Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Expo and Neverland Family 5K Re-Cap

I cannot believe that Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon weekend is over!!! It was a weekend of firsts and a ton of fun!!! It was the first time I had ever run Tinkerbell, my very first trip to Disneyland and my first running trip with my sister (it was her first ever Disney race!!) It was so much fun that I am going through a bit of withdrawal, and thought it was high time to get my recaps up!!

This race weekend was a blast!!

It all started on Thursday, with the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Weekend Expo.

I have to say that I was a little nervous about this expo because of the stories I had heard about the Expo at Disneyland's last race!! 3 hour waits, and a complete shut down!! I was a little panicked about the entire thing! But I have to say that RunDisney did a fantastic job with this expo!! The didn't fix the problem entirely, but at least they tried something new, and as far as my experiences go, it worked!!

Anne and I got to the expo about an hour early. We were shuffled underground (into what I assume is a parking garage?!) where we were separated into the following lines: Official Merchandise, Packet Pick-Up, New Balance Shoes, and Expo Shopping. The lines were not terribly long, there were about 50-60 people in front of us for the Official merchandise. We waited in line for about 20 minutes and then we were shuffled over to another line, and about 20 minutes later we were escorted upstairs to the lobby of the conference center where we waiting in line again. RunDisney started letting people into the Official Merchandise area about 20-30 at a time. It didn't take long and we were also let inside. This was the real killer, because once inside, we waited in another line, but we could see the merchandise!!! It was such a tease!!

Again, it didn't take long and we were inside the Official Merchandise area! I bought 2 car magnets, and a headband! There were lots of cute shirts and I was IN LOVE with the jackets, but just didn't want to spend the $80. RunDisney had a ton of merchandise!! Checking out took all of 5 minutes and then were we off to see what else we could buy!!

I bought a sweatshirt from Endure, a tank from Sparkle Athletic (and I picked up my Schwings!) and that was about it! I thought I did very well!! Of course, I was thinking the whole time that I have to pace myself, PHM weekend is just around the corner!!!

We then made our way back down to the parking garage to collect our packets! We both were running all three races, so we would have to stand in 3 lines each. It took us less than 15 minutes to get all of our packets, with the longest line being the 5k pick up line!! I was very impressed with the speed of these lines.

Back up to the expo (they had a separate door for Expo Only entrance with NO WAITING!!) and we collected our race shirts! These shirts are probably my very favorite race shirts ever! They are cute and fit extremely well!! I was very pleased!! And again, there was hardly any wait time!! Woo!!

After spending the day at Disney's California Adventure, where we were lucky enough to ride the famous Cars ride 4 times with very minimal wait, we had dinner and got to bed early! It was a great first day in California! The weather was perfect! We were so excited about our up coming races!!

We woke up super early (thanks to the time zone change!) and got ready for our 5k!! Getting to this race would be our longest walk (the start and finish of the 10k and 1/2 were directly across the street from our hotel!!), as it started right on Main Street in Disneyland! We walked just over a mile to the start, but it was so magical!! The walk through Downtown Disney was full of twinkle lights and excited runners!! Once we got into the park, it was amazing!! The castle was all dressed up with lights, and the DJ was getting the crowd moving!

Thanks to our early wake up, we were RIGHT at the starting line!! There were no corrals assigned for this race, so it was pretty much first come, first serve! We were right up front, and got to watch the entire starting line show!! It was awesome! Tinkerbell flew through the sky around the castle (which was totally amazing!!!) and of course there were fireworks!!! It was very magical!! Such a different start than the Princess 5k, where you start in a parking lot! This had true Disney style!!! My favorite start of any race ever!!

With all the excitement, it wasn't a long time until the race started! I took off really fast!! It surprised me, at first, but then I remembered that I have been running on snow and ice for the last 3 months, and that running on clear roads was MUCH easier!! I was flying!

We ran past It's a Small World right away! It was so cute all lite up!! I was running so fast, that I actually caught up with my sister (that never happens!!) and she couldn't believe it!! Of course, she had to run faster than me, and she took off!!

As we looped thought the park and back-stage, it occurred to me that there was really no one running around me!! This was REALLy strange for a Disney race!! I was pretty much alone!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! I had clean roads, and was running though Disneyland all by myself!! The second thing I noticed was that were not very many character stops as I remember from the Princess 5k.

I did, however, make it a point to stop at every character and get my picture taken! It was great because there was no lines, or just one or two people in front of me!!

My time in Disneyland ended much too quick and I was off to Disney's California Adventures! I love this park!! It is so pretty! Still I was pretty much alone on the course, and I started to worry a little about being lost! lol!

Stopped again at all the character stops and kept my pace as I hit the finish line! I was overcome with joy when I saw my time! I had PRed AND stopped at all the character stops!! It was an awesome feeling!! I caught up with RunDisney's very own Carissa for a photo (she is so sweet!) and had a chance to finally meet @AccordingtoKelly who high fived me on my PR!! I was glowing!!

Overall this is my most favorite 5k ever! Such an amazing course (very limited time spent in the back-stage areas!)! Running through 2 parks, and having the starting line and the finish line actually IN the park was amazing!!

I had such an amazing time, and it was such a great start to this amazing weekend, I could barely wait for the 10k!!!! 


We Run Disney said...

I love the Disneyland is so fun running through the parks. So glad to hear the Expo experience was better this time. It really was crazy for the Dumbo Challenge weekend. See you soon at Princess!

Meg Pudzianowski said...

I'm so glad the expo went well, LOVE your purchases! Your costume was beyond adorable! Love the Minnie ears!

Way to PR!!!