Friday, May 29, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Tink 10k

Race day was here!  I was psyched for my first ever 10K.  What a better place to do it but the Happiest Place on Earth!

It was a pleasure staying at the Disneyland Hotel.  We were so close to the start.  I was a little nervous, but Alyson had faith in me.  Now all I needed was a little trust and Pixie Dust!
We donned our Sparkle Skirts, Raw Threads top and Sweaty Bands and headed to the corrals.
As we settled into our places in corral E, numerous times Alyson was told she was in the wrong corral.  I guess it was hard to understand why someone in Corral A would move themselves all the way back to the last corral.   But Aly was determined to get Mom through this and I appreciated her company. 

Yes, the last corral was crowded. We were up towards the front, but looking behind me I saw a sea of runners.It was almost a half hour past the official start time when our corral finally crossed the start.  We were off!

The first few miles were amusing as we paced through our run/walk/run intervals. Alyson was in charge of the timer.   I kept hearing it go off and asked, walk? The answer was no.  It seemed like everyone had timers on all different intervals and that is what I was hearing. She had ours on vibrate and finally told me…I’ll let you know each interval!

There were some hills (ok, they were small but to me it was tough), but after that you got a good deal of park time.  I loved running down Main Street towards the castle.  The cast members in the backstage areas were such great chEarleaders!   Then you navigate California Adventure before heading to the finish. I absolutely love how much time was spent in the parks and backstage area.
I loved running down Main Street towards the Castle!
Beautiful day for Paradise Pier!

Because I was unsure of myself, I didn’t want to stop for any pictures.   I do wish I had at least gotten a mile marker pic.   Alyson did take a couple of selfies!

Only two miles to go!

We did it!
As the finish line came in sight, I knew I made it.  My official time wasn't good, but that was my fault.   I should have trained better. But, I finished and yes, I had tears in my eyes as I approached the finish.   I really enjoyed this race and was really proud of myself (and of Alyson who probably struggled to keep my slow pace!). 

Bill met us at the finish and we all headed back to the hotel to get ready for our visit to the parks.  When we got to the hotel, the kids surprised me with the best Congrats and Mother’s Day surprise (so good it deserves its own post!).  

My first "real" medal!

S'mores Bake

We celebrated at Disneyland Park with a late lunch at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue where Alyson insisted she "needed" the s'mores bake dessert because she had to "carb load" for tomorrow's second half of the Pixie Dust Challenge.  Neither Bill or I questioned her choice.  It was delicious, but we really needed a "doggie bag"

I truly enjoyed my Mother's Day weekend racecation at Disneyland. Did you run Tinkerbell this year? How do you like to celebrate after a race?  Have you ever tasted the s'mores bake?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend: Expo

For once, I'm on top of it!  Just a few days ago we returned from the 2015 Tink Half Marathon Weekend.  Here's Part 1--our review of the expo.  Since me and my mom were running, I thought it would be fun to hear from both of us, since we "expo-ed" different days.
I want!

Joann: After checking in at the Disneyland Hotel early Thursday afternoon (This was my first time staying here and I was obsessed with the Mickey Glove lamps in the bathroom!), I headed to the Expo around 2:30.  This turned out to be a great time to go, no crowds.

My first stop was the Official Merchandise area to see if anything on Alyson or my lists was left.  I was disappointed to find there were no wine glasses (my list), but I did manage to get us the coffee mugs.  I picked up Alyson’s water bottle and my “I Did It” shirt.  The rack that housed Alyson’s “Pixie Dust Challenge” Sweaty Band was now full of generic runDisney bands.  Browsing through them, I did find her a “Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend” one.   After checking out and getting my Disney Visa discount, I headed out to explore the rest of the expo.  

Wandering around a bit, I found myself at the New Balance booth checking out the Tinker Bell sneakers.  They were adorable!  Hmmm…no wine glass, maybe I should get the sneakers….

Next stop was packet pickup.   I realized I left my waiver home, so I had to print one.  I had my choice of computers.  I printed my waiver, picked up my bib and headed to the Get Travel booth to pick up my park tickets.  My Dooney backpack was next on the list and then I headed upstairs for my race shirt. I think I did all this in less than 20 minutes! 

