I was so very excited to run my very first runDisney Tinkerbell half marathon in January.
I had heard so many great things about it, and about the course, I couldn’t wait to see for myself!
I forgot one thing however, that I would still feel exhausted from Dopey the weekend before, and I underestimated how much of an impact it would have on my race. My plan was to have fun and soak it all in, but I also didn’t want to FEEL bad during the race either. I got up quietly as to not wake my mom, and walked towards the start line by myself.
The convenience of staying onsite can’t be beat. A quick walk from my hotel room and I was in my corral, with time to spare.
Right as I was walking into my corral I heard a familiar voice. It was Crystal! We chatted in the corral and waited for the race to begin.
Soon it was go time (no fireworks, bummer) and we started running together. Crystal asked if I ran intervals, I said not usually but why not! We hadn’t planned on running together but just kind of ended up doing so, and I am so, so glad we did. We talked the ENTIRE race and it made things go by so quickly.
Once we got into the parks, I told her no hard feelings if she didn’t want to stop and take pictures with me. She said it was fine and so we stayed together.
I felt bad for all the waiting so I kept insisting that she go on ahead but she hung with me.
We didn’t stop for all the characters, but still got a lot of photos. We made it into Disneyland park, and down Main Street.
The lost boys were on the carousel!
As we ran towards the Haunted Mansion, Crystal spotted Captain Jack! He was hidden off to the side so only had 3/4 people in line. I would have run right past him had she not said anything.
We headed out of the park and through Downtown Disney, where one of the highlights of the race happened for me. HUNDREDS of red hat ladies were at the turn by the sorcerers hat! They had signs, cowbells, and were cheering SO loudly. It warmed my heart and made me want to cry that there were SO many of there out there so early in the morning. They were totally awesome.
As we made our way off property, the sun started to come up.
I was so, so glad I was running 4/1 intervals with Crystal at this point. We were not even halfway through, and my legs felt like lead. It didn’t matter how hard I pushed, I just couldn’t go any faster. Luckily our chattering away was a welcomed distraction (as were the one minute walk breaks!) I would be lying if I said I paid a ton of attention to my surroundings at this point. Lots of different streets, buildings, houses, etc.
I got excited when we made it back to Disney property. We were getting close! We hit the mile 12 sign and I texted my mom to tell her we were close. She was waiting for me at the finish line in the cold, what a trooper.
We took one last walk break then charged ahead and finished around 2:45. I had a blast running with Crystal, but my body was definitely telling me it was time for a break from long distance racing for a bit.
We collected our beautiful medals, said our goodbyes, and I was off to find my mom.
Mom sadly somehow missed me crossing the finish line, but that’s ok she was still there. We were both cold so we didn’t hang around long. Back to the hotel we went for hot breakfast and then playing in the parks.
I love my medal!
Final Race Thoughts:
Tink has never been my favorite character, but I do love the idea of a women’s-focused race on the west coast. It had a fun girly atmosphere that I really enjoyed. The medal is beautiful, and I am so glad I could WALK from my hotel to the race start! I enjoyed the course and the fact that you are in the parks for further into the race than at the Disneyland half over Labor Day. It helped make the second half go by much faster. The volunteers were friendly and plentiful, and there was plenty of water and Powerade on the course.
There aren’t really many negatives to this race, I wasn’t a fan of starting at 5:00 (30 minutes earlier than the east coast races) and I also felt like the finish line was so skinny and cramped compared to the east coast races. My mom said that was why she had a hard time spotting me because so many people were funneling through such a small area at the end and you come around a quick corner so it’s hard to see. I felt like there were not as many bands/on course entertainment as at the Disneyland half. I don’t know this for sure, it’s just the way it felt to me (maybe someone knows how many there were?)
Would I run this race again? Absolutely! I really enjoy the west coast races, the weather is always SO much better, not having to take a bus is a MAJOR plus, and getting to run through the park where Walt Disney himself walked is truly magical.
QOTD: Have you ever run a race at Disneyland? What are your thoughts on all of the women’s focused events that keep popping up?
For more information on this and other runDisney races, be sure to visit rundisney.com
*Disclosure: My race registration, hotel, park tickets, and some meals were paid for by runDisney. However, all opinions are strictly my own.
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