I kicked a squirrel and I liked it…Tales from the Goofy Challenge

I’ll explain the squirrel later…and it WAS an accident.  ðŸ™‚

This weekend I participated in my second Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World.  And it was SUCH an awesome experience.

I traveled with my brother & sister in law and my two nephews, and over the course of the weekend we all got medals.  Talk about maximizing the marathon weekend. LOL

My brother, is Dopey.  Or rather he ran Dopey.  That’s four consecutive days of waking up at 3am to go running.  A 5k thursday, a 10k friday, a half-marathon on saturday and a marathon on sunday.  48.6 miles in four days.  Not counting all the ‘park miles’ logged the rest of the day.  I’m sure he was well over 70 by Sunday night.

For me, being Goofy is enough.  That’s the two ‘big ones’.

I arrived Thursday to hit the expo and the parks.  The expo was actually really nice. It’s held at the ESPN Sports Complex, which is where they also held the kids races.  Three buildings full of vendors.


And of course I spent too much.

There were so many fun items.  Like shirts reading “i swim with the mermaids” and “aren’t you a little slow for a stormtrooper”.  But I stuck with the official race merchandise.  And got the shirts, headbands, magnets and drinkware I needed.

And of course, posed with the official banner.


Then, it was off to the animal kingdom with my nephew for the afternoon.

Friday – instead of resting, of course we decided to hit all four parks in one day.  A challenge in itself.  ðŸ™‚ But Ihydrated and fueled (btw…Liberty Tree Tavern – mashed potatoes and stuffing and pot roast?  Perfect pre-race food). And of course, couldn’t make it to bed until 10. #nosleepatdisney

Saturday – the Half Marathon!  5:30 am start meant 3am wakeup.  On the monorail around 3:30 and over to the start area.  (side note – its over a mile walk from the monorail to the corrals.  warmup anyone?)

But Disney knows how to entertain.  There was music and characters and fireworks to launch each corral.  And about 6am, off we went.

I LOVE running Disney. 

For the half we start at Epcot, run up and to the Magic Kingdom and back.  And despite it being a lot of main roads, there is stuff to see all along the way. Like a giant Sebastian the crab, and a tethered hot air balloon, and Stitch, and the mime from rapunzel, and Anna and Elsa waving from the castle terrace. And spectators all over the place. 

Seriously – running Main Street towards the castle,which is all lit up, with the sidewalks packed with  adoring fans? Magic. 

It was 60 and foggy. And we ran it slow and easy. Just taking in the sights and the sounds. Some spots where the course narrowed it was so packed you couldn’t move fast, but we didn’t want to. 

I tell people Disney isn’t a PR race, it’s one of those you want to just experience. 

We finished in a reasonable time, got our medals and headed back to the hotel. Then went to see my nephew run the 200 meter dash (seriously adorable) before spending the rest of the day at Epcot. 

Sunday – marathon day! 

Kind of a groundhog day experience. Back up at 3, monorail at 3:30, off to the corral. The main differences being I was dressed as tigger instead of Ariel.

Corral selfies!


 And it was 68 and HUMID. Dang. 

Walking to the corral I spotted another girl in the same tigger sparkle skirt. So I said hi and we took a picture. Because that’s what you do when you when Disney. 🙂

We took off right around 6 again. But with a different strategy. Saturday we had tried to be near the back of the corral thinking we’d have more room. Since it didn’t work, we started near the front this time and let everyone pass us. 

It gave us more room, but we weren’t running any faster. My poor brother was feeling every step of the 23 miles he’d already run, plus was dealing with a cranky quad and a groin pull. Which meant short strides, and as we went along, stretching and biofreeze. Lots of biofreeze. 

The characters were similar along the course today. Sebastian was replaced with Mike Wozowski. Some of the others were replaced by another character from the same movie. We saw Stitch and Jafar and Baloo and Ariel and Donald and the Genie and too many others to count. We didn’t stop for pics as the lines were too long. But it’s still cool to see. 

We spent a little more time in the magic kingdom today before heading to the animal kingdom. 

And on the way encountered a couple of golfers dealing with an “alligator”. I let out a shriek and feigned terror. Which they loved. 🙂

Just outside the entrance to it was a menagerie. Sheep, goat, pig, donkey and turtle – all wearing race bibs. Seriously, a turtle in a race bib? Dying of cuteness. 

Okay, so there are certain things that are rituals of running the Disney marathon. One of then is to ride Expedition Everest during the race. When we came by it, the park didn’t open for another 15 minutes, and yet the line to wait for the ride is already crazy long. We skipped it, but I had to laugh. It’s just further proof that most people don’t run this one for time. 

Next we headed to my (and most people’s) least favorite part of the course. The sports complex. Sure, it sounds fun to run the track and run the bases where the Atlanta Braves play their spring training games. But it’s not. There’s a lot of boring sections. And the warning track is full of small stones that you have to fish out of your shoes after. 

It did, however, have my two favorite mile marker banners. 

From there – we headed to Hollywood Studios. 

And right about mile 21, my brother really started to fade. His feet hurt, his everything hurt. And he started to doubt his ability to finish. And started to vow that next year he’s actually going to train.  But I knew he had it in him. And I was going to help him know he had it. 

We took more time at the water stops. We hit all the med tents for biofreeze and we walked whatever we needed to walk. And if we had to walk those last 5 miles, so be it. 

We hit the back entrance to Hollywood Studios at mile 23. Where volunteers waited with dove squares. And yes I proclaimed out loud “this is the best piece of chocolate I have ever eaten in my entire life.

About half way through the park, we ran it out to mile 24.5, then walked part of the boardwalk. Gave shout outs to Pats fans (me) and Blackhawk fans (him). And I snagged smarties and a peppermint patty from our fans. And I got a couple of “come on tigger – put some bounce in that step.”

Just before Epcot, we were passed the mom of one of my nephew’s hockey teammates. And said a quick hello – because when you see someone you know among 26,000 people? Random. 

I asked my brother – do you have it in you to run the last mile? And he said he’d find it. 

So at the mile 25 marker, we ran. Around the world (showcase). With this awesome warrior overture music blaring. I was grinning the whole way thinking “this is so EPIC”. 

As we passed one spot a line of birds came from the side. I put my hand out, said “hey, no crossing” and they stopped. 

And, then, as we crossed the bridge to future world,  my brother yelled “squirrel!” Just as it made contact with the toes of my right foot. Yeah, I kicked a squirrel during a marathon. That’s a first. 

But it was fine as it then ran in front of the girl to my left, who jumped. And we laughed SO hard. 

As we passed spaceship earth, my brother looked over and said “go for it kid”. I grinned and said “see you at the finish” and took off like a shot, passing almost everyone on my way to the finish. 

I spotted Minnie Mouse, slid over to high-five her. And crossed the finish with my arms raised high. 

This really is one of my favorite races. And the bling rocks. 

My husband asked if I’m going to do this every year. And I won’t. It’s too exhausting. But every two seems about right. 

I already can’t wait for 2018, to do it all over again.


4 thoughts on “I kicked a squirrel and I liked it…Tales from the Goofy Challenge

  1. Great recap! I always wondered what happens during the race at the roller coaster in Animal Kingdom. I didn’t realize people queued for it like the characters. Congrats on doing all those miles. I can’t even imagine running even a few miles the day before a marathon, let alone 13 or 22!

    • Thanks so much! And yes – it amazed me how people are willing to queue up and wait for the ride. And it is an awesome ride. But I think I’d have trouble running again after such a wait.

      The consecutive days are definitely a challenge. But it’s so worth it. 🙂

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