WE ARE IRON MOM(S)! AND WE LOVED IT!
The alarm went off at 4:15 AM. The stars were still twinkling and the hotel was super quiet. I got dressed in my running pants, a red and gold tutu, and my shirt that read I AM IRON MOM. I slipped on my bright orange running shoes, pulled my hair into a pony tail, and I was ready.
Today was the day of my FIRST RUN-DISNEY MARATHON. I was going to run the Captain America 5k. It would take me through both parks and all over Downtown Disney. And there were, rumor had it, 46,000 people running with me. That is as big as my home town. That is crazy to me!
I sipped a protein drink that I picked up at the Health Expo the day before as I boarded the bus. Public transportation was amazing this weekend. And I did Cassie’s Iron Mom face make-up on the ride. We both left a trail of gold glitter where ever we went…from our tutus. We couldn’t help but giggle about that.
We were dropped off at the hotel/ART drop off/pick up drive way and we walked through Downtown Disney, past The Grand Californian Hotel , and to the starting line on Disneyland Drive. They put all of us in different corrals, I was in corral D. And trust me, I belonged at the back of the race. I was so slow. But it was so much fun. It is still dark outside at this time, but there are spot lights and disco balls…you would have thought it was a rock concert. The energy was high and the crowds were loud. It wasn’t hard to catch the enthusiasm of the crowd. Where we were was pretty far back from the starting gate. The ladies with the microphones beside the starting line were about the size of ants. And when they said ‘GO!’ it took about 20 minutes for me to take my first step forward. There were that many people in front of me. We were all NOT wanting to trip over each other. There were all shapes and sizes of people. All ages, and all athletic, or lack thereof, shapes. My shape is round…and I blended right in. There were cancer survivors, repeat marathoners, and first timers. By no means was there just one type of person there. It was amazing.
So we finally made it past the starting gate…and the lady with the microphone says ‘there goes Iron Mom!’ Yep, she was talking about me! It made me smile. It was hard to jog, there were so many people. And when you did it was a zig zag formation. I even got to say ‘on your left’ like Captain America did in the movie.
We entered the park behind Cars Land. It was awesome. Crossed over in the back stage area and came out again through the back part of Bug’s Land. That was mile 1. It went so quickly I didn’t even realize it till I saw the sign. That is when I lost my nervousness and just had fun. I figured if the first mile was that fast and that energetic, I can do this. Having NOT trained at all since school started I really doubted I’d make through the whole race. But I did!
We then went around Pacific Wharf and then headed into the Grizzly Peak area. It was calm and quiet and tranquil. It was a lovely area to speed walk/jog. There were photo stops along the way with different Avenger characters. And people lined the paths cheering for us. I think I gave about 1,000 high fives as I ran through. We then wound around Grizzly Peak and headed down to Hollywood Land. We ran right in front of the Tower of Terror and then exited the park right behind it. Cassie got some amazing shots of our beloved tower as it undergoes its transformation into Guardians of the Galaxy. On the back lot behind the tower I found water and about 100 more people cheering for us all. From there we went behind the scenes and under the ground, through a tunnel, and found the 2nd mile marker right behind the Tomorrow Land Theater. It was outside of the park. I’m not going to lie…this is where I started getting tired. 1.1 miles to go. Bring it!
We entered Disneyland right beside Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port inside Tomorrow Land. I kept looking for Darth Vader, but he wasn’t out there. From there we jogged between Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage where the seagulls were squawking MINE! MINE! MINE! And the Matterhorn. We entered Fantasyland, went around Dumbo and then we got to run Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It was awesome! We stopped right behind the statue of Walt and Mickey and took some pictures. I think this was my favorite part of the whole run. This is about mile marker 2.5. This is where I am starting to feel the race and become tired. My left hip is hurting and I just want to sit and stretch. Cassie is still high energy and Jacob is ready to run circles around me. Seriously I actually thought about quitting right there. I’m slowing them down and they refuse to run ahead. I appreciated that but it made me feel bad.
