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Half Marathoners are SEXY

by Meghann on October 3, 2010

At Two Hours Thirty-Six Minutes and Thirty -Six Seconds another Half Marathoner was born.

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Congrats to the sexiest Half Marathoner I know! You rock baby and I couldn’t be more proud! :)

Volunteering for last night’s race was definitely an experience. On one hand I was happy to not have to be up at 3:00am to volunteer for a race that started at 6:00am (like my previous two times), but on the other hand I was ready to curl up in a ball and sleep before the race even began.

I vote next year the Wine and Dine Half compromises somewhere in the middle with an 8:00pm start. It’s still dark out, yet the starts before my bed time as opposed to after. ;

Kelly and I were assigned to the Runner Direction/ Relay Exchange point last night. Our shift had a 7:30pm call time and a 1:00am end time. This meant a 6:30pm dinner time in the hotel’s crowded food court.

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It was really interesting to see so many runners with pinned on bib numbers in the food court chowing down on burgers and fries or other various heavy dishes. I wonder how those meals felt in their stomachs at the starting line?

Derek stuck with what he presumed would be a safe bagel and peanut butter combination, Kelly ordered one of Disney’s famous Veggie Burgers, and I dug into a pre-packed dinner of carrot sticks and an egg salad pita.

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1) I’m tried of spending money. 2) I’m tired of crappy food. 3) I knew I’d be eating out all day tomorrow and wanted to get at least one home made meal in today.

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My egg salad was pretty tasty too. It was a combination of a hard boiled egg, hummus, pickle, tomato, red onion, and plain yogurt.

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I also had a large cup of highly caffeinated tea to keep me awake.

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Kelly and I said our good byes to Derek and wished him luck before taking the shuttle to the start line to start our shift. Or so we thought…

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We entered the tent at the start line and gave our information to check in.

Our names weren’t there.

After talking to several other volunteers – and reviewing our original registration – we realized we were in the wrong spot. Turns out we were supposed to have parked at the Animal Kingdom Parking lot at the mid point in the course, not at the starting line. Oops…

Luckily, one of the ladies in charge was able to shuttle Kelly and I to the right location. There our names were on file and we were able to collect our volunteer apron, snack, and wait for further direction on what to do next.

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And wait we did. The race started at 10:00 and it was only 8:00. We had 2 hours to kill before we would be ushered to our spots to stand.

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We killed time by making new friends.

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And playing with our new toys.

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Can you believe they trusted us with megaphones?!?! Now, this is a job that’s right up my ally.

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At 10:00pm we were finally ushered out into the race and to our standing spot.

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One of the options when registering for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is forming a two person relay team. The two legs aren’t exactly even (one is 5 miles and the other is 8), but I’m sure it’s still a fun way to experience running a Disney race without committing to the full half marathon distance.

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Our job was to direct the relay runners into the proper shoot for the exchange point. For two hours I was yelling “Relay to the Right, Relay to the Right” Good thing I had a mega phone. And good thing runners are awesome and fun to joke with along the way. On top of yelling “Relay to the right” I also threw in a lot of “You’ve got this runners” and “Cute outfit!” and “You’re still surrounded by people – this means you’re in a good spot! Keep it up!”

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Within 25 minutes of the race started we had our first wheel chair go by.

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A couple of minutes after that the first runner came.

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And then the road exploded with people.

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“Relay on the Right” “Relay on the Right”

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I had so much fun cheering people on. Everyone was really friendly and it was really fun to interact with all the runners while they were knee deep into the race. I saw a few familiar faces and even had a few runner recognize me! A big shout out to all the readers who ran past and said hi! You all looked great and really spirited!! Love that!! :)

I had Derek’s updates sent to my phone so every 5 minutes I was checking for either a text message or e-mail with his latest split. When he reached his 5k at 33:52 with a pace of 10:45 I knew to predict him around the hour mark after the start.

Sure enough I was able to pick out the bright orange “I run to stop MS shirt” and hi big beautiful smile.

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He was in great spirits. He gave me a hug and I told him he was doing great. I couldn’t believe how happy he was. As soon as I saw him I instantly knew that he was going to finish this race. He had this and he was rockin’ it!

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Go Derek Go!

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After Derek passed I still had a good chunk of people run by. Within the last 10 minutes or so of people I saw another familiar face run by with a big smile on her face.

This is Jess.

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I first met Jess three years ago at my ex’s hometown Christmas party. She was in the process of recovering from heart surgery, but meeting her for the first time you would never have known. She was strong, bright and to this day remains one of the sweetest, kindest people I had ever met. Even though we had never met her before that party, she still had a Christmas gift waiting for me and made sure to include me in all conversations. I felt very welcomed and automatically included in a group of friends I thought I would be an outsider in.

