Completing the Star Wars Half Marathon – And Then Some

Posted on

Completed 19.3 miles for Rebel Challenge

Well – I did it.

I completed the runDisney Rebel Challenge at Disneyland in Anaheim, California over the weekend of January 12-15, 2017.

It was hard.

As I write this I have back pain from Lord-knows-whatever-happens to an aging body after completing a total distance of 19.3 miles over two days.

If it’s your first time to this website because you were searching for tips on running in Disneyland, here’s my best one: Make sure your phone is charged if you’re planning on using it to take video/photos/FB/Instagram while on your run.

The Rebel Challenge consisted of completing the 10K on Saturday and then the Half Marathon on Sunday.  There was a third medal for people (including me!) who finished the two races.  I trained for twelve-weeks for this weekend, including running 15-miles three weeks prior to this race weekend.  Fifteen miles was the longest run I have ever done.

For me, the runs this weekend was my victory lap.  I earned it as both a reward for training, and because of the money I put down just for the privilege of running through Disneyland.  I took as many pictures and videos as I could – before my phone died on the 10K. 10K BB-8 Medal

I learned many lessons after the 10K and only took photos for the half marathon.  Thankfully the phone made it all the way through the 13 miles.

My husband and I took the vacation by ourselves, and our three kiddos were well taken care of by family while we were gone.  We purchased the three days of photos that the Disney photographers took, and some of those photos are below, as well as this one here. Entrance to Disneyland Pro PhotoFor the most part, I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by = D’

Saturday, 1-14-17, 10K (6.2 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Flat D’Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Star Wars + UA: Shop The Collection

I arrived at the runner's waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

I arrived at the runner’s waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

This is another one of the backdrops to take photos at while waiting for the race to start.

1.14.17 Despite being delayed by being caught by the wampa, I finished the #StarWars10K. 😉 #RunDisney #DsBucketList

A photo posted by D’Andra Buchanan (@deandrascrafts) on

I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

Starting Line Tips:

  • Meet people around you.  It passes the time as you wait for your corral to line up to the front.  It seemed like there was about a 7 minute time frame between corrals.  I was in corral F for this run so even though corral A left at 530 AM, corral F left at 6 AM.  That was a lot of standing around.
  • Sit if you get the chance.
  • This one is probably obvious but – use the bathroom before you go to the corrals.
This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland....

This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland….

I think one of the coolest things we got to do as runners is see a small portion of the back of Disneyland.  There are cast members everywhere to guide your way, so I never felt like I would get lost.  That, and the fact that there were thousands of people around me running in the same direction.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

Something I wasn't expecting was the amazing mile markers. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Something I wasn’t expecting was the amazing mile markers for the 10K run. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Here's my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

Here’s my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

 Up to 25% off Disney Parks Merchandise! 15% off $75+, 20% off $125+, 25% off $200+. CODE: PARKOFFERS. Valid 1/20/17-1/22/17. Some Restrictions Apply.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a "photo stop" along the route.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a “photo stop” along the route.

This is one of my favorite pics from the race. Fighting tie-fighters since 1977. #StarWars10K #runDisney #DsBucketList

A photo posted by D’Andra Buchanan (@deandrascrafts) on

You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT - some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes.

You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT – some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes. <Finn!>

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8. I chose the medal.

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8.
I chose the medal.

10 posing stormtroopers

11 Mile 4 Sign w-Poe

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

And that’s about where my phone died.  At 4.89 miles to be exact.  Oh well.  I have the memories of the run, and the super cool medal.

We purchased the photos of the three days my husband and I were at Disneyland and the runs.  Here are a couple of the pro-pictures taken by the Disney photographers –

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAACTION16_20170114_7923467419

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAFINISHLINE5_20170114_7923723464

My 10K finish photo.

Sunday, 1-15-17, Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Flat D’Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Second day Tip:

  • Sit as much as possible while waiting around for the race to start – There were bleachers in the waiting area for the runners.  There’s plenty to watch on stage including the appearance of Vader and his peeps.  The MC’s give you plenty of warning to go to the bathroom and start walking out to the corrals, where once again, there will be a “hurry up and wait” mentality.
Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the "Light Side" run.

Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the “Light Side” run.

