Monday, January 27, 2014

Second Star to the Right… and Straight on Till Morning!

Family Selfie - Radiator Springs

I kicked off 2014 with a bang (literally, with fireworks at the start line!) by taking the family to Disneyland for a much needed vacation, and so I could run the Run Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon.   Plans had been in the works for a while (I had registered for the race back in the summer), but we told the kids on Christmas morning about our trip.  They were super excited, since our last trip to the Happiest Place on Earth was three years ago.   The countdown began, as did the daily question of “How many more days till Disneyland?”  I have to admit, I was just as excited as the kids were about this trip.  The hubs needed some time away from work, and we all needed a little family togetherness in a way that only Disney could provide.  Magical.  A little sunshine and warm weather wouldn’t hurt either. 

No need to bore you with the travel details.  Thankfully, they were uneventful.  When we arrived at the airport, and stepped into the warm California sunshine, we all felt instantly overdressed.  I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel room and change into SUMMER CLOTHES!  We were staying at the Disneyland Hotel this time around, due to the fact that the race started and ended here.  If I was signing up for a race that began at 5am, well then YES I did want to take an elevator to the start line.  The Magic Mornings EVERY morning and the close proximity to the parks/Downtown Disney made it completely worth the extra cost.   

Family Selfie in Cars Land

Family Pic at Disneyland

Me and SBS - wearing my Boston Love shirt
We all changed clothes, and I was chomping at the bit to head to the Expo.  Chris took the kids on a little tour of Downtown Disney (read: LEGO store and World of Disney), and I beelined for the Expo.  I picked up my race bib (#215! Corral A!  Yeah baby!  That Eugene Half time really paid off!), and went straight to see my pals at the Another Mother Runner Booth.  Chatted with SBS and Kristen for a bit, picked up my wings and arm bands from Sparkle Athletic, visited my favorite headgear booth Sweaty Bands, and then I was pretty much done with the expo.   I wanted to be back out in the warm sunshine.  There were a lot of fantastic booths at the expo, and they had some great speakers lined up (including the leaders of the AMR Tribe), but I didn’t stick around this time.  I had some Vitamin D to soak in.  

Getting some Pixie Dust from Tink
I’ll keep the recap of our vacation time short.  This is supposed to be a running blog after all.  But if you ever have the chance to combine a Run Disney Race with vacation, I highly recommend it!  We had such an amazing time.  Cars Land was truly unbelievable.  You felt like you stepped into the movie.  We used our Magic Mornings to beeline to Cars Land and ride Radiator Springs without the super long wait.  The Disneyland Magic Morning we used to ride pretty much everything in Tomorrow Land (Space Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear several times) and we also met Tink at Pixie Hollow!  I requested a little extra Pixie Dust for my feet.  I packed our suitcases full of snacks for us to take into the parks each day, and the kids each had a gift card with spending money allocated.  All in all, it was a fantastic time for everyone.  We made sure to turn in sorta early on Saturday night.  We watched the fireworks from the hotel window as I laid out my clothes.  I chugged some Nuun and then turned in for a little bit of sleep.

My Tink Outfit
Run Disney races start early.  And when I say early, I mean 5am freakishly early.  But there’s a reason, and a good one at that.  I set my alarm for 3:15.  Which meant I woke up every half hour, worried that my alarm wouldn’t go off.  When 3am rolled around, I just figured I’d get up and get things *ahem* moving.  My body wasn’t exactly cooperating, but I figured that would be the least of my worries with a nasty case of plantar faciitis and already having logged many miles on sore feet at Disneyland for two days.   I started getting my Tinkerbell costume on (comprising of Handful Bra, Athleta Tank, SparkleSkirt and Headband, Lucy shorts, Sparkle Athletic wings and arm warmers), and I began to panic.  I was horribly worried about possible chaffing on my shoulder blades from the wings.  I Body Glided every inch of me, but couldn’t reach my own back, so I woke up the hubs to help me out.   Feeling ready as ever, I grabbed a protein bar, chugged some more Nuun, and headed to the lobby to meet my friend and Tink Running Buddy, Joy, at 4am.  Crazy.  I really enjoyed the chance to hang out with Joy and run this race with her.  We know each other through our husbands, and social media, but this was the first time we ran together!  She’s a Run Disney fanatic, and I was thankful to have her there with me. 

