Thursday, November 27, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your holiday with the people you love.

Growing up, it was tradition for each person around the table to share what they were thankful for before we ate ourselves into a coma. In following that tradition, here's a list of what I'm thankful for this year:

These guys. It's a joy to come home to this little family every day. I'm so grateful for Matthew and Koda in my life.

My heart.

Best Running Friends. I would have never made it through my stress fracture this year without the love and support from some of my best running buddies. There are way too many to name here but you know who you are :-)


Family. My family and Matthew's family are so good to us. It's hard not to be grateful for all they've done for us. And we've made some pretty awesome memories this year :-)

Ziplining, running, and trips to NYC.

#wwchat community. It's amazing how people you meet on the internet can become such a force for good in your life. I'm thankful for the #wwchat community and especially thankful for Dani who started and hosts this weekly chat.

The one and only Dani!

A fellow #wwchat-er Jessie and me at the Jingle Jungle 5k.

Health. I'm thankful for healthy lungs, heart, and legs that carry me wherever I want to go.

Happy feet!

YOU! You, dear blog reader, are a reason I have to be thankful. Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments and emails, thank you for motivating and inspiring me every day. Y'all are awesome.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

QOTD: What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

AM: 11/24/14

Good morning and welcome to Thanksgiving Week!

If you follow me on social media then you know that Matthew and I were in Philadelphia all weekend as he raced the 8k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Matthew lived in Philadelphia when we were first dating so it was fun to be back in the city and visiting some our old haunts. And, Wawa coffee is truly the best thing on earth and I am depressed that the closest one to where we currently live is like 80 miles away. Sadness.

Tomorrow night, we will be traveling again- this time to visit both of our families over Thanksgiving weekend. All this travel makes it hard to stay committed to my fitness and nutrition goals but I'm just trying to plug away at them and take it one day at a time.

Here's last week in review-

Monday- 30 minutes on the bike, light weights
Tuesday- balance exercises (from the PT) and some light weights
Wednesday- rest day
Thursday- rest day
Friday- 2 mile walk on the treadmill, 1.81 miles, 16:34 pace
Saturday- 1 mile walk outside, 15:11 pace
Sunday- balance exercises, planks, push-ups, squats

I went to my PT on Wednesday to inquire about a plan to help me get back to running- I'll detail that in a post later this week. In short, he recommended that I do 3-4 balance sessions a week (basically balancing on one foot for a minute at a time, 10 minutes total) and start to incorporate other core-strengthening exercises into my routine. Hopefully, this will all be helpful as I start running again- when that will be is a little more of a mystery as it all depends on my level of foot pain.

I also finished the ActiveLink assessment period and will start the ActiveLink Challenge on Wednesday- my weigh-in day. The challenge will basically take where I am now and encourage me to earn more activity points each day. According to the assessment, I currently earn seven PPV a day. Which is insane because I NEVER would have thought that I was that active during the day. For the next few weeks, that number will increase as it encourages me to earn more than seven each day.

Honestly, I'm still a little skeptical that I am actually earning all these points. And I have a tendency to eat ALL of the points I earn which could end up hampering my weight loss in the long run if I'm eating more points that I have been since starting Weight Watchers in January 2013. But I am willing to try this out and not make any judgment calls until it's been a full month of using it.

Apparently, I'm pretty active.

I'm not going to lie, I have definitely NOT been as disciplined as I should be with regard to my nutrition habits these last two weeks. It is amazing that I lost seven pounds in six weeks when I was laid up but now that I've been walking for the last two weeks, I've lost .8 total.

I know that I must be more diligent about what I'm eating- even when traveling. I managed to lose every week while I was in the boot AND we traveled at least four of those six weeks. This upcoming week will be challenging as I won't be in "my" spaces because of the holiday. I've got to remain focused and stick to the plan that will get me to my goals- return to running, and 50 pounds down by January 1.

