considering the 10pm start time was long past my usual bedtime, i had spent the last several days playing at walt disney world with angry julie, i had already ran the jingle jungle 5k earlier that morning, & my IT band was feeling extremely cranky – i didn’t exactly have high expectations.
but dressed in my donald duck running costume, i knew i was bound to have a fabulous time. i was after all running disney, isn’t magic in every mile pretty much guaranteed?
after carbo-loading on pizza, angry julie & i headed for the start line… or should i should i say pre-party?!
i have to admit, i was a little worried when i realized we would have to leave at 7pm for the 10pm start. 3 hours of waiting around at the starting line didn’t sound exciting. but, boy was i wrong!
looking back, i can’t believe i ever doubted runDisney – they definitely know how to throw a party. characters were available for photo opps, food & water, but of course angry julie & i gravitated towards the stage & jumbo-tron for the ultimate pre-race dance party.
when it finally time to move towards the corrals & the actual starting line i knew the party was just getting started.
at the starting line i ran into my race crush anton van zyl (then 2-time wine & dine half marathon winner), where we made a friendly little wager regarding who would take the most pictures while racing.
unfortunately, i lost the bet.
amazingly, anton van zyl managed to run & WIN (for the third time in a row) the wine & dine half marathon. he crossed the finish line in 1 hour & 14 minutes, while managing to stop & take 17 pictures along the way.
how would you like to be the guy who came in second place, knowing that the guy who beat you, stopped to take pictures?!
it wasn’t long after we moved into corrals (& i made a bet that i would ultimately lose) that we were off & running.
from the espn wide world of sports complex we ran down victory way & then onto osceola parkway toward disney’s animal kingdom. just like earlier in the day (during the jingle jungle 5K) i ran past the always-beautiful-always-awe-inspiring tree of life, “racing” towards expedition everest (which looked amazing in the moonlight).
after leaving disney’s animal kingdom, i found myself back on osceola parkway, this time running towards disney’s hollywood studios. i entered the park under the shadow of the twilight zone tower or terror, & then ran down sunset blvd. past toy story mania!, past the streets of america & the breath-taking osborne family spectacle of dancing lights.
from there the wine & dine half marathon course had us running in & around the the disney’s yacht & beach club resort, before arriving at the laser-show spectacle-finish-line, just outside of epcot.
when i finally crossed the finish line, i couldn’t believe the race was already over!
i had run the entire race without checking my garmin once (cross my heart & hope to die – i ran this race totally & completely “blind”).
so you can imagine my total & complete surprise when i looked at my garmin & saw that my time was 1:38.
it never even occurred to me that i might be able to PR (set a personal record) while running the runDisney wine & dine half marathon. & yet, i did.
there had been so much on-course entertainment & character sitings, i never once was bored. not to mention, seeing everything under the light of the moon – was such a fun experience.
although my absolute favorite memories of the race were definitely the osborne family spectacle of dancing lights at disney’s hollywood studios & the laser-show spectacle at the finish line. holy cow – words can’t even describe how cool it was.
& we haven’t even talked about the after-party yet! yep! yep! yep! the wine & dine half marathon experience isn’t complete until you party like a rock star at the finish line party inside epcot at the international food & wine festival…. more character meet & greets, musical performances, entertainment & live DJs, lots of food & even a few of your favorite epcot attractions.
although it was open until 4am, i have to admit that angry julie & i didn’t last long… after running 13.1 miles our beds were calling our names!
2012 disney wine & dine half marathon by the numbers:
* total chip time 1:40:18, with a pace of 7:39 minutes per mile (new PR,
* 4th place out of 1,502 women in my age group
* 31st place out of 7,670 women
* 168th place overall, out of 11,617 participants
* 5K split time 22:49
* 10K split time 46:42
* 15K split time 1:10: 49
if i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a zillion times – runDisney races are by & far my absolute, most favorite running events. there is something truly magical about running through castles & down main streets at walt disney world & disneyland. so if you haven’t run disney yet – do it. whether it’s your first race, or your tenth, you’re sure to have a magical time.
disclosure: i was invited by runDisney to attend the entire event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to cover my hotel expenses at the fabulous boardwalk inn (betcha started singing “under the boardwalk,” because i know i did), meals, and all of my race fees.
of course – all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own, because as you already know… i absolutely, totally & completely LOVE runDisney events.