It’s no secret that I love Star Wars. And since you’re already on my running-themed blog, you get that I also love running. So the fact that Disney – known for its incredible race experiences, parent company of Lucasfilm – holds Star Wars themed races means that I’m pretty much guaranteed to run them.
Well, I didn’t discover these races until last year, when I completed the Kessel Run Challenge by running both the Light Side and Dark Side Challenge weekends (10K and half marathon in one weekend). It was an unbelievably fun experience. Aside from the NYC Marathon, the four runDisney races I’ve done were the highlight of my year, if not my entire running career.
But, those great experiences came with a heavy price tag – literally – and I decided not to run the 2018 races. I made my peace with that early on, and instead looked forward to saving some money while watching my friends run them thanks to the magic of social media. Then, back in October, runDisney made the decision to suspend all races at Disneyland in Anaheim until further notice, and I felt better about my decision. You can’t suffer from FOMO when something is cancelled!
Fast forward to this morning, when it was announced that runDisney would offer a new Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon instead of the Light-Side-Themed Disneyland races.
You probably know how this story ends.
My racing plans went from “focus on a PR attempt in April” to “hey, let’s shoehorn another half marathon in there too” with one mouse click.
And while I know some folks think this is just a cash grab by Disney, let me say this: I am aware of that fact, and I don’t disagree with you.
But I TRULY DON’T CARE.
Sure, for what you actually get (a medal and a few downloadable PDFs along with the chance to share your experience online with the event hashtag), it is pricey.
But it’ll keep me active, keep me accountable, the medal is freakin’ sweet:
And most important of all? It makes me happy. I am going to have SO much fun figuring out what outfit to run in and sharing my run online. It’s a fun way for me to get my runDisney Star Wars fix in 2018 without having to shell out $2k+ for hotel, airfare and park tickets for two on top of race registration.
So now that I’m officially running the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon, it’s on like Alderaan!
Er… it’s on. Let’s just leave it at that. Cause Alderaan didn’t deserve that.
How about you: What do you think about virtual races? Have you ever done one? If you’ve done a Disney race, which one is your favorite?
After going into detail about the snazzy costumes I ran the Star Wars Light Side Challenge in, I got a lot of positive feedback from folks who had considered Disney races or running in costumes. So now that the Dark Side Challenge is complete, let’s take a look at the costumes I ran in this time (and how I had to modify my plans to account for the heat)!
Originally I wanted to run as Phasma for the half and possibly do Greedo or Han Solo for the 10K. I even went as far as spending an entire evening looking at hip holsters on Amazon (an activity I don’t recommend unless you want your Amazon suggestions to be VERY WEIRD for the next few weeks).
But because this was a Dark Side themed weekend, I decided on Phasma and Vader pretty early on. And here’s how I made them happen!
My search for a Phasma outfit started off rocky: I couldn’t find the right shiny silver top and skirt in matching tones AND performance fabric in my budget. But, as fate would have it, at the same time, my friend Tiffanie (aka Star_Wars_Runnah), announced that she’d be running the NYC Marathon in support of the March of Dimes and would thank donors by making them skirts or full outfits depending on their level of support. The chance to support a good friend, a great cause, AND check my costume off the list while getting something one of a kind?? Thank you, universe!
To top it all off I added some personal finishing touches, including a DIY cape I made the weekend before and the outfit was complete!
This one was easy and functional, especially in the Florida heat:
And as a bonus: I can wear almost all of this costume again, even when I’m not running! Except for the silver gloves. Those things were so soaked through with sweat you could see through them and went right in the trash after the race, lol.
For Vader, my costume was even more simple, and thank goodness: that heat was BRUTAL, and even though I was only in one layer, the sweat had pooled at the bottom of this dress and needed to be wrung out from miles 8-13 (bleh)!
Vader Dress by Her Universe (on sale for $25 when I got it!)
After completing the Dark Side Challenge in Disney World by finishing the half marathon and 10K in two days, I wrapped up my weekend with my mama with some time in Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid… we had a blast:
We even stumbled upon the Star Wars show happening right in front of the Chinese Theater almost as soon as we got there:
I don’t think I need to tell you that’s me going “OOOOOOOHHHHH” and “YEEEAH!” in the background of both videos.