Matthew eating a ginormous piece of pizza in Phildelphia. We split it :-)

146 as of 11/19/14 weigh-in
-.4 from last week
-44.4 since January 2013
-56 since HW

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

QOTD: Do you find it hard to stick to fitness/nutrition goals during the holiday season?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Running at Disney, Minus the Running- Final Thoughts on Wine & Dine Weekend

It's been over a week now since we returned from our second home Walt Disney World and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. It was a wonderful weekend; albeit different from what I'd originally planned.

As most of you know, I had to bail out of the half marathon due to my stress fracture. I started walking again just two days before we left for Disney. It was pretty depressing to be around all the runners at the expo and race knowing that I wasn't going to be able to do it, especially because this is my favorite race in the entire world. But there were A TON of fun things that happened on this trip that totally made up for it:

Dad finished his first half marathon! He's officially a half marathoner! Even in the cold and rainy conditions, he and Matthew rocked it. I am so, so, so proud of him :-)

We got to see lots of friends that we only see at runDisney events. I finally got to meet Heather from Heather Runs 13.1, Jessie- a #wwchat friend from twitter, and Lisa- a blog reader who ran her very first half marathon at Wine & Dine! I also got to see Justin from Always Running Forward and Stephanie from Goober Monkey. And Patrick, Lauren, Nathan, Jenn, and Dave (all friends from past runDisney events) were all there and there were lots of hugs and squeals. And we got to hang with Matt from Hokey Blog and his wife at one of the best restaurants in Disney.

runDisney events are all about love and friendship. And a little bit of running :-)

I finished my first post-injury 5k! [Check out the recap here!] It took a little over an hour and we walked the whole time but we made it. Our friend Jenn walked it with us and Nathan grabbed some awesome pictures of us finishing. It truly was a magical moment. I will forever be grateful that the injury gods allowed me to complete my first post-injury race at Disney.

So grateful Nathan captured this moment!

We got to spend a lot of time in the parks with both of our families. Dad and his girlfriend Margie came on the trip with us and Matthew's cousin Bridget and her husband Alan came up for a few days. It was truly a fun vacation in the happiest place on earth. We visited all four parks and rode almost all of our favorite rides. We also got to enjoy amazing food and beverages at Epcot during the Food & Wine Festival.

Overall, it was a kick ass weekend- even without running. If you are considering visiting Disney during the Food & Wine Festival or participating in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I highly recommend it. It's a great weekend to be in the parks and the race itself is awesome- even with crappy weather.

In less than two months we'll be back at the World for our Goofy Challenge trip which includes Margie's first 10k and Dad's first marathon. And I know this trip will be just as awesome as the last- Disney sort of has that effect on you :-)

Monday, November 17, 2014

AM: 11/17/14

Good afternoon and Happy Monday!

It's a gray, cold, and dreary day here in central Pennsylvania- I hope the weather is better where you are!

Monday- Came home from Disney- does rushing through the airport count as a workout? ;-)
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 30 minutes on the bike
Thursday- 15 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the bike
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 20 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the elliptical, light weights

As you can see, I've been slowly incorporating the elliptical into my training. I say slowly because Edna (that's what I've named my cranky right foot) acts up sometimes and I have to switch to the bike which doesn't hurt my foot at all. That's the plan right now; if it hurts, stop. So I am slowly working back up to walking and running. Very, very slowly.

Also, as you may remember from last week, I bought myself a new ActiveLink 2.0 from Weight Watchers. I am still in the "assessment" phase (for the next seven days) so I'll have more to report next week. But, it also tracks my sleep and I was really intrigued by the data collected. I can't wait to have more information about my activity and sleeping patterns- I've never really looked at it before so hopefully it will give me useful feedback.

Last night's sleep pattern

We weren't traveling this weekend (shocking, I know!) so I was able to manage my spaces pretty well and stick to my daily points target- most days. Lately, I've been loving the hidden menu from Panera- especially the Power Chicken Bowl: chicken, veggies, hummus. Ah-mazing. Seriously. Just try it.

Perfection in a bowl.

146.4 as of 11/5/14 weigh-in
-.4 since last week
-44 since January 2013
-55.6 since HW

By some miracle, I lost .4 last week with -81 PPV left. Sometimes, there just is no rational explanation for weight loss- but I'm still excited about it :-)

QOTD: Do you use an activity monitor like the ActiveLink or Fitbit? Does it motivate you to move more? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Race Review: 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon ( 11/8/2014), or: "Look around, leaves are brown, there's a patch of snow on the ground..."

