Thursday, January 30, 2014

Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K - Race Recap

Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K at Disneyland!   How did it go?

On Jan 18, 2014 I participated in the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K (6.2 miles) at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  I traveled to Anaheim from the Seattle area to participate in the entire weekend of festivities... the weekend also included a Family Fun Run 5K (3.1 miles) on Friday January 17th and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon (13.1 miles) that took place on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014.  This was my 2nd year participating in the Tinker Bell Race weekend at Disneyland... I was able to run the Neverland 5K and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in 2013 and if you are interested you can read about them here and here.  This year I ran the 10K and the Half Marathon.

This was the Inaugural year (the very 1st one) for the Tinker Bell 10K (the Tinker Bell race weekend is just 3 years old... the first Tinker Bell Race Weekend was held in 2012).  I love that runDisney added the 10K distance to this race weekend... it is a good challenge for many and so much fun!  This time I chose to participate in the 10K and the Half Marathon (the Half Marathon race recap is coming soon).

The Race was set to begin at 6:00am... my friends and I were in Corral A.  Which meant that we would be in the first group to start.  I am not sure how runDisney did the Corral assignments for this race.  The best guess we could come up with was by the date of each registration.  We arrived at about 5:00am to the area on Disneyland Drive where the Corrals were being staged.  We were directed into the staging area near where the finish line was located.  There was loud music playing, the bag check area, and some people doing morning pick up of their bibs and shirts.  We waited about 10 minutes and then they began allowing people to walk towards their Corrals and get lined up.  It was really exciting to be right near the stage and close to the announcers.  Everything seemed to be very well organized and there were many volunteers present throughout the area as well as out on the race course once we began. 

 runDisney announcers!
 At the Start!

The 10K started right at 6:00am and we were off!  It was really exciting to be right near the front of Corral A (the first corral).  Below is a course map of the 10K and specifics on where we went...

We began down Disneyland Drive and wrapped around to enter Disneyland Park first through the backstage area.  The first 2 1/2 miles took place in Disneyland Park before we hit the chute across the Esplanade to California Adventure Park.    Inside Disneyland and California Adventure there were lights, music and character stops (if you chose to stop).  I am much more of a "fly by" photo taker except for stopping near the castle.  Below is a sampling of pictures I took inside both Parks during the 10K race.

 Small World still dressed for the Holidays.

 The Horses of the Circle D! (My favorite stop of the race!)  I am pretty sure this is DUKE!

 One of the old surreys they used at Disneyland long ago.
 Mile 1!
 runDisney cones... these were new to me...

I don't have any regrets about this race EXCEPT that I didn't stop and have my photo taken with the stretching girl and the bride from the Haunted Mansion... dah!  Why didn't I stop?

 Approaching Tomorrowland...

 A stop at Sleeping Beauty's Castle is a MUST!

I love this picture... looks like I am out for my morning run in my very 
own Disneyland Park... all mine! (except for that one shadow... hmmm maybe that is Walt)

California Adventure's Buena Vista Street

Approaching Soarin' Over California

 Looking across Paradise Pier to Mickey's Fun Wheel and California Screamin'

 Mile 3!  (I am not sure how I missed the Mile 2 marker)

 The back side of the Fun Wheel in California Adventure

 Time for a walk break! (it is a little uphill here)


 Yo Ho... DJ!

 Lightening McQueen and Mater in CARSLAND
(my shirt... it says Mousetalgia (which is the BEST podcast around about all things Disneyland!  The back of my shirt reads "Eat my Pixie Dust!")

 Not me in the picture but a cool stop nonetheless!

 Mile 4!

 Mile 5!

 Mile 6!

The last 2 or so miles of the course were outside of the Parks on the streets of Anaheim with the finish coming back on property and finishing in the parking lot of the Paradise Pier Hotel.    We exited California Adventure near Tower of Terror and headed out onto the streets.  We headed north on Harbor Blvd and then wound around behind the Pumbaa parking lot.  Then we came west down Disney Drive and turned left onto Harbor to head South.  Then on to the corner of Katella and Harbor Blvd. where we turned west onto Katella and followed Katella all the way down to Disneyland Drive where we turned North and made the last 2 turns before the finish!

I had such a fun time participating in this race!  What a fantastic addition to the Tinker Bell Race Weekend!  The course was fast and fun!  There were great stops along the way if you wanted to do them!  Lots of cast members out in the Parks cheering the runners as well as out on the streets there seemed to be lots of spectators cheering too!  I enjoyed it so much!  The one thing that I would maybe change about the race course was possibly putting the Anaheim streets portion of the course near the beginning of the race or possibly split it up so maybe one of those miles was at the beginning and then the runners would only have about a mile on the streets to the finish.  I am sure there are logistics to why they did the course the way they did... but I think it would break it up and not leave the somewhat "non disney" part of the race for the end.   Not that running on the streets around the resort is bad... I do enjoy it but leaving it all for the end was sort of interesting... it surprised me that they did that.

If I return in 2015 (I am already trying to figure out how to financially do this) I am going to do a repeat of this race!  I loved it!  I would highly recommend this distance for someone who wants a bigger challenge than a 5K... 10Ks are such a good fitness distance.    A great goal to work towards past the 5K.  runDisney... what do I say to you? Thank you for such a great memory of the Tinker Bell weekend!  The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K was am amazing experience!  Loved it!

