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Lilo and Stitch at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon aka The Wine and Dine “Little More Than a 10k”

I’ve made no secret of my fondness for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon held each fall at Walt Disney World.

2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Logo

2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

If nothing else, the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon will go down in history as the race that was but wasn’t.

And for those of us that were there, I doubt many of us will ever forget the happenings of the evening.

What Happened at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon?

You’ve got to love Florida weather.

Even in November, when the crazy weather is supposed to have calmed down.

Here is a recap of the events leading up to the start of the race as I witnessed them:

I left the house with rumbling thunder and some rain, but according to the weather apps the Disney area was staying dry until about 2 AM.

I really wasn’t worried about the weather since isolated storms in Florida are pretty common, and just because there was a storm cell between the house and Disney it certainly didn’t mean there was a storm pushing across the state.

After parking at Epcot and riding the shuttle over to the Wide World of Sports complex, I found my friend Bill (who was spectating, not running) and we started chatting/catching up.

At about 9 PM (one hour before race time) the wind picked up like it does before a storm is about to blow in. There was a little bit of misty rain in the air, and the runDisney folks made an announcement that severe weather was in the area and that all runners and spectators needed to head to the buildings and take shelter.

So we did.

But that severe weather that looked to be in the area never showed up.

That said, if you looked at the radar it sure looked like we were about to get HAMMERED by all kinds of nastiness, but the skies never opened up and I never saw a bolt of lightning or heard any thunder.

Damn Florida weather…

The Race is Back On!

Wine and Dine Start

Wine and Dine Start

After about an hour, they made the announcement that we could head back toward the corrals and that the race would be starting soon.

People were obviously excited as we were still going to get to run. I mean, better late than never right?

Except for one thing: we were no longer going to be running a half marathon.

Due to the delay at the start, the decision was made that the race needed to be cut short by a little over 6 miles.

Needless to say, this wasn’t a popular decision.

My emotions ran the gamut from being pissed to being despondent to not even wanting to run anymore to just kind of feeling meh about the whole thing.

I trained for a half. I paid for a half. I really wanted to run a half.

Running a 10k+ just didn’t get my juices flowing.

But since I needed to get to Epcot somehow to get the car and head home, I didn’t have much of a choice.

My 2015 Wine and Dine “Little More Than a 10k”

My pity party lasted for about a mile.

I was in Corral A, planning on running hard and pushing for my second big half marathon PR of 2015, but when we were no longer running a half I didn’t feel like racing anymore.

So when the gun went off, everyone else in Corral A took off and I just ran at a comfortable pace listening to some music and trying to stay upset.

It’s funny how hard it is to stay mad when you’re running. It damn near impossible!

Somewhere around the mile mark, I looked ahead and saw the bears from the Country Bear Jamboree out cheering for runners and posing for photos.

At that point, I decided I was going to make the best of this situation and have some fun. So I stopped.

Country Bears at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Straight Chillin with the Country Bears

I ran up a little farther, singing along to the music in my headphones and stopped for another photo.

Lilo and Stitch at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Lilo, Stitch, and I

Next up was the Studios and while running through Pixar Place these two guys looked lonely so I stopped to say hi.

Buzz and Woody at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

My Homies Buzz and Woody

After the Studios, I hit the trail toward the boardwalk which is my favorite place to run at Walt Disney World. I used to run there every day during my lunch breaks when I was working at the Studios, and for whatever reason I still really love running there.

At this point, things were looking up. Sure, I was still bummed but I was enjoying the people out cheering and then I ran past what is now my favorite race sign I’ve ever seen.

It was so good, I literally turned around and went back to get the picture.

Best Race Sign Ever at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Best. Race Sign. Ever.

From there, all that was left was about a mile and I could shut it down for the night.

But first, I needed to take a detour.

