Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Race Recap

So in May, I bit the bullet and signed up for the Long Beach Half Marathon {my first half marathon} which was taking place in October. I plotted out a training schedule and progressed towards my goal. But then, I got a text from my friend, Kelly. Kelly said something like, “we should do the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon for your birthday !” , while we were discussing races in the future. Kelly was suggesting a second half marathon, when I hadn’t even done my first half marathon. Kelly is quite the running enabler. She is one of the many reasons why I started running again in the first place.

Because I’m spontaneous like that, I agreed it would be a fun girl’s trip, you know, to run a half marathon. My mom gave me money for the flight to Florida and we made the arrangements. Exactly one month after running the Long Beach Half Marathon, I was enroute on a red eye flight to Orlando with Kelly.

Leaving for Orlando and Disney Wine and Dine with Kelly in November.Photo via Kelly.

Don’t we look super excited to head to Walt Disney World?

Starting to acquire button flair at WDW. @according2kelly is determined that I get as many as I can. #rundisney #winedinehalf

After arriving early in the morning on the Thursday before the race, we checked into the hotel {Disney’s Boardwalk Inn}. Kelly made sure that I got some button flair as soon as we arrived at Walt Disney World, one button for “My Birthday”, and one button for my “First Visit to Walt Disney World”. We then took naps.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL.-Race Expo for @rundisney Wine and Dine. #rundisney #winedinehalf #runchat

The race expo was held at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which is HUGE! We got our race packets, changed our race corrals, and walked around all of the cool vendors. I purchased an awesome pair of Zensah compression socks while I was there. I hesitated on buying a “Disney’s Wine and Half Marathon” track jacket which was a pretty burgundy wine color. I should have bought it, because the jackets were completely sold out the next day. Do not hesitate when making purchases of “official race merchandise” because the good stuff always sells out.

The race wasn’t until Saturday night at 10pm, which meant that we have some time to explore Walt Disney World {will blog about in later posts, still need to edit photos}, attend a pre-race meet-up with Jeff Galloway and other guests, and relax. Kelly and I laughed because here we were, all the way in Florida at Walt Disney World, and all we wanted to do was sit in bed, play on our computers, and watch Lifetime movies.

Pre-Race, Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Fuel. Kid's meal at ESPN Club.

After sleeping in a little on the morning of the race, I decided that it was time for food {real food}. I usually run at night, so I know what kind of food that I can eat before long runs. Night running has special nutrition issues, because you have to watch what you eat throughout the day to keep your energy up, but also prevent sickness {puke} while running. Plus I have a super picky stomach, and I’m a super picky eater. I settled on a kid’s meal at ESPN Club.  The meal consisted of a garden salad, grilled chicken, green beans, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Umm this kid’s meal was delicious and sooo not like the average kid’s meals that my son orders.

Ariel "The Little Mermaid"-Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Race Costume

After eating my mid-afternoon lunch, I went back to the hotel room and laid out “my costume” for the race. After going back and forth with several costume ideas, I settled on “Ariel-The Little Mermaid”. I had quite an obsession when the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid” when I was a kid. The movie originally released on my birthday in 1989, November 14th. I think I had a Little Mermaid cake for my 15th or 16th birthday, I can’t remember exactly. But I know all of the songs to the music soundtrack, and everything about the movie. And when you do a RunDisney race, it is always more fun in costume, per Kelly.

My costume consisted of a purple shirt from Road Runner Sports, a green Team Sparkle Skirt, slime green Saucony Kinvara 3’s, and a Big Bling Sparkle headband from Bic Bands. But you are probably thinking, “Doesn’t The Little Mermaid have red hair?” I had a solution to that “red hair” issue of course!

Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Costume-Ariel, The Little Mermaid. Temporary colored hair to go with the costume.

Umm ya, so I colored my hair “red” or as it looks in the picture, pink. The race was the week after Halloween. It was incredibly difficult to find reddish-colored temporary hair color. I took these self-portraits in the hotel room bathroom {bad lighting}. This hair color was a comb-in rather than a spray. It came with an itty-bitty comb, and I have a ton of hair. I ended up squirting a bunch of it in my hands and then rubbing it around in my hair. It looked great with my costume, but oy vey…. It ended up dripping a bit at the end of the race, because I was SUPER SWEATY. I also had a few thick chunks of pink in my hair {after 3 shampoos post-race} for approximately 2 weeks. Just a note: temporary hair color can STICK well when you have blond hair. I would have done it again though, because a wig would have been crazy hot while running.

