Tinkerbell 10K and Half Marathon Recap 2016

Tinkerbell 10K and Half Marathon Recap 2016

Tinkerbell 10K and Half Marathon Recap 2016

I thought there were characters here….


The People

It’s crazy how much of a community this race series is. I’m on the other side of the country and I’m riding on attractions and doing character meets with friends Derek and Jennifer. I run into Beatrice in the rain as I was heading to see a movie. Dave and I are getting photos in the Autopia booth at the expo….and of course there is the WDW Radio Running Team. Big groups or small, we always look out for each other.

The one thing that Disney has no control over is one of it’s biggest draws: The people and friends you make on the course.



WDW 10K Group

WDW 10K Group

My mind was psyching me out for a week before this race. Some friends had told me that this was one of the two best times to go for 10K PR or placement at a Run Disney event. I mean it didn’t matter that I had only run a total of nine miles in 3 weeks. This was going to happen.

By the time I stepped on the plane, I had talked myself out of going for speed at any race. Then the Tinkerbell 5K happened. Immediately after the race my brain brought back the thought of a quicker 10k. I fought it and believed that I had won until the start of the race.


They did have probably the coolest announcer stage so far here. People would come in and out of the doorway.

It was raining off and on that morning before the race started. It was also about 52 degrees. I had bought some arm warmers to wear because I was not prepared for the cooler starts, and boy I’m glad I did! It turned out the rain stopped about 15 minutes before race time. My brain then switched in to “game on” mode and it was time to get going.


I was super stoked to see Vidia. These fairies are so hard to get now on the east coast and I’ve always missed her. (Yes I know I’m a nerd) She thought it was hilarious that I was so chipper and excited to see her. This is one of my favorite pictures, because she’s laughing and pointing as she says, “I love this guy!” I love you too Vidia.



Another fun moment was that I was the first one to get a picture at the partners statue. The photopass people were awesome. In general I have enjoyed them more than the outside group that used to take pictures at races.


I really didn’t get too many pictures at this race. I did stop for one other Fairy stop. There was also Tinkerbell and Peter Pan out as well. Not much different from the 5k as far as characters.


I ended up finishing top 2% in the 10K which was really exciting. I even got some shout outs (the picture above) for the running team as I crossed the finish line.  I would have easily blown my PR out of the water had I not stopped for pictures on the course.  I didn’t take the “shortcut” back to the hotel this time and made it back pretty quickly. Up next: The half marathon!



Half Marathon

OK, I did better than expected on the 5K and 10K. Today truly was going to be a cruiser type of race. We met up for our team picture and headed out to the corrals. It was busier today, but still not anything compared to the DisneyWorld races. In fact, they were still trying to sell tickets to this race two weeks out. (DW races sometimes sell out in minutes.)


WDW Radio half marathon group

Frank and I were in the first “dudes allowed” corral for the race. He was telling me his goal for the race which was a pretty good pace. I told him about cruising today and it was just as much about telling myself that so I wouldn’t kill myself for day three.

There was an awesome photopass guy that worked the front and back of the race. He was giving high fives out like candy all three days. He danced with the runners at the pre-race party and was super excited to see each individual runner after they finished. We saw him dancing again this morning before the race, and wouldn’t you know it that Frank and I ran into him in our corral. He was making everyone do specific poses for him at this point. We get up there and Frank leaves me hanging on the tough guy pose! He also forgot his team shirt so I’ll just shame him right here.


There were a ton of people in our corral! We were also further back than I typically like to be. I don’t do a sea of people running very well. I then made a decision to just get out in front of this corral and then take it easy.  The corral goes off, and I swear I’m swimming in people! I stick to Frank and let him part the ways for the first 1/2 mile. It took a mile and a half to get fully through the corral. I was feeling pretty good at this point and then made a second change to the original plan: just keep the pace until you want to slow down.


It was still fairly crowded going through the parks. It’s hard to know because the numbers are on the front, but I think I hit corral A around California adventure.  It was here that I got one of my favorite pictures of the day.  WDW Radio and Mickey Milers are probably the two biggest groups that are out on the course. You can identify us by our Lou Blue and them by their bright yellow with a touch of purple. We aren’t rivals by any means, but I had to make sure I got in this shot. You never know who is behind you!



The stories about the DL races are true. You do about half the race in the parks and half out in the city of Anaheim. Sometimes they throw you in to a cool place like the nearby baseball stadium. This time? 7/11. The back half of the race really is like any other road race. You have the occasional school band out playing but that’s about it. No characters or Disney touches besides the mile markers.

The fatigue was starting to set in at mile 7, but then there was the final change of plan. The brain was fully in control now and just told me to keep pushing. 7-11.5 was a beast. There were some cool people out cheering on the course though.

You enter back in to the park for the final stretch where the course parallels itself for a bit. The balloon ladies were on the other side and they were calling out time every thirty seconds. They also tried to do a good job of keeping people crossing the line into our later lane. (That would cut about 7.5 miles off the course) I did see at least 3 people cut over. I don’t understand it, but to each his own I guess.


Great crowds at the end, and I can honestly say I was tapped out at the end. There is usually a little bit in the tank for a final push in the end, but not today. I did run into Disneyland Run Mickey at the end. (DW does black/red DL does blue/white) He was trying to wave me through and I wasn’t having any of it. I needed to get a least one new character today!