I learned during the 10K race that standing around for an hour in the cool morning can make your feet numb.  I didn’t make that mistake for the half marathon.  I met a really cool lady named Stephanie who’s ran in several Disney half marathons and even completed the Kessel Run Challenge last year – Disney’s coast-to-coast half marathon completion medal.  So jealous.  She and I sat down together on the pavement while waiting for the corrals to “move along.”  It made the waiting so much more bearable.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

 

Although the picture didn't come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

Although the picture didn’t come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin' ride! How cool is that?

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin’ ride! How cool is that?

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon. This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom. Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don't try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon.
This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom.
Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don’t try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

The Official LEGO Shop: The best selection of LEGO bricks in the world!

Posing for Mile 3.

Posing for Mile 3.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

As soon as I passed the Jedi's, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

As soon as I passed the Jedi’s, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

This was one of the photo stops.  There was one with R2-D2, with a really long line, and I believe there was another that I just zoomed by.  I waited a little less than 10-minutes in line for this photo.

My selfie with Captain Phasma! She appeared in yesterday's race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out great!

My selfie with Captain Phasma!
She appeared in yesterday’s race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out much better!

After we left Disneyland, we ran around Garden Grove and the Anaheim area.  Someone asked me after I was all done what my favorite part of the race was, and I had to say that it was looking at all the people who came out to watch us run.

I’ve included my favorite selfies and photos of some of the characters who lined the course between miles 8 through 10.

"Prince" Leia - One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

“Prince” Leia – One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

22 Stole the Plans Sign

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true. I'm not even kidding.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. (Photo-bombed by a Jawa!) For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true.
I’m not even kidding.

After mile 9 - It's a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

After mile 9 – It’s a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

 Check out the latest accessories to enhance your Verizon Wireless phone today!

26 Half-Mile 11

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours. Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours.
Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was able to finish the run in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 33 seconds with a 13:42 min/mile pace.

For stopping to take as many photos as I did, I’ll take that time & pace any day!

I RAN THROUGH DISNEYLAND!  I RAN IN A STAR WARS HALF MARATHON!
There’s just not much else I can say.  It was amazing and I’m glad I did it.

Half Marathon Medal Rebel Challenge Medal

Thanks for sticking with this post and checking out my photos.  I love you just for coming and looking!

If you came here for some tips, I hope it helps your future running Disneyland if it’s your first time running there like it was for me.


Disneyland Memes

Posted on

I’m not funny.

You’re not reading this blog because I’m funny, sassy, sarcastic, or witty.

I’m just me – but I am real and I want everyone who reads my blog, including my children (when they start reading it) know that I’m the real person behind the typing.

With all that said, I titled this post Disneyland Memes, but they aren’t the funny, witty memes you’re probably thinking of.

This post is on the insanity and the more interesting memories I had while on a five day vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

 There’s no real tips here, just memories.  Maybe I’ll get ambitious one day and give you some things we learned, but for today, I’m just sharing my favorite memories. 1Happy Place

Preface to the memes notes (the only real “vacation tips” you’ll get):

1. Even though we were there for five days, we went for three full days and only a part of the day for the first and fifth day.  The extra expense was worth it for the “calmness” factor.  We didn’t feel rushed like we were going to miss something because of the five day ticket purchase.

2.  I have three children, ages three (3), four (4) and eight (8).  The eight year old met the minimum age requirement to ride by himself.  That was a bonus because we are an odd numbered family. That was an unplanned yet fantastic advantage.0Kids on Caseys Train

3.  The three year old still takes naps.  We left the park every full day around 1 PM to 2 PM to have the two youngest take a nap.  The first full day, the oldest took a nap for about 45-minutes too  It worked well because the kids were rested for staying up past each of his/her bedtimes.


My Favorite Memories of Disneyland

I talked with my children what each of his/her favorite memories were.  My oldest’s favorite memory was making his own Light Saber.  My daughter’s favorite memory was riding the Matterhorn with her daddy and my youngest said his favorite memory was riding on Splash Mountain.

My favorite memory of my oldest:

In the future, I expect him to be angry at me for posting this memory, but it’s what happened and I will probably never forget it.

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses. Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses.
Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

My oldest didn’t go on two rides that his younger sister and brother went on.  He chose to sit it out at the exit.  The important part of this memory for me is that he knows himself.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  My 8-year old son KNEW that he wasn’t going to be able to handle two roller coasters and he chose to sit on the other side of the coaster near the exit while his other family members rode the coasters.  It was both kind-of sad and amazing to me at the strength this little boy had to tell his mom and dad that he didn’t want to go on them.

