Whew! That was an experience. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon is over. I hope this picture shows our excitement, after all we did start at 5 AM!
However the night before the experience began. We had booked a hotel to stay near Disneyland so that no road closure or parking situation would ruin our arrival. Even with all our efforts in place I didn’t account for sleepless nerves. I’ve rarely dealt with panic attacks, but for some reason my first half marathon shook me in my boots. I slowly watched the alarm clock tick down to 3 am and I still hadn’t sleep.
Too late now, it was time to change the mindset. Breakfast was a banana, maple nut flavored Clif bar and a couple of bites of peanut butter on sourdough bread.
We put on our sparkle skirts, wings and we were off. Though we didn’t realize that we were moving at zombie speed when we looked at our watches it was already 4:30! We had thirty minutes to get into our corral. Adrenaline was the only thing keeping my eyes open, and now I depended on that adrenaline to carry me through the next 13.1 miles.
We also didn’t account for the shuttle dropping us off so far from the corrals. Another inexperience call on our end. So we ran/jogged towards the 4:50 am pre-race fireworks that were already going off. It took us another five minutes to get into our corral, and waited to move forward. Ever wanted to see what 15,000 fairy runners look like? This was what was in front and in back of us.
We were in corral E, which is the second to last and had heard from experienced runDisney bloggers that it would be heavily crowded with many walking marathoners.
It was 5:38 am and we were off. I think we were just giggling in complete excitement or delirium, which ever it was, it never wore off.
Disney is gorgeous at night even though it was ridiculously crowded, and too many walkers all across the course, just running through the park was exhilarating! Even if I could explain how exhilarating all the lights were I don’t think you’d really know unless you did it yourself. It was awesome to see a new perspective on one of my favorite places on earth. Cast members and maintenance folks alike stopped to cheer you on! I wish I would have gotten a picture of those folks they were awesome.
Inside the park there were more obstacles than just getting your fairy wings in other peoples faces, you also had to watch your step. I don’t care how many times you’ve gone to Disneyland, running through it is a whole new experience. So when you are looking up at the great scenery you forget that there are obstacles at your feet. The trolly tracks on Main Street can be a doozy, even an ankle breaker if you aren’t careful. I was very lucky to have caught myself and not really injure myself. For goodness sake it was in the first couple miles! My favorite picture of the day is the castle. My mom took me to Disneyland when I was just two months old and my first picture was in front of the castle. Here’s me 35 years later!
My favorite things:
#1 The volunteers and every cheering person on the Tinker Bell route. I can’t tell you how much each, “you’re doing awesome,” “keep it up,” “you’re almost there” and Mickey high fives helped keep that so important smile on my face, but also keep my motivation going.
#2 Starting the race in the dark and seeing all the characters
#3 Striking up conversations with complete strangers and running into them later and high-fiving each other because you just completed something awesome!
#4 Wings, fairy dust and many other great costumes. My favorite was this guy who wore a Captain Hook wig, hat, coat and booty shorts that actually said, ‘booty’ on them. I love these people.
#5 Clif Bar Shot Gel: This little gu kept me upright the entire race after a sleepless night. Raspberry flavor is delicious!
#6 Finishing! We did it!
Things we Learned:
#1 Make reservations to everything. We had to go 11 miles from D-land to find an Italian Restaurant the night before, that didn’t have an hour and half wait. However, without this experience we wouldn’t have found Augustino’s the best little unknown Italian restaurant with the best service and amazing food! It was worth the drive.
#2 Set two alarm clocks if you can! Three am is tough to do.
#3 Unless your family is staying with you they’ll need to get up at the same time and try to find parking. Everyone missed our finish because they were driving around for an hour looking for parking.
#4 This is a fun race and not a place you want to break some kind of record. You have the opportunity to stop to take pictures with characters or just the beautiful scenery D-land offers. Enjoy it, it’s a unique opportunity!
Here’s a few more pics we took along the way….
So who’s in for next year? Has anyone done the Dumbo Double Dare? Registration opens January 28th! Any suggestions on how to save for these races? The Dumbo Double Dare is $320!
Karen is one of the founders at Confession Girl, loves drinking wine, craft beer, reading and running. Studied nutrition and sport injury at University of Santa Barbara, but decided to follow a passion in creative. Follow me on Twitter @confessiongirl2