Friday, November 14, 2014

Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap Part 2: Race and Finish Line Party

Yesterday, I recapped my experiences from the expo leading up to the start of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World this past weekend!  Let's pick up right where we left off with the start of the race.
When it was time for my corral to start, I took off the trashbag poncho I was wearing and realized the full extent of the rain.  It wasn't pouring, but it was a steady rain.  I was nervous to run in the rain (as I've never done it before), but we were off and I had 13.1 miles to run through the parks of Disney World!

After leaving ESPN's Wide World of Sports (they were blasting the ESPN theme music as we left that area--so fun!), we headed toward Animal Kingdom.  I ran for about 7 minutes at the start of the race to let the crowd thin out and the course to widen before starting my 3/1 run/walk intervals.

The first 5K was kind of a boring stretch, as we just ran along Osceola Parkway toward Animal Kingdom.  They did have a DJ with a sweet light-up car along the way, and there was a character stop with the Country Bears (though they walked away as I was running by).  I'm sure the rain changed the plans for the entertainment along the way, so that wasn't really anything Disney could control.

After reaching the 5K mark, we made our way in to Animal Kingdom!  I have never actually been to this park, so I was really excited to run through it.
There was jungle-themed music playing over the speakers and a few characters along the way.  I stopped to get my picture taken with Timon, since Lion King is one of my favorite Disney movies!
The one downside in Animal Kingdom: the course got VERY narrow.  There wasn't a lot of room to get around slower people, and I felt bad doing my walking intervals while in such a tight spot.  We all kept moving the best we could, but I did enjoy checking everything out in the park!

Leaving AK (about the 10K mark), we headed back down Osceola Parkway toward Hollywood Studios.  Another boring stretch of race, but again, I know the rain probably changed some of the planned entertainment along the course.

Around mile 8, they had the Toy Soldier from Toy Story there encouraging the runners.  It was the perfect spot, as we were running up an overpass and right about the point where most of us hit a wall.  He did the same thing during Princess, so the encouragement was welcomed!
From this year's Princess Half
I was really excited to get in to Hollywood Studios!  I knew it was the last 1/3 of the race, and they had a lot of cool stuff in there.
The sorcerer's hat was lit up really cool, and they had a DJ playing music and encouraging us as we ran by.  They also had a tunnel set up with disco balls and music that we ran through.  I couldn't help but dance!  But, to top it all off, we got to run through a pretty spectacular display of Christmas lights!
I've read multiple accounts of this race talking about how awesome the Osbourne Family Lights were, and they were anything but wrong!  It was pretty breath-taking, and I enjoyed looking at all the lights and dancing to the Christmas music running through that part of the course.
We then exited Hollywood Studios and began running toward the Boardwalk area.  This was another highlight of the course!  It was a little tight, but we ran by some water and some of the gorgeous Disney resorts.  Everything was lit up, and it was just beautiful!
Before I knew it, we were in Epcot running toward the finish.  I'd finally completed Half Marathon the rain....while 19 weeks pregnant!
I finished with a time of 2:55:17.  Not my best by any means, BUT I never go in to Disney races expecting a competitive time.  I'm just looking for having fun on the course, and I certainly did that!
After getting through the finisher's area, which was a logistical nightmare, I made my way in to Epcot and met up with Joe for the Finish Line Party!
We rode a few rides and sampled some of the food at the International Food and Wine Festival.  We stopped by Hawaii and Scotland before deciding it was time to go home.  Just FYI: the potato pancake with smoked salmon at the Scotland both was DELICIOUS!  Before heading home, we made a stop in to ride Spaceship Earth (the ride in the big ball) and had a fun little photo op afterward.
So funny!  I'm glad Joe convinced me to go on that ride--I had no idea they did those funny photos at the end!

Some final thoughts about the Wine and Dine Half:
  • The course was GREAT!  I loved running through 3 parks instead of just 2 at the Princess Half.
  • It's hard to prep for a nighttime race--I had to stop at the porta-potties 3 different times during this race.  I didn't know how much water to drink throughout the day, and I'm sure being pregnant didn't help that situation!
  • I was so thankful that I brought my short-sleeved tech shirt and a hat to wear to keep myself warm and dry.  The hat (which I brought thanks to recommendations from the Team #runDisney Facebook group) kept the rain out of my eyes and helped hold some of my heat in, and the tech shirt kept me warm by keeping dry (for the most part) the tank top I was wearing underneath.  The other clutch rain gear: non-cotton socks.  I wore the Feetures! I received at the ZOOMA Chicago Half expo, and they kept my feet dry despite running through puddles the whole race!
  • I'm sure it was just the rain, but the finish line was a mess.  Normally, Disney has the logistics down pat, but it took forever to get my checked gear bag!  Plus, when I got it, the jeans I brought to change in to were wet.  I know there were a lot of us, but the Princess Half finish was much more smooth (and there were about 12,000 more runners at Princess!).  Also, I didn't even mess with the free beverage area!  I was going to get my free drink and give it to Joe, but it was such a mob scene, that I just left to go ahead and get in to my (semi) dry clothes.
Despite the rain, I loved this race!  I'm thinking I might have to do it again next year to get the full experience of wine and (hopefully) no rain :)

Question for you: Have you ever run a race in the rain?  Or a night race?  What Disney character would you have to stop for if you saw them along the course?


  1. Thanks for the re-cap! I did my first Disney race this year (the Tower of Terror 10 miler) and I'm thinking of doing Wine and Dine next year so the reviews really help :)

    1. Glad you found it helpful! I REALLY enjoyed this half marathon course at Disney and recommend it over the course for the WDW Half Marathon/Princess Half course!

  2. Looks like an awesome experience, despite the rain. I can't wait to see the Osborne lights for the first time next month. I'm so glad that despite the rumors that last year was the last year for them that they're back this year!