Sarah's note- Good morning! I hope you all enjoy this guest post by a dear blogger friend of mine, Matt! Since I didn't run Wine & Dine this year and he did, he wrote an awesome recap of the race that he has graciously allowed me to share with you. I love Matt's blog and I know you'll love this recap. Enjoy!

There was this magical moment of clarity that occurred as I turned eastbound onto the Osceola Parkway, brushing away the little demons of stinkin'-thinkin' who were trying to convince me that I'd be battling hypothermia by the end of the night, during which only one thought permeated the little gray cells of my celebrated noggin: How in the wide, wide world of sports am I ever going to review this race?

Let us draw a measure of frankness when it comes to the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon: this review is probably not the review you'd want to read if you were looking for the definitive... nay, quintessential recap of what is widely considered to be Run Disney's fan-favorite race event. I mean, what's not to love? It's a night race during a much cooler time of the year for Florida. The half-marathon course is unique to this race (the WDW Half and Princess Half are essentially the exact same course) and takes you through three Disney theme parks. And it takes place during the start of the holiday season, so you get to see some awesome decorations along the way. But let's not forget the biggest lure -- after the race, there's a private after-party at Epcot for runners (and their guests, but you have to pay extra for them) showcasing the Food & Wine Festival, one of THE most essential (and beloved) of all Disney events.

So you have a Run Disney race! In cool weather! Costumes! Music! Happiness! Holidays! Medals! Rudy and Carissa! Jeff Galloway! Food! BOOZE! What is not to love??

Enter Mother Nature and her most ironic sense of humor...

Let's dial it back a bit to the sweet, sunny morning of Saturday, November 8th, 2014. Boots and I drove up from our home in Fort Lauderdale the previous night, checking into All Star Sports around 11 PM. It was a cool, clear night, and I'm thinking, "Man if this holds, we're gonna have some perfect running weather!" Mm-hmm. After settling in, unpacking, and constructing the traditional hotel room fort, we passed out in anticipation of the following morning's carb-load.

The Carb Load

And what a carb-load it was! At 9:45 AM we were entering the Jambo House lobby at Animal Kingdom Lodge, where we met the Sparkly Runner herself, boyfriend Matthew, and her Dad and his girlfriend for a massively awesome chow-down at Boma. We hadn't seen Sarah and Matthew since the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend the previous January, so it was good to see some familiar friendly faces and catch up. And of course the food was exquisite! I've blogged about Boma and speak of it often and with rapt eagerness. It's pretty much one of the best dining options available on-property, and the variety (and quality) of breakfast/brunch items available made for a pretty awesome time with some good friends. If you're running a night race at Disney, you can't do much better than carbing up here.

The cool kids at Boma!

The Merch Hunt

After bidding our awesome buddies adieu and *ahem* waddling contentedly out of Boma, we drove over to ESPN Wide World of Sports to hit the Expo. If you've ever attended the Expo at a Walt Disney World race, you pretty much know what to expect from the routine: park your car, go to the Field House to pick up your bib, go to the Josten's Center to get your race shirt and browse the merchandise, listen to speakers, stand in line forever just to get a free banana or 1/15th scale Clif bar, try to capture a pic with Jeff Galloway, register yourself for runner tracking if you haven't done so already, grab a cupcake, and slither back from whence you came. Simple right?

Actually, it was mostly simple and routine. We started with the requisite Pics in Front of the Run Disney-branded Displays...

Dig me!

After that it was a matter of grabbing my bib and registration packet at the Field House with minimal wait...

What's this about my Eternal Soul?

