Months ago a friend of mine talked me into signing up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half while we were at his daughter’s birthday party. Long story short my friend ended up injured and then sick so I was in it alone. I was partially relieved to be on my own but terrified at the same time. There wasn’t much I could do about it so I just decided to make the best of it.
Wes and I dropped Nathaniel off with my in-laws around 9AM Saturday morning and headed north to Disney.
After a couple of hours and a pit stop we made it to the expo just after noon.
We didn’t stay too long at the expo before heading out to grab some lunch. I wanted something that would hold me through dinner but that wasn’t too heavy. Well, Orlando traffic was driving me crazy and my stomach was growling. I finally gave up and went to the nearest place for food, Fuddrucker. Probably not the smartest choice but I was so hungry I didn’t care. It was delicious.
The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful and we just watched some tv at the hotel room and then ran out to get Wes ice cream. I knew ice cream would be a bad idea for me so I resisted.
Around 6 I started getting ready. I took a shower just to relax and the figured out what I was going to wear. I was really tempted to wear a new running skirt I had bought, but having never run in it before I talked myself out of it. (P.S. Great idea because I have since run in it and hate it.) I settled on my Aspaeris Pivot Shorts with a pink tank top, Zensah compression socks and my new Sweaty Band I picked up at the expo that morning. I also set up my new ifitness belt with my inhaler, phone and shot blocks.
Apparently I didn’t read the race info correctly and didn’t realize that Wes could have come with me to the start and then been bused back to Epcot. Oops. I only realized this as I boarded the bus to the start line and he was already driving away. Oh well. Time to board the bus.
I spent from about 7PM until the start of the race (first corral started at 10) by myself wandering around the start line area. There were a ton of people and I chatted with a few, but for the most part I was on my own. I brought a huge bottle of smartwater to the start line with me so I would be sure to be well hydrated. I drank almost the entire bottle and had to visit the porta potties three times before the race even started.
Finally around 9:30 they ushered everyone into their corrals. I was in Corral D and initially went in and was right at the front. After standing around for a little while there I had to jump out to pee one last time. The water was really getting to me. I knew my pace wasn’t going to be anything lightening fast and didn’t need to be at the front anyways. Best decision ever. While waiting in the line this time I was chatting with the guy in front of me. He told me he had run this race the last couple of years and as long as you made it out of Hollywood Studios you should be able to make the pacing requirement. He considered it his safe zone. I thanked him, we wished each other luck and headed back to my corral.
After a version of the National Anthem I wasn’t very crazy about the fireworks went off and it was go time. Of course being in Corral D it was about 15 minutes until we actually started, but exciting none the less. I ditched my throw away jacket when Corral A started and was immediately chilly. It was only in the 50’s but felt much colder.
When it was finally our turn I was so excited. I set up my Garmin and was ready to go. There was some weaving around people at the start because it was so busy but I pretty quickly found my groove. I was chatting with a guy around the one mile marker about our pace and he said his goal was 2:30. I said I hoped to see him at the start but unfortunately I shortly lost him and never saw him again. The first couple of miles were pretty unremarkable and on side streets around Disney.
I grabbed water at the mile 3 station and ate 2 shot bloks. I was keeping a decent pace and felt awesome. It was really cool to run through Animal Kingdom at night, although a bit smelly. I have never been to that park before and really want to go back. I know Nathaniel would love it.
When we ran through the mile 5 water station I grabbed water but quickly threw it away. I wasn’t really thirsty and just wanted to keep moving. Then it hit. I had to pee and I could not wait. I held on as long as I could and then I saw a medical tent with 4 porta potties. The volunteers were calling out which ones were available and I ran in faster than I ever have. I don’t think I lost more than 20 seconds.
