Posts Tagged by Star Wars Rebel Challenge

Star Wars Rebel Challenge – Running Two Races Back to Back

I don’t know about you, but it has been SO exciting to watch John’s running journey over the past few months as he has become quite the experienced distance runner.  In January, he took on his most difficult challenge yet, the Rebel Challenge!  Let’s just say that it was an accomplishment of galactic proportions! 


When I first signed up for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge, I wasn’t thinking about the distance, duration, time, or training. I was thinking “lookie, cool medals!”.   The logistics of running a 10k followed by a half marathon hadn’t really entered my mind. After all, I had already run several 10k’s, and had completed my first half marathon (Avengers). And my time was pretty good, coming in at roughly 9:30-9:45 per mile. Needless to say, I was starting to feel a bit smug. In fact, I didn’t even get too serious about training until about 4 weeks prior. After all, I kept telling myself I was in good form from the Avengers Half Marathon. What could possibly go wrong?


It didn’t help that I was feeling pretty good the day of the Star Wars 10k. The weather was cold and brisk, which I new could help keep my core temperature down. There were also several other Cast Members, family, and close friends running, which made the morning a welcome homecoming.

Before I new it, we were off!   I’ve seen backstage many times, but experiencing it with lights and music cheering runners on was invigorating. Cast donned Mickey Mitts cheering us on, while big screen boards flashed messages of encouragement. Transitioning to onstage areas was even more exciting: passing by the Sleeping Beauty Castle, running down Main Street, through the Esplanade, and Buena Vista Street were all accompanied with a sense of excitement and wonder, with Star Wars characters such as Stormtroopers and Jedi in strategic photo spots.

Before I knew it, I was crossing Disneyland Drive, nearing the finish line, the course lined with cheering Cast and Guests. An announcer called out participant names as they crossed. I picked up my speed, crossed the finish line, and heard the name of … Sean Astin! We ended up finishing the race at the same time. If I was going to be upstaged, it was nice to be upstaged by a Goonie. And my finish time? 54:16, for a pace of 8:44 per mile. A new personal record for any event!


The next day came the Half Marathon. Same start location, same excitement. This time, just after starting, a runner clipped me and I did a graceful tumble into the plants along Disneyland Drive. With just a scraped knee, only my pride was wounded, I instantly jumped up to get back into the race. Even though I had just experienced the backstage and onstage course, it was no less exciting.

This time, after winding through the Parks, the course emptied onto Harbor Blvd, headed due south, took a turn on Garden Grove Blvd, wandered through Old Towne Garden Grove, and then turned back north on Harbor. Just before turning left on Katella (about mile 9), the previous day’s run finally start to take its toll, as aches began to kick in. Although slowed, I wasn’t deterred, as the course continued down Katella and right on Disneyland Drive, finishing in Downtown Disney just past ESPN Zone. I crossed the finish line at 2:07:19 (9:43 per mile). I felt slightly dismayed, since my Avengers Half Marathon time was two seconds faster at 9:41 per mile. But my dismay was short lived when I received the Rebel Challenge medal for a total of 19.3 miles run.


There were a few lessons I learned:

1 – Rest after the 10k. Don’t go home and do gardening or chores, just because you feel invincible. It’s just the adrenaline talking.

2 – Eat plenty, but eat right. Sure, you just carb loaded, but your body just burned off all those calories. Replenish that stored energy, but also give your body protein.

3 – Rest. Yeah, you just got a spiffy medal, but you’re not done. You’ll still need to rest and decompress. You can’t party quite yet.

4 – Don’t compare. This was a big one for me. Running a half by itself it not the same as running a half after a 10k. You’re not going to perform the same way. Be okay with it.

5 – Enjoy it. Even if you’re like me, and run for time, there’s so much more to a race than getting to the finish line. Enjoy the Characters, the Cast cheering you on, the bands, the police offers, the spectators, and the countless volunteers that you’ll see along the course. They’re there because they’re supporting you. Let them.

