Having just registered for the 2014 Wine and Dine half marathon I wanted to look back on my first ever
half marathon, the 2013 Wine and Dine. I could not have enjoyed the 2013 Wine and Dine any more than I did. Such a fun atmosphere and what a course!!! So what I want to do in this post is give you a brief overview of the training I did last year so people know that anyone can train for a half marathon and then give a detailed description of my run through Disney World.
For a quick summary of my training I had never tried running as an activity outside of the gym until February of 2013. For months I ran a 1-3 miles a day at a pretty good pace (under 9:00 per mile). After about 2 months I wanted to try to start running 5 miles and did for a while and then thought you know what I want one of those cool medals and more importantly I want to put a 13.1 sticker on my car so I registered Victoria and I for the 2013 Wine and Dine half marathon. This was just the motivation I needed to push through the hot Florida summer months and not give up on running. I had never run longer than 5 miles until September 2013 and I slowly built up some stamina leading up to race day. The longest I had run pre race was 9 miles, about 3 weeks before the race at a 10:23 per mile pace. I felt confident that I could finish the race but not so confident that I would be happy with my time, so I set my goal for the half marathon at two and a half hours.
Hours leading up to the race:
We decided to go to Disney World for the weekend for the Saturday night race and arrived friday afternoon. We thought we would head over to Epcot and test our luck at getting a table over at Tutto Italia. Being only two of us we got a table right away had a great carbo-load dinner, watched Illuminations, and took advantage of extra magic hours and rode a few rides to make sure we would sleep in late the next day so we would be fresh for the late start the next night. Finally we woke up and it was race day! We shot on over to ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up our race day packets and buy some compression sleeves for our calves. The expo was amazing, so many cool booths to see and seeing how many people were going to be racing up close finally made it real for me. After buying a few souvenirs we decided to go play mini golf over at the Fantasia Gardens to calm Victoria’s building nerves. I was much more calm and really wanted to go to the parks, but Victoria was on the other end of the spectrum and
made me take it easy for the day. We finished our round at The Fairways Course around 3 pm (side note: we play this course literally every time we visit) and we decided to head over to Downtown Disney and grab something light to eat. Grabbing a late light lunch was always our plan but we never thought about how hard getting a table anywhere would be at 430 on a Saturday afternoon in November. We bounced around from place to place and finally stumbled upon the Lava Lounge at Rainforest Cafe. It is a hidden gem in Downtown Disney for sure, the food was the same as what is in Rainforest Cafe, but we had seats right on the water and got the perfect pre race fuel. We went back to the room for a few hours to relax and then drove out to Epcot to catch a bus to the starting line around 7:30. We arrived at ESPN Wide World of Sports about 2 hours before the race and the nerves started to build like crazy. Those were the longest two hours I’ve ever had at Disney World and I realized that my corral was the very last one, so I thought I would be stuck weaving in and out of people all night. The atmosphere for the pre-race party was amazing, but I am looking forward to 2014 so I can take the time to enjoy it this time around. Finally it was time for me and Victoria to separate into our corrals, and boom the fireworks went off for corral A to begin the race. I waited nearly an hour for my turn to start and listened to the announcements of where the leader was at, by the time I got to the start line he was getting in Hollywood Studios and could smell the Wine and Dine festival ahead. Finally the wait was over!
