Nov 20, 2015

Wine & Dine 2015: The Half Half Marathon

So we left off with us walking back to the corrals after finding out the race would be cut short....

The national anthem was being sung and we were still walking to our corrals. Finally we got into our corral, corral H, our best corral seeding yet! Eventually the other corrals went out, then it was our turn. We were off for a 6ish mile course. We knew they cut out Animal Kingdom, which meant that Jack Sparrow was gone. He's usually in the parking lot when you come out of Animal Kingdom, so we knew that part of our goal was not gonna happen.

We went right from Osceola parkway to the terrible banked on ramp to Hollywood Studios. This is usually mile 8, but hitting this so early sucked, since I wasn't even warm yet. But I drank extra water and we took it pretty easy. Since the course was shortened, and I don't think everyone got a chance to get into the right corral, it was very crowded. And the part of the course that was left was the narrow part. 

There weren't many characters out on the shortened course. The Country Bears were up first, before mile 1, then some fairies (not Tink's friends, just random ones). At the on ramp there were the Toy Soldiers, which are a fave of mine. We kept running, and saw that Lilo and Stitch weren't at their meet and greet area, but they had a huge line waiting for them. Then we got to Hollywood Studios. This is what I wanted, the lights! We ran by the Tower of Terror, and decided to take a pic, since we didn't have any pics yet.

Then we headed up Hollywood Boulevard--without the hat!, and towards Pixar Place. Buzz and Woody were there, but their line was pretty long, and we had pics with them already. We headed to the backlot, and through the disco tunnel. It was all disco-y as usual, but inside the windows, where the costumes are usually being made was empty. It was just storage. A sign of things changing at Hollywood Studios, kinda made me sad.

But then we were there, the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights! It's the last year of this at Hollywood Studios, so it was great to run through them. We stopped to take pics here, we had to. Everyone was taking pics here like crazy.

Now we headed around the back of Hollywood Studios, and I mentioned to Kris, I think they don't have as many lights out as usual. I know this is a night race, but it was dark out there. I feel like in years past (even in the pouring rain last year) there were a few more lights. Sometimes as we'd run past the street lights would just turn off. Were they expecting the race to be done with by now? It kinda sucked. Thankfully, everyone stayed safe as far as I could see.

We came out of the Studios, and I took a pic of my fave mile, 11. When we passed this mile marker out first year, it was the farthest Kris and I had ever run in our lives... nostalgia factor. Now we knew then next part of the course would be extra hard with so many people jammed together. This area, getting to the Boardwalk, is always notoriously narrow, and with all extra people together, since the course didn't have time to thin out, made this a long walk section for us. No sense in fighting to run, especially when it was a weird distance anyways.

We made it through the Boardwalk and into the back of Epcot. We were almost at the end... Meanwhile, it was very weird to still feel so good at this point on the course, which is usually the part where you are just so done. Before I knew it Spaceship Earth was in front of me and the finish line was so close. They didn't have a laser tunnel to get to the finish line (don't know if they scrapped it with the lightning threat). As we hit the straightaway to the finish, Kris and I ran the whole way. It was about .25 miles, if not a little longer. (Don't think I've ever run for that long in a race without stopping.)

And with that we finished! It felt more like a big group training run than a race, but it was finished. We grabbed our medals and food and headed to the wine and beer distribution. Now this part was definitely improved from last year. It took a while to get there, but there was plenty of wine left! (Last year when we got there there was only beer left... ew)

I had my wine, I had my bag, and I was ready to after party. If I didn't get a whole race, I sure as hell was gonna get a whole after party.

As we walked into Epcot, we were able to see the last runner finishing up the race. It was awesome to see that. Then we got to the countries and decided to get some food and drinks. We ate and had some drinks, and then decided that we needed to get our character meeting on.

Gotta say they brought out some rarely seen people. First we saw Bert from Mary Poppins in England. His accent was better than Dick Van Dyke's! LOL! Then Remy and Emile from Ratatouille. Jasmine and Aladdin, Pinocchio and Gepeto, and finally, Snow White and Dopey!

Then we headed to see Mulan and Mushu in China, but it was 3:45am and they said she wasn't taking any more pictures. So we headed out of Epcot and back to the buses. It was late, and though the race didn't tire me out, the walking around and being up til 5am did. But we got to the hotel, I got another shower and passed out.

It was such a disappointment to have the first race of the season be such a let down. I don't have another half marathon on the schedule until March, but then I have one in April and another in May. And there are a few other races before then too. I had such different expectations for this race, but I guess, just like life, things change sometimes and throw you for a loop. So here's to the rest of the races I have on the books for now. It's gonna be a packed 2016!

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