Next Year: the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge. Who among you will be joining me?

RADically Yours,



John grew up in the Orange County area of California, always living in the shadow of the Disneyland Resort.  Known as the consummate storyteller to his friends, he has had an admiration of Disney since childhood, and is most interested in the Company’s history and heritage.  His favorite memory to date is setting foot in Walt’s apartment over the Main Street Firehouse.  John lives by what he calls the three F’s: faith, fun, and fitness.   Being healthy isn’t about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years.  Nothing sums that up more than making Disney races a goal in every fitness plan.

Transformation Tuesday: Crystal Wiseheart

I think Crystal’s story will resonate with a lot of people.  Stress is a big trigger as to why people gain weight and understandable so.  It’s how those people get out of the slump that inspires us….I’ll let Crystal and her abs tell you that story 🙂



I started with Disney races a little different than some people.  I started as a volunteer.  After being average weight most of my life, in 2006 our family went through some very stressful times with my than 6 year old son.  Basically 4 months of waiting for biopsy results, surgery, etc.  I didn’t handle any of it well to say the least and I turned to food for comfort during that time.  I gained 40 lbs in 4 months!

Being a huge Disney fan I had heard about the Inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon and I decided it would be fun to volunteer.  I was so inspired by the people out there of all shapes and sizes doing that race that I decided in 2007 I was going to do the 5K and work my way up to the Half.  Unfortunately I didn’t make the changes I needed to and by summer 07 I reached my highest weight of 210 lbs.  I was miserable and now I had to do a 5K totally untrained.  After completing the Disneyland 5K that year I vowed to work on my health so I could come back and do the Half.  I actually lost about 30 lbs and kept it off from late 2008 – 2010.  During that time I walked many Half marathons and also did my first Marathon (WDW 2009) and first Goofy Challenge (2010).


In Spring 2010 during a routine physical my doctor told me that my blood pressure was a concern.  It had been borderline for some time and she wanted me to take medication.  All I could think about was my boys.  My sons are both severely autistic and will need care well into their adult lives.  I did not want to do anything that could prevent me from being there to care for them for as long as possible.  So I knew I needed to make changes and get the other 50 lbs off.  I’d like to say I had that “a-ha” moment and did the work but it didn’t go that smoothly for me.  For the remainder of 2010 I struggled with yo-yoing back and forth and could never keep my weight down.


In early 2011 I finally got real about my relationship with food.  I could no longer use it to comfort me.  I needed to address the real issue that I worked out solely so I could eat!  So I totally changed my eating at that point.  Got rid of the junk in my house and loaded up on the healthy foods that I enjoyed eating.  After about a month of that, I was ready to find an exercise plan that would really make a difference for me.  As much as I enjoyed walking, it just wasn’t cutting it physically anymore.  So one early morning I saw an infomercial for a workout called Turbo Fire.  I was hooked!  I had to have this!  So I got Turbo Fire and sprung for the deluxe set (which was a 20 week program!) and dug in!  From April 2011 to Nov 2011 I did that program and lost 50 lbs!


With the weight gone and my fitness and health back on track, I started running more during the runDisney races.  Every race my time would improve just a little more.  I went from walking marathons to running marathons.  Definitely a proud moment for this one time couch potato!


I made it my mission to try to inspire others to take charge of their health.  Since the at home workouts helped me so much, I decided to become an Independent Team Beachbody Coach so I could help others reach their fitness goals as well.  In January 2014 I took it one step further and became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer so I could help even more.


Never in my life would I have thought that volunteering at the Disneyland Half could turn into a whole new life for me and my family.  I am blessed beyond measure and only hope to pay it forward.

About Crystal:  I’m a 40 year old married mother of 2 teen boys.  I work from home helping people with their health and fitness as an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  My online site is  I’m currently training for several runDisney races including my second Dopey Challenge followed by the new Star Wars Rebel Challenge.


Has running at Disney helped to transform your life?  If so, I want to hear your story!  Send me an email at to be featured on an upcoming Transformation Tuesday!

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