Star Wars Weekend 2015 - Half Marathon/Rebel Challenge

HALF MARATHON!!! WOOTS!

After the 10k, I made sure to take it a little easier at the parks. The parks were pretty crowded and it was hard to get much done. Also, most of the group had woken up for the 10k so we were all okay with taking it easier that day. It was lucky we had done most of our park touring the day before!

I ended up calling it a day pretty early, grabbing some Earl of Sandwich (the holiday sandwich is fast becoming my favorite pre-race meal at Disneyland) and went back and chilled in the room. It was perfect, I'm so glad Wookie is happy with chill evenings like this!

4am once again came to early. Got ready and was out the door by 4:25, however in my final check before leaving the hotel I realized I had forgotten my bib. Doh! I grabbed it quick and was on my way!

Made it over to the start area and got into corral A and was ready. My legs were feeling good and I was ready to race and just have a great time. The weather was also perfect, a cool 50 degrees which is a great temperature when you are ready to run hard. I had looked at the top times for my age group from the 10k and they weren't too fast so I figured if I put in a solid effort I felt like I could age place (!!!!). I had my RawThreads tank on, my Sparkle Skirt was extra sparkly and I was ready.

The plan was to take the first 4.5 miles (aka the park miles) easy-ish and evaluate how I was feeling as I went. National anthem was sung (I have been so impressed by the National Anthem singings in 2015 so fat), final announcer info banter completed, and the final countdown was upon us. I didn't start at the front because I wanted a buffer so I'd take the start slow.

Our runner story!

We were released and the first 4.5 miles were all backstage and park time. LOVE IT! Luke and Leia, Chewie, Darth Vader, and other characters were on the course. They were everywhere! Loved all the Storm Troopers in Disney California Adventures. After being told a bunch of Storm Troopers weren't there for photo ops in other races, this was refreshing.

My legs were feeling good so this race was on! I didn't stop for character pics but I still enjoyed every minute! Every minute except for when I was going through a water stop and a woman decided she needed to put her hand on my back and push me forward because she hadn't planned for the fact that people slow down through water stops and was apparently tailing me and couldn't be bothered to slow down or say anything to me (grumblegrumblegrumble). Whatever, I walked, downed my water, and then passed her and vowed she would never pass me again. Thanks for the motivation random annoying runner!

So now were out of the parks and onto the roads. My legs were feeling good and I was ready to race. I had looked at the 10k times from the previous day and taken a look at the Avenger's Half Marathon times and well if I ran this right, I had the potential to place in my division.

The course out of the parks was pretty nice, very flat and had lots of interesting things to see. It was fun to run through a new area of Anaheim and the on course entertainment was super awesome. The cosplay group around mile 8 were awesome! So many great costumes. There was also some unofficial Star Wars fan entertainment including a rather short Wookie. Super fun.

With new places to run and my legs feeling good I kept pushing myself but I was being really aware not to burn out my legs too fast. It wasn't until mile 12 that I realized if I had turned up the speed a little bit, I could've set a new half PR but unfortunately at that point it was too late. The final mile flew by and got to the mile 13 marker and booked it in.

I finished with an official time of 1:43:23, my third fastest half marathon time ever (didn't I just run my third fastest marathon a week ago? Crazy!). I felt good, my legs felt great and I was anxious to see if I had age placed but would need to wait (currently still waiting since the top finisher in my division didn't look... well... female and I'm currently sitting in 6th).

How do I handle all these medals?

71 runDisney miles later!

This half marathon/challenge/weekend was so exciting! I am definitely coming back for this next year and in the years to come! The challenges that combine the 10k and half marathon is fast becoming my favorite challenge distance pair. Thanks runDisney for a fantastic weekend!

Star Wars Weekend 2015 - 10k

10k here we go!

After an easy 5k, we went a little hard at the parks. We walked around a lot and got a ton done, which was great, but it also took it's toll on our legs. Going to sleep the night before I could feel it in my legs, not too, too much but just a little too much.

Wake up time: 4am. Out the door: 4:30am.

Wookie, my friend, and I made our way over to the start a little groggy, I saw my friend who was running her first challenge race ever after she ran her first 10k only a year ago (so proud of her) before making our way to our corral. We were in corral E (last corral) and waited for our start. We couldn't hear anything back there. We couldn't hear the announcers or the National Anthem until it was half way done. No speakers were set up so it was weird being left in the dark about what was going on.

