It’s a great time to be a woman. No better is that reflected than in the running and endurance community. Not long ago women weren’t allowed to enter marathons being considered physically incapable of completing them. Definitely the more stubborn of the sexes with our “I’ll show you” attitude, women have proved not only can they complete the distance but that they are a market smart race organizers cannot and should not ignore. The perfect example of this being the new Tinker Bell Half Marathon put on by the machine that is the Disney Corporation.
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for all things Disney. I’ve visited Florida on seven occasions. Each time I’ve landed at the Orlando International Airport only to take a shuttle right to Disneyworld, never once venturing away from the parks. Slightly pathetic, I realize this. When Run Disney gave their facebook fans the opportunity first to sign up for the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I had my credit card ready to go the day registration opened.
A “BIG” race that didn’t feel so big– Like all of the Competitor RnR series races, the Tinker Bell Half prices were through the roof. I registered early and got the “discount” price of $120, ouch! Compared to the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half, I found Tinker Bell to be much more worth the dough. In an effort to wring out as much money from a race as possible, registrations are not being capped at a manageable number (as was obvious during Las Vegas). Disney did not make that same mistake. The course never felt too crowded or that I had to weave in and around people. I was actually able to RUN- what a concept!
Disney Magic– From the fireworks at the start to the finishers medal with a Tinker Bell that spins, everything about this race was sprinkled with a bit of fairy dust. I think in all of my pictures I was caught with a grin from ear to ear. This was Thu’s (my running buddy) first Disney race and she kept giggling at all the fine details that were put into the event. Everyone got into the spirit of the event and there were probably more people in costume than regular running clothes. If I had to guess, I probably made about 30 Glam Runner tutus for the race. Finally a race were I fit right in!
Miles 1-5– The race started at 5:45 am. Thu and I made it to corral A after running from my hotel with just a couple minutes to spare. It ended up being a fairly warm day, so it was probably a good thing we started before sunrise. The time we spent in Disneyland was in the dark, but the characters were out and park lights were on. Running through Main Street was surreal. I tried to take a picture using my camera phone, but it wouldn’t focus so we scrapped the stopping to take pictures idea. By mile 5 I could feel the muscle aches from legs that had just done a full marathon the weekend before. If my calves could talk I’d imagine they would say, “WHY?! Why are you doing this to us?! I hate you.” I should probably listen to my body more before it turns on me.
Miles 6-13.1– I was trying to hold out for mile 7 before I asked Thu to slow down but the request came closer to 6. I didn’t need to dip over 10 minute miles but mentally struggled through “scenic” Anaheim. Again, with the help of a running buddy I was able to push through. We missed the mile 7 marker and were pleasantly surprised to see the mile 8 sign. “This half feels like it is going by so fast,” Thu remarked (or something to that sort). Before we knew it we were running through Disney’s California Adventure park and I smelled the finish line. At the end we were greeted by more characters giving high-fives. Awesome!
At the End– Ben said it was pretty easy to find us. Both Thu and I run with T-Rex arms and our “unique” form can be spotted from a distance. At the finish line I ran into another running fanatic and childhood friend, Ria. After celebrating for a moment and snagging up post race goodies we were off to put something more substantial in our bellies.
Up Next– Could it be?? A race free February??!? YES!!! My body and mind need a break. I believe my last race free month was December of 2010. Now I’ll have some time to spend with my SoleMates team training for the San Diego Half Marathon in March. Our team is raising money for the San Diego chapter of Girls On The Run. We hope to raise enough money to sponsor an entire scholarship site!