Race Recap: 2017 Hop Hop Half Marathon—Portland, OR

Saturday morning, the sun finally came out and the clouds finally lifted for a lovely spring day—perfect for running a half marathon!

I was excited for this half marathon, but I made a couple of mistakes that I’m sure led to my slowest non-RunDisney half marathon time this weekend at the Hop Hop Half Marathon. Don’t get me wrong— I had a ton of fun— however, after running a dozen half marathons and earning a PR in late February, I think it was time for a reminder to never take the distance for granted.

With that in mind, instead a regular race recap, I want to reflect on what I did wrong going into the race and during the race that contributed to how I felt during the race.

Physical Preparation

As I said in my pre-race post, I’ve been so busy I haven’t focused on running, but I haven’t neglected my training either. I did all my long runs and even managed a speed workout between my last race and this one.

Hydration is where my physical preparation broke down. I didn’t think about pre-race hydrating and woke up with a headache. I didn’t drink enough water that morning and started the race dehydrated. During the race, although there were water stations, I was always thirsty. I haven’t run in sunny weather in ages and I was sweating. I felt sluggish and dehydration is the likely reason.

Mental Preparation

I admit it, I went into this race thinking “no problem.” Yeah, I know I’m trained up, but I still have to run 13.1 miles. Since I was only running for fun, and not going for a fast time and had recently clocked a great PR time, I was feeling pretty cocky about running this race. Six miles in, I started thinking, “dang… this thing isn’t even half over….” Confidence is knowing the race is long but I will finish. Cockiness is thinking the race is no big deal and I’ll be done in no time.

Race Day

I can learn from these mistakes and even though I felt sub-par, I still had a blast at the Hop Hop Half. This was a great race and they made sure the whole experience felt festive.

We made quite the group of happy bunnies!

It finally felt like a spring day and I was so glad to be taking advantage of glorious weather by running outside in it. We’ve gotten so few sunny days this year, every one is a treasure. It was perfect for a race.

Jason was aiming for a 1:30 time (and possibly a PR), Kelly’s Dad was aiming for a sub-2 hour finish. Those of us running for fun— Kelly, Mom and I— started the race together. Right away, I was getting shoutouts for my bunny ears, which looked ridiculously tall in comparison to many others. Someone even noticed the tiny detail of my carrot earrings!

The race started out with a short loop up and down roads and back toward the finish area. We were able to cheer for Jason and Kelly’s Dad as they passed us. Jason was one of the first runners through! We then passed the finish area and headed out for the rest of the race. Around mile 3, Kelly decided to drop back to run 30/30 intervals. With her reduced level of training, the 50 second run/30 second walk interval at our running pace was too much to maintain for the whole race.

Soon we had turned onto a bike path following the Columbia River. The sun sparkled on the water and there was a breeze. Every runner was in good spirits, with some singing to their music as we all ran along.

Take a look at the beautiful view of the river!

Once we neared the turnaround we saw a man in a giant blow-up hatching chick costume. It was hilarious and we knew we’d have to stop at the station afterward. They had marshmallow peeps! I don’t usually like them, but around mile 8, they sure tasted good.

We also spotted Kelly, who wasn’t too far behind us. Mom and I continued our way back along the bike path, but this time, the sun allowed us to see our own shadows and I was really amused by the bunny ears I was running with.

Although it was beautiful, Mom and I couldn’t help noticing all the landmarks that we had seen on our way out and thinking about how much longer we had to run.

Just after we crossed the road to the final short stretch of the bike path, Kelly caught up with us. We had less than 2 miles to go! She had been racing to catch up with us for a while, working hard.

Once I saw the finish line, I started running. “Slow down,” Mom called, since my pace was rather fast for poor Kelly, who had just caught up. “You can’t stop me know,” I yelled back. The finish line was too close!

We finished one, two, three and I made a beeline for the mimosas and my commemorative champagne flute. We found out that Jason just barely missed his PR time (again), but Kelly’s Dad smashed his 2-hour goal coming in at 1:53:22.

Cheers to a great race day!

All in all, I think I could have prepared better, but it was a super fun race that I would definitely recommend. It was nice and flat, with beautiful views. Of course, it helps that it was beautiful weather too!

