As many of you know, last week I traveled to California to work the Light Side expo and run the Star Wars 1/2 marathon. That was the first part of my Coast 2 Coast bid- a Disney event where running a half at both parks in one calendar year will earn you a special medal. I especially wanted to complete the Kessel Run Challenge for my Coast 2 Coast; that’s the one where you have to run both Star Wars races. Here’s my recap for the first one!
Waking up at 3 am California time isn’t as bad as waking up that early on the East Coast- because on the East Coast when I woke up it was actually 6 am. There were shuttle buses that picked us up from the hotel so I got dressed and caught the 3:42 am bus out of my hotel. I wanted to get there earlier than most of my friends who were running because I wanted to meet up with a group of people from the Sub 30 Club who were there for pre-race pics. I also was close enough to get an awesome video of Darth Vader on the main stage in the waiting area. After we got our pics with the Sub-30 group, we all walked over to our corrals by the start line. One thing to know about Disneyland races vs. Disney World…bring money. Downtown Disney opens early on race mornings and you have to walk right through it from where the buses drop you off. I didn’t know prior to this race, but it would have been nice to warm up with a Starbucks drink or something. It was 45 degrees out at the start of the race!
Once in the corrals, it was time for the waiting game. Disney is really good about entertainment, so they played clips from all the Star Wars movies prior to actually starting the race. I met a really nice woman Melissa who shared her mylar blanket with me prior to the race because I was shivering so badly…I didn’t want to bring my big jacket into the corral because I had no one to leave it with when we went off and I knew I’d be hot. Standing there it felt like it took a long time, but before I knew it we were off!
I opted to use the run/walk method that I’d been using which was 1:!5/30 intervals. It ended up being a good pace for me. I may have ran slightly faster because I was cold. At the end of mile 1 C3PO and R2D2 were waiting- while R2 had been at Dark Side, C3PO had not. I couldn’t resist stopping to get a picture with them!
After that we continued through the parks- what was awesome about Disneyland was that the race began in the parks, unlike at Disney World where you don’t hit the parks until about mile 2.5-3 in most races. Mile 2-3 were relatively uneventful character wise, but some pretty lights were all around lighting up the Disneyland parks. Splits: 10:56, 10:31, 11:20.
Right before we reached the mile 4 marker, I saw BB8 waiting. I really wanted to get a picture with him, but his line looked really long and I didn’t want to wait. So I kept running. After mile 4 we ran into Chewie. I originally wasn’t going to get a picture with him because I had already gotten pictures at the expo, but I couldn’t resist another opportunity for a Wookiee hug! He gave me a really awesome hug- the Light Side Chewie is a big hugger. After taking my pictures with him, I was on my way. Mile 5 was the last mile that was in the parks. By mile 6 we were out on the streets of Anaheim. Splits: 12:06 (the Chewie mile haha), 10:35, 10:55
All of these miles were out of the parks and on the Anaheim streets, but what intrigued me the most was the amount of people that came out to support the runners. There was so much crowd support! At the Disney World races, they don’t have that many spots that spectators can view the runners outside the parks, so the crowd support is more concentrated inside the actual parks and the highway mileage is kind of boring. Here there were several people waiting to cheer us on- and what’s better is that many of them were dressed in full Star Wars cosplay! And some really authentic looking costumes as well! I was able to get a picture with one of the Captain Phasma and a BB8 droid someone had put in the road. So I ended up getting my BB8 picture! 🙂 Splits: 10:42, 11:39, 11:09
These were the hard miles for me. My body was getting achy and I started to slow down. The sun had come out so it was way hotter than when I started, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to remove my jacket because that would require me to repin my bib. At that point I just wanted to be done with the race and didn’t want to have to spend time fiddling with it. So I kept the jacket on. There was still good crowd support. It sounds pretty geeky, but when it got hard I just kept repeating, “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.” (It’s a line from the movie Rogue One for those of you who haven’t seen it). Anything to get out of my head and have something else to focus on. As I rounded the final corner and saw the mile 13 sign, I gave it my last burst of energy to finish because I knew that I was almost done. Splits: 10:53, 11:52, 11:39, 11:26
I finished in 2:27:26 which was a PR for me from my previous time of 2:36 and change. I’m very happy with my new PR and my shiny new Light Side medal. It was Han Solo and Leia on it, which is very fitting considering she passed away last month. I’m really happy with this race- I had a great time, the weather was pretty awesome (I can’t express how great it is to run in such low humidity!) and the course was a good course with plenty of entertainment. I would definitely do another Disneyland half at some point!