The Start Line!  Tink flying around getting everyone excited!
We walked to the start line, passing all the other corrals, as we were both in Corral “A”.  We had plenty of time to hang out with all the Fastholes (a loving term of endearment for all those amazingly strong, speedy women runners!), and soak in the crazy energy!  SBS and Dimity were there in their Queen Elsa Frozen costumes, and it was so much fun chatting and getting excited.  

The Mother Runner Queen Elsas!
Chatting with Queen Elsa (SBS) at the Start!
The Star Spangled Banner, sung beautifully, was capped off with fireworks (only Disney can get away with fireworks at 5am!), and Minnie and Daisy were there to start the race in their track suits.  We wound around behind California Adventure, popping into the park right behind California Screaming.  We ran through Paradise Pier, with the World of Color fountains and lights going, and stopped for a picture.  

The first characters we saw were the Incredibles.  I would have loved to get a pic with them, but we had just started running and I didn’t want to wait in a line yet.  I couldn’t help run with a huge smile on my face.  So many cast members lining the race course, Disney characters waiting for pictures with runners, music playing…it was all so overwhelming to the senses!   We ran through Cars Land, Hollywood, and then headed over to Disneyland. 

We played Leap Frog with SBS and Dimity a few times, eventually stopping to take their pic in front of It’s A Small World.  Dimity returned the favor for Joy and I.  Running down Main Street towards the castle was beautiful.  We stopped for a few selfie pics.  Running through Tomorrowland, we saw Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers.  We HAD to stop for a pic with them.  We both have little Star Wars fans at home who would think this was pretty cool.   The first 5 miles of the race wound us all around the parks.  Once we hit the Downtown Disney District, the spectators were all lining the course with signs and cheering.  And this was before 6am!   

Once we passed through Downtown Disney, the racecourse sent us out into the neighborhoods of Anaheim.  There were signs up requesting runners to be quiet, as the families were most likely still sleeping (wouldn’t YOU be?!).   We ran through business districts and then passed many of the Good Neighbor hotels before making our way back toward the parks and the Disneyland Resorts.  The finish was full of spectators, music, cheering, and really great volunteers.  There were aid stations every 2 miles or so, so no need to carry my own water.  One group was handing out fresh orange slices.  They were so sweet and delicious I can almost still taste them.  I’m happy to report that my feet felt fine (during the run) and energy level was great.  During the race, I kept a fallen Mother Runner on my mind.  Thousands of runners across the world were logging miles this weekend for #megsmiles.  Many runners at Tink were honoring her memory.

We met up with our families (ever so thankful for the delicious egg sandwich AND coffee my family had waiting for me!), hung out for a bit stretching and taking pics.  Then my family headed straight to California Adventure for our last Magic Morning and ride in Cars Land!  I didn’t even bother changing before heading to the parks.  We got in a few hours of quality park time before I needed a shower, a change of clothes, and another meal.   Sunday was really just about relaxing and catching all the rides we wanted to make sure we did one last time before heading home.  We enjoyed the Main Street Parade in Disneyland, and the Pixar Parade in California Adventure.  My feet were pretty much toast by this time, so we called it a night and watched the fireworks one last time from the hotel room. 

Andrew and I riding Cars one last time... in my Tink outfit.
My first Run Disney experience was an amazing one.  Thanks so much to Joy for talking me into it, and then joining me for it!  And a big thank you to the hubs, who works tirelessly so we can enjoy a spectacular vacation like this every now and then.  

I can FLY!

Sweet Run Disney BLING


  1. Great post Cyndie! I'm so glad you had a fantastic time! I'm bummed I didn't see you day of in your fabulous Tink costume, but I was back with the other slow people in Corral B. ;) I hope your runDisney addiction continues...

  2. Glad you enjoyed your trip and marathon.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.