Time: 2:51:29
Ran With:Mom
Best Costume: One of the faster runners (Jason’s speed or faster) wore a giant cardboard carrot on his back. All the bunnies in the race were chasing him!

Bunny Ears at the ready for Easter Weekend and the Hop Hop Half Marathon

judy hopps running costume

I had a blast running as bunny cop Judy Hopps (Zootopia) at the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon.

Easter weekend is fast approaching and I’m getting ready to break out my bunny running ears for the 2017 Hop Hop Half Marathon!

I’ve been wanting to do this half marathon for a couple of years now, but it never quite worked out. But when Mom wanted to find a half to run with me, I was excited to suggest this race, which seems like it will be full of springtime fun, with a post-race brunch as well.

The 2017 Hop Hop Half medals (which change every year) feature one adorable bunny. Added bonus!

I’ve been so busy remodeling a room in my house this spring that I’ve hardly had time to train, much less think about a race day outfit. All I knew was that I had a great pair of bunny ears that had already served me well in a half marathon. Luckily, Mom was ready to pick up the slack.

Foot Traffic did something a bit unusual and held packet pick-up last weekend. It was really nice to get it over with it and not have to worry about it now. We also got to see our shirts a full week ahead of the race!

Mom fell in love with the shirt and took it to the fabric store with her and ended up finding sparkle fabric in the perfect color of blue. In addition, she offered to sew skirts for herself, me and Kelly.

 

With a shirt this cute and sparkle fabric that perfectly matches, how could we resist?

I plan to add the great pair of race-tested ears comes from my Judy Hopps costume I wore at the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon to the outfit. After I spent so long making them and after they worked so well on race day, I’m really glad I get another opportunity to wear the bunny ears and other elements of that costume. This will be a perfect Easter/springtime running costume!

My Hop Hop Half Race Day Outfit

  • Official Race shirt
  • New Robin’s Egg Blue sparkle skirt
  • Bunny Ears (all three of us will wear ears, although all three will be different)
  • Bunny Tail
  • Carrot Earrings

Although I usually avoid wearing new clothing on race day, I’m not worried about wearing a simple shirt. I’ve worn a lot of bizarre things in while running a half marathon. Just to be safe, I’ll apply a little extra body glide.

I’m planning to run the race at a slower pace than I ran the Phoenix Half Marathon, with 50 second run/30 second walk intervals. Kelly, Mom and I plan to start together, but Kelly is planning run slower because of her interrupted training schedule. After just missing a PR time at Phoenix, Jason is hoping to run a PR at this event. Finally, Kelly’s dad is also running the race— he and Kelly actually signed up months before we did.

I’m looking forward to the race and Easter weekend!

Race Recap: 2017 Star Wars Half Marathon (The Light Side) -Disneyland, CA

I finished the Rebel Challenge for the third year in a row!

I finished the Rebel Challenge for the third year in a row!

I spent months looking forward to the Star Wars Half… planning costumes, discussing the race with friends, getting caught up in the Rogue One excitement and more! On top of it, it was Kelly’s first half marathon and first RunDisney race! It’s always fun to share the experience with others.

After Taylor and I ran the Star Wars 10K on Saturday and then spent the whole day at Disneyland, I knew the 13.1 miles would feel a little longer than normal. On the other hand, our costumes were so awesome, I knew they would carry me the entire distance!

Rocking our Rebel Pilot outfits, we were ready to jump to hyperspace!

Rocking our Rebel Pilot outfits, we were ready to jump to hyperspace!

Since we ran as Imperial Officers during the 10K, Taylor and I decided to defect to the Rebellion. Nothing like running as Rebel Pilots!

This was the first time I’ve stayed at a place close to the resort, and it was so nice to be able to walk to the start line on both Saturday and Sunday. Jason was in A corral, but Taylor, Kelly and I were back in G corral. We were too far away to see the stage, but unlike at the Disneyland Half, we could at least hear the audio. Jason tried to FaceTime with us and although the connection was spotty, he showed us his vantage point in A corral of Darth Vader coming on stage to make ominous pronouncements to the runners.

