Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Judge me by my speed do you?

2015 Inaugural Star Wars 10k and Half Marathon Recap 

It's been a while, but I'm back. Since the Inaugural Vancouver Rock & Roll Half Marathon, I have ran the Fall Classic 10k with a new personal best for a 10k by 3 seconds.  I also ran the Running Room Resolution 5k on New Years day.  Believe it not, my first 5k.

My first big race of 2015 could not have been more fun.  One the weekend of January 17th and 18th, I ran the Inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge (yet another 10k/Half marathon double race).

My training recently has been more focused on my triathlon, specifically biking and swimming.  I went into the Star Wars race knowing I was not going to finish with any substantial times.  But it didn't matter.  The weekend was bout doing the distance and not speed.  And having fun!

I arrived in Disneyland on Friday and made my way to the race expo for package pick-up.  After receiving my race bib and race event guide, I was instructed to have my photo taken with my bib.  This was to ensure that I was who I said I was and so the race officials could verify that I did both races.  They wanted to make sure someone else didn't run one for me.

Disney does a great job hosting races.  I've mentioned in previous posts about how much I enjoy the races, the on course entertainment, and general logistics of runDisney events.  But lately, Disney has been changing a couple policies that I do not agree with.  One of which being package pick-up.  Most race will allow you to pick up someone else's race packet, as long as you show that you have permission (a note or email and a copy of the runners photo ID).  In the past, Disney had a specific form for picking up someone else's race packet.  This worked out well.  If you were a runner from out of town and got injured you could sell your entry and have your 'friend' pick it up (and ultimately run in your place).  This is frowned upon by Disney, but it happens quite a bit.  I ran for someone in 2013.  But now, they do not allow this.  You can still get around this if the person you are running for is local, can pick up their own race pack, and then give it to you in person.  But what about those from out of town?  I have 2 friends who signed up and due to unforeseen circumstances, could not run.  Now they are out hundreds of dollars.  Disney needs to have a better system in place for when these things happen.

But enough about my gripes..... Lets get on to the race recap.

Saturday,  January 17th The Star Wars 10K.

I woke up at 3.45 and was on the bus to the start line by 4.45.  When I got off the bus, I was just outside the entrance to the park.  From there it is about a 5-10 minute march to the starting corrals.

Right outside the bus stop was an area filled with trees, bushes, and other various greenery/landscaping.  It was dark and lit with accent lights.  But what made it super cool was the music.  The Ewok song from Return of the Jedi was playing and it set the mood for all the runners.  It was most likely one of the nerdiest things that could have happened....... And it was awesome!

While walking to the start corrals, I noticed that the start was different from the Disneyland races in August.  We were facing the opposite way.  This meant that the course would be different.  Different is good for a runner.  Running the same routes can become very boring.  

While waiting in my corral, I looked around at my fellow runners.  It became very obvious that about half of those running, where not runners, but were only there because Star Wars was attached to to the race.  At first this bothered me, but then I realized that this may actually get those people into running.  They would finish the race and see all the support fellow runners give each other and will realize how important training is.

The race announcers were very annoying.  Although dressed in Jedi attire, everyone could tell that they were just reading off cue cards and had no idea what they were saying.  They showed clips from the original (and in my opinion the ONLY) 3 movies as well as the trailer for The Force Awakens.

Soon we were off.  I ran at an easy pace knowing full well I had 10K in front of me and double that the next day.

As I was running, I took the time to look at all the different outfits people were wearing.  There were tons of Ewoks, Stromtroopers, Jedi, and even George Lucas. 

One runner had a cape that read: I find your lack of speed disturbing.  I ran up beside her and said, "Judge me by my speed do you?"  We laughed and I passed her.

At one point I turned around and saw a man in a Star Trek uniform.  I laughed and told him how brave he was to wear that.  Another runner joked that since he was wearing a red uniform, he was in trouble.  My response was one of the nerdiest, but also most correct responses ever.

"Actually, that is a Next Generation uniform so not only is he safe, but he holds a pretty high rank."

Yup..... I'm a nerd.

