The Fairest Trip Report Of All: The Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

And now for my very favorite runDisney half marathon!

Despite my standard issue paranoia and compounding exhaustion, I woke right up with my alarm for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Once again my phone tried to fake me out by not reflecting the time change, but this time I knew to simply restart it and there it was: 2:15am. Perfect.

I taped up and dressed before rousing Erika, and once she was ready we headed out to the bus line and hopped on the second one out. We were deposited in the same Magic Kingdom bus stop as yesterday’s 10K, which was a little weird for me as I was still sort of expecting the start at the ESPN Wide World of Sports as per years past. My brain is all sorts of nostalgic.

We were let into the corral area around 4:15am, and after a quick porta potty stop we went our separate ways – Erika off to corral G and me to corral C. The DJ started up shortly after and went through just about the exact same routine as pre-10K, with dancing and singing. His observations are absolutely correct: the back corrals are way more into it than the front corrals. Most of us in C just kinda sat there. 

In my defense I was pretty tired – mostly I was just looking forward to taking a shower after. Also my knee was worrying me. I had it good and KT-Taped up, but what if it failed and I had to hobble the whole way? ANXIETY.

So my morale was not as high as it should be for a runDisney race. But that was okay. In my heart I knew the Disney magic would turn it around. Or if nothing else I was definitely going to get that hot shower.

The first few corrals took off without any of the internal mini-waves, bringing C up to the front with a quickness. The usual fanfare and fireworks, and we were off!

Initially my knee felt… okay. I was undoubtedly aware of it, maybe even fielding some complaints, but nothing so bad that it required I slow down or change my gait. I kept it slow and easy with the hope that a gentle pace would maintain the status quo.

The first character stop was about a mile in, the green, yellow, and purple lights indicating the Mardi Gras theme of The Princess & The Frog. I’ve only seen this movie once, but I know Louis the gator when I see him and I thought frequent knee resting would be a good idea, so I jumped in the photo line.

When I started up again 2-3 minutes later… MY KNEE DIDN’T HURT! At all! Oh Disney, what miracles thou hath wrought!!! I ran on with newly cheerful vigor.

Sooner than I expected we were entering the Animal Kingdom, although from the side instead of the main entrance I remembered from years past. I guess this was to accommodate running through Pandora, which was… fine. I dunno, guys. I just can’t get into it. Like, it’s a weird forest that glows a little? Some of the rocks float?

So I didn’t get a ton out of running through that area. But I was very pleased to see the Awakenings show playing on the Tree of Life!

I was sad to see that the course nixed running past Everest, cutting us off just short as we were siphoned into Dinoland. It was there I stopped for a photo op with Chip and Dale. Normally I begrudge them their mean treatment of Pluto, but their dinosaur costumes were just too cute to pass up. I even made a friend in line!

Sadly it was time to run out of DAK and back onto the roads. This is the least exciting part of the race, but at least my knee was still feeling good and runDisney was keeping the entertainment coming. (But not the Festival of the Lion King stiltwalkers – how am I supposed to consider a runDisney race complete without a photo with them???)

I saw the surfboards of Lilo & Stitch rising out of the ground for a photo stop and resolved to skip it; I had gotten them in previous races. But when I saw it was Elvis Stitch, obviously I had get in line!

A couple miles later and we were running into the Hollywood Studios, which pleased me as the last time I ran the race construction forced us to bypass that park entirely. As I ran down Sunset Boulevard I was astonished to see Edna Mode had no line to speak of, so I stopped for a weird-arm-pose photo (I’m gonna have to redo this one given a chance).

Edna Mode (and guest)

Next we rolled on out of DHS and onto the labyrinthine path toward the Boardwalk,which was surrounded by construction walls. They were livened up with some joke signs, but I can’t remember any of them now so they can’t have been that good.

