Friday, May 06, 2016
Tinker Bell 5K
Disney hosts a half-marathon weekend at the Disneyland resort three times a year. The race, which occurs in the morning before the parks open, runs through the resort and out into the streets of Anaheim. I never gave it much thought, until a friend mentioned she had seen the hidden barns, where the horses and other park animals used to be kept, during one such run. “Hmmm . . .” I wondered. “What other behind-the-scenes secrets might be revealed during these races?”
I've always been far more interested in exercising my mind than my body. Nevertheless, the love of Disneyland can be a powerful lure. So as soon as the next race was announced, eight months ago, I registered. Not for the 13-mile half-marathon, mind you—Cindy don’t run!—but I did sign-up to walk the much shorter Tinker Bell 5K (3.1 miles), one of the events leading up to the half-marathon.
Tim decided not to participate, but did volunteer to be my "trainer." Once we retired in December, our morning walks became ritual. The goal was to cut my usual 20-minute mile down to 15 minutes. Tim, who is now something of a walking monster since retirement, suddenly became “Rocky” to my “Creed.”
Then, two months ago, the unthinkable happened: my left knee blew-out, while walking the perimeter of the Arizona Mills Outlets in Tempe, AZ. My doctor diagnosed a torn meniscus, ordered an MRI, and gave me a knee brace to wear. And, oh yeah, dashed all hopes of me walking in the Tinker Bell 5K. Bummer.
Two weeks later, however, the MRI results came in: my meniscus was not torn after all and there was no visible damage to the rest of my leg. So we resumed my “training.”
I walked the Tinker Bell 5K this morning.
The event began at 5AM, so we spent the night in Anaheim, after picking up my bib, t-shirt and shuttle instructions. Though my leg wasn’t feeling all that good, we couldn’t resist the pull of Luigi’s new Rollickin’ Roadsters ride (cute!), and so paid a quick visit to the parks. I went to bed much later than planned.
Too cute to resist: new Luigi ride
Up at 3AM, showered and caught the shuttle to Disneyland. The 5K route started on Main Street and ended 3.1 miles later at the Disneyland Hotel. Tim kissed me good-bye outside the park gates before I entered. Luckily, I was early enough to get a prime spot near the castle, while later-comers jammed Main Street all the way back to the train station. Festivities began at 4:30AM. With only three hours sleep, I was in no mood for the usual Disney gaiety. And yet, once the rope dropped and we started to move, I got totally into it.
Sleeping Beauty's castle
Captain Hook: in evidence everywhere
Since this was a Tinker Bell weekend, there were plenty of photo opportunities with characters from Peter Pan. I resisted, however, intent on focusing on what lay behind-the-scenes. I’m sure no one else squealed at seeing the submarine ride’s filter plant! At one point, a fellow walker admonished me not to take photos. “You’ll ruin the magic!” he joked, as his wife rolled her eyes.
Behind the submarine ride
Walking through the underground tunnel that connects
the two parks—what a thrill!
Women, children and men of all ages and sizes participated in the event, many of them dressed like Tinker Bell in wings and tutus. I thought I would be one of the last people crossing the finish line, but most people seemed to prefer walking. I passed the 3-mile marker exactly one hour after I started. It was not the 15-minute mile I originally hoped for, but at least my pace hadn’t slowed since injuring my leg.
Entering Cars Land at dawn: spectacular!
Sun rises over the Cozy Cone Motel
Disney's California Adventure: Paradise Pier
Ferris wheel detail
Exposed plumbing for World of Color show—"ruining the magic"
The next Disneyland 5K is September 2. Tim and I have already registered and reserved our hotel. The event is sold-out.
Approaching Disneyland Hotel: almost there!
Near the finish line!!