What a magical Labor Day weekend! When I told people my plans, participating in 3 runDisney races for a total of 22.4 miles, I think many thought I was crazy. I’m sure they were expecting to hear about a cookout or quick, relaxing getaway or even some home projects. I’d take my time at the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend over those any day.
My son had school on Thursday so we didn’t fly in to Anaheim until evening. While it meant no time off from school since it was a scheduled 4-day weekend anyway, it did mean a couple of drawbacks for our trip. First, we missed the special 10th Anniversary Party. I was so bummed! There were so many cool things planned including a special showing of the Paint the Night parade. In talking with other participants, it sounds like we really missed out. Oh well. My son would have missed a ton of tests so I think we made the right decision.
The other drawback was rushing to get to the runDisney Expo in time to pick up our bibs for the 5K the next morning. When I booked our plane tickets, I knew we’d be in a rush, but did at least leave in a little cushion in case our flight was delayed or traffic was bad. Fortunately, neither of those things happened so we were able to pick everything up we needed and headed to our hotel.
Speaking of which, we stayed at the Grand Californian this trip. We stayed off-site for our first race at Disneyland and have stayed on-site at either the Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian from then on. I highly recommend staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels on race weekends. First, many of the roads around Disneyland are closed so they can be used for the races. That means there can be some difficulty in getting to and around the resort in a car. Second, it’s just so convenient! It was just a short walk to the starting line and back from the finish line (which I greatly appreciated after all those miles). Finally, the Cast Members on site are very helpful. They told us the shortest route to get to the starting line in the morning and what would be open for breakfast when we were done.
It was so fun doing the 5K with my son! The next morning, we were both excited and ready to go in our corral. Mickey and Minnie were there to see us off. There is no describing seeing the parks nearly empty as the sun rises. The castle takes on a different glow, especially with all the Diamond Celebration decorations. From the bridge over the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance, Maleficent was chEARing us on. Well, not exactly cheering. She was yelling at us to run, though, followed by an evil laugh. It was also fun to see all the costumes. Some people really go all out! For a while, I was running behind someone who was dressed as the house from Up. She was wearing a cardboard house tied to helium filled balloons. Maybe it made her lighter on her feet? In any case, looking at all the costumes really makes the time fly by. Before we knew it, we were at the finish line. I’ve done a number of 5Ks, but I still love the finish line. This one, though, was even better, because my son was so proud of himself for finishing and doing well. He wanted to wear his medal around the rest of the weekend. As a mom, I couldn’t help but be emotional watching him. What a great experience we had together.
Later that day, my husband arrived. We went to the runDisney Expo to pick up his race materials since he was running the Dumbo Double Dare, which is both the 10K and the Half Marathon, with me. At this point, I finally had time to do some shopping. I’m not sure I can still say this after this weekend, but I’m really a non-runner so I’m always amazed at all the stuff available for runners! First, the “important” stuff. I have to look cute running, right?!? There are, of course, the darling runDisney shoes from New Balance. They had all the news ones available. I already had the latest set of Minnie Mouse ones but not the Tinkerbells so I picked up a pair of those complete with wings. I also checked out all the cute running skirts and headbands, purchased some official race t-shirts and pins, and picked up the special Disneyland Half Marathon Dooney & Bourke purse to commemorate the weekend. OK, so that wasn’t really the important stuff. By the end of the weekend, what I found were my best purchases were a stick of Body Glide, a pair of compression sleeves for my calves, some Jelly Belly Sport Beans, and KT tape. Regardless, the Expo has some great shopping.
That’s not all the Expo has, though. There are also great speakers and presentations. Want to learn more about good nutrition for running? How about ways to increase speed? It seemed like the stage always had someone giving great information. Of course, Jeff Galloway was on hand giving training advice and for the second time, I saw Sean Astin speak about his runDisney experiences.
Hear more about the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend including the 10K and Half Marathon in Part 2 (The Finish Line)!