26 December 2013

Wine & Dine Weekend Recap

Thanks to Clint for this amazing photo!
I was so looking forward to this race weekend, because we had decided long ago that this would be a #CorralG reunion weekend.  On top of seeing all my favorite #CorralG peeps, I'd be seeing many of my new runDisney friends AND watching my friends Christy and Courtney finish they FIRST half marathon!  It was definitely going to be a spectacular weekend.

I have to do a quick aside - this has been my favorite Disney race, and I have run it now three times.  I first found out about this race when I was reading about the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT.  I had wanted to go to this festival for YEARS - basically since I lived in Florida.  When I realized there was a half marathon weekend in conjunction with the festival, I was sold!  I have always wanted to make a real vacation out of it, spending time enjoying the Food and Wine Festival and doing the race - that has YET to happen - maybe in 2015!

The first year that I did the race, they had the half marathon relay, and tried really hard to get my other friend Christy to run with me, but she wasn't ready to commit, so I went ahead and signed up - and was on my way to my first half marathon distance back in 2011.  As a night owl, this is also the perfect race for me because it starts at 10pm.  

So back to the story of this year's race.  I got into town on Thursday night, while many of my friends were making their way to the runDisney Meet Up at EPCOT.  Well, I had missed out on getting in to this meet up, as had my friend Brandi, but that didn't stop us from having our own meet up in the hotel!  It was so great catching up with Brandi, and reading through the twitter feed of what was happening over at EPCOT.  Soon enough though we were both ready to head to bed since we'd both had long days traveling to Florida.

The next morning we met up in the hotel lobby - with Erin, Jen, and Kim, and then headed over to the expo!  We met up with Linzie at the expo and some of the other #CorralG peeps like Jen (and her husband Clint) and Jill.  However, I just came over to say "hi" before jumping on a bus to head over to Hollywood Studios to meet up with my friend Courtney, and her friends Elinor and Lauren.  They were down from Columbia Theological Seminary and deserving of a super fantastic weekend - especially since they were each completing their first half marathon!  We hung around at Hollywood Studios for a few hours, hitting up some shows and rides, and grabbing some lunch.  I headed off to ride Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster before heading over to EPCOT to meet up with Marcia, Linzie, Jen and Clint for a little #CorralG fun.  But soon enough it was off again to meet up with Christy at the expo to grab our bibs and do our shopping.  

The day flew by pretty fast and before I knew it, it was time for our #CorralG dinner at the karaoke sushi restaurant at the Swan (or maybe it was the Dolphin - I can never remember).  Kira and I got there first and waited.... and waited... there was an issue locating a car in the parking lot (instead of just walking over from EPCOT).  But it was all good.  We had a rocking good time catching up over dinner - no cocktails because we were getting up early for the Jingle Jungle 5K.  All too soon it was time to part and head to bed... but since we were all running together in the morning, it wasn't too hard saying goodbye temporarily.  

We all met up and got in line for photos with Mickey and Minnie... but wait, where was Linzie?  We tried calling, texting, but got no reply.  So it was time for desperate action - we called the front desk and had them ring his room.  It was about 5:30... verging on getting late.  He picked up the phone, a little dazed, realized what time it was and that he'd missed his alarm, and hung up quickly, vowing to be out the door in less than 2 minutes!  Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, there he was bounding across the parking lot.  Luckily, the line was long and he hadn't missed our Christmas card photo!  Soon enough we were heading to the start corrals and getting ready to go.  We were all decked out in our Ink n Burn ugly sweaters (we got so many compliments AND saw so many others in their sweaters) and had decided it was just going to be a fun run this morning, so we didn't get too tired for the Wine & Dine half marathon later that same day.  We had a blast!  Stopped for every character stop and even some "non-character" ones!  

These guys were so confused about why we wanted a photo
After the race was over, it was time to head to our family breakfast at Ohana - AND to finally find out #whatsinthebox!  #CorralG member Adam wasn't going to be able to join us because Princess Caitlin, his newborn daughter was too young to travel and he knew it wasn't fair to leave his wife home alone for Disney.  So he had started tempting us with sending a package to make up for him not being with us.  Well, let's just say that deserves it's own post!  Breakfast at Ohana was SOOOO good - if you haven't been there, definitely check it out.  It's a great character breakfast and the food is DELICIOUS!

Then it was time for a little park fun and castle photos before a little rest before the evening fun.  We rode the Jingle Cruise, and seriously, that was about it!  We were all wanting to make sure that we had fresh legs for our evening race.  

Merida and Mouseketeer Courtney

I had made the decision to run with Christy since this was going to be her first race - so I met up with her and the #CorralG peeps, and we tried to get a photo with Mickey... let's just say that's a sore spot from the weekend...

Christy and me, ready to go!
We parted ways and headed off to our corrals and got ready for the start.  Christy and I kept a pretty consistent pace, and chatted most of the way (it cracks me up that she thought we would run out of things to talk about over 13.1 miles)!  As we were coming out of Animal Kingdom, I saw Linzie, Marcia, and Jill, but we kept on going at our own pace.  I was so proud of Christy for taking up running only a year earlier and working so hard to meet her goal.  We only stopped for one photo - with Darth Vader - because I made her take it for her husband!  We both got a little sore around mile 10/11, but kept on pushing, and finally came in view of that finish line.  I was so proud of her, and made sure I got to be the one to put the medal around her neck.  

After we crossed the finish line, we headed in to the park for the post-race festivities.  I hung out with Christy for a bit, and we went on Test Track with her husband, before I headed off to meet up with the #CorralG peeps for a bite to eat.  It was an amazing night and I am so proud of my friends - Christy and Courtney - for conquering 13.1!  Courtney is already looking forward to Disneyland weekend and considering the Dumbo Challenge.  Christy is still debating about another half marathon, but she and I are running this week so hopefully I can talk her into another fun one.  

I will be back for Wine & Dine in 2014 and hope to see you there!!

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