I ran/walked for 13.1 straight miles through the parks of Disney with 11,599 other mental patients like myself and finished before 1783 poor souls. We started at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, curved through Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and ended at Epcot. All in the dark of night. The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon is truly unlike any other race I've ever experienced. And I haven't run many other races, but I sure as hell have watched a lot. I'm here to tell you, though, that running one is very different than watching one.
Post-race at Epcot
I've been told by some people that running a marathon (full or half) is like childbirth - it's long, hard, and painful, but incredibly worth it in the end.
Whoever said this must have been a man.
Yes, it was very long, hard, and painful, but not nearly as hard as childbirth. And yes, it was incredibly worth it, but not nearly as worth it as childbirth. So while I can see the similarities, I think it must be stressed that they are not even on the same level.
That being said, I really wonder how I would feel about it if I hadn't been sick. My head
Pre-race during the waiting game
The overall experience was interesting. Disney races don't seem to be made for those who are worried about their time. The course gets a bit congested at times, especially when you're back with the run/walkers like me. I found groups of run/walkers to be the most frustrating part. There would be a wall of 6 people jogging along in front of me, then someone's watch would beep to signal that it was time for them to walk and all 6 of them would just stop. And I would inevitably have to stumble a bit, say excuse me, and then try to continue with my pace.
Then there was the waiting. Ohhhh the waiting. Wait to get on the bus to get transported to the starting line. Then wait to get into the corrals. Then wait in the corral to start moving. Then wait to get to the starting line. Disney did a great job of working the logistics to get thousands of people where they needed to be, but you definitely have to be prepared for lots of waiting!
The overall atmosphere is centered around fun, though, and I wasn't really focused on time. I just wanted to finish. And the "fun" atmosphere helped me accomplish it. There were lights and music and plenty of Disney characters around for people to stop for photo opps if they wanted. Really, truly, a fun place.
Running through Hollywood Studios. Brian stopped to grab a picture. So pretty!
While the "fun" helped, I really wouldn't have been able to finish without my hubby. When I ran by him just past he starting line and heard him cheering for me, the moment felt very surreal. I've watched him in so.many.races, and now the tables were turned. It felt odd, but good. Brian wanted to run a chunk of the race with me, but was only able to be there for about 3 miles (even though he ran a total of about 16 miles during the process of getting out to me and back to the finish line - that's love, folks). It's a very closed course and they make it next to impossible for spectators to watch the runners anywhere but the starting and finish lines, which is frustrating. But Brian was able to figure out a way to meet me and mile 8 and stayed with me for the next 3 miles. He pushed me through and supported me when I started to doubt myself. I'm forever grateful to him for being my rock - not only in this race and my journey toward it, but in life itself.
Post-race. Love him.
I'm very proud of myself for doing it. For having the courage to try it, the dedication to train for it, and the endurance to finish it. Not everyone can say that they've finished a half marathon, and I'm proud to be one of the people that can.
How I spent most of my Sunday ... ice, ice, ICE!