The Things You Can Do When You Don’t Care About Your Time

Riding Soarin During the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

My Mid-Race Detour

When I was talking with Bill during the “severe weather delay”, I was talking about trying to hit a new PR during the race. I told him if I was no longer on pace to PR, I’d probably just run off the course to ride Soarin’ and then I’d finish the race.

Well, since I wasn’t running hard and the time was irrelevant due to the random route we were now running, I decided I was definitely going to have fun and go ride Soarin’ before I finished the race.

So I did.

I got a couple of weird looks when I jumped over the cones marking the course, took a hard left instead of a right, and ran up the hill to enter the Land.

But who cares?

I went in, cooled down, enjoyed my flight over California, and came back out to finish the race.

The Best Thing About the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

It took about a mile, but I made the decision to let go of the things that I had no control over (the weather and the decision of the race officials) and found a way to still have fun and have a memorable experience during this race.

Was it ideal?

Not hardly, but this race was a necessary reminder that I can only control what I can control and nothing else.

Running is absolutely one of the best teachers I have in my life, and class was definitely in session during the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon!

Do You Have Any Experiences With Last Minute Race Issues That Were 100% Out of Your Control? Share Your Story Below!

Me and Junior Cheering for Mom and Watching for the Costumes!

Best Costumes at the 2015 Princess Half Marathon

Earlier this morning, my wife completed here 2nd half by running the 2015 Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World.

This was her first runDisney race, but if I’ve learned one thing from my 9 runDisney events it’s that there are always a lot of runners that rock costumes during the race.

And the 2015 Princess Half Marathon was no exception.

I wish I had photos of the costumed runners to go with this list, but I was too busy being daddy/cheerleader to take many pictures. I did get this one early on.

Me and Junior Cheering for Mom and Watching for the Costumes!

#AdiandDaddy

Adi does have my Altra hat on. So maybe she was wearing an Altra Ambassador costume to spectate in?

Anyway, here are some of my favorite costumes that I saw while we were spectating. Read more

Walt Disney World Marathon, Low Lights, Negatives,

11 Less Than Magical Moments About the WDW Marathon

The Walt Disney World Marathon is widely regarded as one of the most “magical” marathons by many runners.

I’ve run the race three times, and I’ll likely do it again, but let’s accept the fact that there are plenty of “less than magical” moments over the course of the 26.2 miles as well.

Walt Disney World Marathon, Low Lights, Negatives,

Where the Pixie Dust is Missing

  1. The mile (or more) walk to the starting line. I mean, as if 26.2 miles wasn’t already far enough…
  2. The excitement as race time draws near is great, unless you’re in a corral that doesn’t begin until an hour after the race actually starts.
  3. Honestly, how many stinky dumpsters are there backstage?
  4. Speaking of stinky, there’s nothing quite like the smell of (literally) tons of animal poo as you start to get close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  5. Running in the parks is really awesome, but the bottlenecks that are created can be brutal.
  6. Two words–Osceola Boulevard.
  7. The guests at the Studios that have no clue there is a race going on and step off the curb right in front of you and expect you to avoid them. Seriously?!?! I’m 23 miles deep into a marathon, and you think I’ve got the energy to get out of your way? Just be glad I didn’t lower the shoulder, because I REALLY wanted to. (Can you tell this one hits close to home?)
  8. Guaranteed you’ll see at least 50 people (men and women) stopped along the side of the road to pee. I’m not condemning or casting judgement, because I’ve done it every time I’ve run the race, but it does take a little bit of the “magicalness” away
  9. The swag bag is basically swagless. Unless of course you bring your credit card, then you can get lots of swag. But seriously, for the price of this race, they can’t give us a 26.2 sticker with a Mickey head in place of the decimal point?
  10. Speaking of sparing no expense, I hope you’re not looking for much to eat after the race. I’ve run 5ks with a better post-race spread than a runDisney event.
  11. The last mile takes FOREVER! When you’re just walking around in the World Showcase the trip from England to Mexico doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal. But when you’re 25 miles into your race, that route seems unending!

