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Friday, July 5, 2024

the very last disneyland 5K

it’s funny that the disneyland half marathon weekend opened up for registration this week and i’m just now getting around to sharing our experience with the 5K…from january.  oops.

the old lady and i were super stoked when they announced that races were coming back to the west coast after a 7-year absence.  securing spots in the ultra popular 5K distance was a bit nerve wracking as it always is - i’ll never understand how runDisney can never get their shit together, for real. you would think that they would want to capitalize on the popularity of their races and make sure that their website doesn’t crash on EVERY single registration day, but noooo.  so frustrating.

we headed down to anaheim the night before the race to check in to our hotel and pick up our bibs at the expo.

we grabbed something quick for dinner and then made our way back to the hotel to try and get some sleep before our super early wake-up call.  races always start at the buttcrack of dawn and we needed to make sure we had time to get up and ready and walk across the street to get through security and to the start line.  

even though we’d discussed costume ideas when we registered, time just kind of slipped past us and before we knew it, it was the week of the race and we hadn’t done a damn thing about it.  and instead of stressing out about trying to cobble something together at the last minute, we kinda just threw up our hands and figured…eh, not this time. instead, we dressed for comfort (and warmth) and just went with it.

hello, disneyland at 4:30am!

the line to get through security was longer than we’d expected, so by the time we finally got to main street it was super crowded and we were pretty much at the back of the pack.  still, we were happy to be there (well, as happy as one can be when it’s 5am and cold as shit) and it was fun to see main street all dressed up for race weekend.

and as i usually do, i glanced up above the fire station to see the lit lamp in walt’s apartment.

after the singing of the national anthem, the wheelchair racers and the first few corrals were released onto the course and the rest of us moved up towards the start line.

disney races are always insanely crowded, but the 5K is a little extra because it’s a “family fun run,” which means you have more kids and strollers throughout the course.  if you aren’t in the first couple corrals it’s fairly challenging to make your way through the hordes of people, especially if you’re trying to run.  it also doesn’t help that there are always big groups of people who want to walk alongside each other, forming walls that are really hard to get around.  then again, it’s not a serious race and isn’t even timed so i guess expectations should be fairly low here.  but for the price of registration, it should at least be somewhat enjoyable.  oh well.

this year’s race was themed around disney dogs, so there were bone-shaped decorations everywhere.

and despite our frustration at constantly getting blocked by everyone ahead of us, we had fun as we made our way through the parks.

with the old lady now a cast member, the novelty of being in the backstage area has worn off for her.  but for me, it’s always fun to step behind the scenes and walk through areas that are typically off-limits to the public. they bring out things like parade floats and props along the course for us, and there are always groups of cast members who smile and wave and cheer us on.

before long, we were at the first mile marker:

and then the second:

there were lots of characters along the way, like goofy and pluto and dante from “coco,” but they also had very long lines for photo ops.  we passed most of them up, but when we caught sight of bolt standing on the hollywood backlot stage we had to stop.  the old lady loves bolt because he looks like stevie:

i’ve always loved running through the parks - yes, there are lots of fellow runners everywhere, but it’s different during the races.  peaceful and quiet, somehow.  i know that probably doesn’t make sense, but if you’ve been there, you’ll know what i mean.

and then we were there - mile 3.

pluto was there to usher us towards the finish line.

we collected our snack boxes and medals:

and i got to meet up with my pal dailygluttony, bonus!

sunrise at disneyland is always a good time. after we sat and peoplewatched for a bit, we got up and headed back out towards the exit. 

the race photographers found us a couple of times along the course.

i’d been out of the racing game for a really long time, and for a little while afterwards i thought that i might be ready to come back.  i even bought new running shoes and headed outside a couple of times with the hub, hoping to train for the next disneyland 10K, halloween-themed and scheduled for september.

when registration day came, i logged onto the site bright and early and watched the clock with a mixture of dread and excitement and anticipation…and then when it opened i was thrown into the queue with thousands of others in front of me.  ugh.  the 10K sold out almost immediately, before i was even able to get into the site.  i was so bummed.

needless to say, those running shoes are sitting in the gym, unloved and mostly unused.  registration for the 2025 disneyland half weekend opened last week and as usual, the 5K and 10K sold out incredibly fast.  i didn’t even bother to try this time.  and to this day, there are spots open for the half marathon…but not for me.  i’m pretty sure i’m truly done with races, and to be perfectly honest i’m really not that sad about it.  

i’ll just stick to barre, my peloton bike and boot camp with my friends because those make me happy.  and that’s all that matters anyway, right?

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