So, in trying to post a recap almost a year later (although in all fairness, I didn’t have a blog to post it on earlier) and to help get me inspired after a discouraging training week (this week isn’t starting off much better), here’s the recap for the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
First, some background information. There is a running/walking/biking path that goes along the Cross Island Parkway “near” my apartment, and even more near my parents house. My father would always run/walk this path every weekend. He’s a bit of a girl sometimes in that he complains that he’s fat when he clearly isn’t lol. When training for the Princess Half Marathon, I went for a run along this path with my dad. I was supposed to do 4 miles that day. He insisted he was incapable of running more that 1, 1.5 tops. So, I tell him, that we’ll take it slow, we’ll go at his pace, and we’ll see how he feels. He runs a mile. He runs a mile and a half. He gets to 2 miles and he’s says “OK, I’ll start walking and meet up with you when you turn around and run back.” To which I responded, “well, how are you feeling? Are you tired? Because if you’re not tired, you can keep running. Don’t give up yet just because you THINK you can’t run this far.” And so, my dad kept running. He was struggling by the end, but my dad didn’t give up and he ran all 4 miles with me that day.
Fast forward to me completing the Princess Half Marathon. I’m addicted now and want to do another one. I’m looking to do another one, and the Wine and Dine seems awesome. The course is great, I’m a night person, and it’s over a holiday weekend so Doug can kinda come with me. I want to run with someone. I want to run with my dad. I
think know he can do it. And, after much convincing, my dad (crazily according to him) says lets go for it.
We begin training. Now, due to scheduling and life and whatever, my training does not go as well as I would have liked. I only do 8 miles as a long run before heading down to Florida. My dad on the other hand, does awesome, and hits double digits a few times. I have nightmares of slowing my dad down. We only get to do one training run together, and that was only because of Hurricane Sandy. I had an entire week off of work (my office building wouldn’t be workable for a few weeks) and was bored out of my mind, my dad’s schedule allowed for a mid week-mid day run and so we did it. Due to the storm, our Cross Island Parkway path was closed off and so we ran through Fort Totten. I had lived in the area for 30 years and never once really been inside there. There are A LOT of hills. It was a tough run. But my dad and I did it. At the end of the run, I had said I was sorry we didn’t get to do more runs together, but the most important run we’ll do together is next week. My dad said, “no, the most important run was that first one we did together.” Awwww
OK, enough background, now to the fun part, the trip to WDW! After Sandy, I was debating my trip, but my father had worked too hard and I decided to run to raise money for my beloved NY. My dad and mom flew down on the Thursday before the race. I, sitting in a conference room in our Long Island office was sent numerous picture of the Magic Kingdom on Friday. Thanks Dad! Anyway, Doug and I flew down that Friday night.
We check into our awesome hotel, thanks to Dad’s Disney employee discount. I think Doug is now spoiled after staying here. Gonna have to sell some organs so we can stay somewhere besides the All-Star Resorts now! We arrived late, and wandered around. Since it was nighttime the animals were pretty much asleep.
Saturday was race day. It was unusual doing things in the day and THEN racing at night. We had breakfast at the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort, were Tonga Toast is a traditional classic, but they had something new this year, The Somoan, and it was phenomenal! Yum! And then off to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts and stuff!
After the expo, Doug and I were off to Downtown Disney to get our ears for the park. We weren’t going to the parks until Monday, but I was dressing as Minnie for the race, so I needed them tonight. My dad was gonna wear a Goofy hat since he was “Goofy for doing this.”
We finally got back to the room somewhere between 2-3 and I was SUPPOSED to take a nap to rest up for the race that night before dinner, but I couldn’t sleep. I can never sleep. Especially when I got this outside my room…
So instead of sleeping, I sat on our balcony and watch the giraffes and zebras and the other animals eat and walk around. This was not helping my nerves for a race I was already worried about.
We ate dinner early and the buffet in the hotel. I tried to show restraint with my food choices since I would be running in a few hours. Buffet before a 1/2 marathon is just not fair. Anyway, 8 rolled around, we were all set and ready to get onto our bus to get there!
The plan was simple. I would run at whatever pace my dad set. He wasn’t planning on stopping for any reason. I, having not yet mastered the ability to run and drink water from the cups, would run ahead at the water stops, walk while I drank, and then catch up with him. His Goofy hat came in VERY handy for spotting him in the crowd.