We finally got to move up after a couple corrals went and were more aware of the race. C-3PO and R2-D2 were there again to see us off and in no time we were off!

This was a great 10k course. Except for the first 1, it was all in parks and in backstage areas.

The original plan was to stop for Chewie for a picture but when we got to him the line was 5 or 6 switchbacks deep. We decided to grab some selfies and continue on. This became the selfie race.

Lots of characters were out! Darth Vader, Chewie, some people from something else, Boba Fett, lots of Jedi and lots of Storm Troopers. It was awesome. However, the lines for said characters were not awesome and I actually turned into "that" runDisney runner when we got to Boba Fett.

Situation: We ran up to Boba Fett and the line was SUPER long (20-25 min) and we were already in the last corral so stopping wasn't really an option for risk of being swept. So we did what we had been doing; pull over to the side, stop, and take a selfie. However, at this character apparently this was a safety issue and even though I was pretty much off the course I wasn't allowed to stop. Granted there were people in the middle of the runner area that were stopping for selfies, which is an issue. But to be told I wasn't allowed to take a photo of on course entertainment was annoying especially since the cast member was physically trying to block my pictures. I was less than nice to this cast member and then festered on this for the rest of the race because 1) I felt bad for her because I know she was only doing what she was told and 2) I knew there had to have been a better solution (or really any solution in this case). In the future at critical places like this, the cast member should be instructed to control the situation by directing selfie pictures to one side and runners to another. Telling runners they can't take pictures is not an acceptable "solution" in my mind and this is the first race weekend I've ever seen this happening. Being a proactive cast member in this situation would've been key but unfortunately she didn't feel empowered to make a decision like that from her management.

Anyways we finished the race and I really enjoyed it. The only part that felt really crowded for both the 5k and the 10k was running through It's a Bug's Land. I was mostly excited at the finish because I got to see two people I care about complete something amazing! Such a great feeling!

Great course, great environment, and I can't wait to run this again!

PS Sorry cast member for being annoying, the situation you were put in by your management team was really just unfortunate. I've been that cast member before to uphold "silly" rules (silly=safety concerns from Disney that guests don't understand) and I completely apologize for being a bratty runner.

Star Wars Weekend 2015 - 5k

Let's get these races started!

I was totally jazzed for these races and they did not disappoint. When I heard Lucas was getting involved I knew that we were in for some real fun. Plus, all the runDisney runners are phenomenal at putting unique outfits together, making your fellow runners just as interesting as the official entertainment.

We woke up at 4, put on our outfits and were out the door a little after 4:30. We walked over to the gathering area, but it was pretty empty by that time since people had made their way to the corrals so we just headed on down. I was excited to be running with my friend as she completed her FIRST 5k EVER! Woots! She had done a virtual one, but this is soooo much better.

Reunion Area stage

BEST MILE MARKERS!!!!

-Time out- 

This was the weirdest thing about how the races were set up. The start was set up like Tinkerbell where runners enter via the Simba parking lot by the Paradise Pier hotel, but the bag check and finish were by the Disneyland Hotel. If you were staying on the South side of Disneyland, you were have to walk past the start line area to check your bag and then back track to the corral entrance. It was weird and not the best set up and I saw lots of runners confused by this.

-Time out over-

We got to the corrals around 5am and waited and waited. We were in corral C which was the last corral which was fine. I liked that the 5k felt so much smaller than the one at WDW (3 versus 6 corrals, everything at Disneyland feels more intimate). Plus, C-3PO and R2-D2 were there at the start with Carissa and Rudy. SO FUN! After about 20 minutes we were off!

Confetti at every start!

The course was really fun. Lots of park and backstage time and not so much Anaheim street time.

They had lots of Jedi and Stormtroopers along the course plus lots of projected images and music between characters. The lines for the characters were LONG though. Really LONG. We skipped Chewie but were one of the last 50 or so people to get a picture with Darth Vader (waited about 20 min I think). Score!

We then hustled to the finish and got our medallions. Overall, it was a great race. The runners and the course support were all pretty awesome. So many great costumes and just everyone geeking out in their own way!

We headed back to the hotel, showered and then headed to the parks for some fun! I was already getting excited for 2 more days of running because I knew it was only going to get better!

Disneyland Picture Post

Hello all!

I went to Disneyland recently with some friends to experience all the fall happening and Halloween Time at Disneyland is awesome!