As per usual the spectators began showing up in force on the Boardwalk path proper, and the increasing roar of cheering pushed us all into Epcot. The delightful “Les Poissons” from The Little Mermaid was playing as I took my first steps toward France, which felt magnificently apropos. I stopped for a quick photo with Marie and sped off just in time to sing “Hee hee hee! HOH HOH HOH!!!!” with my man Rene Auburjonois, as is right and proper.

Every truly cultured music student knows

I was feelin’ the runner’s high right on time (World Showcase = dopamine for me for some reason), and I sped through the countries waving to all the WS cast members as they roared their approval. And I had to stop for a photo with the powerful, the pleasurable, the indestructible Mushu.

Pretty eyes, huh?

And that was pretty much game! I went whooshing out of WS, into Future World, past Spaceship Earth, around the penultimate marching band at mile 13, and then bam: finish line. Unofficial time of 2:18:11, which isn’t bad for one week post-marathon and one day post-10K with a bum knee and 8 photo stops. Negative splits FTW!

I collected my medals (half and Two Course Challenge), grabbed some drinks and a snack box… and kinda looked around. Does anyone else kinda of have a, I don’t know, lost feeling right after finishing a race? What am I supposed to do with myself now???

Luckily autopilot took over. I headed over to the merch tent on the extreme off chance that one hoodie I like suddenly showed up in small (it didn’t) and get a bag for all my snacks and crud. And then on a whim I took a picture with Lumiere, whose line was about 12,000 people shorter than it had been that morning.

And that was pretty much that. I boarded a bus back to Pop, sulking over the lack of Oreos in the snack box, but at least certain that that shower was finally in my sights.

TL;DR: I LOVE RUNDISNEY!!!! Is it marathon time yet???

Next up: A very long nap and the race after-party!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/14

Another season, another training cycle. My rest weeks post-MCM and Wine & Dine are coming to a close, but the training cycle for my next WDW Marathon is just now revving up! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Workout recap, put a bow on it:

Sunday | Wine & Dine Half Marathon, 13.42 miles in 2:18 according to my GPS watch
Also a bit of walking around WDW after, but we had a pretty chill day post-race so not as much as usual.

Monday | walked around Disney’s Animal Kingdom
And then left WDW that night. Blerg.

Tuesday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class
Miraculously my knee felt pretty great after the half and even walking around WDW. I take ONE ballet class and it’s mad at me again. 🙁 Ballet is unforgiving, kids.

Wednesday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | ran 5.26 miles outside in 55 minutes
Normally I would’ve gone to ballet but a) see above about ballet making my knee mad and b) I had to work late.

Friday | rest
It was rainy and gross and I just ran a lot of races. Time to chill!

Saturday | rest

Incidentally, would it be crazy to take a day off from work expressly for the purposes of fitting in my longest run without having to get up hella early? Hmmm…

Roundup, what say you?

– Why I runDisney explains the Magic Mile.
– Fairytales & Fitness spends a racecation at the Yacht & Beach Club.
– The Main Street Gazette shares vintage photos from the Magic Kingdom’s early years.

– easyWDW reviews the new Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square party during MVMCP.
– Vegan Disney World reviews vegan DCL meals.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Pens A Polite Apology To Lumiere

Hey, remember a couple years ago when the Wine & Dine Half was made into a morning race? And runDisney introduced the Two Course Challenge and I was like, pssssh, AS IF. And then I punched Lumiere DIRECTLY IN THE FACE.

Well, I owe Lumiere an apology, because this just happened:

I know! I’m surprised too. But – and prepare for a real shocker – it wasn’t my idea.

See, the week after I got back from the Walt Disney World Marathon, I was in the dressing room at ballet chatting to a friend about my race. Another friend, Erika, piped up that she’d always wanted to run a race like that. 

WELL, I said, always eager for the opportunity to spread the gospel of runDisney, if you want, you can come with me for Wine & Dine weekend! And she expressed interest, so I emailed her the details. She was more confident about the 10k, and I told her if she wanted I would be happy to run it with her – but she had to let me know in advance so that I knew to sign up for both races.