Margaret Kerry
Once I deposited my “treasures” in the room, Downtown Disney was my destination for a quick meal.  It was a definite benefit being so close to everything, unlike WDW.  My plan was to head back to the expo and catch some of the Speaker Series.  This was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do this.

I sat in on the end of “Information for Runners and Spectators” by the runDisney panel.  It was interesting as they went over the race courses and answered any questions posed. This seemed like a good choice if you were a first time run Disney participant.

The speaker I wanted to hear was Margaret Kerry.   She was the Original Animator’s Reference Model for Tinker Bell.   You could see why they chose her for the part.   What a fun and entertaining speaker!   At 86 years young, she showed us pictures of herself posing for the artists, told interesting stories and even danced a little in her tap shoes.  So glad I was there for this hour.  Yes, “laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever".

Aly:  My hubs and I arrived REALLY late Thursday night (in face, I think it was technically Friday morning), so we headed to the expo on Friday morning.  I set my alarm for 6 am to sign up for the New Balance Virtual Queue.  There were no issues and I was put in group 4. We slept in a bit longer then got ready to go to the expo, day 2.  I wasn't expecting much, which was good, because they were pretty well wiped out of any merchandise I wanted (thank goodness for moms who get there a day earlier).  We can go on and on about ebay and runners "rights" to buy stuff, but I'll leave that for another blog, another day.
For the pink C2C

The expo was similar to the DL Half, with all of the vendors and speakers being in the main ballroom.  It was a bit busy, but nothing like I would imagine the day before.  We were able to get our Lasting Commemoratives bookmark, browse the runDisney booth, pick up packets and goody bags, and look around leisurely. 

Just a few pairs!

Finally, around 11, it was my turn with New Balance.  I seriously love the new virtual queue system at DL! (It's a little tough at WDW because the expo isn't close to anything.  Here you theoretically could go to the parks and come back when your time is up.)  My mom and I were able to try on the new Tink shoes, plus I bought the Minnies that were released at Princess.  Yes, I have a problem.  We were done quickly and headed back to the room where we dropped off our packages and got ready to hit the parks.

Overall, the expo was pretty typical.  I didn't get the same "special-ness" as I did at Princess, but it was a standard expo.  Of course, if you're dying to get your hands on merchandise, you just have to get there for the first minutes on the first day.  There's just no way around it.  If that's not important to you, though, I highly suggest going later.  You'll have a much more enjoyable experience!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Princess Half Marathon

Here we are--finally!  The big event!  This was my first Princess Half Marathon, and I was SO excited.  I didn't even know at the start how much fun this race would be, but just to set the record straight, this is a MUST DO for all the ladies who love runDisney!
Photo Credit: runDisney

Truth be told, I was running a bit late that morning.  I kept forgetting things in the room, and when we got to the buses, there was a huge line.  We waited, and finally got on the third bus.  I have a suspicion that our bus driver was a temp because once on the bus, he clearly didn't have any idea how to get to the start line in a timely fashion.  We ended up there really late, and I missed all of the fun pre-race fanfare.  I got into my corral just in time to start--I hate feeling rushed!!!

Today's course was exactly the same as the WDW Half in January, so I was very familiar with the course (I had just ran it a month earlier).  I hadn't trained much since the Surf City Half a few weeks earlier, and I knew I had to take it easy.  The night before I was starting to catch a cold and was really feeling under the weather.  I knew I could finish, but I also knew I couldn't push it.

I started out with my 3/1 intervals to stay on the safe side.  My pace was okay and I was feeling fine...not great, but fine.  The first few miles are on roads, which is nice because it gives you some time to settle into your pace and spread out.  This course was definitely crowded, though.  I started in corral C, but wasn't running at an all out pace, so I was probably more in line with corral D for the majority of the race.