Besides the race bib, the packet contained a coaster, $10 gift card for the Food & Wine festival, the commemorative race pin, a green wrist-band for my entrance into the after party, a somewhat flimsy coaster, and the race guide. Missing from the packet was Boots's ticket for the party, for which we had pre-paid and ordered back in March. We asked a Run Disney volunteer, who told us that the After Party tickets were to be distributed at the Josten's Center. OK then. With that we were off on our way, outside and down the path heading towards the Josten's Center. It was during this sojourn that we were suddenly accosted by a tiny Latin American woman, who jumped in front of us with a "NONE! SHALL! PASS!" swagger. I immediately recognized my FIT buddy Rosa, who along with her husband Luis, was running the Wine & Dine as well. We were also joined by other FIT buds Cassandra, Sandra, and Julie, and we agreed to meet up at the Gear Check station at 8:45 that night, afterward posing for this awesome picture:

Rosa's son Danny thought all these nutty grown-ups were "real cool," if you "sense my meaning."

The Josten's Center was bustling with the usual excitement: shirt pickup, vendors, speakers, the works. I grabbed my race shirt and picked up a sharp looking tech shirt at the Official Merchandise area, but that was it. None of the other merch really screamed out to me, I guess. Anyhow I was saving my shekels for the Avengers race the following week. I went to a Run Disney volunteer to ask where I could pick up Boots's After Party ticket... and was promptly told I had to pick it up at the Field House... from where we had just left.

OK I knew that someone had to know the proper answer, so I kept pestering other Information Desk volunteers until someone suggested I go to the Welcome Center, which we did, and after some headaches over "confirmation numbers", we were able to pick up her party ticket. What an ordeal.

I went light on the swag this time.

Next up we get to the portion of the day that I can't find any better descriptor than...

Bummin' Around

After picking up some cupcakes from the Yum-Yum Food Truck (two Chocolate Peanut Butter, one Carrot Cake, one Drunken Pumpkin) we made our way back to the resort for a quick nap and to rest our legs for the upcoming race. The nap was most welcome, and I woke up fairly refreshed. By 5:30 PM I needed some dinner, so we walked over to the Food Court where I tried the not-at-all-bad London broil with stuffing and mashed potatoes. I also managed to catch this awesome pose with a psycho-tennis Donald Duck, which is worth it just for my expression alone:

Sometimes I tend to go a little quackers.

After that it was time to change and get everything ready for the race. The weather report called for temperatures starting in the mid-60s and dropping to the mid-50s over the course of the night, and a near 100% chance of rain. Exactly how MUCH rain was still the big question. It could have been anything from light sprinkles to a torrential monsoon. I decided to go with full compression gear, long-sleeve shirt and tights, to keep me warm and mostly dry (I wore my Mickey Milers team jersey over the compression shirt). After pinning my bib on, getting fully dressed and filling up my gear check bag with a fresh pair of clothes, towels, deodorant, a Hefty bag, and my race gear, Boots and I hit the road and made our way over to Epcot to board the shuttle to ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Pre-Race Festivities

After parking at Epcot, it was a quick walk over to the shuttle boarding area. The line was pretty long but we were up and boarded in about 10 minutes. The drive to ESPN Wide World of Sports, on the other hand, took nearly half an hour. The traffic on Victory Way was just a mountain of Ugh. But we had little choice, except to sit there with barely any air conditioning and sing along to 80's "classics" on the stereo system. I may or may not have sung Michael Sembello's Maniac in a high falsetto. Take that for whatever you think it means.

Bus selfie! (Is that Crackhead Bob behind us?)

But we arrived at ESPN WWoS eventually, and after making our way through security I walked over to the Mickey Milers team meet-up, where, for the third time in a row, I was a few minutes late and missed the team picture. Ye gods, I was a bit chafed, but it was still nice catching up with everyone. After chatting it up with some buddies and snapping some pics, Boots and I walked over to Gear Check, checked my bag in, and met up with our FIT entourage of Cassandra, Rosa, Francesca, Kari, Sandra, and Julie. More chatting, more pics, a last-minute Porto-Potty pit stop, and we were off to our corrals. I kissed Boots goodbye, as she was leaving to catch the Jay & Silent Bob show at the Improv. Francesca and I walked over to corral E and waited for the show to begin.

With the FIT crew!

And here's where the fun REALLY starts.

Up until now, the weather had been pretty moderate and dry. We're talking about 66 degrees, maybe, with reasonable humidity and a breeze. I was actually feeling a bit warm in my compression gear, wondering whether or not I had perhaps made a tactical mistake in putting on all that get-up, getting nervous that I might actually end up overheating during the race.

