By now, I am sure that I am the only one under the sun who blogs and who hasn't yet done a recap from the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on November 8, 2014.
Or as some people affectionately call it: Splash and Dash, 2014.
Or as I lovingly refer to it: that character building half marathon where I almost got hypothermia.
Regardless of what I call it, it was a fabulous race... despite the rain, despite the cold, despite the illness that followed it, and despite the fact that it was a race put on by Disney.
Yes, you heard that right. I am probably one of the few people that I know that actually hates, loathes and abhors races put on by Disney. Yeah, I am probably going to get banned from Disney for life for saying that, but whatever, it is what it is.
I started my running journey with Disney. I did the Expedition Everest race twice. I did my first half marathon during marathon weekend at Disney, and I did the Glass Slipper Challenge there last year. But after that, I said I would never do it again. The cost is the biggest issue for me. I'm not made of money, and I have been finding that the prices just skyrocket for anything having to do with The Mouse. Usually the support at Disney races is superb, and the energy from the crowd really helps to motivate, but there are TOO many participants. The courses tend to bottleneck, the people are irritable, and I almost feel like there is a sense of entitlement emanating off of the participants: an entitlement that really seems to have no place at "The Happiest Place on Earth."
To be fair, not all of the participants are like that. And in the defense of many, I would say that people deserve to feel entitled after paying the equivalent of the college education for their first born child in order to participate in the race. Further, many people choose Disney as their first race, and they may not fully understand race ettiquette, or they may be just doing the race for fun because MICKEY... thus they don't really respect the mileage, but whatever.
All of these things combined are what contributed to my swearing off of Disney races altogether last February.
But then my dear friend Sarah said that she wanted to train to run a half marathon. And if I did Wine and Dine with her, it would hopefully coincide with the upcoming defense of our doctoral dissertations (which it did, sort of). So my friend from out of state wanted to go, and not wanting to pass up an opportunity to spend time with her, I gritted my teeth and we planned a 5 day trip: complete with special meals at restaurants that we had always wanted to go to, character breakfasts, hidden bars, and the wine and dine festival at Epcot. Running a half marathon while I was there seemed like the least I could do was promise my first born to the Disney Debt Collectors and partake in all of the other fun events that my friend planned.
We had planned to dress as the girls from the Celebrate a Dream parade, but once in Orlando for the weekend, we realized that it was going to be too cold. While Sarah sat up late one night editing her dissertation, I slaved over the sewing machine finishing our costumes... which we almost scrapped at the last minute because weather forecasts were predicting very cold temperatures and sporadic rain.
Sporadic my butt. It felt like It stopped raining a for a little while at the staging area before the corrals, but once we got to the corrals (with ponchos on over our costumes which were over some warm weather gear we had purchased at WalMart at the last minute), it was a monsoon. We sat in the corrals and shivered as we waited for our wave to be released.
The race itself was a blur. The crowds of spectators weren't as big as they were for other races, but I think that had to do with the monsoon dumping Gallons of water on us. The support from volunteers was (like expected) spectacular. What surprised me was that the course wasn't as packed with participants as other events. Instead of 35K participants, it was closer to 14K. And that made a huge difference in maneuverability (although there was still some bottlenecking in Animal Kingdom). I absolutely loved that the race happened at night. I loved running though the Osborne Spectacle of Lights. And I am sure the after party at Epcot would have been wonderful had we gone, but our lips were already turning blue (no joke!).
On the other hand, the cold was a problem, but the rain was worse. I heard someone (I don't remember who) say that the only thing you could compare it to would be standing in your shower in your running clothes with the water on full blast on COLD for 3 hours and trying to run... and I think that's fairly accurate. With that much water, the roads were oily and slick, I was worried about my footing for miles at a time, and it was hard to keep up morale. I was lucky to have one of my best friends by my side, otherwise I might have gotten on the but with other people as we reached mile 6... people that were holding up fairly well pace wise, but who were so down-trodden from the weather.
Strangely, despite finishing well over our intended finishtime, and despite being so cold that we shivered for days afterward and had other symptoms of early onset hypothermia for the next 24 hours, Sarah and I agreed that this is a race that we would definitely be down for trying again.
And this is coming from the girl who said she would never do another Disney race again.*
I don't have any finishline photos because we were so sick we had to rush back to the hotel, so I'll just leave you with this blue-lipped one from right underneath the Peace On Earth sign... fitting for 2 girls who met while on a journey to become Doctors of Peace, right?
Character Building: Priceless.
*I have also now committed to running the Disneyland Tinkerbell Challenge with Team Muscle Makers as a charity entrant. I swear, my opinion of Disney races may have been seriously altered.