If you thought I was having a crisis of joy during the races just from all the Intergalactic Love, you should have seen me when this happened:
Hint: I cried. Like a big dumb baby. And my mother loved every second of it.
As if my day couldn’t get any better, we headed over to Star Wars Launch Bay to meet some characters, and they did not disappoint. Once again, I was a total idiot around Kylo Ren (I swear I should make flipbooks of these photos just so you can watch me get dumber around him):
But me and Chewy had a MOMENT with a capital M when I showed him my Millennium Falcon medal:
And I went 2 for 2 on getting lost in Wookiee hugs:
Mmm. Smells like Kashyyyk. And a little bit like sweaty Disney cast member.
After noodling around for a bit and having a drink at the Prime Time Cafe while we waited for our dinner reservations, we had the time of our lives at the buffet – where we shared our meal with Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang! Commence happy tears breakdown #272 of the weekend.
Seriously, when Mickey hugged my mom, I burst into tears. I’m an emotional person, OK?!
After dinner we headed over to the theater where the Star Wars fireworks show was scheduled for 9PM, and man oh man. I wish I could describe what it’s like, but videos and photos and words don’t do it justice. It was incredible.
After the show, we called it a day in the parks and got ready to head back home the next day, exhausted and happy and already planning our next trip back.
All in all, running both Disney Star Wars races was a dream come true, when I didn’t even know I had this dream in the first place. When I “joined” the Star Wars fandom and discovered these races, they were a “wouldn’t it be nice” thing to add to my bucket list. But after talking it through with my husband and working out the financials – and a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get there! – my brand new dream was a reality. And it only took about 8,000 miles flown to run 19.3 twice in 2 different states and earn 8 beautiful medals that each represent their own accomplishment.
There were plenty of pros and cons on each coast, and while I go into them in detail in their own recaps, I can say this:
Disneyland was smaller but had a lot more on-course support from local cosplayers so the run felt much easier, plus the milder weather made it a breeze.
The races in Walt Disney World were less in the park and more on the street (and HOT AS HELL) but they offered characters before and after the races to help you make the most of your experience.
Both race weekends were excellently executed in terms of logistics. RunDisney races are NOT cheap by any means, but Disney quality and organization is second to none. There’s a reason they’re one of the most well-known brands in the world.
All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan and have the chance to do even one of these races, I can’t recommend them highly enough. They take a lot of work and time (and yes, money), but it all comes down to creating experiences that matter, and Disney races allow you to do exactly that.
With the 10K complete (and another day of Florida fun under our belts), mama and I got back to the hotel on Saturday night and found this fun voicemail on our room phone:
Gotta love that Disney touch 🙂
The next morning we woke up nice and early – 2:30am again! – and after putting on Flat Vader, I headed out for the Dark Side Half Marathon and the completion of the Kessel Run Challenge and Disney’s Coast to Coast Challenge!
The same bus ride as the day before took us to the same Start location, but instead of doing any character photos, I hung out near the stage area and watched the pre-race show (and almost got picked for the trivia contest but chickened out)! The best part was getting to see The Last Jedi trailer on the big screen with everyone, and admiring the insane costumes some people were running in.
That’s a Millennium Falcon in Mickey ears, a SUPER REALISTIC Krennic (hubba hubba), a Dark Helmet, and yes… a George Lucas (I stole the pic from Disney’s website, it’s too perfect).
My friend Lizzie was running the half with her uncle, so we met up and headed over to the Corrals, where we chatted and waited for a final bathroom break, then went our separate ways. While waiting to start in Corral E, I managed to get some video of the fun psych up speech the Stormtroopers gave every morning about these races being a test for Captain Phasma to find the best soldiers and it gave me a little giggle.
Another fun thing I caught was the HUGE fireworks display they set off at the very start – Disney really pulls out all the stops for these things!
