So, when we last left off we were at the starting line!
I have to admit I sort of look at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon as a good “excuse” to go to Disney and eat my way around the Epcot Food & Wine Festival with my friends (and I just happen to throw a half marathon in there for good measure!). I don’t usually love night races (who runs at 10pm?!?), so my plan was really just to run at a comfortable pace and stop for pictures if the lines weren’t too long.
Well get ready for A LOT of pictures because I was lucky enough to not encounter any lines for the characters and ended up stopping for just about every one!
runDisney used a new corral breakdown for this event. The corrals were much smaller and at least for me that translated to a wide open course the entire way – I didn’t encounter any of the usual crowding at the start (which to be honest I usually sort of count on to keep me from going out too fast!).
As soon as we started running what had been a comfortable temperature at the start was immediately uncomfortable hot and humid. I try to run races by feel only glancing at my Garmin occasionally to get an idea of what my pace is and I noticed early on I was moving along at about a 9:30 pace, definitely faster than I had been planning, especially since I tend to pick up speed as the race goes on, so I tried to hold myself back.
The first character stop was the Country Bears which I passed by even though there was no line, at this point I figured I wanted to save the time for characters I really wanted.
Next up I found these lovely ladies!
Shortly after the 5k mark we entered Animal Kingdom where I stopped for pictures with King Louie from The Jungle Book, Rafiki from The Lion King and Pluto (so disappointed this one didn’t come out! And I hear Timon was out too but he must have been taking a break when I ran by!).
Coming out of Animal Kingdom I ran right into Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa! I was excited to finally get this picture since the lines are usually really long!
At this point I realized that despite me trying to hold back my pace was still around 9:30. I figured instead of worrying about it I’d just go for it – if I burned out then I burned out and I’d learn a good race lesson.
I ran up a hill to Lilo & Stitch where we had a little dance party before snapping this pic! Lilo did “hang ten”, apparently I went with sign language for “I love you” instead. Clearly too tired!
I think it was around this time that I found Nicole! I’ve read Nicole’s blog for the past few months (she ran MCM this year too!) and we’ve never actually met, but I recognized her right away since she had posted a picture of her costume on her blog a few days earlier!
We chatted for awhile which was a nice distraction, but I peeled off when I saw the Toy Story green army men – if you’ve read any of my other runDisney race recaps you probably know I LOVE the green army men and have made it a tradition my last few races to get a picture of me doing pushups mid-race next to them.
I ran over, handed my camera to someone standing near him and dropped down for my pushups, I was pretty psyched when the green army guy got down and started doing them with me, this picture was going to be EPIC!
Oh, you’re wondering where the picture is? Yeah, the person I handed my camera to pressed a button to take the picture…the POWER button…and turned my camera OFF instead of taking a picture. I’m still not over it.
A short while later we entered Hollywood Studios where I ran into these guys!
See how I’m holding something in my hand? That’s my buddy Al and if you followed me through the weekend on Instagram you’re probably pretty familiar with him by now, but more on him later!
Next up some more Pixar friends and my favorite part of the race, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!
I also grabbed a quick Darth Vader pic, I’ve never waited before since the lines for him are usually so long!
Coming out of Hollywood Studios we were in the home stretch running along the water, past the Yacht & Beach Clubs and through Epcot to the finish line!
I crossed the finish line in 2:06:02, a 9:37 pace – my 3rd fastest half marathon!
Now let’s just break this down a second…13.1 miles, 12 photo stops, 5 pushups, unpleasant heat & humidity and only 7 minutes off my PR time? Hmmm…I may be in need of a PR attempt soon!
After I got my medal, gathered my bag and all my post-race goodies I made my way into Epcot and eventually met up with a bunch of friends where we rode Test Track and took this awesome high speed medal picture!
And once I was feeling hungry (I can’t eat right after I run) I stopped in the United Kingdom for my favorite Fish & Chips!
We managed to make it to 4am and were thankful we only had a short walk back to the Beach Club before we could crash.
While we waited for Daniel to shower (he had a 4:30am Magical Express! Yes, you read that right.) Jenn and I spent some times with our legs up the wall trying to recover from the long night!