It was a whirlwind weekend trip and I had a blast at the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon on May 8!
It was a three day trip for me— the four of us (two runners and two spectators) arrived in Anaheim on Thursday evening. We elected to skip the expo Friday so we could spend the whole day at the parks.
Going to Disneyland before the race is awesome. However, it does wear on the legs and so on Saturday we vowed to take it easy.
We went to the expo on Saturday and had a blast. Although the official merchandise tent had sold out of some items, there was still a lot to look at. Taylor picked up a limited edition print, a nice memento from his very first half marathon. I finally picked up a running hat, which will be necessary as I train for the Portland Marathon this summer.
We also picked up packets and numbers. I was very excited about the race shirt— my first short-sleeved runDisney race shirt and green is my favorite color!
After a home cooked meal of pineapple teriyaki chicken and rice, we got to bed super early. Even though all of our race things were laid out, our alarms were still going off at 3am.
At that early in the morning, it was still dark when we got to the race start, but the sky was getting lighter and lighter. We went through the super smooth bag check process, said goodbye to our cheer section, Kelly and Jason, and then walked to our corral.
Every other runDisney race I’ve done has been in January, and it’s dark for the first half of the race. Here, it was practically light by the time our corral, Corral D, took off and by the time we entered Disneyland, it was a gorgeous morning.
We had such a blast running our costumes. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde from Zootopia are also just great running costumes for a race because they are such active characters. They were some of the most complicated running costumes I’ve ever worked on because of sheer number of pieces (not pictured is Taylor’s amazing tail).
I thought they may prove uncomfortable for such a long race, but they gave us no problems at all! In fact, they held up really well for the entire 13 miles.
But of course, the coolest miles of the race was inside the parks where we stopped for quick photos in a number of spots.
The route had changed from previous years, most likely due to the Star Wars Land construction and it was similar in many ways to the Star Wars route. Of course, neither of us really cared because running in Disneyland is such a great feeling. It’s the quickest way to give your feet wings.
Because of the course layout, we spotted Kelly and Jason cheering for us in a bunch of different spots. They ran from location to location to cheer us on. It’s really such a boost seeing people you know turn out for your race day.
We wound in and out of the parks. Even strangely empty (except for thousands of runners), the parks seem to teem with energy.
By the time we left the parks we were halfway done with the race at mile 6. We got incredibly lucky with the weather for our run and it stayed cool most of the morning. In fact, temperatures were higher at home in Portland, than they were that weekend in Anaheim. Even so, by Mile 8 we could really feel it heating up, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared Southern California in the spring might be.
The Red Hat Ladies were absolutely astounding and hands down win the prize for best cheering group, spanning about four blocks around mile 8. They’d been cheering for hours and showed no signs of stopping. It was truly impressive. MiceChat was once again handing out my beloved Redvines around this spot. I found out my costume had a handy place to store them and I stashed them for somewhere down the road.
At this point in the race, you also start to see the fellow runners around you fading, especially if people are undertrained. People slow down, expressions change and heads start to hang with exhaustion. Keeping a happy attitude during the later stages of the race has become my new goal this past year and it really makes a difference in how I enjoy my races. I accept tiredness, but I refuse to let it change my attitude.
Attitude conversations with myself go something like this: Feet hurt? Duh, I’m running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and I’ve ran 10 miles already and it’s been so freakin’ awesome and now I’m running back to Disneyland! This day is amazing and some people haven’t even woken up yet! A magical, sweaty day!
Of course, it may have worked too well. Around mile 12, I was positively manic, occasionally skipping and bursting out into song. I blame crazy runner brain. Other runners were probably harboring dark thoughts toward me and I have honestly no idea where it came from because I was pretty exhausted.
And as we approached the finish line, I found out why I was so tired! We totally beat all expectations of time and beat the 3 hour mark for my best RunDisney time ever. RunDisney is supposed to be a slow race because of the stops, but I wasn’t too far out of my non-runDisney Half Marathon times. Of course, now I wonder what I could have gotten for a time had we not stopped at all, but where is the fun in that?
After the race, we rejoined our cheer squad and then went straight to Disneyland (not kidding, I cleaned up in a wonderful restroom on Main Street). Then Taylor and I picked the craziest thing we could possibly do in the park on tired exhausted legs. We climbed to the top of Tarzan’s Treehouse just to say we did.
Ran With: Taylor
Best Costume-related shout-out: “It’s called a hustle, sweetheart!”
Most Surprising Snack Box Item: Drinkable/slurpable applesauce— appalling idea to me pre-race, delicious nectar of goodness post-race.