After corrals A-D and E1 went off, one of the coolest things happened: the corral was cut in half RIGHT in front of me and I was one of the folks that got to hold the start ribbon!!
Me and the folks around me were losing our minds – how cool was it to START our corral? It was an awesome experience to be the very first people to start, and gave me a taste of what the elites must feel (although they probably don’t selfie NEARLY as much when it happens to them):
When the gun went off and the fireworks shot off over our heads, I ran through some ash from the firework and laughed the whole first 100 yards – we felt like we were in the Olympics all by ourselves up there! I had to calm myself though: no sense in going out at an 8 minute mile when I still had 12.1 more to go.
The first 3-4 miles in the dark were on the highway and in back roads between parks, and almost immediately I noticed a difference from the 10K. They had more music on the course, screens playing the movies, and one section where they laid out a crazy laser light show along a stretch of about 100 yards between forest on either side, complete with big speakers playing music and background noises and Ewok battle cries to simulate the battle on Endor! I loved it, even if I did get blinded by a few rogue lasers.
By about Mile 5, the sun started coming up, but thankfully, it stayed behind the clouds. It was a true blessing: with the sun hidden, it stayed relatively cool, even though the humidity was still around 90%, even at 7am.
In addition to a few character stops that I didn’t bother making, I got to see another fun piece of Disney magic around mile 6: a real live elephant! I didn’t get a picture, but apparently the Animal Kingdom park has an elephant care and rehab facility where they treat the animals, and one was hanging out watching us run! I know there’s some controversy around the fact that these guys are even there at all, but I had to laugh at how random it was to find an elephant on my half marathon course. Only in Disney.
After the Animal Kingdom we headed back out on the highway for mile 7 on, and my stomach was starting to get a little wonky. So I stopped at a medical tent for some Immodium (just keeping it real, folks), and headed back out for the final 5-6 miles feeling much better.
The view of the rest of the crowd behind me from an overpass we ran under then over.
One of the last character stops I made was partially for the character and partially just so I could get a break from running in the humidity! Darth Maul was never really a *must have* for me, but I turned out to really enjoy this guy. The cast members managing his line led him off for a break right before I got to meet him, so I was “first” in line again. The one cast member thought the line deserved a photo, so she snapped one. And when she showed me, I HAD to have it. But as I was giving her my cell # to text it to me, Darth Maul came back and had to wait for me to finish chatting. He was not pleased. Either that or that’s just his face. Either way, it made for some funny photos:
After Darth Maul, we ran through Hollywood Studios and I managed to get a fun picture with my squad, along with some nice runfies and shots of the scenery:
While I had gone easy for most of the first 10 miles, I ran the last 1-2 miles feeling strong.
It was the same route we ran the day before so we got to pass the Dolphin and Swan resorts before entering Epcot for the final stretch (and I got to see Hux again! What’s up, General Bitchface Weasley?!)
Bonus: as we went through the Boardwalk, I found Denny of the Diz Runs podcast spectating at mile 11 (he’s at the far right in a red shirt below)!! Seeing a friendly face and giving him a big ol’ sweaty hug was just the boost I needed to get me to the finish.
As if Mother Nature knew we were almost done, the sun came out FULL force as we rounded the corner into Epcot.
Having to run the final mile in full sun was brutal, but the view was nice and knowing we only had a mile left made me run stronger than ever.
After learning that the finish line was just on the other side of Spaceship Earth during the 10K, that big metal ball was a sight for sore eyes.
Sore, sweaty, exhausted eyes.
I gunned it and made it through the finish with a big ol’ smile – I had completed the challenge!
After getting a cold towel and my medal (and a bottle of water that I was instructed to have OPEN as I passed through the finisher’s chute, thanks to a bunch of attentive medical volunteers), I was directed to the challenge tents where I picked up the bling that made me want to do this whole thing: my Dark Side Challenge medal, Kessel Run Challenge medal and Coast to Coast Challenge medal.
