Making it to the start line of the 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon was certainly an event that was a long time coming! Yes, it was more than a year ago when hubby agreed to run the relay with me – y’know, back when we thought that was option – but then things changed…we learned that race dates were changing to accommodate a new race (Tower of Terror 10 Miler) and in a whirlwind change of events, BOTH hubby and I were registered to run the 13.1 distance race!
So…fast forward to Saturday, November 10!
Although hubs hadn’t formally committed to a training plan (despite my efforts) he did manage to stick to a pretty regular running schedule and topped out at a 9-mile run. He had been through several pairs/styles of running shoes before deciding the Saucony Kinvara were his ‘sole-mates’ and he was ready to rock those 13.1!
Along with my beloved Brooks Pure Flow, I was decked out in full Mad Madam Mim costuming:
I ended up not wearing arm warmers (it was in the 60s) and of course, adding the signature crazy purple wig! Under the skirt, I wore my favorite lululemon shorty shorts (I had just scored a second pair at the outlet that weekend). A few people recognized the costume, but most people just said, “nice hair!” Haha, that works, too!!
So anywho, back to the race! We had boarded the 7:30ish bus over to the Wide World of Sports Complex. Hubs was apprehensive about going that early, but I told him that it was better than worrying about not getting there, on account of traffic, etc. Truth! It took us probably 35 minutes to get dropped off at the pre-race area.
After our photo, we wandered around the runner’s village area for a while and hubs grumbled a bit about being there so early…still, we made the most of it, walking around and seeing some friends around! About an hour and a half before the race, hubs needed a restroom break so we headed over for that before it was time to head into the corrals.
Once there, it was still about an hour til race start (hubs was not a fan of waiting) but runDisney kept it interesting with a DJ. We took a few pictures in the corrals before it was time to move up – and fireworks started the race! We were off! Hubby’s first half marathon – and my first pacing experience – were all systems GO!
Mile 1 – 9:49
Mile 2 – 9:24 (too fast! had to tap hubs on the shoulder and tell him to slow down)
Mile 3 – 9:40
The first few miles were kind of dark, but after a mile, it was not nearly as congested as I imagined it would be, given the size of the field (14K, I want to say). There was entertainment down Osceola parkway including a live band, speakers with energetic music, puppeteers and more! In fact, when we hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom parking lot, there was Main Street Electrical Parade Music blasting and a lit up parade float zooming around the area. LOVED that!
By this time, hubs and I had settled into a rhythm of running either side by side, or me leading by a few strides. At water stations, I’d zoom to the end (water, as Powerade was at the front) and walk a few steps with the cup and wait for hubs to run by.
Mile 4 – 9:44
The major advantage of running these runDisney events with lots of park knowledge is this: you know where all the bathrooms are! Each time we neared one, I called out to hubs to ask if he needed to stop (which, on another tangent, is another distinct advantage of runDisney events – real bathrooms).
Right before Expedition Everest, hubs took up the offer and ducked in for a restroom stop…then, we were off!
Mile 5 – 10:38 (bathroom stop)
Mile 6 – 9:34
Around this point I think was when we saw the light up piano and Chip and Dale! Had to stop for them! Luckily there was no line so I posed for the pic and jumped back into pace.
Mile 7 – 10:11(hubs was not a fan of the concrete here)
Mile 8 – 9:52
Around this point, I was getting incredibly jazzed about heading into Disney’s Hollywood Studios! It had been a long time since I had last seen the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and I was really looking forward to it!
Plus, running through DHS just felt really magical in general with all the lights (that park is so pretty at night). It was kind of neat to loop around the park through on and off-stage areas – even passing by Walt’s plane and through the Backlot tour tunnel!
Mile 9 – 10:14
Mile 10 – 9:50
Mile 11 – 10:22
At this point, I was literally floating. I was having an incredible amount of fun! I was cheering, jumping, high-fiving and pumping up the spectators like a crazy person.
I kept checking on hubs and although he looked tired, he was chugging right along! I told him that he knew where we were, we just needed to get to and through Epcot and the race would be over! I thought that would reassure him, though it honestly made me kind of sad to think the race was almost ending!
Mile 12 – 10:07
When we arrived in Epcot, I was almost crying with happiness (hubs was probably crying too…in agony, but again, he was still rocking it). We turned the last corners through Future World and out the Main Entrance area I used to walk through as a GR CM….
Mile 13 – 10:09
.1 – ?? (my Garmin measured 0.38, so I am not 100 percent)
The last bit of the race was so incredible! There were lasers set up that you ran under before the last turn to the finish line…so neat…then this:
Hubs was ready to let go of my hand pretty quickly though…haha.
OFFICIAL FINISH: 2:13:39 (Hubs) and 2:13:40 (me) - roughly a 10 min-ish pace!
We walked down the chute, collected our medals and of course, had to grab a finisher’s shot:
We then headed out to park entrance to change shirts and then head into the after party…after all, we earned it!
I was so proud of hubs for finishing the race and I can honestly say that this was the most fun I have ever had DURING a race. As I gain more experience as a runner, I have gained a greater appreciation for all aspects of the sport: and whether running competitively (against my own PRs) or for the joy of running – it’s just a happiness I cannot put into words!
Although we definitely ran positive splits – and I definitely added some extra distance to the Garmin darting around running up and back, I realized that it could be really fun to learn how to pace someone! I am going to work on feeling out different paces so I can continue this for others, possibly!!
Sadly, we had to leave back to VA within hours of finishing the race, but I wasn’t going to get too down about it – after all, in less than two months, I’ll be off on another incredible week of magical running experiences with the Walt Disney World Marathon and Tinkerbell half! Yayyy 2013 Coast to Coast!
What’s been your most memorable racing experience?