When my friend Chrissie and I signed up to run the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World, I wasn’t sure if it would be a fun victory lap after Chicago or a back up plan in case treatment prevented me from marathon training. Luckily, it turned out to be the former and it was so much fun! The fun started with my Tigger costume, which was the skirt I wore as Anger last year, ears, a tail, and a shirt that my husband helped me create.
As you can see, Disney races start at o-dark-thirty so that they can be finished and WDW can reopen the roads for the people who are just trying to get to the Magic Kingdom. This is the first race I’ve run there that wasn’t during January’s marathon weekend, so the crowd was smaller but it still started at 5:30 — meaning we needed to be on a bus from the hotel at 3:30. On the plus side, the race was the night of the time change so we got an extra hour of sleep!
Chrissie and I got on the bus easily and hung out in our corral in the Magic Kingdom parking lot for a while, and sometime around 5:45 our corral (E) was announced and we were off! I did notice that there were less characters out, less high school bands, and no pirate ships. Still, Disney knows how to put on a fun race and there was a decent amount of course entertainment.
The first part of the race was pretty boring — it was apparently a new course for the Wine and Dine half but was planned to let us run through the new Pandora land in Animal Kingdom. I felt really, really good as we headed out past the water treatment plant and into AK from the back, but I could tell I was going to lose Chrissie so a couple of minutes in we agreed on a meeting spot and she ran on ahead. I was running about 13:30s, which I thought I wouldn’t be able to maintain but felt good enough that I just went with it.
After AK, we ran down the road to Hollywood Studios (if you’ve run the marathon at WDW, this was basically the last half of that course without ESPN) and through the streets of that park, which were already starting to show their holiday colors.
Then, we ran down around the boardwalk — it gets narrow here, so I usually am forced to walk but I managed to dodge people and keep running, though it did slow my pace. At one point we ran over a bridge and my right toe caught on a screw sticking up causing me to trip and say “Oh shit!” Luckily I didn’t fall and there were no children in the immediate vicinity. Oops. Tigger has a potty mouth.
After that it was a quick trip through Epcot — my favorite part, you get to run through all of the countries and on this occasion scope out which kiosks you might want to check out later. There are something like 35 specialty kiosks from different countries for the Wine and Dine festival, and hey we just ran a half marathon, right? So we definitely indulged in a variety of food and drinks that afternoon and night.
Final time was 3:00:01 which has to be my funniest finishing time ever. 2 seconds away from sub-3? But overall it was probably my favorite Disney race ever, and it was 26 minutes and 39 seconds faster than the half I ran on September 16 of this year, so that’s 2 minutes per mile improvement in a month and a half. Not where I used to be but so much better than I was – and I intend to improve from here! I may never be a great runner but I can be the greatest runner I’m able to be.