18 December, 2012

Race Recap: Wine & Dine Half Marathon

In between stuffing our faces at the Food & Wine Festival (where we yet again were able to taste something from EACH of the 29 booths!), we had a half marathon to run!

Since the race was on Saturday night, we took our time getting ready in the morning and then headed over to Animal Kingdom for a late brunch at Tusker House.  First we had to go make friends though at the Affection Section petting zoo.  Meet Maverick, named after Tom Cruise's character in Top Gun.  Of course, since it's my favorite movie ever, I had to get a pic with him.  And don't make fun of me too much for that confession!  

Maverick and I...Goose wasn't friendly

So a little secret for all breakfast/lunch buffet options around the World?  If you make a really late breakfast, say 10:45 or 11am, you'll have a chance to eat both breakfast AND lunch when they switch over the menus around 11:30. To say we all stuffed ourselves silly was an understatement!  I wasn't hungry for the entire rest of the day!


I got comments on this shirt all day!  Had to represent Jersey after Hurricane Sandy! 

After a few attractions at Animal Kingdom, we called it a day and headed back to the room around 2:30.  I crashed out pretty quickly and had a fabulous nap.  Our room started waking up around 5:30 or 6 and we all slowly started getting ready for the race.  

Headed out to the race buses around 7:30 (I think) and the line wasn't too bad.  At Wide World of Sports, we caught up with a few friends, relaxed, and grabbed a photo with Mickey!  The line for Mickey was absolutely insane but there was nothing else to do so my friends waited in line and we greedily jumped in their photo.  

pic stolen from Bri

After the pic we headed over to the porta potties and waited in yet another crazy long line but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.  Plus I didn't want to stop mid-race so we sucked it up and waited.  By the time we finished, the runner waiting area was practically a ghost town but we still made it to the race start in time!  

Now, when packing for this trip, I had JUST gotten power back from the Nor'easter 10 mins prior (at 1am) so my brain was obviously not functioning correctly when it came to picking running attire for the Florida weather.  I brought shorts and tanks but it was actually chilly at the start of the race!  I remember staring at my 'throw away' clothes pile that I keep for race mornings and somehow convinced myself that I won't need any throw aways.  Well?  I was cold!  So I did what any other crazy person would do, I picked up a random sweatshirt off the ground and put it on.  :)  Kinda grosses me out thinking about it but, whatever.  I was finally warm!





Dan, Danielle, and I were all in Corral B and had talked about running together until someone decided to burst ahead or fall back.  When our race started, Dan immediately took off ahead of us (which he does every race and it's now an ongoing joke) but Danielle and I stuck together until after Animal Kingdom!






I knew I didn't want to try to PR this race (night races are never my best races!) and I wanted to take it easy enough so that I could enjoy the afterparty as much as possible.  

The first few miles went pretty quickly and effortlessly.  Mainly on highways so I kept looking forward to the characters and entertainment along the course.  Right before Animal Kingdom we saw the elite runners run by in the opposite direction so we had to scream and cheer for Anton, who was on his way to winning his 3rd straight Wine & Dine!  

Animal Kingdom was awesome to run through, like always, and it's awesome seeing that park at night!  My camera took the WORST photos in the parks so I refuse to post them.  This is the only one that came out semi-decent in AK.  Those huge tusks that they've been using since the first time they had the race!



Right out of Animal Kingdom is when I lost Danielle.  I knew she was ahead of me but I couldn't muster up the energy to sprint ahead to catch up.  She thought I was ahead of her so she sped up even more.  Considering she finished well ahead of me, I think we would have lost each other at some point later down the road anyways!

Back on the highway, I just chugged along.  There were a few characters along the way and bands but I didn't stop for any.  The green army man was also in his normal spot on the way to Hollywood Studios barking out orders, which always makes me laugh.  He's awesome!

Hitting Hollywood Studios, I knew the race was almost over.  I was feeling pretty good but running at a much slower pace than I had planned or even considered.  Really wasn't bummed about it at all though and just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere.  When passing Toy Story, I decided to quickly jump into the restrooms over there and take a quick pit stop.  The stop (and relief!) allowed me to finally pick up the pace a little bit after that.




I had to definitely stop though when I turned the corner at Streets of America and saw the Osbourne Lights.  They are stunning every time I see them, and this is the first Wine & Dine that they were 100% complete!  All the prior years, they were only half lit since it was so early in the season.  It seriously takes your breath away.  



At some point towards the end of Hollywood Studios, or just after, I ran into my friend Marc.  It was great to see a familiar face so we ran the remainder of the race with each other and chatted the whole way.  Helped get those last 2 miles out of the way quickly!

The finish line was set up pretty cool this year, with a whole laser show going on above our heads and everything.  I SWORE I took a photo or two of the finish but it's not on my camera at all.  Camera fail.  :(  Marc and I totally misjudged where the finish line was so we started sprinting WAY too early and both of us konked out and had to slow down before the real finish line.

