Thursday, January 22, 2015

Star Wars Half Marathon

Holy wow, was this a fun race. I still have other recapping to do from my trip, but I didn't want to wait too long to do the race recap. Warning: lots and lots of pictures ahead. Like, I have so many, I have to cram them into this recap willynilly. Enjoy my randomness. It's one of my charms.

They were playing clips from the original movies when I walked up.


Now, I should probably note that a lot of my race euphoria most likely was due to fantastic weather. Also, the race started early like all the Disney races, but being January and me being corral C meant that I had almost an hour on the course in the dark. Have I mentioned how much I hate the sun? That's only because I live in the desert where the sun will fry your face right off of your skull.

Lots of great costumes


Anyway, we stayed at the Park Vue Inn which I highly recommend if you don't want to shell out the insane prices for staying on property. It's not much to look at from the outside, but the rooms are nice enough and it's super close to the park entrances, which is the most important. Plus, there's an IHOP next door. Win.


What it is not close to is the start of the races. That is a serious hike. It was a mile and a half to the bag check and then another quarter mile to get into my corral.

Seriously, how cool is this start line?
Love these mile markers.


I've done the Disneyland Half 4 times and Tinkerbell once. Usually after you leave bag check, you exit the area and try to fight your way into the insanely crowded corral area. This race was different. The start was on a different street and it was easy as pie to get into the corrals. Granted, this race was smaller and there were only 5 corrals, but everything ran smoothly and was less of a shit show that usually occurs at the Disneyland Half.

Running behind Tomorrow Land

The course was entirely different, as well. We ran through the parks differently and I saw some back stage areas that I hadn't run through before, such as the area behind Tomorrow Land. There was an area that was somewhat narrow but had fog machines and a tunnel where they played sounds from the movies.

Didn't run through the castle, but also didn't get trampled. Win.


Sadly, we didn't run through the castle on this course, but I think that's a good thing. That castle is just too small and it backs up and is somewhat dangerous. Honestly, it's not much better running through the castle at WDW, either. But we we could certainly see it and there were multiple areas to stop for pictures.

The sun rising over Fantasy Land


After leaving MK, we ran through the front turnstiles, which I think is cool. We headed over to California Adventure. We ran past the "lake" as the sun was coming up.

Selfie Sunday


The sunrise was downright amazing. As the course headed into Cars Land, there's an area that leads to Radiator Springs and the sight was so gorgeous that nearly every single runner at that point stopped to take a picture. It was probably the prettiest thing I've seen at a race. My phone camera doesn't do it justice.

I didn't even use a filter for this picture.
Sunrise in Cars Land


And then we were off in the wilds of Anaheim. Now this can be pretty boring, but we ran through different neighborhoods, including Garden Grove, which is a really cute little area. Also, the clouds rolled in and it was gloriously cloudy and slightly chilly and perfect and I was so insanely happy I was not running in horrid Florida heat and humidity (Although, I heard the weather was good this year.)

Garden Grove


There were spectators along just about the entire course dressed in Star Wars costumes. People complain about the lack of character stops at the Disneyland Races once you leave the parks, but this race had all sorts of stuff to see.

This van belongs to a serious fan.


I don't think I've seen so many Storm Troopers in my entire life combined as I saw on the course on Sunday. This race is a Star Wars fan's dream race. I'm not even a huge fan, but I loved how much there was to look at.


I need to confess that I had very low expectations for this race, performance wise. I injured my knee riding my horse of all things before the NYC Marathon and was unable to run for 4 weeks before the marathon until I was standing at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge. I then pretty much rested it until 3 weeks before leaving for Star Wars Half. The longest I had run since November 3rd was 5.5 miles and that was one time week before we left.


I have to say that I did so much better than I thought I would having hardly been able to train. I didn't take any pictures with characters, but I stopped a ton to take pictures of the scenery, costumes, etc. I managed to jog pretty much the entire thing and realized around mile 8 that if I just kept jogging along, I could come in under 3 hours, which I did even after hitting the wall hard at mile 12.