I won’t lie: I cried when the volunteer put the last medal around my neck. She hugged me and said “Oh, bless you! Congratulations!” and I couldn’t pull it together. These medals were more than just pieces of metal; they were the culmination of a LOT of hard work, travel, and time, and they were finally mine. A fun side effect of all that bling: the music they made when we walked around the finish area:
After a quick stop at the medical tent to ice my sore calf (no big deal, just tenderness), I hung out and waited for one last picture with Kylo Ren (again with my awkwardness), and called it a day.
After a relaxing pre-race day in Florida, my alarm went off at 2:35 and I poured myself into my snazzy homemade Captain Phasma outfit for the Star Wars Dark Side 10K! PS – a HUGE thank you to Tiffanie (aka Star_Wars_Runnah) who made my skirt and tank BY HAND to thank me for donating to her NYC Marathon March of Dimes fundraising efforts! She’s one of the only other runners out there who loves Star Wars as much as I do, and I pretty much fell in big-puffy-hearts-on-your-Trapper-Keeper-LUV with her after meeting her in Disneyland during the Light Side Challenge. Go give her a follow on IG.
If there was one good thing about getting to Florida a few days early, it was being able to acclimate myself to the heat and humidity. Seriously, it was brutal. Like, in the 90’s with 86%+ humidity every day we were there. But arriving a few days early gave me a chance to get used to it and hydrate extra, which paid off in the end.
So I hopped on the easy-peasy lemon-squeezy bus to the start area right outside my hotel and before I knew it, we were at the Magic Kingdom parking lot start staging area!
I SPY A MATT THE RADAR TECHNICIAN!
The coolest thing I discovered about the WDW races (when compared to the Disneyland races in Anaheim) is that they set up character photo ops at the start and finish areas to guarantee that you get a pic with whoever your little heart desires without having to worry about missing them on the course (or being swept from the course if you waste too much time waiting)! They had Phasma, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Jabba, Boba Fett, and BB8! So what’s a girl who arrived way early to the start to do? Go make some friends in low places:
I almost stole Salacious Crumb but the running from the cops would have added extra miles to my legs before 19.3, which seemed kind of pointless.
After heading into Corral C and waiting for what felt like a LOT longer than I waited during the Light Side Challenge (probably because I was alone this time), we were finally at the starting line!
Once the gun went off just after 5:30AM, we took off in the dark through the Magic Kingdom parking lot and out the gate that folks drive through, which was fun:
The one downside to the WDW races (compared to Disneyland) is the time spent off Disney property. The run down the highway to get to the first park was a loooooong one. Especially when it’s dark and about 90% humidity and you’ve got a cape that doesn’t breathe (but absorbs your sweat quite nicely) flapping round your ass the whole time.
They DO kill it on the pro photos though, especially in the parks!
This is a funny shot I had to share: apparently, social media is now a part of my very DNA, as evidenced by this pro shot after I stopped to snap some on-course pics:
Pathetic. Hysterical, but pathetic.
And while I kept an eye out for the character stops at each mile, no one really jumped out at me as a must have. Darth Maul and R2-D2 were there I think, but I was just kind of hot and wanted the whole thing to be over with, really. The last 3 or so miles as the sun came up were quite lovely, though!
And for all the miles of non-character filled highway we had to run, I will say that Disney made up for it BY PUTTING HUX ON THE MILE 5 MARKER. YOU GUYS, HUX. GENERAL BITCHFACE HIMSELF. I died.
He’s one of my favorite characters in the new trilogy. He continually looks like he’s watching someone NOT use a coaster on his new Ikea coffee table, and it’s killing him. I love his sassy ginger resting bitch face and cannot wait to see him return in Episode VIII.
They also had some non-Disney sanctioned folks (aka the 501st legion!) IN the parks, which was cool!
Another fun part about the Dark Side race (and dressing up as a Dark Side character): is getting to play a BAD GUY! I had SO much fun sassing the Stormtroopers – and they got into it too, saluting me and giving Phasma the respect she deserves (yaaasss QUEEEEN).
Right before we finished, the last character stop that I made was for Chewy, because how can you NOT stop for Chewy?
