Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend 2015 …. I used the force!!!

There are many outdated stereotypes surrounding nerd culture. Nerds are not athletic. Girls don’t really know comics. Not all nerds are terrible with girls and live in their parents basements anymore! New generations of nerds have made it more than acceptable, even cool to let your nerd flag fly and discuss once and for all if Star Trek is better than Star Wars. (It’s not, Star Wars is better, but I’ll let that lie for the time being)

The concept that nerds are not athletic has been around since the 80s, if not earlier. There was always a mentality of Nerd vs. Jock. Pretty outdated stuff. Nerd culture has gone mainstream, and with that, there are so many different fun activities you can participate in that celebrate the films, books, and games we nerds love. This weekend, I participated in the Star Wars 5k at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

True to the stereotype, I have never been athletic. The beauty of running, is that it requires no hand-eye coordination. All it requires is a committment to train, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. There no need for actual coordination!   There is a race option that suits just about everyone! I started small, with the 5k, untimed fun run. This run had all types of participants from children, to those who chose to walk the entire race, to those who wanted to win it!  My fiance who has run several marathons, signed up for the 13.1 mile half marathon.  I was in the middle of the pack, someone who wanted to do a combination run/walk, and my goal was to finish the 3.1 miles under 45 minutes, in alignment with my training. I had been running weekly trying to increase my pace and my time using several training programs. RunDisney suggests the Galloway method by Jeff Galloway.

The weekend event is huge! There is a race Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to park hours, and a health/fitness expo in the Disneyland Hotel where you can buy products, and listen to event speakers. I made a few purchases (limited edition Dooney & Burke Star Wars bag), looked at some of the running gear, running clothes, sampled a Clif bar, and picked up my running bib and race info packet. For someone who has never participated in organized sports, this was actually a very emotional moment for me. I found myself nervous and choked up, walking up a ramp reading the words, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”… This was really happening!!!

The next morning at 4am, I awoke to put on my Empire Strikes Back tank top, running pants and shoes. I made sure my running watch was charged and set to my 2/1 Run/Walk. I rolled my hair up in my best Princess Leia buns and headed over to the starting line to meet my friend and experienced marathon runner, Jenn. The vision of people walking through the streets surrounding Disneyland dressed as jedi’s and ewoks was amazing, and I was getting so excited to start!  We even saw a couple dressed as the new droids from Episode 7!!!

I was in the second group of runners, Corral B, where we waited for the starting announcement. Surrounded by thousands of my fellow Star Wars fans and runners, we were off, while the Star Wars theme echoed from the speakers above us. Not only do you get to run through the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks prior to opening, if you choose to stop along the way at the character photo ops, you can get your picture taken with a variety of Star Wars characters. There were several times throughout the run, I could not believe that I was participating in a running event, something I never thought I would be able to do. I never had a lot of faith in myself when it came to excercise or sports, but there I was, using the force and even elongating my running segments to 5/1 time segments! Jenn and I entered the park in the back through Toontown and passed the Its a Small World ride, we gave numerous hi-fives to Disney employees as we ran through Tomorrowland, we passed the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, sprinted down Main St., took a photo op in Radiator Springs in Cars Land, and as we began the final leg through downtown Disney, the race coming to completion, I was full of pride, joy, elation, and anticipation for what race I could sign up for next!

I am already planning my costume for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, and I cannot wait to add to my collection of medals !!!  I definitely did not take enough photos but here I am below, crossing the finish line, smile from ear to ear and tears in my eyes!

I recommend checking the http://www.RunDisney.com website for further info on upcoming races.  I am so thankful for my fiance who has supported me to believe that I can do anything, and my friend Jenn for being the most fun running buddy in the universe.

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