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!

Star Wars Weekend 2015 - Intro and Expo

Hello all!

Wow what a runDisney filled week and a half it's been! I've had so much fun completing all 71 runDisney miles (Dopey Challenge + Star Wars 5k + Rebel Challenge) and this week my body has been soaking up the full nights of sleep. So now it's time to share it all with you, I've queued up some Disneyland background loops on YouTube so let's go!

Intro

This trip felt much different than my WDW trip:

  1. It was shorter (4 versus 7 days)
  2. Went with friends and Wookie (the boyfriend) instead of family
  3. I was already tired from all the fun in WDW
  4. Running (logistically) feels 100x's easier than at WDW

Going into the trip legs were pretty sore still from my solid effort at the WDW Marathon so I knew I was going to have to take it on a day by day basis. I also knew that the 5k and 10k would be at a very comfortable pace since I was helping my friend (5k and 10k) and Wookie (10k) run their first official races. I was confident they both were fit enough to finish, but knew we wouldn't be running at a fast clip.

I had returned from WDW Tuesday and we had a early Thursday flight to LAX, so I had a day and a half of relaxing, unpacking, and repacking. I had even done my laundry Monday night before leaving WDW to make the turn around a little easier. In hindsight... BEST DECISION EVER!

With bags packed, we drove to the Denver airport to catch our flight! We flew into LAX, grabbed our bag, and then hopped onto the SuperShuttle I arranged. SuperShuttle worked out great for us!

We were staying at the Holiday Inn and Suites on Walnut (this hotel is fast becoming my favorite race weekend hotel). It's nothing fancy but the room is nice and the room rates are just right. It is also pretty close to the Disneyland Hotel where most of the race weekend events are happening.

Our friends arrived and then we decided to head to Downtown Disney for a late lunch before heading to the expo. A hungry Katherine doesn't deal with crowds very well. Once we devoured our delicious Earl of Sandwich sandwiches (holiday sandwich of course!) it was time to feel the force!

Expo

We arrived around 3pm on Thursday and it was very easy to get around. I printed my waivers, got my bibs and got my Rebel picture taken in about 15 minutes. We then headed upstairs to the expo and got our shirts and goodie bage (aka a GIANT bag check bag with a tiny little Clif bar in it).

The expo had all the usual favorites and was easy to navigate. We went over to the Official Merchandise area and we had our pick of pretty much everything. I was being pretty money conscious this trip so didn't end up getting much but honestly, not that much caught my eye. I grabbed a hat and 2 pins and called it a day. I really liked the race shirt designs so didn't feel the need for the other shirts.

We browsed some of the other shops and I finally bought a "Stick" which had been on my list for awhile. The soreness I was feeling from the Dopey Challenge wasn't shaking off easily so I thought this might help. In the back of my mind I was hoping to put in a solid effort for the half marathon but my thighs were really, really sore so I wasn't sure if it would be safe.

We looked at a few more things and I picked up my tank from RawThreads and we were on our way in about an hour and a half. They also had some fun picture areas set up so took a minute and got some pics.

We then went to Downtown Disney to browse around before calling it a night. Our 4 am wake up call for the 5k was going to come very, very early!

RunDisney Announces Star Wars Weekend at Disneyland

This morning runDisney quickly teased and announced the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend consisting of a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Rebel Challenge (10k+Half). This is replacing the old January Tinker Bell Half Weekend, January 15-18, 2015 with registration opening June 10th at 12 EST/9 PST, with AP registration opening June 4th!



This also means Everest Challenge may still be around another year, considering many thought a Star Wars themed race would replace this.

This girl is down for some Star Wars runDisney fun and I'm excited to join the Rebel cause! I have some movies to watch though to brush up on my Wookie!

May the course be with you!