Here’s another fun pro pic. Of course I had to do airplane arms because I’m a child and can’t think of anything better to do in front of a race photographer:
Here you can also see how poorly my $4 silver gloves handled the Florida heat and humidity. They served their purpose.
Finally I entered Epcot, the final half mile in view of Spaceship Earth, and crossed the finish line with smiles and thanking the lord this running sauna was over with.
The medal was so cool: a badass Stormtrooper with a red ribbon that matched my pedicure of all things!
While I was glad the race was over, I was even more excited: now I got to wait for more character photo ops that I didn’t get before the race or on the course!!
Although I cannot, for the life of me, seem to NOT be awkward around Kylo Ren. I turn into teenage me, acting all weird around the hot guy and forgetting how to form sentences or look at the camera for a photo.
We did get to do the Force choke thing. heheh. Which was fun.
Finally, I jumped in line for a photo with my namesake and LOVED it. I wanted to hug her like Mickey Mouse, but I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have liked that.
Fun Fact: Alex, who I met at the Disneyland races, also went for the Kessel Run Challenge and ran these races too. He snapped a pic with Phasma and posted this to Twitter:
Thank you for making me giggle-snort, Alex!!
Once I had my fill of character photos I headed back to the hotel on the bus and showered for a day of fun with mama and friends at Disney Springs.
I also made it to the WeRunSocial meetup as well, where I got to hang out with folks I’ve only ever seen online – so fun to make “real world” friends!
Overall we kept it low-key (to spare my legs before 13.1 the next day) and had a great time before heading back early for another 8PM bedtime and 2:30 wakeup for the next day’s half marathon!
Oye I promise I haven’t fallen off a cliff – I’ve just been super busy with a new exciting role at work and other life-related fun. But now that I have some time, I’m going to start my recaps for the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge! Let’s kick it off with the expo and pre-race fun!
For this race-cation, my husband opted to stay home and let the girls off the leash for a weekend – that’s right, Mama and I took on Florida in a big way. The flight was excellent (any day that starts with a mimosa that’s 95% champers is a good day) and we landed, picked up our rental car, and arrived at the All Star Movies Resort ready to take on the world.
Our first order of business was to get to the Expo to pick up my bib and ALL THE MERCH. After dumping our luggage and grabbing a snack, we hopped on a bus to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex where everything was located, and found it to be super easy to navigate. We even made friends with a gentleman and his tween son on the bus – dad Paul was completing the Kessel Run Challenge like me and his son Avery was taking on his first Disney race. We had a good time talking Star Wars and racing while my mom shook her head, saying “you people are all insane but it’s great!”
Speaking of insane, the Expo was B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
After picking up my bib, getting my photo snapped for the Dark Side Challenge, and earning some bracelets that noted my Coast to Coast and Kessel Run medal status for the end of the half, we stopped at the merch tents at the bib pickup building and the expo building (they were about 100 feet apart). After snagging a few things at the expo, I stopped by the Altra booth to say hey to my people there, and hightailed it out of the building. I was going on 14+ hours of nonstop action and needed a break.
Seriously, I posed with EVERY SIGN THEY HAD. I couldn’t help it. I was on Star Wars overload!
When we got back to the hotel at about 7pm, we were wiped out, but we still had to explore the hotel – and lo and behold, we discovered that they were playing a movie in the outdoor Movie Room by the pool!
The crisis of joy continued as I got to watch The Force Awakens while tooling around on social media and planning my race strategy for the 10k/half marathon to come in just a little more than 24 hours!
After the movie, we wandered to the pool for a bit, grabbed some dinner, split a Celebration Cupcake (because: CUPCAKE), and called it a night.
The next day was blissfully free of any plans, so we literally did nothing.
No, for real, we really didn’t do anything but wake up when the hell we felt like it, ate breakfast, sat by the pool from about 7 hours, wandered around our hotel and made friends, and then went to bed again. It was GLORIOUS.