Later down the course, I saw that there was a photo op with Chewbacca, but the line was very long.  I decided not to wait in line that long for Chewy.

A few miles down the course, I end up braving a line, for none other than Darth Vader.  The best part was the 2 Stormtroopers heckling all the runners.

Back on course (pun intended), I saw another line.  I could not see who it was right away, but as soon as I did, I turned on a dime, ran like a salmon upstream, and got in line for a photo.

Well worth the wait.

From there it was business as usual until the finish. There were a few more characters, but they must have been from the new animated series (because I had no clue who they were).

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:30:13.  Not my best time, but I took it slow and took a bunch of pictures.

All and all, very pleased.

On my way to the bus stop, I began to chat with a very nice couple.  They had complimented me on my tattoo and asked me about it.  I told them all about Abi, her story, and how it got me into running.  We shared our race experiences, what races we had done, and talked about Vancouver versus LA. 

While on the bus, I met a very nice Australian couple wearing Ironman hats (the race, not the superhero).  I told them I was jealous of their hats and that I hoped to do an Ironman one day.  We talked about my first triathlon in March and they shared their Ironman stories. I expressed my concern that my marathon time was not fast enough.  He told me, that he was so worn out from the biking, that he walked the entire run course on his first Ironman.  This gave me some confidence.

I went back to the hotel and rested.  That night I went out to eat with a few friends and once I got back to the hotel, I could not sleep.

Sunday, January 18th The Half Marathon.

I woke up at 3.45 and was on the bus by 4.45 to head to the start corrals.

I felt awful.

I had dinner with a few friends the night before and could barely sleep when I got back to the hotel.  This left very little time to let my food digest.  I knew I was not going to do well, but also knew I was not going to back out.

Just before the first mile marker I hit a restroom.  When I came out, I saw a group of runners getting their picture taken in front on the 1 Mile marker.  This group was led by non other than Charlene (one of my team mates from my first Team in Training season) and Ed (one of the coaches from my first Team in Training team).

I asked if I could tag along with and they agreed.  When I asked what their run strategy was, they informed me that they were pretty much walking through the park and getting as many pictures as they could. Then at mile 5 (when outside the park) they would decide what to do.  The way I was feeling, that sounded really good to me!

We caught up on races, past and up-coming.  I met a few of the team from the current season and, of course, got a ton of photos.

Luckily, they had sent one of their group ahead to hold a spot in line for Chewbacca.

At mile 3, I saw 2 girls dressed as an AT-AT walking the course.

At about mile 4.5, we saw a video camera and Charlene had the excellent idea of doing a fly-by.  You can see us about 40 seconds into this video!

At mile 5, a few of us decided to run on at our own pace.  From here to the end, we split into 3 groups that leap-frogged back and forth, encouraging each other until the finish.

Between mile 5 and 6 the course overlapped mile 11 to 12.  Whenever this happens in a race, I always run to the outside closest to the oncoming runners.  I do this for 2 reasons.  First, I am usually running the same race as a group of friends.  These friends are usually much faster than me, so I always look for them and cheer them on. The other reason I do this is to give random high fives and encouragement to the other runners.  And who should my first high five be with?  Non other than Sean Astin.  He runs all the Disney races and even the Vancouver Sun Run every year.  He has an awesome run group call Run 3rd. 

Between mile 8 and 10, a large group of local cosplayers cheering on the runners.  Their costumes were very impressive!

It was there that a squadron of TIE fighters I had seen quite a few times slowed down enough for me to snap a photo.

Between mile 11 and 12 was a servant of the dark side tempting up to stop our race and join him.

It was very tempting, but I continued on (even with Jabba in the way).

I crossed the finish at 03:27:51 and felt pretty good.  It was way over my normal time, but given how I was feeling and the walk through the park, I was very happy.

I went back to the hotel, changed, and headed to Six Flags.

I have no more big races planned until after my triathlon in March.  My next entry will most likely not be a race recap, but a training update.  I have some pretty big goals set for 2015 and would love to share them with you as I achieve them.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  And no matter what the speed or distance, do.... Or do not..... There is no try.

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