November 14, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap

Saturday we awoke excited and nervous for our first night race - Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon. With loads of time before the race, we reviewed all the race materials, organized our clothes and fuel, and pinned on our bibs.  Of course we also spent time trying to sleep (Christine got an A for this, and Pam flunked with a D!). We hydrated and ate small meals (omelet, turkey sandwich, and bananas) as recommended by Jeff Galloway at the runDisney meet up on Friday.  We watched television and played cards and tried to stay busy!

At 6:00 pm, we dressed in our race outfits and got our bags ready to take on the bus. We each brought a bag to check that held a change of clothing, cell phone and our gift cards for the Food and Wine after party.
Ready to go!
At this point, we were anxious and ready to get on the bus.  We chatted with the gals in our group as everyone finished getting ready and at around 7:15ish, we headed to the bus stop.  We snapped a quick photo and then hopped on a bus a few, short minutes later.  
At the bus stop at Caribbean Beach Resort
We arrived at ESPN with about 2 hours until the race would start. As at all Disney races, there was a lively DJ and photo ops with Mickey and Minnie (lines were too long for us).  The nice thing about ESPN WWOS was there was plenty of space to spread out on a nice large grassy area.  We settled in with our group of 6 and enjoyed the music and people/costume watching!  Soon enough it was time to head to our corral and we made a less than quick porta potty stop and proceeded to corral B.  Before long, the announcer called for the A corral start and shortly after B was called to approach the start.  With the usual, but always wonderful firework sendoff we were finally running our first night race!
Photo courtesy of runDisney
The start was very crowded and we worked to get past what seemed to be slow runners for corral B.  Our goal was to be under 10:30 for the first few miles, and that did not happen for mile one.  We picked up our pace at mile 2 with the crowd thinning just a bit and then by mile 3 we hit our stride and were carrying out our race plan.  

At the mile 3 water stop, I was just a bit ahead of Christine, drank my water and proceeded through the area thinking she was right behind me.  Wrong.  We became separated and I thought she was still behind so I waited at the large curve in Animal Kingdom that was well lit for about one minute.  We didn't have a plan for how to handle a separation and didn't have phones so we had no way to communicate.  Now I was getting concerned that either she stopped altogether or I had just missed her and she was up ahead.  Finally, I heard from another runner that she was way ahead of me and I immediately started picking up the pace to try to catch her. 

From Christine's perspective, she felt pretty confident that I was behind her so she trudged along and stopped at least 3 times to tell volunteers or cast members to look for a similarly dressed lady and tell her that she was running ahead.  At mile 6, she resigned that she was running the race alone and tried to get back on track, mentally speaking.
Action shot in Animal Kingdom (Dino Land)
Miles 6-9 went by very quickly for both of us.  There were some neat floats and lights from the Main Street Electrical Parade that were nice distractions along the route towards Hollywood Studios.  I had to hit a pretty quick pace to make up time, as she was running about 10:15mm for this stretch (which I obviously didn't know at the time).

Miraculously, we were reunited at mile 10 in Hollywood Studios when I finally was able to run down Christine.  We exchanged an awkward hug while running and some triumphant tears and smiles.  We took a quick walk break because I was exhausted from running so hard for the past 4 miles.  Christine needed some help gunning to the finish so I was her pace car for the last 3 miles.

Running through the Osbourne lights was a spectacle like no other.  It was an amazing experience and just the lift we needed to get to the finish.
Very blurry, but this is sort of what it felt like from the running point of view, although in the method of full disclosure, this photo is from the next night since we didn't do mid-race photos.
Once we exited Hollywood Studios, we turned for the Boardwalk, which was a welcome distraction until we made it into EPCOT.  We passed tons of cheering spectators and loads of great signs.
On the Boardwalk
Then we hit the back entrance of EPCOT, looped through part of the World Showcase, past Spaceship Earth and out the side toward the finish.  Once we turned a corner, there was fog and this amazing laser show which was a nice, momentary distraction.  Christine eagerly spied the finish line and we turned on the gas, crossing hand in hand! 

Happy with a new PR and finishing together!
Christine was thrilled with an 8min+ PR, but was feeling a little woozy so we took it easy at the finish, grabbing some Powerade and moving slowly towards the changing tents.  We noticed a handsome gentleman in his military uniform holding a giant bouquet of red roses.  We later learned that he surprised his wife at the finish.  I am so incredibly grateful that Disney helped arrange such a magical homecoming for them. These are the kind of things keep me going back. 
Showing off our bling in EPCOT!
After changing, we headed into EPCOT to enjoy the "runner's night out", aka the after party.  We obviously headed to my favorite ride - Soarin' and were pleasantly surprised to walk right onto the front row.  With gift cards in hand, we headed into the World Showcase and snagged a beef empanada and red wine (Cabernet) in Argentina.  Then we meandered to Mexico to meet up with the rest of our group and ordered tacos (shrimp for Pam and beef for Christine) and a strawberry lime margarita.  We did the boat ride in Mexico, went on Soarin' one last time and headed for the buses back to Caribbean Beach.  It was 3:50AM at this point and we were definitely fading!!

We'll have some more details on the rest of our trip and the logistics of the weekend in future posts.

(Pam)

14 comments:

  1. This post makes me so excited to run Disney in January! Glad you had a blast :-)

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    1. You will love the race in January. Hope we get to meet you!

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  2. Great post! I've only heard great things about the disney runs and the photos look great! Congrats and you look so cute in those outfits! :D

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  3. Congrats to Christine on the PR! I don't think I'll ever PR a night race, it's just too hard to get my legs really going at 10pm! And how cool was running through the Osbourne lights?? I've never even seen then fully up so I was totally blown away when I turned the corner and saw them!

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    1. I was nervous about a night race, but we basically hung out all day, resting and relaxing so I found my legs were fine. Agree that the Osbourne lights were fabulous....best part of the race, especially since we had just reconnected!

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  4. Oh I adore the pink polka dot skirts!! So cute! <3 spa love

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    1. Thanks Jenna, We love the Sparkle skirts, the tech ones in particular!

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  5. Great recap!! I can't believe you found each other among 14,000 people! I always have my phone on me in case I get separated :) Big congrats Christine on the PR...that's amazing! So great to finally meet both of you this weekend...it was a blast.

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    1. Sarah, Thanks for the congrats. I am very proud of Christine, especially since we were separated. Once I knew she was up ahead around mile 6, I ran as fast as I could to catch her! So pleased we could enjoy the Osborne Spectacle of Lights together!

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  6. Sounds so fun! Congrats to both for strong finishes!

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  7. Awesome! I'm tearing up, glad you got to cross the finish line together!! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thanks, we never considered that we could be separated at a race. We definitely will have a plan in place for future races at Disney!

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  8. Thank you so much for having this post!!! My friend and I are coming down in 2 weeks to run this years Wine and Dine and it is the first half for us both! I am so excited and also super nervous! Reading through all you have posted is so helpful and makes me even more pumped to get there.

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    1. Hope we will get to meet you Jenna! So glad the information was useful. You will really enjoy the race weekend and being at WDW!

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