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Star Wars Expo and 5K: Sharp Turn Ahead!

“No wonder C3PO is the way he is…Hayden Christensen made him.” -Tyler Martin

Honorable Costume Mentions:

Lego Slave Leia

Jabba the Hutt

Wampa Girl

Han in Carbonite

Great group of three as Han, Leia, and Chewie

Lando! and a really great Padme with him

X-Wing and Tie Fighter

Elvis Leia

Thursday I was nervous. Like really nervous. People online were stressing out about the expo merchandise and so was I. Was I going to get to Anaheim in time to get the expo items I wanted and still be able to pick up my bibs? I was worried about lines, I was worried about logistics. I was worried. And it hurt me. I was experiencing the whole “stomach doing flip flops” thing until we got to Anaheim. And it didn’t help me that we left later than I wanted to. I wanted to leave at 12:30/1pm but we didn’t end up getting on the road until after 2pm. It was because Tyler had laundry going in the dryer and we had lunch with our friend, Ben.

But that was all probably for the best, though I couldn’t convince myself at the time. Finally, after some gruesome 405 traffic, we got to our Best Western hotel. I started to breathe sighs of relief. I needed to. If I had gone into race day feeling the way I felt Thursday morning, my run would have been atrocious. We checked in with Kevin who was very kind and gave us great walking directions to Disneyland. We dropped our stuff at our room and headed off to the expo.

We could not have picked a better hotel. It was an easy 15 minute walk from our hotel to the Disneyland hotel (where the expo was being held) and I was even MORE relieved to see that the starting/finishing area was right outside the Disneyland hotel. The only way we would have been closer to the event was if we were camped in the parking lot. The logistics were coming together, I started seeing signs for the event, and my worry turned to giddiness pretty quickly.

We got to the expo and the first thing we did was go to the event merchandise section, which was packed. The most packed part of the house. Luckily there was no line to get in. After reading online that people had to wait almost two hours just to get into the merchandise section, I was happy to just stroll right in. Tyler and I did a round and I ended up getting a jacket and a mug. There was a hat I liked but they were sold out. It’s ok, $25 saved. I’m kind of glad I didn’t love the designs on the race shirts. It saved me a LOT of money. I knew I was getting 4 shirts with the cost of the race so I didn’t want to spend any money on things I didn’t absolutely love. The jacket and the mug cost enough and I am extremely in love with them.

From there we made our way to the bib pickup. A huge black carpet led the way to the downstairs area with the writing “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” Armed with our signed race waivers, we got in line to pick up the bibs. There was barely a line, but of course I had to go in the longest one with three ladies ahead of me. We surrendered the waivers for a bib and a race program, one for the 5K and one for the Rebel Challenge. Then we had to go take our picture for the Rebel Challenge so we couldn’t cheat. We chatted with a really sweet photographer. It felt like she was bored because she talked and talked.

After checking out the Dooney and Burke bags, we headed upstairs to pick up our race shirts. The black carpet had a nice “May the Course be with You” message on the way up. We made our way to the red carpet that led into the expo and grabbed our race shirts, 4 in total. We walked around the expo for a while. Tyler was in search of socks that fit him (which he didn’t find) and I wanted to get KT Taped up. We got to the KT tape booth. Tyler got his lower back done and I got my dress done…well, it was because I wanted my glute muscle done and couldn’t discreetly raise my dress and show my butt at the expo, so the KT Tape guy showed me where I should put the tape by putting it on my dress and I did the real application later in the privacy of my hotel room.

More walking around the expo. We discovered that the Sierra Nevada company, the company sponsoring the race, was NOT a water and beer company but rather a space exploration company, much to our humored embarrassment. I was upset to discover the Champion Star Wars themed USC shirt only came in kids sizes and Tyler was upset over the pretentiousness of the “In a Corral Far Far Away” shirt sellers. But we both got excited when it was announced that Sean Astin was about to speak on the main stage. There was barely anyone in the stage area so we grabbed a table (and some coloring paper and markers for coloring) and waited for Sean to speak.

He was a great guy, He talked about his iconic roles, how he got into running, how much he and his family love running, and his cause #Run3rd (First he runs for himself, second he runs for his family, third he runs for you or whatever cause you support!). He was gracious enough to take pictures afterwards and Tyler and I jumped in line. Tyler chatted with Sean about running and admitted that he had barely trained. Sean gave him some good advice (you’ll be excited, but don’t start off too fast!). When he learned that Tyler and I were running together he said “I just have this picture in my mind of him on the ground and you over him screaming “GET UP! YOU HAVE TO GET UP!”

