Disney Wine & Dine Run Makes My Tumbly Rumbly

Runners feast at the 2010 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Photo courtesy of runDisney.

Ask Miles of Runner’s World recently posed an age old question: Is it better to run a lot but eat poorly, or eat healthy and not exercise at all? Dr. Bill Roberts, RW’s “Ask the Sports Doc” blogger, answered: “I would think that heavy exercise will compensate better for a poor diet than a perfect diet will compensate for no exercise.” Phew!

I run because I love to eat. Sure there are other nobler reasons why I run—because I can, because it keeps me fit, blah blah blah—but I’m not going to lie: eating is probably top three. And eating healthy while training for a race is important. But what if the race has “Wine & Dine” in the title? While training for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Oct. 1, I’m finding that eating healthy is easier said than done.

I love a good meal. Always have. I set out on a quest when I was 8 years old to find the best filet mignon in the world—or at least the best filet at the restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs where I ate with my father every weekend. My parents were divorced, and my dad was a steakhouse man. It’s probably safe to say that I ate a steak a week with him. Since most of the steakhouses didn’t have kid menus, he’d order for me a petit filet slathered in Béarnaise sauce. The rest is history.

I eat a much more healthy diet now—albeit laced with ice cream and milkshakes. I am to ice cream what Winnie the Pooh is to a jar of honey. As Pooh bear would say, it puts a rumbly in my tumbly. But I still love a fine meal, ideally paired with a good glass of wine. I’ll also take a messy gyro from a street cart in NYC.

Karla pigs out at Portillo’s Hot Dogs in Chicago. Photo by Phil Hospod.

So the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on October 1 was a natural choice for my first Disney race. My boyfriend, who is running the race with me, and I have eaten our way around the world—asado in Argentina, bratwurst in Berlin, caribou in Canada, herring in Holland, ice cream in Italy, masala in Mumbai, pierogi in Poland, margaritas in Mexico, sangria in Spain, tea in Tanzania and more. We’ve also wined our way through Napa in California, Tuscany in Italy, Central Otago in New Zealand, and Mendoza in Argentina—attending their annual wine harvest festival. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

At the Wine & Dine finish line, we’ll eat our way around the world once again. The half-marathon ends at Epcot with a party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Every country at the World Showcase—like Germany, Morocco and Japan—will have special tasting menus, along with other international marketplaces serving cuisine from Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Greece and other nations. Each country will also offer beer and wine from those regions.

They say the run is a beauty, and the party is a beast. I certainly hope so. With a 10 p.m. start time, I’ll be crossing the finish line at—gulp, I’m going to say it—midnight. I’d say a giant midnight snack care of Epcot will be just what I need.

But three weeks into my training for the race, I’m reigning in my diet. Training hard means eating healthy too—albeit with some ice cream and post-run milkshakes for good measure. I’m also eating a lot of Greek salads and fish. Les poissons, les poissons, how I love les poissons. (Bonus points if you know what Disney movie that’s from).

It’s paying off. Since I started my official training plan three weeks ago, I’ve already logged one personal best in a 5-mile race. If I want to PR in the half—which, I do, I really do—I can’t just talk the talk of a runner in training. I’ve got to, um, walk the walk. My current half-marathon personal best is 2:07:10. I’d love to shave as much time off of that as I can. Shave, mmm, shaved beef, shaved ice, shaved…what was I saying?

Oh right. Training for a personal best means eating healthy now so I can celebrate later—with a giant midnight snack at the finish line. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

Disclosure: As part of the running media, runDisney is providing me with complimentary race entry, hotel, park tickets, and some meals for the 2011 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. But as always, all opinions are my own. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


08 2011

8 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    Such a fun post!

    I’m totally with you, on a bunch of fronts. I love eating delicious food around the world, I love to eat healthy but definitely have a sweet tooth, and I’m super excited for the Food and Wine Festival, and the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

    We’ll have to try to meet up there to say hello! :)

    • Karla Bruning
      Karla #

      Lisa, I love your blog too. And I can’t wait to pig out at the Food and Wine Festival. Let’s KIT!

  2. Jerrica #

    Hi Karla! I found your blog on StumbleUpon and I really like it. I’m 17 and run regularly in school sports. I’m running my first half-marathon in November and your blogs have really helped me to realize that it is a possible goal and that people can do it (and more!). Good luck with your training! :)

    • Karla Bruning
      Karla #

      Jerrica, Thanks! That’s great that you’re training for your first half! I’m sure you’ll have an awesome run. Be sure to enjoy it. You only get one first one. Good luck!

  3. 5

    been to the food/wine festival twice and it’s a blast. Pair a run with it and it sounds like a perfect weekend! Sorry to have missed it before it sold out. Have a great time!

  4. Karla Bruning
    Karla #

    Thanks Bryan! Yeah, this race seems right up your alley. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m already having fun training and thinking about all the food :)

  5. 7

    Karla, check out Eat, Sleep, Run Disney for a full rundown of last year’s Wine & Dine – you may want to stop and play with characters, etc. along the way – Too much fun to miss! Maybe a PR at a more boring race! 😉

    • Karla Bruning
      Karla #

      Thanks for the tip!


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