Last year, I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for the first time, and paced hubs – and had a BLAST – so when the opportunity presented itself for me to run again this year and my pal Jillian was looking to crush her PR, I felt the stars aligned and I made the arrangements to head up for a weekend of food, wine, running and fun.
J had a major sub-2 goal, but also knew that finishing was going to be a great goal because she had recently been sidelined due to injury from a car accident. We established our baseline rules (yelling at each other was okay, her health/safety was #1 since her first marathon is coming up in Jan and that, of course we’d be matchy in Oiselle and Sparkle Athletic) and were ready to conquer 13.1 miles!!
But, let’s back up just a second for the chronological run-down:
The race itself begins at 10 PM, but due to transportation logistics, Disney requests all resort guests board busses to the start between 7 and 8 PM, so around 6 PM, I started to get ready – the name of the game was sparkle! Gunmetal skirt and visor, 99 cent tinsel, all centered around technical running clothes – the flyte tank and distance shorts (the KEY to quality running costumes) and tons of pixie dust, of course!
Once the costume was set, my weekend roomie K and I headed onto race transportation, right at 7 PM, which got us to the Wide World of Sports by 7:30 – still 2.5 hours til race time. So, after we caught up with J, we hung out, and met up with various people before it was time to move into the corrals.
It was great to run into so many pals! My friend Katie, Mindy and finally (!!) Karla!! I’d have to say that’s my most favorite thing about the runDisney events – seeing so many wonderful people 😀 We also saw Rachel near the stage but I guess we forgot a pic!
Before long, J and I walked to our corral and chatted with some fellow Corral D people. It was fun to talk about time goals, other runDisney races, different events across the country, and of course, check out other people’s costumes!
Believe it or not, that hour we were in the corral went pretty fast. There wasn’t a wheelchair start at this race, so after A, B and C (and fireworks between each) it was time for us…the gun went off, and we were RUNNING! Wahooooooooooo!
J had requested we run intervals, but with the first mile an all-run, to get out of the congestion, and so the first mile we ran into our friend Gwynne and chatted with her for a bit. J was feeling great, and we clocked our first mile at around 9:45ish.
For the sub-2 goal, we needed to keep an even pace, which was going pretty well into the 5K split – but then she didn’t feel 100 percent (had to get Biofreeze at the Medic Tent). I was watching the Garmin and once we reached Animal Kingdom (course here) it was pretty clear that we’d be reassessing the time goal. J was a trooper about it (at that point, it’d still be a 2:10 finish) but she wasn’t stoked about it either – I tried to keep it light – and in typical Krissy goofy fashion, I hammed it up to try and make her laugh and relax a little.
We were hitting the run-walks strong – like I said, J was rocking it. I pointed out course features when I could to keep her mind off her shoulder pain.
After a few more stops, J and I checked in on how she was feeling. She knew that how her body was feeling was not matching up with what she wanted it to do, so we re-checked in on what was important: her. I totally understood what she was feeling – I had felt similar in the Colonial Half earlier this year – part frustrated, but also part in this realization that “a race is just a race” and that it would NOT in anyway effect how I thought about myself, or current training state.
So, around 1/2 way, the new goal of finishing safely, plus running strong through the Osborne Lights, and the finish line (of course) were established.
Because really, how could we be upset running through Walt Disney World?!
There were a few “hills” between Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but with the walk-run, we always seemed to power through each with lots of strength left over. By the time we reached the Studios, I knew we’d be approaching the 10 mile mark, the lights, and the great DJ in front of the sorcerer’s hat. We made another pitstop at the bathrooms in Sunset Blvd (I cheered along with the volunteers while I waited for J) and then powered through!
I’d say the ONLY bummer I had about this race was that there was just ONE photographer on the Streets of America (where the amazing Osborne Lights are) and that ONE photographer was fiddling with his camera when we passed so we have no pics from there! Boo.
Exiting DHS is my FAVORITE part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon…for several reasons:
- It’s the home stretch
- The Boardwalk area is BEAUTIFUL at night
- THE SPECTATORS!
There is so much excitement here as runners cross over the Boardwalk bridge area toward the Yacht and Beach Club, even though it’s past midnight at this point (for many). There are lots of great signs and cheer squads (my favorite was a sign that had a circle that said “touch here for power”) and high 5’s are doled out like candy. I told J we were going to stay together til the end now, and she could not do anything about it!! Powered by the crowds lining the course through Epcot, we hit it hard through the park, out the front backstage area and toward the finish line.
Our final time was 2:35 – and I was SO proud of J. When your body is not agreeing with your mind, any distance can be difficult to accomplish, and here she was, finishing 13.1 again and still smiling.
And, that bling helped, too – of course.
After we headed out of the finisher chutes, we passed the changing tents and headed right into the park to change into dry clothes and meet up with her mom….of course, we had to wait about 600 hours (okay, maybe 25 minutes) to cross the course to reach International Gateway – my only criticism toward this race’s organization.
We grabbed some food in China and ran into some friends walking around – but after a little while, J mentioned she’d better call it a night so we bid farewell – after meeting up with Mulan and Mushu, of course.
Running Wine and Dine for a second year made me realize just how much fun this event was, and despite my usual tendency to avoid repeating races, this is definitely one that I enjoy and will very likely add to my annual repertoire – especially now since we’re Floridians again. Although the trip was a shorter one (I arrived Friday and left Sunday) it was great seeing so many familiar faces – as well as meeting new ones – and it made me even more excited for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January!!
Have you ever run the Wine and Dine Half Marathon? Is a night race something you’d consider adding to your race bucket list?