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Monday, October 4, 2010

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay 2010

This weekend was the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  The very first one ever, as well as Disney's first night half marathon and first relay.  I wanted to sign up as soon as I found out about it, almost a year ago, and then my friend Lusia wanted to run it, also!  We ended up signing up for the relay, since we both were planning on running the Philly Rock & Roll Half as well.

I have to be honest, as time went on, I became less and less excited about this race, and for a while I even regretted signing up.  It was a scheduling thing - since I was going to Belize, then Philadelphia, then home for one weekend before Wine & Dine, I just figured we were going to be pooped by the time this race weekend came.  And we were pooped, but we still had a great time.  (and there are several weeks coming of crazy-busyness, too...)

Todd and I headed down to Orlando Friday evening, and we arrived at our hotel, the Boardwalk Villas, around 7:30 or 8 or so. We headed down to the boardwalk for a little snack (pizza) and then decided to hit the hot tub.  Todd had a cold (I caught one from the Philly half and then Todd caught mine from me), and so we thought the hot water would do him good.  It was a relaxing night.

In the morning, we got up and headed right to the Expo.  It was bigger than the Expo at the Tower of Terror races, with a lot more goodies and vendors.  Not quite as big as the Marathon Weekend, but still a good size.  I managed to keep Todd from buying a $350 pair of sunglasses, and then we hooked up with Lu and her boyfriend, Derek and went to the Polynesian for lunch.

After lunch, we kind of just rested for the rest of the day.  We took a nap, and I sat outside and read a book (Todd was feeling sick).  Oh, the weather was absolutely perfect.  There is truly nothing better than Florida in October (provided no hurricanes are ripping through).

Around 7 or so, we got dressed and ready for the race.  Guess what?  No safety pins in my bag.  We even asked at the Expo if there were safety pins in the bag and they said yes!  Arg!  I searched all of my stuff and discovered that I hadn't brought my extra safety pins.  I was wearing a Spibelt to the race, so I tucked the number under and it and we headed out.  Luckily, we managed to find some pins in the gift shop.  Crisis averted.  Oh, and who was in the front seat of our bus but Jeff Galloway!  Neato!

There was a long line waiting for the bus to the starting line.  We got in line around 7:50, and waited for around 45 minutes for the bus.  It was fine, though, and we reached the starting line in plenty of time and found Lu and Derek.  I gave Lu my bag so that she could check it at the relay exchange point.  Then, Lu headed out on her bus, Derek headed to the Epcot after party, and Todd and I headed to the starting corrals.

The race was crowded.  That was clear even before the race started.  We were packed into and overflowing the starting corrals.  I was in Corral C (D was the last).  Right at 10pm, the race started with fireworks!  Yay!  I waved to Mickey and Minnie as I crossed the starting line!

Todd and I ran together.  He was doing the entire half marathon.  I tried really hard to keep up a fast pace, but first of all my legs were tired (I think I'm stressed), and the course was so incredibly crowded that there was very little I could do to get ahead.  Still, I did my best, and did about 12:15 on mile 1, 12:08 on mile 2 and 12:01 on mile 3 (woa, negative splits!).  The course had opened up as we got close to Animal Kingdom, so I was able to spread out some.

Then, we got to Animal Kingdom.  The course narrowed.  I started reducing my walk breaks, and at times I was doing 1:30 and 30s (I started at 1:1s).  But, it wasn't doing any good.  The course was too packed.  Mile 4 was 12:45.  Oh well, at least we were in Animal Kingdom.  I mean, it was Animal Kingdom at night! It was the first time I'd been there after dark.  It was so pretty!  The park was closed, so at least we had it to ourselves.  The Yeti was howling from Expedition: Everest.

We headed out into the parking lot at Animal Kingdom, and at the spot where there would normally be cool sponges during the marathon, there were signs for the half marathoners to get left and the relay folks to get right.  I waved bye to Todd and headed up into the relay exchange point.  There were big signs with number ranges on it, and we were to find our relay partner in the correct corrals.  I stopped and read my number and then became confused as to which range it fell into.  For some reason, numbers escape me when running.  Then, out popped Lu and we ran together until we split.  She and Todd met up and finished the race together.

