Originally posted on laurabowers.net August 15, 2015. I’m cleaning up my author website by moving all runDisney-related content to here!
Warning: this recap is a chatty one, so you might want to grab coffee or other beverage of choice first! I also made a video for W&D (and 2014’s Princess Half, better late than never.) The Osborne Lights part is a bit long, but that part was so amazing. Had to leave it. Umbrella, ella, ella might get old after six minutes, but considering how much it POURED during the race, it felt appropriate!
So okay, picking up from my Expo post, I woke at 4:30am on Saturday morning feeling quite anxious about the rain. Not over the race–there was nothing I could do about that and thank GOD I had packed a visor, but for the after party. Shoulda packed my cold gear. Coulda brought a better poncho. Woulda been more comfortable, shoulda, coulda, woulda. I mean, this wasn’t my first runDisney rodeo.
Bob told me it was no biggie, though. We could check out the new Fit2Run store at Downtown Disney and pick up something there. Besides, we’ve both been dying to try the holiday sub at Earl of Sandwich. Anxiety gone. I love my Bob. He’s the Ying to my Yang.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only runner making a last-minute desperation stop at Fit2Run! Wow, was it crowded. They did some serious business that day! I ended up buying a poncho for $8.00 and some great Nike running pants that I later layered underneath yoga pants for the after party. Problem solved. There was also a coupon for a free drawstring bag in runDisney’s virtual gift bag that came in handy.
Bob then headed back to All Stars Sports to relax while I went to Big River Grille & Brewing Works for dinner with some of my running pals. Good grief, I love these folks! This was the first time I got to meet Jackey, aka soul sister, (who I’m sitting by and I later ran the Goofy Challenge with.) Five of us in the picture, (everyone who’s closest to the camera,) are doing an Alice in Wonderland group theme for this year’s Wine & Dine. I’m going as Queen of Hearts. And I’m thinking of wearing a tutu. Which I already know will be a mistake. Making me the Queen of Bad Choices.
Anyway, my nerves were itchy so I only had a salad and bread … big mistake. And when we felt those few drops of rain? Yeah. My anxiety shot sky-high. I didn’t want to expose my full crazy, so I hauled rear back to Hollywood Studios and took a bus back our resort. This is when I realized how hungry I still was thanks to ordering only a salad. Good Lord. I’m 46 so you’d think I’d know better. Again. Queen of Bad Choices.
At the resort, I meticulously lined up everything to pack. Have I mentioned that I’m Type A and OCD? Yeah, it really shows here. For those who are curious, I took:
- Dry underwear and socks
- A black long-sleeve liner shirt and new running pants
- Yoga pants
- Wine & Dine jacket
- Vest … Bob actually convinced me to buy this at Magic Kingdom despite my dislike of vests. (I mean, why bother if it doesn’t sleeves?) But once again, he was right. That baby really keeps your core WARM!
- Knit hat and gloves
- Poncho, extra disposable poncho, and umbrella
- Hand towel, deodorant, wipes
- Shoes that I did not wear
- For my running belt: my phone with lots of spare snack-sized baggies to keep it dry … with the spares also in a baggie (I love baggies,) lipstick, tissues, Gu, and an emergency blanket.
- Some other stuff I can’t remember
All of the above was separated and packed in gallon baggies: underwear, socks, towel in one, base layers in another, etc. This was what my bag check bag looked like when everything was said and done. Stuffed. But when I got to the bus stop later, I couldn’t believe how little other runners had packed! Like, just a sweatshirt, really? Did I get too OCD carried away?
(No. I didn’t. More on that later.)
Oh! And about my costume! Since I have a deep love for Schofferhofer Grapefruit beer at Epcot’s Germany, my friend made me a “Will run for grapefruit beer” iron-on translated in German. (Or so I thought. Later a gal in the changing tent informed me that she didn’t even know what I was trying to say. Oops.)
On the bus ride over, I made the decision to not worry about the weather. There was no stopping the rain–ain’t no way, no how, so I might as well enjoy it to the fullest!
