Event: 2015 runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon
Event Date: May 10, 2015
Event Location: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
Why I Decided to Run This Race
Remember how I mentioned that I am a sucker for bling? Well, this half marathon would get me not only the Pixie Dust Challenge medal (for running both the 10K and the half), but also my second Coast-to-Coast medal (in pink!) for doing Princess and Tinkerbell in the same year. Three medals total to be collected at the end of the race! Bling! Lots and lots of bling!!!
Getting There/the Lead-up to the Race
Confession: Tink was my last scheduled half marathon until September, and I’m really looking forward to a bit of a break. Between weather and work and travel I have had a hard time keeping up with my training schedule. I skipped almost all of my speed work for the past couple of months and my weekend long runs have tested my resolve just to get out the door. I have some shorter races scheduled over the next few months, but mostly I just wanted to get to the other side of this half marathon so I could take a step back and refocus.
In the immediate lead-up to this race we met up with two friends—one of my best friends from college who was part of my inspiration to start running in the first place, and her cousin who would be running her first half with us. While my husband and I waited for them to arrive, we took a very easy day at the parks and then saw a movie. Once our friends arrived, we all went out for a pre-race steak dinner and got to bed early.
The Race Expo & Swag Review
Check out my thoughts on the expo and the event swag in my Tinkerbell 10K review.
In keeping with the theme I selected another Neverland character for my costume: Tick Tock Crocodile! I had lucked into finding an olive green Under Armour top and capris the year before in a random local sports store and they were the perfect base to my costume. All I needed was to add a clock and a visor with a crocodile face and some awesome reptile-print Jamberry nails. Simple and comfortable, but effective.
The whole kit included: olive green Under Armour heat gear t-shirt and capris, olive green Adidas sports bra, hunter green Bondi Band headband, custom-designed visor with crocodile teeth and eyes, gold analog alarm clock, Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Camelbak Marathoner hydration vest.
Unfortunately, the clock didn’t survive the race. I had not put enough thought into how to securely attach it to my costume and the bouncing caused a bolt to unthread about 5 miles into the race. I was able to pick up all the pieces but I decided to trash it rather than carry it for the rest of the race.
Since this was our friend’s first half marathon, she wanted to see at least some of the pre-race festivities. We left the hotel around 5:15am (for a 5:30 race start) and headed to the corrals. As we were walking up the corrals we saw the red streaming fireworks they shoot during the National Anthem so we paused until that finished (we couldn’t hear it back where we were…they need to improve their sound system so the back corrals can hear what is going on). At corral D we said good-bye to our friends and they continued up to their corral (C, I think). Although Jake had qualified for corral B (the first one with men in it), he decided to hang out with me in D until we crossed the starting line. (Any guy who will sacrifice an earlier corral to keep his slower wife company is a keeper!)
Along the Course
The half marathon course started out similarly to the 10K with the runners skirting the edge of Disneyland on the main roads. Once we entered the parks we were there for what felt like forever!
Every turn I kept thinking “OK, this is the one that takes us out the parks” and each time I was wrong. I didn’t know there were enough paths to keep us in the parks or backstage area that long. In California Adventure, as I ran past A Bug’s Life toward Cars Land, I saw my husband cruising past me out of the park, at least a mile or two ahead of me. I think my favorite part of our time in the parks was that we got to run through Downtown Disney. Every time we walk through this area from our hotel to the parks we lament that we don’t run through it. But this time we did. Woo Hoo!
Once we emerged from Downtown Disney, we headed out on the open roads of Anaheim. But first we ran past a huge crowd of ladies from the Red Hat Society, all cheering us on in their red hats and purple jackets. Some were older and sitting in their wheelchairs and lawn chairs. Others were spry and dancing and singing. All were so welcoming and happy and inspirational. I may have gotten a tear or two in my eye.
The six miles of open road though Anaheim was relatively unmemorable for me, as far as the course around me. I was in a groove for a couple miles but then I lost it.
TMI Alert: At about mile 9 I got a rumble in my belly suggesting I needed to poo. It was pretty urgent so I pulled over at the next water stop to hit the port-a-potties. But nothing happened. So I pulled myself together and headed back out. And about a mile later it happened again. I stopped 4 times in the last 4 miles. I lost a lot of time in the potties. ARGH!!!!
Although I posted my slowest time ever for a half marathon because of all the time spent in the potties, I actually felt pretty strong when I was running. I kept passing the same group of people each time I had to stop, so I was keeping a pretty good pace. I just wish I hadn’t had all the interruptions.
When I crossed the finish line I got three medals! Yes, three: the SMO for the half marathon itself, the SMO for completing the Pixie Dust Challenge, and the pink Coast to Coast SMO for completing the Princess and Tinkerbell halfs! I loved the design of the half marathon medal, with the spinning Tink and huge pixie wings. The Pixie Dust Challenge medal reminds me a bit of a baby’s teething ring. And I like the pink Coast to Coast more than the blue one we got in January; somehow it just looks like it has more depth and has more presence even though the only thing different is the color.
I read an interview of the guy who designed the Tinkerbell medals. He clearly put a lot of thought into all the medals, but especially the challenge one. He wanted to incorporate the primary element associated with all of Tink’s friends in Pixie Hollow, and I completely understand what he was trying to do. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that it looks like a teething ring.
One last comment on the SMOs: I lined up all of my Princess and Tinkerbell SMOs for a picture and I was struck by how much bigger all the Tinkerbell ones were compared to the Princess ones. Even the ribbons for the Tink ones were wider than their counterparts. I’d always assumed the medals and ribbons were fairly uniform size-wise. But now I want to dig out all of my medals to compare them.
The Post-Race Experience
I was the last of our group to finish, so I grabbed my medals and snacks, and found my husband and friends. RunDisney still did not have the normal snack boxes; instead they gave us each a small merchandise bag that we filled with the individual snacks we wanted. It was slower, but it was a good compromise. We all walked back to the hotel to shower and change, then we grabbed amazing burgers at a place called Ruby’s. Apparently it’s also a popular spot with the runDisney staff, since we saw a pack of them leaving while we were eating.
My iPod shuffle started out slow which disappointed me at first but was probably exactly what I needed to keep my pace down. Even so, it is odd to start a race to something as laid back as John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.”
Later my iPod redeemed itself. Just before the 13-mile marker I was treated to the start of “We Own It” by 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa from the Fast & Furious movie. This is one of my favorite running songs and I was almost tempted to slow down so I could hear the whole thing and cross the finish line to “this moment, we own it!”
Looking Back Now
I really enjoyed this race course. I’m not sure I liked it more than Star Wars, but I liked it at least as much. I liked that we got some of the massive crowds of runners out of the way on the streets before we arrived in the parks, so we did not come to almost a complete standstill like we did at the beginning of Star Wars. I also liked how the time in the parks came more mid-race, which helped break up the tedium of road running. And finally, I loved that we ran through Downtown Disney.
I know a lot of people were upset that runDisney moved one of the female-centered races to be held over Mother’s Day weekend. But what I saw was mothers and daughters and grandmas and sisters bonding while running together or cheering for loved ones. I saw fathers and kids praising moms for being their own personal superheroes. I thought the vibe at this race was far more uplifting and encouraging than what I saw at the Princess Half Marathon and if I had to choose between the two, I would do Tink again.
Do not forget to check out Jennifer’s review of 10k from the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend, and you can check out the full gallery of pictures from the Tinkerbell race weekend at the Disneyland Resort on our Facebook page. Also, if you are curious about what it is like to run races at the Disneyland Resort, check out our YouTube videos from the Disneyland 10k and Disneyland Half Marathon events.
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