The first stretch of the run was highway…and with some hill. We got to the Animal Kingdom parking lot there was a couple of floats from the Main Street Electrical parade, including music! I wanted a picture of them so bad, but my camera sucks, so I stole a pic! OK, I was given a pic…
We were in the Animal Kingdom and I was so psyched. I had never been to the Animal Kingdom after dark, so it was pretty cool to get to see it that way. After the Animal Kingdom, it was another long stretch of highway until we got to
MGM Hollywood Studios. Right outside we hit mile 8. This is where I was getting nervous. I hadn’t run further than this since February. But I wasn’t going to let my dad down, and honestly, his pace was pretty easy that I was feeling physically good. Plus outside the studios was a girl holding a sign that said “Keep Going, Keep Going – That’s what she said!” I say that all the time, so that sign was meant for me! I just couldn’t get my camera out in time.
Running through the Studios was pretty cool. We ran down back areas I had never been, plus the Osbourne Lights were amazing! I had never been down here while they were up. (When we were in the park, not running, the lights, plus the music, plus the “snow” – it was hard to not feel like Christmas”)
As we exited the Studios, my dad and I were extra excited because we discovered something we never knew existed! A path that takes you from the Studios to the Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Club area. Granted, this path got rather tight at times making it difficult to run through, but hey, for people who have been going to Disney for almost 3 decades, finding something new is awesome! So we ran this never known to us path, and it took us to one of my favorite areas in the WDW area. I love these hotels. It’s just so pretty, the whole around the lake and with the lights. But I digress.
We ran around the hotel, and even though it was late at night, there were still lots of people outside cheering us on. My dad (still not having taken a single walking break) was in good spirits as he renamed the hill before the entrance to Epcot the Hill of Doom! No, the hill isn’t particularly large, just seems that way after 12 miles.
We enter Epcot, we’re almost there! There are tons of people in the park cheering us on…OK, a large number of them are people who have already FINISHED the race, but it’s great that they’re cheering on us slow folks! As we exited Epcot, I kept telling my dad, we’re almost there, we’re almost there, it’s just around the corner. To which he yelled at me “You’ve been saying that for a mile! I’m not listening to you!” I hadn’t been saying that for a mile and he was still listening to me For added motivation, there was a lady behind us who was encouraging my dad with “Come on! I’ve been following you and your Goofy hat for the last 2 miles! You can do this!” I really so love the togetherness and support of a Disney race.
The finish line was in sight. And we crossed! Yay! After crossing the finish line my dad FINALLY walked. I was and am soooooo proud of him! He never stopped running. He never gave up. So at age 60 (he just turned it in October) my dad RAN his first half marathon! He says it’s his only half…but I know I have him thinking of doing another
I actually felt pretty good after the race. Endurance-wise I could have kept running. My knee on the other hand, probably not. We didn’t get to enjoy much of the after party. We were tired. So, after we went on Soarin’ we decided to call it a night. It was already WAY past Doug’s bedtime. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. I LOVED this race! The course, the timing, the everything!
The rest of the trip I’ll sum up real quick, since yet again, my recap dragged on and on and wasn’t much of a recap really.
Day after the race, woke up, hung around on the balcony watching animals while waiting for Doug to wake up (the way he slept, you would have thought HE ran 13.1 miles). Anyway, we got to lounge by the pool for a little bit (yes I wore my medal to the pool, I wore that thing everywhere) which included some therapeutic hot tub time. After the pool we headed over to the Yacht Club to go to the steakhouse there. Me and steak have a thing and this seemed like an awesome reward. I wore my medal there too. My dad didn’t so he got a little jealous when everyone kept saying congrats to me. I would tell them my dad did it too and their congrats got even more enthusiastic.
The next day we did 3 parks in one day. Started off in the Animal Kingdom, out of there by 10:30 (I know how to work my parks). Then off to Epcot to enjoy the Food and Wine festival which I have never gone to. Doug and I ate (and drank) our way around the countries…and another trip to Soarin’ too. Slightly disappointing was the American pavilion being out of the Sam Adams Chocolate beer when we got there But, while in Epcot at the Land pavilion I got to see Jennifer and Danielle! OK, when I say I got to see them, I mean it very literally. They walked by me. I was just too embarrassed to talk to them. What was I supposed to say? Oh well.
We ended in
MGM Hollywood Studios, with more lights, Fantasmic (love that show) and rides. A long but enjoyable park-filled day.
Tuesday was filled with mini-golf, the Bailey’s shake from the Irish Pub at Downtown Disney and sadly our flight back to NY. My trips to WDW are never long enough.
The moral of this (long) story? You are never too old to start running and there is no such thing as “can’t.” My dad proved that. Hence, my dad is a rock star