I don’t know if it was the anticipation or nerves, but I woke up once an hour before finally getting up at 3:45. I ate a couple bananas and headed out. I really didn’t know what to expect. It was cool, they had a stage set up with the announcers showing off Star Wars clips. Most people just milled about.
At 4:45 the pre-show ended and we made our way to the starting corrals. Through a tiny gate in the back of the parking lot. 15,000 people trying to fit in a space wide enough for 2, with a streetlight in the way. It was pretty ridiculous. Eventually I got to Disneyland Dr. and headed for Corral D. Hey, I’m back at the Paradise Pier Hotel. We were too far away to hear and see the screens they had set up. Eventually the fast people started off and we made our way to the start.
Our group started off around 6 am and we were all enthusiastic. We made our way into the Disneyland backstage areas and lots of that was quite tight. I couldn’t run the whole way, it was going to be a mix of running & walking for me. The first part was quite a bit of walking since there just wasn’t the space to get around people. I noticed all the character photo spots had lines that were kind of long and since I was worried about finishing in time so I just kept on going.
The atmosphere while going through the parks was great. They had Stormtroopers out, the rides were on, and all the CMs we passed were cheering us on. Going through the Esplanade family members were lined up shouting encouragement as we made our way to California Adventure. For some reason the ground in DCA was wet, so you had to watch your step.
– I missed taking a picture of the 1st mile marker and decided I’d just take the even numbers.
– BB-8 was a popular photo spot
Leaving the parks was the first part where the allure of Disney couldn’t really push you, but the spacing finally opened up some. Around mile 6 were some high school cheerleaders, and as we turned onto Garden Grove there were some high school bands to play us on. As we started to enter the neighborhoods there were a few people sitting outside of their houses waving us on. As we approached mile 8, members of the 501st costuming group were on the side of the road as Star Wars characters. There were some more 501st as we approached mile 9 and it all helped to keep you going.
– click on this to watch the video
– click on this to watch the video
Miles 9-11 were the hardest for me. I didn’t have an idea of my location, my feet were starting to hurt, and our cheer squads were all gone. I started to walk a lot more. Around mile 10 I started to get a cramp above my knee. I pulled over to try and stretch it out and the front of my thigh started to cramp, switched it up and the back of my thigh started to cramp. So I just got back to it. I started to doubt if I’d be able to finish at this point. We passed one of the medical tables and I saw people getting some sort of cream and rubbing it on. I didn’t know what it was, but I stuck my hand out to get some as I passed by. I took note of the name, Biofreeze, before I started to put it on. It was a huge help and my leg pain was gone. The feet still hurt though. – it was quite foggy at this point
Mile 11 brought us to Harbor Blvd, which meant I now had some idea where I was at least, plus the return of the cheerleaders. Eventually I hit mile 12 and knew I was home free. I even got a little extra pep in my step. I texted Moms to let her know I was about 15 minutes out and she was already waiting near the finish. I wish I would’ve given her a lightsaber to give me to bring across the finish line with me.
– I didn’t realize at the time they had already shut off the timer by then
I got my medal and anything free they were handing out. I sat down while I waited for Moms to make her way to the family reunion area. We met up and I just wanted to rest so we headed back to the room.
The Star Wars Run Disney event was a whole lot of fun. Big props to the 501st and all the people who stood on the side of the road cheering on a bunch of strangers. I’m planning on doing next year’s race as well, maybe try for the Kessel Run Challenge.
Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon Trip Report – Part 5: Remind Me Again Why I didn’t Do the 10k?