If you’ve run the Walt Disney World Marathon, either this year or in the past, did I miss anything? Where else could runDisney use a little more pixie dust to cover up the less than magical moments and make an enjoyable race even better?

A Wine and Dine Chat

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon is coming up quick, and I for one, am super excited that the race will be here in just a few more weeks!

This race is easily my favorite runDisney event that I’ve run, and I look forward to the race every year. I’ve run the race every year that it has been in existence, and I’m looking forward to making it a perfect 5 for 5 this year.

Wine and Dine, Wine & Dine

Looking Forward to Another Wine and Dine Half!

What Makes the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Special

Read more

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 3rd Disney Marathon, which was my 5th full marathon overall.

There is a lot to love about runDisney events, but after running a handful of non-runDisney events (halves and fulls) I’ve come to learn that runDisney definitely leaves a few things to be desired as well.

The Good Stuff

  • The Bling–Disney events tend to feature some pretty nice finishers medals. This year was no different in my book. Big. Gawdy. Heavy. Love it.

20140114-164405.jpg

  • Characters on the Course–If you’re running in a Disney race, you’re going to see lots of characters out there to take pictures with, if you’re so inclined. Not only are Mickey and Minnie out there, but there are also a lot of characters out and about that aren’t regularly seen in the parks. This was my 8th runDisney event, and this was the first time I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Great decision.

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  • Lots of Company–This is a double edged sword, because having lots of fellow runners means that the course can be a little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to finish.

The Not-So-Good

  • Corral Placement is a Joke–On paper, putting runners in order by their projected finish time, and sending them out in waves is a good idea. runDisney fails when it comes to putting this idea into practice. Nothing against walkers or run/walkers, but they shouldn’t be in one of the first couple of corrals in a race this size. When they stop, and usually it’s more than one person at a time, it creates an instant road block. And since the course is crowded virtually the entire way, it can be a hassle to get around them. I don’t know how some people got into the corrals they did.
  • Lack of Guest Relations/Customer Service–For a company that is so focused on making guests happy, Disney dropped the ball when it comes to runner relations at the race expo. I have a friend that ran the race, her first full, and when she registered she didn’t have a qualifying time to give her a good corral placement. She was hoping for a sub-4:00 race, and ran a half in November in 1:50 and change, which should have placed her in one of the better corrals. runDisney, however, decided that November was too late in the year for a change in her corral placement to be changed on her bib, and for the first time that I’m aware of, they wouldn’t permit her to change her corral at the expo even though she had a verifiable qualifying time. She still managed to run 4:01 while weaving through, literally, 1000’s of slower runners that were able to get corral placements that my friend should have.
  • Post Race Food–I’m not going to blast runDisney over the price of the race, which is high, but I understand where the money goes. One place the money doesn’t go, however, is to the post race spread. I’ve been to races that cost $40-50 that have huge buffets, hot food, lots of drinks (read, free beer), and entertainment for all runners. Disney gives you, what amounts to, a poor-mans boxed lunch. We got a few bagged treats (corn chips, almond puffs, crasins), a banana, and a powerade. Spare no expense. (To be fair, all food items were gluten-free, which isn’t often the case concerning post-race foods, so I do really appreciate that thought from the race organizers.)

All in All

When it’s all said and done, I had a blast running this race.

Stopping for pictures with the characters was a first for me, and it really made all the difference. If you’re trying to run a race for a fast time, and don’t want to stop for pictures, you might want to try another option. But if you’re looking for a fun race to run, the Disney Marathon is a pretty good choice.

I doubt I’ll make the Disney full a regular event on my race schedule, even though I’ve run 3 of the last 4, but I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. I’m thinking about doing the Goofy Challenge next year, but that might be my last Disney full for awhile.

Anyone want to run it with me?

Have You Ever Run a runDisney Event? Did You Run in the Marathon Weekend This Year? What Were Your Thoughts of the Event?