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Race Recap: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Race Recap: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Okay, here it is! A recap of my first runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon experience!

Was it an AMAZING time? Absolutely. But I did run into several issues…as is always the case with me, it seems. :)

After running the 5K earlier that morning (recap here, in case you missed it!), my family and I spent some time touring Animal Kingdom before heading back to our resort for a quick nap. Normally, I don’t allow napping of any kind on a Disney vacation, but since the Finish Line Party at Epcot would run until 4am, I figured it was a necessity! We grabbed something to eat at the resort (pizza, for me) and I caught the bus for the starting line at ESPN Wide World of Sports. My spectators went directly to Epcot to hang out until the race was over.

As I made my way into the starting line area, I immediately went in search of character photo opportunities. I really, really wanted a picture with Chef Mickey, since I was dressed like this and all:

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It took several minutes, but I finally found the end of the line…which stretched on and on and ON. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life seen a line that long! We were told to be on the buses by 8pm, and it was just about 7:45pm now, so I figured I had nothing better to do for 2 hours — why not stand in line?

The time flew by pretty quickly (runDisney is great about pre-race entertainment), and by 9:15, I was getting close to the front of the line! Finally! I figured with 45 minutes to go and the corrals being LITERALLY right there (no long walks for this race, which was nice), I’d have no trouble getting my picture.

Well, a few minutes later, Chef Mickey decided to go on a little break with the rest of his friends (there were separate lines for Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, etc.)…and they never came back. I was freakin’ PISSED. I had been on my feet for well over 90 minutes, right before a half marathon, and I got the privilege of taking a picture with…a wall.

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Everyone who was still standing in line pretty much went ballistic — especially the runners who were next! If they knew the characters would be leaving so early, there should have been a line cut-off. Disney is usually the expert at that kind of crowd control, so I was really surprised…and very disappointed.

I should probably mention that prior to the night of the race, I had been having some issues with my feet. As we walked around Epcot on Thursday sampling the fine cuisines from the International Food and Wine Festival, and then walking around Hollywood Studios the next day, and Animal Kingdom all morning, I noticed some foot pain that I don’t usually get just from walking. Don’t get me wrong, touring the Disney parks can be tough on your feet, but it’s usually just minor soreness that goes away by the following morning. This was far worse than that.

Now, of course it was my choice to be a moron and stand in line for almost 2 hours for a character photo opportunity, but I figured I’d suck it up for the race, ignore my aching feet, and have a good time. But I later discovered the real culprit. I like to wear my New Balance runDisney sneakers while walking around the parks during a Disney race-cation, but unfortunately, they really aren’t the best fit for me (I have a really wide foot, and only certain brands/styles will accommodate them!) So I have a feeling that the shoes were what did me in this time, because as soon as I switched to my boring old walking sneakers later in our trip, the pain got a lot less severe. Lesson learned.

Anyway, me and my achy feet squeezed into Corral D shortly before the release of the first wave of runners. I know they requested for us to be in our corrals by 9:15, but I really saw absolutely no reason for it in this case. There were tons of corrals this time, and I didn’t have until any trouble getting to the starting line. Before I knew it, they set off our fireworks, and it was time to go!

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By the time I finished the first mile, I knew I was in for a real treat. My feet were already throbbing. Otherwise, I felt pretty good, given the fact that I’ve never run at night before — not even in training runs. But I knew I had done it this time…I was going to have to make it through the next 12.1 miles on achy, burning, cramping feet.

As per my usual M.O., I did my best to ignore the physical discomfort, and it wasn’t long before I started spotting characters! I passed up jumping in line for the Country Bears (really, really not a fan of them, haha) and Fantasia characters, but as we made our way into Animal Kingdom, I thought I’d get some of the pictures I missed earlier that morning. 743182-1002-0008s

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I was especially excited to see Timon!

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It was around this time that I looked down at my Garmin and noticed that I was actually running quite a bit faster than I anticipated. Given the humidity that evening, and the fact that my feet were killing me and I hadn’t exactly been sticking to my normal pre-race diet, I was shocked to see that I was maintaining close to my usual half marathon pace.

I also noticed that all the characters I had seen thus far has absolutely no wait, or just a few people in line (5 or less), so I thought I’d see just how quickly I could go in between characters. I even managed to see the pirates — always a huge line — within 2 minutes.

