**Disclaimer – this will probably be the longest race recap I ever do**
First love is a little foolish and a lot of curiosity – George Bernard Shaw
My first race was the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon — at Disney World. It was the inaugural event and really I had zero expectations. My only real goal was to finish. I would have liked to finish in 2:15, but I really hadn’t been timing my runs AT ALL so that was basically a huge stretch goal.
The unique thing about this race was that it started at 10pm. I think that’s about the time I usually go to bed, so I’m not sure this was a good thing.
The hubby dropped Paula and me off at Wide World of Sports around 7:30ish. We then wandered around aimlessly for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what the hell was going on before we miraculously found Paula’s friend Tiffany. Seriously, in a crowd of THOUSANDS – we ran into people we (ok, Paula) actually knew? We hung out with her until we were corralled. This meant we sat in a very large field for 2 hours. There was a DJ and lots of crazy people, we all just wanted to get on with the running.
P and Me – So naive
There were SOOOOO many people in costume. We really liked this dude’s Hangover costume (doesn’t baby Carlos look cute?). Not sure about his friend though?
Tiffany, Paula, and Me – Ready to run!
After my first Port-o-Potty experience (yes, it was my first time) we finally lined up to RUN! There were about 11,500 people running and we were at the end of the 3rd corral (out of 4). It took about 7 minutes from the start (there WERE fireworks though – that was pretty fun!) and then we were finally off!
iPhone pic — corralled and ready to go! We’re pretty sure that’s a demon behind us. Calling Sam and Dean…
The first 3 miles were from the Wide World of Sports complex to Animal Kingdom and it was just JAM packed with people. It was definitely the slowest part of the race. At one point I was running on the grass (which really freaked me out – I was so afraid of twisting me ankle). Around mile 2 I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to pee. I was so frustrated because I JUST peed before we got into our corral. I was wearing a pouch (carrying my phone, ID, etc) and it was not helping things. It was like a baby sitting on my bladder.
We entered Animal Kingdom around mile 3 – and I noticed that the race was set up that you could actually stop into a real restroom to use the bathroom. Around mile 4 I finally broke down and used the bathroom. I didn’t even tell my Paula – I just took off. This was never in my “training” plan — I am usually not overhydrated, like I apparently was, so I’ve never even made a bathroom stop while running (especially this early in the run). I was definitely annoyed at myself, but my bladder was ACHING and there was no way in hell I would have made it to the end without stopping. I did vow to myself to catch up with Paula, no matter how hard it was.
I vaguely remember the rest of AK – I do remember circling the Tree of Life and then seeing the relay exchange point at mile 5 for the relay runners (one person ran 5 miles, the other 8.1) — and then we were out of AK. Miles 6-9 were pretty uneventful. If I wasn’t so focused on catching up with Paula, this probably would have been one of the most difficult parts for me. Instead, it kept me motivated. At mile 8 (right as we were running up a huge hill) one of the Army guys from Toy Story was standing on the sidelines yelling things like “Whooo-AAAA — You can make it up this hill. Keep going.” I thought it was a nice touch. Around mile 8.5 we ran up and around passing by people – and I finally saw Paula. She was only about a 1/4 of mile away from me so I vowed to myself to catch up with her. Then at mile 9 – just as we were entering Hollywood Studios I tapped her on the shoulder.
This was hands down the best part of the run. I loved every minute of running through Hollywood studios. At one point we were running down a street with the buildings all lit up and it was just amazing. We also ran through Pixar Studios and saw Buzz and the guy from Up (Who was carrying like 100 balloons). Honestly, these miles just flew by I was amazed when we hit the sign that said Mile 11. During this part of the run, I lost Paula again. Boo. I was really hoping we could hold hands during the finish (hee).
Holy cow these were tough miles. We left Hollywood Studios at Mile 11.5 and started our final run towards Epcot. Most of the run was running past hotels (the Swan, Dolphin and a few others) and while it wasn’t bad, my legs were crazy tired and starting to go numb. I honestly have no idea how people run full marathons. At one point people were shouting my name and at first I couldn’t figure out how they knew it – but then realized they were reading it on my bib. Doh! When I hit the last 400 meters, I kicked it up a notch — except I didn’t realize there would be A HILL that kicked my ass! Thankfully, the last portion of the race was downhill, so I speed into the finish line. My first half-marathon was COMPLETE — at 12:35AM.
After the race I tried to figure out what the heck was going on. We got a bag of stuff (now I realize that’s kinda weird) and our medal (which, I have to say is pretty sweet – Disney knows how to do meals). I found Paula, she found the bathroom, and I did some waiting. We finally found my hubby around 1am. We got a ticket for a free drink and meal, but I mainly hung out with Paula who was not feeling so hot. Hubby and I felt so bad! My legs hurt SO bad. I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t sit. I tried stretching but my legs felt like they were jello. They were angry. We left Epcot when we got kicked out — and she seemed to be doing a little better at that point.
Overall, it was a great first half-marathon experience. Disney does put on a good race. It wasn’t the best managed (especially with the bag check – it looked like a nightmare – thankfully I didn’t check anything) and I thought we paid A LOT for very little. The medal was REALLY nice, but the tech tee was pretty crappy.
Will I run it again? Yes. We have a date – next October. My hubby is going to run it too – it will be HIS first half-marathon 🙂