Finally, we were off! The start led us straight up a hill, but this actually gave the crowd a chance to thin out before entering backstage DCA.

Loved seeing Ezra &a Sabine on course! #StarWarsHalf #RunDisney #StarWarsRebels #rebelpilot

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Lines were much better at the character stops than in the 10K, and since I finally started watching Rebels, I was ecstatic to see Sabine and Ezra on course. I had just finished season one, but I love Star Wars Rebels, which is way more amazing than I ever imagined. Next year, maybe I’ll run as Hera.

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Running past the World of Color fountains is fantastic at dawn!

The wide paths of California Adventure are perfect for running and the lights were beautiful. World of Color is a particular favorite, and since we weren’t visiting California Adventure this trip, it made the run even more special.

The RunDisney races wind in and out of backstage areas, which is really fun. In one of the backstage tunnels, they had flashing lights and the sounds of an x-wing/tie fighter dogfight. Dressed as Rebel Pilots, we really took advantage of this part, zooming down the incline together.

fter bursting out of backstage Disneyland into Toon Town, Kelly and I played around on the Jolly Trolley.

After bursting out of backstage Disneyland into Toon Town, Kelly and I played around on the Jolly Trolley.

I love backstage, but the best part was going from backstage into Toon Town. For some reason, more than other transitions, it feels like you burst out of mundane buildings of backstage into the magical world of Disneyland.

I'm so glad the Christmas lights on Small World are still up

I’m so glad the Christmas lights on Small World are still up

I loved the course through the parks. We got to run through Tomorrowland, of course, which is still decked out as a kind-of temporary Star Wars Land (when Star Wars Land actually opens, this course will be bonkers), and through the castle and down Main Street. In two different areas, they had Jedi, probably from the training academy, fighting Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, respectively.

A daring lightsaber battle rages on as the runners pass.

A daring lightsaber battle rages on as the runners pass.

Complete with audio, it added a really fun kinetic element of theatre to the race. Plus, unlike the static character stops, all the runners were able to enjoy the scenes as we ran by!

Once we left the park, the race became more difficult. I was sad to see that the change in corrals meant that Jason finished his race practically before we left the park. We weren’t going to repeat our meeting on the median from last year.

The sun came up and Taylor and I started feeling the miles from the previous day. However, the groups cheering, the bands and fans were all in full force, and they definitely kept our spirit up.

I also stayed focused on two things that I knew would be later in the race: Redvines from the Mouse Planet tent and the Rebel Pilot cosplayers. The 501st and Rebel cosplayer groups are always a highlight, but this year, I really wanted a picture because of our costumes!

I spent most of the race waiting to take a picture with these guys!

I spent most of the race waiting to take a picture with these guys!

Later in the race, Taylor started really feeling the miles and said it just felt harder, than his previous three half marathons. Maybe the novelty wore off, maybe he was undertrained, but I had a different answer. Two days of running is just hard. “That is why they call it the Rebel Challenge,” I said. “Because it’s a challenge.” You may be trained up for the half marathon distance, but the challenge is different. I’m not sure he appreciated hearing this from me at that movement, but I’ve done this before and finally felt vindicated, like someone understood that the difficulty increased as well as the fun. At some point, your feet just ask you “Whyyyyyyy…”

To be fair, my feet feel like that after mile 18 of a marathon too, but I definitely recover faster after the 19.3 two-day challenge. This is perfect for a RunDisney vacation. After each of my two marathons, I’ve been trashed for a week and spending a day at Disneyland would be hard to stomach (not saying I wouldn’t do it…).

I love seeing mile 10 in a half marathon. No matter how my race is going, I've hit double-digits and with only 5K to go, the finish suddenly feels close.

I love seeing mile 10 in a half marathon.
No matter how my race is going, I’ve hit double-digits and with only 5K to go, the finish suddenly feels close.

Taylor and Kelly must have turned on mindless runner mode, because at one point, I had to adjust my shoe. I felt like a painful blister was forming. I had my shoe partially off when I looked up and they were way in front of me. At my speed and level of tiredness, I knew catching up would be hard. I jammed my shoe back on as quickly as possible and sprinted through a couple of intervals until finally catching them.

