i’ve often heard if said that runDisney races aren’t where you go to PR (or set a personal record).runDisney races are where you go to create magical memories, running through castles & down main streets at walt disney world & disneyland.
well i’m hear to tell you that you can “have your cake & eat it too.”
you can have magic in every mile AND run your fastest race yet – the two things don’t have to be independent of each other.
what makes me so confident on this fact? i’ve PRed at nearly every runDisney race i’ve ever run.
the 2009 disneyland half was my first race ever, which resulted in an automatic-by-default PR.
the 2010 disneyland half i raced wearing wings, & once again PRed by 13 minutes.
the 2011 disneyland half i raced wearing wings again, & once again PRed. this time by about 17 minutes.
the 2012 tinkerbell half, i PRed, despite by hook, but about 2 minutes.
the 2012 wine & dine half i unknowingly PRed by 2 minutes, even earning myself a fancy 4th place plaque.
& most recently at the 2013 tinkerbell half marathon, where i PRed once again, crossing the finish line at 1:39ish, finally coming in UNDER 1 hour & 40 minutes.
2013 tinkerbell half marathon
exactly one week after running the final step in my 39.3 mile “goofy challenge,” the disney world full marathon, i found myself getting ready to run the 2013 tinkerbell half marathon.
i’m the first to admit that my race prep wasn’t exactly ideal. i don’t think too many “training plans” would include a 39.3 mile race in the taper, working the expo, or having the flu the day before the race.
& yet that’s exactly how i prepared to run the tinkerbell half marathon.
suffice it to say, i didn’t exactly have big expectations for the race. but linda (my goofy challenge running partner) had promised to run the entire race with me – so i knew that we’d have fun (& take pictures), at the very least.
have i told you what a truly nice guy he is? completely down-to-earth, super-friendly, & such a proud papa (you should have seen how excited he was to show angry julie & i a video of he’s daughters race the day before). i guess it’s true, celebrities really are “just like us.”
i have to be honest – considering that the disneyland half was my first race ever, i might be a bit biased, but i’m kind of partial to the disneyland half marathon course (running through angel stadium always overwhelms me with emotion & brings tears to my eyes).
but, the tinkerbell course is definitely special in it’s own little way – & has quickly become another favorite.
the first couple of miles through the parks are always fun. the race starts on disneyland Drive & almost immediately we enter disney’s california adventure. we ran through the hollywood backlot along hollywood boulevard, raced down route 66 into cars land, and wound around paradise bay.
entering disneyland, we ran down main street U.S.A. (which was filled with spectators & cheering squads), passing sleeping beauty’s castle, pixie hollow, before we made our way around the rivers of america. after exiting the disneyland park, we ran through downtown disney, by the disneyland hotel (& the always-fabulous red hat society cheer squad).
just about mile 6, we left the disneyland resort area & headed out to explore the city of anaheim. runDisney describes the remainder of the course saying “runners will race through the enchanting, historic neighborhoods of downtown anaheim, down the anaheim center street promenade and past anaheim ice on their way towards city hall. before returning to the disneyland resort runners make their way past the anaheim gardenwalk, and then it’s time for their “fairy”-tale finish near disney’s paradise pier hotel.”
downtown anaheim really is enchanting & the historic neighborhoods are charming – although there didn’t seem to be as many spectators, or entertainment that i’ve come to know & love from a typical runDisney event (but considering how cold it was – had i not been racing, i don’t think i would have gotten out of my warm & cozy bed either).
crossing that finish line sub 1:40, i couldn’t help but jump in the air – i was filled with so much joy. hanging the tinkerbell medal, & then the coast to coast medal around my neck was an emotionally overwhelming experience – i couldn’t help but hug the volunteer.
knowing that i had just ran my personal best, one week after completing the 39.3 goofy challenge during wdw marathon weekend was literally a dream come true.
all i can say is… i really & truly loved every single minute of the race, & will definitely be racing once again next year
the truly magical 6 miles we ran inside the parks, exploring the charming streets of downtown anaheim, & the super-fabulous-totally-amazing-bright-and-shiny bling definitely makes this a race to remember.
2013 tinkerbell half marathon by the numbers:
* total chip time 1:39:43, with a pace of 7:36 minutes per mile (new PR)
* 8th place out of 1.925 women in my age group
* 41st place out of 10,558 women
* 5K split time 23:38
* 10K split 47:13
* 15K split 1:11:30
* runDisney “coast to coast” medal achieved in just one week
i don’t know what it is – the energy, the spectators, the entertainment, the pixie dust? somehow runDisney races always prove to be the most fun & often time my fastest races i run all year. i’d definitely say that runDisney races bring out the “best” in everyone.
i guess it’s true what they say, there is something truly magical about running through castles & down main streets at walt disney world & disneyland.
so if you haven’t run disney yet – do it. whether it’s your first race, or your tenth, you’re sure to have a magical time.
disclosure: i was invited by runDisney to attend the entire event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to cover my hotel expenses at the fabulous grand californian.
of course – all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own, because as you already know… i absolutely, totally & completely LOVE runDisney events.