Hey everyone! Have you ever considered running a half marathon, registered for it out of sheer excitement, and then realize “Oh crap. I can’t even run a mile.” Well if you have ever done that, then that makes 2 of us. And that’s the beginning of my runDisney 2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Review.
The day I registered was May 3rd, 2013. (I looked up the date in my email so all of my readers can be assured of my accuracy of this entire story.) I had run/walked, as in mostly walked, a 5k a month earlier so obviously I thought, “Well surely if I can walk 3 miles I might as well go run 13.” So in all seriousness, May was a great month of training for me! I was running about 3 times a week and really getting into my runs. I made it up to 4 miles so I was convinced I would be completely ready for this race come November. Well then the Tampa summer heat and humidity took over and I lost all motivation for running outside. I started treadmill running to keep up endurance, but as a beginner I was unaware of the fact that running on a treadmill is EXTREMELY easier than running outside. I saw my pace and mileage going up so much on the treadmill again I was sure I was going to not only finish my first half marathon, but get a really good time!
Fast forward through the summer, we went on vacation in July, and Kyle and I moved in August, so we were very busy and I made A LOT of excuses, so I barely ran at all. (Maybe 2 or 3 times) September rolls around and the weather was finally nice down here in Tampa, FL, and I was back into my school routine and finally was (kind of) getting back into my running. So I was trying my best to run more miles, but as we discussed earlier, my treadmill training did basically nothing, so I could only make it like 1.5-2.5 miles. So that was pretty discouraging considering at that point all my thoughts of me finishing this race were gone.
It’s now October in this story and I had one month before I was lacing up to run this race that had now turned into my living hell thinking about it. I spent all this money to torture myself and I could not comprehend why I or anyone else would EVER do this to themselves. But I digress. In October my training took a backseat to more important things such as finding me and Kyle perfect outfits and accessories to wear to the race. It was all that kept me going was knowing I was getting a new pair of Nike shoes, tights, and a jacket. So it’s the last week of training and we were racing in 6 days. The farthest I had ever run was 6.5 miles. I tried to psych myself up by saying “Okay adrenaline will take over I can do this.” This is when I learned about the “sweepers”.
Learning of these so called “sweepers” was what I imagine being the equivalent of learning about the devil as a child. If you don’t know, “sweepers” are people that walk behind the runners in runDisney races and if your pace falls below 16 minute miles, they pick you up and basically disqualify you from finishing the race. Well when I learned this could happen, I then had no doubt in my mind I was going to get picked up by them, feel humiliated, and spend all that money and not even get a medal. It was awful.
Race weekend was upon us. Kyle and I checked into our hotel on Friday afternoon and head over to Epcot to “carb load” and eat at Tutto Italia. I have a gluten allergy, but Tutto Italia had gluten free pasta that was AMAZING! We did have 2 glasses of wine with dinner to calm my nerves, because I was not even allowing myself to have any fun due to my extreme anxiety about what was happening the next day. Poor Kyle! He was so excited and wanted to have fun and enjoy this whole experience and I was not having any of that. So we hung around Epcot that night and just tried to have fun and then went back to our room to get some sleep.
RACE DAY! Waking up the next morning made me so much more anxious. Everything became a HUGE deal. What is for breakfast? It needs to be the perfect meal so I don’t get sick, too full, over eat, or under eat. Again, POOR KYLE! I still feel so bad about how annoying I was this whole trip! So we walked around Downtown Disney for a little while and got breakfast and then back again for lunch there. We went back to our room to nap and try to calm me down and before we knew it, we were getting dressed and heading to Epcot to take the bus to the starting line at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
I couldn’t believe that after registering for this race and setting this goal 6 months before it was finally time to go out and try to do this! I was in a different corral then Kyle which I did not like because I needed him telling me every 5 seconds that I was gonna be fine! I really thought in my head there was a possibility I might fall over and die of anxiety before or at some point during this race. But being at the Wide World of Sports really took away my nerves and got my adrenaline pumping. Seeing all the other people running around you, feeling their energy, and listening to the music and people had my nerves calming so fast. One thing that really sticks out in my memory of the pre-race event was that one couple that was running together got engaged up on the big screen! So I loved that! After about 15 pee stops due to my crazy nerves, we separated into our corrals and within minutes the fireworks were starting along with the race!
The running had started. The first three miles were really easy for me. The weather was perfect for a run that night, we literally could not have gotten any better weather, so that rocked. Kyle who was in a corral behind me had passed me at about mile 5 so that was kind of a bummer, but it did make me run a little faster for a while because I was trying to catch up to him! I really was feeling good and thought that I was actually gonna do this, then I hit mile 8. Hitting mile 8 I would compare to childbirth, except I haven’t given birth, and I was too far in to quit at that point so I had no choice but to continue on this hell I had put upon myself. They handed out these “energy gels” with all these different flavors so I thought maybe one of these magic gels would propel me to the finish line. Well, in short, no. They were awful. No offense to anyone who likes them, maybe I made a bad choice in the mocha flavor, but that little thing really made me feel like I was going to vomit. Luckily running after mile 8 we were running through Hollywood Studios, down The Boardwalk, and finally in Epcot. Thank God for my stubbornness and being so competitive because when I ran through those areas there were a lot of people watching and I didn’t want them to make fun of me for quitting, so I continued moving my body, not knowing how it was happening. I swear! I really do not know how my body was moving by mile 12. I could not feel anything under my waist so it must have been muscle memory or something but I knew if I stopped moving there was no way I was ever going to
be able to start again. I do remember taking out my headphones at mile 12 because I wanted to soak it all in. I also need to preface this by saying, I’m not a crier, it just takes a lot to make me cry. Well at around 12.5 the reality of actually finishing hit me and I had the hugest lump in my throat until the finish line where they would put my medal on my neck and I broke down and cried! I felt like a baby for a second, and then I thought, “Wait, I’m a total beast for just FINISHING a half marathon!! I DID IT!” and then I didn’t care that I was crying. I knew those tears were some of the happiest tears I ever had. Knowing I set this insanely crazy goal for myself and all the nerves, and anxiety and everything meant nothing. All that mattered was that I ran to find Kyle where we stood hugging, kissing, and staring at our medals.
I swear if there is anything you take from this silly, dramatic, but all TRUE post, take this. My half marathon experience is indescribable when I’m looking back. I LOVE that my first race was a runDisney race and I would NEVER EVER have it any other way. Disney is for dreamers and runDisney is no different. “If you can dream it, you can do it”, Walt Disney said that, and I know that after all my dramatics in this post you are going to think I’m crazy, but my next dream is to beat last years finishing time!
So yes, I registered and will be running Wine and Dine Half Marathon for the 2nd time in 2014! This year I know that with some better training techniques, I cannot wait to run again and really think everyone needs to know, if you put your mind to something and just push yourself harder than you ever thought you could, you can accomplish something awesome! (Go follow Jeff Galloway too! He knows what he’s talking about!) Once you do one half, I promise you will be hooked too! Thanks for reading my review everyone!
Written By: Victoria Kinmonth
Follow us on Twitter: @thewdwblog