Sunday, November 17, 2013

Race Report - Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013

Gather around, kids!  It's time for my Wine & Dine Half Marathon recap.
Or as I like to call it, a riveting ABC Afterschool Special:

Tune in at 3pm Monday for:
Night Terrors - A chubby, unmotivated lady in her forties learns a painful lesson about not training
for a half marathon gone horribly wrong well past her bedtime.  (PG-13 for language and mild violence)
But, we'll start with the expo.  Wow, what a difference having it at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex.  The last time I did a Disney race (The Princess), the expo was at the Coronado Resort and it was a crowded MESS.  This expo was very nice - easy to park (we didn't stay at a host resort), easy in, easy shopping, lots of room.  Loved it.  We went first thing on Saturday morning and while it was full of people, it never felt too crowded and there was plenty of merchandise left. 

I bought a wee W&D medal for my RunDisney Vinylmation and a RunDisney Sweaty Band.  I thought about getting an "I Did It" shirt, but I wasn't entirely convinced that I would do it, so I passed.  No use in jinxing myself!  I also bought a new Sparkle Skirt.  They had tons left in my size so I got to try on a few.  I settled on Black Linen and we made our way out.  We spent the rest of the day taking it easy and you can read more about that in my WDW recap post.

This was my first night race (it started at 10pm) and I did not like the all-day anticipation and self-questioning that went on: Am I resting enough?  Should I eat more?  Should I eat less?  Why am I not falling asleep during my attempted nap?  UGH!  With early morning races, you wake up and your only thought is "TIME TO RUN!!"  This long day of pre-race activities gives me too much time to think. 

Pre-race chilling in the field.
 We did take it easy with a trip to Downtown Disney, a movie, a reasonable lunch, and the aforementioned attempted nap.  By 6pm, I gave up on resting and started getting ready.  We were supposed to be at WWOS by 8pm.  Chris drove me over there and then drove to Epcot to start partying down at the pre-After Party.

They had us in a great big field waiting for the corrals to open.  They were selling beer and food, and there was a stage with a DJ and folks dancing.  They really did make it festive and fun.  I heard later that there were character photo ops, but I didn't see any.  I was pretty much a nervous wreck and just sat in the grass trying to zen myself out and get ready for the race.  My review of this set up is positive - there were lots of port-a-potties and lots of space.  The DJ and music were fun and you could get away from it if you didn't like the noise.  A+ for pre-race waiting.

This is for my boy who loves Doge.  Much Running!

We headed to the corrals at 9pm.  I was in Corral I, which had about 1500 people in it.  Earlier corrals had less in RunDisney's effort to thin out the pack and separate the slower walkers/interval peeps from the faster runners (I believe this to be their goal since there has been so much previous complaining on this matter).  The corrals went all the way to L, with about 2000 each in the final few corrals.  This put about 6000 people behind me.  I got into the front of the corral and chatted with some people as we waited our turn to go.  I think we ended up starting about about 10:25pm with the staggered start times. 

And, we're off!

I started with a run and pretty much had to run to avoid getting run over.  I ran for about 3 minutes before doing my first walk break.  The good thing about my corral is that there were a lot of interval runners so there was much less running over the back of someone as I saw in the Tinkerbell and the Princess.  In fact, I dare say that people were a million times more courteous in this race than other RunDisney races I've been in.  Maybe it was the later corral, or the much reduced number of runners, but yeah - nicer overall vibe.

I had set up my walk intervals for 30/30, thinking that was something I could handle without training.  Oh yeah, in case you haven't read this blog before, I didn't train.  I did a triathlon 8 weeks prior to W&D and my recovery period extended into some serious sitting-on-my-ass time.  Not good and not recommended.  My first walk break went so well that I decided to extend it to the full 3.5 hours.  So, yep - I walked basically the whole thing.  The first few miles I was doing at 14 minute mile, so I was feeling good about staying ahead of the Balloon Ladies

Yeah, my camera is not so good in low light, I found out.
We went from WWOS to Animal Kingdom, up Osceola Drive.  I think we hit the park at about mile 3.  On the way, we passed two photo ops - Country Bears and the fat hippos from Fantasia.  I really wanted to stop at Country Bears but at the time, I was very seriously thinking I was not going to make all 13.1 miles and the line was at least 15 people long.  I was cool with skipping the hippos, and pretty much all the photo ops in Animal Kingdom, which seemed to be Jungle Book characters.  My deal is that I will always stop for Stitch and Darth Vadar, but others are optional and depending on time and the line.
We left Animal Kingdom shortly before mile 5 and went back up Osceola Drive.  It was a pretty long haul to Hollywood Studios which I believe was at about mile 9.  A little bit about the course vs. Princess: it is hillier (by Florida standards) and by that I mean there is definitely more inclines and banked roads.  It's not terrible, but it was noticeable.  I liked the course better in many ways, but this was not one of them.