Highlights include:

  • Food: all the seasonal items were delicious! Special shoutout to the warm maple cranberry cake that @DisneylandToday recommended from Taste Pilot in DCA. Yum!
  • All the fall - the decorations are so awesome and there are so many fun extras!
  • Trader Sam's - a must do on every trip!
  • Ghost Galaxy! - This makes Space Mountain feel like a completely different ride, this is a MUS DO!
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday - Join Jack as he and the rest of Halloween town take over the Haunted Mansion. This is more than just an overlay, the whole attraction feels refreshed and new!
Now for lots of pictures!







Pumpkins for everyone!!!!








A beautiful morning!







Time to see the pumpkin king! This is DON'T MISS during September-Dec.








Welcome aboard explorers!






Lunchtime!








Lots of Halloween Fun at Big Thunder Ranch!










Until next time, Syndrome out!


Rocking My Bia AND My Disney Side!

Hey all!

So have you wanted to check out a Bia Sport watch? It's a great new GPS enabled watch made by and awesome team (granted I'm biased) and I want to let you check it out!


My Bia!


I'll be at Disneyland's Rock Your Disney Side 24 hr event and I would love to show it off! I'm hoping to see how much of my day I can track. 

Ever wanted to see what your GPS track would look like when you ride Big Thunder Mountain or Matterhorn? I'm going to find out!


Ready to rock my Disney side AND my Bia!




Follow me on twitter @MouseRuns to find out where I'll be! Hoping to take a break at the Grand Californian if you'd rather catch up outside the park!


You can find out more information about Bia here: http://bia-sport.com/

Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Tinker Bell Half Marathon

So at the end of the Dopey Challenge I was so roud that I had finished the series, but also walked away disappointed with my times. I know it’s crazy because the Dopey is certifiably insane as an event, but I’m competitive so it didn’t sit well with me. Around Tuesday my legs were feeling pretty good and so I started thinking, ‘What if I actually ran for a PR at Tink?”

It sounded like a fun challenge, plus other than leg fatigue, I was in the best condition since I had been training for the marathon. So since my Thursday run went well, it was time to test my legs and see what they could do.

Game plan, take the first 3 miles at an “easy” race pace. This way it wouldn’t completely kill my time but if at the end if those miles my legs weren’t feeling great, I could easily dial it in and get a “decent” half marathon time.

So at 3am, my alarm went off (I hit snooze until 3:20) got dressed, had some coffee, some peanut butter toast and was on my way to the start line. I started chatting with another woman who had the prettiest tutu I had ever seen. It matched her Tink wings perfectly! It was nice to have someone to pass the time with.

We made it to the start area, I dropped off my gear bag and then made my way to the corrals. Corral A baby! Of course after about 10 minutes of milling around the corral, I decided I needed an extra bathroom break. So I had to exit my corral and walk all the way back to corral C to find a port-o-potty. It would’ve been nice if they had provided a few outside of each corral but it was okay.

Made it back to the corral with about 10 min to spare and got to hear some of Rudy and Charissa’s famous morning banter. It was also Rudy’s birthday so we all sang Happy Birthday to him. The National Anthem was sung (I believe fireworks went off during the singing) and then we were off! Again, no fairies were there to see us off which seemed weird for a fairy inspired weekend!

We did a loop around the north side of property before we entered the parks. We took Disneyland Dr, to Ball Rd, and then to Harbor and then enter backstage and into DCA through the Carsland entrance. Down Route 66, around Paradise Pier (w/ World of Color running) and then around Grizzly River Run and out of the park. We ran across the esplanade and then into Disneyland. Up Main St, through the Castle and then we looped around all the lands. We ran behind Big Thunder, which was a very dark path way. We also did some backstage running and saw the horse stables! I stopped for 2 quick pics, one with Merida (my first pic with her ever) and another with Marie and Miss Chipmunk. Both were firsts and totally worth the couple of seconds but unfortunately I haven’t purchased them from MarathonPhoto. We then looped around, exited to Downtown Disney and then it was street running from there out.

Since the race had thinned out by the time we got into the parks only the first mile was slightly crowded. It was very fun running through Downtown Disney, lots of people cheering and the red hat ladies on Disneyland Dr were PHENOMENAL!!! There were so many of them. We then entered some neighborhoods, ran to downtown Anaheim, and then ran the street back to Disneyland. Nothing really to note on these streets. Very flat, lots of volunteers, and I was very in the zone during these miles. I was feeling great! I knew I was on pace to get close to a fast race pace for my half so I just kept going.

