Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Recap

I've been thinking a lot about this post and how to approach it.  I'll just come out and say it, "I didn't enjoy the Wine & Dine Half Marathon."  But, there were a lot of factors that went into it, so read on and you'll see why it just wasn't the race for me.

Just like the Disneyland Half, packet pickup was easy and very well organized.  It was the same setup, grab your bib first then go to the expo to pick up your shirt.  I really like the shirt.  It's a long sleeve dry wicking shirt.  The expo was fine and my daughter and I picked up some matching running skirts ;) 

I loved that the kids got to run their 1 mile races on Saturday morning.  It was hot and muggy, but my kiddos gave it their all and I am so proud of them!  

Now, on to the half marathon.  I will admit that my head was not in it from the start.  I stretched myself too thin and was running super late to dinner and then to get on the bus at Epcot.  This was definitely not the way I wanted to start the race.  I was so stressed out & exhausted by the time I got to Epcot to catch one of the busses transporting runners to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where the race was starting!  I took the time on the bus to try to relax and get my mind back in the race and try to sum up some excitement from the other runners.  Honestly, the late start time really made it rough for me.  

The bus arrived to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at about 9pm.  Once off the bus, I went straight to the porta-potty line.  I noticed there were no runners in their corrals yet, but didn't think much of it.  I figured we'd all make our way soon.  After about 10 minutes in line, it was my turn! YAY! As I came out though, I noticed the huge crowd of runners walking in the opposite direction from the corrals. Now, I was super confused!  I asked what was going on and was told we were being evacuated indoors due to lightning in the area.  Seriously!?! I gotta give it to us runners, there was no pushing or shoving.  Everyone walked orderly towards either the HP Field House or Champion Stadium.  I ended up at Champion Stadium, found a place to sit, and listened to runners predictions.  Some said we wouldn't run until at least midnight, others were certain the race would be canceled, while others felt we'd run at some point but the course would be shortened.  This clearly did not help me get out of my running funk.  I began to feel really down and was sure I'd start crying if they canceled the race.  I worked so hard to get us to Florida so I could run this race and get my coast to coast medal!  

Well, to make a long story short, the race directors gave us the all clear to run a modified course and by 11pm, we were back outside and to our corrals. They cut 6 miles from the race and what should have been a half marathon became a 10K.  There were lots of disappointed runners, but Disney did what they had to do.  Obviously, not everyone would be happy with any decision.  By cutting the course, we were still able to run and get our medals, including my Coast to Coast medal, and still have enough time for the after-party at Epcot. 

Although I was disappointed I didn't get to run my full 13.1 miles, I think it was for the best.  Not just for our safety, but my heart wasn't into it at all by this point.  I just wanted the run to be over and done with.  It makes me sad to admit this, since I was so excited about this race a few months ago.  I tried to run fast, but the heat and humidity made it difficult.  I didn't stop greet characters or take photos on the course.  It was dark and hot, and did I mention, I wanted it to be done.  

I didn't particularly love the course and I don't think the added 6 miles of Animal Kingdom and Osceola Parkway would have changed my mind.  Due to the regular late start time of 10pm, the race didn't have much in terms of spectators or entertainment.  There were some bands on the course and everyone loved running through the Osborn Lights, but that was basically it.  We ran through a lot of the back lots of Hollywood Studios and not much through Epcot, where we finished.  I enjoyed running on the Disney Boardwalk, but would have enjoyed it much more during the day!  

The changing area and line for the beer/wine that was included were orderly and organized.  The volunteers rocked! The after-party was ok once we made our way to the World Showcase.  It was crowded and there were long lines for some of the kiosks, but nothing that wasn't expected.  I enjoyed being able to have some alone time with the hubby at the Food & Wine festival and we even got to ride a few of the rides before the party was over.  I can't believe we made it till 4am, but I guess only running 7 miles instead of 13.1, gave me the energy to stay up all night!  

This is what happens when you give someone your camera, blurry photo! LOL  

This is what happens when you give someone your camera, blurry photo! LOL  

Will I do another Disney race? Probably not.  I most definitely will not do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again.  I'm not the biggest Disney fan (don't hate!).  I'm happy I got to experience 2 runDisney races and I really did love the Disneyland Half.  I'm grateful I was able to travel for this race and that my kiddos were able to experience all four Walt Disney World theme parks.  I'll be blogging about our days visiting the theme parks throughout the next few days, so come back and check it out ;) 

Have you ever ran a Disney race? Love it or hate it?  Did you run the Wine & Dine this year? I'd love to hear what you thought!  Leave a comment below.  XO

October Fitness Goals

Oops! I'm a little late posting these, but I like to keep accountable so here they are.  My fitness goals for October.  With just 10 days until Tough Mudder, I've got to keep focused on training to be prepared for that and my half marathon in November just 30 days from now.  It's going to be a busy month, but it's gonna get done.  Because. Goals. 

What goals or races do you have going on this month? 

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

Well, I knew September was going to be a busy month, at least the first part of it, and boy has it kicked my butt!  I have tons to share, from recent trip highlights to tips & ideas for you!  I can't wait to get back to it.  I thought I'd start with the Disneyland Half Marathon recap today.

I gotta say, I went into this half marathon with mixed emotions.  When I first signed up months ago, I was super excited about it, especially since it would allow me to get the Coast to Coast Medal in November after Disney World's Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  However, my training had been pretty sporadic.  Although I did get most of my long runs in, I missed a lot of my weekday runs as the race got closer.  Plus, I never felt strong during most of my long runs and they were all pretty slow.

