Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Health and Fitness Expo

November 6, 2015

I had originally not intended to run any of the races of Wine & Dine this year. Not really for any particular reason; I just wasn’t going to run. I’ve done this race twice; once before it was moved to accommodate the Tower of Terror 10 Miler and last year during my Buzz Lightyear runDisney race challenge. I enjoyed the race the first year simply because the weather was perfect and it was my first time running this course. It was less enjoyable last year thanks to a lot of rain and some cooler temperatures. There isn’t anything new about this race and I haven’t ever really taken advantage of the after party, so I just didn’t feel the need to run it again; until my friends started ribbing me about it.

I give in easily to peer pressure. Sometimes. Many of my races, especially runDisney races, are a chance to see a lot of my running friends. The beauty about Wine & Dine is the after party. After running, you get to hang out in Epcot, enjoy the Food & Wine Festival, ride some of the more popular attractions, and hang out with your runner friends. Since I had so many friends that were planning to run, I decided it would be fun to run and hang out with them for the weekend.

At registration time, I was not an annual passholder. So, I had to wait for general registration. I was on the computer waiting at noon so I could try to register. At noon, I quickly got into the registration system and was easily able to register myself for the half marathon and the 5k. I figure I might as well do both races since I’ll be there anyhow. And, I really liked the Jingle Jungle 5k course through Animal Kingdom.

I am an annual passholder now. I decided to take Friday off work and spend the day with my friends who are coming from various places across the country. Also, I can get checked into my hotel; I’m staying at Saratoga Springs; and I can go to the Expo a little earlier and get all of my race gear and such.

I am generally a last minute packer. I never seem to get all of my stuff sorted out properly until the last minute. Imagine my delight in having all of my gear packed and ready on Thursday night. This is unprecedented.

Since I’ll be staying on Disney property for the weekend, I have made reservations to board my dogs at the kennel. I drop them off first thing Friday morning and then make a couple of last minute stops on my way to the Wide World of Sports complex. Being somewhat local is nice in that I can bring a pack of water and some snacks rather than having to buy everything on property.

I make it to the Wide World of Sports complex and it is CROWDED! I have to park way out in the farthest dirt lot; so far out that there is a bus to take us to the main entrance! I don’t think I’ve ever parked this far out before! There are other events at the complex though so hopefully packet pickup and such aren’t too crazy.

I head to the HP Field House first. This is where I can get my bibs for both races and I’ll need to get my pre-ordered pins. There is also an Official Merchandise booth here. I can look at some of the available merchandise here before heading over to the main expo hall; the Jostens Center.

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A panorama of the packet pickup area in the HP Field House. Half marathon bibs are to the left and 5k bibs are to the right. Official Merchandise is towards the back of the room.

There is one person ahead of me in line to get my half marathon bib. I’ve done this so many times so I’m very prepared. I have my waiver printed and signed and I have my picture ID out and ready. When it is my turn, I give my waiver and ID to the volunteer and I proceed to find my name in the book so I can sign for my packet. After receiving my bib, I am directed to the enormous line that is commemorative items. It is a LONG line.

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Wine and Dine Half Marathon Bib 2015

I opt to get my 5k bib instead. There is, again, one person in front of me. I am prepared again and have my bib in a couple of minutes. The line for commemorative items hasn’t gotten any shorter so I opt to take a quick look in the Official Merchandise booth. A lot of stuff is picked over and I don’t see anything that I really want. So, I go stand in line for my pre-ordered pins.

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Jingle Jungle 5k Bib 2015

The line is about 30 minutes long. While I’m standing there, I think to myself that I could have skipped pre-ordering these and purchased them in the Official Merchandise booth and probably saved myself a ton of time. But, if I don’t pre-order them, I run the risk of them being sold out before I get to packet pickup. I didn’t pre-order my pins one time and I ended up having to buy one on eBay. I don’t like taking that chance. Also, it was suggested to me by one of the volunteers that I come back later. But, I have plans and I don’t want to have to come back.  So, I suck it up and  I resolve to not be grumpy while I stand in this line even though it seems to be crawling along and I don’t do well with this kind of thing.

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The line for pre-ordered commemorative items is that big mass of people right in the middle of this picture (inside the white tape lines).

It takes about 35 minutes before it is my turn. I get my pins and stuff them in my purse and then head over to the Jostens Center. This is the main expo hall. I’ll be able to get my race shirts and gear bags as well as check out all the vendors.

WD Pins

I waited in a 35-minute line for these; pre-ordered commemorative pins.

The Jostens Center is very crowded. I walk to the back of the room and get my gear bags and race shirts first. I’m going to meet a couple of my friends and they are waiting to make their purchases in the Official Merchandise booth. I tried to walk around a little but it is just too crowded and I don’t like it. I think I’m getting grumpy because I’m a little hungry too so that really isn’t helping.

WD Shirts

The Jingle Jungle 5k and Wine and Dine Half Marathon official race shirts.

I finally meet my friends and we head towards the exit. They catch the bus back to the resort and I head back to my car. We’ll meet up shortly and head to Epcot to enjoy some of the Food and Wine Festival. I need to check in and they want to drop off all of their stuff.

I head towards the resort and; using GPS on my phone; manage to get lost. I got in a wrong lane and had to turn and it put me back on the interstate. So, I had to go up an exit and come back onto Disney property. Then when the gate guard directed me into the resort, I got a little confused because the buildings weren’t labeled well. I know I made two or three u-turns and I went down a street and had to make a three-point turn to get back to the correct street. It was certainly a comedy in the making as I yelled profanities at the GPS.

When I finally got to the registration building at the resort, I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. The kind lady at registration laughed when I told her what happened. She did give me very easy directions for driving to my building. I shouldn’t have to move my car much once I park. That’s a big plus for staying on property!

I’m looking forward to the weekend. I know it will be busy as I have planned park time with some friends and I am running both of the races on Saturday. I’m also meeting a friend for a late lunch/early dinner on Saturday before the half. I know I’ll need a little nap in there somewhere as well.

Once I’m settled in my room, I peruse through the Official Event Guide just to verify times for tomorrow so I can finalize my plans.

For now, I’m off to Epcot. I’m going to enjoy a little food and some drinks before I have to head to a little shindig hosted by one of my coworkers.

Until tomorrow…gotta run!

This entry was posted in Disney World, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, Race Recap, runDisney, running, Wine & Dine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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