#NoDisBroadLeftBehind was the motto for this year’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon. When DisBroad Patty and I lined up in the corral together, we were both not feeling it. Good thing we dressed as Star Wars characters, because it made us feel cool at least. We were hoping the Force would be with us. I had a knee/IT Band injury, and I was really nervous. I had taken 6 weeks off of running after Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon in hopes of resting it and recovering. Well after park hopping in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park for 3 days prior, it was already in bad shape.
Patty and I decided to just run our own race, because we didn’t know what was going to happen on the course. It was nice to hang out with someone in the corral, and we both started to get excited as Corral A was off! The great thing about Disneyland races is being able to walk to the corral and not hang out for hours before the race starts. Start time was 5 a.m., and seeing how I was dressed in long sleeves, a cape, and all black as Darth Vader, I was really hoping for a finish before the sun really came out.
Corral B was soon off and I started with a slow run. It wasn’t terribly painful, but I could move at a decent pace. About a 1/2 mile in, I could feel the pain coming, so I started doing 2:1 run/walk intervals. My pace was about 3 minutes slower than my usual pace, but it was manageable. I’ll admit the slower pace messed with my mind, and I was feeling discouraged. I think I was lonely, too. This was my first half marathon on my own. Then I started to pay attention to my surroundings.
I was running through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The castle! World of Color! Cars Land! I started to perk up, and other runners were so kind. If they saw me trying to take a selfie, they would ask if I wanted them to take a picture of me. So I returned the favor and offered as I ran along the course. Then I saw a friend (thanks, Rosie) who yelled my name and she gave me a big hug. That definitely kept me going!
As I approached a picture stop with the Storm Troopers from Star Wars, I noticed another Darth ahead of me in line and saw it was Jindy (@iRunDisney) and yelled her name. I had never met Jindy before, but I saw on Twitter that she was also running as Darth Vader. So we took a picture together (mine did not turn out well), and kept on moving. She was kind enough to stay with me for a bit, but my run had turned into a hobble, and so we kept on running our own race.
Now I had to just keep on moving. My knee had tightened up a lot from stopping for pictures and we left the parks, and I knew I had just the streets of Anaheim. I hadn’t even made it halfway and I was starting to get discouraged again. I texted my husband. I sent out a tweet and then the love came pouring in. Seriously, thank you! Thank you to those who tweeted me words of encouragement. Thank you to the running community. Thank you to my Disney family.The kindness really touched me and kept me motivated. I have a new goal of trying to stay near social media during race weekends to offer the same support for other runners.
Then as I kept hopping along (it makes me laugh that that’s how DisBroad Amy described my running), I saw my DisBroads! A big weight had just been lifted off my shoulders! I couldn’t believe I had caught up to them and I was so thankful DisBroad April had a pregnant bladder, so they were once again at a port-a-potty. DisBroad Patty had run into them along the way, too, and we decided to finish together. Patty texted DisBroad Summer and found out we were in the same area, so we met at mile 11 to finish as friends in true DisBroad fashion. #NoDisBroadLeftBehind.
So can we also talk about how amazing crowd support was in Anaheim? There were so many bands, cheerleaders, high school kids screaming, cheering, giving high-fives! There were some dancers out there that I wanted to jump in and break dance with until I realized I would have to get up. So I opted to just keep it moving. I’m not lying when there are times when I felt like a ROCK STAR! People would yell out Darth Vader and scream and cheer. This is why I love dressing in costume at Disney races. Though people may not know your name, even having them scream out your character’s name is just as fun. And sometimes they may not get it right (just ask Amy), but even that makes you chuckle and smile.
The ladies of the Red Hat Society were just a vision of loveliness. Wow, just the sight of them and their energy was pure motivation. And it’s fun to see some of your costume counterparts along the course. Patty and I found Han Solo! Seriously her costume rocked.
Though my time was not anywhere close to what I had hoped it would be when I first registered for this race, I was grateful to have finished. I was grateful to have completed all 13.1 miles whether walking, running, or hopping. And I was grateful to have finished with my DisBroads. There is something to be said for running with friends. Some made sacrifices for others, and they sure were appreciated all around. We were even lucky enough to walk by runDisney’s Bob Hitchcock and pose for a picture with him. He was very nice and gracious, and even offered up his lighting crew for our professional cell phone picture.
At the start of the race I turned to Patty and asked, “Why do we do this again? Why can’t we go on a Disney vacation without running a runDisney race?” Then I remembered by the end of it. The medal around my neck. The new friends made along the course. The sense of pride after setting a goal and accomplishing it. The smile I can’t wipe off my face even as I hobble back to the room. Oh and did I mention the bling?
I loved running at Disneyland! I loved the quick walk to the start of the corrals. I loved the 5 a.m. start time (hey, I’m from the East Coast), I loved that I didn’t have to check a bag since it was a short walk back to the room, and I loved the crowd support. There was plenty of water and port-a-potties and real bathrooms! I never got really hot even in my long sleeves, but that also could have been due to my speed or lack thereof. Don’t ask me which I prefer, because I love running at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for different reasons. All I know is runDisney, I just can’t quit you.