Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon: Race Recap

If you missed my Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo Recap, you can find it here.

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Two cell phone alarms, the hotel alarm clock, and my scheduled wake-up call from the front desk all went off at 3 AM on-the-dot Sunday morning. Although I was definitely still tired (and stuffed up), I rolled myself out of bed with relative ease – I think it was because my brain was still on Texas time, so really it felt like 5 AM for me. Robert and I both had laid out our race gear the night before, so we were quick to don our outfits, and as per usual for runDisney races, I put on a little bit of make-up. I can’t help but feel as though the make-up is that final touch to the costume!

We were out the door at 3:30 AM to meet up with Stacy in the hotel lobby, and then made the quick walk across the street to the pre-race area. I expected it to be much like the races at Disney World, with a DJ and massive dance party, but was slightly let down. There was a DJ, but runners were few and far between (which, on a good note, means there was never a line for the porta-potties), and very few partook in the dancing. We danced a little bit, but the atmosphere just wasn’t as jubilant as the Disney World pre-race parties. I didn’t know how crazy it would be, but knowing now, I probably would have just slept in a little longer and walked across the street closer to race start (which is what most people probably did). The corrals were literally right next to the bag check/pre-race area – I could have walked there from the hotel in 5 minutes or less – that is most definitely a Disneyland race perk!

Pre-race DJ

After doing some stretches and checking our bags, we went to our corrals. I lined up in the middle of corral A so I didn’t impede anyone who was actually racing for time, and proceeded to sit down and worry about if this race was going to be any fun. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly (my medicine hadn’t quite kicked-in yet for that morning), and that it would completely ruin the whole experience. I had about 30 minutes of these oh-so-lovely thoughts until the corral entertainment began to divert my attention. Once we were just a few minutes from starting, I noticed that my nose was clearing up and I was able to breathe much better. My spirits began to lift and my negative thoughts magically fluttered away! Before I knew it, Tinker Bell appeared on the big screen at the starting line, and in 3..2…1…we were off!

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The race began on a hill (which Robert said looked awesome from his corral – all of a sudden, he saw a huge wave of people just take off upwards), and it took about 1-1.5 miles to get to the first park. I ran through California Adventure first, and stopped for quite a few photo ops! It was my first time EVER to see Car’s land, and I must say, it was so cool getting to run through it lit-up, and with minimal crowding. They also had the World of Color fountains glowing, which was stunning!

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I then made my way through Disneyland Park, where there was character stop after character stop. As I made the turn down Main Street, I admired the beauty of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and then my ears perked up to the upbeat music from the film Peter Pan. The entire street was filled with chEar squad spectators, and of course, Tinker Bell was there! Soon after, I made my way around the beautifully lit ‘It’s a Small World’ ride, and found Merida! Once it was my turn to get a picture with her, she gasped and said “oh I love your hair! It’s like looking in a mirror!” – It was just fantastic.

Captain Hook left for his break two people ahead of me, so no picture with him.100_0991

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I love the three little bears from ‘Brave’ in the background with Merida!100_1002

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Jack Sparrow played his character very well!100_1006

I loved how much time was spent running in the parks for this course; I don’t think we started out on the streets of Anaheim until mile 5 or 6 (don’t remember specifically). Once out of the parks, I wasn’t sure how the rest of the course would be, but as it turned out, it was amazing. If someone would have run this race solely for the spectator support, they would not be disappointed in the slightest. I loved that there were so many people, so many fantastic signs, cheerleaders, bands, dance groups, and even a hilarious lady in a bathrobe cheering to each of us with a glass of champagne in her hand! Around mile 9, I encountered “free candy from strangers” (Twizzlers and orange slices). This was perfect for me as I always tend to crave orange juice during a run. My absolute favorite, though, was the Super Mario ‘power up’ sign towards the last couple miles!

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Throughout the last half of the race, I high-fived and waved to more people than I could ever count, heard endless amounts of cheers for Merida, and even had one girl shout out to me “Merida! Change your fate!” So I shouted back to them “I already have!” – They must have loved it because they cheered even louder after that! My nose never bothered me too much, and I don’t think I stopped smiling during the entire race.

I crossed the finish line earned my wings with a chip time of 2:43:56, and proceeded to get my medal, PowerAde, water, banana, and box of snacks. They also gave out runDisney Mylar blankets, which was really nice since it was a bit chilly that morning. I sat down and took off my Merida wig immediately – it didn’t bother me too much during the race other than warm my face up a bit more than normal, but I doubt I’ll ever run in a wig again. I ate/drank/called my family/social media’d, and just generally enjoyed the temporary down-time until I saw Robert and Stacy.

Once we all met up, we took a few pictures and admired our absolutely adorable medals (complete with a spinning Tinker Bell in the middle), then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the day. After all, we had some park exploring to do – who doesn’t want to walk all day long after running 13.1 miles?!

QOTD: What is your favorite part about a Disney race?

30 comments

  1. So many characters! I so wish Frozen characters had been out at WDW. That would've been one picture I couldn't pass up.

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    1. I would have LOVED to see the Frozen characters out. I am crossing my fingers that they will be there for Wine & Dine later this year!

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  2. Glad you had a great race. You looked so cute! Props to you for wearing that wig the entire race! I had to enlarge that one picture cus I though it said Free Red Wine! I saw that it actually said Red Vine. I'm assuming that is California talk for twizlers? Such cute medal too. I hope to earn one of those one day!

