Thanks for bearing with me, fellow blogging world! Over the past three months I have made the transition into a new position at work, and it’s been quite a bit all-consuming. I am still trying to figure out how to balance my work, personal, and social media lives, so I appreciate your patience as I have been so absent! I know it isn’t yet the New Year but it’s never too early to make goals (see my thoughts on resolutions). One of my goals is to make time to write – it makes me happy, I love to share fun experiences, and I appreciate the feedback I get from fellow bloggers and readers. So on that note, I would like to (finally) present to you the race recap from the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon!
When Samantha and I initially began plotting what we wanted to do for the Wine and Dine, of course we naturally started with the costumes. We went to many iterations, first trying to plan a group costume, and then deciding it might be easier to do couples’ costumes. Finally we ended up with Mickey and Minnie Mouse (aka Mr. and Mrs. BakeNBurn) and the hubs and I ran as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl! The hubs and I are huge fans of the Incredibles, so it was a perfect fit. And knowing my hubby isn’t thrilled by running costumes, it made the outfit very easy (although we did see some Incredibles couples with the men wearing red tights… that’s dedication!).
The day of the race was pretty relaxed. We’d stayed out in the Magic Kingdom until the end of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade, so we woke leisurely, grabbed some grub at the cafeteria and lounged by the pool. The day was overcast, which was rather foreboding for the weather forecast that night. It was predicted to rain starting around 10pm, just when the first wave of the race was set to start. We figured at this point there was little we could do, but Samantha had the brilliant idea to look for ponchos at the resort gift shop. Remember those $10 giftcards from the packet pickup? Oh yeah, they came in handy, along with the visors we purchased the day before! We each bought a poncho, ate a quick dinner, and went back to the room to change.
Having already done one Disney race, I knew it would not be beneficial to risk catching the last bus from the resort to the staging area. We decided the second bus, which would pick us up just after 6pm. Given our resort’s proximity to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which is where the race began, it was a quick ride. We arrived just after 6:30pm and decided, what the hey, let’s get some pictures. We found pre-race photographers, used the porta-potties, and stood in line for a Minnie Mouse photo-op (it was perfect for Mrs. BakeNBurn, although I think Minnie really preferred Mr. BakeNBurn!). We sat down for a little while, but I decided one additional restroom break was in order, and by the time I returned, it was time to get ready for the race!
We donned our ponchos, because at this point it began to sprinkle. We all decided to start together in corral H, but Samantha
and I would let the boys do their own thing once we started. We didn’t realize at the time that Samantha was actually fighting a knee injury, but boy was she a CHAMP. We waited about 20-25 minutes before our corral actually set off, and by this time it was just plain raining. Given we didn’t really have a choice, we decided to make the most of it and just have fun. And that is precisely what we did!
Once our wave was ready to set off, the boys went ahead to run to their hearts’ content. Samantha and I frolicked along looking for fun photo ops. There were many to be had, although a number of the characters weren’t available due to the rain. The first photo op was with some random fairies, but knowing many other photo stations wouldn’t be operating, we jumped in! At this point Samantha had ditched her poncho, somewhere around the 1st mile marker, but I decided to keep mine on for a while. I hate being wet, and thankfully it was vented along the side so I could still feel cool. Also, I get cold really easily, so I knew I didn’t want to be shivering through the next 12 miles. Instead, I would turn my poncho into a cape (which I know is terribly wrong, considering Edna Mole’s comment on capes: “NO CAPES!”). I mean, hey, when life gives you ponchos, you make capes!
Past the third mile marker we made our way into the Animal Kingdom. I completely forgot how awesome the Animal Kingdom is,
and loved running through it. With the rain it really felt like a jungle! Before entering the park we passed by a mini light parade and Rafiki! There were photographers scattered throughout, and running in DinoLand was pretty spectacular. This portion of the race took up about 2 miles, so once we exited we were on our way to the 10K mark. Miles 6 through 8 were all on roads in between the parks, and because of the rain, course entertainment was not to be found. Thankfully we were finally making our way into Hollywood Studios! This was by far my favorite park of the race. We entered through a back lot into the middle of Hollywood Studios and quickly made our way past Mickey’s wizard hat. It was pretty spectacular all lit up at night. We meandered through Hollywood streets and then towards the back of the park where we ran through a psychedelic tunnel with windows into costume design studios. We got to see the costumes and mock-ups for the princesses, which in my mind, was spectacular.
I was wondering two things around this time: 1) when were we going to see the Incredibles, and 2) when were we going to run through the Osborn Family lights? Thankfully my questions were soon answered. Alas, the Incredibles characters were not available when I ran past, but I took the opportunity to pose enthusiastically in front of the Incredibles backdrop. I was in character, after all. I was positively joyous when the photographer shouted, “Elastigirl, you made it!” It was nice to see the photographers cheery, because they, also, had to be stuck in the rain. Shortly after passing my photo op, we looped back around in the backstage area of Hollywood Studios and quite literally emerged in the splendor of the Osborn Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!
If you’ve never seen this spectacle, it’s completely worth the visit. I have never seen as many glorious lights in my life. Disney took the idea from the Osborn family in Arkansas who initially started doing light shows coordinated to Christmas music. It’s really phenomenal and had last seen the show in December of 2010. It in every way encompasses the magic of the Christmas season! During the section we didn’t even bother running because we wanted to take it all in and have chances for photos. It’s just too beautiful to run right through!
Once we finally peeled ourselves away from the shimmering scene, we wound our way back through the park and passed once more by Mickey’s wizard hat. It turns out this hat will be bidding a fond farewell to Disney World so I am happy I could see it one last time! Once we exited the park, we were on our way to mile 11, with just the Boardwalk to go! As we made our way from Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk, we ran under a bridge. The space underneath was PACKED with ChEAR squad participants, excited and encouraging in the wee hours of the morning! These folks are truly phenomenal – they show up to the Disney races, which are either at 5:30 in the morning or 10:00 at night, and never fail to put a smile on a runner’s face. It was the little boost we both needed to get through the last few miles.
Passing by all the Boardwalk resorts was also a lot of fun, although the boardwalk itself was rather treacherous while wet. We trod carefully and worked our way up and into Epcot! We entered in the back of the park through the entrance to the Showcase of Nations. The after party was taking place, but I think we had already decided that hanging around later into the early morning hours in the rain didn’t sound overly enjoyable. We weaved through the park and ran out of the entrance toward the finish line in the parking lot. We made it, and boy did we work for it. Samantha and I both held up pretty well given the conditions and the miles. Our costumes remained intact and we were so thankful to be done. We grabbed our mylar blankets, post-race snack packs, and of course, our gorgeous medals. These babies were well worth the effort. We found an open finisher’s photographer station then made our way out of the throng of runners to find our hubbies. Rather than go to the party they were waiting for us after the finisher photos. We were all pretty ready for hot showers and bed, so we worked our way to the bus stations, and thankfully made it on the available bus for Caribbean Beach.
All in all, it was a great race, and one I would definitely do again. Sadly you cannot control the weather, and I would love to be able to experience it in better conditions, with all the characters out in action. I was so thrilled to be able to run a second Disney race in 2014, and with another of my dearest friends. The whole weekend was topped off by the Disney Food and Wine Festival in Epcot, so although we didn’t indulge in the after party, we still managed to get our fill! Here’s to an amazing running year, and having completed now my 5th ever half marathon – all in 2014!
Have you ever run a half, or longer, in the rain – any other recommendations? Would you run for wine (and food)? Which Run Disney race is your favorite? Who doesn’t love frolicking through sparkly Christmas lights?