The best part of our day was after dinner: in the hotel lobby, we stumbled upon a couple of women who were laughing their asses off at these screens hanging in the hall. See, we’d seen my name on one before, and wondered if it was just a coincidence. But these sassy ladies cracked the code: there were apparently sensors that read our Magic Bands (bracelets coded with our info that let us buy things all over Disney and get into our rooms), which then displayed our names on the screens. Krin and Julia realized that if they walked slowly past certain areas, it triggered their names to appear on the screens, which they demonstrated for us about a half dozen times, much to our mutual delight.
Seriously, we were laughing so hard I had to use the bathroom. It must have been the Disney Magic they pump through the air vents 😉
After we got our cardio in by laughing with our new friends, we took a slow walk around the resort property and snapped some pictures – it really was a nice place, even if it was a more “budget-friendly” option it was still Disney, so the quality is everywhere!
After a glass of wine by the pool after dark, we headed back to the room for Flat Phasma and an early bedtime! That 2:35AM wake up wasn’t going to get any easier.
While my summer and fall racing schedule is pretty barren (for good reason), I also left my spring wide open to accommodate the Dark Side Challenge in April. After running the Rebel Challenge in Anaheim in January, I learned how much training and recovery time I need around a 19.3 mile race weekend and didn’t want to overload myself too much with NYC on the horizon.
But now that the spring is nearly here – and I’m feeling stronger than ever before – I’ve added a few races to my calendar that I’m excited to talk about now.
The NYRR UAE Healthy Kidney 10K – April 9
Having run this one last year, I was looking forward to it but didn’t know when the timing would shake out. Last year it was in late May, but a schedule change this year means it falls in early April – conveniently on a day when I need to run 12 miles! So I’ll head in to run 6.2 on the race course then add another 6 miles with my medal to complete my long run. I’m looking forward to returning to racing in Central Park as I haven’t been since the Marathon Kickoff in October – bring on that hill training!
The Dark Side Challenge 10K and Half Marathon – April 22 & 23
I’ll be posting more about the prep I’ve been doing for this weekend soon, but a Spring Racing Calendar list would be incomplete without it.
The Newport 10K – May 6
This one I’m super excited about: I’ve heard of this race before but it’s almost always around the same time as the Asbury Park and NJ Half Marathons, so I was never able to make it. But thanks to my newly cleared calendar, this year when race organizers reached out to see if I’d be interested in becoming an Official Blog Partner, I jumped at the opportunity. So now I’m stoked to be taking on the “fastest course in the Tri-State area” on Saturday, May 6th, along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway!
Now, I don’t know how quickly I’ll recover from racing 19.3 miles 2 weeks earlier (in January it took me a good two weeks), but I may even gun for a new 10K PR here. Based on what they say about the course being fast and flat, it sounds like I’ve got a good shot at it, so fingers crossed!
Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run 5M
After running this one last year not too long after the attack in Orlando, I vowed to add it to my “never miss” list. It was one of the most supportive, meaningful experiences I’ve had at a race, and I’ll never turn down the opportunity to show my Pride.
So far that about wraps it up for my upcoming races – how about you, what does your Spring Calendar look like? Have you ever run any of these races before? Sound off in the comments!
Forgive the pun-ny title, but I just couldn’t bring myself to come up with anything more creative to give you an update on how things have been going this past month.
With the Dark Side Challenge about a month away, I’ve been keeping up with my training relatively well – only got sidelined with minor life-related issues twice so far, which isn’t too bad considering I never really stopped training after the Rebel Challenge in January. My weekly runs are hovering around the 11:00/mile pace and under, and even my long runs are strongly around 11:30ish.
Aside from running all the miles, I’ve also branched out this training cycle, and have tried things I never did before. Namely, taking a Barre class.
I’d heard of Barre before, and know that lots of celebrities swear by it – it was the kind of thing I read about and go “Hmm. That’s nice,” and move on. But when a friend suggested we try out a class at a shop not too far from where we both work, we went for it. And let me tell you – I now know why all those celebrities are in such good shape. Holy hell.
