to wait. However, so worth it! I got a pic with Cap in the Captain America 10K and Thor for the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. They really need to bring Iron Man to the course. I know there’s this trademark issue with using the name Iron Man in an athletic event. But, could’t they just have Iron Man without his mask and call him Tony? I digress.

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We wrapped around the Matterhorn. On the way to Tomorrowland, I thought I’d get a different pic and took this one with the Finding Nemo Subs in the background.

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We made our way by the Star Wars Launch Bay (which would open the next day)…

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and the Super Hero HQ….

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all on our way backstage at Disneyland.

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And to the mile 2 marker. The next time I’d be in this space would be for the Candlelight dress rehearsal. By this point, I knew my time goals were completely out the window. However, the picture with Thor made it totally worth it.

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From backstage, we made our way briefly back onstage at Main Street. I couldn’t resist a pic with the Christmas tree. Yep. There was a good reason to wait until December to post this.

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Now, here was something different. Last year, we ran through this same route. Only, we turned up to where the buses drop people off on our way to Harbor Blvd.

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This year, we made our way to backstage DCA and through the tunnel that connects backstage Disneyland and backstage DCA.

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On the other side of the tunnel, we eventually made our way out to Harbor Blvd.

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As we made our way onto Harbor Blvd., I saw the race leader! It’s always encouraging to realize that, while you’re in mile 3, the leader of the race is about to finish. Oh, the joys of races that come back to where they started.

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Not too far behind was Mr. 2nd place. We all cheered him along. Now that we were on the streets, it was time to figure out the rest of the race. I crossed the mile 3 marker somewhere just past Katella Avenue a little faster than the year before! This was encouraging. In 2014, I stopped for a picture with Mickey and Minnie. This year, I stopped for the pic with Thor. So, getting to the mile 3 marker would be a pretty good comparison.

While I was happy to be slightly ahead of my pace from the year before, I knew that didn’t mean I would finish ahead of my time from the year before. I decided in the 4th mile to continue with the run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds for the rest of the race. Even that was pushing it for me. I was feeling a little tired in mile 4. In 2014, I was able to switch up to run a minute, walk a minute on the streets. Not so this year. While I was a little bummed about that, I did have fun in the parks. So, it was okay.

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Mile 5 had Thor on it! As I ran by the mile markers, I did think to myself…hmmm. I wonder if this is what they would have looked like last year if the wind didn’t blow them down. Also, shortly before this marker, at a water stop, I couldn’t resist using this line to a volunteer…. Thank you for working the Hydra-Station! He laughed. Hey, Carissa told us to use that kind of a line.

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One of the problems with the race last year was the wind. So, this year, runDisney had us run on the opposite side of the Santa Ana River Trail. I’ve got to commend them for learning from they year before. After all, if the winds had been crazy again, this move would have been seen as a God-send. The bad side of this…the path is much more narrow on this side.

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See what I mean? There’s not a lot of room to get around walkers and slower runners.

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It was so bad, that I saw someone run on the tree side of this fence. Initially, I was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to get back on the race course. Because the space was so narrow, I had quite a few run intervals cut short. Others were run slower than I could have run because of slower runners around me.

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By the time we got to the 7 mile marker, I was wondering if we’d see the Cos Players this year. Last year , the were right at the start of the Santa Ana River Trails. Not so this year.

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On the other side of the underpass of the river trail past the 7 mile marker, my fears were relieved. It was time for some fun with the Cos Players!

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I couldn’t resist a picture with Falcon and Ant-Man. Funny thing, though…I didn’t even see the Ant-Man until after I looked at the picture later.

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They had lots of Marvel Characters! It seemed like there were more this year than we saw last year. So much fun!

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Yep. Mile 8 was where the party was at for this race! They even had Director Fury on the mile 8 marker.

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As we got close to the Mile 8 marker, you could see Angel Stadium looming in the distance. From one party to the next. As we came out of the river trail, I saw my friends AJ and Ivie again. As I came up on them, I remembered seeing them the year before at pretty much the same place. Too funny!

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Yet again, it sucks that runDisney didn’t line the path into the stadium with people cheering us on like we get with the Disneyland Half Marathon. It just feels empty. Still, the stadium awaits.

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One of my plans for this race involved how I’d handle being inside Angel Stadium. In the past, I’ve taken my time to take it all in. This year, I had 3 spots for photos. Once I got in…

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Then, I ran all the way to home plate! I always love the view from home plate. They put a graphic of the race on the jumbo tron. So, it’s a pretty good spot to stop for a selfie! As you can see behind me, there were some bands out to cheer us on. The stands didn’t have the same boy scout and girl scout troops we get for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Seriously, runDisney, this needs to change.

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After that pic, it was time to head up the third base side. The goal was to run all the way up that side as well. However, it was a little too crowded.

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Instead, I got this selfie as I walked. I didn’t think the Marathofoto guy took a picture of me when I ran by on the first base side. So, this would be as close to an action shot as I would get in the stadium.

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One last picture before leaving. I love running through Angel Stadium. It’s seriously sad for me when I have to leave.

