The Inaugural RunDisney Star Wars Half Marathon

I know, I know, I’m about a month two months late to this race recap, but I’m trying really really hard to catch up on my backlog of blog posts! Brian and I have actually sworn off signing up for new races for the time being, so this will be my last race recap for a while 😦 But that, at least, might mean that I’ll be able to catch up on all this blogging eventually!

If you didn’t know, Brian and I are huge Star Wars nerds. Our apartment is filled with paraphernalia – the shelves in our living room are topped with giant lego sets (a X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and a Snowspeeder, to be precise) that Brian’s had since his elementary school years; the other proudly displayed artifacts of our nerd-dom include the R2D2 lego set that Brian gifted me for our first Valentines Day together, a Darth Vader lunchbox I bought at a random candy shop in San Diego, a R2D2 print and a Stormtrooper mug Brian got in a Reddit Star Wars gift exchange, and I could go on but you’re probably getting bored. So obviously when the Lucasfilm-Disney merger happened, I totally called that they would launch a Star Wars themed half marathon, and then when the RunDisney Star Wars Half Marathon was actually announced, I literally shat bricks. And then we emptied our wallets to pay for entries. In the true spirit of Star Wars fandom, Brian and I discussed all the incredibly intricate costumes we would make and wear. Of course, we got too busy, and come race weekend, I had only the Darth Vader t-shirt that I had bought on Black Friday, and Brian had a Boba Fett race shirt he bought from the EMP Museum when we visited Seattle, as well as the Boba Fett beanie I knitted him just for the race! In true Brangie fashion, I was actually still working on the beanie when we rolled into Anaheim Saturday morning, but don’t worry, I got it all done in time 😉

Saturday, January 17

Friday isn’t really worth mentioning, other than that there was a giant crash on the 5 that closed the freeway for hours, and then Google decided to route us on a path that had been closed off, thereby tricking us into not taking a detour earlier. Long story short, we had take a detour into the backcountry of Central California, which cost us an additional 2.5 hours on top of the usual 6.5-hour drive to get to my parents’ house. RunDisney SW-7

Saturday morning, we woke up and jetted to Anaheim after a quick brunch with my parents ( we got Dim Sum, my favorite! ). Packet pickup, as well as the associated Expo, were pretty much the exact same as they were for the Avengers Half. Sean Astin, the actor who played Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings, was speaking in the Expo main stage, so Brian and I stayed to watch his presentation, which mostly consisted of pictures of him running various Disney Races and being generally goofy. This was probably the closest I’d ever been to seeing a celebrity in the wild, so I was a teeny bit starstruck for sure! Sean Astin seemed remarkably normal and down to earth for having been in such a blockbuster as LOTR…

After the expo, we walked around Downtown Disney for a bit – it’s our custom to see what all the new seasonal doodads in the World of Disney, as well as the new exhibitions in the Wonderground Gallery, are! We got tired pretty quickly, though, and retreated to our room so I could finish crocheting Brian’s beanie. I have no idea what we did the rest of the night, but I’m quite sure it involved sleeping early.

Sunday, January 18

We definitely got what we paid for, in our choice of lodging for this race. The walls of our room were less-than paper thin: I woke up no less than 5 times that night by the sounds of people walking by, more people walking by, people stomping around upstairs, and someone who decided an appropriate time to test his truck’s engine was at 2am. I. did. not. sleep. at. all. I displayed this fact quite marvelously, in fact, by spilling the porridge my dad had bought for us as race-day breakfast all over the motel floor. I almost cried, I was so mad! Since I get runner’s stomach quite aggressively, I am super limited in what I can eat pre-race… and since 90% of my breakfast had exploded over the (thankfully) linoleum floor, I had to run empty-stomached 😦

Since we were so far back for the Avenger’s race, Brian and I thought we’d try to snag a better spot this time by waking up a little earlier. So around 4:30am, a miserable hour after our alarm had rudely jolted us awake, we trotted our way to the start line.

RunDisney SW-2

This was our view! Turns out by some freak chance, we had been corralled super far up! Neither Brian nor I have any idea how this happened – we didn’t submit our times for either the Avengers Half nor the Star Wars, and for Avengers, we were literally in the 2nd to last corral! Maybe they took our time from the Avengers run and applied it? Who knows… Anyways, the jumbotrons provided decent entertainment until race-time was imminent. And then we were off!

The Star Wars Half Marathon actually wound a different course through the park than the Avengers Half Marathon. We actually ran by the castle first, when it was still really dark out, so we didn’t really get to take any pictures there 😦 We did, however, get to see the sun rise magnificently over the red-gold peaks of Carsland’s Arizona-replica.

As in the Avengers race, the bulk of the awesome photo-ops were outside the park. First off- this amazing re-done Nissan. I wouldn’t ever drive this car, but it’s still mighty fun to admire! All the detailing on the inside was Star Wars themed as well – even the parking break had a light-saber grip!

RunDisney SW-3 The little stormtrooper won the award for the cutest character of the day, for sure!

RunDisney SW-4

Of course, Brian had to take a picture with his double. Who do you think wore it better? 😉

RunDisney SW-5

And of course, my day wouldn’t be complete without a picture with Lord Vader himself, surrounded by the Imperial Guard, as well as my favorite characters.

RunDisney SW-6

The run itself was super easy and flat, and I was so thankful we didn’t have to run through the dust channel behind the Angels Stadium again! The only bad part of the race was – about 3/4 of the way in, my legs started hurting, and I just pushed through the pain and shrugged it off. I now have been nursing shin splits for the last 1.5 months 😦 Don’t ignore unusual pain when running, folks, even during a race…

We finished with a super unimpressive time of 3 hours, mostly because I had to limp for a bit and also I kept stopping to take pictures and to stand in line to take pictures! I think it was worth it though, because if I just wanted a good time, I wouldn’t pay $250 to run in Disneyland, I’d pay $30 and run at the local runner’s club sponsored half marathon 😉

I discovered my shin splits as we were walking back to the motel; our path wound through the cast parking lot, which meant having to go up and down stairs to get through a parking structure. As I hit the first ‘down’ step, my shin started screaming. I ended up walking down all of the steps backwards (my boyfriend’s idea… surprisingly, it worked, and was much less painful than trying to hop down the steps in the right direction). I’m sure everyone walking by thought I was nuts though 😦

After a short nap at the motel, Brian and I drove down to Long Beach to hang out with his best friend, J, and J’s fiance! And then, much too soon, it was time for our drive home.

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