About a week ago, I ran in my third runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon.
Last year I was having some medical issues, so this year I wanted to have FUN and be illness free for the race, and I did just that! Let’s back up a bit.
Originally, I was going to run with Jen who is pregnant. She was nervous about finishing and being too slow, so I told her I would run with her and we would go in matching character outfits. A few days before the race, her doctor told her she needed to run as fast as possible to get off her feet…well, her fast as possible is faster than my fast as possible, so sadly we were not able to run together. My sweet husband didn’t want me to run alone so he joined in the costumed fun! Even though we didn’t race together, we still got some great pics.
Why yes, my KT Tape even matched.
We decided to drive our car to EPCOT and take the shuttle. Two years ago when I went out from EPCOT after the party to get on a bus, I had to wait in line for 30 minutes….at 3:00 am…it was not fun. So, we decided being able to hop in our car when we were ready to go would be a good move. (Please note we later found out bus waits were not bad, so glad that was improved upon!)
We arrived at 7:40 ish and waited in line at EPCOT to get on a bus, but it moved very quickly and we were so excited and busy looking at costumes I didn’t notice. *Last buses left EPCOT at 8:00. We made it to Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, and went straight to bag check. *Bag check closed at 9:00 so we wanted to go ahead and get that done with.
We then went straight to the port-o-potties, and NO LINE! It was awesome. Then it was just time to relax. We had an hour until it was time to get in our corrals, so we took a seat in the grass and people watched.
At 9:00 we met up with some friends for a #TeamrunDisney photo. I love how big this group has gotten, and I love seeing familiar faces at the race start.
It was time to go to our corrals, and I was spotted by these lovelies. So glad I got to see them before the race!
One of my favorite things about this race is not having to walk 1,000,000,000 miles to get to the corrals. They are just RIGHT THERE. Bliss. We immediately sat down upon getting into our corral, as we still had 45 minutes until the race started. *The race program said to be in your corral by 9:15, but we (along with a ton of other people) were still walking to them at this point.
I was glad I had Jen to chat with in the corral, it made the time go by much faster. There were many more corrals this year than in years past to help with course crowding, and I can honestly say the only time I felt crowded was on the Boardwalk, so I think it was a positive change! Soon the race started and our corral took off at 10:04.
I am SUCH an early bird, I couldn’t believe I was running a half marathon this late at night…again. It admittedly took me over two miles to really warm up, I think my body was very confused. I needed to use the bathroom, but told myself to wait until mile four when we got to the “real” ones at Animal Kingdom.
It was definitely warm out, but nothing crazy. Yes, I realize I live in the south and yes I run in heat most of the year, but trust me, it doesn’t really get “easier” you just learn that is the way it is. About mile three my foot/toe started bugging me. I have had issues with a stress fracture AND Morton’s Neuroma, and honestly I have no idea which is plaguing me now. It hurt but not enough to quit, so I kept an eye out for a medical tent to get some Tylenol.
I soon saw a familiar figure up ahead, and finally caught up to my buddy marathon Joe. We chatted for a bit, I am sure I made a fool of myself on air, and it was the fun little boost I needed to get me to Animal Kingdom.
Right before going into the park, I spotted heaven….er…a med tent. I asked for Tylenol, was given one, had my bib number written down, and then was given the black mark of death. Ok, so really it was just a big “X” with a sharpie, but it felt like I was being marked for having the plague or something. No joke, that marker would not come off. Check out this from the next day:
Also my awesome blue “Sulley” nails I painted for the race are on display.
Once in the park, I high tailed it to the bathroom. I felt much better after, and was ready to take some character pictures. We didn’t stop at EVERY photo, and I was also bummed to see 2-3 spots for a character, photographer ready to go, and NO character out! Sad times. This guy brightened my day…uh…night though!
I have a picture with Pluto in this spot all three years. Love it. Except for the evil eyes. I have the horns to go with them though right?
We wound our way through Animal Kingdom, and I was careful where I was stepping due to some uneven footing. There were a lot of Cast members out cheering us on which I so appreciate. Heading out of the park, I knew I wanted to stop for these guys even though the line was long. I am so glad I did, it’s my favorite character picture of the night.