Once we arrived at the starting line at Epcot, the weather seemed to be holding out for now. Chilly but not bad, although I regretted not bringing a throwaway sweatshirt. Oh, and look at Jackey and everyone’s chimney sweep costumes! So cute. Maybe I shouldn’t have ditched my Team Sparkle skirt and ears. #wimp
I was happy to see characters out! If memory serves me correctly, there was Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Chip & Dale, and … I think that was it. We waited a long time for this shot but it was worth it!
Lesson learned for next time: Get there earlier, jump immediately in line for Mickey, then try for a second.
Soon after, I headed to the corrals since I like being near the front, (type A, holla,) and I don’t like doing the obnoxious, push-past-folks thing. It had started to drizzle earlier, so I was already wearing a disposable poncho, but for some reason, I decided to take it off minutes before the start. Which, of course, brought on the rain. My apologies. 😉
Still, there was this wonderfully festive “We’re in this together” vibe. And come on. It was clear to everyone already that this race would surely be one to remember!
The miles leading to Animal Kingdom weren’t bad at all – yes, it was raining but it felt refreshing and … well, kind of bad ass. Lots of folks ran in ponchos, but I took mine off so I wouldn’t sweat too much and it wouldn’t flap all over the place. But I did see a gal who wore a visor over her poncho’s hood plus she used her running belt to anchor it at her waist. Pretty smart!
And once again … THANK GOD for my visor! I would have gone insane without it.
As usual, my goal was to get a photo at each and every character stop. Some folks grumbled afterwards about there not being more out, but really, considering the weather, I thought runDisney did a good job. And serious kudos to those wearing the costumes! That could not have been comfortable.
Word is, Rafiki was somewhere around here but I completely missed him. Darn. Busted my goal of getting a picture with each character! But running through Animal Kingdom was just fantastic. Really loved it, and I was kicking myself for not registering for the 5k, thinking I wouldn’t have enough juice for the half. I woke at 4:30 anyway!
After this picture, I made a dash to the ladies room where I had foolishly decided to toss the poncho tucked in my running belt. Yeah. Big mistake, one I would regret later.
Running wise, I was feeling really good, though. The great thing about doing the Baltimore Half in October was being ahead of my Wine & Dine training. I have no clue what my pace was or my time … don’t really care about tracking those things while I’m at Disney, but I was going faster than normal.
Now, somewhere around the 7 to 8 mile mark, as the course led us to Hollywood Studios, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and I was regretting throwing away my poncho at Animal Kingdom! It would done little to keep me dry – everyone was soaked to the core, but it might have warmed me a little. Another lesson learned.
So the We’re in this together turned into, Oh my gosh, I’m freezing and I have no feeling in my toes. But everyone carried on because, you know, we’re bad asses and all.
Entering Hollywood Studios and heading toward Toy Story Mania was such a welcome relief since we were nearing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! But first, a photo with my pals Buzz and Woody. After getting to the front of the line, however, there was too much moisture beneath the baggie on my phone so the CM couldn’t take the shot.
I headed to the nearby bathroom to dry my phone and take a much-needed break from the rain. It was such a nice way to collect myself and just chill for a while, so I took my sweet time, drying my phone case and phone, putting it in a dry baggie and having a Gu. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to roll!
Now. About the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Wow. Just wow.
BY FAR my favorite part and I really wish I could have turned down Rihanna in my recap video so you could hear my reaction. But Blue Christmas by Elvis was playing which is banned in 241 countries per YouTube’s rules so you have to just trust me when I say how completely blown away I was. Too bad Bob wasn’t able to experienced it for the first time with me, but we did make up for that later!
Gorgeous. Can’t wait to see it again at 2015’s Wine & Dine!
It pains me to confess this, but around the eleven mile mark is when I got kind of done with running in the rain. I was beyond soaked, hungry, cold, and chilled to the bone. #wahwahwah But you know, suck it up, buttercup and all, so I picked up my pace and motored on.
YES, the finish line! And guess what? The announcer said my name! So excited, one more thing off my runDisney bucket list. 🙂
After learning my lesson about being chilled at Tower of Terror, I had an emergency blanket in my running belt but it wasn’t necessary. They passed out mylars as well as the gorgeous Wine & Dine medal!
