This past Saturday was the 4th Annual Wine & Dine Half-Marathon at Disney World. I was back for my second go at it after a pretty successful run 2 years ago when I went under 1hr45mins for the first time.
This year’s race would also be my first proper outing as a fully paid up memeber of Team Wicked Bonkproof. The last 3+ months Coach Caleb has been turning me into a finely honed running machine, well that’s what I like to think anyway!
Walking down to the start from the hotel I was thinking that maybe things weren’t going to go as planned. The holiday, so far, was not turning out to be one of the best. My youngest son had a pretty bad chest infection, which meant I had had 3 nights of not much sleep. Add in 2 days of walking around theme parks, the new phone incident (see below) and the splitting headache I had, and I was just hoping to get to the finish let alone the 1hr37 goal time I was aiming for!
41MP of awesomeness lasted less than 12 hours before Luke decided it needed a wash in the toilet. #counttoten
— Paul Kelly (@j16saw) November 8, 2013
I diligently did my warm up routine and made it into my start corall with about 15 mins to go. Whilst waiting for the start we were told several times by the organizers that it was 10 degrees hotter than expected so to make sure that we took on plenty of liquid and take it easy. I was not too worried as it was still 20+ degrees cooler than all my training in Cayman!
Anyway, we set off in a blaze of fireworks and I had to pick my way past a few people, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared and by the time the course turned onto the 3 lane highway after half a mile or so things had spread out. The first mile went past in 7:28, just like Coach had said, go out a bit slower than goal pace (7:20) and then pick it up.
The next 2 miles were quite hilly for me, living on a billiard table overpasses are quite a challenge, and we had several to go over before we reached Animal Kingdom at 5K. Miles 2 and 3 were 7:23 and 7:19, so I was right on track.
Running around the park for the next 1.5 miles was a bit of a challenge though. It is very narrow, and although the field had spread out a bit, there was still a gaggle of runners I had to try and get past to keep my pace up. It turned into a series of short sprints between the slow corners to get past people when I could. Mile 4 was 7:34, yet I felt pretty tired due to all the accelerations. Leaving the park I decided to have a quick photo stop with Captain Jack Sparrow before heading back the way we had come the first couple of miles.
Leaving the park, the pre-TWB runner started to come out in me. I wasn’t feeling great, the last mile had been slow and I started to think of what excuses I could use at the end as to why I had missed my goal.
However, I gave myself a bit of a slap round the face and told myself to get on with it. I turned my music off, and concentrated on running. It worked! The next 2 miles were 7:21, then a 7:27 which included an unexpected loo break due to my miscalculation of fluid required for a cooler run. A 6:51 followed (the mile marker was a bit short) and before I knew it I was heading into Hollywood Studios feeling great. Mile 9 was 7:44, but this made up for the previous short mile, and then only 1 mile to go before giving it everything for the final 5K.
I had another quick photo stop with Mr & Mrs Incredible before hitting 10M with a 7:24. Looking at the clock as I went past the marker I knew I had to do 21min flat to hit 1hr35. 3 sub 7:00 miles at the end of a half? That’s only 20 seconds slower than my 5K PR! I decided to give it a try anyway and sped up.
As with Animal Kingdom, there are a lot of tight corners to negotiate, but the roads are much wider so it’s possible to take a wide line through them.
I was picking off all the runners I could see though, just as Coach had told me to do, and went through Mile 11 in 6:58 and then 6:56 for Mile 12.
The course had changed from 2 years ago, and where the finish used to me there was still another half a mile or so to go, so I was a bit confused! The extra bit took you through Epcot though which was great as there were so many people cheering, and I was waving as I went through which made them cheer even more!
The final mile was 6:47, and I just missed 1hr35 by 15 seconds. The loo stop and photo ops had cost me, I wasn’t too upset as it was 2 minutes faster than my goal and probably the best part of 10 minutes faster than I felt I could have done walking to the start with a headache.
I was 80th overall, out of 12K finishers and 15th in my age group, so very chuffed about that, along with the 7 minute PR.
The whole race went according to Coach’s plan. I never doudbted he knew what he was talking about, I just doubted my ability to live up to the plan, but what an amazing feeling it was to actually do it!
I will be back again in January for the Half-Marathon, with cooler temps and less photo stops I am hoping to get under 1hr35!
Although the race was great, getting home again afterwards was a nightmare. We were staying at the Art of Animation hotel which is right next to the start, but just about all the roads to it were still shut when I finished. The diversion signs Disney had put up were hopeless and after following them for 40 minutes I ended up back in the car park at Epcot where I had started! At this point I gave up, left the car and took a bus back to the hotel. So nearly 2 hours after I finished I finally got home, cold and very tired!