That was really rough, but it just proves that even when I’m really tired, I always have more energy than expected.

Soon we were turning onto Disney Property for our final stretch. “S-Foils in attack formation,” I called to Kelly and Taylor. The best part of the end of the race is running past the Disneyland Hotel in Downtown Disney with the course lined with cheering spectators. They really carry us to the finish line.

Rebel Runners do it again!

Rebel Runners do it again!

We took the rest of Sunday easy– enjoyed the hot tub, ate pizza, and went to the theatre to see Moana. Sunday, we celebrated by going to Disneyland!

Time: 3:09:18
Ran With: Taylor, Kelly
Best Costume: One impressive gal ran as a cosplay-perfect Jyn Erso– vest, boots, everything… even had the Death Star plans in her hand!
Rebel Redux: For the first time, RunDisney offered us Star Wars runners a chance to sign up early for next year (with a tiny discount). In 2018, Jason will run the half for a fourth time and I will return to the Rebel Challenge, joined once more by Taylor with the addition of Kelly, who couldn’t resist the lure of the extra 10K!

Race Recap: 2017 Star Wars 10K (The Light Side)— Disneyland, CA

After completing the Star Wars Rebel Challenge for a third time, I can say that these two races are still amazing!

Taylor and I had a blast completing the Star Wars 10K, the first part of the Rebel Challenge!

Taylor and I had a blast completing the Star Wars 10K, the first part of the Rebel Challenge!

What a difference a year makes! Last year, I walked most of the 10K with my hubby, as I was just coming back from an injury and was worried if I would even be able to complete the half the following day. This year, I had none of the injury fear and all of the excitement.

Time to catch those Rebel scum! #StarWars10K @tddewey

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This year, it was my brother Taylor that I ran with. Taylor was first inspired to run half marathons after spectating these races the previous year. He had to wait a whole year until he could run the Rebel Challenge!

Unlike last year, the corrals were bigger, which means we waited a little longer until the start of Corral D. Once the race started, we ran up a short hill (as fast as possible) and very soon we were in backstage California Adventure! The highlights of running through California Adventure are seeing the World of Color fountains and running through the Grizzly Peak area.

There were a few characters out, but I had learned my lesson from trying to see BB-8 the previous year. During the 10K, it isn’t worth it. The lines are shorter during the half marathon anyway, so I saved character fun for another day.

Maybe you don't see imperial officers smile that much, but they would if they were running this race!

Maybe you don’t see imperial officers smile that much, but they would if they were running this race!

The cool thing about running the 10K is that all 6 miles are on property. Being a total Disney nerd, I had just as much fun running backstage as I did inside the park!

Now that the 60th anniversary celebration is over, the sparkly roof overlay is being removed. We spotted some of the roof backstage.

Now that the 60th anniversary celebration is over, the sparkly roof overlay is being removed. We spotted some of the roof backstage, just after a water station.

If we had seen Darth Vader, we might have stopped to take pictures with him, but we as imperial stormtrooper officers, we were pretty excited to spot a pair patrolling the balcony of Launch Bay.

Taylor looks perfectly in command of this pair of stormtroopers.

Taylor looks perfectly in command of this pair of stormtroopers.

We spotted Captain Phasma shortly before leaving the park, who was patrolling above the archway. Her costume is spectacular and we spent at least a minute just watching her strut back and forth, menacingly.
Perhaps this is why we completely missed Kelly, who was spectating the race from the entry plaza (Jason was not present, as took the rental car on an impromptu road trip to watch a SpaceX rocket launch).

We missed her, but Kelly did capture pictures of us running.

We missed her, but Kelly did capture pictures of us running.

There was tons of things to see, but all too soon, the 6 miles were nearly up. Its such a rush running past the hotel down the final stretch with so many spectators cheering us on! Once we crossed, we received our adorable BB-8 spinning medals!

This runner, dressed as Director Krennic from Rogue One, asked to take a picture with us "because I outrank you." We were amused by his mini Death Star.

This runner, dressed as Director Krennic from Rogue One, asked to take a picture with us “because I outrank you.” We were amused by his mini Death Star.

