Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That Time I PRd in Fun

AKA my Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap Part 4

Let's talk race, shall we?

I did manage to sneak in about an hour nap back at the room after lunch before getting ready for the race.  As I eluded to before - I was Donald from the Three Caballeros.


Our plan was to be on one of the first buses to ESPN when they began running at 7pm so that we could take advantage of some pre-race photo ops.  When we arrived at ESPN we were greeted by a big field that had been converted into the race's staging area.  We immediately got in line to take our picture with Chef Mickey and enjoyed some entertainment from the DJ while we waited.


And waited.

And waited.

Y'all, we waited about an hour to take a pic with Mickey.  But it was so worth it.  We even made it to the runDisney Facebook page!!

Photo courtesy of runDisney

We MIGHT have done some more dancing while we waited.  And again, there MIGHT be video of it out there in cyberspace but no....it's not posted here ;)

But if you DO happen to see it, you'll notice that I'm eating while we're dancing.  I've had several people ask me how I fueled for the night race and I'll be honest, it was the thing I was most worried about.  After eating my sushi lunch at Kona, I ended up snacking on some grapes around 5pm and then ate the bagel I bought earlier that day at Starring Rolls with some peanut butter while we were in line to see Mickey, while I drank my Cocogo.  I am pleased to report I had NO GI issues whatsoever.  I think not overfilling myself at lunch and then eating a few smaller snacks in the afternoon was key here and if I get the opportunity to do a night race again, I will follow that same routine.

Anywho.

Immediately after that pic was taken we dropped our bags at bag check.  I don't typically have a bag for after the race but since we had plans to stay at the after party in Epcot for a bit, I had packed some spare clothes and wipes to freshen up, along with my hair brush and a fresh headband.  I also packed a drawstring backpack because I wanted something more substantial to carry through Epcot than the clear runDisney gear check bag (I eventually ended up using the clear bag to hold my nasty race clothes in the drawstring bag, which was a genius idea, if I do say so myself).

At the expo Bonnie and I got upgraded to corral F with  Tania so after a quick stop waiting in a long line at the port-a-potty we headed over to our corral.  One of the big changes I noticed about Wine and Dine vs. Marathon Weekend in January was that we did not have the mile plus hike from the pre-race area to the corrals.  Reminded me of the Disneyland races - major plus for this event!  Tania, Bonnie, and I found a spot and sat down in corral F until I was time for the fireworks start!


I have to say that I LOVE LOVE runDisney's new corral set up - more corrals with less people and less time between corral starts.  Even though we were in corral F we started the race less than 15 minutes after the elites in corral A.


The first two miles are on the highway leading to Animal Kingdom.  I didn't mind this stretch so much because it was spacious and allowed the crowding to thin out so we weren't all running on top of each other.  We stuck to our 3:1 run/walk ratios pretty much throughout the entire race, stopping when we wanted to for pics or needed a potty break.  The race route includes an out and back to Animal Kingdom and then over to Hollywood Studios.  As we were making our way towards the 2 mile marker, the race leader was on the other side of the course heading to HS.  And he was bookin it folks!!!  We all cheered for the faster runners as they passed us on the other side - that's the runDisney race spirit!

At mile 3 we hit Disney's Animal Kingdom and it was decorated for the holidays!


One thing I did not care for in Animal Kingdom was the lack of lighting.  Animal Kingdom is typically not open at night so it was really neat to see the park after dark but there was uneven pavement and not a lot of light to see with.  We took it pretty slow through Animal Kingdom and made some picture stops.





Thanks again Bonnie for sharing your pics!  And yes, I ditched the hat in corral F but Tania wore hers the.entire.race.  No wonder she made the Disney Parks Moms Panel this year ;)

We headed out the back side of Animal Kingdom through the parking lot and back out onto the highway, but not without seeing these awesome light up guys that I first saw during the mile 20 spectacular in January!


The trek back to Hollywood Studios was a bit daunting with some hills  overpasses that I could live without.  We slowed things down a bit and enjoyed each other's company.  I had my headphones in but honestly wasn't listening to any music.

We entered Hollywood Studios on the backside of the Tower of Terror, much like during the marathon, but this time we ran by the Rockin' Roller Coaster (which I have never ridden) and down Sunset Boulevard towards the iconic Sorcerer's Hat, where a DJ was rockin' some mad tunes for being so late early.  I wish I had snapped a picture of that but my phone battery was already low again at this point.

I was anxiously awaiting the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights and it seemed like it was taking FOREVER to get there - at one point we ran out of Hollywood Studios and back through a parking area (and by the dumpsters with the day's garbage - EWW!) and we ran into this guy:

Bonnie warned us that his arms were heavy and GEESH they really were!  But I still couldn't pass up the photo op.  I'm gonna wreck it!!  HAHA

I was about to get upset thinking we weren't going through the lights after all, when we turned back into HS by the Lights, Camera, Action stunt show and then - there it was!!!














TOTES worth the wait.  It was just the little pick  me up that we needed to head towards Epcot to the finish line.  But first, we saw these guys and HAD.TO.STOP.

I was attempting to look like a Jedi here.  But Tania's facial expression wins for best of the night!!

Leaving Hollywood Studios through the entrance we found ourselves headed to the Boardwalk area for the final few miles of the run.  This area was a tad congested but I was pleased to see more crowd support, especially given the fact that it was well after midnight already!  Running on the Boardwalk by the Beach and Yacht Club resorts brought back marathon memories, and I got to see the Boardwalk Resort at night, which made me excited for our trip for Princess weekend coming in February!  Through the International Gateway we went and this time we entered Epcot by the Land and Journey into Imagination.  Here the crowd support was in full force, as runners who had already finished were trying to make their way to the after party.  Everyone was still in great spirits and they cheered us towards the front of Epcot and then out the entrance where the laser lights greeted us at the finish line.

I thought these were SO cool!

13.1 miles and 3 hours later, we were done.  A personal worst as far as times go but a personal best for fun!!!  It was around 1:30am and normally I am dead to the world in my bed but I had mustered up a little energy to enjoy a little bit of the after party in Epcot.



This beef tenderloin was SO yummy!

We got back to POFQ and were asleep by around 4:30am - this mama hasn't been up that late in a LONG time!  And it made for a really rough wake up call 3 hours later to catch the Magical Express back to the airport.  But it was totally worth it.  I wasn't sure about doing a night race but I have to say that if I can make the stars align just right, I would love to go back next year!

Beignets for the road anyone??



QOTD:  Do you ever run a race just for fun?