Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report

I don't always read the race info anymore for Disney races, but luckily I did -- the start was 5am, not 6am as we expected. FIVE A.M.!!!!! So we had to get up earlier than we wanted to... but staying so close to the starting line meant we really didn't have to get up until 4, and head out by about 4:20.

We had half a bagel each (no time to digest more), got dressed, and headed out. It was surprisingly chilly at 4am - made us wish we had another set of disposable clothes to put on - but we made do with garbage bags.

We made our way to the starting area -- across the big plaza, through Downtown Disney, and then a loop behind the Disneyland Hotel to get into the corrals. We didn't really have a plan for this race -- just get through it -- which made it feel like we were waaaaaay more relaxed than our fellow runners.

Again, I moved back to corral C so that I could run with Wil - and we didn't have any grumbling about men in the corral. In fact, when it was almost time for our corral to start, the announcers started talking about how C was the corral with all the men. I wonder if there were men in other corrals, too? Or if just all of the faster men were there?

The only glimpse of Tinker Bell -- a digital image far in the distance
I do feel like this race needs waaaaaaay more Tinker Bell in it. I mean, I didn't see Tink or any of the fairies out on the course. It seems like Disney could put up a "Pixie Hollow" sort of area where all of the runners are "shrunk" to pixie size, so that we could then see her and her pals. Sure, it would take some effort, but it would be such a nice idea. Maybe next year, RunDisney!


That said, this course is much, much nicer than the Disneyland Half course. I like spending the first six miles basically in and around the parks -- wouldn't it be great if we could just do two loops of that? And starting the runners on the big roads, allowing us to space out a little before the parks is very smart.

We started by running around the outer edges of the park -- up the "big hill" (slight incline at a freeway overpass) and then back along the edge of the park and into a backstage road I had never noticed before. (Cooool!) Then we ran behind California Adventure for a minute, before popping out into the park in Cars Land, running through there (pretty!), around the lake, then back by the Grizzly River Rapids entrance, and then out onto the plaza.

Tower of Terror!!!
California Adventure? Main Street? Who knows?

Yet again, we were met by silent crowds, all looking just for their own runners. We did our usually "hey! Give us a whoop!" sort of thing, which got them to make a little noise, but it was still weirdly quiet. I really really really need to earn some race karma some day by going out to cheer for runners I don't know!

Then in to Disneyland, where we got to run up Main Street. Always great to run up there! And I think the spectators were perhaps a little more enthusiastic... Somehow we didn't stop for a castle pic -- heck, I don't think we even remembered to take a post-race pic! -- but then runed to run through Tomorrowland before looping back around to go through the castle.

It's funny to run in both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland so close together -- because, in essence, the course is the same. In the park "backstage", the turn on to Main Street, running toward the castle, turning off for a loop through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, then back through the castle before turning to Frontierland and then backstage across the train tracks.

This time when we ran through Fantasyland, I heard the carousel operator say,  "Hold tight, Lost Boys -- carousel is starting up!" -- which made me think they had needed to take a break for some reason. Still, nice to actually have characters on the carousel, as opposed to having it stopped.

Of course, the minute you leave the park at mile 6, the energy drops a lot. But at least in this race, we were nearly halfway done. We ran through a surprisingly cute street of houses (so close to Disneyland!), then out to Muzeo in downtoan Anaheim, and then back. Easy peasy. I was feeling a little tired, a little footsore; but Wil was having an awesome day. I just feel bad that I held him back!

"Proof" that Wil dragged me over the finish line!

I just tried to keep up with Wil -- but my feet were hurting and I was struggling. Still, in the last mile or so I felt like I was able to pick it up and we finished strong in 2:21. Not anywhere near a PR, but not bad for a Disney race -- and a race after we spend a week on our feet in Disney parks on both coasts.

We got our medals, our snack boxes (different stuff inside!), and then our Coast to Coast medals. It was so early -- not even 8am -- that we couldn't go into a park or anything, so we decided to just head back to the hotel. But along the way we stopped at the 12 mile marker and cheered for the runners still coming in. We must have stood out there for 15 minutes or so -- earning a bit of race karma, and hopefully inspiring people to finish strong. Best line? "You're so close to earning your wings!" I sort of wish I had spent more time out there, but I was tired and sweaty and desperate for a shower.... and maybe a nap.

Later in the day we met up with Gretchen for a fantastic veggie lunch at the Green Door Cafe in Orange, and then went back to the parks for a little more Disney fun. The weirdest part of the day was going to the Mad T Party and watching the crowd completely enraptured by what can only be described as a wedding / covers band. Is it a fun show? Sure. Are the songs well performed? Of course. And the band plays with the kind of swagger you'd expect in a famous band. But the fact that the crowd KNOW THE CHOREOGRAPHY and SING ALONG with the band is a little weird. 

Not sure when we'll be back in Anaheim again, but we've already decided to run the Tinker Bell Half again next year -- and we're going to convince Suz that it should be her first half, too!

1 comment:

  1. I'm working on it! Started week 5 of C25K yesterday.

    I like your idea of a Pixie Hollow. Surely Disney has the necessary stuff lying around in a warehouse somewhere.