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My secret goal was to beat my Disneyland Half Marathon time, which I finished in 2:45 thanks to all the character stops and the insane heat that weekend, so I figured if I kept it up, I’d have no trouble setting a new runDisney PR! :)

I was especially excited to run through Hollywood studios — again, because it would be a new experience! — and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I started to forget about my feet, which fortunately were feeling a little bit better, and now I was having fun.743225-1021-0003s

I LOVED running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I was disappointed not to spot any photographers there, so I asked a nice garbage can to take this one for me. (Let’s just say I use my camera’s self-timer rather often!)

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I also, of course, grabbed some more character pictures as we made our way through the park and into the backstage area — even Darth Vader had only a handful of people in line, and I always stop for him, since I’m a Star Wars geek. :)

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When I spotted Wreck-it-Ralph, I got super excited…I LOVE that movie!

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After exiting Hollywood Studios, I knew I had just one more park to get through before making my way to the finish. Other than my feet, I still felt pretty good, and was having an awesome time.743237-1056-0020s

We ran along the Boardwalk (gorgeous!) and back into Epcot.

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The last couple of miles flew by, and before I knew it, there was the finish line!

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The clock said 2:32, but my official finish time was 2:25. I was really happy with that given the fact that I took SO many pictures with characters and squeezed in a pit stop in Hollywood Studios.

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I’m proud that I’ve come so far since the Princess Half — it took me over three and a half hours to finish my first half marathon, and so it was exciting to see that I took just as many photos and had just as much fun along the way, but still shaved off over an hour from my finish time!

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I had my medal, and now it was time to “party.” I collected my post-race glass of wine (which was pretty horrid, sorry to say) and started to make my way to the front gate at Epcot. And good lord did my feet hurt. But little did I know that I was about to have even bigger problems to contend with.

As I was making my way back into Epcot (first, I checked for sightings of Chef Mickey, because I still really wanted that picture!) and waiting to cross over the ONE path that runners are allowed to use to cut across the race, I suddenly felt some moisture all over my left arm. I thought maybe somebody had opened up a beer and it exploded, but then I heard someone behind me say, “gross…someone just threw up…” and much to my dismay, I discovered that somebody HAD just thrown up. ALL. OVER. ME.

OHHH, THE HORROR. Let me tell you, it put a damper on my evening, to say the least. I had a minor panic attack and went to find my family — who laughed hysterically at my misfortune, I might add. I cleaned myself up, and then tried to hobble my way around World Showcase on feet that literally felt as through they were on FIRE. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that hungry, but I did treat myself to some snacks from my favorite countries (I’m Polish, and love those pierogis!)

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And, of course, I enjoyed a few cocktails — especially the frozen ones, because those tasted fabulous to me at that moment!

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My favorite part, though? The characters! In the earlier part of the evening, there were hardly any runners out and about, so I got to take pictures without waiting in any lines.

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I was especially excited to see this guy. I can’t believe it’s less than two months away!

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We made our way around World Showcase once, and by that time, all of the runners had pretty much finished the race…so the place was PACKED. You couldn’t move. I was exhausted and decided I had limped around long enough, so we headed back to get a few hours of sleep before heading to Sea World the next day.

So, in conclusion…the race was an absolute blast. Do I especially enjoy night races? Not at all…I’d much, MUCH rather wake up at 3am for an early race start time, believe it or not.

But the energy and the excitement and getting to run through three Disney parks before culminating in a party “around the world” makes for an incredible experience. IMG_2791

I absolutely loved it…and would run this race again in a heartbeat. :)

Comments

  1. OMG Jennifer, you have such a fantastic attitude! I would have lost it with the line, cried about the feet, and then just totally thrown in the towel after being thrown up on! I bet that DisneyPR was worth it though! ;)

    • Believe me, I had my moments that night! If I wasn’t at Disney, I would have LOST it. But something about that place just keeps me smiling, don’t know what it is, haha. ;)

  2. I second, Karen. You have patience of a saint. I lose it often over a lot smaller things.

    Hope something can be figured out about the crowds, because I’d like to run this race one year!

    • Haha, trust me, I lose it often — I guess just not at Disney. I will say that the fact that there were so many corrals DEFINITELY helped with the crowding on the course (as compared with Princess, Disneyland, etc.), it was just all being confined in one spot beforehand that caused issues, I think!

