Nov 21, 2014

runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014 - Race Recap

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Start Line

My fourth half marathon was crowded, soggy and sloooow, but no matter how not ideal the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was, I am proud to say that I finished, especially when you consider that 14,000 people signed up for the race and fewer than 12,000 finished!

Race night prep started the night before with the laying out of my race outfit. My sister, brother-in-law and I decided to do group costumes. I was Sulley, Chris was Mike and Rebecca was Celia from Monsters, Inc.

Flat Irene ready to race!
Sulley, Celia and Mike in the Yacht Club lobby

After our naps, we got changed and headed downstairs to catch the race transportation to the start line. The race instructions indicated that we needed to be on the bus no later than 8 pm, but we were still waiting for the buses when the 8 o'clock hour rolled around.

Waiting for the bus? Time to take pictures!

Once we arrived at the starting area, we headed to bag drop-off and got in line for the port-a-potties. Then we were herded to our corrals, and we didn't have time to take pictures with Chefs Chip and Dale. Sad face.

At 10 pm the first corral was off, and luckily, we did not have to wait much longer. We all decided to join my sister in corral I and we started at around 10:30 pm. During Princess last year, there were fewer corrals with more people in each corral, so it took forever for some back corrals to start. For this race, there were more corrals with fewer people in each corral so there was less time between corrals.

There was a lot of talk on the days leading up to the half marathon about the weather and for good reason because it just did not cooperate at all. It rained the ENTIRE time before, during and after our race.

We began the race at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and from there did the three miles to Animal Kingdom.

Mile 1: 14:15
Mile 2: 15:17
Mile 3: 21:14

Our group decided to start and end the race together, and to do this, our plan was to meet up at each mile marker. We had a bit of miscommunication on the first few mile markers, but eventually found our rhythm and this plan worked out quite well.

Between miles 3 and 4, we arrived at the Animal Kingdom. This part of the course was extremely narrow and there were times where it was impossible to run.

Entrance to Animal Kingdom
Mile 4: 17:03

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

I mentioned in previous posts that my training for this half marathon was pretty nonexistent. The farthest distance I ran during training was a 10K, so I did not have a time goal. Instead, I wanted to have fun and run with my sister. I also learned that although my sister had run twice the number of runDisney races as I have, she never was able to stop and take photos with the characters, so we definitely made a point to do that.

Me and Timon. Where's Pumbaa?
As you can see, I had to add a layer of clothing to my Sulley costume. It was so cold and wet. The long sleeve jacket stayed on the whole race!

Pirates of the Carribean ship

The next four miles took us back on the streets, as we headed to Hollywood Studios.

Mile 5: 17:22

Mile 6: 13:51 *fastest mile*
Mile 7: 14:44
Mile 8: 13:56
Mile 9: 15:52

Although we covered most of our distance on the streets, running through the parks is one of the things that make runDisney races so special.

Running past the Tower of Terror

Mile 10: 18:46

Since the Sorcerer's Hat is being torn down early next year, I had to take a photo with it!

Good bye, Sorcerer's Hat!

Besides running through the public areas of the parks, we sometimes even get to go through some of the castmember only sections of the parks. For instance, this time we ran past the Costume Department.

Costume Department at Hollywood Studios
We also got to meet up with Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible.

My favorite part of the race, though, was running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! We took our time at this part of the course because we would never be able to see the lights with so few people around us. I am one of those people who is bothered by how early the Christmas season seems to be pushed up every year, but I was not bothered in the least by this sight. It was so beautiful!

Before leaving Hollywood Studios, I ran in to Boba Fett and only got this blurry photo out of it!

Mile marker 11 took us to the entrance of Hollywood Studios and I found myself waiting there for Mike and Celia for a very, very long time. At one point, I wondered if they had been swept and if I stayed there any longer, if I would be swept. People kept running past me, and then a massive herd of people ran towards me like it was the apocalypse.

Then I saw my sister and BIL running towards me and yelling, "Keep going. The balloon ladies!" Then I saw them with my own eyes, the mythical creatures known as the balloon ladies. For those who don't know, runDisney requires you to keep a 16 minute/mile pace. The balloon ladies are the very last people to start the race and keep the required pace. If they pass you on the course, there is a possibly that you will be forced off the course and not finish. In runDisney jargon, this is called "being swept."

Apparently, despite starting in corral I, we were going so slow that the balloon ladies caught us!

