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…

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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.

img_7365

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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

A post shared by Kallen (@kallenkentner) on

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.

Advertisements

2016 Disneyland Half Corrals and Course Maps

Yay! The Disneyland Half Marathon is almost here!

Corral Assignments

After improving his 10K time, Taylor was hoping to move up from D corral (Tinker Bell Half) to C corral. I was hoping to have one last chance to use my PR 10K time to stay in B corral.

But Disney fooled us all and switched from having Corrals up to F to having Corrals up to J! Having taken a peek at the course map, this must be to try to avoid congestion, but it’s a little sad.
The corrals are a lot smaller. Jason remains in A corral. I was placed in E corral, Mom in F and Taylor in H, but us three slowpokes will run together in the same corral.

You look up your bib number listed on the waiver to find which corral you are in.

You look up your bib number listed on the waiver to find which corral you are in.

Course Map

They’ve also posted course maps. Judging by how quickly we enter the park, I can see why they needed to increase the number of corrals. Enter the park that fast is a recipe for terrible congestion. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to run before mile 4, but I won’t hold my breath.

Can't wait to run through Angel Stadium!

Can’t wait to run through Angel Stadium!

I also found a really cool hand-drawn map (pdf) with a little more detail on the USTAF website that was used to certify the course after it was measured. It definitely shows how quickly we enter the park.

The exciting thing is this course is very different from both Tinker Bell and Star Wars, so it will feel very new!

All that’s left now is the event guide, which will only be available in a digital format. Soon enough we’ll be flying down to Anaheim and I can’t wait!

Medal Revealed for the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal

It took them until July 18th, but runDisney finally released an image of the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Medal.

Since last year was the special 10th anniversary medal, I was really curious what the new medal design would be. Sadly, I have to say I prefer last year’s diamond medal and the previous medal design series.

This is mostly because the icons of Disneyland park are more important to me than characters. I understand why it was designed that way—the races are themed with “Disney Duos” with Mickey and Pluto headlining the Half Marathon. But Pluto just doesn’t feel like he belongs on a Disneyland Half Marathon themed medal.

However, the medal is still quite amazing, and I love the large encircled D. Probably the only reason I’m being so picky is because this is the first time I have a chance to earn it!

I’m also hoping to get a peek at the other medals from the weekend. Dad and Aunt Sandy will be doing the 5K and I want them to get a preview as well.

I’m certainly looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon. It’s only a month away (and registration is still open). We’re finalizing our costumes this week!

Update: RunDisney finally posted a pic of the 5K medal and it’s no longer plastic! Looks sweet.
Update: Race weekend is one month away and RunDisney has posted pictures of all the medals now. I adored the original Dumbo Double Dare design and am not pleased by the redesign, but now I don’t regret missing out on the challenge.
sjdf2o3e1

Race Recap: 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon— Disneyland, CA

It was a whirlwind weekend trip and I had a blast at the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon on May 8!

Taylor and I sport our short sleeve Tinker Bell shorts at the expo

Taylor and I sport our short sleeve Tinker Bell shorts at the expo

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.

This may be my favorite picture from the weekend and it's not even from the race! it's cool that tehy had a Tinker Bell Half Marathon autopia car out. We even got commemorative licenses.

This may be my favorite picture from the weekend and it’s not even from the race! It’s cool that they had a Tinker Bell Half Marathon Autopia car out. We even got commemorative licenses.

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.

In the Corrals for the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon!

In the Corrals for the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon!

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.

Our costumes were awesome, great to run in and we got lots of call outs from people who loved seeing them. We rocked this race as Judy and Nick!

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.

Lost Boys found! Of course they're riding the carousel and whooping it up like any kid having fun.

Lost Boys found! Of course they’re riding the carousel and whooping it up like any kid having fun.

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.

Goofing off in front of the Rivers of America. In the background, you can bunches of runners in bright colors taking over New Orleans Square.

Goofing off in front of the Rivers of America. In the background, you can see bunches of runners in bright colors taking over New Orleans Square.

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.

Obligatory selfie with our cheer squad. So excited to see them!

Obligatory selfie with our cheer squad. So excited to see them!

We wound in and out of the parks. Even strangely empty (except for thousands of runners), the parks seem to teem with energy.

The views of California Adventure were amazing at that time of day.

The views of California Adventure were amazing at that time of day.

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.

At some point past mile 8, dad caught us and cheered us on. It was such a great surprise seeing him at that point on the course! It was also quite sunny by then.

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.

We may be feeling tired, but we're still happy to be here. At this point, we still look good and only have a 5K left in the race.