It wasn’t until mile 11 that I could feel the fatigue, but this is normally where I start to get tired in a half.

We then made the run in the backstage areas of DCA, made a turn, and then a few more, and we were finally at the finish line! About 100 yards ahead of the finish a girl decided to catch me, but I totally turned it up and ended up beating her in. Woot woot! I even heard Rudy say my name as I came in and announced that I ran last weekend. I’d like to say her remember my name after seeing it in 4 previous races but it was probably just the Coast to Coast wristband.

While this race wasn’t a new PR, with a time of 1:46:14 I did tie for my 3rd fastest half marathon time which considering the fatigue coming into the weekend from Dopey, felt pretty darn awesome. I felt great the whole race! I also made one bathroom stop and 2 characters photo ops (both no lines) so overall this was a great race. I was proud of my time and had a great time!

Since I was one of the early finishers, the finish area was very quiet. I grabbed my medals (Tinker Bell Half and my Coast to Coast) and some water. Got my picture made and then sat for a minute after grabbing my gear. It was a little chilly so I threw on a sweatshirt. After sitting for a while I figured I’d start making my way back to the hotel and grab some breakfast on the way. I decided that the Disneyland Hotel would be a good place for that.

I started walking up and then realized, people were still running back at mile 5 in Downtown Disney. Whoa! I did some cheering and thanked some of the people that cheered me and then it was time for the breakfast of champions.

Run run run!

Yum!

I also got a bagel but this was a super satisfying cookie. After 2 race weekends, this really hit the spot.

I then started to go back to the hotel to shower and rest. I was pooped. On the way though, I saw it happen, I saw the sweepers. At least I’m pretty sure that was what was going on. All of a sudden some people on bikes got in front around mile 6 and the people behind started walking and there were a few people crying. Again not 100% but I made sure my medals weren’t clanking so much. I felt so bad for them because I can imagine what getting stopped would feel like.

I then went back to the hotel and relaxed and prepared for another fun day at the parks!

Pros:

  • Great course! Loved running through downtown Anaheim (maybe more than the DL Half course)
  • Great volunteers and locals out cheering
  • Lots of space to run!
  • Great finisher area (even though when it filled up I’m sure it was the same as for the 10k)

Cons:

  • Earliest race start – 5am
  • A little crowded at the beginning
  • Not as much park time as other races (but this didn’t really matter to me because I had a blast)
  • Tinker Bell was out with some other Peter Pan characters, but no other fairies were out?!

Tinker Bell 10k

4:10 am came too early! I had never stayed on the north side of property before, so I didn’t realize how loud the fireworks were going to be. Oh well, live and learn and at least they were pretty early that night.

We got ready and were out the door around 4:45 to make the long walk to the start area.

When I booked my hotel, I assumed it was the same course as the DL Half, it was not. The start/finish area was at the far end near Paradise Pier Hotel, not DL Hotel. Oh well, that’s what I get for not checking a past map.

We made the trek with a few other runners all the way to the south side of DL Resort and quickly got into the corrals around 5:20. We were ready, but we had a wait. I’m not exactly sure how they sorted to corrals for the 10k because my friend was in A and I was in C, so we started in C together. As always Carissa and Rudy were great! We didn’t have any fairy hosts though, which was a bit of a surprise. Maybe tomorrow?

We did see the most epic Russel and Kevin costumed couple, though!

With the playing of the National Anthem on a trumpet (which was beautiful) and some fireworks, we were off! Our first stop was backstage and then into the park near the Small World entrance.

Then through Toon Town where Miss Chipmunk and Daisy were meeting runners. The line was long so we decided to keep trucking. We then went backstage again and then emerged in Critter Country. We were enjoying seeing Disneyland during the wee hours of the morning when we stumbled upon the best character meet! Just look!

Yep, that’s Little Leota/Bride and the stretching room tight-rope walker! Epic! THIS folks is why you always bring a camera to runDisney races.

After that I believe there were some pirates around but we decided to just keep going. Through Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and then out into the HUB

past

the castle. How did I not see this on the map earlier, we didn’t run through the castle, just in front of it. Oh, well. Another picture and we were off.

Across the esplanade and into DCA where we ran up Buena Vista street and then a turn to run past Soarin', around Grizzle River Run, and out to the World of Color area where the fountains were on. Love this!