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Not too far outside the stadium, in the parking lot, was the mile 9 marker! This one had Ant-Man on it!

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Then, just past the marker, we got a large line up of folks dressed in vintage military gear. I’m sure that this is an homage to the early years of Captain America.

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I wanted to keep my run intervals going. Really, I did. However, since getting a fantastic finish time was already out the window, I had decided to capture all the fun of the race.

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And the line up of military, both past and present, just continued…

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And were on both sides of the road cheering us on.

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And it just continued…

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Thee was even swing dancing! It’s like the USO days of old had time traveled to the Angel Stadium parking lot!

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As we left the stadium parking lot, I knew that we were going to be covering some new ground for a runDisney race. I was tired once the adrenaline rush of the Cos Players, Angel Stadium, and the past and present military tribute had passed. However, I was still very intrigued by this new part of the course. For the Disneyland Half Marathons and last year’s Avengers Half Marathon, we left the stadium and eventually veered off Gene Autry Way. Not so this year. This time, we made our way over the 5 freeway and continued on.

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The 10 Mile marker was heavenly! Only a 5K to go! And Captain America was on this sign! Good things were to come!

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I loved running the palm tree lined roads! Yep. We were getting closer to Disneyland. While I was feeling tired in this section. The intrigue of how the route would turn kept me in the race.

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Eventually, we turned into the Katella Cast Member parking lot.

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Running through a parking lot was cool for a one time thing. However, not interesting enough to be excited about running it again.

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Not too far outside the lot, we were back on Harbor Blvd. and came to the end of mile 11. Only 2.1 miles to go!

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Eventually, we made our way back to Disneyland property. In this part, we were running where buses are normally dropping people off for a day at the Happiest Place on Earth. One thing that made me laugh in this part of the course is seeing all the tourists who were coming in for a day at Disneyland. Many of them looked utterly confused at seeing us runners.

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At the end of the buses, we turned to the left and made our way into backstage DCA yet again. By this point, I was seriously wondering where the 12 mile marker would be. This was a very different finish.

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Still, it was fun entering another backstage area.

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A few hours earlier, I was running the other way up this stretch of backstage DCA. As I was on a walk break, I realized that I’ve never taken a picture at the end of a race down this path. So, I decided to grab one picture here. This road is very familiar to anyone who has run a runDisney race at Disneyland.

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In the last mile, I made sure to keep the run/walk intervals going. As I got out of the DCA backstage area and crossed over Disneyland Way into the parking lot of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, I almost teared up. By the time you get there, you know the end is near. The crowds are picking up and you can feel that finish line calling. It’s tempting to alter your intervals in this stretch. I try to keep it conservative. Even there are those cheering for you to not stop running. It’s okay to do so. All the training and sacrifice are so worth it when you see this sign…Mile 13! Only 0.1 miles to go!

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Last year, my pic of the Avengers at the finish. Since I wasn’t getting a fantastic finish time, I decided to make sure I corrected that this year. Normally, I’d be charging to the finish line at this spot. But, I really wanted the pic.

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I did run that little distance to the finish. After all, you do have to run across the line if you can. I was very happy to be finished with another challenge race at Disneyland! My official finish time was 3:08:16 for a 14:22 per mile pace.

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After the finish, it was time to head back and get my Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon medal! The woman giving me the medal did her best to stay out of the selfie.

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Then, it was time to get my Infinity Gauntlet Challenge medal. This volunteer was more than happy to get in the selfie.

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The Infinity Gauntlet Challenge was now complete! Love the new medals!

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After the race, I headed back to my car for a quick little nap and to get cleaned up. Then, it was off to Disneyland for pictures with my new medals! This place seemed about right.

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Ah! The new bling has arrived at their home!

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Since it was the end of the year, I had to get a Sleeping Beauty Castle picture with all my runDisney medals for 2015! Arranging all these medals was quite a task.

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Thanks runDisney for another fun race weekend! Overall, I think that runDisney improved on last year’s inaugural event. I liked that there were more Cos Players on the river trail. I liked running over a new course. I also feel like runDisney put more effort into making this race magical. It still has its flaws. However, kudos to runDisney for the improvements!

The splits from this race show that I got better as the race went along. So, even though the time is among my slower half marathons, I’m proud of the fact that I kept on fighting through the whole race.

5K – 49:38 (est finish time – 3:29:25)

10K – 1:30:28 (est finish time – 3:10:52)

15K – 2:14:49 (est finish time – 3:09:37)

Finish Time 3:08:16

See that? My estimated finish times kept decreasing all the way to the finish. If you take out my 10 minute wait for the picture with Thor, I would have had a sub-3 hour half marathon and a runDisney half marathon PR. That’s how close it can be some times. I’m not bummed at all that the runDisney half marathon PR didn’t happen. That pic with Thor made it worth it.

 

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Posted in The Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, Uncategorized
One comment on “Finishing the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge
  1. great recap and i am so glad I got to see you in line for thor. i definitely think they improved on the race but would love to see more park time. i just assumed the new ending 5k was so they could test out using new parts to replace the backstage that will have to be cut when star wars land development starts

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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

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