But you know how these things go – when it comes to trips and running, many talk the talk but very few walk the walk. Registration approached and I hadn’t heard anything, so I assumed Erika had decided not to go. All good! Totally understandable. But I was all set to sign up for the half only.

So imagine my surprise when Erika emailed me the day registration was originally supposed to be and asked me why it wasn’t working! I have her the details on the pushed registration date, and she told me she was not only in, she wanted to run both races. Without any provocation whatsoever!

And that’s how, against all odds, I found myself registering for the Two Course Challenge. I was nervous because Erika came in a little late to registration, but it turns out I didn’t need to be; as of this writing both the half and the challenge are still open. Weird. But who cares? We’re both in and it’s gonna be awesome!

Clearly my powers of persuasion are stronger than I thought. I wonder if they’re strong enough to convince Erika to go in on matching costumes for the 10k…?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 3/14

I had planned to begin this post with a joyous “I’M REGISTERED FOR WINE & DINE!!!” but alas, it is not to be – if you haven’t already heard, registration has been delayed. Unknown as to why, but supposedly more information will be released later this week. In my heart of hearts, I want it to be because they’re changing it back into a night race… but I doubt it. All I can do is keep an eye out for the new registration date. Happy Pi Day or whatever.

Week in review!

Sunday | ran 9.21 miles outside in 1:35
And I was exhausted afterward. No idea why. Low level cold, maybe? I did plow my way through several sneezing fits.

Monday | walked 2.12 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.28 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.22 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.01 miles outside in 55 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
I was frickin’ FREEZING during my walk. Whatever happened to March coming in like a lamb?

Friday | ran 5.3 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest
Running around DC with my girl Moon! Why? For her bachelorette party, of course! We went to Kramer Books and had dinner at a pretty sweet restaurant complete with a champagne toast and awww, remember when Moon and I used to blog together? Good times, good times.

My bestie!


Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Freaks Out About Race Morning Alarms

I skirted the edge of an honest-to-God panic attack the night before the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

Not because I was nervous about my performance. Not because I was missing any part of my gear. Not because I was sick or injured.

I was terrified of sleeping through my alarm.

To review: I had three alarms set on my phone. I also set up a wake-up call. But then I worried about sleep-answering it and/or sleeping turning off all the alarms. So I set ANOTHER alarm. Then I tried to add a second wake-up call, but as it turns out the automated system won’t let you do that.

I was alone in the room, and there’s no one unrelated to your race you can reasonably ask to give you a call at 3am to make sure you’re awake. Out of options, I started to get the shakes. My mind was racing. What if I missed the race??? It was Daylight Savings Time clock change night – what if my phone failed to update? What if the wakeup call system failed to update?? I flew ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE and I LOVE these races and what if I slept through all my alarms and missed it and wasted all that money and didn’t get to run and and and????

You may recognize all this as Totally Unreasonable Behavior. I know this. But ever since I very nearly slept through the Marine Corps Marathon I’ve been hyper-paranoid about the possibility. It’s bad enough under normal circumstances, when I have Pat or a friend around to sync alarms with and make sure I’m up, but when I fly solo I get really nervous. In this one particular case, heart-poundingly nervous.

I managed to calm myself down enough to get a couple hours sleep and ultimately woke up with my alarm no problem, but I do wonder: does anyone else have this crippling fear? How to you handle it? What extra insurance do you put in place to ensure you get up on time? And does anyone want to be my race morning text message buddy?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


I am intoxicated.

I am drunk with power.

I am an Annual Passholder.



Look upon my Wine & Dine Half Marathon Photo Dump and despair!!!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/17

Oh, week in review, why must you remind me that just last week I was in Walt Disney World? Getting hit by a wave of premature nostalgia in three… two…

Sunday | Wine & Dine Half Marathon; walked around WDW
My phone seems to think I walked a good 11+ plus miles in addition to the race, but I am inclined to consider it an unreliable narrator.

Monday | walked around WDW
According to the phone: 10.7 miles walked. I had planned to run around Hourglass Lake that morning for the fun of it, but I was way too tired to even consider such craziness.

