Completing the Star Wars Half Marathon – And Then Some

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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.

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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.

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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.


Running in Disneyland – A New Bucket List Item

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Darth Vader Bucket from DisneylandIf you know me personally, and have known me long enough, you know that I am a Star Wars fanatic.

Meaning, more than just a fan and probably more obsessed with Star Wars than most people on the planet and certainly, probably more than you.

Before children, and before I used to have the daily “necessity” chores of cooking, cleaning, running, getting things prepared the night before, etc., I would come home from work (and even before that, college classes,) plug the VHS tape of Star Wars, (later of course the Star Wars Trilogy DVD’s) and watch it (or run it in the background) until I would go to sleep.

My loving husband has put up with this obsession for over 20-years, and has succumbed to the loving & supportive role of bringing balance to my insatiable appetite for the latest thing in Star Wars.  If it weren’t for him, I would be going to comic-cons fully dressed in a cosplay outfit of my own creation, and happily spending money on the latest Star Wars toy, comic book – whatever.

But alas, reality does set in, and although #coffeeismylovelanguage, my heart truly loves to hear “Let’s watch Star Wars mommy!”

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the Disney machine, my heart broke.

I know, it sounds stupid.

It wasn’t shocking or anything, because Lucas had made it clear that he didn’t only want to be known for Star Wars, wanted to run his company, his way and was getting yelled at and ridiculed for the Episode 1-3 movies.  He also had stated that he didn’t want to make any more Star Wars movies, so I knew there was a possibility that the books were going to be the only way to find more about the Universe and it’s hero’s.

But, it was a bit scary because the mouse I had grown to despise from my youth (I have many issues) had now entered my life in a completely unfamiliar way.

I had to become a Disney fan in order to maintain my love of Star Wars as I did before.

I knew the new movies that were planned were going to be good.

But I also knew that Disney’s mission statement includes making money, and I have always had issues with that on a deep, emotional level, tied to my mother and being poor when I was young and all kinds of relatively insignificant things to the majority of the population, except to me.

But ~

I had to get over it.

Companies change and companies will do almost anything to make money.

I had to put all my personal issues aside, so that I could become a Star Wars Disney fan.

I’m looking forward to the new Star Wars land opening up.

LA Times put up a great article about the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.

Here’s an slightly interactive map of the new Star Wars land in Disneyland too.

I’m looking forward to the next movie – Rogue One and the next installment of the Star Wars series, Episode 8.  It will be dark, amazing, and I will buy movies, and merchandise, and I will run in the half marathon offered at Disneyland with the Star Wars theme.

Oh yes, I will run.  And I have paid for the privilege to run inside Disneyland in January 2017.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

The training plan offered by runDisney is 20-weeks long for an “experienced” runner (hah!) like myself.  But the real kick-in-the-pants part of their training plan, is that the longest run is 17-miles.

Seventeen miles.

SEVENTEEN MILES!

I know I can do it you guys.

And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 6.25 mile race on Saturday and the 13.1 mile race on Sunday.  It’s called the Rebel Challenge and you get an extra medal for running both races.

Yup.

Why in the Lord’s holy name,” you may be thinking….

I’m doing it for the medals. #medaljunkie

I’m going to try to do it for the satisfaction of getting it done. #Ds40Before40

I’m doing it because I believe I can. #DreamingofDisneyRuns

It’s Star Wars.  It’s running through Disneyland.  It sounds so cool.  And I added it to my bucket list to check off.

There, I said it and wrote it down.  It’s a goal now, with a date and a plan and everything.

I leave you with this – the heart pounding “Celebration” trailer for Rogue One – the new movie in the Star Wars Universe that is coming out in December 2016.  To say I am “looking forward to it” is a complete and total understatement.  I have no words to describe how this clip makes me feel, other than, I feel like I’m a kid again ready to watch the next Star Wars movie in a theater.

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