Thursday, January 29, 2015

Star Wars Rebel Challenge Weekend recap

I can't believe it's taken this long to write this post -- but you know, life gets messy and all that! But we had an amazing time at the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland.

We flew down on Friday morning, finding the expo very quiet -- which was both a relief (since there were huge lines on Thursday when expo opened) and a little sad (a lot of the merchandise was already long gone). But with a little help from friends who arrived earlier, we got the two things we really wanted, the Star Wars pint glass:

And the medal replica pins:

We picked up a couple of the 2015 runDisney Vinylmation figures -- neither of which was the Minnie chase figure, unfortunately -- and were again a little surprised and disappointed that, as with Avengers, there were no "mini medals".

All told, there *was* a lot of swag... THREE RACE SHIRTS!!!! ... plus the pins and necklace we had preordered...

We then ran a few errands, checked in to our hotel, and arranged to meet up with Suz at Trader Sam's for her "finder's fee":

The pool -- and lunch -- and  a nap -- was calling, so we took it easy the rest of the day, only venturing into the parks in the evening. (Frozen Fun? Sure!)

Saturday morning, bright and early, we made the trek across Downtown Disney to the starting area for the Star Wars 10K. Really fun to see all the costumes as we made our way up to corral B.

By the time we got there, the hosts were already well into their chatter, and had been joined by C-3PO and R2-D2. The hosts were wearing costumes -- cute! -- and soon introduced the national anthem, and then the wheelers left. It occurred to me that the wheelers would finish the 10K circuit before the last corral started.

Corral A left very shortly behind the wheelers, and then it was our turn to move up. The corrals felt large, but not too crowded. We took off to a nice animation:

... but there was some clumping just before the start, as a lot of people clearly tried to get clearer versions of this shot:

(On Sunday I noticed that the hosts weren't in costume... and there were no characters on the stage when we passed. Disney is Very Good at making quick changes...)

I loved the 10K course -- we did a half loop of the parks first, which gave us nice broad roads to run on while the pack stretched out a little. Then we turned and ran into the park, which I especially liked because I didn't think we'd ever been backstage in that area before. In fact, I got completely turned around and wasn't sure where I was. Another benefit of this course: I can't imagine that they needed to sweep many people, since the runners were off the public streets before mile 2.

LOVE this 10K course!

Favorite race highlight: running through California Adventure, we saw a LOOOOOONNNNGGGG line for a character photo -- with BOBA FETT! As we got closer, I shouted "I LOVE YOU BOBA FETT" and he turned to look at me, and did a little nod of the head... you know, the one that sets all the girls' hearts a-flutter...

After all the waffling about my costume, I was really happy with it -- though my thought of making the bandolier bag lightweight sorta backfired -- it was so light that it was difficult to actually keep on, so I spent much of the 10K holding on to it so it didn't fall off. For the half, I simply pinned the bag down, and pinned the bandolier to my shoulder and back so it didn't move around. Problem solved.

We didn't manage to attract many photos during the race (hey, it's only a 10K), but we picked up our medals and snapped this photo:

We were sitting on our balcony, planning out the rest of our day, when we decided that rather than having a nap first, we'd go straight to the parks. When we got there, we discovered it was actually Extra Magic Hours... but the very nice castmember took a look at us, with our medals and bibs and outfits, and let us go in. Very nice.

We spent a quick hour riding all of "our" rides, and then went back for a swim an a nap.

(Do you see a pattern? Swimming and naps always feature pretty highly in our Disneyland trips...)

Sunday was another Very Early Morning -- the 5:30 starts for runDisney events is a little hard to get used to! But we walked over to the start area again. More amazing costumes -- none of which I captured on film (because I always feel funny about that). Yeah, I'm a dork.

A little trouble getting into Corral B -- people weren't moving up, so we couldn't squeeze into the back, but we knew that as soon as the corral was called forward, we would be fine.

The start was pretty uneventful, other than the fact that a guy in a FULL CHEWBACCA SUIT started in the same corral, which made me feel like I just hadn't tried hard enough (ha!). BTW, the guy in the suit was near us for much of the race. As Wil pointed out, maybe the guy is training to run Badwater and needed to practice running in crazy heat?

Star Wars Half Marathon course map

The half marathon course was different again and I really liked that we entered the park backstage in a new area. I love that Disney makes different courses for each of their events. Other than the all-too-brief time in the parks (again, no Castle run-through), my favorite part of the course was when we ran down what I assume was the old Main Street in Garden Grove. There was a cute Mexican restaurant with a guy standing outside dressed as Elvis. When we go back down in May for Tinker Bell, we're going there for dunner one night.

For obvious reasons, there were more spectators out for the half -- we did run past one high school band that had a pretty amazing tauntaun mascot costume, and another where the cheerleaders got Very Excited about my Chewie-esque costume and did a lot of shrieking. Bless.

Having not run long since, oh, the Avengers Half Marathon back in November, I got pretty tired out by mile 10. But Wil kept us moving (and, hey, we wanted to stick with the guy in the Chewie suit!), and we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand and with a nice shout out in a not-too-shabby 2:32.

Chewie gets a medal!!!

Amusing: as we headed down the home stretch, a guy shouted to Wil: "Don't let the Wookiee win!" Sadly, due to the vagaries of timing, Wil "beat" me (place-wise) both days... despite posting identical times. Sigh.

Things we loved:
- all the costumes!
- the 10K course was great. (Between Tinker Bell and Star Wars, this was by far the better 10K course.)
- the half marathon medal -- we didn't wear it much (preferring to wear the Rebel Challenge medal in the parks), but having it be a replica of the Yavin medal is fantastic.
- stormtroopers stationed on the ramps of the Carousel of Progress
- multiple stormtrooper photo op stations during the half marathon
- the "free hugs" Chewie and Stormtrooper who stood out on Harbor Boulevard ALL MORNING during the half
- the cosplay group out during the half -- loved seeing so many different costumes, all so well done!

Room for improvement:
- personally, I could, I dunno, TRAIN for a race again someday...
- post-race photo ops -- I love when they put up "selfie backgrounds" so you can take your own post-race pic... but I can see that that makes Marathonfoto unhappy...

And the usual wishes:
- more characters
- more time in the parks
- more entertainment outside of the parks

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