Disney Wine and Dine 2012 Race Report- grab a coffee, it’s long.
So, do you believe in magic? Well I do and I had a magical night at Disney. The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon was the last big run for the year and my first night race so I thought I would need a bit of fairy dust and a fairy godmother to get me to the finish line but in fact my Mizuno’s did just fine. My t-shirt summed it up ‘Forget the glass slipper, this princess wears running shoes’.
We spent Friday shopping, I was supposed to do a 4K run but opted for a day of shopping, I think it was a harder workout and by the time we reached the Expo at 5pm, I was tired and my feet were sore. The kit pick-up was easy and I managed to get moved up a coral based on my Army Run time. They had photo opportunities everywhere and Run Disney sure knows how to provide customer service. The Expo was in a different building and was huge. I had fun buying things I never saw before in Canada. I splurged and bought runner earbuds and some t-shirts, one a triathlon shirt and I was thrilled to find that one. Another fun find were shoe charms, I bought one for each shoe (have to be balanced right) left shoe says 'powered by fairy dust' and the right shoe says 'I run for wine'. I bought my finishers t-shirt and hoped I would be able to wear it home, knock on wood (I did wear it home).
Saturday was an odd day since the run was at night. We went back to the Expo in the morning and then spent the day by the pool relaxing. It was warm and sunny but it was hard to do nothing while you are at Disney. I was excited but relaxed, a bit nervous but nothing like before the Army Run. Eating was interesting but I got through the day without incident. One big thing about Disney races, you have to be there so early and you have a long wait to start. I brought my Go Lean Crunch from home and found Greek yogurt on site so I brought my snack to eat at 8pm. At 9pm they asked us to go to our corral, 70 mins before the race start. The entertainment was great and I had time to talk to other runners and the time passed quickly.
At 10:10 we started with a bang…the bang of fireworks that is. OK, let’s get this done. I usually start too fast and get slower as I go but I wanted to stay consistent this time, I was aiming for a 7:00-7:15 min/km pace with walk breaks and photo stops (or a 12 min mile). We started on the highway and it was dark, I forgot my light so seeing my Garmin was tough but I decided to go by how I felt and not clock watch too much. I felt great as I started and was enjoying the crowds and the entertainment. I was surprised at how much running we did on the highway (mile 1-3) but eventually we got to the Animal Kingdom (mile 3-6). It was nice seeing the park at night and it took your mind off the running. Back to the highway (mile 6-9) to run to the Disney Hollywood Studios, our next park. At mile 9 or the 15K mark I hit the wall at the Army Run and I hit it again here, luck for me it was the wall of the Tower of Terror and nothing else. We were now running through Disney parks to the end and it helped take your mind off the last 4.1 miles, there was so much to see. The downside was the paths were narrower and there were a lot of walkers so the running was harder and slower. This was one of the big differences I noticed between running in Canada and the US, or at least the Running Room runners and other runners. We are taught to signal we are about to take a walk break and move to the side to allow the runners to pass easily, it was easy to spot the RR runners who were doing this during the run and the others were stopping wherever and walking 3-4 abreast and blocking the path, grrrr.
So I never hit the wall, in fact I had a great run. I stuck to my plan; my splits at 5k, 10k, 15k and 21.1k were all between 11:50 and 11:54 mins per mile and my finish time was 1 min off my Army Run time even with all my photo stops along the way. I finally felt like a runner, I felt so good as I finished, all my training and hard work came together and it was truly magical. Then it was time to party!!!
After I made it through the finish line and changed, I found Leah and we walked around Epcot, eating and drinking our way around the world. I was a little bit sore and had a blister on my big toe but felt great. By 3am I was ready to crash and we headed back to the hotel. Staying on site is the way to go, they provide transportation to the event and the hotel and it was so easy to get around. The next day I had a bit of tightness in my quads and my right knee but nothing major and certainly not enough to stop me from shopping some more. Monday we went to the Magic Kingdom for some rides and to celebrate, it truly is the most magical place on earth!
Run Disney runs a great event, they think of everything. There were tons of water stops on the race, the entertainment was great and the finish line went really smooth, no big lineups or bottlenecks. Now I am looking forward to 2 months of reduced training before it all starts again and I do another half marathon in early May. We will be back in Disney January 2014, Neale to run the Goofy and me to do my first marathon, I can't wait to go back! This truly was the most magical way to end my training year!