Monday, January 28, 2013

Lupe's Neverland Race Report

Submitted by Lupe Steele @LupeSteele

A year to the day after Sean came up with his goal and mission statement for #Run3rd, I found myself enjoying the ambiance and relishing in the grandiose splendor of Disneyland. Over the past year we have created a movement that has become global, and I’ve created wonderful bonds with those who share the #Run3rd vision. It was only fitting that our movement would be celebrating its one year anniversary at the Happiest Place on Earth. And before you could say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the happy just kept on coming when I learned that Sean Astin, our Captain of Captains, would also be running in the Neverland 5K and the TinkerBell Half Marathon.

Fortuitously, the run was also scheduled on my 38th birthday, which was the reason I initially chose to run the Neverland 5K. My 6 year old son, who enjoys running around in circles and straight lines, would get the chance to take his running show on the road and run alongside his mommy at Disneyland. Not bad for a birthday weekend if I say so myself.

Throughout the week, the #Run3rd community submitted such touching dedications, comments, and wishes. It was an honor to run on behalf of everyone’s contributions. It was a wonderful feeling knowing the whole #Run3rd community has ran hundreds and hundreds of miles to support each other.  A feeling of unity for the causes of others is a touching reminder of our enduring human kindness.

The early morning of the Neverland 5K started off like any other morning: I slightly rubbed my eyes, yawned and stretched my arms with a big smile on my face as bright-eyed forest animals serenaded me outside my window (just kidding, I didn’t rub my eyes).  It was time to get my run on. I hopped out of bed and suited up! I had my son decked out in his Peter Pan gear and we were off… at 4:30am. I was gushing with glee while my son was in and out of consciousness, seemingly exhibiting a new talent for sleep walking that I had not seen before. That’s my boy!

As usual, Disneyland did not disappoint. The park was brightly lit up and the starting line was just alongside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I reckon she was getting some beauty sleep in her Castle, but was probably interrupted once the race started up. Tinker Bell flew into the Castle, set off some fireworks, and we were off! As with many races, it took a while before the crowd began to get to a smooth running/jogging pace. Many stopped to take photos with Disney characters. Like a deer caught in headlights, I was mesmerized by the lights of the Small World ride and fell into the trap of just gazing at all the lights. But unlike a deer caught in headlights, I snapped out of it and took some pictures. My photos didn’t come out as clear as I hoped, but it was a sight of beauty… trust me. The sun came up as we ran past mile 2 and under the tunnel that led us to the California Adventure theme park. We ran past the Hollywood Tower toward Paradise Pier and down the boardwalk to the finish line. I was smiling the whole time, jamming to Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” We arrived at the finish line, but that was a bit anti-climactic. It was crowded.  On the upside, my relatives from Southern California joined me at the race as well so it was wonderful to see them and share in the experience. Once we were ushered out of the park I met up with my family and we made our way into Disneyland to spend my birthday at the park. The day was made even sweeter when my family and I met with Sean “Oh Captain, my Captain” Astin. It was great to meet him and his family!

I am proud to wear my Neverland 5k medal, but I’m already looking ahead to next year to claim my loot: the Tinker Half medal. I was proud to support my fellow Captains Heather Stewart and Sean the following day, and was envious at all the fun they were having as I watched from the sidelines freezing my toosh in the morning So Cal coldness. Next year I shall return… Oh yes… I shall.

To all my fellow #Run3rd Captains: Thank you for all your support during my runs this year. May we continue to make our runs count and run/walk longer and faster than we have before! I look forward to running with all of you next year for #Run3rd! Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. amazing! I should have signed up for that race too! Next year!