Love the medal, but I'm sad it doesn't say 'Inaugural' on it.


I was still a good 15 minutes off of my PR, but I got super emotional at the end. I enjoyed that race so much and after the horrible experience that was the New York City Marathon, I needed a good experience to remind myself how much fun races can be. I can't even remember the last time I felt emotional during a half marathon, but I was tearing up and sniffling like I had finished a full.

I replaced every single calorie at IHOP.


As luck would have it, that was my 20th half marathon. Wow.

Tabatha won ponies for all of us at the Boardwalk.


I was considering running the WDW Marathon next January, but I might be coming back for the Star Wars Half instead. I had an amazing time. Trader Sam's, here I come!


This deserves some sort of award.




Friday, January 16, 2015

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...Called Anaheim

We arrived safe and sound at the land of the mouse, which is pretty easy. It's about an hour flight and we gained an hour when we hit California. I had some weird Cartel coffee and I would not say I'm a fan, but I also don't like Starbucks coffee, so there must be something wrong with me.

Don't worry, we tipped them for pouring a cup of coffee.

Anywho, we arrived and got to our hotel around 9:30. We were lucky and they let us have a room right away. Score! Next, we were off to the expo.

Love this.


Super helpful cast member showing me the best angle to take a picture.

The last race I ran at Disneyland was the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare. Anyone that was there for the opening of that expo remembers the absolute cluster *^%# that occurred. This expo was practically empty. Most likely due to the fact that the masses would not be arriving on Thursday like us.

Ahhhh, breathing room!

No wait for bibs.
Luckily, I was smart enough not to sign up for the challenge, and I'm just doing the half. Kimberlee and Tabatha, my travel buddies, are doing the 10K. As luck would have it, I hate the shirt, but I'll get over it.

After that, we wandered around the expo for awhile. I made the mistake of not going directly to the official merchandise area because we snuck into the expo from the bib pick up the back way. By the time I was ready to head to the official merchandise area, the line was obnoxious. It wasn't as obscene as it was for Dumbo 2013, but still, no thanks. That's probably a good thing because I have no need for more pricey rundisney clothing that costs as much as feeding a third world child for a year.

I definitely needed a picture.


After that, we needed some lunch. Hydrating is obviously very important for races, so we headed straight to Trader Sam's for some fluids.

I'm a professional, obvi.


And then we were off to California Adventure.


I definitely prefer Cars Land at night. The neon signs and the way everything is lit up is just so much better.

Not bad for a phone camera, right?
Seriously, iPhone 6 has an awesome camera.

So yesterday was a pretty fun day. The weather is gorgeous and it wasn't crowded at all in the parks. Who else is here for Star Wars weekend?


Monday, January 12, 2015

Motivation Monday

There's nothing more motivating to me than stalking my social media feeds watching tons of people running a race I want to do. All weekend long, I wished I was at Disney World for Marathon Weekend. I seriously don't know what is wrong with me that I want to run the WDW Marathon again. Seriously.

First of all, I said no more marathons. Marathons are for crazy people, right? I've only run two- WDW and NYC- and both were miserable. I ran WDW as part of Goofy Challenge in an insane heat wave and then experienced NYC during crazy freezing winds. So weather has not been my friend when attempting 26.2.

There's tons of amazing full marathons out there and I have less than zero interest in training for any of them. But WDW has my heart and the course is awesome, so if the weather cooperates, it has the potential to be an amazing experience.

Plus, Pam from We Run Disney left me a nice message on my last post and she's right. If I put in half the effort I put into my riding into marathon training, I'd be a rock star. I hope one day to meet up with those lovely ladies at a race because they seem so sweet and fun!

I'm not making any commitments until registration opens. I don't even know when that is, but that's my plan right now. I only ran 3 races in 2014. Well, I guess technically 4, since I did the Glass Slipper Challenge.


I have a lot on my plate this year with horse showing and I think I've pretty much worked through all my possible victims to drag along with me on a race. I am also tentatively planning on Wine and Dine, which I have wanted to run for years.