Tuesday | walked 2.29 miles outside in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Wednesday | rest
I was going to run, but I was experiencing some residual soreness and elected to skip it. It goes against the grain, but I want to try this new thing where I don’t injure myself over the winter. So far so good; we’ll see how it goes.

Thursday | walked 2.28 miles in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.24 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes
First training run since before MCM. It was weird.

Saturday | rest

And now we are once more unto the breach, dear friends: training begins anew for the WDW Marathon. Challenge: don’t get hurt and don’t get bored.

Look, you keep morale up your way and I’ll do my way.

Roundup time!

It’s A Marathon AND A Sprint offers advice on having your Best Race Ever.
Just Me & My Running Shoes provides a gift list for your runner buddies. Anyone want to get me a GPS watch with a battery that doesn’t blow?
Fairytales & Fitness ran the Wine & Dine Half too!
Disney In Your Day points out the importance of having a Disney Visa. Way ahead of you, sister.
An Open Suitcase proves that spontaneous magic really does live in WDW.
Davelandblog rustles up a nifty vintage image of the Tom Sawyer Island map.
EPBOT offers a retrospective of Dapper Day at Epcot.
The Disney Hipsters turn their focus to the super adorable restroom signs of Splash Mountain.
The Disney Tourist Blog has thoughts on the Studios’ new Christmas show.
Through Heather’s Looking Glass documents a little girl’s first trip to WDW.

P.S. Happy birthday, Mom!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: The Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2016

Trip report time! I’ll be covering my November 2016 trip. You can read all posts in the trip report here. Onward!

Despite my near panic attack the night before, I woke up exactly with my phone wake-up call. But: NEW PANIC ATTACK. Due to the time change, my bedside clock read 4am, the exact time the buses to the start STOP RUNNING. Okay, no worries – the clock needed changing. I could deal with that. What I could NOT deal with was the fact that my phone said 4am too.

Naturally I freaked out, because as a rule I have found phones to take care of themselves where time changes are concerned. Perilously close to a true tailspin of fear, I did the only thing I could do to quiet my mind: call the front desk. I asked the CM who answered for the time, he was like: Uh, it’s 3:09? I turned my phone off and on and lo and behold, it said 3:09am too. And just like that, the day was saved.

Now decidedly less shaky, I was able to prep for the race with a light heart. I hit the bus line just after 3:30am and arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports just before 4.

There wasn’t a ton to do – I made my obligatory bathroom break and then milled around a little. I took up an early position outside of corral D and filed in as soon as I was permitted to take a prime seat at the front. I passed the time by watching some sort of television spot being recorded in corral C.

It was just after 5am when I had a terrible feeling: I needed to pee again. CURSES. I briefly considered just holding it until the end of the race before rejecting this obviously stupid idea in favor of the pragmatic but annoying reality that I needed to give up my front-of-corral position and hit a port-a-potty. The corrals were right next to the start area for this race, so the only option was to go back from whence I came.

Naturally at this late hour it took foreeeeever to power through a bathroom line. Corral A was being sent off as I finished, and as I power-walked back to the corral area I stripped my top layer and affixed my earphones so as to shave off as much prep time as possible. I assumed by that point my corral must’ve moved up, but as I requested entry from a volunteer he told me I was ahead of my group. Rather than send me back, however, this beautiful man let me wait around a minute for corral D to move forward one spot before letting me in. Good sir, I salute you.

Two corrals later and we were off! Being only one week removed from running a full marathon, I wasn’t sure how the race would go, really. Upon starting I found my legs were not what I would call fresh, but they were willing. I plodded along at a steady pace that was nonetheless faster on average than my MCM pace. >.<

Nothing remarkable marked the first few miles of this race. Entering Animal Kingdom and subsequently running through it is of course a major highlight. They had the Tree of Life Awakenings lights going but no animals out that I saw.

Most of the lines for characters were pretty long, but I of course HAD to stop for the Festival of the Lion King stiltwalkers. They were very gracious about my crazed yelling over how much I love their show.

