I can comfortably say that this was the most EPIC race I have ever done! From the start of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, until the end, FULL of memories!!!
Let me start at the beginning….
We checked into the Hilton Bonnet Creek on Friday, the day before the race. Yes, I know, I live nearby but for every runDisney race we stay in or around Walt Disney World, as it makes traveling back and forth easier.
This has been the most AMAZING, attentive, catering to your running needs resort!! Have you stayed there for a race before? WOW! They have a running concierge, runner goodies, and a little party just for you! The rooms were comfortable with great views. The only bad thing was that the fluffy bed was keeping me hostage most of the day =)
I also had a lot of fun the expo! It was crowded for some time but there were so many awesome vendors there so I made sure to stop as some of my favorites!
Runnerbox was there and was selling their Wine and Dine Runnerbox with perfect essentials for the race. I also made it a point to stop by KT Tape and get my limited edition “Minnie Mouse” tape that is only sold at runDisney expos. It went beautifully with my Minnie Mouse chef costume.
Once back at the hotel and had already gone through half of my Runnerbox, Alpha and I just enjoyed the sights and dining at the Hilton Bonnet Creek.
On race day, we were ready! I was so excited! But in true Florida fashion, rain was made definite in the forecast. It didn’t bother us being we were prepared for the rain and cold front moving in at the same time. We did a last-minute costume change and Alpha KT taped me up. Since I knew I was going to get wet, I put on the tape about 2 hours before to make sure it was on. I almost used a whole roll with my apps! My right hamstring and calf have been giving me problems lately so I usually tape those, but last time I ran 13 miles my left hamstring tightened so I tapped it up for precautions.
After taping up and putting on my cloud running ASICS, I was already fueled by Vega so I knew my performance was going to be top notch. After we stretched, warmed up, ate a snack, we headed to the send off party! It was so much fun! The staff really did a good job. We grabbed out bananas, water, and VERY handy poncho and loaded onto the bus.
Once we arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, I went straight for the bathroom line. My usual first stop! Luckily it hadn’t rained yet, but I knew it was coming. We quickly made a few character visits being that when it rains during a race, they are rarely out on course as they normally would. We had some fun dancing and singing in the lines to see Mr. and Mrs. Mouse.
Once it was time to head into our corrals, it would start to rain with a little cold wind to make matters tougher. I got a little nervous on that because the cold and my Scoliosis are not best friends. Adding some rain would make matters worse. I knew that once I began to shiver, my back would lock up on me and I would not be able to move my arm.
Once it was our corral at the start line, I tried to forget everything and just enjoy it to the fullest. 3…2…1….and we were off!!! I had a PR goal of 2:45 in mind. I had my Pacebands on with that goal that I had used in training. I pretty much had memorized all the split times. I kept going at a steady slow pace so I didn’t hurt myself. Once we starting running the rain picked up and never ended. Living here in Orlando, we were used to it, but the cold, that we weren’t. We headed towards Animal Kingdom and saw the elite runners ALREADY on their way back. Amazing sight to see such power!!!
It wasn’t even .20 into the race when I was getting splashed with puddles into my shoes. I thought, oh no! Blister town here I come! There was no getting around that and in Animal Kingdom was probably the worst! HUGE puddles that I couldn’t see where my entire foot would go into. I kept going, Alpha can run forever without stopping. I need breaks to take breaths to expand my lungs. Since my Scoliosis curves into my lungs, I can only take short quick breaths.
I passed the 3 miles mark and was still raining, still cold.
Then the half way point came and went. At this point I was surprised. The most I’ve ever run straight was 5 miles, and I was dying at the end of it! At the 10K mark I was still running, still had my target pace and was feeling fine. Even though it was cold and raining, so long as we all kept moving it wasn’t an issue. After running on over passes and through streets we head into the Hollywood Studios, my shoes were literally pools of water. Many runners stopped to pour the water of out their shoes. But I felt safe because I had my Feetures! on and wasn’t feeling ANY discomfort in my feet!
Guess what…I was STILL running! At this point I knew I couldn’t stop! I was getting closer and closer to that 13.1 finish that I had to continue. Knowing that after running through the Osborne Spectacle of Lights I was around the corner to the finish!!
Here we go, onto the Boardwalk, still running and still smiling! In my head I kept thinking that this was unbelievable. No way that I was about to finish 13.1 miles non-stop!!! We ran through the Boardwalk and bless those spectators for sitting all night in the rain to cheer us on! Boy did you help me!!!
We enter Epcot, and the only words I uttered when I saw it was “My, what a beautiful sight.” I knew the finish line was less than half a mile away. I couldn’t believe it! I was doing what so many thought I couldn’t do! I saw the finish line and then suddenly they announced our names and I had officially done it! I had just ran 13 POINT 1 MILES NON-STOP!!!!! Do you have ANY idea how incredibly big that is to me??? I really did feel like a champion when I crossed that finish line!
And there were the numbers, looking back at me from the Garmin on my wrist. I had officially broke 3 hours. A 16 minutes PR from my first half marathon time. I had done it, I felt UNSTOPPABLE.
After that I made a quick dash to the medical tent being that once I stopped running my back did in fact lock up and I couldn’t move my arm. I took some Tylenol and got wrapped with ice on my hot spots and off to Epcot we went.
The more we walked the worse the cold and rain hit me, because yes it was still raining. We sat in front of the ball in Epcot and tried to warm up and eat what we were given. We hung out for a bit then left. The wind and cold had picked up, and that warm bed was calling my name!
The next day, we followed with our tradition and head to the park to take our character photos and ended out EPIC Wine and dine Half Marathon Weekend on a high note! We wined, we dined, we ran…WE CONQUERED!