I did more races in 2015 than any other year but 2016 took me the furthest away from home for a race. I figured since my recap of 2016 touched on my racing, I’d do a slightly more in-depth post on my year in racing.
Move Your Paws for the Polar Bear Cause 5K
This is a fun run that takes place at the Toronto Zoo in February to raise funds and awareness for the plight of polar bears. The zoo is a fun place to run with hilly terrain and animals to see along the way. It is February in Canada though so it was a little chilly (you can see me all bundled up in a photo that ended up on the race website.)
Training for Star Wars Dark Side Races
March was a lot of training for the Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World in April. One of my rituals is to take a selfie at my turnaround point. When the distances get long, the city is so far away!
Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Challenge
2016 was the first year for the Florida versions of the Star Wars races which meant the California version that started in 2015 became Light Side. I’m not a Dark Side girl so I still opted to dress up as Light Side characters – Rey and R2D2. I ran out of time for my R2D2 so ended up buying my shirt off of a friend of a friend who couldn’t do the race due to injury. I loved my Rey costume except for the fact that I opted to carry my phone in my pouch which ended up being weighed down and coming off, unbeknownst to me! It was only when I lost the signal on my Bluetooth headphones that I realized I had dropped my pouch and phone and had to double back (not something you want to do in a race!). Luckily a guy dressed as Darth Vader picked up my pouch and I didn’t have to go back that far (or have to search the ground under people!) I finished in 1:49:58…that extra distance did not help!
When the races sold out Barb decided she wanted to do the half so she would qualify to get the Castle to Chateau medal in Paris. We managed to get her a bib from a travel agent. She started in a corral behind me and my goal was to hold her off for at least 10K and I did!! I was so excited that she didn’t catch up to me until after the 10K mat. Then she zoomed past me and finished ahead of me! I had forgotten to charge my headphones so I lost my music with about a third of the race left. That wasn’t fun considering the last part of the race course was brutally boring roadway and a trail through the woods. It was really a horrible route with lots of bottlenecks. My time was 3:47:50. Hoping the route is better for the people doing the 2017 race.
After the races, a few of the DVC Central Runs Disney Facebook group met up at Epcot.
This used to be one of my favourite local races because I lived walking distance to the start line and would just take the bus back to the start from the finish. Now that I live downtown, I have to take the bus from the finish to the start. This was annoying because they need to get you to the start before the race starts and roads are closed. The race is huge and my corral starts a long time after the start (longer than I wait for Disney races to start!!) so I spent a lot of time standing around before the race. With the walk to the buses before the race and the walk home after that adds up to a lot of time on my feet!! It was my slowest SportingLife at 1:42:03.
Toronto Waterfront 10K
This race replaced the Toronto Yonge Street 10K which had an almost identical route to the SportingLife 10K but took place in April. The new race route starts within walking distance of my apartment and finishes basically where it used to end (also walking distance to my place). It was a little warm that day but not too bad. John started the race in the corral ahead of me and finished quite a bit ahead of me so got this photo of me coming in to the finish. I finished in a respectable (for me) 1:36:47.
Pride and Remembrance Run
This was my second year doing the Pride Run 5K. It’s a fun little race with lots of community support and it’s sponsored by my company.
Not my first race with guys dressed as Disney Princesses!!
One of the great things about this race is that the official photos are free!
I was really trying to come in under 45 minutes but this was a pretty good time for me.
Training for Dumbo Double Dare
John decided to make the leap from training partner and local race buddy to runDisney and registered for the Disneyland Half Marathon. So that meant a summer of training ….
…and making costumes!
Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland
My fourth annual Dumbo Double Dare….what can I say? I love me some Dumbo!
The theme for the weekend this year was duos. For the 10K it was Aladdin and Genie so I decided to run as Genie. Other than my red belt sliding up, I really liked this costume. I had a short sleeve option but decided I could endure the heat for a 10K because it looked better with long sleeves.
For the half, I took a second shot at a Dumbo costume. I did Dumbo for the 10K of the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare in 2013. I didn’t love my skirt but really liked my hat so I reused my hat and added a ribbon to a red SparkleSkirt.
John decided on Goofy for his race costume. He had a bright orange shirt already so we just found some blue shorts and a green hat. The green hat ended up being pretty bright too so we started calling it High Viz Goofy. I made a vest out of an oversized technical shirt and added ears to his hat.
Before the race, John and I made a deal that he would stick with me for the whole distance. I made an additional deal with him that if he got me across the finish line under 3:30 (it had been a long time) I would pay for our post-race brunch.
He kept the deal…for the most part. John is much faster than me so there were times on the course when he was ahead of me. (We did a terrible job of being in photos together! These are probably the closest we came.)
After we left Disney property, I started doing running intervals approximately every five minutes. John was usually ahead of me a bit so I would run to catch up and sometimes pass him!
Later in the race, I found myself searching for him in the crowd. I was thankful for the bright green hat! I was also motivated to catch up to him to fix his ears as I had goofed (pun intended) a bit making them felt as they kept sticking to the velcro of his hat. I didn’t want him to get to a photographer with goofed up Goofy ears! (Can you spot him in the photo below? One of his ears is stuck to his hat!)
I eventually caught up to John as we approached Angel Stadium.
