The 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Week has now come and gone. It was another magical runDisney race week that left me with three more medals and a ton of fun memories along the way. Before I get into all the details of the race weekend, let’s first look at how the workouts/running went in the week first.
Since this was a race week, I decided to keep the pace for my mid-week runs slower than usual. On Tuesday, I went with run/walk intervals of run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds for miles 1 and 3. Then, in mile 2, I switched to run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds. It was cold outside for this run. All I really wanted with this run was to finish it in under 36 minutes. On top of being a little tired to start this run, I knew I was running with shoes that were past their usefulness. So, I was concerned with how it would feel. I learned that my soreness on Saturday was due to the miles I’d put on the shoes. I had some soreness to start the run and mile 1 went a little slow. Easing off and keeping a 90 second walk break helped mile 2 feel better. It was also slower. I crossed the end of mile 2 at 24:15. So, I knew I’d need to have a strong mile 3 to get back under the 12 minute per mile pace I desired. Additionally, I was pretty confident that I could do so. Mile 3 has typically been my fastest mile over this route. I didn’t want to completely wear myself out. But, the switch to 30/60 run/walk intervals worked well. I finished the third mile in 11:01 to bring my overall time to 35:18. This was a run that pushed me a little, but not too much. It was exactly what I wanted from this run.
After taking Wednesday off, Thursday was Star Wars Half Marathon Expo Day!
I as up early to get my spot in the New Balance Virtual Queue. That estimated return time had me concerned. So, I headed off to the Expo earlier than planned.
I’ll get into this more when I cover the Expo. However, I was thrilled to see that they were showing the original Star Wars Trilogy for us while we waited to get into the Expo again!
I bought way too much merchandise (there is more).
I got my runDisney New Balance Shoes! It was a fun expo. Noticeably absent when I was at the Expo was Jeff Galloway. I saw pics of him later. However, in the morning of the Expo, we was not there.
After getting my fill of the Expo, I headed to Disneyland for lunch at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. I ended up getting there at a good time and got to see the little show they are doing currently. It’s no Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. However, it was a fun surprise.
I also took a ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean to say hello to Jack.
I also stopped by the Star Wars Launch Bay and got to chat with Boba Fett!
With all the Expo fun, it would have been easy to skip my final run before the races. However, I was committed to finishing my preparations strong. I got some new Brooks Ravenna 5’s in the mail on Wednesday. So, I took them out for their first run on Thursday. I didn’t want any repeats of the pain I felt on Saturday before this. So, I was planning on running in the new shoes over the weekend. It’s never a good idea to run in brand new shoes for a race. So, this training run was vital to keeping me feeling alright in using them race weekend. One thing I’ve loved about both the Ravenna 4’s and Ravenna 5’s is that they feel broken in right out of the box! Thursday was no different. I had no issues running on this night at all with the new shoes. I kept the same intervals as I used on Tuesday and ended up slightly faster! My finish time was 35:07. There really isn’t much to report from this run other than keeping is slow to make sure I was going to feel my best on race day(s).
Saturday was the Star Wars 10K! It was race number one for the weekend. For this race, I was in Corral C. I’ll give a proper race recap later. For today, I’ll just mention that the new 10K course was not my favorite.
The first few miles felt way too crowded for my liking. There were many run intervals where I felt like I could be walking just as fast. However, it was like I was pretending to run because it was a run interval.
Don’t get me wrong. Disney still had a lot of fun touches on the course that made it very fun!
I think that, without a doubt, the BB-8 character stop was THEE popular stop of the weekend. The line was way too long for my taste. Even though I got in before they cut off the line, after waiting for a short period of time, I started to realize that the wait was probably going to be around a half hour. That’s way too long to wait in a 10K race. So, off I went.
Another bummer was how quickly they cut off the line for C-3PO and R2-D2 (Hes’ hidden in this pic). I later heard that they cut off this line around 15 minutes into the race. So, if you weren’t in Corral A, you didn’t have a chance. Not cool runDisney.