After crossing the finish line, Marc and I tried to make our way through the runners area as quickly as possible.  Grabbed some water and the snack box that they were giving out, plus tried to decide on which alcohol I wanted!  They had basic beer (think Bud or Bud Light), Skinnygirl margaritas, and sangria in a drinkable pouch.  Thought the margarita might be refreshing so I grabbed one.  Umm... it was vile, but then again...I usually don't like other skinnygirl items so not sure what I was thinking.  Tossed that after one sip and decided to save my alcohol consumption for something I actually pay for.



We accidentally ran into the rest of the group by the changing areas so I rushed into the changing tent and put on dry clothes as fast as possible.  We trekked towards Epcot's main entrance and it was slight chaos because security was checking bags, but not efficiently.  People finally just started walking around them and bypassed the line.




Love the cranberry bog guys!


For the first time after a half marathon, I was STARVING!  I wanted to eat and drink everything in sight.  Probably because I didn't push and kill myself running but that was totally fine with me.  I grabbed some food at the Greece kiosk and plopped ourselves down on the ground to wait for the rest of the gang.  After meeting up with more of the gang, we meandered (and hobbled) over to the England Pavilion to get a celebratory drink, and some cheese.

I look scared but I swear I'm excited for my Strongbow! 

And some yummy cheeeeese

We stayed in England for a little bit and tried to catch up with more friends.  Then we finally decided to make a move towards France.  Luckily from the corner of my eye, I saw Remy!  Danielle was giddy (she LOVES Remy) so we all ran over to get some photos with the rodents.  



I'm proud to say that we actually stayed until 4am and closed out the party.  Last year was brutal to stay up until 3am but for some reason most of us felt pretty good this time around!  We just took our time and meandered...and ate.  I know there were a few other items I ate at the party but my photo motivation was a little weak at that hour.

Even though it's never my best race in terms of running, this is still one of my all time favorite race weekends. When you mix a great race with some great food, great friends, and a great afterparty?  Success!  I know I was hesitant when I heard that runDisney bumped the weekend from late September to early November but I think it was a good move.  The brutal heat in September is absolutely crazy and now we can enjoy the cooler temps.  The only thing I can complain about?  Since it was the last weekend of the festival, many of the booths with the unique beers had run out and weren't getting any more in stock.  This made the Beers and Ears runners a little sad.

runDisney continues to improve the race weekend every year so I don't have any words of wisdom or complaints in that department.  I know some people mentioned that they wished there were more characters along the course but that's a common complaint for every race weekend.  Pretty sure runDisney doesn't have a whole lot of say in that department, unfortunately.

Definitely looking forward to running Wine & Dine for the 4th straight year in 2013!





16 comments

  1. Yeah! I had SO much fun at Wine & Dine this year. So glad we managed to stay at the after party until 4am and you spotted Remy for me! Totally my favorite post-race photo ever! Yeah for rodents!

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    1. Now I'll always be on the lookout for Remy!

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  2. Nice recap, and lots of good photos, too. I enjoy reading your race recaps. :)

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  3. I love taking the train out to the Affection Section! That must have been awesome to run through the Osborne lights! I'm so impressed you made it until 4 a.m. Congrats on another half!

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    1. Thank you :) We always like to go to Rafiki's Planet Watch early in the morning to see what medical procedures they're going to do on the animals that day. Very cool!

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  4. Wow, I'm slow, they were completely out of Skinny Girl Margaritas by the time I crossed the finish line. This was a great recap! It made me "homesick" for it and can't wait to do it again!

    I also know what you mean about the out of stock beers. I had my heart set on this Chocolate Sam Adams beer (2 of my favorite things together at last) and my heart broke when I got to the front of the line and they said they were out of it :(

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    1. They were out of a lot at the finish line for us too! And as for the beers at the festival? We wanted to try that grapefruit beer since everyone raved about it but it was out weeks prior. Sad :(

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  5. I loved your review! I am running the wine and dine half marathon in 2013! I am a little anxious about the evening run, I haven't done any yet. We'll see how it goes. I will be running the Tinkerbell Half Marathon one month from today!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! Just take your time and enjoy it. Night racing is a totally different ball game than morning races. It's hard for me to push myself that much that late at night.

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  6. Great race recap Jenn. I know what you mean about night races. If I run this again in the future I will just run it for fun. I thought the green army man was way too PC this year. He was too positive, but always fun to see. Good luck with your Goofy.

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    1. Thanks, Bill! Definitely think the green army man could be a little meaner, I'll see how he is during the full this year!

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  7. So not to sound like a total creeper but I'm pretty sure I went in Animal Kingdom Lodge that weekend and saw you and started having a celebrity moment. :P

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    1. Haha, you should have come and said hello! I promise I'm not too mean :)

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  8. I came across your blog after I googled "runDisney bloggers" needless to say I am very happy I found yours! Your posts are so real and informative. I am running my very first half marathon this year and its Disney's Wine and Dine. I cannot thank you enough for your posts; they are beginning to ease my anxiety of running this race by myself.

    Thanks for blogging and adding to my inspirations!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! So glad you found the blog! Hope you have a great race at Wine & Dine, I enjoy it every year. If you see me around the parks, be sure to say hello! And let me know if you have any questions!

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