Now that I have finally recovered from running 19.3 miles and the time change, I have finally had time to sit down and recap my experience at runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. I had been anxiously awaiting this weekend because it was going to be my first half marathon and my first challenge. For anyone who doesn’t know running or runDisney, the Two Course Challenge was where you participated in the 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday and then ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday, totaling up to 19.3 miles in two days! Yes, I paid for this, and yes, I sometimes think I’m a little crazy, but you do it for the bling! The medals were gorgeous, but we’ll get to that later!
Mama Judy and I flew into Orlando Thursday afternoon, and then we booked it to the expo to pick up my race bib and shop for all the adorable merch! Also, I needed to get to the expo as soon as possible because I forgot my running shoes at home. Yep, I somehow made it all the way to Orlando to run a race without my running shoes. For someone who had their packing list written out a week before, this was a major fail. As if my anxiety wasn’t already racing, this only made matters worse. Once we got to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we went to the Hoka booth immediately. My priority was to get new shoes, and if we didn’t have enough time to pick up my bib, we would come back on Friday. Thankfully, they had the style and size of the shoes I needed, and I had shoes to run in for the weekend! The expo wasn’t too crowded, and the flow of traffic to pick up your bib worked really well. A recommendation is to come to the expo with your waiver filled out and ready to go. You are able to print and fill it out before entering the expo, but I like to have it done ahead of time. Next stop was the merch (INSERT HEART EYES) I honestly loved the theming for this year. All of the merchandise was super cute! The colors were gorgeous, and I was able to shop without a huge crowd. We were in and out of the merchandise within like 20 minutes! It was great.
I managed to get to bed around 8ish the night before the 10k, but goodness that 2 A.M. alarm came on too early. Thankfully, the excitement and adrenaline gave me an extra boost to get going. Mom and I made it to Epcot around 3:15 A.M., but we didn’t realize that they didn’t open up bag check or start running the buses until 3:30 A.M. Mama Judy and I chilled in our warm car until we finally saw movement at bag check. Once we made it through, we headed to the Ticket and Transportation Center, the meet and greet with characters had already begun. You had the option between Sebastian, Lumiere, Chef Mickey, and Chef Minnie, and Chef Donald and Chef Goofy. We hopped in line for Chef Donald and Chef Goofy. The lines were moving fairly quickly, I was able to meet them in about 15 minutes. My mom and I hopped in line to meet Sebastian, but the line was queued at over an hour, and the characters would be leaving at 5:00 A.M. I decided to move into my corral since we wouldn’t make the meet and greet anyways. The run itself went great because the weather was perfect. It was cool but not too cool. I will say I was disappointed with the course – the first 4 miles were all on main roads and overpasses. We only ran through Epcot for the last half of the course. There were several characters out on the route, but I chose not to stop for any meet and greets because I wanted to keep up my steady pace for a Princess Half Marathon Weekend proof of time. After finishing, mom and I met up and hopped in line for some characters. We were able to meet Sebastian and Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey before heading out for the day!
Mom and I were dragging this morning with the time change and back to back early wake-up calls. We made it to the TTC and decided not to wait for any characters since it was almost time to head to my corral. As the race volunteers were moving my corral towards the starting line, it started to sprinkle, what a great start to the morning! I really enjoyed the course map for the half. It was a nice mixture of back roads and overpasses and parks. The first part we ended up at was Animal Kingdom, and I came in right at sunrise. It was beautiful to see the sun rising over Pandora. From AK, we headed to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park) which was a relief because I knew Epcot was right around the corner. During my walk interval outside of Studios, an elderly couple asked me what I was doing, I said running a half marathon, they then proceeded to ask me if paid for this, I responded yes, and they both looked at me which this confused expression and said you’re crazy. That was probably a highlight of my first half marathon! My favorite part of the race was running through the Boardwalk for several reasons. It’s flat and wide open so runners can space out. Also, the atmosphere on the Boardwalk is the best – you have the family and friends of runners out there cheering, and the resort guests on their balcony’s watching and cheering too. Epcot was a struggle, but I pushed through it to get to that last finish line. Once I fit the 13-mile marker, I started to tear up this was such a long and hard working journey. Then as I rounded the corner for the finish line, I saw Mama Judy taking pictures and yelling how proud she was of me. That moment and pure exhaustion did it, I started crying, but I knew I had to pull it together to get that instaworthy finish line picture! #judgeme There were several character stops throughout the course. I stopped for Louis from Princess and the Frog being a NOLA girl, and Mushu at the China Pavillion in Epcot. Characters I remember seeing were Marie, Green Army Men, Flik, Oswald, Elvis Stitch, Russell for UP, Daisy Duck, Pluto, the Penguins from Mary Poppins, Dino Chip and Dale and Edna Mode. The characters available after the race were Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey, Lumiere, Chef Donald, and Chef Goofy! We only waited for Lumiere because I didn’t think I could stand up any longer, and I was dying for a warm bath!
After sleeping all day and taking a nice relaxing and warm bath, mom and I headed to Epcot in the sprinkling rain. I had hoped the weather would clear up because I wanted to take some nice pictures with my medals. Alas, that was not the case. Mother Nature was not working in my favor. Because of the time change, it got dark at like 5:00 P.M. – i.e. no natural lighting available for pictures, and it began pouring down rain. We conquered Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ and Character Spot and a stop at the Canada food both for some cheddar soup. From there, we decided to cut our losses. The rain was coming down hard and it didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. As much as we wanted to enjoy the party, it was just not worth pushing through the rain for. Hopefully, I’ll be back for Wine and Dine Weekend again to enjoy the party!