Let me start this post by saying I 100% support the race director’s decision to put runner and volunteer safety above running a race. There’s been a ton of complaints on social media, but in the end, we started and finished a race, and nobody got hit by lightening.
I was pretty psyched up for the 2015 Wine and Dine half last weekend. After all, it had been my first half 2 years ago, and I wanted to prove myself after breaking my foot then. We headed down on Thursday so we could be at the expo bright and early Friday morning. It’s a good thing we did, because we spend more than 3 hours there, mostly waiting in lines: lines for merchandise, lines to pick up our bibs, to get our shirts, to get our pre-ordered pins. At one point the line to check out for official merchandise was easily over 2 hours long.
RunDisney warned us that we would be under red flag conditions because of the heat and humidity. I’m pretty used to running in those conditions, but it was unusually hot and humid this weekend. It felt more like June than November, with temps in the 90’s and super high humidity. I started hydrating early and often.
We ate a late breakfast Saturday and headed to the parks for a little while. We were back in our room by 3 pm for a nap and to get ready.
My costume was the dancing hippo from Fantasia. But thanks everyone that thought my Piglet costume was cute! My one goal for the race was to take a photo with the hippo around Mile 3. Spoiler: It didn’t happen!
We left the room around 7 to catch the bus. I guess alot of people park at the Boardwalk for the race because we had to wait on 2 other buses before we made our way through yet another line. While on the bus I got this ominous notification.
Getting into the runner’s village the humidity was low and we had high hopes for our finish time. This was to be my last long training run before Space Coast, and I really needed the miles. Training’s been lacking lately.
At about 9 pm, the wind picked up, and, being from south Alabama, I knew immediately we were in trouble. I know thunderstorm wind when I feel it. Just then, the announcers let us know lightening was in the area and we were being evacuated to the HP field house and other buildings at the Wide World of Sports complex, where runners sat pretty much everywhere for an hour and a half.
I know people were frustrated because we didn’t see rain or lightening, but I heard from people not at the race later how bad it stormed nearby and how much lightening there was even at Disney Springs. About 10:45, 45 minutes after the race was to start, we got the all clear to head back outside for a shortened course. My biggest complaint is that we weren’t told directly how far we’d be running or what was cut. RunDisney relied on social media and word had to spread through the corrals that way. We didn’t even know until we were in the corral that this would indeed be honored for Coast to Coast.
We were in corral H, and kicked off at 11:30. We learned from the announcers as they were about to start our corral that we would be running 7.1 miles, cutting the Osceola Parkway/Animal Kingdom portion of the race.
By the time we started, the humidity was back in full force and it was still nearly 80 degrees. I backed off a bit on my running intervals and just wanted to run my very best under the conditions. Because we didn’t run the major highway, most of the course was extremely crowded, more than even usual for a Disney race. My splits reflect this:
I didn’t stop for any character pictures, mostly because there weren’t any I was interested in. We did take our time at the Osborne Lights, though (RIP Osborne Lights!).
The volunteers were wonderful, and there were quite a few cheering spectators. They really made the miles go by faster. And then, there was the finish line. I haven’t seen official times or distances yet, but social media agrees with my Garmin that we were close to 6.8 miles. But we got our medals and our Coast to Coast medals, our terrible but free beer/wine, and made our way into the after party.
I’m still really not sure how to feel. Again, I don’t fault the race director AT ALL, and I wore my medal in the parks the next day. I ran the race I was given and earned it. But at the same time, I feel like my C2C is just a little tarnished. But that’s a really small thing. The big thing is nobody got hurt or died. It will just be a funny story we’ll tell some day. Just like breaking your foot during your first half.