Race Review – Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon

January 20th, 2013
Anaheim, California
This was the 2nd annual Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon held at the Disneyland Resort.  After participating in  this event (and winning the team division) last year, we knew we needed to go back … and, we are definitely glad we did!  The weekend was off to a great start when we participated in the runDisney meetup on Friday morning.  That afternoon we headed to the expo to pick up all our race goodies.

The expo was similar to previous Disney event expos.  We started downstairs at packet pick-up – got our race number and then headed upstairs to the actual expo.
The expo housed the usual vendors – with this event being catered to the ladies, there were quite a few booths with running skirts and other female running accessories. 
On Saturday evening we had our traditional pre-race meal – pizza from Naples.  We started this tradition several years ago for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon over Labor Day and have stuck to it for every Disney event we do.
Race morning came earlier than usual this year – race started at 5am! That meant we were up by 3:30 so we could be out of the hotel room shortly after 4.  In an effort to save a little money this year, we stated at the Best Western Stovall’s Inn.  We were very pleased with the location – not too far from the start – and the quality of the rooms was great!  The only hotel closer to the start is Disney’s Paradise Pier where we stayed last year.
As we approached Corral C, it was time to say goodbye to Kris.  With this being a race for the ladies, they start all men in C, D or E to guarantee a female will cross the finish line first.  There was roughly 4-5 minutes in between corral starts which meant I had an 8-10 minute head start on Kris.  Last year I was able to finish before him, but I knew he’d be coming after me even faster this year!
As I was heading to Corral A, I ran into a friend I met during our meetup on Friday.  She was headed the same place and it was nice having company while waiting for the race to start!  
courtesy of @seanastin
While we were talking, Sean Astin came up to say hi.  We had met him during the meetup and he recognized us and hung out with us for a little while until he had to get up and address the crowd.  This is a picture he tweeted out while waiting at the start – I’m in the red shirt, 3rd from the right, right on the rope.

As it got close to starting time they brought in the elite ladies – there were 7 or 8 of them who were placed at the front of the starting line.  When the gun went off, I just tried to stay close.
courtesy of runDisney

First mile went really well – I was shocked when I saw the time clock in the 6:50s!  I tried to hang on to the 7 min/mile pace for the next mile and then settled into my normal 7:20-7:30 pace.  I knew if I could keep my average in the 7:20s I’d be able to reach my goal and break 1:40
this photo was posted on Sean’s blog
While I was out pushing the pace on my first mile, Kris was waiting to start.  Once Sean sent off Corrals A & B he found his spot next to Kris in Corral C.  This photo is from his blog.  They chatted a little before the start – I had been talking to Sean about not letting Kris catch me so he made to sure ask Kris about it! I think that gave Kris a little more fuel for his fire.  He was out to get me this time!

The first mile was done on surface streets outside the parks, then we entered into Disney’s California Adventure Park through a back service tunnel.

We then ran across to Disneyland and weaved through the park. 

With the race starting so early and being at the front of the pack, there were a few times during these early miles where I wasn’t sure where I was going because it was so dark.  They had also recently been cleaning the park and I was a little worried about my footing in places where the ground was still wet.  
I normally get an energy surge when I run through the parks from the crowd and characters and have my fastest miles … this time was different and there were some parts that were very quiet and dark!
As we left Disneyland we were around mile 5.5 and that’s where the first male runner passed me … there’s no way he started 10 minutes behind!  With that, I knew I was in trouble with Kris!  However, the next male runner didn’t catch up to me until I was around mile 9.5 … so, that first guy must have snuck up into corral B and gotten a head start!
As I hit mile 10, I knew I had to pick up the pace a little to hit my goal and it was around mile 11.5 that I finally saw Kris.  We chatted for a brief moment as he passed and I told him to go catch the guys in front – at that point he was the 6th guy I saw.
As I hit mile 12 and saw the clock at 1:30, I knew I could do it.  At that point we were heading into the parking lot behind California Adventure and I just had to hang on.  We crossed the street into the parking lot near Paradise Pier and had one switchback before heading to the finish.  As I entered this area, Kris was nearing the finish line – he spotted me and gave me one last push to sprint it in and I finished just a couple minutes behind him at 1:38:38.
As we finished they were ready for us with our medals, foil blankets and treats.  They handed us our box of goodies, bananas and bottles of water and Powerade.  They also had little bags for us to put all these goodies in … that was a nice touch!

We then headed over to the massage area to take advantage of a free massage and stretch before it got busy.
After that we waited around for a little bit to see if we could find anyone we knew.  We didn’t have much luck with that!
At that point I ran back to the hotel (yes, I actually did run a little).  Here’s where I found the downside to our hotel … because of the race, the normal way to get to the hotel was blocked and I had to go all the way around the finish expo.  Once I knew where to go it wasn’t too big of a deal – but, it also wasn’t an easy dash to the room.   But, I got there, picked up our jackets and phones (aka cameras) and went back to find Kris and get a few pictures of the finish area.

After waiting for a while and having no luck finding anyone we knew, we decided it was time to head back to the hotel and get cleaned up.  As we were walking, we ran into Sean – we chatted about the race a little and congratulated one another.
Now it was time to keep an eye on the results.  We knew we did pretty well – together we cut about 9 minutes off our time from last year.  We also knew there was a lot more strong competition this year … so, we watched and waited … trying to figure out who the teams were and how well they did.  
That afternoon, the team results were posted and we found out we defended our title.  We came in first place out of 302 coed teams and actually ended up beating the all female teams as well (there were 808 teams total).  We were worried about one of the female teams – both of the ladies were elite and they ran it together.  They were two of the ladies I tried to stay with as long as I could – both beat me by about 5 minutes.  Luckily, Kris beat them by 7 minutes so we ended up 2 minutes ahead.
Fueling with Hammer works! We are so happy
to be part of the Hammer Nutrition team this year!

That afternoon Kris celebrated our victory with this giant ice cream sandwich from Uva Bar when we met up with our  new Team runDisney friends.
courtesy of @SeeSharpRun
As we were playing in the parks later that day, we ran into Jeff Galloway and his family a couple times.  That night we ended up right behind them in line on Space Mountain which meant we ended up in the same car as them.  Oddly enough, we got stuck on the ride for a little while … it was quite entertaining!
An exciting weekend for sure and another great runDisney event.  To the male runners who want strong competition and a chance to earn awards – this is not the race for you unless you are willing to be on a coed team (that’s the only way a guy can win an award).  To the ladies – I love this event because it’s meant for us – we have a chance to start a big event at the front and not have to worry about getting run over by bigger, faster men … plus, you’re at Disneyland!


Here’s a YouTube video we are both featured in … Mindy at :26 & :45 … Kris at 1:03

Our new hardware!

Thanks for reading, and for more updates and race happenings, find us on Twitter @RaceEveryStep 

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