Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Tinker Bell 10K

Up until this point, the Disneyland 10K course was one of my favorite runDisney races. I loved the route and time spent in the parks, the characters, and the atmosphere! After the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend though, the Tinker Bell 10K has now taken over as my favorite runDisney 10K!

Flat Pirate...uhh Karen ready for a grand adventure!

My friend Melissa and I were both on central/east coast time, so we loved the laid back, later wake-up call, easy to access Disneyland races. When I told Melissa that we didn't have to wake up until 4 a.m. for this race weekend, she was so excited! 

Getting to the corrals wasn't a difficult process (not like others I read about later)!We left the Disneyland Hotel around 4:45 a.m., passed through security, and were in our corrals shortly after.

Oh yes, and about Melissa's toy knife - we checked with security to make sure it was acceptable before bringing it into the race. According to the rules, as long as it looked like a toy, it was ok...and security agreed, so we were good to go!

We passed the time by taking a few goofy pictures! :)

It was so much fun running a Tinker Bell themed race dressed as Captain Hook and Peter Pan!

Before long, we were off and running!

This race course looped us around and behind Disneyland, then into the parks.

We saw several lost boys that were available for "selfies" (much like the previous day's 5K), which left me wondering if characters would be on this course at all. I'll admit, it left me highly annoyed.

Mile 2 hit and there was still no sign of characters. Don't get me wrong - I came to Disneyland for a fun race weekend with my friend and for the pink Coast to Coast medal...everything else was just icing on the cake. However, I do love seeing characters along the course and stopping for those I like - it's what makes a Disney race a Disney race! I also feel like it's kind of what you pay for with runDisney races but ok...that point could be argued too.

As we continued to loop in and out of the parks, we started watching costumes and pointing out our favorites. This guy happened to see that I was taking a picture and he wanted to be included in it....hehe!

We stopped by the train station and a super nice cast member took our picture. I later noticed that he was wearing a blue "legacy" cast member badge...he sure lived up to it because he really was awesome (we saw him a few more times throughout the weekend).


What's a race with Captain Hook and Peter Pan without a duel?! :)

Side note: If I never hear the song "Following the Leader" from Peter Pan ever again, I'll be 100% ok. I think that song is now burned into my brain!

Random pirate people were also located throughout the parks, yelling random things at runners.

One set of pirates cracked me up - they saw me coming so they started jumping up and down saying "Look! It's the Captain!" Then they asked what they should do as they were I told them they were doing an awesome job just standing there and shouting at people, and they were like "huh?". It was a funny interaction!

Mile 3 came and so did the first character stop.

Some say this was a "last minute" add in due to the feedback runDisney received from the 5K the day before. Personally, I was just happy to see characters!

The line seemed long but it wasn't anything compared to the line I waited in for Gaston during the PHM in February. Honestly, these lines seemed WAY more manageable vs the lines at the Princess Half Marathon weekend!

We definitely couldn't pass up the first opportunity! It was Captain Hook and Mr. Smee!

Running through the castle was a much different experience in Disneyland, too! Also, instead of running up Main Street, we ran down Main Street!

The next stop was Pirate Donald, so we hopped in line!

So cute!

Up next was California Adventure!

These races were my only chance to "visit" California Adventure during our trip, so I enjoyed taking it all in.

Here's an example of one of those "selfie" spots I mentioned earlier - Peter Pan and Wendy were high up behind a gate and were mostly waving to runners as they passed by. We were also strongly encouraged not to stop for long periods of time. Kinda silly if you as me but ok whatever...

Last but not least were Pirate Chip & Dale just outside of Soarin! We waited maybe 5 minutes in line and were on our way once again.

Cars Land was very neat to see again - and the sun was rising as we passed through which made it extra magical! 

After "following the leader" a bit more, we looped out of California Adventure and on to the finish line!

The usual water, powerade, food boxes, and bananas were waiting for us after we crossed the finish line and received our medals.

Although I was super hungry after running this race, I didn't bother with the food box. Instead, I knew that a bin of Mickey waffles were waiting on me! Yes please!

We ended our morning with the best breakfast ever, followed by a picture of us with our medals! :)

As a whole, I really enjoyed this race! I loved the course, the characters, and the overall experience!

Have you ever run the Tinker Bell 10K? What were your thoughts on the race?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Relay for Life 2017

On Friday night, we held our annual Relay for Life in my hometown. This Relay was my 10th year to participate and my 4th year as a committee member! I absolutely love this event and everything it stands for! :) Throughout the evening, we celebrate our survivors, remember those who have lost their battle, and then we fight back against this terrible disease!

This year's theme was based off of a Disney theme - Wish Upon A Cure and I loved all of the details that went into the event! I had no idea of this ahead of time, but the event ended with the goodbye theme from Mickey Mouse Club ("now it's say all our company..."). Adorable.