Nothing doing. 

Corral Selfie with Francesa

Fifteen minutes before the race began, it started to rain. A light rain, perhaps even a steady drizzle, but rain nonetheless. Not a drop of precipitation had fallen from the heavens for weeks before this race, and minutes before it commenced, the skies opened up and unleashed torrents of havoc. And slowly, steadily, over the course of the night, it continued to rain, harder and harder over time. It was never anything like a severe shower, a monsoon, or even a thunderstorm... but it was a steady, continuous rain. A COLD steady continuous rain. Temperatures began to drop almost immediately. By the time we crossed the Start Line -- roughly about 10:12 PM -- it was in the upper 50s, breezy, and very, very wet.

There's a reason why this race had been thereafter dubbed...

The 2014 Disney Splash and Dash Half Marathon

Let's take a look at the course, courtesy of my Garmin 220 and Google Maps:

A quick perusal of the course shows why this is such a celebrated run. After leaving the ESPN Wide World of Sports, you head west down Osceola Parkway, then looping through Animal Kingdom. After leaving Animal Kingdom, it's a return east down Osceola until you reach World Drive. A turn to the north takes you to Buena Vista Drive and into Disney's Hollywood Studios for a few miles. Finally as you exit the Studios, the course takes you down a pathway past the Epcot resorts (Swan and Dolphin and Boardwalk), turning towards Epcot as you run adjacent to the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. The last mile of the race takes you through Epcot and to the Finish Line in the Epcot parking lot.

... provided that you don't DROWN first.

At this point I'm entirely obliged (and a bit dismayed) to reiterate that a qualified review of this race in comparison to other Disney race experiences is problematic, at best. I can probably do my best "This Is What the Race Would Have Been Like If Hadn't Been Raining So Much..." summary, which looks a little like this:

If it hadn't been raining so much, there would have been much more entertainment on the course. Right around Mile 1 I saw the Country Bears lined up for a photo op, and later on I caught the Green Army Men and the usual Captain Jack Sparrow with pirate ship out and about. But during the long stretches of nothing on the Osceola Parkway, there was almost nothing out there other than water stops. No bands, no DJs, no music, no video screens -- it was a big stretch of empty. We even passed by some backdrops for photos that were entirely unlit and devoid of characters. This, of course, could NOT be helped, as it would have presented massive safety and electrical issues. So make no mistake, you can hardly fault Run Disney for inclement weather! Furthermore, there were photo ops in the parks, but they were limited to a bare handful of characters, and mostly under overhangs, patios, anywhere out of the rain. Usually without any kind of backdrop. Again, this was disappointing but could not be helped by Run Disney.

I did manage to catch a pic with this fine Pooch!

If it hadn't been raining so much, there would have been more photographers on the course. MarathonFoto are some of the most egregious price-gougers around when it comes to your race photos, but I usually end up buying them if I can find a few good pics. But their freelance photographers are out there for several hours at a time, usually with thousands of dollars of their own equipment, and one can hardly expect them to risk damaging their livelihoods by having their cameras and lenses destroyed. As a result of this, most of the photographers were loosely scattered in the parks and at the Finish Line. On the bright side, I got more Finish Line pics than ever before.

If it hadn't been raining so much, there would have been much more visibility on the course. Of course, this being a night race, you're not going to be able have those sweeping views afforded by the daytime. But with the consistent rain, your vision and concentration are almost entirely focused on where your feet are landing, avoiding puddles, while staying ever more vigilant on other runners who were running slower than normally. Furthermore, the reduced visibility often messed with your sense of direction. As I was running through Animal Kingdom, I was wondering when I was going to pass Expedition Everest. It wasn't until I was passing the Finding Nemo building that I realized I already had. Rats! 

And speaking of avoiding puddles...