Mile 11: 20:55

Once I saw the balloon ladies, I took off without my family members and met back up with them at mile marker 12 since there was no where for you to get picked off the course at that point.

The final three miles of the course were so crowded that I could not gain much ground. Plus, from Hollywood Studios, we headed to the BoardWalk and it was so wet and slippery that I did not want to risk falling. So we walked the remainder of the race. We finally entered Epcot for the last leg of the course and crossed the finish line in 3:52:16, which is 45 minutes slower than my first half marathon!

Mile 12: 19:54
Mile 13: 19:26

I was hoping that the weather would calm down, but it seemed to pick up instead. We got our medals, refreshments, picked up our checked bags and grabbed our adult beverages before deciding to bypass the Finish Line Party and headed back to the hotel instead. At the end of the night, none of us were happy campers.

Despite the weather, I did wind up having fun during the race. True, it would have been much more fun without the inclement weather, but what can you do?

I honestly think this one was my last Walt Disney World race for the foreseeable future. I am glad that I did it!

Nov 18, 2014

Disney's BoardWalk and Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Lounge

I was hoping to have my Wine & Dine Half Marathon race recap up today, but I have been so exhausted that I couldn't get myself to write a long post. I think all of this traveling and home renovating is finally catching up to me! Instead, I bring you the day of the half marathon.

Since Wine & Dine is a night race, we had the whole day to do as we pleased. After breakfast, we walked from our hotel, Disney's Yacht Club Resort, to Disney's BoardWalk. The BoardWalk was inspired by the Atlantic City BoardWalk and is a lined with shops and restaurants.

Views of Disney's BoardWalk from the Beach Club

We took a leisurely stroll and visited some of the shops.

From the BoardWalk, we also had great views of the Yacht Club from across the water. I was hoping to fit in a run around the BoardWalk on Monday or Tuesday of our trip, but that was not to be.  

In the afternoon, we headed over to the Grand Floridian for afternoon tea at the Garden View Lounge. One of the things I dislike about Walt Disney World is the amount of time you spend getting from one place to another. It took us over an hour to get to the Grand Floridian and we were late by a significant amount of time for our reservation!

This was my first time visiting the Grand Floridian and it is as gorgeous as I had imagined. I was hoping that the gingerbread house would be up by our visit, but it was not. I read that they started building it a day or two after our vacation was over. 

Beautiful lobby of the Grand Floridian
Chandelier in the Grand Floridian

We finally made it to the Garden View Lounge and were greeted by Chip and Mrs. Potts on the marble floor! Such an awesome touch.

We each ordered the Buckingham Tea, which included a pot of tea, assorted tea sandwiches, a tart and scone and a choice of dessert.

Assorted tea sandwiches

Jam tart and scone served with preserves, devon cream and lemon curd

Strawberries and cream
 Everything was delicious, except for the jam tart which was very, very sweet. My pot of tea guaranteed that I had enough caffeine to get me through the rest of the day.

As we were leaving the Grand Floridian, this band was playing in the lobby. So fancy.

We made our way back to the Yacht Club, purchased some food for our pre-race meal and took a short nap. We had plans to go for a swim before our nap, but it was getting cold.

Next up, a look at my soggiest and slowest half marathon ever!

Nov 13, 2014

runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo 2014

This fall has certainly been a busy travel season for me. I returned Tuesday night from a five day trip to Walt Disney World to run my fourth half marathon: the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Wine & Dine takes place during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and at the beginning of Disney's Christmas season, so along with running 13.1 miles, I spent some time taking in the seasonal sights at WDW.

My sister, brother-in-law and I arrived in Florida on Friday afternoon, and after checking in to our hotel, headed to the Expo, which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Expo itself was nothing to write home about. In fact, there was not a whole lot going on. 

It was already pretty late in the evening, so the lines had dwindled by the time we got there. Picking up our packets and purchasing our race memorabilia was a breeze.

I did have to stop by the runDisney booth to see the Star Wars and Avengers medals in person!

We also spotted the one and only Jeff Galloway and wanted to meet him, but there were too many people having 15 minutes conversations with him. So I just took a creeper photo of him.

For the rest of the evening, we hung out in Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping.

Pluto water art in Downtown Disney

Christmas Mickey water art in Downtown Disney

This is my third runDisney half marathon and is possibly my last, so I decided to dress up this time. Can you guess who I was?

That's right, Duffy! I was Sulley (James P. Sullivan) from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University.

Can't wait to tell you about the rest of my trip and especially about race day!