When she ran by I’ll admit I didn’t recognize her at first, but when i did I gave her a big hug and told her I was so proud. Three years ago she was recovering from heart surgery and now here she was finishing up the first leg of a Half marathon Relay. Jess is amazing and I’m so, so proud of what she has accomplished.

Way to go Jess! Congrats on another amazing accomplishment! :)

Pretty soon the last runners/walkers were slowly making their was by. We saw the sweepers come by and take up any runners that weren’t making the time cut off (such a sad scene) and before we knew it our time was up.

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We headed back to the tent and picked up our well deserved one day Disney Park Pass as a Thank you for our services.

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I was a little hungry at this point and grabbed an apple from the provided snack bag.

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Kelly and I were able to hitch a ride from one of the other volunteers to our hotel, BUT because of a mix up at check in we were keyless and Derek was still running the race. Crap. :/

Since neither of our names were on the room registration we were stuck for TWO HOURS in the lobby. Kelly watched crappy Disney tv and I took a little nap on the couch.

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It pays to have the ability to sleep anywhere. :)

Finally a little before 2:00am Derek came hobbling into the lobby.

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Metal in hand. ;)

He was in pain, he was limping, but he did it!!!! I had never been more proud. :)

I’m going to save Derek’s story to be written in his own words. Stayed tuned for a Derek guest post recounting what exactly was going through his head during his first half marathon. I’ll hopefully have it from him early next week. I know he has lots of stories to share. :)

For now, Kelly and I are about to use our free park pass.

Food & Wine Festival – here we come!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ash Bear October 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

Great job Derek!!! You rocked your first half marathon.

Meghann and Kelly- I wish I had spirited volunteers like you at every half marathon I run! :) I’m hoping NYC will be filled with people screaming happy thoughts!

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2 Allison October 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

My friend Karen ran last night, too. She flat-out said it wasn’t as good as the usual Disney race, and that Disney basically didn’t know what to do as far as theming. She heard that the Halloween 5k at the Magic Kingdom was more fun and had more support, more decorations, and more characters.

She and I are slow runners and we agree that the race should start at 8:00 or 9:00 at the latest.

I probably won’t do this race next year because I heard it wasn’t great, but it looks like you had an excellent time volunteering!

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3 alison October 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

What a fun night! Congralations do Derek for a great race! I hope you enjoy the Food and Wine Festival.

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4 Alison October 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

What a great post! Congratulations to Derek. Think he’s going to be an addict?! When I did my first half-marathon I thought that’d be it. Then I got hooked!

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5 Anna @ Doing Good and Living Well October 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

So many congratulations to Derek — what an awesome accomplishment! Can’t wait to read your recap.

Also, you guys make me want to volunteer for a marathon or half. Looks like a lot of fun and really inspirational! LOVE the photos of you and Kelly with the disney characters and your megaphones.

Egg salad = droolicious!

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6 melissa October 3, 2010 at 11:30 am

I tracked Derek! Congrats, so exciting! Love the recap so far and look forward to hearing more. I am a little sad Iwon’t be in disney until after the food and wine festival.

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7 Amanda October 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

What an accomplishment! I feel you about the eating out too much thing–sometimes it just gets exhausting!

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8 Melissa October 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon during its inaugural year and the volunteer staff was the best! Congratulations to Derek on his first Half…I’m sure he’s hooked now!

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9 ashleigh October 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

Congrats to Derek! I can’t wait to read his recap. I think the idea of a night time race is really cool but not sure I could do it! I’d be nervous all day!

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10 Nicci October 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

Great job Derek!

Looks like you ladies had lots of fun cheering on people and volunteering.

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11 Freya October 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Awh what a great recap – and you must be so proud of Derek! He did so well :)

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12 BethT October 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Yay Derek! Way to go!

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13 Maria @ Oh Healthy Day October 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Looks like such a fun time! Congrats to Derek – what an incredible accomplishment! I wish there were more night races around here – running in the sun is not for me – and I’m sure the Florida sun is even worse.

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14 Stephanie October 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

So I was running last night in the half (my first) and saw/recognized you guys at the transition point…but am too awkward for my own good and didnt say anything haha.

Thanks so much for cheering for all us runners! Every bit of motivation helped :) Congrats to Derek too!!

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15 Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook October 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

W00T! Go Derek!!!!

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16 Heather October 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Congratulations to Derek – what an accomplishment – and great time!

Enjoy the park!

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17 Lee October 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Congrats to Derek!

Why does the race start at such a late hour? Is there a reason for it?

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18 Krystina October 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Congrats Derek!!!!!!!!!!

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19 Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Congrats Derek!!!! Looks like a fun race to volunteer for- especially the free pass part!

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20 Faith @ lovelyascharged October 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Congrats, Derek! Stories like these make me look forward to participating in a race of my own so very much! Keep the inspiration coming :)

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21 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Congrats to Derek!! This seriously looks like such an AMAZING race- I looked into registering but it was already sold out a few months ago!