If it hadn't been raining so much, there would have been much better footing on the course. I can't stress this enough, as it was by far the biggest obstacle of the night. From the very get-go, the roads were extremely slippery. Remember that the rain had started literally minutes before the race began, and as a result all of the oil embedded in the roads was brought immediately to the surface. This meant that while the ensuing slipperiness of the surface area would eventually wash away from the rain, this would take several hours to accomplish. I saw three runners slip and fall hard during the race, but I also saw several more recovering from such spills. This meant that, for the entirety of the race, you had to be entirely mindful of your foot-strike and running form. This became even more difficult on certain banked roads, like the one off the Osceola Parkway leading into Animal Kingdom. It was pitched like a motor speedway, which meant you were not only running on a very slippery surface, but also on a highly uneven one. Some of the paved areas in the parks as well as the resorts were also extremely slippery, and required extra caution.

And let's talk about those puddles! This was also a pretty big issue. There were many substantial puddles littering the course, which meant you had to stay consistently aware of what you were running into at all times, as well aware of runners swerving or leaping to avoid them. I have to praise Run Disney for assembling a few volunteers who were out there warning runners to stay to the side of the roads and pathways when large puddles were ahead. This was pro-active thinking, and successful thinking at that. I'm grateful that I wore my Hoka Stinson Tarmacs, as the extra elevation helped me navigate those puddles much more successfully -- although not entirely so. Cold squishy feet during a run is not the most fun feeling in the world.

Sloshing through Hollywood Studios

Finally, if it hadn't been raining so much, it wouldn't have felt so gosh-darn cold on the course! Listen, I get it; I'm a South Florida iguana. If it gets below 65 degrees I consider it to something along those lines of another Ice Age. Still, not only do I love running in cooler temperatures, I pretty much worship it. However once you're soaking wet with a bunch of miles ahead of you, that 56 degrees starts to feel a little (wait for the hyperbole... wait for it!) hypothermic. Your body naturally warms itself up as you're expending energy, especially while running, but you can never really shake that feeling of shivering cold; ESPECIALLY while on a walk break. Again, Acts of God and the Weather Fairies can't be controlled by Run Disney, but I'd be remiss to left any of this out of my review.

I also have to say I was grateful to myself for packing the compression gear. It kept me fairly warm and mostly dry throughout the entire run. That extra layer helped immensely when it came to keeping this reptile from going into hibernation. My only exposed areas were the shins, hands, and head. Keeping my legs and torso warm and dry made all the difference in the world. Trust me, I do NOT have the body-type to wear any kind of form-fitting spandex with any kind of pride, but I'll go ahead and look plenty goofy it means staying comfortable throughout a race.

Well! Those were all the bummers, but do you know what? I still had a good time during the run! I knew, given the weather conditions and adverse course environment, that I wasn't going to approximate anything remotely close to a good race pace. And that was cool. I was out there to run and have a good time, and that's exactly what I did. Rainy or not, slippery or not, it's always still great fun running through the parks, high-fiving characters and cast members, and enjoying the views when you have them. The Osborne Lights in Hollywood Studios were absolutely a beaut, although I noticed few people stopping to admire and photograph them (due to the weather, no doubt). Also, the "Laser Tunnel Corridor" thing by the Finish Line was one of the coolest parts to run through, giving you a bit of "last-minute emotional oomph" as you round the corner to finish your race.

And hats off to all the race volunteers who stuck it out in the cold, wind, and rain to serve water and Powerade and cheer the runners on. I thanked each and every one of them that I could. Good show, folks.

Cold, wet victory!

I crossed the finish line with a race time of 2:17:49, a time with which I was particularly surprised. Given everything I laid out in the paragraphs above, I felt I ran much slower and steadier than I normally do, and consequently wasn't concerned or preoccupied with time. I figured I'd be somewhere around the 2:25 to 2:30 mark, which I'd have been fine with. All things being equal, I was pretty pleased with coming in under 2:20. I didn't even check my Garmin until a few minutes afterward; I was just happy to have finished, period.

Which takes us to the...

