Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Sunday morning came and again another early wake up call; this time at 2:30 am. I got up showered (I know, I know – I am getting ready to run a half marathon but if I don’t shower in the morning, I feel so sluggish), stretched, and ate my pre-race breakfast. For this race, I decided to dress as Minnie Mouse. I bought Minnie Ear barettes at World of Disney, a red and white polka dot Sweaty Band, a black C9 Target shirt, and the red dot Running Skirt with capris. Alison and I headed over to the corrals. After a quick stop at the porta-potties, we wished each other luck and I was off to corral B.

I was so excited to be in corral B, so I wouldn’t have to wait as long to start and hoped the character lines were realitvely short. Before I knew it, it was 5:00 am and the elite athletes were off, quickly followed by corral A. A few minutes later, it was my turn. We started off Disney property for about a mile before turning into Disney’s California Adventure. The adrenaline was flowing and I was feeling pretty good. The world of color fountains were running which looked awesome against the dark morning sky and I could see the first character stop up around the bend. I decided for this race, I wanted to have fun and would stop at all characters with short lines; first up, Phinneas and Ferb. Before I knew it, we were out of California Adventure and onto Disneyland. While I loved running down Main Street, I didn’t get the same feeling as running down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Disney World (I think it was because there was not many spectators at Disneyland. As we wound through Fantasyland, I stopped at my third character stop – Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from one of my favorite Disney movies, Tangled.

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The race continued on through some backstage areas and soon it was time to run through the castle. I backtracked once I got out of the castle looking for Alison’s mom, Julie. She had many sunglasses and I knew I would need those for later on in the race. After I located her, it was on to Fronteirland, where I soon ran into Jack Sparrow. I have wanted a picture with Jack Sparrow for the past two or so years but have never been able to track him down. I was so excited the line was short.

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Next, we made our way out to a backstage area and to Downtown Disney. There were tons of spectators loudly cheering and waving signs. Shortly, after we got off Disney property, there was a group of Red Hat Ladies that stretched on forever (at least a block). This was a huge rush and really exciting. Around this time, I also saw my favorite sign on the course: “You trained longer than a Kardashian marriage!” The race was half way over and I was feeling decent. I knew the “fun” part of the race was over and I wanted to concentrate on making up for lost time from taking pictures. Disney did a great job keeping us enterainted out on these roads with lots of bands and cheerleaders.

Around mile 10, I was really starting to feel tired and was ready to be done with the race. I was so relieved to get back on Harbor Blvd. and see the Tower of Terror. I knew we were getting close. I had two local friends that I knew were coming out to see me finish so I was trying to text and run to locate them – not an easy task. After a hair pin turn, I sprinted towards the finish and high fived Goofy on the way to the finish. I was so excited to get my medal – I think this is my current favorite medal. It is so big and Tink spins!!

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Getting out to the family reunion area was a bit chaotic with tons of families around but I soon located my friends and talked to them until Alison finished. All in all, I loved this race and course. Almost half of the race was on Disney property which was fantastic and the medal is gorgeous. I can’t wait to get back to Disneyland in August for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge! Kudos to runDisney for a great race and awesome course support.

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Tinkerbell Half Marathon Meetup

My first official day in Disneyland began with a bang! I was lucky enough to be one of fifty people selected to participate in the runDisney Official Meetup. Before the big race weekends, runDisney organizes a meetup where participants get to run through the parks before opening, complete with celebrities, some cool swag, and incredible surprises along the way. This experience did not disappoint at all.

Luckily, I was still on east coast time so my 5am wake up call didn’t bother me too much. I rolled out of bed and quickly got ready. A lovely social media friend, Tracy, from #TeamRunDisney offered to give me a ride so I wasn’t walking over by myself. We checked in by the Disneyland Hotel and was given a runDisney black tech tee to change into. I quickly found Amy who I have been communicating with on facebook and twitter. I have followed her blog for some time and we realized we live about a half hour apart – small world.

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Photo courtsey @runDisney

Bob Hitchcock, gave us some instructions and gave a brief introductions to Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings fame), Ali Vincent (first female winner Biggest Loser), Tara Gidus (offical runDisney nutritionist), and Jeff Galloway (official training consultant runDisney). With that, we were off, following the Galloway 30/30 plan – which consists of running for thirty seconds then walking for thirty seconds. We made our way through Downtown Disney, heading into Disneyland. The sun was just starting to rise and the park looked beautiful.

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We wound our away around Fantasyland and were greeted with a great surprise – Tinkerbell.

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Photo courtesy @runDisney

After splitting into groups for pictures, we crossed over into California Adventure. I was excited because I had yet to visit this park and was so excited by what I saw. After completing our 2.75 mile run we stopped on Buena Vista Street for a group picture and were greeted by Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy.

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Photo courtesy @runDisney

Our next big surprise came when they announced we would get the ULTIMATE FASTPASS – a ride on Radiator Spring Racers in Cars Land. I had heard so much about this ride and was so excited I would get to ride it (later in the weekend it was not uncommon for this ride to have a three hour plus wait). This ride did not disappoint and I think it was one of my favorite rides of the entire trip.

After everyone rode, we headed over to the Grand Californian hotel for our next surprise – breakfast at Napa Rose. We started off with a lovely continental breakfast and heard from a variety of speakers. Ali Vincent spoke about her journey on the Biggest Loser and her Live Big with Ali Vincent show. She really spoke to me as she talked about living the best possible version of yourself because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Tara Gidus, runDisney nutritionist, talked about the importance of healthy fueling both pre and post workout – something I have been lacking on. Sean Astin talked about his #run3rd campaign. This campaign is a really neat idea – you run first for yourself, second for your family, and third for whatever cause you choose (like Team in Training, etc.). We were also treated to a cooking demonstration from the Napa Rose chefs – huevos rancheros and a black bean cake. I am an incredibly picky eater but I loved this dish and the protein it packed.

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Our morning was quickly dwindling down, but runDisney had one more surprise for us – a one day, park hopper ticket valid so we could all enjoy the parks. This experience was such a fantastic opportunity and I feel privileged that I was selected to participate. Thanks runDisney for a fantastic start to an incredible weekend. If you want to learn more about this event, check out #TinkHalfMeetup on twitter.