I knew the next few miles would be a little more boring, and that we wouldn’t hit Hollywood Studios till about mile nine, and we were near mile 6. I figured, three miles on the roads, I can totally do that, so I broke the race up into segments and just wanted to make it to Hollywood Studios. I heard a familiar, bossy voice up ahead and charged my way up the hill to get a picture with this guy.
At about 8.5, we were given Clif shots. I was looking forward to this because I am obsessed with the vanilla flavor, but something was weird with the consistency. It was very thick and hard and I basically had to chew it. Did anyone else feel this way? I was a little bummed out and yes I am aware you have a sad life when you get excited about clif shots at a race.
We made it to 9, and I knew the rest of the race would be fine because there were distractions the rest of the way. You run through this park for a long time, then across the boardwalk and into EPCOT. We ran into these guys first, and I am bummed my photo came out like this:
We kept moving and ran into this duo, again, boo for dark photos.
I was getting excited, we were coming up to my favorite part of the race. I LOVE the Osbourne Lights, and running through them is so, so magical and special.
I knew we weren’t gong to have time to come back and look a them before our trip was over, so I soaked them in as much as I could as we ran though.
Bobby’s favorite character was next. Bobby said he wanted to force choke Darth, and I asked him what I was supposed to do and he said “I don’t know, smile?” Sssooo…I did. How original.
We made it out the front of Hollywood Studios and down to the Boardwalk. The only bad part about this is it’s quite narrow, and hard to pass people (especially when they are walking 2-3 across, come on people!) But we weaved our way through, and around by the Yacht and Beach Club. By this time my toe/foot was throbbing, but I knew I was almost done. There were a lot of spectators out, and people kept yelling “MIKE WAZOWSKI!” and I kept saying “I’M HERE TOO!” some people would say “oh, and there’s Sulley” but some said nothing at all. Bobby found this quite comical that all he did was last minute throw on a shirt and he gets all the love, while I carefully plan out my costume, and NOTHING! So it became our big joke that everyone was cheering for him and not me.
Finally we were in EPCOT, and we pushed the pace the last mile. The course was wall to wall screaming spectators, and that really helped me to run faster and push the last mile. We rounded those last couple of corners, and I could hear the announcers, we were almost there!!! We crossed the finish line side by side, and collected our newest bling. Bathroom stop + character photos = 2:31.
I was quite sweaty, and happy to be done.
We found Jen who wasn’t feeling up to the party so we took a quick picture before she headed to the busses.
We made it into EPCOT, and one thing that REALLY needs to be fixed is the crosswalk. If you were there you know what I mean. There is ONE spot where you an cross over the race course to get to the World Showcase, and we literally stood there 15 minutes waiting to go, group by group. I’m not sure what the solution is (a temporary bridge that goes over it maybe?) But exhausted runners don’t want to stand and wait that long to get food in them. There was a girl in front of me about to pass out and couldn’t even stand up anymore, but ha to wait to cross. it was kind of a mess. Also, I was FREEZING by this point. We decided to change in the bathrooms in EPCOT hoping for shorter lines, but we were wrong, so the plan was to change in World Showcase. We finally made it across, stood in more lines for the bathroom, and THEN it was time to eat and party!
I love that all the cast members were having so much fun. Singing, dancing, etc. The torches were lit, the music was blaring trough the park, and everyone was having a good time. They even had a conga line!
As I was taking pictures of the conga line, I spotted some friends!
We chatted for a bit before they headed out, and then Bobby and I got some food and found a bench. I needed to sit. I had wine to drink!
We made our way around the World Showcase stopping at booths along the way, but I was getting VERY tired, cold, and sore. Bobby was somehow unaffected and was super hyper and having a good time. I felt bad I didn’t share his feelings, but it was 2:30 in the morning. We made it to America when we decided it was time to go. Of COURSE we would be at the farthest point away from the exit. Of course.
Cast members dancing, oh yes.
We walked the rest of the way around the “world” and out the exit to the car by 3:00. We were showered and in bed by 3:45 am, and I got a kick out of the fact that the sun would be coming up in a couple hours.
All in all, we had an absolute blast and I am so glad I had a better experience with my health than last year (Foot update: it is still bothering me, I have only run once or twice since the race. Not sure what my next course of action is). I love this race and course way more than I ever though I would, and hope to come back again and again. runDisney seems to make minor adjustments and improvements every year, so I can’t wait to see what’s next!
QOTD: Have you ever run a night race?