As a Throwback Thursday (#TBT) and travel post combined, I want to recap my experience running the Star Wars 10K at Disneyland.
I decided at the last minute that I would follow through and run the 10K despite not having trained well or ran in the month leading up to it. But I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run again with my best friend, Faith who just so happens to be the Disney Parks Moms Panel runDisney Mom! She assured me we could just take a run/walk approach and that would be the safest (and probably fastest) way to approach the run. Good call, chicka!
Faith is the one who introduced me to my first runDisney race, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 miler (the one that I failed to realize was 10 miles, thinking I was signing up for a 10k!) That night race was really tough, not gonna lie–hot, muggy conditions and I ended up bonking HARD about 30 minutes after I finished (as in laying on a bench in Hollywood Studios and not being able to stand up). HERE were my thoughts on that now defunct race.
I was determined my next runDisney race would be a different outcome, so I trained harder and pushed myself to try a half marathon in 2013–the Princess Half Marathon (which coincidentally is this weekend and several of my friends are there now!) I went in saying, “I’m going to have fun and stop for photos, so it doesn’t matter my time.” Good decision! After several character stops before and in the Magic Kingdom, at mile 7, I kicked it into high gear and ran the rest of the race. Here we are before the start: Faith as Ariel and I as Belle (can’t you tell?)
The Star Wars 10K:
“Jumping to light speed” to 2015–this January to be exact and the Star Wars 10k. Faith and I didn’t go overboard on costumes. But we did strategize ahead of time by bringing our sons’ lightsabers. They weren’t so heavy as to be a distraction but they were a real attention grabber. Most photographers situated on course saw us coming. Faith’s shirt said it all, “I find your lack of sparkle disturbing.” While I had brought a purple short sleeved Star Wars shirt but opted instead for the long sleeved one they gave us with our race registration. Warmth won out over appearance! We also wore the same set of Mickey sparkle ears, and I think that also created a more unified look. There were such creative costumes out on the course, but this worked for us.
The actual race course and my run:
My trepidation at the beginning was unfounded. I went into it thinking we would have to do a whole lot of run-walk intervals. The course: a relief. Most runners agreed that the course was fantastic! In other words, very few hills. Plus, the weather was in the low 50’s–PERFECT for running!
The 10k was my first glimpse of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, so that made the run even more special. When I first came around the bend to the backside entrance of Radiator Springs in Cars Land, I was in total awe! It was so spot on I wanted to stop and look around. The same could be said of my reaction to Mickey’s Fun Wheel, the iconic ferris wheel that dominates the landscape of Disney’s California Adventure park. But we had a race to finish!
At mile 5, we came up with a wicked funny photo op to take at the finish. Since birth, Faith has functioned without 3 inches of her arm, wrist and left hand. It’s actually called Amniotic Band Syndrome, but we prefer to call it her lucky fin like Nemo from Finding Nemo. She tells her story much better than I could HERE so you must read it, please! Faith’s positive attitude and sense of fun led us to “pretend” that we cut off her hand with a lightsaber in the same vein as Luke and Darth Vader from the Star Wars movies. We were in stitches before and after taking this photo:
During our run, we bumped into Fitz Koehler, a sweetheart who has her own fitness empire aptly named Fitzness. Sporting a C3PO earhat, Fitz couldn’t hide her gorgeous–but she is as beautiful inside as she is out! These two ladies helped me laugh through the miles and before I knew it, we were at the finish line!
Takeaways from my Star Wars 10k experience:
1) I must run more leading up to the race to avoid any hip flexor sensitivity and post-race soreness in the legs (especially since I knew I would be walking the parks afterwards).
2) I must sign up for more runDisney races because they are so much fun–and I must do them with friends! In the prior runDisney events, my corral placement meant I wasn’t with my friends, and you HAVE to run with friends to get the maximum benefit out of the runDisney experience. If nothing else, you have tons of photos you can take together. But what happens is you tap into a level you didn’t know you had when you are inspired by the person beside you instead of a total stranger.
3) Always embrace the race theme when you are going to run. You don’t have to be in full costume to have fun, but I like it best when I have more than just running shorts and a generic T-shirt on. Pull out your bling (tiaras or sparkle ears), use the Force and dress as Jedis or Ewoks–whatever the race theme is, RUN with it! (literally!)
4) Don’t forget to have fun along the way. Take as many or as little photos as YOU like. It’s YOUR race.
From padawans to Jedis, we became! Or should I say, we used the Force and changed from Princesses to Jedis!