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    1. Haha thanks! The wig I felt was a nice costume touch, but I won't be doing it again! Yeah, red vines are the non-brand name for twizzlers lol

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    2. We just call that red licorice! I've never heard of it called red vines before!

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    3. That is what I call it too, actually, but I have heard others refer to them as red vines too... probably depends on what part of the US you are from haha (like 'soda' or 'pop' or 'coke')!

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  3. It looks like you had a blast!! I've never stopped to take pictures at a Disney race before but I think I might have to in August during the DDD! It sounds like the Disneyland races are a little less crowded than Disney World? Hopefully! My favorite part of a Disney race is the atmosphere surrounding it, there's nothing like it!

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    1. Never stopped for pictures?! You are very strong... the photo ops tempt me so much that I doubt I'll ever be able to run a Disney race for time lol Plus I feel like I get more value out of my race registration cost :)

      I have never really had an issue with crowding at the races - maybe it just doesn't bother me as much as other people, or maybe starting in corral A helps with congestion since more people are running at a steady pace rather than walking more

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  4. Looks fun! Where is his kilt from?

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    1. It was a blast! His kilt is just a costume kilt we bought on Amazon.

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  5. What a fun race!! Love all of the character stops and I'm so glad your nose cleared up for you! Hope to run this someday soon!

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    1. Thanks, I am so glad it did too!! I highly recommend this race!

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  6. AHHH, AWESOME RECAP! I love your guys' costume, and the wig! How was it running in a wig, BTW...my siter and I are going as Elsa and Anna for GSC, and she wants me to go for it with the blonde wig, but I'm really not feeling it, haha. You got some really awesome pictures, and it looks like so much fun...you've totally sold me on Tinkerbell!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer!! The wig didn't move at all and I didn't even wear a wig cap... just had my hair in my 'jasmine ponytail' and put the wig over it. Pretty good quality for a $15 wig I bought on Amazon lol! The only thing that bothered me was that it warmed up my face more than usual, so I was grateful that the weather was chilly for the race, and that I was able to cool down during the character stops. Will I ever run in a wig again? I am 99% sure that answer is no.

      Haha that is good you are sold on it, it's definitely a race to get excited about!

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    2. Haha, I bet! It doesn't sound too bad, though -- it looked great! MAYBE I'll consider it for GSC...MAYBE. ;)

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    3. Nope, I say if you want to give it a try, why not?! I will say this though - do your hair underneath the wig where you could easily throw the wig in the trash if it gets too annoying and you could still keep on running without any issues.

      I can't wait to see your costumes! I am thinking I want to dress up at Elsa for Wine & Dine later this year!

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  7. BIG PROPS running in that wig the whole time!!!
    I am amazed by all the pictures I've seen of the Car Land... so cool!
    You did awesome!
    I think I'd be in shock if I ever did a Disney race just because of the time you have to get up. UGH. What awesome employees for the characters to get up & get dressed to do these races.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! Cars Land was soooo neat, the pictures barely do it justice, especially at night (or early morning in this case) when the area is all lit-up!

      The early morning wake-up calls sound terrible, but when you're that excited for something, you'd be surprised how upbeat your adrenaline will make you lol Though I can't say that of those who did the Dopey Challenge this year... all the recaps I've read so far is people saying that is truly is hard waking up THAT early 4 days in a row!

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  8. Congratulations on earning your wings! I've even more excited for the PHM now. =)

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    1. Thanks Jodi! I am so excited for you to experience the awesomeness of the PHM!!

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  9. I'm super-impressed you wore the wig the whole time. I love seeing the pictures - all of the colors came out so vividly! I've never been to Disneyland but now I think I may have to try to get in a race out there one day. I keep hearing such good things. Congrats on the new medal! - Jess

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    1. Thanks Jess! I am pretty impressed with that little point-and-shoot camera too - my husband used ours, so I borrowed one from my parents. Their's seems to be much better quality (it's a Kodak I believe)!

      You should definitely run a Disneyland race sometime!

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  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Merida costume! I know it's not easy to run in a long wig. But now you have me wanting to pull it off... :) And Robert looks so cute as a bear. DG has a SportKilt too, so you have sparked some definite possibilities for future race costumes. Great spectator signs. Glad you guys had an awesome time.

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    1. Thanks!! Haha it surprisingly wasn't that bad since it never really moved out of place! Robert got a ton of compliments on his costume - he is so creative!!

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  11. I love all your pictures! I love Disneyland races because I can roll out of bed and head right to the finish line! In all 3 years of running Tink I have never gone to the prerace area.

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    1. Thanks Summer! I wish I would have known just how close everything was... definitely would have slept in a bit longer :) haha

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  12. Love this recap and your photo with Merida! You made me want to run this race again. I ran the first one in 2012 and LOVED the course and all the support out there. Glad your cold didn't get you down afterall!

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    1. Thanks, Karla! I was so excited when I saw Merida, I skipped over to the photo line LOL

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  13. We are looking for people to Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today!. You can help distribute brochures and yard signs to local stores, offices, and restaurants! Are you a people person? We have many community events where Team Spirit needs a presence. Volunteer to work a table at one of these events to hand out brochures and spread information about Team Spirit, and recruit participants! Already attending the marathon? Then help volunteer the day of the event. We need groups to assist with set up, participant check-in, new registrations, and drive or co-pilot shuttle vans. We will also need people to man water stations, and course monitors to assure participants’ safety and morale.

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    1. Sounds fun, but I actually do not live in California. I just traveled there for the Tinker Bell race! Thanks for asking!

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