Wine and Dine Half Marathon

November 8, 2014

I ran the Wine & Dine half marathon in 2011 when the race was still in October. The race was moved to November in 2012 to make room for the Tower of Terror race weekend. But, it still coincides with the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival; it’s just near the end of the festival now.

When I ran Wine & Dine in 2011, it was my third half marathon and I ran it for a charity. I thoroughly enjoyed the race and the after party; it was so much fun to run through the theme parks at night and to enjoy EPCOT after hours. It was also an amazing experience to raise money for a cause. I have a hard time asking people for money especially when so many people I know just don’t have a lot of extra money to donate. But, as I have some truly amazing friends and family, I was able to raise nearly $1000 for my charity team.

The weather this time of year can be truly unpredictable. This morning for the Jingle Jungle 5k, the weather was great. Tonight, it’s looking like it is going to rain. As such, I have a trash bag to use as a poncho just in case. Since I’m running in costume, I am hoping my costume will hold up in any inclement weather.

As I mentioned, Wine & Dine coincides with the Food and Wine Festival so, at this particular race, there are a lot of food-related costumes. I kept this in mind for my costumes for the weekend. I ran this morning as a Pizza Planet delivery girl and I am running tonight as a Dole Whip. What is a Dole Whip, you ask? Quite simply, it is is pineapple heaven. It’s a soft-serve pineapple ice cream that is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things on the planet. If you have never had one, please try one next time you are at Disney World or Disneyland. You won’t be disappointed.

Dole Whip anyone? My costume for Wine and Dine is a Dole Whip.

Dole Whip anyone? My costume for Wine and Dine is a Dole Whip.

My costume is a fluffy white skirt (a petticoat), a yellow top, and a yellow swirl headpiece. The yellow swirl is a pair of little girls tights stuffed with some poly-fill (like what you find in your pillows) and its wrapped around a styrofoam cone. I’ve held the tights to the cone with double sided tape so I hope it will make it through any rain.

My Dole Whip costume includes a fluffy white petticoat skirt as well.

My Dole Whip costume includes a fluffy white petticoat skirt as well.

I’m a little conscious as I walk to the buses; I’m not sure if people will get my costume. But, as I cut through the lobby by the food court, one of the cast members immediately recognizes my costume and gives me a high-five. This instantly puts me at ease and plants a huge smile on my face. Standing in line for the bus keeps the smile going as people stop to comment on my costume.

I am going to meet up with a couple of friends before the race so I am texting them to let them know I am on the bus. When I get there, it is crowded in the pre-race staging area. The lines for the porta-potties are 20 or more people deep; character picture lines seem never-ending; it’s just wall-to-wall people.

I make my way over to bag check. I have a light jacket and another shirt just in case I want or need it later. After that, I start trying to find my friends. As I’m walking, people stop to ask me for pictures. I am so excited that so many people are loving my costume. I can’t stop smiling.

I finally find my friends in line for one of the character pictures. I chat with them for a few minutes and then head to a pre-race meet up of one of my Facebook running groups. Most of these runners have dispersed but I chat for a few minutes with those that are still hanging around. Then, I decide to go ahead to my corral. It’s still early but I can sit down and chat with random folks.

I find a place to sit on the curb in my corral and, of course, I strike up conversations with folks around me. There were a few more folks who ask for my picture. Hopefully, I’ll; be able to find some of these on Instragram or something!

It isn’t long before the first corral is supposed to start when the rain starts. It’s not hard, but it is a steady and annoying drizzle. It continues to rain and has spurts of harder rain between steady drizzle. I have my trash bag poncho on but I don’t imagine this is going to work for the whole race.

Corrals start going and we start slowly moving forward. As my corral enters the start block, I am right in front of the stage and Carissa and Rudy. Carissa notices me and asks about my costume. We have a quick chat about Dole Whips and then my corral is sent out in the rain.

The course will take us out of the Wide World of Sports Complex to Animal Kingdom. Then we’ll make our way to Hollywood Studios, through the Boardwalk and ultimately to EPCOT. Here is the course map.

I am thankful I brought the trash bag to use but, within the first two or three miles, I know it isn’t going to keep my dry. The water is coming down into the neck opening and the arm holes I tore into the sides. I will hold onto it as long as I can but I will likely be soaked by the time I am finished.