As an added surprise, I woke up bright and early on Friday morning (3:30 a.m. as a matter of fact) with a pretty rough bout of a stomach virus. Awesome. Brayden had been sick a few days before and passed it on to me. Luckily, I was able to stay home from work that morning to rest and hopefully regain some of my energy. By 4 p.m., I was feeling slightly slightly better I mean I felt about a 3 or 4 out of 10...but I couldn't miss this event. The committee saved the Disney theme for me this year since I was on maternity leave and not super heavily involved with last year's event. I seriously couldn't miss out!

This team ALWAYS wins the campsite award as their site is always above and beyond amazing! 

Our team won second place in the t-shirt contest! Our shirts were based off the Disney castle that played before old-school Disney moves. We used four main colors as our castle blocks and each color represented the cancer sites we treat the most in our center! 

Here's a better look at our shirts and my little relayer! It's hard to believe he was SO tiny last year (just about 5 weeks old)!

Another team contest is the bake-off. Cakes are judged on appearance and taste. This Cinderella carriage won all around! Isn't it beautiful?!


After opening ceremonies, we kicked things off with our Survivor lap!

Each purple shirt represents a cancer survivor. I LOVE seeing the sea of purple shirts every year! It really validates what we do on a day in and day out basis!

After the survivor lap, caregivers joined in the walk around the track. We love what we do!

In the middle of all the festivities, one of my students from church graduated in the building right behind us. I was able to see her and take a picture with her after graduation! So proud of her!

Brayden was such a trooper and stayed for a good bit of the evening. He even tried his first bite of fried pickles...and he liked it! Relay food is pretty amazing, but I'm sad I couldn't partake in any of it due to the way I felt all day. Ugh. Next year.....I'm coming for you, Relay food!


At 9 p.m., my favorite part of the evening took place, our luminiaria ceremony. All of the lights in our circle grounds and generators were turned off. This ceremony is an incredibly reverent ceremony as we remember those who have lost the fight against cancer and honor those who are surviving.

In total, the ceremony lasts about 10 minutes but is one of the big take-aways from the entire event. 

Over 700 bags lined the track, each with a face or a name of a cancer patient. Amazing grace was played live from stage and a slide show presentation of pictures was given. This ceremony always brings tears. Always.

Fight Back

The remainder of the evening was spent playing games, fundraising, hanging out, and having a great time with friends and fellow relayers. I'm happy to say that we raised almost $130,000 total and are just a few thousand short of our goal for 2017! I'm excited to see our new theme for 2018 and what the year has in store! 

Oh yes, and my boss also talked me into going on our local news station with him during the week of relay to discuss our event! As most of you know, I'm NOT a fan of live events and they scare the daylights out of me. However, I made the decision a few years ago not to hold back, to come out of my shell a bit more, and go with the opportunities that are presented before I agreed and I'm so happy I did! It was actually a lot of fun! If you'd like to see our interview, you can check that out here! :)

Have you ever participated in a Relay for Life event? Any "theme" ideas for us for next year?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Expo

My last time to visit Disneyland and the resort area was in 2013 for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. One thing I clearly remember about that expo was the mad dash of craziness in the official merchandise area. I hoped to avoid all of that this time around, since I wasn't arriving until Friday evening (the day before the 10K).

Thankfully, apart from afternoon traffic from the airport I didn't account for, all went well in my travels that day and I arrived at the Expo with time to spare!

As a bonus, we were able to snag a room at the Disneyland Hotel, so we didn't have far to go!

We started out in the convention center area to pick up our bibs. My friend had gone earlier in the day and said the lines were cray cray.  

I'm so glad I didn't have to worry about that as there were zero lines for me and the whole process was super smooth! I was able to pick up my bib and go on about my way!

Also, I was given two wrist bands at this point - one for a pink coast to coast medal and another for a blue coast to coast medal. I'd read earlier that day on social media that people were going to the runner relations booth for the blue wrist band, but mine was handed to me here at bib pickup! 

I did have my eye on the small blue Dooney, but they sold out before I arrived. (Maybe that was a good thing?)

Our next stop was the Expo floor itself. I also needed to pick up my shirts.

The walkway into the Expo had a bunch of Peter Pan murals which we (of course) took a few pictures with!

So excited to run this race! I seriously thought the opportunity would never arise!

The shirts were all located together in one area which was nice. Again, I didn't have to wait in any sort of line! YAY!

With an hour to spare before closing, we decided to take our time and browse a bit of the Expo merchandise.

This expo seemed a little less busy to me vs WDW - less people and less vendors.

Most of the vendors we did see were the same as those at other runDisney events...Raw Threads, Sweaty Bands, etc.

We spent a good chunk of our time at the Official Merchandise area. Again, the crowd wasn't terrible and the merchandise was not picked over (at least not to me).

I was able to snag everything I wanted, minus the Tink ornament. Thankfully, my friend picked up a Tink ornament for me earlier in the day as I was worried they would run out.

Of course Pandora was there, and so was this adorable green Tink pace car for race day!

Before leaving the Expo, we spotted a photo opportunity and stopped for a picture!

Upon returning to our room, we discovered turn down service and a star filled sky with the castle! :)

The Tink Expo was such a fun start to our weekend! I really enjoyed it all!

Stay tuned for more updates from our Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend adventures!

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