Monday, November 9, 2015

The Disney Wine & Dine Quarter Marathon {RACE RECAP}

I know a lot of people were upset about what happened at the Disney Wine and Dine event but let me just start off by saying that I was not one of them. And I'm not just saying that because I want Disney to guarantee my entry into next year's race ;)

I headed up to Orlando on Saturday morning and went straight to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex...


Packet pick-up was my first stop to turn in my waiver and get my bib...

When I first walked in I figured I was either very early or very late cause it was pretty empty inside...

But then I headed over to the Race Expo and found the crowd...

The humidity was ridiculously high during the day and Orlando was experiencing unseasonably high temperatures for November so the race organizers put the runners on alert...


After I walked around the Expo for a bit I got some lunch (a warm pretzel) and focused on hydrating as much as I could. Then I tried (unsuccessfully) to get some rest and get excited about the race that night. 

As the hours passed by I felt increasingly tired and by the time I was to start getting ready for the race all I really wanted to do was stay in bed and fall asleep. But I didn't. Instead I headed to Epcot (with the other thousands of runners) to get on the shuttle bus...
...where I actually fell asleep! Luckily I woke up in time to exit the bus at the start.

The wait for the race to start wasn't too bad (initially). I was exhausted but between people watching, picture taking, and listening to comments about how great the hot dog and fries from the concession stand were (the fries were really good actually), the time started to go by quickly...

And just as quickly everything came to a stop. The race organizers made a calm "DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER WE NEED TO EVACUATE THIS AREA IMMEDIATELY" announcement and then this happened...

video

This was the most organized evacuation of over 20,000 people that I have ever seen...

 
The evacuation meant the possibility of several things:
1. There was a possibility that the race would be cancelled
2. If the race wasn't cancelled there was a possibility that it was going to start very late
3. If the race started late (even a little late) there was a possibility that I was going to fall asleep (again)
.
Thankfully the first one didn't happen but the race was delayed and the course was shortened (and I probably did fall asleep at some point).

Eventually we were given the "All Clear" and the same orderly mass of people that evacuated the field moments before walked calmly to the start corrals to line up and enjoy the news of the shortened course and the fireworks...

video

So several people were upset about the shortened course (as I mentioned at the start of the blog post) and I get it. I mean, when you get into the training process and you have your heart set on running the race you trained for, it can be upsetting when you learn that your dream won't be realized. Of course issues related to severe weather are beyond anyone's control, but often it's the things you can't control that tend to be the most devastating.

If any of the readers were upset about the shortened course please know that I understand how you must have felt. And while I was absolutely through-the-roof excited to not be running the full distance, I'm not insensitive to the fact that you may not view it the same way. I, however, was tired and by the time I got to the start I really just wanted the race to be over.

They did a great job of keeping the runners entertained between the fireworks and the MCs...

And before I knew it I was off...

I snapped a few pictures of the characters along the way...


And then I got to this point and for the very first time I appreciated the "magic" of Disney...



The rest of the race was a bit of a blur. I did my usual interval running, but I skipped a lot of the walk breaks because I was feeling ok and there were areas that were so narrow it didn't seem like stopping for a walk break was an option. But soon (well relatively soon) I was done...

And then it was time to head to the Finish Line Party...
(where I stayed for all of 5 minutes because I remembered how being sleep deprived feels)

I'm glad that I went and I'm glad I ran and I am really really glad the race is over. I still feel like I need to catch up on sleep (driving 3+ hours to Orlando on race day and driving 3+ hours back home the following afternoon was probably not the best idea). 

I saw this on Facebook today and couldn't resist sharing it...

I would do this race again in a heartbeat, but next time I'll plan the logistics a little better and maybe not run a full marathon the month before so I can do more night time training runs. It was an experience for sure. And although the time in Orlando was brief, and most of it was spent feeling exhausted or getting exhausted, I had a great trip. And I LOVE MY MEDAL!!!
(I may have only run half the distance but I was so exhausted I felt like I ran the entire 13.1 miles so I'm displaying this medal proudly)

Share your #runDisney or #WineandDine experiences! (this year and past years). 

How did you enjoy your quarter marathon?

What's the worst weather you've ever had to run a race in?

Have you ever had your race cancelled because of bad weather? Were you upset or relieved?

4 comments:

  1. That's crazy they had to shorten the course! I feel you though - there have been quite a few races when I would have been overjoyed to learn I only had to run half the distance! :) Glad things worked out for you and you had a great race!

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    1. Thanks Kristen! I was pretty relieved :) Plus I heard that some of the volunteers ended up being there for 20+ hours from set up to clean up so I'm glad they shortened it.

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  2. I've run every Wine & DIne Half Marathon and will be back next year for #7. If there's any way possible, try to come in the day before and rest up on race day as much as possible. You'll enjoy the race and the party so much more! Here's my write up from the night: http://eatruntravelrd.com/run-healthy/rundisney/the-2015-rundisney-wine-dine-half-of-a-half-marathon/

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    1. I will definitely try to come in from Friday the next time :) (checking out your post now)

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