Once I enter Animal Kingdom, I feel my headpiece start to fall forward. I jump over to the side out of the way and try to adjust it. But, it’s just too wet and it isn’t going to stay. I pull it off and try to adjust my headband and my ponytail my hair won’t be too knotted. From there; just after mile four or so; I carry my headpiece like a football.

Running through Animal Kingdom isn’t too bad. There is a lot of tree cover that gives me a little bit of relief from the rain. The rain itself isn’t too bad. I just hate it being in my face and in my eyes. I don’t like to wear hats on runs but I really could use one tonight. In the backlot of Animal Kingdom, I’m out of the tree cover so the rain is again annoying. Also, because of the rain, I am more careful of my footing. There were a couple of spots where it was a little slick but it hasn’t been too bad. I definitely am cautious though.

Exiting Animal Kingdom, there were a couple of rather large puddles in the parking lot. I didn’t make it quite far enough around one of them so I made one foot more drenched than the other. At this point, my feet are already wet so a puddle isn’t going to make that much difference.

After Animal Kingdom, we head to Hollywood Studios. It’s still raining but it is intermittent between steady rain and spurts of nothing. When I get to Hollywood Studios, it’s during one of the few minutes of no rain. I want to fish my phone out to take a picture of the lights, but I also don’t feel like stopping. At this point, I just want to be finished. I’m wet and it’s cold and I’m kind of miserable.

I exit Hollywood Studios and make my way along the Boardwalk. Normally, this area is lined with spectators and people cheering. Tonight, there is almost no one because of the weather. It is a little bit sad because it’s so awesome to have people cheering along the course.

The Boardwalk leads us to EPCOT and the final stretch before the finish line. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful to turn a corner and see a finish line as I was tonight. I made the turn with my headpiece tucked into my arm like a tight end with a football and I feel like I crossed the line like I was scoring a touchdown.

After I collected my medal and a mylar blanket, I made my way through the finish chute to get some refreshments. Then, I waited in line for bag check. I think I waited in the bag check line for about 15 minutes. Apparently, everyone with last names that fell between Mc-Q finished about the same time as me. The volunteers were great and they were going as fast as they could, but it was so clustered that our line was blocking other people from getting to their lines to claim their bags. It was a mess.

The official finisher's medal for the Wine and Dine half is a spinner medal.

The official finisher’s medal for the Wine and Dine half is a spinner medal.

When I finally got my bag, I exited the runner’s area and cashed in my ticket for a free beer. I debated going into the park. I really wanted to have a Dole Whip with white chocolate liqueur, but I am also cold and just want a shower. I debated for a couple minutes while I ate some of the food out of my snack box and drank all of three sips out of my beer. Ultimately, I decided to go back to the hotel. Even with a dry shirt and a light jacket, I am going to be cold.

Peeling off my wet clothes probably would’ve been comical to someone watching. My tights were the hardest thing to peel off. When I finally climbed in the shower, I had the water as warm as I could tolerate it and I must’ve stood there for 20 minutes trying to warm-up. After I felt warm, I washed my hair and showered. I wrapped hair in a towel and then dried off. I wish I had packed some warm pajamas instead of shorts. Instead, I turn the air up some so it won’t get any colder in the room. It’s about 2:30 AM when I climb in bed and I am asleep in nanoseconds.

Despite the rain and cold weather, I had a decent race. I finished in 2:47:36. I took it easy most of the run so I wouldn’t slip. I was cautious of my footing and walked a couple of spots that I know can be slippery. Most of the characters weren’t on the course when I passed by (I assume because of the rain) so I didn’t get any pictures. But, truthfully, I don’t know if I would’ve stopped anyhow so I can’t complain. It isn’t Disney’s fault that the weather didn’t cooperate. At least it wasn’t so bad that they had to cancel it. That would’ve been a major pisser.

That’s the last of my runDisney races in Florida. Next weekend is Avengers in California and that wraps up my 2014 runDisney race challenge. I’ll probably kick myself for this later…I hope I don’t get sick.

Wine and Dine Weekend expenses:

Registration: ~$255
Hotel (2 nights): ~$320
Pins/Souvenirs: ~$36
Food: ~$90
Kenneling the pups: ~$100
Gas: ~$10
Total: ~$811

Gotta run.

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