We celebrating completing the first 6.2 miles of the Rebel Challenge by spending the day at Disneyland…. after taking a shower and putting on compression socks, of course.

A runDisney 10K really goes by too fast, and I always feel a little sad when its over… but then I remember I get to do it all again the next day at the Half Marathon!

Time: 1:32:18
Ran With: Taylor
Favorite Moment: Captain Phasma!
Best thing in snack box: Jif Nut Butter Bar. Delicious.

Costume reveal for the 2017 Star Wars Rebel Challenge

Well, I’m packed and ready to fly to California, but it came as quite a surprise this week when we got 10 inches of snow here in the Willamette Valley. It certainly changed my last minute plans and hopefully we have no problems catching our flight!

The snow is quite pretty and it did mean I got some extra time off. But I must say, I am looking forward to the warmer California weather! Although all of Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is fun, I am particularly excited by our costumes this year.

2017 Star Wars 10K Costume

Since Kelly, Taylor, Jason and I signed up for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, the costume focus was solely on the longer race. However, Taylor and I are also running the 10K as part of the rebel challenge.

We spent many months thinking up and discarding ideas. Some were too complicated to make as a second costume. Others just failed to capture our excitement.

But then, on a long training run, shortly after seeing Rogue One, we finally got excited. Imperial officers!

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Since most of our time was dedicated to creating the four costumes for the Half Marathon, we already owned or bought most of the costume elements.

After a brief tussle over what color, we quickly set about getting the costume elements put together.

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I’ll be honest, we chose black almost entirely based on the fact that the officers appeared to have an imperial patch on their shoulder. Too cool!

Costume elements:

  • Black running tights
  • Black running shirt
  • Tunic extension made from running skirt pattern
  • Imperial patch (sewn on sleeve)
  • Belt made from 2-inch elastic
  • Handcrafted pin-on belt buckle
  • Handcrafted rank bar
  • Purchased imperial hat

Taylor did an amazing job crafting the belt buckles and rank bars, while I sewed the elastic belts and tunic extensions.

We’re pleased with the result, considering how last minute the costume came together. My only concern is it might be too warm. I run extremely hot even when I’m not in California. But it’s a shorter race and the costume is cool enough I’m happy to put up with it.

2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Costume

When we signed up for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, Kelly instantly knew she wanted to run as a rebel x-wing pilot, and I have to say, we all pretty much agreed with her.

Kelly models the completed costume!

Kelly models the completed costume!

It took a lot of effort and time to finally put the costume together, but it really is amazing how it all turned out.

Costume elements

  • Modified running hat with rebel patches and raised ridge
  • Amber safety glasses
  • Orange running shirt
  • Orange running shorts/skirt sewn from pattern
  • White flak vests (handmade)
  • Chest box and straps (handmade)
  • Grey ejection straps (sewn)
Rebel pilots running through the hanger on Yavin IV during Rogue One. I love how this picture shows our heroes just strutting confidently through the hanger instead.

Rebel pilots running through the hanger on Yavin IV during Rogue One. I love how this picture shows our heroes just strutting confidently through the hanger instead.

It was truly a group effort putting it all together and everyone worked on different pieces. I cant wait to wear both of my costumes this weekend!

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon (My 10th Half-Marathon)

Crossing the finish line of the Disneyland Half marked my 10th Half Marathon!

Crossing the finish line of the Disneyland Half marked my 10th Half Marathon!

Over labor day weekend, I flew to Anaheim with the rest of my family for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend! I had a complete blast going to the parks, cheering at the 5K, heading to the expo and running an amazing half-marathon course.

This was my 3rd different runDisney event, my 5th runDisney half marathon and my 10th ever half marathon, making this a landmark event for me!

RunDisney Expo on our way to packet pick up.

RunDisney Expo on our way to packet pick up.

I’ve ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon twice (2014 & 2016) and the Star Wars Rebel Challenge twice (2015 & 2016). However, I was really looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon because of it’s more general Disney theme and position as the flagship running event for Disneyland.

At the expo, I wasn’t too excited by the merchandise available, but did pick up some race pins. I think I was hoping to find some great jacket or other thing but none of the designs really spoke to me. I did really enjoy the t-shirts, which were a great blue color with lime green accents.

