Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tinker Bell Half Marathon race report

Woke up early -- again -- but felt reasonably spry. I feel like we left a little later than on Saturday, but there were a lot more people moving around. But we had to hustle, because the national anthem was sung while we were still moving into our corral.

I had been assigned A (ha ha ha), but moved back to B to run with Wil. I still think it's really weird that they discriminate like that, but what can you do. (Again, can you imagine the uproar if at, say, the Star Wars Half they decided to make corral A men only because it's a men-focused race?)

in our corral
Tink starting the half marathon

The wheelers were off, quickly followed by A, and then B. Rudy gave us a "run happy!" shout-out as we passed the stage, and off we went.

This race was something of a blur ... we kept up a decent pace at first, but were surprisingly leg-tired and had to slow to a walk for the last few miles. The course started by winding (and winding and winding) through the parks. Which was fun and amusing, but oddly enough I got tired of it. Sometimes the looping around is a little frustrating. That said, it's still nicer than the tile merchants of Anaheim, so I shouldn't grumble!!!

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon course map

One HUGE highlight -- somewhere around the 5-mile mark, we ran through a gigantic stretch of Red Hat Ladies, who were whooping it up. Oh my goodness, I love the Red Hats. We ran along laughing and smiling and blowing kisses at the ladies. I cannot wait to be one myself. (And I think I have to encourage Mom to join a group -- those Red Hat Ladies are amazing!)

When we finally (seriously, like 150 yards later) passed them all, I had to stop because I was totally choked up and couldn't breathe. So awesome!

castle pic!
We then popped off property and into the quiet neighborhood (shhh! neighbors sleeping!) to run on some long, straight roads. We ran past the Pond (where the Ducks practice), past Muzeo (where we once saw two great exhibits: one on Victorian art, one on Steampunk), past the STRANGERS WITH CANDY (which I had been desperately looking forward to, because Red Vines are one of my favorite things to eat on a run), and then we turned back to the parks.

Did I mention that today we were dressed like this?

photo by Charles Hutchins

photo by Eli Madero

Yeah, that was awesome. We got a lot of love from spectators, castmembers, and of course the high school bands / cheer squads / dance squads on the course. (For the record, we don't know the people who took those photos of us … but they were posted on a Facebook group.) It helped, since we were both feeling pretty low. So happy when we passed mile 12, our spirits lifted by a super friendly Navy guy, along with some other runners who told us they had been following us since Disneyland and loved watching us run.

I love the location of the finish lines for these races -- much, much nicer placement, since there's no strange loop around a big parking lot. You just come out of the California Adventure backstage, cross the road, and you're in the home stretch. We crossed the line in 2:37:01 -- a bit slower than we might have hoped, but probably faster than we deserve!!!

Again, we had great costumes on our fellow runners -- a few other Tiggers, a really nice Donald, a super-cute Piglet, a stretching room tightrope walker, and the cast of Toy Story to name a few.

I don't remember seeing all that many characters, but we loved seeing the Lost Boys by the carousel; the fox looked at Wil and said, "heh heh, you've got Pooh on your head… heh heh".

We finished, picked up or FOURTH Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal, and then made our way to the challenge area to pick up our Pixie Dust Challenge medal. Big smiles:

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Pixie Dust Challenge

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal

2015 Pixie Dust Challenge Medal2015 Pixie Dust Challenge medal

Because of SNACKBOXGATE, we weren't sure what to expect… but clearly Disney had put dozens of people on a big room and had them open all 16,000 snack boxes, discard the applesauce, and separate all the other items out. (Bless you, folks, for your hard work!!!) So we passed through the finisher area and were handed a small bag with one item in it, then made our way along a line of tables where volunteers handed us other items from large bins. But they were super efficient, and there weren't a lot of other folks going through, so it went quickly. 

We considered earning a bit of race karma and cheering our fellow runners on… but the parks were beckoning so we made our way to Disneyland via Downtown Disney. 

We went immediately -- do not pass Go, do not collect $200 -- to the Haunted Mansion to meet the newest resident. Slight scare: we got in the line just as a cast member went running down to close the gate, and she then announced that playful spooks have interrupted the tours, but that we were welcome to wait and they were hoping to be back up and running within 20 minutes. We had a little time to kill, so decided to stick it out… and were rewarded with only a 5-minute wait… which I filled by eating most of the contents of my snack bag. :)

Super thrilled to have the chance to finally meet… the Hatbox Ghost!!!

After that we were treated to a private boat on Pirates of the Caribbean, where we were "hit" by the air cannon (LOVE THAT). Then we slowly made our way into Critter Country, where we rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, poked around in the Pooh's Corner shop (no, I still can't bring myself to buy one of the candy apples…), and then… it was time for this:

This was the longest, most sincere hug I've ever had from a character. It was preceded by Pooh and Tigger emerging from backstage, spotting us, and then freezing and pointing at us before running over to greet us. I should point out that we weren't the first in line, but it was clearly Very Important for Tigger and Pooh to say hello. 

When it was actually our turn, I spent what seemed like a very generous time with him -- he admired my medals, my tail, "ran" with me, and we posed for lots of pictures… which lots of other people also took, which felt a little odd, but whatever. 

Wil joined in, and Tigger made us all bounce. Yeah, it's hard to tell, but trust me, we're bouncing here.

Then it was time to move on. Tigger gave us both big hugs and sent us on to see Pooh around the corner. 

Pooh was thrilled to see Wil, first admiring his ears:

Then making this face:

And then both "running":

He then motioned for me to step in and we took a quick group photo.

I'm pretty sure there's no way to ever top these photos. :)

A bit later in the day, we did cross paths with another Pooh Corner resident, courtesy of the Springtime Roundup:

Rabbit was slightly perturbed that we hadn't donned bunny ears rather than our Pooh and Tigger headgear, but still reluctantly posed for a photo. 

The rest of the day is, admittedly, a bit of a blur… involving a trip to Alerto's, a swim, fresqourbons on Suz's balcony, a nap, and then returning to the parks from 6pm to midnight.

We are planning, of course, to register for the 5th Tinker Bell Half Marathon (May 8, 2016) when it opens on August 11, 2015. After all, we're legacy runners! Who else is in?

2015 Tinker Bell 10k, Half Marathon, and Pixie Dust Challenge medals

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