At around mile 6, you finally get to the Magic Kingdom.  I feel like I say this in EVERY recap, but there is really nothing more magical than turning the corner to run down Main St USA!  The sun was just starting to come up, but the castle was still lit.  We also ran through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and out through Frontierland.  It was quick, but it was nice to break up the course.

More time on the roads through the infamous "cone alley" (it's always tight there) and on our way to Epcot!  You enter Epcot in Future World and pretty much stay there the whole time.  While it's not much park time, it's great because you know the end is near.  The finish line was AWESOME--and had tons of surprises!  The medals were great and right after you got your medals, fairy godmothers were there to sprinkle you with sparkles.  It was such a sweet touch!  Then, as you started to collect your post-race goodies, you were given a drawstring backpack!  This was such a great idea--I wish they did this for every race!

Here are my official stats:
Chip Time: 2:30:18
Overall Place: 4379/20237
Gender Place: 3854/18517
Division Place: 707/3153
Already prepping for PARIS!

I gathered my things and headed out to meet my hubby.  No congratulations, no hugs, just "aren't you excited...we're going to Paris!"  Huh?  Wait...what?  I refer back to the start where our bus was so late I missed all the pre-race fun.  Well, I had totally missed the HUGE announcement:  They finally announced the dates for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon!!!!  Forget this race; we were on full planning mode for Paris!  What a great ending to a great race weekend!

All in all, I loved the entire Princess weekend!  I hope to come back for a girls trip sometime soon.  It was themed perfectly and I really appreciated all of the little touches that made it magical. It's on my runDisney must-do list for sure!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Race Report: Princess 10k

Okay, okay...I'm behind!  I have had so much excitement going on in my "real life" that my blogging life just got put on hold, but I'm back and I'm ready to finish recapping the 2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  If you missed the first two parts, click HERE and HERE.

For the 10k, the weather "warmed up" enough for me to sport my recycled Olaf costume.  Hey...when you run this many races, you've got to recycle!  I still headed to the staging area with a jacket and mylar blanket to keep warm.  The morning went similar to the morning before, minus a few shivers.  It was still cold, but after the FROZEN 5k, it seemed more manageable today.

I handed off my cold weather gear to my hubby and headed to the starting corrals in the same way as the day before.  I was in corral A and there was a huge backup of runners trying to get through the small walkway where they were checking bibs.  By the time I made it to my corral, they were already escorting runners around the bend to the start line.  They also gave the warning to get rid of your mylar blanket before crossing the start or you jeopardize your chip time not being recorded.  I didn't want to take any chances, so I tossed my blanket a few seconds before they counted down to the start.  Yes, for the record, it was still COLD!

The 10k course was similar, if not exactly the same, to the 10k during Marathon Weekend.  This means you spend a good amount of time on the streets before seeing the magic of Epcot.  It also takes you through the Boardwalk area, which is a great distraction and gave my feet a bit of a break (somehow running on the boardwalk felt different than the road, and it was good to switch it up).  I've run this course before during Dopey, but somehow this time it seemed a whole lot more crowded and it was hard for me to get some good speed going.  I'm sure some of this had to do with how cold it was and with me starting toward the back of corral A.  I just remember getting "stuck" at some areas where I just couldn't push through and had to slow down.  I wasn't running for a PR or anything, so I just "Let It Go"!

I finished the 10k in 59:54, not bad for not really trying too hard.  Here are the rest of the official stats:
Overall Place: 942/11003
Gender Place: 736/9753
Division Place: 152/1570

I love the entire Princess Weekend and I DEFINITELY see myself returning in the future.  That being said, I will always prefer the Disneyland 10k courses to WDW.  You just get more time in the parks in DL.  The medal was awesome and I loved all the Princess touches.

At the end of the race, I was a little disappointed in the amount of time we had to spend on the bus for the clearing of the streets.  If it had been warmer, I probably wouldn't have minded, but seeing as it was so cold, I was more than ready to get into a hot shower!  We were staying at Saratoga Springs and weren't able to get to the hotel due to road closures.  They did, at least, allow us to stay on the bus in comfy seats while we were waiting.

Did you run Princess?  Do you prefer DL or WDW 10k courses?