  3. OMG-that is SO GROSS! But I love that you were there smiling through it all. Way to go :) And I love your costume!

    • YES, tell me about it! I tried to have a sense of humor about it. TRIED being the operative word… Super gross. But the after party at Epcot was a lot of fun, so it was hard to stay in a crappy mood. And, thank you! :-D

  4. Congrats on powering through despite your foot! Looks like you had a blast. I can’t believe you got barfed on. So sorry. That’s awful. Impressed you rallied afterward!

  5. I’m very impressed you soldiered on after being thrown up on. I would’ve thrown up as well, stormed out of the park, and thrown away those clothes.

    • Haha, there was a bit of storming around, believe me, and I did end up throwing away the costume…no way was I wearing it again! If I wasn’t at Disney, I would have thrown a fit and gone home, no question about it!

  6. Oh my gosh I can’t believe someone threw up on you!!! Way to roll with the punches and still have a fun time after cleaning up. I think I would have gone back to my room and taken a shower haha.

    I love that you took self-timer photos, I never would think to do that in a race. That’s awesome :)

    Also, the fact that you ran your first half in 3 1/2 hours earlier this year gives me hope! It took me close to that in my first half (though I had some GI distress and ended up taking about 20 mins worth of breaks). I really hope to break 3 hours at Princess in Feb! Will you be there??

    • Thanks, Kristina! I’m positive that if I had not been in Disney, it really would have ruined my night…but I had to get to that Finish Line Party! :-D

      This was my first time using the self-timer during a race (we use if afterwards all the time, to capture those medal photos, haha). I was disappointed that there were not photographers near the lights, because I thought it would make an awesome photo!

      You can TOTALLY break three hours — you’ve got this! It took me so long because not only was it my first and I struggled, but because I stopped for a zillion character photos along the way, haha. YES, I will be there in Feb.! We’ll have to make a plan to meet up! :-D

  7. Awesome time with all those pictures! I can’t believe you have improved well over an hour since your first half marathon, that’s amazing!
    And you are such a trooper for being puked on and then rallying on and enjoying the rest of the night! I’m not sure I could have dealt. Good for you!

    • Aw, thanks, Danielle! I’m pretty happy with it, too, given how many photo opportunities I stopped for during both races, haha.

      If I had been anywhere else but Disney, I would have had a fit and gone home. Haha.

  8. You take the best race photos! I’m so sorry your feet gave you troubles and that someone threw up on you but it sounds like overall you had a fun race. I can’t wait until my first runDisney experience in February!

    • Thanks, Jodi! I love pictures, so, I tend to go overboard when it comes to “photo opportunities,” haha. You are going to LOVE Princess (and runDisney in general!) — I’ll be there, we’ll have to try to meet up! :-D

  9. I can relate to the vomiting, I ran the inaugural and saw more puke than should be seen after a race.

    • HAHAHA, yeah, that sounds about right! Running 13 miles and being dehydrated and then drinking all night long…a perfect storm for vomit. LOL

  10. oh my – and this is why I’m glad a volunteer grabbed me and led me to a trashcan before I threw up. I’m so sorry!!!

    Your costume is adorable and the pictures are too cute. I wish I looked that good running!

    • Oh, no! Sorry to hear you got sick. It’s all too easy for that to happen after a race, and that’s even before you throw alcohol into the mix!

      Aw, thanks — appreciate it! :-D

  11. I love your writing, Jennifer. This part – “so I asked a nice garbage can to take this one for me” – I seriously LOL’d so hard!

    Did you make your costume?! If so, pretty please post a tutorial :0) It’s adorable!! Also I LOVE all the pictures you got!! I cannot wait to run this race next year. Will you be back in 2014?

    I cannot believe you got thrown-up on! I don’t know whether to be totally grossed out, or maybe laugh a little? I mean, it’s nasty that it happened, but makes for a crazy story right?! LOL

    Loved the recap and I am glad you had so much fun!

    • Hahaha, thanks! I’m glad someone appreciates my humor. :-D

      I didn’t make the costume, sorry to say…it’s totally a store-bought costume with a few minor adjustments, and I threw a black running tank and capris underneath and called it a day. But, thank you!

      I’m not sure if I’ll be running Wine & Dine in 2014, but I REEEEEEALLY want to! I’ll keep you posted. ;)

      I know what you mean…I was totally disgusted, and yet, this does make for a funny story! LOL

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