For those of you who haven’t tried this specific form of torture, it goes like this: you enter a small room lined with mirrors and a ballet barre with about 20 other women. A small, energetic woman then comes in, blasts music and starts barking orders that all the other women seem to already know, and you struggle – for the next 50 minutes – to keep up with these teeny tiny movements they’re doing with a tiny medicine ball, resistance bands, and a red yoga mat. You stand, you sit, you hover, you balance, you squat, you lunge, but here’s the kicker: all of these movements are done in TINY, TEENY INCREMENTS. At one point the instructor told us to “trace the outline of a quarter with your toes”.
It doesn’t sound difficult, but I – and my fluttering, screaming thighs – assure you that it is extremely difficult. I specifically remember glancing over at my friend in the mirror at around the 15 minute mark, and we both looked like this guy at each other:
It was intense.
BUT – having said that – we WILL be doing this again. It was an insanely good workout, and we both felt it help open up our hips and strengthen parts of our legs we never knew existed before. I’m all for trying new things, and this was no different!
Speaking of trying new things, I recently picked up a bunch of ice cream and snacks courtesy of the folks at Eat Enlightened – have you ever tried this stuff??
Their shtick is ice cream that’s low in sugar and higher in protein – think Halo Top – but it’s SO creamy and unbelievably delicious. I’ve already devoured the Peanut Butter Cup pint and gotten halfway through the Red Velvet, no shame in that game. They also sent me some of their Bean Crisps, which are a real game changer. I struggle with savory cravings and hate that my only options are chips or other semi-junk-y food that only take care of my taste buds but not my actual hunger. The crisps have 7g of protein per 100 calorie pack (!) and the flavors are awesome. In addition to the sea salt pack I already put away last night, they have sweet and savory flavors like wasabi, sweet cinnamon, sriracha, garlic & onion, and cocoa-dusted. Full disclosure, they sent me this stuff for free to review, but I’m not making it up when I say: So much yum.
How about you: How was your February? Have you tried Barre? Or Eat Enlightened snacks? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Before I signed up for the Rebel Challenge, I never considered running in a costume. And if we go even further back on that logic train, before Disney owned Star Wars, I never thought I’d do a Disney race, but that’s another post.
But when I started researching Disney races – especially the Star Wars themed races – I realized a costume would be pretty much mandatory. Also, if I was being completely honest, I wanted to dress up in Star Wars costumes! How fun would it be to run a race surrounded by other people dressed up in the characters I loved? But how was I going to pull it off? I’ve never run in costume before, let alone TWO races in two days!
Here’s how I pulled it all together for 19.3 miles of costumed fun:
I knew I wanted to run as Rey because this was a Light Side themed race and frankly, I love the character. Plus, I can really pull off a 3-bun hairstyle:
Halloween at the office. I promise there were other folks dressed up.
For the actual costume, I flip flopped between searching for actual performance gear creating my own costume, but after doing that once for my real Rey cosplay outfit, I learned that I’m way too picky and could easily waste loads of time and money and still have it be turn out “meh”.
So I opted for the actual Rey Halloween costume. I read recaps of other girls running in it and they reported that it worked just fine, and figured for a 10K I could tough it out.
The funniest part of this whole thing was having to “test-run” in the costume the day before we left for CA. I wasn’t crazy enough to wing it and run in the costume for the first time on race morning, so I brought it into work and waited for everyone to leave before changing in the locker room and sneaking into the office gym for a quick mile. No one saw me (expect for the 15K+ people I shared it with on IG), and it’s a good thing I tested it: the top was WAY too short and I needed to add a tank underneath it, which worked perfectly!
I had to add a little of my own sass, though.
The store-bought costume came with almost everything I needed except for the goggles (that I turned into a headband) which I bought separately from a Halloween store on clearance for like $4. To top it all off, I safety-pinned a little stuffed BB-8 to my race belt – he turned out to be the crowning achievement, as it was the first thing people commented on when they saw me bounce past with him on my hip!
The result was great: I ran comfortably for the 1+ hours I was on the course, and the character photos I got worked perfectly with the costume too! Bonus: the arm warmers *actually worked* in the chilly corral before we started – who knew a Halloween costume could be functional running gear too?
