Monday, February 4, 2013

Race Report: Tinkerbell Half Marathon

As I was sitting in our hotel room the day before Rev3 Portland in July, my sister asked me if I wanted to run the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in Disneyland over MLK weekend in January with her, her husband and two friends.  I thought about it for second, it had been almost 5 years since I had been to Disneyland and my 3rd half marathon ever was the Disneyland half but truth be told, I had bigger things on my mind at the moment.  I figured I would think about it after my race and get back to her.  About two weeks post Rev3, still on my race high I decided I wanted to run it and of course, story of my life, it was sold out.  Oh well I figured, I would still take a trip to Disneyland to spectate.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving.  As everyone was leaving my in-laws after dinner I snuck into the living room to get my social media fix and saw on facebook they had opened up more spots for a "green Friday" sale.  I immediately grabbed my credit card to score a spot.

We left Friday night for the long weekend so we could get a day in at the parks before the race.  This really is silly logic if you ask me, walking around an amusement park all day the day before a race, BUT how often to I get to Disneyland?!  It was a beautiful 80 degrees down in Anaheim which was quite the change from the 40s/50s were were experiencing up here in Northern California.

We took a break mid-day to head over to the Expo.  I remember from the Disneyland half in 2007 (geez that seems so long ago) that the expo was pretty fun.  Come to think of it, it seems like it has been forever since I did a race with a big expo!  Getting our gear was seamless, in fact I walked right up to the booth to get my bib.

We spent a little time at the expo but really wanted to get back to the parks.

{I was a HORRIBLE photographer on this trip!  The only non-race pics I took where the ones of us from the rides!}

I had really wanted to see the "World of Color" show at California Adventure but with my 3:00 am wake up call looming ahead and it already being 8:45 pm we decided to head back to the hotel.  Smart decision too.  I think I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

You know it is a race morning when you set three alarms!  Since the course actually takes you through Disneyland and California Adventure it starts at 5:00 am so they can make sure they get the runners out before the parks open.  I actually didn't mind the early start as it meant we would still have the majority of Sunday at the parks.

2:45 am came sooner than I hoped but I had no trouble getting up.  I quietly got dressed trying not to wake K (who planned to come spectate at the more human hour of 5:00 am) and met my parents in the lobby at 3:30 am and we headed over to the starting line to meet my sister and her friends.

Oh yes, there were tutus and tiaras.  Believe it or not this was my first race in a tutu.  I have ridden my bike in a tutu, but never run in one.  I have no idea why "Disney Princess" is synonymous with "tutu" but hey, it was Disney and we were just running for fun so I went with it.

I had no goals for this race other than to have fun and just decided to run with my sister and her friends.  It was her friends first half marathon so I was just going to let them set the pace.

They had been assigned to "corral C" so I jumped in with them (I had been assigned to A).  

The race started with fireworks and I think we actually crossed the start line around 5:15.  It was time to run!

Despite the warmer daytime temps it was perfect running weather.  The first mile took us out and around the parking structures but by mile two we entered California Adventure.  

Disney never disappoints.  From the moment we entered California Adventure (mile 2) to when we left Disneyland (mile 6ish), it was not stop entertainment.  In fact, I forgot we were even running a race.  They had music playing, rides going and lots and lots of characters and cast members out cheering us on.  

Once we exited Disneyland we ran through Downtown Disney where there was ton of crowd support.  My water belt had been driving me crazy so when I saw Kevin around mile 6.5 I passed it off to him.

After Downtown Disney we took to the streets of Anaheim.  This was also when the sun started rising.  I thought the miles might start to drag at that point but they still just kept ticking by.  I saw some pretty cute signs such as, "this is the most unorganized Disney parade ever" to some really cute shirts that said, "Run?  I thought you said RUM!"  There were also lots of bands, high school cheer squads and other entertainment along the way.  

We had all gotten a little spread out so around mile 11 and I sprinted ahead to find a bathroom hoping the other others would have caught up (can you believe there was one with NO line!!) but I didn't see them so I decided to empty the tank and sprint to the finish. 

The others were right behind me.  We got our medals, waters, food, etc and headed over to meet up with my family.  We had chosen ahead of time a meeting spot so we were easily reunited.

Happy Finishers!
How sad this is the ONLY picture of us we took this weekend?!
My sister's friends did awesome for their first half marathon.  I immediately asked them if they would do it again  . . . and both said yes!

I also saw many people getting their "Coast to Coast" medals.  To qualify you have to run one Disney race in Disney World and one in Disneyland in the same calendar year.  The weekend prior had been the Disney World half, full and Goofy challenge and it appeared many came straight from Disney World to Disneyland.  This is definitely on my race bucket list!

So weird to be done racing by 7:45 am!  After chatting and pictures we all went our separate ways with promises to meet up in about 2 hours.  My sister and her friends back to their hotel, my mom and I back to ours and my dad and K to get in line at ESPN Zone for the big game - the NFC Championship game where the San Francisco 49'ers secured their spot in the Superbowl.  While the doors didn't open til 11, they were lined up by 9 am to secure a seat and they scored big time.  A booth in front of the wall with the 16 foot HD big screen surrounded by 12 other televisions, their own personal tv on their table and their booth even had surround sound where they proceeded to watch 9 hours of sports - definitely a man's "happiest place on earth." 

There were great post race goodies.  Every finisher got a box filled with snacks and lots of water and sports drink.  I wasn't too hungry right after the race but it tasted good about an hour later before I could get some real food.

RunDisney put on a great race but then again, would you expect anything less from Disney?  While there was between 10,000 and 20,000 people running it never felt crowded - not at the expo, the start, on the course or at the finish.

The aid stations were plentiful.  The swag was great and the medal was gorgeous.

After showers and real food we hit up the parks again for the rest of the day.  I was actually glad to do that walking as it meant my legs never cramped up.  I also got to meet up with a good friend who just happened to be at Disneyland that day as well and when we collected the boys after their day of football and 49er win everyone was in good spirits.  Then all too quickly our fun long weekend had to come to an end and it was back to reality.  

Now I just hope it isn't another five years before I make it back!
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  1. I've never done a Disney race, most because I can't fathom getting up that early for a race. But it looks like you had so much fun, and it must be really nice to be done so early! Loved the colors you all ran in!

  2. Thanks for posting! I love Disney events and have never done this one. Sounds like you had a great time.

  3. Looks like so much fun! I'd love to do a Disney race some day. Such beautiful medals! :)


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