The backdrop for the photos were also very cool.

The backdrop for the photos were also very cool.

It looks like runDisney has dropped the speaker series for their runDisney expos, but in the past year those were declining in quality. Instead, sponsor Cigna had a whole bunch of activities available, such as free caricatures. The lines were rather long, so I did skip that. The biggest thing we actually stood in line for was the KT taping. Since increasing my mileage in prep for the Portland Marathon in October, I’ve found KT Tape to be an amazing help.

I was excited to see that the runDisney booth was offering discounted and advanced registration opportunities at the expo for some of their running events, but none that I signed up for, although it was extremely tempting. I hope to see more of that at the expos going forward.

At some point during the expo, Taylor told me I was in charge of social media for the trip, which was the start of my prolific instagramming over the weekend. Instagram is a social media platform I’ve only recently started experimenting with.

Got my #disneylandhalf bib! Race tomorrow…

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With race bibs picked up, we were ready for race day!

In a throwback to my very first half marathon, I once again donned my mouse ears and ran as a mousketeer. This is such a simple and fun costume to run in. Once my mouse ears are pinned in, I can barely even feel them. I added a few changes to the outfit, including an updated shirt with better font for our names across the back, and small red bows on my ears and pigtails. Very classic!

Showing of our classic mousketeer outfits with the required parking garage shot!

Showing of our classic mousketeer outfits with the required parking garage shot!

For this race, runDisney added a whole bunch more corrals. With each corral smaller, I fell from B corral to E corral. Taylor, Mom and I all wanted to start together, so we started in H corral…. which although far back, was STILL not the last corrals, with more corrals behind us.

This really did change my corral experience, for worse. I couldn’t see a single video screen, like I had in the past, and could barely hear the announcers from the stage. I was in the corral for well over an hour. Jason, starting in A corral, passed the 5K mark a good 20 minutes before we even crossed the starting line.

Made it to the start line! #CorralH #DisneylandHalf

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The good part? All of us runDisney racers were in the same boat, and people in the corrals were all in good spirits with little complaining.

I also loved that the Dapper Dans (my favorite Disneyland musical group) sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the beginning.Because of the respectful hush of the crowd for the anthem, it was one of the few things I heard quite clearly. It was beautiful.

Although I only heard and didn't see them perform the star-spangled banner, I did catch up with the Dapper Dans later. They were serenading runners and I snapped a photo with them right as they finished a set... I was totally fangirling.

Although I only heard and didn’t see them perform the star-spangled banner, I did catch up with the Dapper Dans later. They were serenading runners and I snapped a photo with them right as they finished a set… I was totally fangirling.

Throwing all running wisdom to the wind, I TOOK OFF as soon as our corral was released. I mean, I was practically sprinting out of the gate, Mom and Taylor protesting as they followed.

Honestly, this is not be a smart race strategy, but I wanted to get ahead of some of the corrals and get to the front. I knew we were essentially faster than most of the Corral H runners, just based on our pace for other races. In addition, I knew we wouldn’t really push ourself the rest of the race, so weren’t in any real danger of spending too much energy in the beginning.

Backstage, the very first photo stop had no line. What a fun time! I don't think we'd even reached mile one.

Backstage, the very first photo stop had no line. What a fun time! I don’t think we’d even reached mile one. #BeYourDisneyBest!

Incredibly soon, we were already backstage!

At this point, I have to commend runDisney on their decision to split up the field into additional corrals. The corral experience was terrible; the run experience was amazing. In pervious races (especially Star Wars 2015), bottlenecking really hampered the race once we ran onto the narrower course within the parks. Although it was crowded and a little slow, I didn’t really experience that extreme bottleneck this time.

The course turned into California Adventure first, and we took advantage of a restroom stop in Cars Land (another side effect of being in the corrals forever), just after we spotted McQueen and Mater. We ran over the bridge past the World of Color fountains and around Paradise Pier, where the Three Caballeros partied and waved to runners.

#DisneylandHalf

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Already, I was struck by how many characters were out. In addition to ones you could line up to take pictures with, many characters were positioned up high so runners disinclined to wait in line could enjoy them or snap a quick selfie.