I kept going.
From there we ran right down Main Street and out the gate. We turned right and headed toward Downtown Disney. Ran right through the middle of it. Tourists were cheering for us here along with people who had already finished the 5K. Most of the shops weren’t even open yet; but some of the restaurants were. That was nice. We ran past the street with the starting line and found mile marker number 3 in front of the Disneyland Hotel. We turned right again and sprinted for the finish line. There was like a party there. And Cassie’s husband met us at the finish line taking a Facebook live video of us. They put a medal around our neck and gave us a sports drink, water, and a banana. Along with a box of other yummy snacks.
I wasn’t last, which was one of my goals. And no one had to carry me, which was another. I have no clue what my time was. You can see the timer in some of the pictures, but I started about 20 minutes behind that. Cassie, Jacob, and I all stopped for one character meeting. We met Thor; but that line tacked at least another 30 minutes onto our finishing time. And we stopped and snapped pictures along the way too. Of course this wasn’t a ‘race’, it was more of a fun run. We just had to finish the 3.1 miles in less than 2 hours and 45 minutes. That was basically the only rule.
I have ran a few 5k’s and this was BY FAR the most exciting and motivating run of my life! If you are not a runner, this is a race to do to just appreciate the sites and sounds and to experience another side of Disney that you know exists, you just don’t see it!
My favorite parts of the run was having the parks all to ourselves. Have you ever seen the sunrise on Matterhorn Mountain and the rest of the parks? What about the sunrise over the red rocks of Cars Land – BREATHTAKING! No – if you are a park goer, you’ve probably only seen the sunset over Disneyland. It was a breathtaking, new sight!
But not only the empty parks at sunrise, but I LOVED being able to go for a run “behind the scenes” where all of the magic is created. Granted, you only get to see a portion of it and not in detail, but you get to see behind the parks! You run right through the gates where the staff enter from the back and enter into the parks where the characters and staff enter the parks and run back behind the rides, displays (like the Hollywood backdrop of California Adventure). It was awesome!
In fact, I had to record the whole thing. And I did! I was wearing my go-pro and so you will get to see a video of the run posted a little later.
I wouldn’t consider myself a true runner (like my husband who ran the Disney Half Marathon that he will be talking about later) but this made me want to run. This made me want to become a serious runner.
The 5k route started in the streets between Downtown Disney and Paradise Pier hotel and we ran the shuttle route as we entered California Adventure the back way and ran through the sites and sounds of California Adventure. We then headed back behind the scenes of California Adventure and ran through the back way into Disneyland Park, entering Disneyland from the back entrance into Tomorrowland (through the Pizza Port). We then ran through Disneyland, coming out the main gates and through Downtown Disney, finishing in the parking lot of Downtown Disney.
All along the route, they had characters inside of the parks. Hawkeye and Black Widow were in California Adventure along the route. Thor and Captain America were in Disneyland and all available for pictures. As you exited Disneyland through the main gates, SpiderMan was on top of the railing on the Train Tracks (don’t worry, the train wasn’t running), leaning over and cheering you on as you ran through under the bridge at the entrance (or in this case exit).
The route, the experience and was incredible. But you know one thing that Kiz and I never expected….46,000 5k Runners! YES, 46,000!
Kiz lives in a town of that number. So as Kiz stated on her live Facebook videos, she was racing with her entire home town!
We knew it would be busy because the tickets for the race sold out fast, the hotels were booked fast, but we didn’t expect that number!
And the following two days after the 5k, there was a 10k and a half marathon. It was an amazing Avenger Adventure filled weekend and I crave a good Disney run today! 🙂
Book fast and book early for the best availability and grab the deals above for the best deals amongst the craziness. We researched long, hard, far and wide for the absolute best prices on the weekend and we have the insider’s scoop.
Keep watching for more ideas, updates and videos on the RunDisney events!