After I made my epic journey across the finish line… I felt… sick to my stomach. You know how people say if you feel like you could go a few more miles you didn’t put your all in? Well, at the end of the Wine & Dine I felt like I had cashed in all my chips and taken out loan from some evil underworld loan shark to keep playing. I headed through the finish line routine of getting my Wine & Dine medal, my Coast to Coast medal, my post race photo, my snack pack, and breezed by bag check knowing my sister would have my jacket waiting for me. I didn’t care that I had sweat stains and probably smelled: I spent too much time making my costume to just take it off after the race.
I traded in my drink voucher for a coke (the other options were beer, lite beer, and a mini bottle of skinny girl white wine) and then just kind of collapsed down somewhere outside the EPCOT ticket booths. Thinking, “oh yeah, just give me a moment… I’ll totally go to the party afterward…” despite running on 9 hours of sleep spread out over 2 days, I gather myself back up and headed in for my well deserved after party!
If you’re thinking about a runDisney race and want the most bang for your registration dollar, W&D simply can’t be beat. The registration includes: shirt, race, transportation to/from starting area to host hotels, $10 Disney giftcard, and most importantly the finish line party in EPCOT where the food & wine booths are all open AND all the rides are open WITH NO LINES because everyone’s either too exhausted to make the trek all the way back to Soarin’ or they’ve just passed out from a) running a half marathon or b) from drinking their way around the world. It’s tough being a Wine & Diner.
I met up with my sister who had lost my father in the crowd somewhere, and we headed onto Spaceship Earth because yes, I love this ride for obvious reasons (it’s AWESOME) but also because I welcomed any opportunity to get off my feet. (did I mention yelling out “thank the Phoenicians at the finish?) By the time we got off the ride my father had finally appeared. To appease him and before heading back to the World Showcase we went on Soarin’ and rode 3 times without getting off… We could’ve ridden more but my sister was crazing crispy shrimp tacos so we walked (well, they walked I hobbled) back to the World Showcase. It was pretty packed back there and the kiosk lines were getting a little long so my father said good bye and walked back to the Beach Club.
I finished around 12:40am, we finally got to world showcase around 1:20ish… Before we headed back to Mexico, though, I opted to stop for the ESPN photo op. You had the option of getting your picture on the cover of ESPN magazine (bo-ring) or in the runDisney ad for the Wine and Dine (exciting!). I totally stopped to do it—it was $19.95 for either a print 8×10 or a digital download and I opted for the digital download.
There were a few places like that gift shop just before World Showcase that were selling race stuff but in limited quantities and limited sizes. I did end up getting a magnet for my fridge and a pin of the medal for my bulletin board at work (it currently sits next to my marathon ad print out and a someecards that says “I hope running a marathon heals the psychological wounds you suffered as a fat kid”).
Lesson 5: If post race you need a substantive meal at some point or don’t want to eat anything exotic, get it ready before the race. The post race snack pack runDisney gave out had the usual stuff but replaced the peanut butter of DL with asiago cheese. After 13.1 miles, the last thing I want to eat is unrefrigerated asiago cheese out of a plastic cup. Pass. And while I was getting hungry 1-2 hours after the race, when the food & wine booths were the only things open, something bland and tame for the tummy was tough to come by. I waited in a 20 minute line for a pretzel at Germany with everyone else who just wanted a nice, bland post-race carb.
We rode the grand fiesta ride and the Maelstrom, because you can’t not ride the Maelstrom, and worked our way around the world. The party ended at 4am and by 3:45 we were at France, got creme brulee to take back to the room, and were heading back to our room. I was exceptionally grateful I didn’t have to go ride on a bus (or for that matter walk back to the front of EPCOT). I did end up deciding to shower before going to bed, slept 3 hours, then woke up again to go to Animal Kingdom.
Okay, it is at this point that I have to say: there’s a big difference between my 12 minute per mile DL race where I finished feeling great, albeit sleepy, and the Wine & Dine where I finished and the next day I was walking really funny. I was walking funnier than a pirate with a peg leg. My legs were just plain killing me and walking it off wasn’t working which made me a cranky, unpleasant b^%ch for the remainder of the trip. On top of this, we had to change rooms at the beach club which just made things chaotic and made me all the crankier. Poor planning strikes again!
All in all, I retrospectively loved the Wine & Dine. The night race thing is definitely different and (for me) not in a better way, but the three parks + after party definitely made it a fun race and probably a great first 1/2 marathon assuming you’ve got the energy and inclination to stay after you’ve crossed the finish line.