We may be feeling tired, but we’re still happy to be here. At this point, we still look good and only have a 5K left in the race.

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.

I'm sure this is an unusual location choice for a post-race, in-Disneyland-Park photo.

An unusual location choice for a post-race, in-Disneyland-Park photo, but it was fun, even if we usually skip Tarzan’s Treehouse on normal park visits.

Time: 2:53:11
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.

 

Corrals and Course Maps for the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

I know we’re getting closer to race day when the event guide and corrals are posted! I worked on our race costumes this weekend while following coverage of the Star Wars Half Marathon: The Dark Side at Walt Disney World.

Corral Placements

Tinker Bell Corrals
By looking up our race waivers to get our bib numbers, we were able to see our corral placements.

This may be the last time I can use my PR time from the 2014 Run for Sight for corral placement, but it was good enough to place me squarely in B corral. As I plan to run with Taylor, this doesn’t really mean anything, aside from making me smile, since last time I ran Tinker Bell, I was placed in C corral.

Taylor, after running Race for Warmth only 10 days after starting training, managed to get placed in D corral— a huge improvement over F Corral, which is where we thought we would be if we hadn’t found a 10K we could run before the time deadline. His bib number shows us that he just barely missed being placed in C corral, so I’m guessing he will be in a higher corral for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.

Jason ran a few numbers and it looks like the corrals breakdown is as follows:

750 people in A corral
2500 each in B and D corrals
1750 in C Corral
4500 each in E and F corrals

Only 300 people in D corral had seed times faster than Taylor. Since Taylor is faster than me now and I was placed in B corral, our current plan is to start as close to the front of D corral as possible. I’m sure we’ll mix with C corral and B corral.

Course Map

I was guessing the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon course would have to differ from previous years because of the construction on the new Star Wars Land in Disneyland. With the publication of the Event Guide, we finally found out the course, and I’m pretty happy with it.

The official course map from the 2016 Tinker Bell Event Guide.

The official course map from the 2016 Tinker Bell Event Guide.

I’m glad it differs so much from the Star Wars Half Marathon and it looks like we spend a good chunk of the race on Disney property. Taylor actually overlaid the course map onto another map to get a better feel for how the course goes through the parks.

Taylor's version gives a bit more detail.

Taylor’s version gives a bit more detail.

Next weekend, Taylor and I will go on our last long run (14 miles) before the race and teh following weekend I’ll be cheering Jason on as he runs the Eugene Marathon. Before you know it, Tinker Bell time!

Race Recap: 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon—Disneyland, CA

Special event Disney Half Marathon sign

You bet it’s a special event! (This was taken somewhere around mile 9, I’m guessing?)

Wow. If nervousness and caution were the hallmark of the 10K for me, elation and joy filled me during the Star Wars Half Marathon. After running more than expected during the 10K, I was overjoyed to wake up with very little fatigue or pain. I did my stretches in the morning and was pleased to note no unpleasant twinges from my problematic leg.

We woke up bright and early again and donned our costumes. For the Half Marathon, I revisted my Star Tours droid costume from last year’s 10K and made Jason a similar costume (although I based his costume on the pilot, Ace rather than on the Aly San-San spokesbot).

Star Tours Droids reporting for duty! Our running costumes were based on Aly San-San (top right) and Ace (bottom right).

Star Tours Droids reporting for duty! Our running costumes were based on Aly San-San (top right) and Ace (bottom right).

Running in a costume is a ton of fun, as long as it’s race-friendly, which these were. Shortly after we got our picture taken together, Jason and I split up as he headed for A corral.

I was certainly nervous at the beginning of my race, but despite running more of the 10K than planned, felt pretty good. Originally, I didn’t plan on stopping at all because I wanted to make sure I would finish the race, but once in the park, my plans of course changed. I just felt great!

The lights, the energy, the magic— It carries you forward!

The lights, the energy, the magic— It carries you forward!

After a month of pain, I was running pain-free in the happiest place on earth and it was glorious. I was filled with inescapable joy just to be able to be here and be running. I still played it smart and set an interval timer for 30 seconds running, 50 seconds of walking. Rather a slow interval, with much more walking, but despite the injury and subsequent lack of training, I knew that if I followed my timer, I would finish the race.

Stopped for a photo with the stars of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra and Sabine.

Stopped for a photo with the stars of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra and Sabine.

The lines for photo stops were much shorter during the half marathon than they were the previous day during the 10K, so I actually did end up stopping (although I avoided the absolutely enormous line for BB-8 this time). The longest line I stood for was the speeder bikes, but once again, my favorite pictures ended up being quick snapshots or selfies.