In the end I finished in the top 5% for the half! It wasn’t real close to my PR, but I was really pleased about it anyway. I would never had thought that the weekend would have turned out the way it did.


It was also Mothers Day! The park was giving out free flowers to moms which was a nice touch.



Bling time!


Series completed! Next up is the Disneyland series in September.

Tinkerbell Expo and 5K Recap 2016

Tinkerbell Expo and 5K Recap 2016

Tinkerbell Expo and 5K Recap 2016

So different and yet so familiar. 

Well the time had come to conquer and complete the women’s series of Disney races. (In the manliest way possible).  The experience was much like Disneyland and Disney World. They feel sort of the same, but are very different.


The Expo

Let’s start the whole experience with a curve ball to what I was used to. The expo here is in the Disneyland hotel which is obviously much smaller than the ESPN center on the East Coast. Gone are the long lines outside, to be replaced by multiple snaking lines all over the place to get everyone in. You start out in an underground parking space. From there you finally get escorted outside the convention hall in a line. You go from that line to a line inside the expo to get into merch. Finally you make it in to the merch area. I got there an hour before opening. Typically the east coast will open early to start processing the line. That was not the case here. I was in line for 2 hours to walk away with a magnet.


On the way to the first underground line. At least it had a good first impression!

The reason for the slowness of the line is that they were letting very few people in the actual merch area at a time.  They started doing this at the last Star Wars race in April in Orlando. It makes for a much more relaxed buying time, but makes the wait significantly longer. I haven’t decided which I like better. I like not waiting in line forever, but I also like not having to deploy personal defense measures as the ladies are trying on the few guys clothes that are there. There was also no yelling and freaking out while holding a $2000+ basket of merch. I just want my magnet.

The expo was much more intimate, but it was fun. Easy in and out on that side. Got to spend some time with Jeff again at the Expo. It’s also good to see him and Barbara before the races.


There were several neat booths up for this one. Autopia had just reopened and they had a cool spot there. I ran into Dave from the MickeyMilers so we got a picture together. They also gave out exclusive drivers licenses for the event. They currently have remodeled and the original cars mixed in together at the attraction.  They are nice upgrades.






This was equal parts madness and fun! Someone on the running team pointed out that there wasn’t a letter (coral placement) on the 5k bib….that means free-for-all running. I made sure to get there super early to get towards the front. What I thought would happen, did indeed happen. There were a bunch of people at the very front that had zero intention of doing anything besides a walk. One lady who was in front of me said that her goal was to finish the race in an hour. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% all for everyone at any health level getting out there and participating. I also understand the strategy of being closer up front to buy yourself more time to finish. My thought is that the first 10 ft of the front coral is not the proper place for those runners. You put yourself at risk of getting run over from those behind you. I also realize that the 5ks are the first race ever for many people at these races and they may not know all the race etiquette out there.

There was no starting banner. There was no fireworks. It was just the announcer saying “here we go..”

I had zero intention in killing myself or trying to do great in any of these races. I had only run twice between Princess and Star Wars (Feb-April) and only twice more between Star Wars and Tinkerbell (April-May). I was also coming off a back injury from work the week before. You know what happens though….. it’s 30 seconds before the race and I had wiggled my way to the front of the line. I look around and my brain says, “Time to try to win this…” It’s well documented on this blog that my brain is my nemesis that hates my body, and will throw out common sense without hesitation. “By the way, make sure you stop for pictures..” Thanks brain!


There were very few character stops at any of the Tinkerbell races. They did have some good themeing in spots. Above is the mile 1 decorations. I will say it was really neat to run through both parks and not really have anyone else around.  You are able to enjoy the area and not be in a sea of people.

They didn’t have the characters really out, but they had a ton of cast members dressed up as pirates. I stopped and got a picture with this one. What was really cool is that he remembered me at the other races and gave me an extra dose of encouragement.



The lost boys were out, but they were riding on the carousel in California Adventure. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go by because they weren’t standing still. I needed those characters for the list! The cast member just started snapping anytime one came by.  I got a couple that were OK enough to count. They would eventually get off the ride and take pictures with runners. There are advantages to being middle of the pack at these races too.





From the pier, it was less than a mile to the finish. Wendy and Peter were there all by themselves. It was fun getting a picture with them!


They had this next backdrop towards the finish where all the spectators were. It made for a slightly awkward time taking the picture with noone else around on the course…but hey why not. Might as well have a seat and chill right before the end of the race.IMG_7100

The end was just right around the corner and it was finished before I knew it. Great cheering crowds at the end!  I ended up in the top 20 for the 5K. That was pretty exciting. I thought that I had gotten the fast one out of the way and the next two would be cruisers. The brain though had already started concocting strategies for the next day.


So here is one tip for you if you ever do this race. Do not listen to them when you ask for directions back to your hotel. The race ran through my route to the hotel. They told me and another guy to take a “shortcut” around the backside. 3 miles later and after crossing I5 twice, I finally made it back to the hotel. There are lanes that they create through downtown Disney that will get you back in a relatively short amount of time.


Next up the 10k and half recap!