My BB-8-inspired costume was less “costume” and more running gear with a theme. With 13.1 miles to run, I wasn’t about to stray too far from what I normally run long in: wicking tank, Nike pro shorts and compression socks.
That said, it was easy enough to create this outfit thanks to Etsy and some creative thinking (and sales on bright orange running shoes, thanks Altra!):
Bonus: BB-8 printed headband & custom Momentum wrap, both Christmas gifts from my beautiful sister-in-law Meredith!
The final outcome was the perfect mix of running and costume: comfortable, functional, and super cute.
I didn’t chafe, I got tons of compliments, I felt good, and I’ll admit: I liked the way the swishy little sparkly skirt made me feel! I’m definitely looking at ways to add a skirt to my Dark Side Challenge races, that’s for sure.
Ready to Run?
All in all, running in these costumes was SO fun. If you’re on the fence about doing a costume run, I highly recommend it. The key is to find a theme that you’re into and roll with it. In my case, it was all worth it to hear people – especially kids! – on the sidelines yelling out as I passed, “Go, Rey!!” or “Keep rolling, BB-8!!” Even though it was just a costume, it gave me that extra boost I needed to pick up my shoulders, run stronger and smile.
And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what this running thing is all about? 🙂
What do you think: have you ever run in a costume? Do you have any tips I didn’t mention here? Share in the comments!
2017 is shaping up to be pretty awesome, I’ll have you know! I know it was semi-official because I had run the 9 races and volunteered at 1 to earn my guaranteed entry through the NYRR’s 9+1 Program, but now that the applications have opened and I’ve paid the entry fees and received my confirmation email, I can officially say it:
I’m running the 2017 NYC Marathon!
I’m quite excited. Also terrified. But more excited than terrified. At least right now I am. Ask me again when I’ve got to run 16-18-20 milers in the dead of summer.
Things are going well post-Rebel Challenge. During my first workout back, the Wednesday after the half, a one mile run was easy-peasy. But when I jumped back on the treadmill after a bathroom break my knee was NOT having it. I took to the bike for another 7 miles instead, tried another mile after that, and still had pain. So I rested it for another 3 days and tried again Sunday. I already made peace with taking all the recovery time I need, and it paid off because Sunday’s run was de-licious.
I felt a slight bit of pain in the first mile, but not as strong as I had Wednesday. I pushed through, focused on my form, and by mile 2.5 I was feeling unstoppable. I was able to negative split and even finished the final .5 at a 9:50/mile pace (!!!) without the knee pain when I was done. After a generous stretching and rolling session and more rest for the remainder of the day, I’m still pain free today. Safe to say my speed is back, my confidence is back, and I’m ready to take on what the rest of the year has in store for me!
Speaking of which…
I also upgraded my Dark Side Half Marathon registration in Florida to the entire Dark Side Challenge! So once again, I’ll be taking on 19.3 miles, this time through Disney World! Also, Mike is tapping out and my mom will be accompanying me on this adventure instead, so we’ll even get a little girls’ weekend action in there as well. I can’t wait!
Pictured: my mom and I and two new friends we’ll make in Disney, I guess.
With that news, though, comes a bit of a bummer as well: I’ve officially deferred my New Jersey Half Marathon entry from 2017 to 2018. The NJ Half is the Sunday after the Dark Side Challenge, and knowing now how my body recovers from 19.3 miles of racing + all the extra time walking in the parks, I’m not about to race back to back weekends and wreck my knees right before jumping into training for NYC. Some folks might be able to bounce back faster and are better conditioned to take on the challenge of racing back to back weekends, but I know my limits. So see ya in 2018, NJ Half – and hello, two runDisney Challenges in one year!
Fun Fact: Doing both Star Wars Half Marathons in both parks in one year earns me this gorgeous bling: the Kessel Run Challenge Medal! How stinking fun is that?! I already know what my half costume is going to be, but I get to be a little more fun with the 10K… what to do, what to do…? ::insert evil laugh here::
How is your spring shaping up? Have you ever had to defer a race?