Today is Tuesday and if you are visiting for the first time, welcome to our link up!
Today we are chatting about our Dream Race. Which race do you long to run? Or what location or theme would constitute your Dream Race?
Tell us about it and link up below.
This IS the Race I Was Looking For
I make no secret around here that the Star Wars Half Marathon was my Unicorn race. I wanted that one to exist since the moment I started running Disney. WHY it didn’t exist didn’t make any sense to me.
Of course, Disney didn’t own the franchise back then so that could have factored in. Ha.
When the announcement FINALLY came, I knew I had to be at the inaugural race- even if that meant giving up my Goofy and first marathon plans. For a while I thought I might be able to do it all, but eventually I realized that I am NOT that kind of runner or traveler. So Star Wars became the focus.
Or… at least the destination.
I did NOT train well for this race at all and when the time came around to complete the challenge I had some concerns. Because in TRUE Shenanigans fashion, I decided it was important to #runalltheraces that weekend and signed up for the 5K, 10K and Half.
Because: Star Wars.
I figured out costumes- hey, even if I’m under-trained, I’m going to have fun sucking and costumes are part of the fun.
Red 5, Standing By!
I did not take a lot of pictures during this race because I knew it was just about getting the work done. I was starting in the second to last corral and had a little buffer, but not enough for a full blown stop and snap race.
The weather: PERFECT.
That morning was a crisp 50 degrees and promised to be a gorgeous day.
In the corral I was doing my usual mental freakout.
I’ve promised myself that by the next race I have scheduled (which is the Disneyland 10K at this point) I will NOT be having the negative self talk.
Because I will actually TRAIN. I can’t tell you how much more confident and fun a half marathon is for me when I actually feel GOOD the whole way through.
I’ve completed enough of the races to know I *can* and *will* complete. It’s just a matter of *how* I will look and feel doing it. This race, I knew due to the very little effort I put forth in advance, was going to be a hard one when I got to the last 3 miles.
You’d think by my 13th half marathon I’d figure this out. I guess my response there is simple: life happens and sometimes we ebb and flow in training when we really should NOT have any of that nonsense going on.
There’s plenty of runners who have that part of their lives figured out: all I can say for myself is that I’m a work in progress.
The race started off with some backstage magic. Since this was an entirely new course, we were treated to entirely new sights. This section took us through an area that only cast members usually see: the administration and office buildings.
I LOVED it.
This course was pretty dang cool. And the flattest runDisney course to date- if that’s your thing. And, boy howdy, is it mine!
We ran backstage for a bit then entered Disneyland. Like I mentioned, I did not stop for any pictures here.
I believe as far as characters went Luke and Leia, Vader, Chewbacca and some Jedi Knights were out, along with some Storm Troopers.
Coolest backstage moment? Space Mountain from the back.
Fellow racer, Allison, shared this one:
After leaving Disneyland we went backstage again in Disney California Adventure and through the one “hill” on the course, aka, the service tunnel.
I hated this tunnel the first time I ran it for Tinker Bell, but I’ve come to accept it’s presence in my life. We ran this hill for all three courses at Star Wars, but this was the ONLY hill for the half. Huzzah!
Coming out of the tunnel we were met with the most beautiful sight. The sunrise that morning was beyond compare.
Those that hit DCA just before me (corrals B & C probably) were in for some special magic in the sky.
My friend, Lori, allowed me to share a few of her sunrise pictures. Be prepared to ooh and ahh, y’all.
Hi guys! See you all REAL SOON!
For DCA the characters included Storm Troopers, a Gamorrean Guard, Boba Fett, more Jedi, and Ezra and Sabine.
We spent a good portion of this course backstage, or at least it felt like it. But it was NEW backstage, so for a Disney Nerd like me, I was all kinds of cool with that!
I applaud the effort here. Why lose your voice when you have mouse-eared a Woo?
We finally hit the open road around mile 5.
This was when things would start feeling like real work for me. I was so thankful for the crowd support and the weather that I just plugged in my earphones and started doing the miles as methodically as I could.
One part of this race was a new experience for me. We had a true out and back section on the course, meaning as would cover the same section twice.
Mentally I was a prepared to haaaaatttteeeee this portion of the course. I thought it would be depressing and defeating to see everyone coming back in on miles 11 and 12 when I was just getting started on my mile 6.
I was wrong. This was my 2nd favorite portion of the course! It was energizing and inspiring to see the faster folks finishing up. Some looked like they were really hurting and I knew that was the picture of hard core effort right there.
I screamed and cheered and yelled “I love your costume!” when I saw a few run by.
The crowd support was phenomenal here.
I was thoroughly entertained.
After this section we headed into an area I had never run before. Garden Grove was a new So Cal experience for me.
They had a cute little downtown section that I enjoyed seeing for the first time.
My only complaint was internal: I was starting to hurt, and whine, and moan and groan.
It was about this time my friend Laura sent out the homing beacon via text. She was at mile 8 where the cos-players were lining up and even better: she was WAITING FOR ME!
Dr. Laura is a saint on the road. She is patient and she will talk you through whatever issue you have going on. A veteran of who knows how many races, I’ve been lucky enough to convince her to run me in a few times.
I’m not sure who I was happier to see: Obi Wan or Dr. Laura!
We spent the next 2 miles taking – um- all the pictures? Yeah, that’s about right.
We are both big fans and were geeking out a bit when we saw just how many of the 501st were out on the course to cheer us on.
To give you an idea of what happened here: my splits were 14:30-15 min miles up until mile 8. Then we went into the 17-18 min range. Oops.
We stopped a lot. This was hands down the BEST part of the BEST race course I’d ever run.
I loved Avengers Mile 8, but Star Wars Miles 8 & 9 topped it for me!
So very, very cool.
Unfortunately, I paid for it. Once we stopped and took a ton of pictures, I couldn’t get going again.
The momentum was GONE and I walked the last 3 miles in, constantly looking over my shoulder for bikes and balloons and then craning my neck ahead to spy big buses ready to cut off my path.
Every time I saw a bus, I made a concerted effort to move FASTER until I was past it. For what it’s worth, the last bus I saw was at the mile 11 mark. After that, it appeared that everyone who was still moving forward would be allowed to finish as there was no apparent sweep points to be seen.
I did have some bikers go past me a few times on that last stretch, but they weren’t shouting out times or warnings, so I took this as a good sign.
When we turned into the Paradise Pier parking lot, I knew we were 100% safe. Which is a REALLY good thing because just behind me I saw the Balloon Ladies for the very first time during a race.
Yeowch. But phew… I made it.
Was this race my Dream Race? It was my dream course, my dream theme… but my race performance was NOT a dream. Ha.
It’s a good thing I plan to do it all again in 2016- redemption run!
I know I’ve been a bit wordy today, but one more thing. I need to give a quick shout out to the costumes on the course.
I have never seen so many out of the box- or maybe in the box?- costumes before.
I can’t wait to see what everyone does NEXT year!
Until then, may the force and shiny medals be with you.
Do you have a Dream Race? Link up your post or any post related to running this week!
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)