Post-Race and After Party

There were a few notable occurrences that came after crossing the Finish Line. I walked over to receive my medal from the volunteers, and believe you me, it was a nice one; a spinning medal celebrating the 5th running of the race. A volunteer placed it around my neck, and I made my way over toward the exit chute. About 30 seconds later, another runner came up and tapped my shoulder. Apparently the spinning portion of the medal had popped out of its hinge and fell without me knowing it. I thanked him and went back to the volunteers to exchange my medal for a non-broken one, which they did without any hesitation. Sadly, this wasn't an isolated incident There were dozens of reports all over social media about broken medals and how/if you could replace or repair them. If you're reading this blog and received a broken medal, contact Run Disney to find out how to get a replacement.  


Anyway, after gathering the requisite Powerade, banana, and snack box, it was time to pick up my gear bag so I could change into some dry clothes. Bear in mind it was still cold, wet, and windy out, we were no longer running, our body temperatures were lowered, and as such the cold felt that much more pronounced. My heart sunk a bit as I saw the line for gear pickup. I spent about 20 minutes and change in the Mc-Q gear line, and I had to keep stretching and moving to keep my body warm and my muscles from locking up. I spent the time chatting away with several runners, many of whom were also planning on doing the Avengers race the following weekend (and the Space Coast Marathon at the end of the month).

On the plus side, after receiving my gear I was able to whip out my Drink Voucher and exchange it for a FREE BEER! You'd think an ice cold beer would be the last thing a runner would want after a wet, freezing run... 

Canned... but I'll take it.

You'd be so very, very wrong.

Finally, all that was left was to hit the Change Tent, dry off, and change into some warm clothes. The Men's Tent was really crowded but I was able to stake out a corner with just enough room to get things done. Run Disney placed the tents on a grass hill, which meant a cold, wet floor of grass. Yecch. Thankfully I still had my mylar blanket that they had given to runners at the Finish Line, so I laid it out on the ground and used it as a mat. It still took awhile due to limited space and mobility, but a warm towel and clean dry clothes (plus a smidgeon of deodorant) never felt so good before.

Boots's show had run very late, so she wasn't able to make it to the After Party. Sadly, the weather wasn't entirely cooperating either, as a lot of people were tired and wet and cold, and many runners wound up skipping it entirely. I made my way into Epcot, walked right up and into Spaceship Earth, sat down in my time machine and just answered texts, emails, and Facebook messages for awhile. I then met Matthew and Sarah by the Camera Center and we hung for a little bit. After bidding both of them adieu (see you cool kids in January!) I grabbed a bite over at the Puerto Rico booth (which was rather unimpressive; I've had better tostones at a gas station!), after which I realized I'd be much better off back in our hotel room, showered, warm, and cozy in bed. It was well past 2:30 AM at this point, so I walked back out of Epcot and boarded a shuttle that took me directly to the All Star Sports resort.

Final Thoughts

Again, you can't really take my review of the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon as any kind definitive look at the event as a whole. If this were my first time at a Run Disney race, I'd probably be a little disappointed, not knowing how much fun and how extremely entertaining they can be under normal conditions. As it stands, I still enjoyed my time running the race, but I DEFINITELY want a do-over, as I felt the weather precluded me from having the FULL Wine & Dine experience. So I'm saying it now: I will be returning to run it in 2015. Who's with me? While you're debating such an endeavor in your celebrated little noggins, enjoy the video:

About the writer:
Hokeyboy, aka Matthew Millheiser, has been blogging for a few short years and writing about himself in the third-person since about 15 seconds ago. When he's not engaging in semi-amusingly circuitous meta-humor, he engages his inner passions for all sorts of obsessive geekery: music, movies, travel, information technology, gaming, full-contact Mahjong, Googling alternate spellings for "Mahjong", and wondering what the hell "Mahjong" is in the first place. Oh, and of course, obsessing over all things running and all things Disney, especially running at the Disney properties, and running to the local black market organ donation centers to finance running at the Disney properties. A six-foot-two Aquarius who despises long walks on the beach, because any native Floridian loathes the beach and the ones who say they don't are big fat freakin' liars, he lives with his adoringly beautiful and extremely patient wife Kim and their two perfectly ridiculous felines Lucas (named after George) and Austen (named after Jane) in the smarmy suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Come check out what makes him tick over at his nifty and Sparkly Runner-approved blog Hokeyblog