The race got tough for me after this point. My foot was absolutely killing me and kudos to John for trying to motivate me to go faster but I just couldn’t! He did wait for me and we finished the race together. I wish we had a victorious crossing the finish line photo but he decided to do a dive across the line to beat me! (Totally kidding! These shots came as a result of him trying to let me cross first – watching my feet. What he forgot was that we would have had to start at the exact same moment for this to work!)
My finish time was 3:27:47…the first time I had been under 3:30 in years! I was pretty happy about it. I was also super excited that the ears on the 2016 Dumbo medal move!!
Inaugural Disneyland Paris 5K and Half Marathon
A mere 16 days after getting home from California, I headed to the airport to meet up with Barb to head to Paris for the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. We registered for the race in 2015 with a UK travel provider and decided to do the 5K too because it was really reasonably priced (for a Disney race!)
From the very moment there was even a hint there would be a Disneyland Paris race, I knew I wanted to dress as Belle in the blue dress. Over the years I’ve done three race outfits inspired by “Provincial Belle” but was never happy with my execution. I decided for the other race that I would do Esmeralda. Since Esmeralda wears a skirt with gold coins on it, I decided this would be my 5K outfit in case it was annoying (I did a Princess race once where I was walking near an Esmeralda and the tinkling of her coins drove me nuts!) I was really happy with how both of these costumes turned out.
The 5K route started in the Disney Village and wound through both parks – Disneyland and the Walt Disney Studios.
The morning of the half marathon was pretty chilly so I ended up keeping my “throwaway” jacket on for part of the race. I managed to spot the second set of photographers and ditched it on a bench in the Studios.
They started the race in many small waves (despite there being only three large and one tiny corral). This made the race really well spaced. Barb and I tried to stick together for most of both races and were so excited when we got to the castle because we could actually run through it! They also had two post-castle routes – one for photos and one for skipping photos. We stopped for photos!
The route took us into the countryside around the parks and then back into the hotel area (right past where we were staying) before heading back to Disney Village. For most of the countryside part of the route, Barb was well in front of me but I managed to catch up to her as we were heading into our hotel parking lot. We stuck together and pushed each other until the finish line. (The Disney photographers managed to miss me crossing the finish.)
I finished the race in 3:28:01…my second race in a row under 3:30!! I was pretty happy about this. We really kicked it at the end to make sure we came in under 3:30.
Post-race celebrations included photos in front of the Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant. (We had PhotoPass but oddly Disneyland Paris does not have PhotoPass photographers anywhere except at special character meet and greets so we only have race and ride photos.)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon
This is normally a race I go out to cheer because I know someone running the half or the full. That was my plan this year too as my friend Jessica, who now lives in Florida, was coming up to run the race. I posted something on Facebook about being tempted to register for the 5K because the medals were cool this year and then I got a message from my friend Karen who had registered but injured herself. She offered me her bib and when I found out it was only $10 to transfer it to my name (I didn’t want to walk and have her get my time under her name!) I decided to go for it.
I decided to resurrect my Vintage Canada Cast Member costume that I wore for the Wine & Dine race the year it got cut short due to lightning in the area. (The bib still said Karen.)
This was a tough race for me. My foot really started to hurt the day before and to add insult to injury I walked an unnecessary distance to the start line and had to walk back to my corral. Race day was rainy. It was also my third half marathon in six weeks. I struggled and fought the idea of quitting and finished with a slow 3:43:24. My spirits were lifted at two points in the race – once when the route doubled back on itself and I spotted Jessica and another when my friend Eugene was out on the route to cheer me on!
The race was pretty lonely at some spots so I amused myself by taking selfies at places you wouldn’t normally be able to walk.
I knew I was slow when I got to the half/full marathon split and the full lane was closed!
As I was about one kilometre from the finish line I heard a roar of cheers. It turned out that I missed Ed Whitlock smashing a world record for his age group. At 85, Ed is the only person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. The clock time when Ed finished was 3:56 and when I finished was it was 4:04. If I had managed another sub 3:30 half, we might have crossed at the same time!
Even though my feet were killing me (and due to road closures, I ended up having to walk over two kilometres home. I had to stop for a selfie with the Toronto sign and my Toronto sign medal.
Castaway Cay 5K
I had no plans for any races for the remainder of the year until Mom and I went on our Disney Cruise for Halloween and I decided at the last minute to do the 5K on Castaway Cay. The race isn’t really timed (there is a clock at the start/finish) but according to my Garmin I came in under 48 minutes.
2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Training
Finished out 2016 with cramming in some long slow (and sometimes icy/slushy and cold) distances before the 2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon which is this coming Saturday! I swore off this race for a number of reasons, not the least of which was training in the winter and over the holidays. I registered because the race will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and I was hoping for a cool anniversary medal. Sadly the medal is pretty ugly. And to add insult to injury, it looks like we don’t even get to run through the castle anymore. Ugh.
What’s ahead for 2017? After the WDW Half on January 7, I plan to take a bit of a break and rest my foot (and even get a pedicure!) before starting to train for the Toronto Waterfront 10K in June. By then training will be underway for the Disneyland Double Dare (here’s hoping they keep the Dumbo theme for the 5th year even if they don’t honour legacy status). After that I hope to be doing the new 10K plus half marathon challenge in Paris (fingers crossed that I get in when registration opens in February) and then I swear I’m slowing down!!