By that point I was out of DAK and running along a rather unremarkable road; this verisimilitude was broken only briefly by a photo op with Meeko, who I haven’t seen much in the parks so I figured what the hell. Then more roads, during which it finally dawned on me: oh, right, the Studios isn’t part of the course during construction. That’s why you’re not there yet!

Now for the high point of my race! I was running toward a turn when I saw a Launchpad McQuack character stop. Should I get a picture? I mused. Pat’s a Ducktales fan, but there’s a line, so…



I have been trying to get a photo with Darkwing Duck for so long. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.

Riding my Darkwing high, I stopped for a quick picture with Lilo and Stitch.

Then I took off down the road. And guys, I mean took off. The minor fatigue of earlier somehow faded away. Check these split times:

Clearly I meandered through the first half and more before BEASTING the last few miles. My GPS watch clocked mile 13 at 8:54, which is insane for me under the best of circumstances let alone in the final mile of a half I did not taper properly for. And I DON’T KNOW WHY. The magic of Disney? General delirium? One question remains: WHERE WAS THIS DURING THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON, BODY??????

Anyway, I blasted through the final mile or so before sprinting under the finish with a time of 2:15:22, anywhere from 5 to 10 to even 15 minutes faster than I would’ve expected in a post-marathon context. And that’s with a full four character stops, probably costing me a solid three minutes at least. Hell, during my first W&D Half, I had an extra week of recovery time and came in about five minutes slower. I was pretty thrilled.


Next up: day two in the parks. Let’s get exhausted!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Makes A List Of WDW To-Do’s


Tomorrow morning I land in Orlando and my long weekend in Walt Disney World begins! I’m not sure how well the Wine & Dine Half Marathon can be expected to go, but I haven’t run at ALL this week so hopefully my muscles have bounced back? A bit? Maybe?

When I initially realized I’d be making this trip alone, I was a touch bummed. For like a hot second. And then I realized all the awesome things I could do over my trip:

Yeah. I think I’m gonna be okay.

I’ll be tweeting all trip, and if you see me, feel free to say hi!

Will you be at WDW for the race this weekend?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Narrows Down Her 2017 runDisney Race Selection

I think I’ve done it, guys. I think I’ve narrowed down my 2017 runDisney list to two. It’s either gonna be: the Star Wars Half  – Dark Side or the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again. (Click here to get a handle on how I arrived at these finalists.) Let’s play pros and cons!



  • I’ve never done it before, which is fun
  • Coincides with Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival, which I haven’t attended in a long time
  • Breaks up the year in WDW trips
  • Parks will NOT have Christmas decor, which is a change of pace


  • I’ve never done it before and might not like it
  • April might be kinda hot
  • I don’t actually care about Star Wars all that much
  • It means I can’t really afford to do the Wine & Dine
  • I miss the Food & Wine Festival
  • No Christmas decorations, even if I have seen ’em a million times
(Just pretend it shows next year’s dates.)



  • I’ve done it before and liked it
  • Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is awesome
  • After Party and gift card are nice perks
  • Magic Kingdom will be all Christmas’d up!
  • Potential for cooler weather


  • I’ve already done it; maybe it’s time to expand my horizons?
  • I won’t be able to try the new, morning race/evening after party format before committing
  • I miss the Flower & Garden Festival, which I haven’t seen in a long time
  • I’ve seen the Magic Kingdom in its early November Christmas decor a LOT
  • If I do the 2018 WDW Marathon, I’m not spreading out my trips
  • It means I can’t really afford to do the Star Wars Half

The courses, while slightly different, mostly go through the same parks, and challenges (should I select to add a 10K) are available to both, although I believe Wine & Dine’s races are more expensive. In a perfect world I would have the opportunity to try out Wine & Dine’s new schedule before deciding, but as Star Wars registration opens up early next month I don’t have the luxury. I’ve got some thinking to do.

Which do you think I should choose? Will you be at either race weekend?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!