My porta potty stop was also the first time I had stopped running in almost 6 miles. New personal best for me. I was absolutely loving the race and having so much fun. I grabbed some water at water station just after the 10k mat and took a minute to regroup. I also hit my inhaler for the first time. We were back on the roads and running up even the smallest hill seemed like a challenge. There was also a long lull in things to look at as we traveled the back roads of the parks. I had music with me but never turned it on. The on course entertainment was good and I just wanted to soak in the entire experience.
Around mile 8.5 the water stop also had Cliff gels and bananas. I stuck to my Shot Bloks and ate another two while grabbing two cups of water. I washed my mouth out with one cup and drank the second. Good decision.
As we entered Hollywood Studios I started noticing that my bra was rubbing my back. I tried to ignore it because I have never really had a problem with it before. The course went through Hollywood Studios and the lights were just amazing. I really wish I had taken some pics along the course but digging out my phone was just too much effort. After the distraction for the lights wore off my bra was really becoming a problem. Thankfully we hit a medical station and I was able to grab some vaseline (or whatever it was they slopped on my finger). I smeared it in the general area of where I felt the pain and it almost instantly felt better.
When I stopped for the medical station though my feet decided they were done. The pain was pretty awful and I started walking a lot more than I wanted to. My brain kept telling me that it was going to hurt regardless of if I was running or walking but I really seemed to hit a wall. We also ran across the boardwalk around this time and onto a narrower path. The wood slats of the boardwalk about killed me. It hurt so back to run on the change of surface.
From about mile 12 on it seemed that every volunteer was saying we were almost there. I know they were being helpful but if I can’t see the finish I’m not almost there. I pulled out my phone around 12.5 and sent Wes a text so he could be on the lookout.
We ran into Epcot from the back of the park and I knew we were getting close. I sucked it up and ran as much as I could through the park where there were tons of spectators. As I rounded a corner I heard Wes shout “Jenn!” I was already past him and knew I wasn’t going to stop so I just stuck my hand up to acknowledge him and moved on. As we headed out of Epcot and towards the parking lot for the finish line we crossed the 13 mile mark. I was so happy to have made it that far. Immediately after the 13 mile marker was my least favorite part of the course though. They had a green laser light show thing you had to run though. It made me feel sick to my stomach and the lights really messed with my head. I dropped my head and shuffled through the lights but it was absolutely awful.
After we rounded another corner finally the finish line was in sight. I gave it all I had and finished strong. As soon as I crossed the finish line I teared up a little and happily accepted my medal. They also gave us small snack boxes and water and moved us through the finishers area. I stopped to have my picture taken with my medal and then headed on to bag check. I called Wes and he had tried to make it to see me finish but couldn’t catch up in time. Bummer but oh well. I talked to him briefly over the fence in the finishers area and told him I was going to change and would meet him at the end.
I started walked towards the changing tents but knew if I sat down in there I probably wouldn’t get up. I decided to just keep walking and left the finishers area completely. There was an area just outside of the finisher’s area off to the side where some people were sitting. I found a spot and plopped on the ground, ripped off my shoes and called Wes to come find me. Once he did I asked for a Coke and food. He delivered with a 20oz Coke and a red velvet cupcake. I inhaled the cupcake and just sat on the ground for who knows how long. Wes snapped this lovely picture of me:
Overall I had a great race. Of course I wish it was closer to my 2:30 goal but maybe next time. I am so happy I did it and didn’t back out when my running partner canceled. The after party was a bust though and we ended up not staying. It was really crowded and I just felt really nauseous. The thought of standing in line for anything sounded like torture. We hit up McDonald’s instead and got back to the hotel somewhere around 3:30AM. I could hardly eat though and couldn’t seem to shake the nausea. I took a shower, put on a fresh set of compression gear and was out by 4.
Unfortunately I woke up around 6:30AM and could not fall back asleep. I still felt really nauseous and took a 45 minute shower, hoping it would help. After the shower I crawled back in to bed but really didn’t feel any better. I just saw there in bed messing with my phone until Wes woke up. Once I got some food in my stomach I started feeling better. I guess my sugars were just really off or something. Oh well, lesson learned. Force down food.