Very soon, we were heading to Disneyland!

There is nothing like running through Disneyland and we were having a blast.

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A little running and a little mad tea party!

The course took us right through the castle, and even this notorious bottleneck point yielded fairly smooth sailing.

We did stop for some character photos. While we spotted Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and the Sheriff of Nottingham waving from the top deck of the omnibus, our attention was drawn to characters from Tarzan.

Notice the great tropical feeling backdrop (right near Adventureland Entrance) that they had for this character stop!

Notice the great tropical feeling backdrop (right near Adventureland Entrance) that they had for this character stop!

Jane! Such an awesome character and one you rarely see in the parks!

Everywhere, characters were out and greeting. In his own race, Jason had an amusing run-in with Lilo. As one of the fast runners, he was the first to snap a photo with her.

Unlike in the last two Star Wars races and when I ran Tink in May, lines were reasonable and characters were plentiful. It was a wonderful change. The characters aren’t the biggest draw for me, but I love seeing them and the color they add to the races.

Mom stops for a picture in front of the firehouse and Walt's Window.

Mom stops for a picture in front of the firehouse and Walt’s Window.

After leaving Disneyland, the course surprised me! We went back into California Adventure for the second time! It was brief, but because I hadn’t studied the course map, it was such a pleasant surprise that brought a smile to my face.

We left park property by way of backstage and we enjoyed running past the Disneyland Railyard, home to the steam trains and monorail. Since the railroad has been down for Star Wars land construction, we really enjoyed getting to know it better and talking to the engineers. They have such great stories. It is well worth the time to to chat with them. They are so passionate about their job and have the best stories about operating these historic steam engines.

On Thursday we talked to the cast members at New Orleans Square station, but on the day after the Marathon, we talked to Cast Member Mike at Main Street station. Such great conversations. Before the railroad opens again, talk to these guys! It's awesome.

On Thursday we talked to the cast members at New Orleans Square station, but on the day after the half-marathon, we talked to Cast Member Mike at Main Street station.

Running backstage is completely different from running in the actual park, but I love this sneak peek behind the magic of disneyland. In addition, cast members cheer on the runners with boundless enthusiasm.

#DisneylandHalf

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Of course, the entertainment and cheering didn’t stop once we left the parks! In fact, I think the Disneyland Half may have the most course entertainment.

Dancers, music groups, cheerleaders and more were out to support the runners and entertain for hours and hours on end.

Dancers, music groups, cheerleaders and more were out to support the runners and entertain for hours and hours on end.

The miles just flew by for me. I’m training for the Portland Marathon in October, so my last long run before the Disneyland Half was 20 miles, making me the most prepared I have EVER been for the half marathon race distance (even if it wasn’t that fast).  I was just so excited to see everything that I was over halfway done before I knew it.

All hail MiceChat, my favorite spectator booth since my very first runDisney race. I get so excited for free redvines!

All hail MiceChat, my favorite spectator booth since my very first runDisney race. I get so excited for free redvines!

I love how even once leaving the park, every RunDisney race has a special touch to the on-course entertainment. Tinker Bell has blocks of amazing Red Hat ladies that imbue the runners with energy because of their extreme enthusiasm. Star Wars brings out the 501st and other cosplay groups.

And the Disneyland Half had a mile (over a mile?) of car collectors. Classic cars, hotrods, even disneyfied cars. It was such fun to see them all out here! I’ve been to various car shows and there were more cars here than I’ve ever seen at one of those events.

Classic cars! #disneylandhalf

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Every time I thought we’d reached the last of them, we’d turn a corner and here would be more cars! It was like every car club in the area was there— and this is the Los Angeles area, birthplace of America’s car culture.

The capper to the car line up for me was seeing Herbie! I watched The Love Bug constantly every finals week when I was in college and it holds a special place in my heart.

The capper to the car line up for me was seeing Herbie! I watched The Love Bug constantly every finals week when I was in college and it holds a special place in my heart.

