I have to say, writing this recap is absolute torture! I am desperately missing the warm temps of California! Thankfully the weather in Kansas City is supposed to hit 60 degrees (WHAT?) tomorrow. I’m hoping the snow and ice all melt, so I can get in a solid bike ride outside on Saturday.
So, anyway.. After the Star Wars 10k and day at California Adventure, we tried to get to bed early for our 4 am wake up for Sunday. Unfortunately, our hotel was awful and we could hear the people next door until at least 11pm. Ugh.
4 am came REAL quick once we did fall asleep, but I was up and in my Mickey costume in no time. By 4:30, we were out the door and I was chomping on my cream cheese bagel while we walked over to the corrals.
Just like Saturday, I was pretty happy with the pre-race set-up. We hit up the Paradise Pier resort to the use the bathrooms and then dipped into our corrals (B for me, A for Paul).
Once again they had the video boards up, so that all the corrals could see them. They played more movie clips (a couple of the same ones) and Carissa and Rudy were back announcing. It was a bit cold, so I was thankfully to have my throw away tube-sock arm warmers. I had a water bottle that I tossed right at the start, but the wait went quickly because it was fun checking out everyone’s costumes. I also decided to run with my phone for the half (which I never ever do), so I may or may not have checked Facebook about a quadrillion times
The start for the half was a little more exciting than it was for the 10k. There were fireworks for the national anthem, and then again for the wheelchair start, and each corral after that. Soon enough it was time for Corral B!
Once again, I didn’t have any crowding issues in B except for obviously the first couple of minutes… but as SOON as I started running my legs felt like lead. Woof. The run yesterday followed by the entire day at the park was a poor choice (not that I would do it any differently next time :)). We made our way towards DisneyLand resort and the crowd was steady, but not cramped. Perfect.
As I mentioned in my 10k recap, the race on Saturday had only a few character stops. I had kicked myself for missing Chewbacca because he was the only guy I recognized! Well, the half MORE than made up for the 10k. There were TONS of stops within DisneyLand and California Adventure.
The character stops, however, were SO packed. Luke and Leia were positioned right past the castle and I ran off to the side to hop in line before I realized that the line that I thought was already long was actually 3x longer because it was a queue and a few rows deep! Yikes!
I didn’t want to wait so I just took a photo of the characters and then kept on running. The course was the same through DisneyLand as it had been yesterday, but all the additional character stop had lines that were just as long… Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers.
We made our way towards California Adventure and the sun was starting to come up, so I hopped in line for the Storm Troopers and used the few moments in line to pull off my arm warmers and gloves so I could toss them.
This was the only character stop that I made, but I did stop a few more times to take pictures of the course and park.
After we were through California Adventure, we headed out on the streets of Anaheim. This course was different than the Tinker Bell Half and far more interesting. There were also significantly more local schools represented with their bands and cheerleaders, which made the course more interesting. During Tinker Bell there was basically NOTHING after you left the parks, so this was a welcome change!
Towards mile 9, we encountered almost an entire block of 501st and Rebel Legion members dressed up in costume! I had never heard of the group before, but they were getting a LOT of attention. I thought they were from Disney because their costumes were spot on and included every detail. Despite SO many of them being out, I still didn’t stop for any pictures. By that point I was an embarrassing struggle-bus. I forced myself to keep running and walked only the water stops (which they had every mile). I typically would have stopped for a couple photos, but man, by then I just wanted to be done.
One funny moment I forgot to mention during my 10k recap was that towards the end, two older guys ran up to me. They thanked me because they said they had been using me as their inspiration to keep up the pace. I smiled, but as they started to pass me, I realized I couldn’t just let that happen. We were only about .2 from the finish line, so I started sprinting and zoomed passed them shouting “How’s this for inspiration?”. Ha. I owe them for making me kicking it up a notch. I mention it now because as I was running during the half, I could hear a couple guys behind me saying things like “Is that her?”, “I think so, but I don’t know”. They definitely remembered me from the day before and we stopped because they wanted a selfie with me This time, however, they were able to pass me easily.
The course started winding back towards the parks around mile 9 and I was getting nice and slow. This is where a partial out and back course is great because I know exactly how much farther I have to go to see Mile 12, etc. It was TORTURE passing my hotel though because I just wanted to be done
The last mile I skipped the aid station and just concentrated on hoofing it towards the finish.
I had been REALLY REALLY hoping to see Mickey and Friends dressed up in their Star Wars costumes, so when I spotted Goofy in his Darth Vader get-up, I was excited thinking I would see Mickey. Nope. Paul said they showed me on the big screen as I was finishing, and he knew exactly what I was doing: Looking for Mickey, because my head was darting back and forth as I was frantically looking around. That was the only real disappointment of the whole weekend. No Mickey! Ha. (I’m secretly 12 years old).
The finish line was neat though and had TONS of spectators leading up to it! I crossed the finish line, got my medal and then got in line to get my Rebel Challenge medal. runDisney has up-ed its game and gotten the challenges down to a science. I was in and out with my bonus medal in seconds. I remember waiting a lot longer for my Coast to Coast last year.
The finish line party was just okay. I really wish they would have characters out to take pictures with, like they do at DisneyWorld races. Since Paul and I don’t run together, it would be nice to have a character photo at the end.
Regardless, despite my struggle-bus pace, the long lines for characters, and no Mickey, it was still a great race. DisneyLand had a great course for both the 10k and the half, provided a lot more entertainment than they did previously , and made the logistics of the entire weekend basically flawless. runDisney gets a lot of hate for the prices and quick sell-out of their races, but you absolutely get what you pay for! An awesome race and a fun time.
^^Turns out Mickey actually showed up for the award ceremony. Too bad I was still running at this point. Thanks Paul for photo!
After we met up with a couple friends, we made the long walk back to our hotel. We showered, checked-out, and then headed over to Santa Monica for a few hours. I’ve never been to the Pier, and even though it was a gloomy day, it was a fun stop!
And NO California trip is complete without In N Out. SO GOOD.
So, what’s on deck next for me and runDisney? Here’s a hint