I just returned from sunny California to the very-much-frozen Keystone State. I’m fortunate to have made it home as fast as I did, after all, our connecting flight was canceled and we found ourselves stranded in Texas.
I had been looking forward to this race for so long and every minute of it was magical. Simply put in words, Disney’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon was the best Run Disney race I’ve ever done.
We arrived in California on Friday since I wasn’t running the 5K. I headed to the Expo and did not have to wait in line; it appeared everyone was at the New Balance booth getting their runDisney running shoes. All weekend I didn’t get a chance at even trying them on! The lines started at 6 AM, the queue started at 8 or 8:30, I forget, and by 9 AM the queue was full. So if you were late, you were out of luck!
Grabbed my bib and my shirt and the shirt this year was gorgeous! Hot pink and long sleeved. (I’ll grab a pic or two for you soon!)
The Tinker Bell Expo was mobbed but not as bad as it was for the Princess Half last year. Lines were long but you were able to walk around whereas Princess Half, you couldn’t even walk. Good thing is that this year, the Princess Half Expo is back at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; last year due to the Atlanta Braves having some sort of event there, it had to be moved to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Set the alarm clock for 3:30 AM but hardly slept at all. I always think I’m going to oversleep! My costume was simple but the best part was running with wings!
Excuse my facial expression! That’s exhaustion at 3 AM!
The race was scheduled to start at 5 AM, an hour earlier than previous races. Everything was really organized and there were volunteers checking bibs left and right. I was in Corral B and so my friends and I headed there and waited to start. It started promptly at 5 AM, with our corral heading out around 5:10 AM.
And we’re off!
The first 5.5 miles or so were right through the Disneyland Parks. I was so happy that this course was like this since during the Disneyland Half Marathon, you’re only in the parks for the first three miles. There were characters left and right and the best part was that most of the course was flat! There were a few hills but they were small and not steep by any means.
There were animals – a calf named Clarabelle and a horse, and perhaps more, but as an avid animal lover, I had to stop for a few minutes and pet/hug/kiss the babies.
Stopped in front of “It’s a Small World” ride, which by the way, in Disneyland it’s absolutely magical! She was glowing in all her glory and stopped to take pictures.
My wings are still there, they’re just in hiding 🙂
All the rides were ON – Alice’s Tea Cups were spinning, the carousel was moving and it felt like we had the entire Disneyland Parks to ourselves.
Exited the parks and onto the streets of Anaheim, and right before we exited Disneyland (I believe it was in the Disneyland Hotel parking lot), spectators were lined up on both sides and I’ve never felt so emotional during a race, except when I finished my first marathon. Something about their energy made me teary-eyed.
Ran through some quiet residential neighborhoods and there were signs everywhere (wish I’d taken a picture) of Tinker Bell that read, “Shhh…our neighbors are sleeping!” Sure enough, with all the police presence there, all was eerily quiet.
Going through downtown Anaheim was fun! There were people handing out oranges and Twizzlers and I grabbed an orange slice – it was cold, crisp and sweet and the perfect treat. Thank you, whoever you are, for your generosity.
Entered the parks again – there were bands playing everywhere. We were running behind the parks and I could smell the finish line so sweet and so close. I stepped up my pace and finished 28 seconds behind my PR. Considering I hadn’t run since the Philadelphia Marathon in November and with multiple stops throughout, I was more than pleased with my finish time.
Here’s that gorgeous Tinker Bell medal. She spins!
Walking back to my hotel, I noticed the message on the ART buses in Anaheim.
Ended up sick, again. I was dehydrated pretty badly. I should know better. Spent the remainder of the afternoon lounging ill in bed and headed out once I felt better to Disneyland to see the fireworks.
Of all the run Disney races I’ve run, this by far was my favorite race. If you haven’t had a chance to run a Disney race, check this race out. You will not regret it, I promise.
Now I’m getting ready for runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon and the Glass Slipper Challenge. Hope to see you there.