Talk of rain began in the days leading up to Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. There is always afternoon rain in Orlando as the 4:00 pm thunderstorms roll through, so I didn’t think much of it at first. However once race week rolled around, the sense of dread started to set in. It was looking more and more like the rain was going to arrive late Saturday night and on through Sunday morning. This was not just a passing storm…
Fun fact…I have never ran in the rain before. Maybe through a few sprinkles on a training run, but for no longer than 3 miles or so. Another fun fact…I hate having wet shoes. This is one of the reasons I’ve never done a Warrior Dash, Spartan Race or similar mud-themed race. Wet shoes = blisters and an unpleasant time. Wait…are those really FUN facts?? Sigh…
So I arrived on Thursday before the race and enjoyed all things Food & Wine and even went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time. I was having a blast…life was grand!! Then I woke up Saturday morning to grey skies and a not so promising weather forecast. I can’t say I was thrilled about the race at this point, but I was just going to make the best of it. I knew that I had a bunch of friends that were going to be in corral H with me so my new goal was to get through it with as many laughs along the way as possible.
My running buddy Amanda and I decided that since the rain was imminent our best bet would be to leave her car at Epcot so we could make a quick exit after the race incase we were soaked. We were able to park close enough to the finish line (or so we thought) that I left my gEAR bag in the car instead of schlepping it all the way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check it. So we boarded the buses to the starting line and our journey began…
Since we hit quite a bit of traffic on the way over, we didn’t have much time to check out all the pre-race festivities, but I did notice that they made some nice additions this year. There were quite a few concessions available including a beer cart for the spectators. I actually found that to be a cruel joke because I had to run 13.1 miles to get my beer, but here was a cart right at the start line!
There were also quite a few picnic tables set up which was a nice alternative to sitting in the damp grass.
However our friends Kevin and Carrie decided to sit in the grass because they were sporting the trendy look of the day…trash bag chic.
After a quick stop at the sea of porta potties and some hugs and well wishes from friends, it was time to head into the corrals.
It was great to see that even with the threat of rain, the spirit of many of the runners was still going strong. There were tons of great costumes around and many were themed around the theme of the race, food and wine! Here is my favorite…she’s a Dole Whip!!
The sprinkles started around 15 minutes before the start of the race so out came the ponchos and ziplock bags. Earlier that day we took a trip to Walgreens to stock up cheap ponchos. Well worth the trip off property to grab them for $1.49 instead of spending almost $10 for a Disney poncho. You won’t feel bad tossing it if you need to either.
Hey did you know that you can use your iPhone through a ziplock bag?? It was a HUGE revelation among the group…minds were blown.
Since we were in corral H, we didn’t actual get going until about 30 minutes after the start of the race. The rain was turning into more than just a sprinkle at this point and the winds were picking up so we were all anxious to get going. This is the first runDisney race that I didn’t get photos or video of the start line because of the rain, but I was happy to see that each corral was still getting a spectacular fireworks show! Once we got going I couldn’t help but laugh at how loud this race was due to the noise from all the ponchos and garbage bags moving around 🙂 I ditched my poncho after the first mile as it was making me quite warm, but this was something I would come to regret later.
There were 6 of us who decided we were going to stay together and run through the suck…remember the goal was laughter! I had run this race with my friend Jim back in 2012 so I was happy he was in my corral again this year. Unfortunately he was dealing with an injury and by mile 2 he encouraged us to just keep going after much protest. Marc and Tiffany pulled ahead at some point and we lost them for a while, so Amanda, Charles and I trudged along to Animal Kingdom and we were actually making decent time when we hit the 5K mark.
By the time we got there, the rain was coming down hard. The uneven terrain of the park was a bit treacherous and the paths were crowded due to all the construction going on. This is also where I stepped in my first puddle…wet shoes, my favorite! Blech. When we left the park and made our way around the parking lot, all that was going through my head was “I’m COLD!” Being soaking wet in the dark when it’s 58 and windy is not fun. Here’s where I really regretting ditching that poncho. I was hitting a low point and seriously considered stopping…but I just kept moving.
As we got close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the rain began to taper and I could feel my motivation coming back a bit. We were more than halfway done and the best part of the course was coming up. I couldn’t help but smile when I turned the corner to see one of my favorite sites, the Hollywood Tower Hotel!
It seemed safe to take out my phone now and I was happy to get back to my usual habit of snapping tons of photos along the course.
Just before we reached the Streets of America, I got a text from Tiffany asking where we were and to my surprise her and Marc were just ahead of us enjoying the Osborne lights!! We were so happy to be reunited that we just had to dance it out and Marc got it on video 🙂
This had been a mental and physical challenge from the moment we crossed that finish line, but it would’ve been much more difficult if we didn’t all stick together. It was a great feeling to have this support team by my side and I think everyone felt the same way. We all knew that we were going to cross that finish line together and we did it hand in hand 🙂
This was my worst race time by A LOT and there were many times that I was cursing myself for doing it, but looking back now, I actually had a great time. I have made so many wonderful friends and have great memories from my journeys running at Disney…this was just another one of those times. I’m lucky enough to be able to complete these races and share these stories…there nothing bad about that. Even with all the rain, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is still one of my favorite races and I hope to continue doing it for years to come. I mean, who doesn’t like free beer after a race?! Cheers!