Phew.. we have had a hectic couple weeks! Sorry for not posting, but between traveling to the west coast twice, Paul’s birthday, and both of us getting sick (hopefully not the measles :-P), it has been slightly chaotic!
We flew to Anaheim on the Thursday before Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. The runDisney expo was only until 8pm on Friday night, and we didn’t want to risk any flight delays causing us to miss packet pickup.. so we flew in Thursday night and I was able to get a full day of work in on Friday from the hotel. No vacation time needed – score!
(Southwest now has Leinenkugel on board. YES.)
On Friday, we attended the Expo first thing in the morning.
The runDisney Facebook page had been blowing up all Thursday about HUGE lines for merchandise, but arriving first thing in the morning made for a quick expo. We had absolutely no lines.
I picked up a few goodies since I’m 6 years old at heart and then headed back to the hotel to work.
I did manage to get in a quick run at our hotel, Hyatt Place Anaheim/Convention Center.
They had an AWESOME gym, even stocked with headphones in case you forgot some!
That night we went to our FAVORITE place in Anaheim, The Pizza Press, for some pre-race carbs.
I LOVE this restaurant because it is similar to a Subway, but for pizza (with fancier ingredients) and craft beer! You pick out all your toppings ( things like fresh mozzarella, smoked gouda, feta, fresh Chèvre, Bourbon Cured bacon, Crimini Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, artichoke hearts, pineapple etc) and then it goes through the toaster oven. Once it comes out, you have a dozen sauces and things like pestos, fresh basil, etc to choose to top it with. Then you get an awesome, toasty pizza made with fresh ingredients! We ate here both times last year and then both nights this time 😀 We’re addicted! (Plus the area right around Disney is very chain-heavy, so we like this little place best)
The morning of the 10k was an early one and we set our alarms for 3:45 am. I always say I like DisneyWORLD races better than DisneyLAND because the courses are better, BUT a really nice perk of DisneyLand is that you can walk to the start if you have a hotel in the area… no need to depend on early, early buses.
Our walk to the start was only about 15 minutes and then we popped into Disney’s Paradise Pier resort to use the restrooms.
I was in Corral B and Paul was in Corral A, so we headed to our separate starts.
I was really impressed with the pre-race entertainment this year. They showed movie clips from Star Wars, had Carissa and Rudy as the race announcers (I think they are really funny, despite being super cheesy) and they had GIANT video boards, so that everyone could see what was going on.
I felt like B corral wasn’t as crowded as Tinker Bell either. I started in the first third of the corral and never felt too cramped or had people pushing me around. Even once we started, it didn’t take long for people to spread out and give space. Crowding on the course was never an issue for me and I felt well-seeded in B.
Now, the course itself was not crowded, but the photo lines were SO long. The first character I saw was Chewbacca. He was after the castle, and his line was wrapped around a small queue. I scrapped the idea and ran on.
Looking back, I wish I had stopped.. because there were barely any other characters the rest of the 10k. There were quite a few costumed characters simply dressed as Jedi, but no other major characters (that I recognized).
However, the course was awesome. We barely ran outside of the park and the majority of the course was inside DisneyLand, California Adventure, and the backlots. They also had an aid station almost every mile (water only).
Costumes were also the best I have ever seen at a race. I was dressed as Mickey, so I got quite a few people yelling out to me (there were barely any other Mickeys), but I’ve never seen so many awesome, detailed costumes like for Star Wars. This theme, more than any other runDisney race, was truly carried out over every aspect.
I stopped to take quite a few pictures of the parks, the race, costumes, and the castle, but still managed to cross in 1:06.
I don’t usually run races for the bling, but I will say that I really loved this 10k medal!
Despite having previously sworn off DisneyLand races, the Star Wars 10k won me over again. The starting line is really convenient, the 10k course was awesome and never really crowded, and I loved the medal.
The rest of the day was spent at California Adventure! I really think this might be my favorite Disney park. Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania!, Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’ coaster… all really awesome rides.
This time we also got the chance to check out the Aladdin musical. I really loved it! Despite being crammed in a theater with what seems like 1,000 other people, the show was SO detailed. We had no problems hearing, and I was pretty wow-ed by the special effects like the flying carpet, and how dang neat the theater looked with the stars lit up! We skipped this last year, but now it is on my must-see!
And no trip to Disney is complete without at least one awesome splurge:
The park was followed by round 2 of Pizza Press (carb loading IS essential) 😉 and watching Cyclone basketball kick butt against Kansas in our hotel! Best day ever.
I’ll be back soon (promise!) with a recap of the 2nd half of the Rebel Challenge and the rest of our time in California! Hope you are staying warm if you are out East!.. and enjoying the AWESOME weather we are having in the Midwest! 70. IN JANUARY. Insane.