runDisney Wine & Dine Meet-Up

Yeah, Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is here!

I finally made it to Florida (a bit later than I was planning) after a Hurricane, a Nor’easter, not having power for a week and a half and my original flight being canceled…but, I’m here!

Once I arrived, I met up with my roomies for the weekend (Jenn, Dan and Pat – who I actually met at Wine & Dine last year!) who were already over at Epcot working their way through the Food & Wine festival.  We ended up making it a pretty early night since we had to be up really early for the runDisney Meet-Up and Tweet-Up event the next morning!

About a week before each of their race weekends the runDisney team puts out a call to all participants through social media and the Disney Parks Blog to RSVP for the opportunity to attend a special pre-event meet-up.  I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the Wine & Dine Meet-Up again (I got to go last  year before my first race ever!). Jenn, Dan and I rolled out of bed for our 5:30am wake up call and arrived at the main entrance of Epcot by 6:30am to “meet-up” with the other participants.

photo courtesy of runDisney

The runDisney folks gave us a quick overview of what to expect for the morning and we started off with a 1.7 mile run around the World Showcase.  There were two groups of runners, one led by former Olympian and runDisney trianing consultant Jeff Galloway which used 30 second run/walk intervals and one straight run group (that I went with) led by Anton Van Zyl, 2-time winner of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

Jeff Galloway run group – photo courtesy of runDisney

We finished the run at the Germany pavilion and headed inside to hear from our guest speakers for the event.

First up was Jeff Galloway who talked a bit about his run-walk-run method and the training plans he provides for runDisney race participants (available on, according to Jeff anyone can make it through a half or full marathon pain free and with a smile on their face!

runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway

When I first started running I used Jeff’s run-walk-run method to build up my mileage and it really worked great for me, I love his “can do” attitude and how he really makes running a distance race attainable for anyone!

Next up was Anton Van Zyl.  Not only is Anton a 2-time winner of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon (**update – Anton won again this year, so make that 3-time!!), but he recently competed in the Kona Ironman Triathlon!  Anton’s message for us was to make sure to have fun and enjoy the race!  He told us that he’s recently taken a step back to simplify his training (he’s stopped using a running watch that feeds him constant data) and encouraged us to simplify our race and not over think it.

Anton Van Zyl at the W&D Meet Up – photo courtesy of runDisney

(I should mention that since this is a Meet-Up and Tweet-Up we were all encouraged to tweet, Facebook and share everything that was going on with our social media groups as the event was happening!)

Me taking notes and tweeting during the Meet-Up! – photo courtesy of runDisney

After Anton was the newest member of the runDisney team, nutritionist Tara Gidus (aka the Diet Diva!).  Tara spoke to some of the challenges of preparing and fueling for a night race (i.e. don’t eat a big meal too late in the day!) and reminded us “it’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat”.  I loved that Tara wasn’t one of those intimidating nutritionists, she admitted that she makes dietary mistakes herself and told us not to stress too much, that “there is no perfect”.

Lastly, Tara introduced Chef Steff who was going to be doing a culinary demonstration for us (it is the Wine & Dine race after all!).  I was definitely excited when I saw the recipe cards they gave us and saw what he was making – spaghetti pie!  Honestly, I thought spaghetti pie was something my grandmother invented…apparently not, apparently Chef Steff’s grandmother had a hand in it too!

Tara Gidus and Chef Steff – photo courtesy of runDisney

While Chef Steff was showing us how to make his spaghetti pie (a great runners snack – pasta and eggs / carbs and protein!  It’s like an Italian energy bar!) they passed out samples for us to try!  It was sooo yummy!  I loved the red pepper flakes, gave it a little kick!

Spaghetti Pie – just like Grandma makes!

After our spaghetti pie breakfast we headed outside for a meet & greet with the one and only Mickey Mouse!

2012 Wine & Dine Meet Up – photo courtesy of runDisney

Me & Chef Mickey!

I had a great time at the runDisney Meet-Up and I’m glad I got to go for a 2nd year in a row!  Well, it’s 6:30pm on Saturday night (race night!) – we’re all rolling out of bed from our naps and getting ready to head over to the race start!  Race recap coming soon!

Chef Steff’s Spaghetti Pie recipe:

18 thoughts on “runDisney Wine & Dine Meet-Up

  1. How cool!! I loved reading the tweets from the meet-up. The spaghetti pie sounds delicious. Super cute picture of you & Mickey. Good luck tonight!!

    • I definitely recommend the Wine and Dine race! A night race is pretty different from doing a morning race if you’ve never done one, but it is pretty cool to run at night and the after party in Epcot is a lot of fun!

  2. Yay! Good luck tonight! Can’t believe we met at Wine and Dine last year. It feels like ages ago.

    Thanks for the spaghetti pie recipe. I’ve never had anything like that before, and it sounds really yummy.

  3. Better late then not. Wish we would have know ahead of time you were coming down for the race we could have cheered you on. But congrats for the run. Your so close but really far away. We your Fl. Fans give you high fives. Jays dad & Patti.

    If nothing else at least we here in Fl. have power and hot water. Talked to Jason yesterday an he said still no power. Will you fly back to Ma. or NY. to meet Jay

    Sent from my ipad

    • Thanks! Unfortunately because it’s a 10pm race there really aren’t many spectator/ fan areas. The trip’s been a lot of fun though and the weather much better than NY!

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