The other part of the course that makes the Disneyland Half Marathon special is running through Angel Stadium. Just after seeing the last car we approached Angel Stadium.
This experience was every bit as amazing as previous runners have said it is. As we approached the stadium, we ran through the team entrance and onto the field. This is a large stadium, and from the field, the scale is awe-inspiring.

Taylor and Mom enter the stadium, to the cheers of the crowd.

Taylor and Mom enter the stadium, to the cheers of the crowd.

As we ran around the outside of the field, Boys and Girl scouts cheered from the stands, even leaning over to give runners high fives. Cameras picked up the runners to display on the big screen as we ran by.

Kudos also to Angel Stadium staff, who were so nice and even ended up taking photos for runners.

Kudos also to Angel Stadium staff, who were so nice and even ended up taking photos for runners.

Just outside of Angel Stadium, we reached mile 10! Back to Disneyland, here we go!

I love all of RunDisney's mile markers.

I love all of RunDisney’s mile markers.

For a Labor Day race in Southern California, we were really lucky with the weather. I feared temperatures in the 90s or 100s, but for our trip, highs were in the mid-80s. Our race started early enough, it was warm, but bearable. However, by Mile 10, we started really feeling the sun and I was looking forward to the end of the race.

If possible, it seemed like even more people were out to cheer for us in these last three miles, some giving out snacks, others just giving out encouragement. The closer we got to the park, the happier I got. I was about to complete my 10th marathon and I felt great!

Right before the Disneyland Hotel, we knew our walking days were over. Time to run to the finish line!

We crossed together, and all the Disney characters were out at the finish line to cheer for us; Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy.

Jason captures a picture of us, moments after crossing the finish line.

Jason captures a picture of us, moments after crossing the finish line.

Jason was there as well, having finished his race much earlier.

The #mouseketeers trio reunited with our 4th, @jaskentner. #DisneylandHalf

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Fantastic weather, great course and amazing entertainment. This was definitely a great runDisney race and a perfect race for my 10th Half Marathon.

I did it!

I did it!

As a reward, Jason went into the confectionary in Downtown Disney and found me the most ridiculous large and delicious looking treat in the place.

Post-race yummies! #DisneylandHalf

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How’s that for a post-race celebration!

Time: 3:15:49
Ran With: Taylor and Mom
Best Part: I was really struck by how great this course and entertainment was in general. Lots of characters, the entertainment groups, the never-ending car collectors, Angel Stadium. It was a stand out race.

Race Recap: 2016 Freedomthon 5K

All smiles before the race!

All smiles before the race!

After temperatures reached into the 100s last Fourth of July, Jason and I were quite happy to wake up Monday morning to cool temperatures and overcast skies.

We decided to return to the Freedomthon 5K, a fast, local run where I got my 5K PR in 2014.

To make it even more fun, we rode our tandem to the start line at the city library.

As soon as I jogged over to a water fountain pre-race, I knew I wasn’t going to get a PR again– my shins were acting up and I was feeling sluggish.

But that wouldn’t cut into my fun! I revised my goal, hoping now to just be faster than my time last week at the Twilight Run.

The course is a pancake flat out-and-back course. Because it’s a holiday, everyone was festive and there seemed to be more people cheering than at other small 5Ks.

The atmosphere was really fun, even if I wasn’t having a great running day.

Dressed in a patriotic outfit, I got a lot of smiles from people as I ran by.

Because of the out-and-back, I got to cheer on the faster runners, including Jason, and see all of the fun outfits people were wearing.

I was having more fun than it looks like, sprinting the last bit with a flag.

I was having more fun than it looks like, sprinting the last bit with a flag.

The last couple of meters, they hand you an American flag to cross the finish line with. It’s a unique part of the Freedomthon and it really does provide a running boost.

After finishing the pancake flat course, we were rewarded with… pancakes!

Despite my shins and hip pain that flared up in the last mile, I did reach my goal. Jason ran a sub-20 5K and got 2nd place in his age group.

We had fun riding our tandem back home, medals clanking and all!

A great start to celebrating the Fourth of July!

A great start to celebrating the Fourth of July!

Time: 35:20
Ran With: Ran alone
Costume that made me smile the most: A lady about my speed was wearing a headband with two mini pinwheels that were spinning as she ran.