Ready to run the @runDisney Wine & Dine Half. Too bad that Flounder doesn't do well on land. #winedinehalf #runDisney #Disney #Ariel #LittleMermaid

After taking a little nap, relaxing, and eating some pizza {super bad}, it was time to get ready for the race. I was very impressed with the costume that I had fretted over for several weeks. BUT a few days before the race, I started having pain in the upper portion of my right leg. I self-diagnosed myself with a groin strain {still working on figuring out what the problem is as of the date of this post}. Of course, I was completely stressed about this injury. Luckily Kelly keeps a stockpile of KT Tape with her, and after watching a video on their website about how to tape groin injuries, she helped tape my leg.

Kelly @according2kelly ready to run Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon as Donald Duck.
After several costume considerations, Kelly decided to run as “Donald Duck” for the race. She looks awesome in her costume, doesn’t she? Seriously, she had to sew parts of her costume, but it actually wasn’t a ton of effort. Kelly’s costume was a HUGE hit and she got a ton of attention from other runners at the race.

After taking our portraits, we grabbed our stuff and headed for the bus near the hotel that would take us to the start of the race. Although the race started at 10pm, we left for the bus stop at 7pm. We didn’t want to miss the bus because it was too crowded, etc.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Tweet via @AngryJulie

When we got off the bus at the waiting area for the start of the race, we were greeted by a sea of people. There were runners everywhere. And tons of people were wearing some type of “Disney-related” running costume. There was a DJ playing music, photo opportunities, a bag check, restrooms, water, and even a pre-race warm-up going on.

@according2kelly and @angryjulie pre-Disney's Wine and Dine Half MarathonPhoto via Kelly.

Kelly and I “somehow” pushed our way up to the front of the people dancing along to the DJ’s music and found ourselves on the jumbo tron. It was pretty crazy but we just kept dancing. We then got interviewed about running “runDisney events” and Kelly said that she was a runDisney Race Alumna, while this was my first runDisney Half Marathon.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Starting Line{Tiny iPhone photo taken by me at the starting line, in a hurry!}

About 30 minutes before the race started, we made our way to the corrals. Kelly was in “Corral A” and based on a previous time, I got moved up to “Corral B”. They were starting the race by releasing each corral five minutes apart, and after every corral started, fireworks went off. For some reason I found a little humor in this. While I was running, I could hear the “boom” of the fireworks every 5 minutes. It reminded me of the movie, “The Hunger Games”  when a tribute died, there was a noise or boom in the air to announce the death. And yes, I have a sick sense of humor.

I wasn’t worried about running a race at night, because I usually do my “long runs” at night anyway. I find that I have more energy by running later in the day and I don’t get fatigued. The race started at 10pm eastern time, which was 7pm my time. I figured that I would be spot on for my usual running time. I was slightly worried about the “groin pain” on my right side though.

About 2 miles into my run, I noticed that I started having groin pain on my left side, rather than my right. I think the KT Tape was helping my right side. I had to focus and work through the pain. I also had “shoe lacing” issues. I had to stop and re-do my laces twice along the way because they were too tight at first, and then too loose. Super frustrating.

Expedition Everest at Night. Photo via @according2kelly.Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Photo via Kelly.

The race course:

Start at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex running down Victory Way and then west on Osceola Parkway toward Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Make your way past the Tree of Life, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur and then race back to Osceola Parkway and head toward Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You will enter the park in the shadow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, run down Sunset Boulevard through Pixar Place, past Toy Story Mania, then through the Costuming Tunnel in the Backlot on your way to Lights Motor Action! for your big debut! Race through the Streets of America, past Star Tours and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular on your way to Epcot. The course will wind through the idyllic village of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and lead you to a finish just outside of Epcot.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Photo via @according2kelly.Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo via Kelly.

If you are going to run a night race, running a half marathon at Disney, is the best way to do it. There was so much to see and hear along the course that I never got bored. I use my iPhone for music during running, and my battery was getting low. Otherwise, I could have taken some incredible pictures along the way. With bands, awesome volunteers and cast members, the Disney parks, Electrical Parade floats, Disney characters, and the amazing Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios….it was never boring.

