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.
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.)
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.|