It’s time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we’re covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I’ll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!
When we left off I was standing in line for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon bus with Kellie and Nicole. All seemed well. They were adorably dressed as Mousketeers. I was dressed as an abstract representation of normcore, a costume so ironic as to be invisible to the naked eye (okay, I wasn’t wearing a costume. SOMEDAY).
We boarded a bus and I regaled them with tales of how my one cat is really stupid. We arrived. We hung out. We got watered. We pondered a bathroom break. We tracked down Rae and Kim. We found Danielle. The deejay played music ranging from OMG YES to STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. So far so normal.
It was shortly before we were about to leave for our corrals that things got weird. One of the announcers got on the PA system and informed us that there was a severe weather situation and we were all to evacuate to the baseball stadium. The race was NOT called YET but we would be holding in the stadium until further notice.
Okay then. We all got up – all, I don’t know, what, 13,000 or so of us? – and piled into the stadium.
Our little group worked its way through the bowels of the building looking for a bathroom WITHOUT a million-person line, eventually settling on where one enterprising woman had annexed a men’s bathroom for coed use. Men were permitted inside so long as they didn’t care that women were in there using the stalls – and what I found to be a surprising number chose to look elsewhere. These are the same men who think nothing of stopping off to the side of the course and peeing in the woods, right?
I want to take a moment here to thank all my blogger buddies for hanging out with me while the race was postponed. If I had been alone I would’ve been SO BORED AND STRESSED. As it was it helped enormously to be surrounded by people I knew.
Finally, after about an hour, we were informed that the race would be going on – but the course had been “slightly modified.” Modified how? This remained a mystery from the time we left the stadium to the time we were allowed into the corrals. It was only then that we were informed that the course was now 7 miles. 🙁 🙁 🙁
In some ways this was just as well – it was VERY humid and not too cool either, and we wouldn’t be missing big chunks of the after party. And certainly I can understand why Disney chose to delay the race; if they felt it was potentially unsafe then they needed to protect both their runners and themselves from a legal standpoint. But I’m not gonna lie: I’m STILL bummed we didn’t get to run through the Animal Kingdom. I wanted to tell the Festival of the Lion King people I loved them again, dammit! (And that SUCKS for everyone who had trained for their very first half marathon.)
But there was nothing else for it but to take my 7 miles with gratitude. After all, it could’ve been worse – the whole thing could’ve been cancelled! And so I splintered off from the group to take my place in corral E, sad but not without hope for the future.
The race itself was, not unexpectedly, frankly wonky. Mile 1 came where expected but as there had been no time for the organizers to make many modifications beyond course length we were hitting the Mile 8 marker scarcely after my GPS had registered a mile and a half. And then just before mile 2 there were people handing out Clif Shots. I appreciated the gesture but yeah, no thanks.
My favorite bit of weirdness, however, came when I ran over what would have been the 15K chip time pad. It hadn’t been recalibrated, and so I got this text:
MY GOD I HAVE GOTTEN GOOD AT THIS.
It felt like no time at all before I was entering the Studios – and as I traversed the backstage area of the course I got a lovely surprise. A girl ran up next to me and informed me that a) she recognized me because b) she read my blog and c) my WDW Marathon registration post had inspired her to sign up last minute too. This made me so happy that all I could was blabber out a thank you like an idiot, but if you’re still reading: thanks, person! Say hi in the comments! Hit me up at the marathon! 😀
After a bit of twisting and turning and tunneling we wound up in the highlight – alas, the now former highlight – of the race: running through the Osborne Lights. Knowing I would likely never experience such a thing again, I couldn’t resist stopping for a few pictures.
From there we ran out of the park and hit the path between the Studios and Epcot. I have mixed feelings about this section: on the one hand, I know exactly how far I still have to go and I don’t always appreciated being forced to allay my ignorance. On the other hand, the Boardwalk area is beautiful, and once you hit the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht Club resorts there are a lot of great spectators, signs, and cheering. My favorites were the guys who had dragged lawn chairs out and were watching the race go by while sipping beers. Nicely done, guys.
I ran over the bridge and through the International Gateway into Epcot. There was a small part of me that hoped that the race course had been diverted through World Showcase, but alas, it was not to be. We ran the usual course down through England/Canada/into Future World. Just past Spaceship Earth I met Elizabeth where I waved at her vigorously and with gratitude but for her own sake did not go in for the hug (OMG SO MUCH SWEAT GUYS THE HUMIDITY UGH).
And then that was about it. Out of Epcot, to the finish line, bam, done. My GPS registered 6.9 miles. Sigh. But I did high five Mickey, so there’s that.
I collected my medal and water and Powerade and snack box but declined the free beer in favor of better stuff in the after party. Elizabeth had my clothes, so I skipped all the changing tents and suchlike and went straight into Epcot… but I’ll save that for my next post!
Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya real soon!