@AngryJulie running Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2012

I’m always a bit scared when I see that email come in with my “official race photos” for purchase. Sometimes, ok most times, race photos are horrible. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the photos from Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I had to purchase this one because it was quite awesome. I looked so athletic {giggle}, and sweaty. Actually, I had just dumped a cup of water down the front of my shirt to cool down. And you can see my awesome roots of my faux red hair coming through, but at least I smiled for the camera.

I had reviewed the race course prior to the race but I didn’t realize how long it would take to get to the finish. I felt like we were constantly weaving around the “backside area” of Disney World to find the laser-lighted finish.

At the end of the race, Kelly was patiently waiting for me. She finished super fast at 1:38 {4th place in her age division, no big deal} and had already cooled down. I finished at 2:50:50 which was a PR {personal record} from the Long Beach Half Marathon’s final time. With my groin and shoe lace issues, I’m not sure if I could have been any faster.

Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2012, Finisher

I got my cheesy “finish line” photo taken. I had barely cooled down, and I was a hot sweaty mess!!! But it was done.

Epcot during the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

And then it got cold! I got my jacket from the bag check as soon as I could. Kelly and I walked around Epcot for the International Wine and Dine Festival until we couldn’t deal with the cold. We had some goodies, and discussed the race. But we were both shivering, so we slowly made it back to the hotel.

I jumped in the shower immediately because I wanted to wash out the temporary hair color as soon as I could. And like I said earlier, I had to shampoo it three times, and almost {all} of it came out. It was then time to go to bed.  Kelly and I both slept in a bit in the morning, until we realized that we had a 11am check-out and we were not even packed yet. Note to self: ask for late check-out after a night race.

I survived Half Marathon #2. Loved @runDisney Wine & Dine Half. #winedinehalf #rundisney

After the race I took this photo of the fancy Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal that we received after completing the race. I have to say, that this is one of my favorite medals that I have. And after seeing all of the other race medals at the expo for the race, runDisney races have the most amazing finisher medals by far!

I loved the whole “Disney Experience” during the few days that we were at Walt Disney World. I think the mini-vacation/trip with a girlfriend made it even more fun. Honestly, it makes me want to travel for more races, just to have this fun experience and be able to share it with someone. Rather than getting up early, running a race, and then just coming home.

I cannot wait until my next runDisney Race, which will be the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland. I was supposed to run this race in January, but I wimped out {didn’t train at all} and changed my mind at the last minute. I feel that I’m super prepared now.

Disclosure: I was invited by runDisney to attend the entire event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to cover my hotel expenses at the fabulous Boardwalk  Inn, meals, and my race fees. All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own. It was an awesome trip and I’m so thankful for the experience.


I am running this race this fall and I just thought I'd let you know you're one of the reasons.  I was never a runner (in fact, this will be my first race) but I worked this race last year.  I was one of those cast members back stage right before the finish line.  And then when I wasn't on break I was hanging out on stage welcoming you guys into the park.  And after seeing all those people who could run 13 miles I became incredibly inspired.  So thanks!!

Lonna Eshelman
Lonna Eshelman

Great Report! I will be at the TINK race also this month and will be earning my C2C in November at the WDW Wine and Dine. BTW, great Wine & Dine time! I hope to someday figure out a walk/ run ratio that Im comfortable enough with that will help me to PR.

Krissy @ Shiawase Life
Krissy @ Shiawase Life

This recap was TOTALLY worth the wait! I loved it, so glad you had a wonderful time and selfishly, I am soooo stoked you were able to make it so I could finally meet you in person! So happy that I will see you again very soon at TinK!!!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I'm jealous that you will be earning Coast to Coast this year. I should have earned mine last year but I gave away my Tink bib at the last minute, because I hadn't trained. Wine and Dine was a blast, and I loved running at night. Ya, walk/run ratio is hard. I usually try and do my walking when I stop for water...so I won't choke. Good Luck at Tink!!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I know, right? Super excited for Tink next weekend!!! Yippee!!!!! And seriously, I'm such a slacker with blogging lately. I'm too busy working and ummm running.