Still, it didn’t keep a chill from creeping in my bones. I almost turned down the free beer they were giving out, (as well as these cute bottles of wine,) but momma didn’t raise me to turn down a freebie. Usually, I don’t like mixing types of drinks, (I’m a Bud Light gal,) but surely one Michelob Ultra wouldn’t hurt?
(Yes it did. Remember this for later.)
After grabbing my drink, I followed the crowd to collect my overstuffed bag before heading to the line for the changing tent. Oh my gosh. It was long. So long. It would have been much smarter to head to Epcot and use a restroom, but I was cold and not thinking straight, so I just stood in line, sipping my beer and shivering.
Once I finally made it in, I couldn’t help but giggle. It was such a sight – a bunch of soaked women, standing on mylar blankets covering soggy, muddy grass. I luckily scored a spot by a bench which made it easier to stay organized. Some of the more modest gals held up blankets for each other, but yeah, I didn’t care who saw my pasty white rear and waterlogged boobs that were almost as shriveled as my wrinkled, pruned toes. And despite making MANY mistakes that night, I did a great job packing. Having everything separated and in baggies kept my clothes dry unlike a friend who was horrified to discover her bag full of water!
I was also grateful for the hand towel. The gal next to me gave it quite the envious look, so after telling her that I didn’t use it on … well, private areas, she borrowed it, something NOBODY would ever consider under normal circumstances but Splash & Dash was nowhere near normal.
Because I was cold and moving in slow motion, it took a while for me to change, pack up my wet stuff and head out. Like I mentioned before, I brought dry shoes, but Keds would quickly soak through, so I stuck with my running shoes. With fresh socks, they weren’t too bad. So with poncho on and umbrella up, I finally headed to Epcot for the Finish Line Party. They were doing a bag security check which was kind of annoying, but whatever. They gotta do what they gotta do.
In Epcot, I grabbed a beer and started texting my running buddies, seeing who was there. This was when I found out that Jackey’s cousin, Shannon, fell during the course and broke her foot! Talk about bad ass–she still finished but they headed back to the resort. My friend, Robyn was in line for Soarin’ and Leslie was having fish ‘n chips at England, so I headed her way. Fish ‘n chips were sounding really good, calories by damned!
Once there, we decided to make the best of the after party by going on a character photo hunt, getting pictures with as many as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the message from Robyn in time, so we didn’t know she wanted to join us. Still feel bad about that.
By this time, there were very few people getting character photos. Mulan was all by herself in Japan! But we were having a blast and I’m so glad Leslie was up to the challenge. Thanks to my over packing, I was quite comfortable and when she got a beer somewhere along the line … American Adventure, maybe? I went ahead and grabbed another. YOLO, and all. A few characters listed on the program weren’t out because of the rain, but we were happy to grab this photo with Donald in Mexico before the party ended! I think this is my favorite.
The party ended … sigh … so it was time for us to go our separate ways! Leslie headed out the International Gateway and I walked by myself to the buses, stopping long enough to take a few pictures. Epcot after 4:00am was gorgeous!
On the bus, I sat by an exhausted-looking fellow and returned his Oh God, please don’t talk to me look with a Don’t worry, dude, I’m too tired to talk as well before the bus started moving. Back at our resort, I half limped, half crawled back to our room, stripped, and crashed, with what was left of my make-up still on and everything.
Now. In the spirit of a true, accurate recap, I feel obligated to share how I felt the next morning:
Lesson learned: Don’t mix Michelob with Bud Light. But my wonderful, awesome husband whom I love and adore brought me a coffee, making everything right with the world. By 11:00, I was showered and ready to join friends at Epcot! Bob wanted to watch the Ravens game at Boardwalk, so I lone wolfed it, getting some more character shots and explaining to Mary and Alice how cold the race was!
All in all, even with the rain and cold weather, I absolutely loved the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and I can’t wait to run it again in November! I’m going to do a few things differently, though, like the Jingle Jungle 5k! And it would be fun hitting a few rides at the Finish Line Party as well as getting all the character photos again.
So thanks for reading my long, long recap and be sure to let me know if you’re running the 2015 Wine and Dine as well! Hope to see you there. 🙂