3 Halfs, 3 Weekends, 3 States: Wine & Dine Half Marathon

How has it already been a week since this race? I feel like it was just yesterday!

To refresh, I ran the Wine & Dine Half Marathon as part of Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge (official challenge with RunDisney, see 10K recap here), but I also had my own mini unofficial challenge: 3 halfs in 3 states in 3 weekends.
On top of that, this would be my 20th half marathon overall.  I had already completed Fayetteville, NC and Charleston, SC going into this, not to mention a week of walking around in the park and the Wine & Dine 10K. I was tired! The good news is that on November 6 we got an extra hour of sleep thanks to the time change.

Well, we were supposed to. My phone decided not to change and woke me up at 2:30 instead of 3:30. Good thing I had set the room alarm clock. Although I’m still not sure if I got that hour back.

I knew I didn’t want to stand around aimlessly for 2 hours before the half. The 10k it was fine but going over twice the distance I wanted my feet to not go in tired. I planned to take the bus a little later than the morning before and not wait in any character lines. I was going to find a place to sit and stay there.

That place was my corral (E this time, it went to L), and what should have been a relaxing sitting time turned into me trying to stay warm for 2 hours. Florida may be warm, but not at 4 in the morning! I wound up just sitting in a ball, which wasn’t very fun. And then, I had to stand in my corral for a good 15 minutes until the start of Corral A. After A went, there was a wave start for every corral after.

After what felt like forever, I was finally off!

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Going into the event, I heard a lot of complaints about the course. Traditionally, it runs through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. This year, Hollywood Studios was under construction, so we took a detour on the highway. I was just happy to finally be running a Disney race that I didn’t even care. (And it turned out to not be as bad as everyone made it out to be).

Enjoy my photo journey through the race:

The first few miles were in the dark and on the highway. There was one character stop, but it was the Country Bears (which I hate) so I made the decision to bank the time I would have used and stop for better characters later. This was a wise decision.

Around mile 4 we hit Animal Kingdom, which may be my favorite running moment ever. I hit the park just before sunrise and snapped a photo with Rafiki outside the park gates.

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This meant that I got to run through the rest of the park as the sun was rising. That, combined with the fact my RunDisney dream was finally happening, the music that was playing, the cast members cheering us on, and the love I have for Disney Parks made me cry. It was magical.

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My new Facebook profile pic, probably for forever
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Check out the Rivers of Light seating behind me… hopefully that will be open next time!

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After the Animal Kingdom section I knew it was going to be a long time before we saw the parks again. And with the sun rising, I knew it was going to get hot. I was already regretting those mermaid leggings (they don’t breathe). But I was on cloud 9 as I took in the photo ops.

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Part of the Animal Kingdom behind the scenes was where the topiaries are made!

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The above picture is horrible quality (thanks, Photopass) and I’m looking straight at the sun but I don’t even care because a) I waited in line for almost 10 minutes for this and b) DARKWING DUCK.

Around this point I hit a wall, I think due to the heat. It was getting really hot really fast, and I already knew I was well on my way to my personal worst half time ever thanks to the character stops, so I took a walk break for a few miles and people watched. It was actually really entertaining.

Around the only “hill” (it was an exit ramp, you’re cute Florida), one of the Green Army Men from Toy Story was yelling at runner to keep us moving.

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Around 9 (I think), I got a photo with my favorite blue alien. The best part was the Elvis music playing at this stop:

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Along this stretch there was randomly a hot air balloon. I still haven’t figured out why. Was it supposed to be motivating? Did they think it was a cooler thing to look at than the highway (it was).

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Around this time I got a second wind and ran until just inside EPCOT where I found Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horscollar! No one knew who they were so they had no line!

Unfortunately, that photo still hasn’t appeared on my Photopass. It may be lost forever. But I promise you were there.

Once in EPCOT I knew there was only a mile or so left and was going to run to the finish but RunDisney made it hard, there were 3 photo stops in that mile!

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This is my “I’m almost done!” face.
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The finish line was near, resulting in one of my favorite race photos ever. The lady behind me just makes it even better.

Then, just like that, I was done and picked up both my medals. They were even prettier in person!

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Later that day, I got Mickey to sign the back of my half medal since he was on it:

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And I got a photographer to get this picture:

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During the weekend, I fell in love with RunDisney like I knew I would. I made the decision halfway through the 10K to come back for the Dopey Challenge in 2018. That means next time I RunDisney I’ll be taking on the 5K Thursday, 10K Friday, Half Marathon Saturday, and FULL MARATHON Sunday.

See you in 14 months, Disney.

Assuming I can get in, that is.

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