The fireworks shot off into the air and I took off sprinting to the side so I could work my way to the front
of my corral. Before I ever turned down Osceola pkwy I was past the pack and working my way in to the corral ahead of me and my nerves were immediately calmed as I ran my first mile in 8 minutes flat. I thought I would continue to ride my adrenaline burst down Osceola until I arrived at Animal Kingdom hitting my 5k mark in under 27 minutes. I was well ahead of what I had expected myself to do and thought I would just soak in Animal Kingdom and worry about being tired later. Running in to my first park during a runDisney event was an amazing experience we ran through the front gates and up towards the tree of life before veering left toward Camp Minnie Mickey and Africa. Right before arriving at Africa we took the long trail towards Asia and ran our way toward the coolest part of running though Animal Kingdom and that’s Expedition Everest. You could hear the Yeti off in the distance and I slowed down for the first time in the race to walk and soak it in. After a very brief rest I took off sprinting again through Dinoland and right out of the back Cast Member parking lot where I had finally caught up to Victoria. We ran with each other for a moment and talked about how cool running through Animal Kingdom was and then I took off trying to beat my desired time. Running back down Osceola was a breeze as lanes started to open up and I wasn’t having to weave in and out of walkers quite as much as in the parks. I got to my 10k in under 57 minutes and was way ahead of my goal. We made out way over the overpass and on to the on ramp for World Dr, the ramp was one of the toughest parts of the course running on the banked asphalt but Sarge and company from Toy Story were there to help me push towards Hollywood Studios. Finally I had made it to what I thought would be the easy part, running through the parks. As I entered Hollywood Studios in the shadows of Tower of Terror I took out my phone and tried (and failed) to take a few pictures of Tower of Terror over my should as I ran down
Sunset blvd. For some reason as I ran down Sunset I could almost taste the Canadian Cheddar soup waiting for me at the finish line. But as I turned down through the backlot tour something awful happened between mile 10 and 11…CRAMPS in my calves. I slowed down my pace considerably for a minute and let the discomfort go away and then off I went to Streets of America to enjoy the Osbourne Dancing Lights (with no huge crowds to fight through!). I began my exit towards the long narrow “trail of doom” to get to the Boardwalk and head to the finish. This was the toughest part of the trail by far for me because of the amount of runners trying to all run on a two person wide sidewalk! There were however some really awesome spectators with signs cheering everyone on and to push through the fatigue. My frustration trying to fight through the crowd turned into me realizing just how exhausted I was as I made my way past mile 11 to mile 12. My pace dropped and the walking began to pick up drastically as I approached the Boardwalk. Finally I made it to mile 12 by the Beach Club and thought ok 1 more mile to go! I need to finish strong!!! So I took off into a sprint in what was easily the longest mile of all time, I mean seriously I’m pretty sure the distance between mile 12 and the finish was more like literally running from an Atlantic City boardwalk to Epcot. I made it about .2
miles before hitting a wall and walking again. Then I saw a group of women dressed as fairies a while back pass me and it was off to the races again, fatigue be damned I’m not falling behind the fairies! Well as I made my way past Spaceship Earth the worst cramp I’ve ever had in my life grabbed not just my calves but both legs from the thigh down, could an extra few miles really be that fatiguing? After taking about 15 seconds to let my legs relax I pushed through the green laser lights with Rocky blaring and the cramps were warning me they would be back but I did not care, I could see the finish! As I approached the finish the announcer yelled here comes Kyle Newton from Tampa, Florida down the finish and I threw my hands up as I saw my time…two hours and 17 minutes and that was with a half mile of extra weaving in and out of traffic (according to my runNike app). As I crossed the biggest smile of my life passed over me as I was handed my medal! I felt so accomplished and couldn’t believe the time I had made.
I quickly made my way over to grab a food box and as many waters as could fit in my pockets. Once
Victoria was finished we made our way in to the party and grabbed a few bites to eat but decided to call it a night early, at 3:30 am instead of 4, since we had to check out by 11 that morning. The next morning we woke up feeling better than we ever thought we would and decided to head to Magic Kingdom and both of us decided to wear our Wine & Dine Half Marathon shirts (my favorite shirt still months later) and we both decided there was no way we were taking off our medals for any reason.First thing was first though before we could go to the parks I had to do one thing, put my 13.1 sticker on my truck! (I think I took more joy in this than anything else) All day we got congratulations and talked with other runners about our experiences, it was one of the best days at the Magic Kingdom we’ve ever had. As soon as we got home I couldn’t help but think about 2014 and wanting to do it again. Pre-Registration for Annual Passholders opened at 12pm on February 26th and we were completely done with registration by 12:06pm. See you November 8th!!!
By: Kyle Newton
Please share your runDisney experiences with us in the comments section or if you have any questions about running in a runDisney event let us know! Thanks for reading and remember “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
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