Hi everyone! My name is Erica and you guys might have seen me as the girl who shows up in Albert’s running photos! I am usually a spectator, not so much a runner (the whole waking up early just to run double digit miles is not exactly my cup of tea). However, this past January I was able to run the 2014 Tinker Bell 10k. As a huge Disney fan, I really enjoyed the 2013 Disneyland 10k! So I decided why not and registered to run! I also got my sister, Elaine, and my friend, Kellie, to run with me. I am really honored that Albert let me guest write on his blog about my Tinker Bell 10k experience. So let’s get to the good stuff!
On January 16, Kellie and I left Pasadena around 3:45 pm to head over to the expo in Anaheim. After a couple of mishaps (in which I miss the ramp to the 5, get incredibly lost in Norwalk, and battle intense traffic) we managed to get to the Disneyland hotel at 6pm. Hooray! We picked up our gear and wandered around looking at all the merchandise!
A day later and race day was here! I admit, I was a bit nervous because I was not really running much due to it being right after the holidays and it being cold/dark outside (I’m a total wimp…) My sister also wanted me to run the entire thing with her and I was unsure if I could make that happen.
Anyway, on the day of, Albert picked me and Kellie up from my house at around 4 am (my sister was driving herself separately) and we were off! The freeways were almost completely empty and we managed to get to Anaheim at roughly 4:50 am. We met up with my sister and started the rather long trek from the Mickey and Friends parking structure to the start line.
The first thing I noticed was there were a TON of girls dressed up. Seriously. There was glitter, tutus, wings, sparkles, tiaras, and lights everywhere. I had thought my black running tutu was on par but these runners definitely brought their A-game. Also, it was also cold at 5:30 am in the morning! Definitely a change of pace compared to the 80 degree weather Albert and I experienced back in August.
A quick bathroom break at the hotel and then my sister, Kellie and I said good bye to Albert and my sister’s friend who came to watch and prepared to find our corral. I was surprised at the sheer amount of people that were participating. I remember there being a massive amount of people back in August but I had forgotten how huge these Disney races can become. We were supposed to start in Corral D but we managed to hop in the tail end of Corral C and waited for our start. At 6 am, it did not seem like the crowd was moving at all…
At around 6:12 am (after what seemed like a lot of shuffling) we were finally off!
Mile 1: 13:00 / mile
It was really cold! And there were so many people! However there was so much enthusiasm everywhere that I quickly forgot my frozen limbs. The majority of the first mile was in the backlot behind Disney and I kept wondering when would we actually get into the park. But all that was forgotten when we made a right turn into Disneyland!
Mile 2: 12:59 / mile
Past It’s a Small World and then back into the backlots.
We ran past Splash Mountain (which was under refurbishment), the Haunted Mansion and behind the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which was still under construction. There is something peaceful about running in the park before sunrise. Everything was bathed in soft purple life and it’s times like these when I can understand why people enjoy running in the morning.
Mile 3: 13:04 / mile
We ran behind Cinderella’s Castle (I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to run underneath it), past the teacups, behind the Matterhorn and into Tomorrowland! After Tomorrowland, we ran in front of the castle where a lot of people were stopping and taking pictures. My sister and I tried to take a picture on the run but that did not turn out too well. It’s hard to take pictures when you’re running!
Then it was down Main Street and out of Disneyland. That sure was fast!
When my sister and I left Disneyland, we spotted Albert and my sister’s friend. I was really motivated when I saw spectators. I was close to running but I did not want to walk right in front of people who are obviously supporting you and cheering you on. So we pressed on!
Down Buena Vista Street (my sister was shocked that we were already in California Adventure) and past Grizzly River Rapids. Then we emerged onto Paradise Pier! Like in August, they were playing World of Color and the water jets were on. That was a nice song to run to! Then we ran behind the Ferris Wheel and California Screamin’. This was basically the same course Albert and I ran back in August except it was in reverse. That was pretty neat to experience.
Then we ran into Carsland and into Bug’s Land. Nothing too special. (It’s really hard remembering everything that actually happened!)
Mile 4: 13:08 / mile
This was around the time my sister and I got separated (Kellie took off on her own practically from the start). This was also the end of running inside the parks. The rest of the course was done on Harbor Blvd, parallel to the 5, on Disney Way, and on Katella Blvd. I was a bit disappointed that my time in the parks seemed so short. It was definitely a lot quieter on this stretch of the course. There was a scattering of people on the streets. Some of them had signs that were encouraging! I also started walking a bit since my knees were not too thrilled with me. Running parallel to the 5 was extremely annoying as the sun was rising at just the right angle to get into my eyes.
Mile 5: 13:21 / mile
I don’t remember much of this mile. There was a lot of self reflection during this time, such as “Why did I ever decide to do this to myself?” and “Gee, I hope my toenails are still intact after this.”
This stretch on Katella seemed never ending. But I knew I was almost to the end!
Mile 6: 13:02 / mile
I made a right turn and passed the final mile marker. The finish line was in sight! And people! So many people! The cheering was almost deafening. I saw distance markers (500m, 200m, 100m) so I just grit my teeth and sprinted to the finish line.
I finished the 10K at 1:20:49, or around 13:05 per mile. This might seem slow but I beat my time in August by 4 minutes. I was pretty pleased about that.
I really enjoyed this race and my sister and Kellie also said they had a wonderful time. I am a HUGE Disney fan and I think the 10Ks are a great experience. It’s the perfect combination of running and Disney magic.
Thank you to my sister and Kellie for doing this course with me, all of the Disney staff and volunteers that had to be awake at this crazy hour, and to Albert for driving and supporting me from the sidelines (a position I know all too well!) I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my experience and I am definitely looking forward to my next runDisney adventure!