Love me some Stitch!
Between AK and HS, I saw Stitch!  Yes!!  At this point, I figured 5 minutes was not going to hurt me, so I stopped and got this horrible, too bright photo.  I'll have to check the official photos to see if theirs are better (how can they be worse?)  Seeing my favorite alien gave me a boost to make it to HS, and really, I felt like if I made it to HS - I could probably finish the race.  They can't sweep in the park and I knew that it was only a short while between HS and getting on the run path to Epcot where they logistically could not get sweeper buses in there.  Plus, I hadn't seen the balloon ladies, so I was starting to feel like I was going to finish.
Thumbs up for the Dark Side!

We took a FULL TOUR of HS, and by this I mean 3 miles which included a rather fragrant trash area.  It was great though!  There was a disco tunnel and tons of photo ops.  I only stopped for Darth Vadar and did slow down to enjoy the Osbourne Festival Of Lights which were AMAZING to run through.  This was the only thing that kept me going from miles 5 though 9 - getting to HS and seeing the lights.  They did have the course arranged so that this was almost right before you left the park, so I think it was about at mile 11.  I've heard rumors that they might do away with the light display as they expand HS and I definitely hope not.  It truly is beautiful and it was a joy to run through.

This was almost as cool to run through as Cinderella's Castle.  I loved it!!
Ok, so close!  2 miles left and I was beat.  It was after 1am so I was exhausted and my left calf started charley horsing.  My knees hurt (which I only had problems with when I first started running, so I had no coping abilities) and I was starting to zone out a little bit, I think due to my medication schedule being interrupted.  I knew I was going to make it, but I was slowing down considerably.  We were on the walking path by the resorts to Epcot, so I knew they couldn't get me anymore and I was just concentrating on finishing.  There were tons of spectators out along this path, which was great!  They absolutely gave me more encouragement and energy than they will ever know!!  I thanked them as I walked by and received several high fives.  Good stuff!

The giant ball that indicates the suffering is almost over loomed closer and closer.  The crowd was packed on either side of the course from people enjoying the After Party and they were unable to pass over the run course.  I think that was a logistical issue in the party planning.  At the time, it just seemed like a lot of people were standing and watching us finish, though!  As we got closer to the finish, there were these super cool lasers going on right above our heads.  I was so, so close and fighting the pain in my legs and the fogginess that was clouding my brain function.  I made it to the finish at 3:31 and I was amazed that I was about 30 minutes faster than I was at Tink or Princess.  I stopped less for sure, but I freaking WALKED most of it and HOBBLED the last 2 miles.  WOW.  I stopped off to BioFreeze my entire lower half and then walked at least another mile to get inside Epcot to meet Chris.

I think I can only describe the next 45 minutes as surreal.  I medically think it's called being in shock.  I was hurting in a disassociated way and was fairly non-responsive to Chris who was trying to get me to eat scallops from one of the food booths (barf).  We had to walk back to the car because the trams couldn't go in front of the runners still filtering into Epcot from the finish line.  That had to have been another 1/2 mile, at least.  I just couldn't stay for the party, even though it continued for another 2 hours.  I was exhausted and I do believe I was having some medication issues because I had missed my 9:30pm nightly dosage of old lady crazy pills.  We made it back to Animal Kingdom Lodge and I did nibble on the hummus and crackers in our runner box, although I felt hella nauseous.  Speaking of nauseous, there were puking people everywhere after the finish line!  What on earth?  Is this a night race thing?  I was pretty close to joining them, but I was able to keep myself from barfing.  BARELY.

Running Mickey!
Ok, in closing - this was a great race that would have been so much more enjoyed had I trained more and not just in running, but in staying up late.  I also would have taken my pills at regular time, even though they are night pills and can make me drowsy.  The starting withdrawal symptoms by 2am was rough.  I loved the course through the 3 parks, and the other runners were great.  I ended up finishing way ahead of the Balloon Ladies, which was also awesome.  Chris is already talking about doing this again next year (he LOVED the Food & Wine Festival and the After Party), so I will be MUCH more prepared to enjoy this more then.  Any misery felt was entirely my fault because this race was probably the best one of the RunDisney races I've run.  More than Tink or the Princess, this is one I can see doing every year, just because of the fun that is build around it for non-runners and runners alike.  Great job, RunDisney!

1 comment:

  1. Great reacap! You made me laugh repeatedly! :) And we had the same required photo stops, stitch and Boba Fett and the lights! Great job, I really did think that this race had friendlier runners than Princess did, which I wasn't expecting but really enjoyed!