Preston and I went into this race with high hopes and a lot of anticipation. We originally registered for last year’s race in March 2015, found out about a month and a half later that we were pregnant with little man, and then made the decision to defer the race since I would have been almost 34 weeks pregnant on race day. This past March runDisney announced their changes to Wine and Dine weekend, which included moving the race from its usual Saturday night time star time to Sunday morning. Although Preston and I were initially disappointed about the change, we later realized that because of little man that it was actually better for us and our family. Then when the new course was released, we were disappointed to see how much running and weaving we’d be doing on back roads, particularly near Disney’s water treatment plant. While the course wasn’t our favorite of the Disney races that we’ve each participated in, we still had a blast on race day.
Race morning started off with another 2:30 a.m. wake up call (my first having been the day prior for the 10k). I showered, pumped, got dressed, and we were out on the door and on the shuttle bus from Art of Animation to Wide World of Sports by 3:30 a.m. During our short ride over I ate a peanut butter sandwich and a banana.
Upon arrival at Wide World of Sports, we immediately headed to gear check and the porta potties. There weren’t any lines for the porta potties, and within 15 minutes of arriving decided to get on a lengthy line to see Chef Mickey and Chef Minnie. As time passed, and the line slowly moved, a cast member told us that Mickey and Minnie would be leaving to go to the start line at 5:00 a.m., and unfortunately we were about 15 people away from making it to the front of the line. We then headed to the start corrals (Preston was in B, but moved back to start with me in corral E), and on our way to the corrals saw Lacey and Meranda.
The race started promptly at 5:30 a.m., and we crossed the start line at 5:42 a.m.
The start line was on Victory Way, and the course initially took us down Victory Way, and then we turned left onto Osceola Parkway. We ran down Osceola Parkway, making a couple of stops for pictures, as we made our way towards Animal Kingdom. Just like I did during the 10k, we ran this race for fun and had zero focus on our finish time.
Just past the mile 3 marker we entered the Animal Kingdom parking lot. As we ran through Animal Kingdom, the photo ops were even more frequent, and our pace slowed even more. We didn’t care, we were having a blast! While in line to meet Baloo I got to meet Juliana, and then we kept seeing her in line at other character stops throughout the park.
We exited Animal Kingdom just before the mile 6 marker, and ran on Bear Island Road, passing the dreaded water treatment plant. It wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated it being, maybe because I was having so much fun.
By mile 9 we had made our way towards the parking lots at the Transportation Ticket Center and turned right onto World Drive. This area of the course was very familiar to me, as it is also part of the Disney World Half Marathon course, the first half marathon that I ran. In fact, the rest of this year’s Wine and Dine course was the same as the course that I’d ran in January 2014, so it was fun to take a trip down memory lane during the remainder of the race.
As we ran up the ramp from World Drive to Epcot Center Drive, we saw the Green Army Man, and decided to stop do some push ups with him. Boy was that an adrenaline boost!
The further we ran, and the closer that we got to the Epcot entrance, the more that I kept becoming flooded with flashbacks. During these last miles of the Disney World Half I had been struggling both mentally and physically, and I felt so strong now running this course during my tenth half marathon. Its amazing how much stronger you can become, both mentally and physically, over time.
Around mile 12 we arrived at Epcot, where we were greeted by huge crowds. Their cheers just pumped my energy up even more. We took our time running past Spaceship Earth and the Fountain of Nations, looping back at the entrance to World Showcase. We stopped several times in Epcot for photos.
As we made our way towards the Epcot entrance and the Imagine Parking lot, I was excited to run past the Gospel Choir. Their beautiful music energized me even more as we made our way closer to the finish line.
Just before crossing the finish line, Preston grabbed my hand, and we crossed the finish line of my 10th half marathon the same way that we finished my 1st: holding hands and smiling.
This runDisney race was exactly what I had hoped it would be: filled with lots of fun, smiles, and laughs. We crossed the finish line at 3:04:52 (14:06 pace). According to my Garmin, which paused during all of our stops, we ran 13.42 miles in 2:23:39 (10:42 pace). Of the ten half marathons that I’ve run, this was one of the slowest, but definitely one of the, if not the, most fun one I’ve run.
After crossing the finish line we received our medal, and then I received my Lumiere’s Challenge medal. After getting water, Powerade, food boxes, and our gear bags, we decided to get in line to see Chef Mickey and Chef Minnie. Since we were so close to getting our picture taken with them before the race, I really wanted to get our picture taken with them, no matter how long the line was. While standing in line Lacey and Meranda came by to say hi. Fellow mommy blogger Amy also came by, and it was great to finally meet her in person after having been connected online for a couple of years now. Talking with all three of them made the time that we stood in line pass by very quickly, and before I knew it, it was our turn to see Mickey and Minnie!
Afterwards, we got on the bus to head back to the hotel, where my father-in-law and little man greeted us as we got off of the bus. They had been out for a walk around the hotel, and I loved being able to give my little guy a big hug so soon after the race.
My 10th half marathon was such an incredible, fun experience, and thanks to my father-in-law coming to Disney with us to babysit little man, Preston and I were able to run the race together. After quickly showering, we headed to my favorite park for the afternoon to celebrate all four of our accomplishments from the weekend: Magic Kingdom!
QOTD: What is the most fun race that you have run?