If you think I was going to let a WHOLE YEAR go by and not run a half marathon… or a runDisney CHALLENGE, you have something seriously wrong with you. Join the club.

The Avengers weekend was the only race I had approval from my lovely physical therapist to run. Every time another race passed me by, I remembered that I was still going to add three medals (10k, half, challenge) to my medal holder. So I had a lot of emotions riding on participating in the race, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from participating. So I listened to my PT, I trained cautiously, and I was super prepared to lie if I had to. Maybe. But I didn’t have to, you guys, calm down.

Doctor Strange 10k

In what is sure to become a tradition, we waited to see the new Dr. Strange movie in the Downtown Disney District theater after going to the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo (which, turns out, is a lot more fun when you aren’t on crutches). Then we went to eat carbs at Naples Ristorante in Downtown Disney. If you’re going to pay for overpriced pasta, this is the place to do it. Generally I don’t drink at all the week before a race, but I was exceptionally nervous for my first race, so I split a bottle of overpriced wine with Lindsey who had come out just to run/walk the 10k with me.

We showed up to the starting line and took lots of terrible pictures in the dark, said good luck to Chad (who was going for some kind of world record) and Crystal (who was in another corral), and went on our merry way. The race course was pretty similar to last year’s 10k, but it steered clear of Critter Country and Frontierland (no spoilers or behind the scenes on the new Star Wars Land for these runners!). Still we had plenty of time on park property, lots of Hero & Agents of SHIELD photo ops, and volunteers cheering us on.

Surprisingly, I felt pretty great during my first few run intervals. A lot of adrenaline and cheer groups got me through the middle feeling optimistic. So I skipped my last two walk intervals and just kept going. I was very happy crossing the finish in under 60 minutes, which was all I wanted out of that 10k.

Avengers Super Heroes Half

In a complete reversal from anything I’ve ever told anyone, we went into the park for a little bit on Saturday. Friday was Veteran’s Day, so our annual passes didn’t get us into the parks, but we were able to get in on Saturday, which is why we did this silly silly thing. We tempered our expectations and found a few low key rides to enjoy and did lots of pin trading and trying out foods (there was some kind of seasonal food festival going on). We also grabbed dinner from Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in DCA, which had some excellent options for more carbs.

The following morning, we took fuzzy pre-race photos of everyone in their costumes, and separated into our corrals. This time Chad was “taking it easy” and run/walking with me. So sometimes he would run ahead and take pictures.

This year’s course was a lot different from the previous year. We didn’t have to run along the aqueduct for 2+ miles, which was probably the hardest part of the first two races; you could see the giant A of the Angels Stadium looming in the distance of an endless expanse of dust and concrete. The first year, all that dust was also blowing in my face. #SantaAnas

My one complaint with the course change, they clearly needed to add an extra mile in somewhere and some non-runner decided that mile would be around the Angels Stadium parking lot. You ran through the gates, immediately took the longest route around the exterior of the lot to the back side of the park, and then around the bases and spit back out to be cheered on by a stretch of really convincing cosplayers (Chad was CERTAIN that the Loki we saw was REALLY Tom Hiddleston). Other than the parking lot detour, I really liked the course changes.

Towards mile 10, I was really breaking down, and was walking a little more than my intended walk breaks. As always, Chad patiently pushed me to run/walk my way through the last three-ish miles and cross the finish line just over 2 hours. I wanted to finish in under 2, but in the end, I got all three of my medals and no more fractures.

Goodbye Hollywood Tower Hotel

The biggest bummer of the visit was that the rumors we had been hearing about since Tinker Bell (in May) were true: The Tower of Terror is being replaced with a Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride. So we were sure to stock up on fast passes and ride ToT as many times as we could and give one of our favorite rides a proper goodbye.

It won’t officially be gone from DCA until January 2nd, but we won’t be back before then.

That guardians ride better be really fucking awesome.

Nightmare Before Christmas (Also known as November)

We got to ride all the other great rides too, like Haunted Mansion Holiday, which is the lesser or the Haunted Mansion options, but still fun.

And of course, admire the castle in all it’s “Christmas Time” glory.

Was my one race of the year worth missing all those other races … and ultimately NOT breaking my hip because I behaved myself? Visiting Disneyland is always worth it. And I know the medals I’ll earn next year and years to come will be worth it. If only there were some kind of time machine where I could go back to May and tell myself all of this!

Time to start training for next year!

Event Specs

Event Managed by: runDisney
Location: Disneyland (+0.5)
Personal Participation Count: 3 of 3
Event Expo: Yes
Event Expo Size: Large

Race Start times: 5:30 am (-0.5)
Race Day Weather: 60-68 degrees
Race Features: Costumed Runners Encouraged, ChEAR Squad, High School Bands, High School Cheerleaders and Dancing Teams, Cast Members, Disney Characters, Disney Animals

10k Water Stations: 2 | Every 2 Miles
Half Marathon Water Stations: 7 | Every 1.5 Miles
Energy Supplement Station (Half Marathon only): Yes | Cliff Shot Station at Mile 9
Race Courses: Mostly flat, a couple of hills, several miles through both parks, one mile in a parking lot
Running with Traffic: No, roads are blocked for race

Finisher Medal: Yes
Special Category Medals: Yes

Event Rating10 out of 10