Dopey Challenge 2015
Running 48.6 miles is no joke. Running it in four days divided into a 5k (3.1 miles) a 10k (6.2 miles) a half marathon (13.1 miles) and a marathon (26 miles) is just plain gruelling.
I was pretty excited about Disney Marathon Weekend and the Dopey challenge until the day before it all started. That’s when the doubt started to kick in. I didn’t train enough, I have a couple of injuries that I’ve ignored and worst of all… I still have to my work AND get up at 3am!!!
Am I going to finish? Can I get through 48.6 miles without making my injuries worse? Will I sleep through the 5 alarms I have set?
Well, I’m very to report, I finished. I had a great time and while the injuries are still there, they didn’t get any worse and I’m ready to sign up for Dopey 2016.
Here’s a quick run down of the four days.
Day 1 – 5k
Pluto’s 5k was the c-o-l-d-e-s-t run I have done in a long time! Mother Nature wanted to test the runners and see how they did with 20 mph winds and temps in the 30’s /40’s.
I’m Canadian. I “should” be able to handle this type of weather – nope. I was shaking and shivering like a Chihuahua! I wore 4 layers….4. From all of the shivering and shaking, I was exhausted later that day. I mean, exhausted. The 5k route is by far my favourite. Running through World Showcase is just fantastic. I love it!! There were some great characters along the route. We said that we weren’t going to do any character pictures but then we saw Chip n Dale in Japan. Picture time!! Because they were wearing kimonos!!!!!
Post race, we had the Runners World race retreat and it was awesome. I highly recommend getting the race retreat for marathon weekend/Dopey challenge. We finished and went right to the warm tent for hot coffee and hot food. We were able to sit, relax and get a few character pics!
Day 2 – 10k
Oh hello 3am –what an unpleasant time you are, even if you’re going to Disney.
Another crazy cold morning. I had a cute outfit planned and it was tossed aside for warmth! I wore 3 layers, so it was better…but still, I was wearing 3 layers! Burr(ows). There were no crazy cold winds, so stopping to characters was doable! I didn’t push myself to get a PR because I wanted to save my legs/feet for the half and the full. Now mind you, it was cold so I did pick up my pace to get through the course so I could get to that awesome race retreat to warm up.
Day 3 – Half Marathon 13.1 miles
Dear 3am, I hate you. You would think I’d get the hang of this by now, but no such luck. Another cold morning, another cute outfit planned and scrapped. Yes…running is about the cute outfits. Don’t judge. I did manage to only need 2 layers…progress!! Seeing all of the costumes people wear is always fun. I love that runners put effort in to make this a total experience.
Another reason I love runDisney events is because that running community is a lot of fun and supportive. I love seeing familiar faces or people I interact with online.
I had a plan for this run. No stopping for pics in the dark, those pictures never turn out. Going off track for a sec, so stay with me…I use to do these runDisney events and blast through them always chasing a new PR. I never had a character picture or any pics from the course just the memories in my head. This last year I have realized it is important to stop and ‘smell the roses’. Take pics with friends, characters, the Castle, everything! This is an experience run…enjoy it!!! If you are chasing a PR do local runs at home. Some of the best pics I have are from runs and some of the best conversations and laughs I have had are during runs. Get the full experience not just the post run medal pic.
Ok, back on track. I love this course. Running down Main Street USA and having people chEAR you on, running towards the castle is just a-m-a-z-i-n-g!! If you don’t have a bucket list, then put one together and add a runDisney run to that list!!!
I felt good for this run. It was cold but it was manageable. Seeing familiar faces along the course route gives you that added boost to keep going! Stopping for character pics with friends is just fun! I felt like I was on autopilot with this run. I knew not to push hard because I needed all that I had for the marathon. The sun was out and it had warmed up but it wasn’t crazy hot so I was thankful for that! I finished and felt good and again. Back over to race retreat to unwind, fuel up.Have I mentioned race retreat is a really great thing to do?
Day 4 – Full marathon 26.2 miles
I was fortunate to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando located on property at Walt Disney World. I still had to get up early 2:45am. We were going to take the bus but at the last minute decided to drive and knew we had to leave early because of the roads being busy and some of them shut down for the race. The Waldorf and Hilton Bonnet Creek do special runDisney race weekend packages and part of the package is a pre race send off party.
Now this is how you do 3am. I wasn’t hating it as much.
They had ever kind of drink (hot/cold) bars, bagels, fruit. The staff was energetic and gave their all to pump up these tired runners! It was quite the send off and I highly recommend it if you are doing a run. I did write more about it here.
We arrived early…ugh. Race retreat is open before the half marathon and marathon. We did our bag check, sat down and got ourselves put together.
I don’t mean to go on about the race retreat BUT another big feature is they have their own sets of porta-potties. That means you don’t have to wait in a line of 50 people to use the potty. They have people their keeping them clean-so that means there is always toilet paper, hand sanitizer.
We stayed in there until they kicked us out. (Race retreat, not the porta-potties.) It was another cold morning, but I did manage to wear a cute outfit (but I had a jacket on). I had planned to give it to a friendly face along the race route to hold for me when I got warm. The plan was simple – slow and steady. No stopping for characters in the dark! Miles 1-13 seemed effortless-autopilot kicked in.
Mile 14 is when you need your mind to kick in and stay strong for the remaining 13 miles. I saw friends just outside of Animal Kingdom! Hello Kelly Christine!
My fellow Disney Parks Mom’s Panelist, Laura gave me a diet coke – love her for having food and drinks on hand.
My family was just up ahead and when I saw them it was the best thing!! I needed those hugs. We snapped a few selfies and I grabbed some snacks from them and we were on our way.
The run along Osceloa Parkway into ESPN Wide World Of Sports is looooonng and boring. This is when you need great music or great conversations with your running partner. Thankfully, runDisney and Cigna provide the music and Bama provides the conversation.
Coming out of Wide World of Sports is mile 20. The Dreaded Wall…and oddly I felt fine. Mentally I knew it was almost over. My feet were beyond sore, I mean stabby sore but I pushed on. The run up the ramp towards Hollywood Studios back entrance is another long, boring stretch. That’s when I needed to buck up and keep telling myself I was in single digits and its almost over! Got to see some familiar faces at Hollywood Studios so that was fun.
Then it started raining…come on Mother Nature. My family was on the boardwalk in front of the Yacht and Beach Club so I knew seeing them again would give me the last blast I needed. Hugs and kisses and them telling me they were proud was all I needed to finish up. The rain kept coming and got harder while we were in World Showcase. I got a soggy pic with Duffy. He was brave standing in the rain, he did smell like wet fur and sweaty runner though…lol.
The gospel choir was there again at mile 26 –praise the Lord and Hallelujah, I made it!!
It was a fun 4 days and Im ready to sign up for 2016 #perfectDopey