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.


Bucket List Check – Half Marathon Before 40

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DeAndrasCrafts finishes her halfUp until recently, I hadn’t had a bucket list.

Like, up to ~ last year ~ recently.

I knew I wanted to accomplish things, and many of those things had consisted of items most female Americans want like purchasing a house, marrying a great man, and having children.

But to say that I knew “what else” I wanted to do with my life ~ those moments of clarity didn’t come until my mother got really sick.  (Feel free to read the “Bucket List” post.  That’ll tell you more.)

But I digress.

I checked off one of my bucket list items recently and that was to run a half marathon before I turned 40-years old.

Done. DeAndrasCrafts Finished

Checked.

What’s next, right?


Well, let me tell you, if you haven’t read this blog before and you don’t know me personally, I’ve been training for running this race for 12-weeks. Feel free to read up on my running plan here: January Run Goal Update.

I’ve been waking up early to get run time in.  {See the hastag: #DsHalfMarathon on Instagram for my training progress in photos.}

I’ve been seemingly (at least it felt like I was) putting off everything else until I got this race done.  Blog posts, namely….

And now….

Now I’m writing a blog post to remind myself what I had to do to get this far.

I guess this blog post should be titled

Things people never tell you when you prepare to run a half marathon.

1. Be in the phase of learning again.

This is one of those things that is very telling of how you understand life.  It doesn’t matter how you learn, i.e. reading/writing (visual), audiotory, or tactile, “learning” the ins and outs about running is key to running and enjoying it.  Without learning about it, you may hit the wall hard, and not be able to recover from it.  Just remember this: If you don’t like something about it and don’t learn what to do to change it, there’s nothing that can help you.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

I spent the past 12-weeks teaching myself how to endure over 2-1/2 hours of running. Of how to eat.  Of how to step on my feet as I run.  I even had a time where I ran for the first time for 13.1 miles, just to get a feel for how it was going to be.

2.  Learn to wake up really early.

The moon is 'setting' on one of my early morning runs.

The moon is ‘setting’ on one of my early morning runs.

Whether you like it or not, running in the morning is way better than running at night.  Unless you don’t have a full-time job (I do) and can run during the day (I cannot) then running in the morning was so much easier than I anticipated.  I’ve done it both ways and learning to run in the morning is not only extremely efficient, but gets my day started, almost before I’ve truly woken up.

3.  Learn to go to the bathroom, really early.

This is something no-one may ever tell you.  It’s not “taboo” per-se, but nobody likes to talk about it either.  Being in the middle of a “long” run and having to go to the bathroom, like REALLY GO TO THE BATHROOM, is not only horrible, but could have been a deal breaker for me.  I mean like, I could have been traumatized by results of having to go number 2 if I didn’t learn how to do this.

4.  Your toes will look hideous.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Again, not something people normally share with you when you’re a runner.  I love me some pedicures, but after I began running, pedicures became a true necessity.  To pamper my feet and give myself some grace when it came to comfortable shoes was very new to me.  Flip flops now hurt to wear.  My callouses are starting to be noticeable.  I’ve given up “cute feet” for runners feet, and I’m okay with it.

5.  You may or may not lose weight.

I’m still working on this one.  Before I began training for the half marathon, I was running up to 6 miles and losing weight pretty steadily, about a 1/4-pound every week.  When I started doing my high mileage runs (7-miles or more at one time), I had to eat more (see the learning comment above) and I gained about three pounds back.  Mentally, this was difficult to take in at first.  I really wanted to see my high–mileage runs be a benefit to my weight loss, but that just wasn’t the case for me, and again, that’s okay.  I finished a half marathon and will be working on getting into a smaller size in the future.

6.  The mental game is real.

IMG_7184[1]Oh my goodness can I attest to this.

No one ever told me how hard it would be to convince my brain that I could push through the 9th-mile, let alone the 11th.  The best way to describe this (for me) was at the first half marathon race I ran, I hit the wall at mile nine.  You can see my splits and just know that my mind told my body I couldn’t do it anymore.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to stop running and just walk.  I did stop running and just walk several times in the last four miles.  But I still finished, and will be working on getting under two and half hours for the next one….

7.  Finishing a half marathon is much like having a baby.

In my humble opinion, of course, this is probably the best way to describe running a half marathon and here’s why: I’m not sure I want to do it again. 

I got my moment of glory after I finished the race.

I “gave birth” (if you will) to my goal and not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded by the challenge I was looking for and the pride that I wanted to feel after it was all done.

I’m not quite looking forward to the next one, yet.  (You probably understand this if you have at least one child.)  I’ve done it, and I’m not ready to commit to training for another half marathon.  I haven’t signed up for one, yet, and I haven’t really said that I want to do it again, yet.

I’ll be nursing my love of running for exercise for a while and maybe in the future consider “going for another one” – another half marathon, that is.

I’m sure I could add at least five more things to this list.  But, I’ll spare you the crazy and just let you know that I am so glad I did it!

I’m on day two of recovery and have a short run scheduled for myself tomorrow.  I need to learn to stretch better prior to and after a long run.

This "One Tough Mother" medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

This “One Tough Mother” medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

My next virtual race scheduled for late April is the One Tough Mother Run by Virtual Strides.  I’m dedicating this mother’s day themed virtual race to my mom.  I know she would be so proud of me!

I just signed up for another virtual 10K (6.25 miles) race today for the end of May.  Sheesh.  Who am I and what have I done with the old D’Andra?

Thanks for reading!
Virtual Strides