On November 10, I ran in the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. This was my first night race--it started at 10 PM. Going into this race, I knew I had done everything wrong. We walked the parks for four days before the race. I worked for five hours at the SparkleSkirts booth the day before. I had done a 5k 15 hours before the half with no rest in between. All of this would spell disaster for a race....
I would not call the race a disaster by any means, but it was by far not one of my best--in performance or enjoyment. After getting up at 5 am for a 7 am 5k, then walking around Epcot all day, by the time I got to ESPN Wide World of Sports at 9 PM, I was already tired. My feet were already aching Since all of my long runs had been twelve hours earlier, my stomach was all messed up from eating dinner. I was not sure what to do about eating--should I eat? Should I not eat? If I did not eat, I would be starving a few miles in. If I do eat, I might have tummy issues along the course. I ate a bland dinner of baked chicken and mashed potatoes. I think my tummy troubles were just nerves because once the race started I felt fine.
The hour wait to go to our corrals was fun. I got to see lots of friends and they had a great DJ. In true runDisney style, each corral got a world class send off with their own " Ready, Set, Go" and fireworks! There we were, off to the Animal Kingdom. I stayed with my friend Danielle for about the first half mile. It was very crowded and hard to stay together. By the time I got to mile three, the leader of the race was coming the other way at around mile seven. He got a huge cheer. A few minutes later, the lead women ran past. She got an even bigger cheer!
Disney's Animal Kingdom was at around mile five. This park was particularly interesting to me because it is almost never open after dark. I have never been in the park when the sun was down. I loved how they lit the park--they used huge cloth lights that looked like elephant tusks. It was so beautiful! I loved running in the park in the dark. Everest looked even more creepy at night.
As runners entered and exited the Animal Kingdom park there were some floats from the Magic Kingdom Electric parade. I love this parade, so seeing this was very fun. The entertainment on this course was much different that the entertainment on the two other runDisney half marathons I have done. This was a much more "adult" course, for lack of a better word. There were far less characters photo ops, but more other types of entertainment. At several places on the course were puppeteers with huge, two story, light up puppets. I saw Rafiki from the Lion King, Aladdin's Genie and Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast. The way they had the puppets move--so life like and amazing. I loved it.
There was about a three mile run between the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It was at this point that I really start to fall apart. By this time, it was around midnight. My feet were aching and my ankle really started to hurt. Everything that I had done wrong this week keep going through my head--walking the parks for four days before, my terrible fall, working the SparkleSkirts booth, doing the 5k the same day, doing a race so late--I was really losing it. Thankfully, I made it to Hollywood Studios. We ran up Hollywood Boulevard to Katy Perry singing "Firework". This song is very special to me. I used to sing it to my daughter when she was in the hospital. The song got me all teared up, but it also gave me a second wind!
I ran strong through Hollywood Studios. I love running through the back stage areas of Disney parks. This time, we ran around the building that houses the Rock'n Roller Coaster. This building typically can not be seen by guests so it was really cool to see. We exited the back stage area into the Osborne Lights display. This display was started by one family in Arkansas. They sent it to Disney years ago. There are millions of moving lights on display--all synced to music. The Osborne Lights is one of my favorite Disney holiday traditions.
After we left Hollywood Studios, we ran toward the Disney Boardwalk. Besides the parks, this is one of my favorite areas of Disney World. It resembles a middle twentieth century Mid Atlantic Boardwalk. We ran past the Boardwalk Inn, the Yacht Club and the Beach Club. Its so beautiful there. These hotels are so magical to stay at.
The Disney Boardwalk the day before the race
After the Boardwalk, it was off to Epcot and the finish. I was never so happy to see a finish line than I was at the Wine and Dine! I was so tired and in pain. The finish was just outside of Epcot, just as was the Princess finish. I got my medal and some water. I met back up with Danielle and we headed to the after party--Epcot was open until 4 am just for Wine and Dine runners!
My Princess the night of the race
The park was packed, but the rides were empty. Runners were so busying wining and dining, that they did not clog up the ride lines. After a few rides, we needed to find some food! I don't eat right after I run, but about an hour or two later, I am starving. I decided on some cheddar cheese soup from Canada and a lobster roll sandwich from America. Sadly, the party ended and it was time to head back to my room. I said good bye to Danielle and walked the long hallway back to my room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.