My first race of Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend and Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge was the Wine and Dine 10k. I had two goals for the race: to take it easy since I had the half marathon the next day, and to have a lot of fun. I successfully met both goals, and think I may have even gotten a 10k PR in fun.
Race morning started bright and early with my alarm going off at 2:30 a.m. Once up I showered, pumped, and got dressed. For this race I decided to dress as my favorite Disney princess, Belle. The inspiration for my costume was a Belle theme SweatyBands that my friend Kathleen bought for me during Disney World Marathon Weekend 2015. My father-in-law, who walked the 10k, and I were out the door in time to catch the first bus from our hotel, Art of Animation, to the staging area at Epcot at 3:30 a.m.On the bus I ate my usual pre-race breakfast – a peanut butter sandwich and a banana. We arrived at Epcot quite early, about 30 minutes before the corrals even opened. Our goal was for my father-in-law to get as far to the front of his corral (Corral E) as possible since he was walking the race and wanted as much headway on the Balloon Ladies as possible. When the corrals opened, we parted ways, and I hung back a bit to take some pictures of the start line and to use the porta potties.
I’m not sure when I entered my corral (Corral B), but even though I got into my corral well after the corrals had been opened, I was only a couple of rows of people back from the front. Since my plan was to take the 10k easy, I didn’t feel any need to fight to get to the front, although there were lots of people who pushed their way forward, especially once our corral was moved towards the start line. I understand that people are excited about racing, and that they want to get as close to the front as they can, but there’s no need for pushing!
The wheelchair participants started just before 5:30, and corral A started at 5:30 on the dot. I crossed the start line at 5:41 a.m.With the course being the exact same as the Disney World 10k course, which I walked in 2014 during the inaugural year of the race, I knew what to expect in terms of the course itself. I had been a bit disappointed by the lack of entertainment back in 2014, and had high hopes that the entertainment would be amped up now that runDisney is a couple of years into using this course. My hopes were met, as there was more than enough entertainment, character stops, and other photo ops during the 6.2 mile run through the back streets of Epcot, around World Showcase, and around the Boardwalk area. Since my finish time was nowhere near my priority, I had fun and stopped at all but one of the character stops.
The first miles of the race were along the Epcot entrance service road, Epcot Center Drive, and Overpass Road. We entered the backstage area of Epcot and World Showcase just past the halfway point of the race.
Once I entered World Showcase, my pace slowed down even more, as the character stops and photo ops were even more frequent than they had been outside of Epcot.
After exiting World Showcase around mile 4.5 the course took us out to the Boardwalk area. Only second behind running through World Showcase, this was my other favorite part of the course. There were so many spectators that lined the Boardwalk and cheered runners on. There were also a couple of character stops along the Boardwalk.
Upon exiting the Boardwalk the course took us through part of the backstage area of Epcot, and we reentered the park in Future World West. We passed the Fountain of Nations and Spaceship Earth, and then made our way towards the front of the park. The finish line of the race was in the Imagine Lot. My official finish time was 1:37:06 (15:38 pace), though according to my Garmin, which paused while I stood in line for photos, I ran 6.37 miles in 1:05:29 (10:17 pace). This race was nowhere near my fastest 10k, in fact I believe that the only one that I completed slower than this was the Disney World 10k back in 2014. But my finish time was far from my mind, as I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face because I had had so much fun. After the race I made my way through the finisher’s chute, collected my water, Powerade, and food box, got my medal, and then decided that I wanted to wait in line for a picture with Lumiere. I was running his challenge after all. It had been such a fun morning at Epcot, but the fun for the day was just getting started. My father-in-law and I needed to get back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the day since we had even more fun ahead of us – little man’s first race – the diaper dash!
QOTD: Do you race every race that you run, or do you sometimes take the time to have fun during a race?