Wow...it was a great morning! I think the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is now my favorite Disney race. Last year's inaugural race was really good, but this year was even better. I finished in 2:36:07 (with lots of photo stops) and Lee finished in 2:23:37. Despite running Goofy last week we both felt really good this morning and had a really good race.
After running at Disney World last week, where the course was too crowded and too narrow, this one was a pleasure. There were very few places where it narrowed down to a single lane for very long, and some areas we had 3-4 lanes to run in! It was pretty easy to run my own pace, and when I had to pass people I had room to get around them. It was MUCH more run/walk-friendly than the half marathon course in Florida was.
Our morning began at 3:15 - we actually slept pretty well. I know I've said this before, but Disneyland races are SO much easier logistically than those at WDW, because there is NO bus involved in getting to the start area - all you gotta do is walk!
Lee once again was a good sport and ran the race in sparkly skirt and wings. I don't think I saw quite as many wings and costumes (particularly guys in costumes) as I did last year, but still, a large number of people had worn some kind of special outfit for the race.
We met some of our Team AllEars folks in the pre-race area. It was chilly by southern California standards, about 48, but really not too bad at all, and SO much better than last week in Florida when it was 64 with 100% humidity.
The race started at 5:00 and they started sending people to the corrals at about 4:15. This also was SO much easier than it was in Florida last week - it was a very short walk, and we weren't shuffling.
My "proof of time" put me in Corral A, while Lee, being male, was not allowed to be higher than Corral C. Normally I would have gone to C to run with him, but he suggested that I go up to A, stop for all the photos that I wanted (being in Corral A would mean shorter lines for me), and meet him at mile 5 (after we got through the parks). So I went up to Corral A. It was really cool being up where I could actually SEE the start line and the race announcers!
We got a few fireworks during the national anthem, but, unlike WDW, each corral didn't get their own fireworks send-off.
Tinker Bell came out to start the race at 5:00, and we were off in a shower of pixie dust!
Unlike the Disneyland Half, the Tinker Bell Half goes north first, then turns south on Harbor and enters the Hollywood part of DCA about mile 1.8. It was really cool to run down Route 66 in Cars Land when it was stiil dark and the neon lights were on.
After that we went backstage again and ran around to Paradise Pier, where some of the World of Color fountains were running and the music was playing. DCA is an especially beautiful park when it's dark!
We ran past Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and Grizzly River Run - it was VERY dark here, and I was not too happy about running in the dark like that. After that we left DCA and ran across the Esplanade to Disneyland at about mile 3.3. Lots of characters out - including Captain Hook (who gallantly offered me his arm) and his pirates.
Then it was into Tomorrowland, where Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers were waiting. This was the longest line that I stood in (the line for Jack Sparrow was longer), but it's such a unique photo-op!
Holiday "it's a small world" was all lit up and looking beautiful.
This was also the "princess walk", with Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder, and Merida out for photos. And you know what? I'd planned to stop and get my photo taken, so I did!
Then we went backstage again (passed mile 4) and ran past the stable area - we could smell the hay. They had brought a horse and a couple of goats out to see us.
We re-entered the park in Toon Town, and then went into Fantasyland. The Lost Boys were at the Carrousel having a great time with runners - this may have been my favorite photo of the day.
I ran through the Castle - NOT coming to a stop like we did in Florida last week - and Philip and Aurora were off to the left - with NO line - I'd never seen that before!
In New Orleans Square was Jack Sparrow - with a HUGE line, so I didn't stop.
We went back stage next to Splash Mountain and soon came to the mile 5 sign. That's where Lee and I had agreed to meet. He wasn't there yet, but I only waited a minute or so for him so our timing was quite good!
Once we left Disneyland we went through Downtown Disney and past the Disneyland Hotel. The Red Hat Society was out in force again this year - I think there were even more than last year! They were a marvelous cheering section (I took this photo of a few of them after the race).
We spent a lot more time on Disneyland property than during the Disneyland Half Marathon - we were almost to mile 6 when we left Disneyland property and went into some of the residential area of Anaheim. It's quite interesting to see these homes that are just a block or two from Disneyland! Some of the residents had come out to cheer us on.
Our route took us into the downtown Anaheim business district past the Muzeo at about mile 8.25.
We had pretty good support from the community with lots of cheerleaders and bands - and they were pretty enthusiastic even though it was very early on a Sunday morning.
At about mile 11.5 we were backstage at Disneyland and DCA again - we didn't go back into the parks, but instead were on the perimeter road around the edge. At mile 12 and 12.5 they had a couple of bands - I don't remember seeing bands backstage before.
The approach to the finish was different this year - we kind of made a hairpin around the parking lot near the Paradise Pier Hotel rather than going out onto Katella and then finishing in the parking lot like we did last year.
We got our Tinker Bell medals and then exchanged our green wristbands for our Coast-to-Coast medals. I don't know how many C2C runners there were, but they seemed to have a pile of medals!
Refreshments again were the runDisney boxes, bananas, and bottles of water and PowerAde. As they did last week in Florida, they handed out a small tote bag to carry it all in. Last week we got Oz bags, this week it was Peter Pan. That really made it a lot easier to carry everything.
We were on our way back to our hotel by 8:00. So nice just to be able to easily walk back there - and a good cool-down for us, too.
We both feel really good - a little tired, but not particularly sore or anything. 52.4 miles in 9 days is quite a bit, though. But it was fun to earn our Coast-to-Coast medal again in record time - last year it took us three weeks, this year it was only eight days! Six medals in 9 days: Donald, Mickey, Goofy, Team AllEars, Tinker Bell, and Coast-to-Coast.
I'll have some additional thoughts on the race, but right now I'm too tired - I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep tonight!
The previous post in this blog was Blue Sky Cellar Reopens - Fantasy Faire Exhibit.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Resort Photo January Update .