I told my mom awhile ago that when she was done with her cancer treatments, I would go on a trip with her to Universal Studios in Orlando because she is a HUGE Harry Potter fan. She's done with her treatments, so I'm planning on taking her during W&D or Marathon weekend. She wants to walk another 5K, so I want to make that happen for her. The holidays this year were so much better than last year when my mom had just been diagnosed. I better read the books before we go so I don't miss anything!

I'm also super excited that the gym I want to join is finally opening next month. It's located smack dab in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle that is my daily life, so it will be really convenient. It's a nicer gym, so slightly pricey, but it has wifi and I'm thinking access to Netflix is necessary for treadmill runs.

Did anyone else catch the Bib Bandit drama on social media? Some guy was posting pictures from his Dopey experience that he claims he didn't pay for. Personally, I think he's full of shit. I doubt he could get all the way through Dopey without getting caught, but people were losing their minds over it. Yes, I think it's a really crappy thing to do, but people were wishing him ill will like physical harm for his antics, and I don't really agree with that, either.

I love me some good interwebz drama, but I get a little squeamish when people get overly hostile.

Also, how awesome is this water? My coworker gave it to me. I better get to hydrating for Star Wars Half in 6 days. Eeeee!!

Anyone else spend their weekend living vicariously through social media posts and crying into their Cheetos because they weren't at WDW? Anyone? Just me?


Friday, January 9, 2015

Bribing Myself To Be Dedicated Runner

I said previously that I wasn't going to make grandiose proclamations about my 2015 resolutions because my track record at following through is less than impressive. However, so far in 2015, I've been a fairly dedicated runner. Of course, I'm also trying to cram in training for Star Wars Half into 3 weeks, so that's my real motivator. I pretty much used this tactic to get through college.

Trying to up my selfie game.


We running bloggers love our selfies. I wish I was one of those people that could whip out an attractive selfie while running along, but that takes a level of dedication that I do not possess.

Yeeee haaaaw

I did a short run last night. It was only 2.5 miles, but a 2.5 mile run is better than a zero mile run, so I'll take it. I've lost a lot of speed. I'm running at a 1-2 minute per mile slower pace than I was this summer, but c'est la vie. I'll be lucky to break 3 hours at Star Wars Half.

I've been running at a park near my house. The park is only a mile away, but rather than go home and run to the park, I drive straight there from work. My couch lives at my house and it is so friendly. Sometimes my couch insists I spend time with it instead of working out, so I avoid the guilt trip.

This makes for a really long day. I have to be on my horse at 7:30 AM every morning in the winter, so I leave my house at 6:45. I go straight to work from the barn and then after work, I've been going to the park. Some days I'm gone for 13-14 hours. This makes my couch so very sad.



After I was done running, I randomly decided to play on the swings. Getting in touch with your inner child is good. At least that's what I hear. Plus, it's more fun than running.

Enjoy yourself, inner child!

I'm trying to motivate myself to be a dedicated runner by paying myself a dollar for every mile I run. Truthfully, this would be much more successful if I could con someone else to pay me a dollar for every mile, but we'll see how this pans out. I pretty much stole the idea from Jennifer at Red Hair and Running Shoes. She put a marble in a jar for every mile last year and enjoyed seeing the jar fill up. It takes cold hard cash to motivate me, though.

Show me the money!!!


Even though I swore up and down to never again run a marathon, there's a pretty good chance I'm going to do something stupid and sign up for WDW Marathon in 2016 or 2017. It's the only one I want to do. No challenges, but I do want to run the full. Living in Arizona, a January marathon is much easier to train for than a fall marathon like Marine Corps Marathon or the NYC marathon.

Maybe by then the speed fairy will wave her wand and make me a faster runner, because God knows I can't be counted on the do the work myself.


Post Goofy Challenge in 2013

I hope everyone at WDW is having a blast running this weekend. I've been enjoying everyone's pictures on social media.