Dad snapped this photo as I was leaving Disneyland on my way to California Adventure.

Dad snapped this photo as I was leaving Disneyland on my way to California Adventure.

Both Dad and Taylor were in the entry plaza to cheer me on and tell me I was looking good. “Help me Star Tours, you’re my only hope,” Dad said, causing others to chuckle. I told them I felt amazing!

In fact, I was just so happy to be moving forward and still feeling good. I’ve run enough half marathons now that I have more confidence about the distance than I used to.

The way I felt, I was already sure I could finish, even though I would continue to play it safe for the rest of the race.

I usually look tired or annoyed while running, but I was grinning the entire race this time, just thankful to be at the race and on my way to finishing.

Mile 3 already? Last year I took a picture at mile 10, but the markers look way cooler in the dark.

Mile 3 already? Last year I took a picture at mile 10, but the markers look way cooler in the dark.

Daylight slowly crept over the runners as I was weaving my way through California Adventure after losing a bit of time after a few photo stops. Unlike the narrower pathways of Disneyland, running through California Adventure feels incredibly spacious.

After being closed for maintainence during last year's Star Wars Half, the World of Color Fountains were on this year. Had it still been a bit darker, they would be even more spectacular.

After being closed for maintenance during last year’s Star Wars Half, the World of Color Fountains were on this year. Had it still been a bit darker, they would be even more spectacular.

Disneyland may be my favorite park, but I think California Adventure may just provide a more satisfying running experience.

Without the daytime crowds, it has an expansive glory. I love rounding the broad corner around Grizzly Peak area in the cool morning hours, the quiet making it really feel like a wilderness escape.

Paradise pier is, of course, gorgeous, and the lighted stone archway entrance to CarsLand is breaktaking.

Jennifer and I both had similar Star Tours outfits on (a rare sight in the race), so we stopped to say hi and snap a photo.

Jennifer and I both had similar Star Tours outfits on (a rare sight in the race), so we stopped to say hi and snap a photo.

Finally, although not notable during the day, seeing the wide pathway near Pacific Wharf and Golden Vine Winery filled with runners gives me a thrill.

In fact, I ran into a fellow Star Tours droid near there, which made us both laugh.

After exiting the park, I turned on my Star Wars Rebel Challenge playlist for the first time. I was pretty excited about it, but I wanted to save it for after I left the park so I could truly enjoy the park experience.

I took a deep breath, listened to my intervals,  focused on my running plan and headed out into the streets of Anaheim to conquer the rest of the race with a smile.

On Harbor Blvd, runners were actually going in both directions. Normally I don’t like running back on the same road, but during a disney race it was fun to see the faster runners (between mile 11 and 12) while I was running out (between mile 5 and 6).

This was especially cool because Jason and I spotted each other! A quick hug, photo, and kiss goodbye and Jason sped his way to the finish.

Jason and I found each other for a meeting on the median!

Jason and I found each other for a meeting on the median!

Needless to say, I was excited to see him and it was one of the highlights of the whole race.

I always keep my music down low during runDisney races so I only hear it when I really need to. Otherwise, the cheering crowds, the bands and the other runners fill my ears. By 7:25, Jason crossed the finish line and I was over halfway.

X-Wing styled car, complete with pilot.

X-Wing styled car, complete with pilot.

Just like last year, the cosplayers and member of the 501st were a highlight of the course, but I cheered everyone on the course.

By the time I reached Garden Grove, I was completely enjoying myself. The neighborhood was beautiful and spectators full of energy. Better yet, I was confident and just happy to be running on such a beautiful day.

Okay, so it was foggy and much cooler than it was for the 10K, but for someone from Portland, where it had been raining for weeks straight, the temperature and weather was glorious.

By mile 10, I realized that the faces of runners around me were showing pain and fatigue while I was still grinning. I started chatting with runners each time I hit a walking interval, trying to pass on some of my joy, at least… just enough to distract and help people towards the finish.

I hit up the MousePlanet tent for my free candy from strangers— I seriously think that redvines are my #1 favorite thing to eat during a race. I nearly jumped for joy to see them on the course again and ran with my fistful for about half a mile.

Wearing my bling proudly!

Wearing my bling proudly!

Before too long I was back on Harbor Blvd myself and although it was much later in the race, there were still tons of crowds cheering. I was following my intervals and completely happy with my pace. I knew that before long, I would be back in the park. For the last mile, the cheering crowds thickly lined to course and helped to carry every last one of us to the finish line.

Never before have I been so grateful and happy just to be able to run. How did I celebrate successfully completing the Rebel Challenge for the second year?

I went to Disneyland for some breakfast at the Jolly Holiday!

