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2016 Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

2016 Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

Last August, race registration for the 2016 runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon opened. I didn’t plan on registering since it wasn’t in my game plan of upcoming races. However, while sitting at the town pool on that hot August afternoon, I was hit by peer pressure and signed up impulsively. My immediate thought afterwards was, “Why did I just do that?”

My 2016 Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon recapWith good reason my doubts set in, and a few weeks later, I got a Save The Date card for my cousin’s wedding the Friday before Tink half. I knew in that moment I wouldn’t be able to do and would have to defer.  Bummer.

Flash Forward:  April 2016, 3 weeks before Tinkerbell Half.  Deferrals open up. I get a message from Laura letting me know.  Since I was out of town I figured I’d do later that night, but when I sat down later to defer, it was SOLD OUT!!!!!

I was not happy with this. Please note, if you plan to defer a Disney race do so immediately when it becomes available.  So then I was faced with either finding a way to get to California and do this race last minute or donate $200.00 plus 2 medals, tinkerbell and coast to coast to RunDisney. And lets face it. RunDisney gets enough of my money.

I needed to make this happen.  So I began begging people to work for me, and looked at flights.  Because I work for Southwest I fly standby. And things start falling into place. I asked a facebook friend if I could stay at her hotel room. And in my mind if it was meant to be it’d work out.  And it did!  I made it Saturday afternoon to LAX.  Went to expo. Hung out with friends, bought my first sparkle skirt and was gonna do this!!! So here is my recap of race day!!

Race Day!!!!

IMG_3234 We set the alarm around 3:45 am.  That’s sleeping in compared to Walt Disney World races and with the time change, I was feeling good.  I woke up, took a hot bath to loosen muscles and got ready to race.  Here I am in my new sparkle skirt. (that ended up being too big).

Becky and I headed to the Grand Californian where Laura and our other friends were staying. We met the others around 4:50 and made sure to get a group photo which I’m happy about since we all got split up shortly after that.

2016 Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Then came some sad news.

Moments after taking group photo, I received a phone call as we were walking to our corrals.  It was from work, and I was surprised someone was calling so early but then again it was 8:40 at home in Buffalo.  One of my coworkers informed me that my friend Kate had passed away. She was my roommate when I was in training for Southwest back in 2001.  She had been sick but didn’t realize how bad.  I was heartbroken and cried my way to the corral.

Because I didn’t plan on doing this race I never submitted proof of time. Therefore I was in last corral.  Letter F.  I slowly made my way there.  Now it was time to wait. It was a beautiful morning in California.

IMG_3244While waiting there alone to for race to start, thinking how precious life is and how quick it can change, I felt incredibly blessed to be there in that moment.  Healthy, and ready to run my next half marathon.

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And now the race has begun and my corral is making its way to starting line.  The race start felt a bit more anticlimactic than the Walt Disney World races, but maybe just a different vibe I’m not used to. But the ease of getting to race start was so nice.  No stress of bus transportation was amazing.

IMG_3260So were off.  I’m feeling great.  I’m thinking this is gonna be a great run.  My legs felt fantastic for mile one, despite a hill right away and I was stoked to have a good race time.

As we hit mile two we entered Disneyland, and that’s when the race traffic of too many runners made us come to a halt.  A complete stop.  I tried walking/running/weaving only to be stuck standing at times and gave up.  Went slowly with the flow.  Then I just said forget it, and enjoyed seeing the park for the first time this trip.  I decided to forget time, and focus on the scenery and get some nice photos to remember this.  After all isn’t this one of the major draws to Run Disney events? Running through the parks,  or walking I should say. Here are some of my favorite pics from Disneyland.

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IMG_3318Mile 2-3 took me 22 minutes!!! So much for my good time.  We made our way through California Adventure which was as crowded but still pretty tight, and finally exited the parks around mile 4.  Here’s a few highlights of California Adventure.

Here are some highlights from California Adventure:

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Not so graceful #joyfuljumpshot

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IMG_3341IMG_3345That meant about 9 miles running through the streets of Anaheim. The trouble I was feeling in this moment was my legs weren’t feeling as fresh.  Going from running strong mile one to complete standstill and walk mile 2-4 made it tough to get that adrenaline back to carryon.  I knew it would feel like a long run.  The crowd support was great though I must say and I absolutely love the g=high school bands and cheer squads out there rooting us on.

I will say my favorite part was running through Anaheim along the infamous Red Hat Society ladies cheering us on.   I had heard this was an amazing part of the race but had no clue until I ran it.  They were amazing.

I was mostly surprised by how many there were, and how enthusiastic they were cheering and cheering.  I’ve discussed with several people their views on running Disneyland runs. Many expressed lack of crowd support especially in city streets so I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of bands, cheerleaders and people cheering through all 13 miles.

As we got closer to the finish, Laura had texted she’d be near mile 13 mile marker so now I had that extra push to get me through last couple miles. And I’ll admit I was tired but seeing her cheering me at the end was a real treat at the end.  It meant so much in that moment. (Thanks Laura).

Nothing like having a friend cheering you on

I finally crossed the finish line and got my beautiful Tinker Bell Half medal as well as my second coast to coast medal.  It’s so pretty and the Tink one is one of my favorites. I’m so happy I took the plunge and did this!

Afterwards, I had some fun with Laura in Disneyland, which will be the focus of her upcoming YouTube video on our Joyful Miles channel. Look for her recap for the Tink Half!

Be sure to check out Laura’s other recaps for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend as well:

Have a joyful day!

About the author: Jackey is a 39 (omg almost 40) year old mom of three boys from Buffalo, NY. She loves anything 80’s and believes she was born ten years later than her soul. She love to sing, dance and make music videos and she’s a huge Buffalo Bills fan! After being a stay at home mom for 10 years, Jackey has recently re-entered the work force as a customer service agent for Southwest Airlines, which is perfect for her love of traveling (free flights) and traveling to run races.

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