Then around Paradise Pier, a run down Route 66 to Cars Land where Mater and McQueen were out. Through a Bugsland, back to the middle of the park, and then down Hollywood Blvd (or whatever that street is called) and then out thepark.

The last 3 miles were out on the streets of Anaheim and not really anything to write home about. We finally started running back to the resort area, a few more turns and then the finish line was in sight. We did it!

I was so proud of my friend. It was her first 10k and she stuck to her run/walk intervals and we had a lot of fun along the way!

We got our awesome medals, grabbed water and powerade, grabbed the snack box (better than at WDW Marathon weekend), and then decided to head back to the resort. It was really, really crowded and the flow from one station to the next was not great at the finish. It was hard getting around in a logical manner.

Time to head back to shower and then get ready for some breakfast at the Storyteller’s Café! Yum!

Pros:

  • Fun course with great/unique characters
  • Great starting area and easy to get to (no cars or busses required)
  • Great medal and overall experience
  • Love the theme of the weekend and seriously some really nice people

Cons:

  • The last 3 miles were a little boring
  • A bit crowded, they probably could’ve spaced out the corrals a bit more
  • Finish area was a bit of a mess

Holidays at Disneyland!

This week is a completely Disney update!

Last weekend I went to Disneyland to experience everything holiday. I had been at Disney World for the holidays but never Disneyland so there was a lot to see! Haunted Mansion, Small World, and so much more so here we go!

We stayed at the original hotel. This was my first time here since I was really young (aka too young to really remember)



We stayed in the Fronteir Tower and really enjoyed the model of Big Thunder Mountain (aka my favorite ride).



So what am I doing hanging around the hotel, there is fun to be had! Let's go!

First stop Disneyland for extra magic hours morning! A quick pic of the newest addition to the Main St windows...

Congrats Tony Baxter!


and it's off to Space Mountain!

A quick zip through space and then it's time to slow it down and check out Haunted Mansion Holiday! This is the first time I"ve gotten to see it and it didn't disappointed. It was so cool! Can't wait to go back next year (if I"m good) and see it again!

A cold welcome at the Mansion



Anyone home?


 This attraction is a don't miss if you are lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth Between October and December. Next year I might come visit during the Halloween time.

From Haunted Mansion we high-tailed it over to Adventureland, grabbed a fastpass for Indy and then jumped in line for the "Jingle Cruise"! Glad we did too because the line never let up.

Making some presents


Cards and lights in the office!
After our trip on the rivers of the world, we hope on and adventured with Indy. We then hopped on Matterhorn and then it was time to go to California Adventure!

We go there, grabbed fastpasses for World of Color because I didn't want to miss the new Holiday World of Color show!

We grabbed some lunch, hung out and rode a few more rides (including Tower of Terror, which still scares me a ton). We went back to Disneyland did a few more rides (including Autopia which I hadn't done in years). We also saw some celebrities; Barbara Walter, Kurt Russel, and Jack Black. So cool! We then did some shopping and then it was time for dinner at Carthay Circle!

At Carthay, we split the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits which we delicious! I then had the salmon and we split the chocolate cake for dessert!

This was our view from our seats! We got to overlook Buena Vista street and hear all the hustle and bustle. It was great!


After a delicious dinner we then went back to the hotel and rested for a bit, before hopping on the monorail and heading back to the parks for the fireworks. The fireworks were amazing and ended with snow and Silent Night being played, I have never seen people so calm at the end of fireworks show. But we had to hustle! It was time for World of Color!

We got some good standing area in the Yellow section. The show was great the highlights were the opening song made by a digital chorus, the Nutcracker performed by the characters from "Toy Story", and the "Let It Go" section featuring one of the newest Disney characters Elsa! Great show!

It was then time to grab some pics and then head back to some final hours at Disneyland where we did some dark rides and finally Small World Holiday!

Carsland!












After Small World we called it a night. It had been a very long day and we still had a morning to play!

Next day was extra magic hours at Disney California Adventure. We started with breakfast and then Radiator Springs Racers! From there we went on Toy Story Midway Mania and then grabbed a quick ride on California Screamin! So fun!

We then headed back to Disneyland for a few more rides including another spin on Space Mountain and then it was time to head back to the Bay Area. It was a great weekend and I ate so much delicious Disney treats! I still have to have a corndog but I'll be back :)

Thanks for reading!

I'm going to start counting down the days until the Dopey Challenge! Training is going well and I'm getting super excited!