I joined a facebook group for Disneyland Half Marathon participants and  the folks on there were super helpful and encouraging.  If I ever had a question, it was answered quickly. The group was awesome and I highly recommend joining a facebook group for your next race, especially if it's a big one like the Disney races are.  They helped me a lot with what to expect for the expo and packet pickup.  I tend to get a bit anxious of the unknown and all their tips and info were super helpful.  Thanks, peeps!  

Friday morning, Jason and I took the 4 hr drive to Anaheim from Vegas.  The kiddos didn't come along, so the drive was quick without any stops.  I'd read people were in very long lines for packet pickup but, maybe because we arrived on the last day of the expo I had no line.  I walked right up to get my bib and then up to the expo floor to get my bag and shirt with no wait either.

My shirt said, "Race you to the Castle" it's from  Raw Threads .  I bought it at the expo and loved how soft it is!  Running skirt & shoes are  Brooks .  

My shirt said, "Race you to the Castle" it's from Raw Threads.  I bought it at the expo and loved how soft it is!  Running skirt & shoes are Brooks.  

We had to wake up crazy early, 3:30am to be exact, so we were in bed before 9pm! Getting to the parking structure that morning and to the festival area was all very easy and streamlined.  After a quick photo and a potty break, it was time to say good bye to Jason and get to my corral.  I wanted to be in the corral early and I'm so glad I did.  I was in corral C and I was right in the front and wasn't shoved or crowded.  The announcers did their thing, yea, it was kinda cheezy, but I really liked the fireworks to start the race!  At 5:30am, the first group took off and, before I knew it they opened up our corral and we walked up to the starting line for us to go.  The wait time between corrals seemed to go quickly.  I heard there were some issues with some of the corrals further back, but Corral C had no issues and we took off around 5:50 or even a little earlier.  

During the race I never felt like we bottlenecked and it never really got so crowded that I couldn't keep my pace.  Again, I think there was some bottlenecking towards the corrals further back, but I was good the entire time.  I stopped to take a photo of the ferris wheel as I entered California Adventure because it just looked so pretty and also at the entrance to Disneyland.  That's right when I saw Jason, between California Adventure and Disneyland.  We hadn't really planned on him cheering me on at any point during the race, so that was a nice surprise.   It was really cool running through the theme parks.  I really loved seeing CarsLand and can't wait to take the kiddos there now!  Of course, running through the castle was awesome!  We also ran through a bit of the back lot or behind the scenes of the park and there were always cast members, custodians, and other Disney employees lined up cheering us on.  

Once we left Disneyland property, I honestly didn't think there would be much to see or that it would exciting.  Well, I was so wrong!  In my opinion, some of the best parts of the race were through the city of Anaheim.  There were high school bands, cheerleaders, and dance groups about every couple of miles it seemed.  There were tons of water stations with friendly volunteers too!  My favorites were the almost 500 cars that lined up both sides of the streets as we ran up to Angel's Stadium.  There were all kinds of car clubs from antique cars to muscle cars and everything in between.  There were VW Bugs, low riders, Mustangs, Camaros, just every kind of car.  The car owners were also there cheering us on!  It was so entertaining!  I loved how it distracted me from the miles I was running and kept me motivated. The car show finally ended as we came up to Angel's Stadium.  I was feeling so great from seeing all the cars and the energy from the crowd, that when I saw the 2:30 pacer just a little bit ahead of me, I pushed a little harder and ran right past them!  At this point we were entering the stadium and I could hear all the cheering as we ran through the tunnel to enter the field.  I came out to see half the stadium filled with tons of kids and their parents.  I think every girl scout and boy scout troop from Orange County were there! It was so awesome giving all the kiddos high fives as I ran past them.  Their energy was contagious and it kept me going all the way to about mile 11!  As always, that last mile was tough, but just knowing that I was going to sub 2:30 kept me going at a steady pace.  I finished in 2:27:04 and felt great.  

I got my medal and called Jason right away to come meet me.  He was waiting for me at the family reunion area, so we saw each other right away! We didn't stay too long because I was hungry and ready to freshen up and stretch.  It was getting hot and I was super sweaty and gross after running 13.1!  I had some of the snacks that came in our goodie box in the car and we grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. Went over to our friend's place to shower and freshen up before brunch.  You better believe I celebrated with a mimosa and some bloody mary's!  I also had the most delicious corned beef eggs benedict ever!!!  Soon after brunch it was time to go back home to the kiddos :)  Big thanks to our friends, Linda & Sean, for letting us crash at their house for the night & for being so hospitable! XO 

I couldn't believe how well the race went!  It was really so much better than I had anticipated it would be.  I had prepped myself to expect  massive crowds, delays, bottlenecking, and a boring course through Anaheim.  This was all far from the truth!  Yes, there were close to 18,000 runners but I never felt overcrowded and I absolutely loved the course!  I really enjoyed the crowd support and I'm still in awe of how many residents of Anaheim were out there supporting us runners along the way!  I really appreciated it so much and I know it was the reason I was able to push along and feel so good throughout the entire race.  Now, I'm really excited about my next Disney race, the WDW Wine and Dine in November!!

 Have you ever ran a runDisney race? Which one? Did you love it or hate it?  Let me know in the comments below, especially if you've ran the Wine & Dine Half ;)