Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disney's Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon Race Report

When Disney decided to turn the Race for the Taste 10K into a half marathon with a relay, my husband and I saw this as the perfect chance to:

a) get in a race without too much training (since we were splitting the distance)
b) enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine festival
c) run a Disney race LATE at night (instead of in the wee hours of the day)
d) enjoy an Inaugural race and possibly become part of a crowd that will run it every year
e) be part of the first relay run locally (that I know of)

My husband would run the first 5.1 miles and I would run the last 8 miles. Start time was 10 pm so our projected finish was sometime around 12:30 to 12:45 (depending on how soon he got across the start line and how crowded the course was. I had a good feeling we could run the race together in 2:30.

We would party at the finish line festival in Epcot until 3 am and then crash at our hotel room at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.

We treated this time away from the kids as a pre-20th anniversary weekend!

After ditching the kids (one was off marching elsewhere in the state, the other one off with friends to an Octoberfest event) we checked in at our hotel around 3 pm Saturday. We napped for a couple of hours since we were going to be up late, then walked over to Port Orleans Riverside for dinner before boarding a bus at 6:15 pm for the starting area at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. We were quite early, but we wanted to beat the crowds. The field where we waited to start would have been a nice place to picnic (note to self for next year).
Lots of porta potties and no lines - yet. There would be lines later.

This picture shows how empty it was around 7 pm.

We took some time to just rest up since my bus to the exchange point at Animal Kingdom didn't leave until 8:30 pm.

Arrived at the Animal Kingdom parking lot exchange area around 9 or 9:15 pm (how does it take 45 minutes for that drive - we can almost run it faster!). Again lots of sitting and relaxing before the race. As much as the DJ's tried to get everyone up and dancing around, we were resting!

I am usually not one to get character pictures but I decided to kill some wait time by getting a picture with Pluto.

The race started - there was an announcement at the exchange area that the start did happen, however I had been hoping that they would show a video of the start on the big screen (recommendation for next year) so we could see the fireworks and get excited at the race start!

Then we waited until the time we thought our relay partners would arrive and then got into the exchange corrals. My husband came in at 54:33 when I met him, took his flashlight baton, walked with him in the exchange area, then took off on my run. Our transition time was under 2 minutes.

I did stop for one other character pic because, amazingly, there was NO line next to Darth Vader!

For my portion of the race, most of the course was pretty unexciting, some places really dark, not much entertainment on the course like in the marathon, but we spent LOTS of time running around Hollywood Studios - and that was fun!

It was a bit warm and the breeze we had earlier was long gone, but I felt good and kept up a good pace. I was shooting for a team finish of 2:30. After Hollywood Studios it was like the end of the marathon, a trip down the sidewalk along the water along the Boardwalk, then into the back entrance of Disney, except that is where the race ended. My run of 8 miles (actually I ran slightly more than 8 miles and husband ran less than 5 miles - Garmin had me at 8.41 miles) took 1:33:40 giving us a total time of 2:30:09!

The finish area was a bit disappointing for a few reasons. First, they had the finisher medal picture area, but no way for a team picture to be taken since the area was cordoned off for the finishing runners only. Then we had to go through a tent to get our bag and get into Epcot and it was crowded and stiffling hot. Some folks were getting sick from standing in the heat after having run for the past 2.5 hours.

The next disappointment was the mob scene inside Epcot. Disney had sold tickets to the finish line party to anyone who wanted them. And folks took advantage of the $35 entry to the Food and Wine festival. The result was a way overcrowded Epcot with long lines to the food. Many runners left to get food at the hotel. We hung around and got food from about 6 countries with short lines in the 2 hours we were there. Late finishers got little or nothing. This will definitely have to be different.

Still, we enjoyed food, wine and even another character picture with Mulan.

The bling was great, as usual.