Nothing could top Sean Astin, so we made our way back to the hotel. When we got back we sorted things out and laid out our clothes for the race and turned in pretty early, around 8:30pm. Well, I turned in…Tyler was playing Duck Tails when I fell asleep so I don’t know when he went to bed. I had set the alarm for 3:30am so I was happy to go to sleep. I was feeling relaxed and ready. And excited of course!

It took 3:30am a long time to come. I slept well, but it felt like I slept for a LONG time. I woke up at 12:30am thinking it was almost time to wake up and was surprised when I saw the clock and still had 3 hours left to snooze. But it finally came and I was wide awake. I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t nervous, and I was ready to go! After eating breakfast, brushing teeth, etc, and dressing in my Chewbacca outfit it was time to head out.

It wasn’t very cold, which was nice and we walked over with another runner in a Yoda costume. Part of our walk was on the race course that we would be running soon and they already had the runner announcements going. “CAUTION. THE ROAD NARROWS AND THERE IS A SHARP TURN AHEAD,” it said over and over. Which, sure ok, we’re turning…but it’s not like we’re at risk of running off the road or anything Disney. Calm down about the sharpness of that turn…This message became a running joke for Tyler and I as there were several of these messages along the course. We would overdramatize our concern for the sharpness of the turns and Tyler would feign careening off the course because he didn’t watch out for the sharp turn.

When we got to the starting party they were just announcing that it was time to go to the corrals, so we went straight there. We were both in corral B, the second and not last corral, which was pretty exciting. It was nice to not have to worry about cramming to the front of the corral knowing that there were other corrals behind us starting later than us.

They had large TV screens set up over the corrals to show scenes from Star Wars and to show the announcers who got us pumped up for the race. R2D2 and C3PO were on stage too, though the C3PO voice actor didn’t seem like he had much energy. We watched the swinging over the trench scene from A New Hope, the “I am your father” scene from Empire, and the teaser trailer for episode 7. Then it was time to start!

Corral A was released to confetti and the Star Wars opening theme and us in corral B walked up to the start. Shortly after A started, we were released to the same confetti and Star Wars theme and we were off!

We killed the run with a 10:30/mile time. I wanted to see how fast we could go. This meant not stopping for pictures though which I was ok with; the lines were long and they weren’t characters I needed pictures with: Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, random Jedi, the Star Wars Rebels characters…It was more fun to see what people dressed as. Costumes for this race were elaborate since it was a 5K and it was untimed. People could take as long as they wanted so they went big with their costumes.

We started in the back lot of Disneyland, threw some high fives to the Third Shift janitors and made our way into Toon Town. The park was all lit up and absolutely beautiful. It was easy to run fast because everything was just so magical and exciting! Some of the rides were going with no riders which was kind of creepy and made the park look ghostly. There was Star Wars music all along the way.

We exited Disneyland through the turnstiles and headed into the back lot of California Adventure. After an underground tunnel we ran through Bug’s Life, the wharf, and Cars Land (where I was snubbed by a photographer, how rude!). It was out the front entrance and into Downtown Disney for the last leg of the race. At this point people started calling out to me. “Go Chewbacca!” which I thought was a lot of fun! There were people at Starbucks sitting outside enjoying beverages and watching us run, cheering us on.

We got quickly to the finish. Tyler wanted to sprint in but thankfully stayed behind with me. We held back a little because we were close to a group of girls and I wanted to get a good finishing photo. In the end, we finished in 34 minutes. Crazy. That pace is gonna be a LOT slower for the next two races. But I wanted to see what we were capable of.

We got our medals, were given Powerade and water, took our official race photos, grabbed our goodie box filled with

snacks. After watching a few people cross the finish line (which they were showing on a big screen over the main stage) we decided to walk back to the hotel to catch breakfast. It was about 6:40am at this time.

We changed quickly and got breakfast, came back, showered, and CRASHED. We were both so tired. We slept until about 12:30pm and made a quick run to Wal Mart and lunch (delicious tacos from La Linda Michoacan) and came back to the hotel. I crashed again! I think I only spent 8 hours awake. I was so tired. I figured it was ok to indulge in the sleep because it was better to do that than be miserable at the next two races.

#5k #chewbacca #disney #disneyland #expo #race #run #rundisney #running #starwars

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