I headed on to the right, and as I rounded the corner someone was there to put a medal around my neck.  I hadn't even gone 5 miles (it was about 4.8 or so) and I was like, "Huh??  That's it?  I'm done????"  It seemed weird.  I still had a lot of gas in the tank.  I picked up my bag at bag check (I was apparently correct in my assumption that the wait at the relay exchange point would be shorter than the wait at the finish line at Epcot).  I didn't know what to do then.  I was by myself and in the parking lot of Animal Kingdom.  I was supposed to change, but there were only port-o-potties, so I decided to save that for Epcot and got on the bus.

The buses had to wait until the last person on the course passed into Animal Kingdom so that they could use the roads.  This meant that we sat for about 35-40 minutes, but it was fine, because the bus was air conditioned, the seats were soft, and I had a bottle of water, a muffin and a banana.  It was a good rest.  Finally, we headed out and we were dropped off at the American Adventure in World Showcase at Epcot.

It wasn't as crowded at the after party as I expected, but it got more and more crowded the closer that I got to the finish line, which was over near France/England (the International Gateway).  Then, as the night went on and people finished the race, it got pretty darn crowded.  I had told everyone I'd meet them at Canada, so I went there and picked up a cheese soup and a Riesling with my free food and drink coupons.  I texted Derek and Lu that I was going to be watching the band at Canada (doing rock songs in kilts).  Derek found me and we waited for Lu and Todd to finish.

They finished around 1am, and met us at the band at Canada.  I picked up some fondue and a Pinot Noir while Todd changed and Lu settled in.  The bonus to only doing 5 miles - I didn't have a sick after a half marathon stomach.  Wine was no problem!  We decided to walk, and headed around World Showcase.

We browsed each of the booths, and I picked up a chardonnay somewhere (Chile?  I forget) with one of Todd's coupons, since he wasn't up for wine or food.  These were small glasses, mind you, about a third of normal sized glass, so I'd really only had about one glass at this point.  We had a good time strolling around, and then Lu and Derek bought me some kind of strong frozen drink from the Poland stand.  Whew!  I ended up throwing some of it away, but then I had a buzz!

Lu and Derek headed out, but I had seen that there were Belgian waffles at the Belgium kiosk, and I had one more food coupon that Todd had given me.  Todd sat down and I got in line for waffles!!  Then, the woman in front of me had extra coupons and gave me another food and another drink coupon!  Score!  So, I ended up getting mussels, waffles and a Hoegaarden.  I love Belgian food.  I love Belgian food!!!  The waffles were not as good as actual ones from Brussels, though.  Still, yum.  And the mussels were good!  We headed back to our hotel, and I only ended up drinking about half the beer before I had to throw it away as we were leaving the park.

It was late - we ended up closing Epcot, and finally got to bed at 3:45am.  Very much past my bedtime.

In the morning, we grumbled and got up and had breakfast at the new Kouzzina by Cat Cora.  It was just ok.  Then, we headed back to the airport and back home.  Whirlwind weekend, but a great race!  Certainly an excellent job done by Disney on an inaugural race.  And, they sure are better at putting on a race than the Rock & Roll people...  just sayin'.


abbi said...

Fun weekend! I bet running through the Animal Kingdom at night was fun!

marathonmaiden said...

that sounds like such a fun time! i'd love to do something like that. disney is always great :)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

I was wondering about this race, so it's good to get a report on it.... I like the running at night thing it's just so different!!

hope you are now home and relaxing from many travels

Marlene said...

This sounds so fun! Congrats and great pics!!

Jen said...

Glad to hear you had a great experience with the relay! If I were to ever do this again (not likely) that definitely seems to be the way to go.

onelittletrigirl said...

Great report- I am not a fan of disney so I probably will never do a race they hold, but I will say...great race reports usually come from those races!

chunky girl said...

Sounds like your relay went really well (not too much bus time!) And I'm glad you got to enjoy the coupons. By the time I got the party, I was so beat, it was so late and the lines were so long that I just ended up doing the Food thing on Sunday afternoon instead! :)

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