Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Race Recap - Wine & Dine Half!

Here I am, behind again, but stopping by to recap my very first half marathon!

Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon - November 9, 2013
I am so grateful that my wonderful friend, Barbara, agreed to run my first half marathon with me! Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a celebration of the end of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. The race is run at night - it starts at 10pm. There is an after-party in Epcot that goes until 4:00am!

The race began at the Wide World of Sports, and we had to be there by 8pm. Around 7:00 we got on a bus from our hotel - no driving to the start line. There was a huge party going on! They had a DJ who was leading/teaching all sorts of dances from his spot on the stage. There was a huge screen and people with video cameras running around and filming people. There were tons of costumes - it was a sight to see! Barbara and I took our bags to the bag check area and then settled down on our garbage bags and old towels to have our pre-race snacks.
Bus selfie, complete with photobomb!
I thought all the people dancing and bouncing around were crazy, but eventually we decided to join them! We did the chicken dance, the Macarena, the YMCA, and several others. It was fun! I was a little worried about wearing myself out before my first big race, though.
One picture of the pre-party. It doesn't even begin to show how big the crowd was!
Finally, we lined up in our corrals. Barbara was in a faster corral than me, so she came back to my corral. Each corral has its own start! Ours started right at our scheduled time - 10:19pm. 
Fireworks at the start of the first corral
Almost time to start! I was so excited!
I was running pretty strong right from the beginning. I guess the dancing warmed me up some! We first ran out of the Wide World of Sports and onto Osceola Parkway. The route would take us through Animal Kingdom and back down Osceola Parkway. As we were between mile 1 & 2, we saw a guy running fast down the other side of Osceola! He was at mile 7 or 8! Everyone was cheering, and then we were watching for the first female. When she showed up, the whole place went nuts! Running is so cool - everyone supports each other, even in a race!

We eventually made it to Animal Kingdom and ran into some water on the road on our way back to Osceola. (broken sprinkler) We ran around in the grass to avoid wet feet. I was still feeling good and running about 5K pace, which is a no-no. I kept telling Barbara I was afraid I was going to poop out at the end, and she said I looked comfortable, I was upright with good posture, I was smiling and talking. I was fine. She was right. :)

We turned off of Osceola and onto an on-ramp. Lots of characters were along the way and they were fun to see! We went up a little hill and saw the green army man from Toy Story. He was telling us to conquer that hill! Around mile 8 there was a cliff shot stop. I have never tried any gels - I like chews. I had chews in my pocket so I passed on the gel. We spent a couple of miles running around, through, into, out of, back around, and back through Hollywood Studios. There was a cool tunnel that is normally for cast members only. They had hung disco balls and there were smoke machines - it was really fun to run through! After that, we were looking forward to the Osborne Spectacle of Lights. But first, I had to take a bathroom break.

Of course, I waited until we got into the park so I could use a "real" bathroom! No one likes port-o-potties! That was the first time I've ever had to pee during a run, and getting my pants back in place was like pulling up a too-tight, wet bathing suit! It took me a little while! And then we finally made it to the Christmas lights!
Huge perk of this race - running through the lights!
Now we were past mile 10, and I just never seemed to get my stride back. Barbara was super encouraging, reminding me that this was what I had trained for, to imagine Bruce's face cheering me on, to envision the finish line, and to use my upper body strength to propel forward when my legs felt weak. And BOY, did they feel week! 

Between miles 11-13, I needed to take a few extra walk breaks. The course got pretty crowded as we headed out of Hollywood and on to Epcot via the Boardwalk area. It was a beautiful area to run through, but the sidewalk was very narrow. I was DONE when we finally made it into Epcot. We actually ran in by France, then out again, and then finally back in by Figment. I knew the finish line was in the parking lot, so I was a bit dismayed when we entered the park next to Figment. I knew how far we were from the golf ball, and that it was even farther to the finish line!

I was hurting, I was tired, my stomach had started to feel upset around mile 12. Ugh! Why again had I decided to do this?! It seems I love running...except when I'm actually DOING it! The course through Epcot was roped off and there were what seemed like millions of people on both sides cheering us on. Amazingly, though, that did nothing for me. I just wanted to be DONE. It was after 1:00 in the morning, after all!

Finally, FINALLY, we rounded the corner and saw the finish line. I can't even describe the feeling I had as I crossed it. Months and months of training, sweat, clean eating, cross training, getting up in the middle of the had all come down to this! We crossed the line and got our medals and immediately saw some friends from our running group who were volunteering! Then we got ice packs on our hamstrings and grabbed some bananas and I just wanted a Coke. (Note: I stopped drinking soda in January, so it had been a REALLY long time since I'd had a Coke! But my stomach just felt like it wanted a Coke!) 
The medal  made it all worth it! My time was 2:52:41.
Long story short, we finally found Brian, got our Cokes, and headed into Epcot. After awhile of trying to find a place to change clothes, we sat down to wait. It felt SO GOOD to sit down! Barbara, knowing me like she does, helped me to avoid barfing people. Throwing up is not allowed around me. EVER. (This can be a challenge at races, I've found!)

Eventually we changed out of our wet clothes and got in the very short line to ride Soarin'. It was great. I still didn't feel like eating much, which was weird because I'm usually STARVING after a long run! Brian and Barbara were hungry, so we ventured into the countries and they enjoyed some food from the Food & Wine Festival. I trudged along behind them with my sore legs. :)

It was almost 4am when we headed back to the hotel. Brian had parked really close to the entrance at Epcot - he's such a wonderful husband! By the time we got into the room, I was famished and ate a bunch of homemade trail mix I had brought. Then I took a shower and before heading to bed (at 5am), I checked Facebook - my running friends were just getting up to run! LOL

All in all, it was a great race experience, even though it was a night race and I'm used to running first thing in the morning. I would do it again! At the after party, I asked Barbara if you always felt this bad after a half marathon. She said, "Yes, and you swear you'll never do it again, and then the next day you're looking up more races!" I laughed because I thought there was no way I would ever voluntarily do that again!

But the next morning, before I even got out of bed, I was looking up more races. And four weeks later, I ran my second half marathon! Recap to come. 

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