Thursday, January 8, 2015

Race Recap: Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014

Wine & Dine Half Marathon
November 8, 2014

State: Repeat (Florida)
Lifetime: #49

Let's face it... this race should really have been called 'Do you know how to swim?'.  I am sure you heard, but it rained.  The entire time.  As this is one of my favorite races (don't worry, it still is!) and they usually have great characters out, I was bummed by the rain.

We knew it was going to rain all week.  But being an optimist (or delusional, take your pick), I was hoping it would hold out.  It did... for a teeny, tiny, little bit.

We had spend the morning at the expo and Downtown Disney before heading to the room to rest for a while before the race.  As is tradition for this race, I was running in my Wine O shirt.  I got that shirt made for the 1st Wine & Dine and have worn it every year since (and will continue to do so).

We headed to the buses around 7:45 and while there was a bit of a line, lots of buses where coming by and it went quickly.  There was definitely some traffic heading to WWOS, but since we'd just be sitting around once we got there, I didn't mind sitting in the (warm) bus instead.

Upon arrival, we met up with the group already there and of course had to take a group photo.  Loved everyone's costumes!

From there we did the normal pre-race things: check baggage, wait in line for bathrooms, head to corrals.  While waiting in the bathroom, it did start to rain.  Lightly at first.  I kept hoping it would just do this for the rest of the night.  No such luck.

While waiting at the corrals, it started to rain harder.  And it wouldn't relent at all for the night.  Fortunately, I was in Corral B and didn't have to wait around too long for the start, but I felt bad for everyone behind me waiting.  It's not great to run in the rain, it's even less fun to wait around to run in the rain.

This course is fun because you get 3 parks in it: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  Usually, the course is lined with characters, some of which you rarely see.  However, because of the rain only a handful were out and not everyone had the same ones out (some that I saw, others didn't and vice versa).

On the way to Animal Kingdom, they had the bears from the Country Jamboree out (at least, I think that is what they are from - please correct me if I'm wrong!).  Since you hardly see them out, I stopped for a photo.

Night running = flash does weird things
From there we headed towards the front of the park.  They always have a character out front and I've always stopped for a photo.  I almost missed it this year as Rafiki was under the covering where they do security heading into the park.  But I saw him at the last minute and was able to continue my traditional picture!

The tradition continues!
Running through Animal Kingdom is always a favorite for me during this race.  It's so fun to be there at night and it is so pretty lite up.  However, due to the rain, I spent more time looking at the ground then taking in the scenery.  It can be uneven and with all the construction going on, I really needed to make sure I didn't trip.  I saw a couple of people stumble throughout the park.  Do the entire thing (just my personal opinion).  Sorry, mini-rant over.

I did catch Timon in Africa though!

From there we headed out of Animal Kingdom and started to head towards Hollywood Studios.  There weren't a lot of characters on this stretch so I just kept running.

While you are heading out of Animal Kingdom, you can see the people heading into Animal Kingdom in the later corrals.  I have to say, I saw a lot of people jumping the median and cutting the course.  I'm guessing it's because they were concerned about getting swept, but I (personally) don't think that's right.  If I pass you and you are walking with a bib from corral G or H, I know you cut the course.  Not cool, people, not cool.

By the time we headed into Hollywood Studios, I have to say, I was SO over the rain.  I was soaked to the bone and my skirt (while adorable) is layered and ruffly and it was so heavy from the water.  We headed into Hollywood Studios by Rock n Rollercoaster, down Hollywood Blvd and into Pixar Place.  This portion of the course seemed different to me.  I don't remember it going that way in different years, but I can't place my finger on what exactly changed.

They had some Toy Story characters out in Pixar Place (including Lotso who I am now sad I missed) but I was so not in the mood to stop and wait in line.  I was cold and just wanted to be done, honestly.

I stopped for a professional picture in the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, but of course it still hasn't shown up in Marathonfoto.  I searched for it and never found it.  Sadness, I was really looking forward to that one!

From there we start the trip to Epcot.  Once you leave Hollywood Studios, it's the same path as the marathon.  Definitely brought back some memories!

While on the path near Boardwalk, the girl running next to me was suddenly like, 'Is your name, Sarah'?  Caught me by surprise!  She did look familiar and she told me she remembered me from the TOT 10M corral.  A group of us had started talking to kill time and she was from there!  We ended up running the rest of the race together.  It was a nice reminder of how friendly runDisney racers are and a nice boost to the end!

After finishing, I got my medal, heatsheet and snack box, then headed to baggage.  I only had to wait a couple of minutes but I heard it got really backed up later!

I skipped the finish line beer they were handing out as I was freezing and made a beeline for the park to get changed in a real bathroom.  After that it was on to the after party!

I loved the medal this year and the fact that they brought the Spaceship Earth design back while still including Chef Mickey.  Fortunately, I didn't have one of the broken ones!

Overall, this is still one of my favorite races.  The course is great, I love that we get 3 parks and I love the after party (more on that later).  It's unfortunate the rain put a damper on things this year, but runDisney can't control that (although it is Disney so wouldn't be surprised if they could!).  I'll definitely be back again for this race!

Official: 13.1 miles, 2:06:09, 9:38 pace
Garmin: 13.36 miles, 2:06:07, 9:26 pace


  1. Would you say this is the best half course at WDW? I would think if you get to run through 3 parks, there's less highway time. Can't wait to run it!

    1. I do think this is my favorite run course at WDW. I also like that it's different then WDW and Princess. There is still highway time (but it's less), but you get some great park experiences that can't be beat: running the AK at night, getting to run down the Streets of America with the Osbourne lights when it's not crowded and finishing right outside Epcot! Plus you get the after party included!