Since my time was really slow, I made sure to grab this picture of the Storm Trooper at the finish line.
It was great to finish another 10K! Even if the time was slow. To be honest, the day had a really rough start. If you noticed that I wasn’t posting on social media this past Saturday, there’s a reason for that. My phone alarm went off as it should. However, I couldn’t get the phone to turn on at all. Yep. At 2:30am and no phone. I was freaking out. However, my wife let me borrow hers. So, I did get pics. I just couldn’t post them.
After changing and having breakfast with my running friends Kim and Gail, I headed off to DCA for some fun in the park!
At 1pm, it was off to the We Run Social Meet Up.
Linzie and Dani hosted a really fun meet-up…
We had quite a crowd show up as well. Again, I’ll talk about the meet up more later. All I will say for now is that being at this meet up was a great reminder about why I love being in the running community. It’s all about the people you get to meet along the way. We spend so much money on these runDisney races. Sure the time in the parks are fun. Disney had their usual fun touches. However, one thing that’s becoming so much more important to me about these weekends is the opportunity to meet more runners and re-connect with runners who I don’t get to see very often.
I finished the week off with running the Star Wars Half Marathon. For the very first time in my life, I was in Corral B!
This race was everything I remembered it being last year.
In both races, we got to run by It’s A Small World…holiday edition. The lights were on and it was pure Disney magic!
We ran through this tunnel in both races. However, for the half marathon, we heard Darth Vader’s iconic breathing all the way through!
Even though I said, before the race, that I wouldn’t stop for character photos in the parks, I saw the speeder bikes at the end of the 10K and couldn’t resist stopping this time. I did so because I regretted not stopping at the end of the 10K. It was just too much to pass up.
I was also happy that the World of Color fountains were all lit up when I got there this time. We passed the fountains in mile 6 of the 10K. So, it was lighter out than when I got here during the half marathon.
The line for BB-8 was just as crazy when I got there during the half marathon as when I arrived during the 10K race. So, I’d have to settle for a selfie instead.
In mile 6 there was a crew from We Run Social out to cheer us on.
In mile 8, I got my BB-8 picture. Okay, it’s not as cool as the one in the park. But, this was all I could get.
The 501st Legion was out again in mile 9! Just like last year…this is where the party was at. There was no Darth Vader this year. Instead, the money shot comes with Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, Old Han Solo, and Finn!
Boba Fett, Jango Fett, and a Clone Trooper? Yes please!
Old school Storm Troopers? Yep.
This year, there were even some really cool themed cars!
Before I knew it, we were coming to the finish line.
Rebel Challenge #2 was now complete! My finish time was slower than I would have liked. However, I did stop in the parks for that one photo and the roads in the parks were pretty slick. I was a little concerned about slipping while we were in the parks. This race, however, is the funnest race for me on the runDisney calendar. So, I leave with no regrets. Overall, I PR’d in fun for both races and can’t wait to run in the 2017 Star Wars – Light Side Half Marathon at Disneyland!
After the race was over, I cleaned up and headed off to Disneyland for some fun. So, I had this idea for a fun picture with Chebacca that didn’t pan out. I brought my medal from last year’s Star Wars Half Marathon….
The design for the Star Wars Half Marathon medal (last year and this year) is of the medal that was given out to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker at the end of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Chewbacca was left in getting the same medal. So, I thought it would be fun to let him borrow my medal for a picture. However, I was denied by the cast member working with Chebacca. I might have sounded bit rude (hopefully not). But, she said that Chewbacca couldn’t wear the medal in a picture because he has one at home. I said, “No he doesn’t. He didn’t get one.” She replied with “It’s in the mail.” Sorry, but that was kind of lame. Oh well. The photo we got was the compromise that was worked out.
Then, it was off to see Darth Vader. He was very impressed with the medals I had earned. However, he wanted me to use my talents for the Dark Side of the Force. I told him…we’ll see.
Of course, I had to get my medal photo with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as well!
My first races of 2016 are in the books. It’s been a wonderful week and I can’t wait to share more about the race weekend events. For now…May the Force be with you!