My favorite memory about my daughter:

Always remember you are a princess. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Always remember you are a princess.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

On the first evening, we ate a Character Dining restaurant (Goofy’s Kitchen,) and my daughter was TERRIFIED of the masked creatures before her.  She was crying and telling us over and over again that she didn’t want to pose with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, or Chip & Dale who were all in costume and wandering around throughout the dinner.  Towards the end of the evening, the actor or actress inside the Dale suit made it his or her mission to get my daughter to not freak out when a character was nearby.  “Dale”the chipmunk was able to get close to my daughter and even took a photo with her (in her daddy’s lap of course) as she realized that the characters were not going to hurt her.

Not quite understanding where this trauma came from, we were hoping that our next experience with character dining wasn’t going to be so traumatic.  We had breakfast on day three at Ariel’s Grotto, inside the park itself, and got to meet three princesses, including Ariel, Cinderella (above) and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog movie.  My daughter embraced these women as the real princesses they were to her and recounted throughout the remaining part of the vacation all the princesses she met.  (She met princess Jazmine from the movie Aladdin later on that day.)  It was awesome.

 My favorite memory of my youngest:

Basically this:

Dance like no one is watching. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Dance like no one is watching.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Probably one of the most enjoyable moments of my mothering life to date, my youngest danced to music playing during a parade at California Adventures.  It was incredibly adorable and memorable.  His expressions as he saw his favorite characters pass by in real life were priceless and made the entire trip worth it.

The Most Excruciating Memory (because they aren’t always good)….

5Expect some crazy

I could have cared less if we saw the “Fantasmic” or whatever it’s called light show at the end of the evening near the pirate island.  We did that on the end of the third day (second full day) and I was reminded of why I am a full-time working momma, not a stay-at-home mama.  That was one tough thirty-minutes.

The day was pretty great, the two youngest got about an hour nap each and we had enjoyed many rides that we didn’t have to wait too long in lines for.  But for some reason, five minutes before the light show began, my children were crying and throwing fits all at the same time.  My husband and I stared at each other in disbelief.  It was embarrassing, but as my wise husband told me later, “We don’t know those people.”

I had to hold one or the other of my youngest in my arms, and they each weigh close to 40-pounds.  The youngest was definitely done for the day by the time the show started and was putting his head on my shoulder off and on during the 15-minute program.  Oh, did I mention I had my leg brace on because I had a patella realignment surgery seven weeks ago and we had to stand the whole time?  It was not fun for me.  But, it was memorable for my husband and he got to check it off his personal “Disneyland Bucket List” that he had in his head and I am grateful that we did it.  Ugh.

My Top Three Personal Favorite Memories

Life is a trip. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Life is a trip.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

What surprised me the most was how much I loved Cars Land.  The photo above was taken in Filmore’s natural eats area.  My children are (for the most part) willing to pose for photos with me and this was no exception.  I am so glad we went to this area during the evening to see all the neon lit up.  It was both beautiful and extremely cool.

Everyone's a Character.... Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Everyone’s a Character….
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We stood in line for about fifteen to twenty minutes to see two fairies, Fawn (the animal fairy) and Tinker Bell, (a tinker fairy.)  My whole family is familiar with the world of fairies thankfully due to Netflix.

Tinker Bell is by far the most rebellious fairy in Pixie Hollow (in my opinion) but there are many other fairies to get to know in the short movies.

The actress playing Fawn in the photo above was phenomenal.  She was truly a woman who has been around children and dare I say, even like them; she was engaging all three kids like they were there to see her.  This was the moment that made Disneyland’s character portrayal’s important to me.

And lastly, I will not forget –

Stay true to yourself. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Stay true to yourself.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We walked into the “Innovations” area not really knowing what to expect.  One of the first things I saw when we walked in was every Iron Man Suit created.

My jaw dropped.

I started crying the happy tears.

It was like a stupid dream coming true.

But you know what, it was my dream coming true.  That’s what Walt Disney wanted (according to the movie we watched about him.)  My understanding of watching one of his biographical movies (while at the park) was that he wanted there to be one thing that you felt was the reason you went there for, and that one thing would be different for everybody.

The Iron Man suit exhibit was my one thing.

Bravo Disney people.  You got this one hard-nosed Marvel/Star Wars fanatic to know why I went there, and it wasn’t just for my children.