One thing about this race I did find slightly puzzling... it was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend and the 10K was all about Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends... where were her friends?  The only time we saw Tinker Bell was on the big screen at the start... and the fairies were on the mile marker signs but no where for a character stop... that seems strange to me.  But I will move on quickly from that.

 One rack of the medals at the Finish Line!

Me with my hard earned medal!  Disney knows how to bling their runners! 

After crossing the finish line you are ushered through the finisher's area... You can take photos in front of the "official backgrounds" and then progress through the snacks and beverages area, bag check and then on to the Family Reunion area.  

This was by far my favorite 10K of the past 12 + months I have done... some serious fun and some serious bling!  This 10K was my 13th 10K in the past year or so... I wish they could all be Disney runs!  I would recommend highly signing up for a 10K with runDisney... and of course I am partial to the Tinker Bell weekend because they are the ones I have done.  I do know that runDisney has added 10Ks to both of the weekends at Disneyland and to at least 2 of their race weekends at Walt Disney World.  Do it!  You won't regret it!

There has been an announcement from runDisney that the Tinker Bell Race Weekend is moving to Mother's Day weekend in 2015 (May 7 - 10, 2015) (it is also the 60th anniversary of Disneyland that year)... a few extra months to save up!  Registration fills up VERY fast - Registration opens for 2015 on August 12, 2014.   The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend just had it's registration process (it takes place Labor Day weekend) - all of the races filled in less than 24 hours.  Crazy fast!

What character (or characters) would stop you in your tracks and cause you to not care about your time and STOP for that picture?

Have you done the Tinker Bell races? Which ones?   Maybe you are planning and training to go next year for your first time?  Tell me about it!    

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What inspired you to begin?

Lately it seems I have been getting asked a similar question.  Let me begin by saying that I haven't always been a runner or even into exercise for that matter. 

I have had periods of my adult life where I lost some weight and some sort of physical activity was involved... I spent the good part of my 20s working as a Horsemanship instructor/program director for children's programs at summer camps.  Some people might not think of riding horses as physical (you just sit there) but it is and there were many parts of my job that demanded I be in some sort of good physical shape.

circa 1995

But then enter the next stage of my life... I got married at 33 and then had 3 children in my late 30s.  I gained a lot of weight and basically wasn't really happy with how I felt physically.  After Baby #3 was born in 2008 I felt out of control... my weight had topped out at 254 (9 mos pregnant)... and then settled to 225 after he was born.  I looked in the mirror one day and just said enough is enough.  

 Me... about 2 months after baby #3 was born in 2008

After watching a few friends and family have great success with Weight Watchers... I joined up.  I made a goal to be to my goal weight by Baby #3's 1st birthday.  I didn't quite make it...  but then decided the goal to make it by the time I had been going to WW for one year.  In the Fall of 2009 I made goal (160 pounds) ... finally.  

Fall of 2009

But then... after about 6 months or so... a few pounds had crept back on and then a few more.  Before I knew it I had gained back about 20 pounds.  UGH!  I knew that I needed to make a physical change and not just alter my food intake.   One day when I was flipping through a magazine at the doctor's office I saw this photo...

  (photo courtesy of runDisney)

Now... everyone that knows me knows I have loved anything Disney most of my life.  I was born in Anaheim, CA... it was meant to be.  This photo in the magazine was accompanied by an advertisement for a Half Marathon at Disneyland.  It took me about 5 minutes to decide that I wanted that running girl to be me!   Who knew that there was a whole race series at Walt Disney World and Disneyland run by an arm of Disney called runDisney.   I have hated running my whole life.  I have never thought I was good at running.  It made me tired, and sweaty, and just plain not fun.  BUT... there was something about this picture that made me want to try.  As I read more about runDisney I learned they had a celebrity trainer named Jeff Galloway who was a previous Olympic Marathoner.  Jeff has a training program called the run/walk/run program that intrigued me.  It meant I would have walk breaks as I ran ...and a lot of them.  The more I read the more I thought to myself that it seemed doable for me.

Fast forward months and months... races and running... and sweat and weight loss.  In the summer of 2012 I registered for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland!   I traveled to Disneyland (with my husband) in January of 2013 and ran (walked too) my first Half Marathon!  That girl I saw in the advertisement finally WAS me!  (My legs didn't quite look as good as hers but I did it!)

I was so inspired that I kept going after I returned home from Disneyland that January.   The Tinker Bell Half Marathon was on January 20th, 2013... I returned to Disneyland in January 2014 and participated in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon again.  In fact I ran the 10K the day before too!  In the course of this past year I ran a lot of races at home too... Tinkerbell 2014 was my 6th Half Marathon in 12 months!  I also participated in 7 - 5Ks, 1 - 5 miler, 13 - 10Ks, 2 - 15Ks, in addition to my 6 Half Marathons!  Me!  The girl who hated running!  I have found this thing that I love.  Is it hard some days... YES!   All of these things fight against me to stick to it.  My schedule... my self talk... my family... lots of excuses.  But I have to remember to keep it in perspective and make it a priority!  I just do it... no excuses!

 At the Tinker Bell Race EXPO - 2014 after completing the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K

Because of this commitment and involvement in races and running I have been so blessed.  I have met so many amazing and inspiring people!  People conquering way more obstacles then I could ever imagine!  I have NO excuses!

I would encourage anyone to pursue goals that seem out of reach or impossible. Just do it!  Don't let anyone get in your way and tell you that you can't.   Go find your life and grab it!  Do it!


What inspired you?

What inspires you to push forward when excuses are easy to fall back on?
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