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22 christina cadden October 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Good job Derek!

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23 Tracy October 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Congratulations! A great race! Love all of the inspiration… Someday I will hit the road running! Until then… it’s great being here! ~Take Care!

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24 Heather Eats Almond Butter October 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Many congrats to Derek!!! I love the photo of him with his medal – he looks so happy, and sounds like he finished strong.

Sounds like a crazy but fun night for you and Kelly. I can’t imagine starting a half at 10:00 PM – staying up that late is a challenge for me these days! ;)

OK, so I received the HEABlet’s gifts, and Meghann, those are these cutest onesies ever. CD loves them too! I’m definitely bringing the HEABlet one to the hospital with us and hope to bring her home in it, and you know she’ll be sporting the Meals & Miles one as soon as she grows into it. Thank you so much – that was very thoughtful of you. Would you mind emailing me your address?

P.S. Out of all the dinners you described, I would have wanted your egg salad pita. I love egg salad made with hummus! :)

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25 kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com October 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

and running in the dark- FUN!!!! <3 except it doesnt let u fully see the sexiness as well haha <3

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26 Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) October 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Woo hoo, way to go Derek. He must feel so proud of himself. It looks like a fun night but I would agree that 10pm is a bit of a late start, I’m not surprised you had a nap in the lobby. I envy the fact that you can sleep anywhere. I can only sleep when I’m in bed! Have fun using the Disney pass.

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27 Lena @loveeatnowafter October 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

wow that sounds like a lot of fun!! those runners were so lucky to have such amazing volunteers rooting them on!! :) haha if i was running it ur comments on the megaphone definitely would have got me motivated!!

Congrats to Derek!!! I cant believe the race was so late tho!

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28 Heather October 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

SO JEALOUS. Disney races are the best, such fun!! good job derek!

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29 Erica October 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

BIG congrats to Derek!!!!!!!!!!!! And so fun that y’all volunteered. Hope you enjoy the park pass and get some rest :) Looking forward to the guest post

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30 Melissa @ TryingToHeal October 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Yay for Derek! I can’t wait to read his recap!

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31 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Congrats to Derek!

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32 Emily [Emilyeatsclean] October 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Congrats Derek!! So cool that you can volunteer at the race and get a park pass….have fun!

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33 Denise October 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I ran the race last night and kept my eye out for the MS T Shirts. I saw a couple but never saw Derek, but I did see you!! I really wanted to scream out hey Meghann its Denise I read your blog… HAHAHA! But the seconds I had to think of that and I was already past you. Good to see you in person. Thanks for cheering us on!!Tell Derek Congrats!!

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34 Rachael October 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Great job Derek!! You did it!! You are now part of the half-marathon club! What a sweet feeling!!! :)

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35 Lisa October 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I’d never run at night until Hood to Coast. My 2nd leg of the relay race was at 4am. Running in the Coastal Range through fog and in the dark was the weirdest experience ever!

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36 Jamie @ Food in Real Life October 3, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Congrats to Derek! I don’t know if I could handle a night race! Hope you guys are getting some rest :)

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37 Jess-The Semi Abnormal Gal October 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

You are TOO kind, Meghann. :D

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38 Jessica @ The Process of Healing October 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Awww a BIG congrats to Derek!

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39 Julie @ Wearing Mascara October 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Congrats Derek! :-) I’m really jealous that he got to run at night. I agree it should be earlier though. I’ve always wanted to race at night!

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40 Alexandra @ Bit Better Everyday October 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Congrats to Deref for completing his first half marathon!!! I’m doing my first one in a couple of weeks and im so excited/nervous!

Also just wanted to say how ridiculous that Marie Claire article was and that you ladies are all incredible inspirations! As someone who does have a complicated history with food/fitness, you have really helped me get to a better place and learn what it means to fuel your body properly. Thank you so much for blogging and for organizing events like the Healthy Living Summit.

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41 ida October 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Congrats to Derek! I’m looking forward to the recap.

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42 Lacey @ Lake Life October 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Way to go Derek! Such an amazing accomplishment for an absolutely great cause!

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43 marsha October 4, 2010 at 12:10 am

Yay Derek!!! Look forward to the recap! :)

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44 Jessica October 4, 2010 at 10:49 am

I was there on Saturday!! I ran my first marathon!! I want to say THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for volunteering!! All the volunteers were wonderful! Thank you for the support! I was so appreciative of all the water cups and high fives!

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45 Jamie October 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

Meghann & Kelly – I participated in the half marathon relay on Saturday. My leg was the first 5 miles and I probably ran right past you at the transition point! It was my very first running event, but now I am hooked. Thank you, thank you, thank you for volunteering your time and energy to cheer the runners on. Hearing the cheers all along the route was one of my most favorite things about the event. Well, that and the after-party at EPCOT!

Thanks again…and congratulations to Derek!

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