Straight from the finish line to the park!

Straight from the finish line to the park!

Time: 3:15:49 (Not a bad time for a RunDisney race!)
Ran With: Just me and my music
Best Spectator: The Star Trek TNG guy around mile 12. He went nuts when I threw up a Vulcan salute.

Related: Race Recap: 2016 Star Wars 10K
2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Expo & Packet Pick Up
2015 Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Recap: Rebel Challenge Part 2

Race Recap: 2016 Star Wars 10K—Disneyland, CA

img_5622

I woke up Saturday both apprehensive and excited— apprehensive about how I was going to feel during the race and excited for the first part of the Rebel Challenge—the Star Wars 10K!

When Jason and I signed up back in June, we decided that both registering for the Rebel CHallenge would give us a chance to do a race together. So Jason left A corral to be with me in B corral. Even if I had to walk the entire race, he planned to finish with me.

img_5730

Details from sewing the outfits.

Jason and I wore outfits inspired by our favorite droids— R2-D2 and BB-8. Although we bought the shirts, I sewed my own skirt and even added detailing to Jason’s running shorts.

Although I planned to walk the whole race, the night before I revised it to add running at the very beginning and across the finish line. It’s nearly impossible to walk across the start line anyway, so why fight the adrenaline.

After crossing the line at a jog however, I was surprised to find that for the first time in over a month, I wasn’t experiencing any pain by jogging. Cue excitement tempered by wariness.
As we jogged into the backstage area early in the race, I struggled with what to do. Even if I felt good at that moment, I knew I had to go 13.1 miles alone the following day and I was simply afraid to run more. I forced myself to walk.
img_5702
Luckily, Jason and I loved looking at all the sights in Disneyland and sometimes I was so excited that I had to start running again. Mostly walking, interspersed with some running, we wound our way through Disneyland. Fantasyland, my favorite part of the Star Wars 10K last year, was even better this year, with all the lights of small world lit up in full glory.

Pain-free running disney joy in front of Small world

Pain-free running disney joy in front of a sparkling Small World.

Exciting Disneyland, we spotted Dad and Taylor cheering for us as we crossed the plaza to California adventure and stopped for a quick selfie.

So far we had skipped all the character stops— I was worried about time and Jason knew he could stop the following day. And then we ran into the line for BB-8 while running down Hollywood Blvd.

At this point, my race had been slower than normal, although fun, but I had to make a choice. Do I stop in the incredibly long line for BB-8, or do I skip what might be the last character stop?

We got in line and was told it would be around 30 minutes, by far the longest line I’ve ever even considered stopping in. But I was wearing an outfit inspired by BB-8, so it felt like we should stop, even if it was our only stop.

Four people behind us, they cut the line off.

We should have known we were in trouble then. We waited… and waited… and chatted with the runner in front of us. The people going past us got slower and the corral numbers on their bibs went from B to C to D… and then to E…

20 minutes into the line, we were only halfway to the front.

Not bad, considering the rushed circumstances...

Not bad, considering the rushed circumstances…

A little later on, a bicyclist came by, telling us that if we stayed in the line, we would get swept. No character is worth that! Jason grabbed a quick picture for me to make it a little less waste of time, and then we zipped away. As Jason and I started running, to my horror, we passed the balloon ladies that mark the slowest acceptable pace.

At this point, I kind of freaked out. Being a slow runner, getting swept has always been a niggling concern in longer races, even if I was in no real danger here. I told Jason he had to pace me for the last two miles as we jogged through California Adventure.

All thoughts of slowing down left me. I kind of lost my head. We started running more frequently as my adrenaline just wouldn’t let me slow down for a reasonable length of time.

As we ran past mile 6,  Jason gave me a new goal— try to get under 2 hours (yes, we seriously lost a lot of time in that line…). Cheering crowds near the Disneyland Hotel gave me an extra boost, but alas, we were just a little too slow.

But who cares! We got a super awesome X-wing medal and I finished without pain! I iced my problem hip, just in case and to prevent any future problems, but I was feeling good.

After breakfast at LaBrea Bakery, we went to Disneyland to ride Hyperspace Mountain!

img_5728

 

Time: 2:00:01 (and now I’ll be forever wondering what my time would have been had we not stopped for BB-8…)
Ran With: For the first time, Jason!
Best sign: “Tired? …Tell that to Kanjiklub.” (Rewatch The Force Awakens to see where the internet meme came from…)

Related:
Race Recap: 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon
2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Expo & Packet Pick Up
Medals Revealed for the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!
Inaugural Star Wars 10K Recap: Rebel Challenge Part 1