Doubly Dopey

Well, I did it.  AGAIN!  Survived 5 days of early wake-ups, 48.6 race miles and at least that in park miles.  And IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

First, apologies for it taking me a month to write my recap.  LOL  At first its a matter of getting past the zombie stage, then trying to gather those threads of thought and then simply finding time to write.

So here goes…

For those of you who have NO idea what i’m talking about… the Dopey Challenge in running 48.6 miles over four days at Walt Disney World.  Its attending an Expo on Wednesday, then a 5k Thursday, 10k Friday, 1/2 marathon Saturday & full marathon on Sunday.   Because there’s just sooo much to say, i’ll break it down by day.

Expo Day

Maybe it was the smaller number of runners, maybe it was the expo opening 2 hours earlier, but this was the smoothest expo day i’ve had at Disney.  I was able to get my bib with no line (tho I skipped the line for a photo op with the Dopey display they had up:

Then I hit the official merchandise and found everything I wanted, no problem before getting to browse the other race vendors.  Scored some free packs of Jelly Belly sports beans, bought some unicorn compression socks (YES!), a rose gold sparkle visor and then, a wine slushie and a blue beer for my brother.   The whole expos experience was just so…civilized.  And with a stop at ALL the medal-replica signs, we were done.

Then on to the hotel for unpacking, dinner and relaxing.  Because the races were about to start.

5k

Mike & Marty Wazowksi and a 2319 reporting for duty! This was fun. We had A corral, and ended up in about the 3rd wave.  But, the volunteers who were in charge of roping off the waves saw my adorable nephew and said “There you are, i’ve been looking for you.  Come here and hold this.” and handed him the tape.  We started, toes on the start line.  And it was SO cool.  I warned him, when the gun goes off, we’re gonna take off fast and then settle in.  And we did.

We oddly had a lot more room to run than we had before and were able to cruise along.  I high high-fived the guys on stilts as we passed and entered the world showcase.  Where we posed for ALL the photographers we noticed, smiled at other runners and just kept on cruising. Waved to volunteers, danced and sang along to the music. My nephew did an awesome job at keeping up with me.  We passed Spaceship Earth and headed out to the finish chute. Where my nephew, surprised me. He kicked, and kicked hard.  I laughed and took off after him.  I caught him, and we’re not sure who finished first, but we both finished grinning…with my brother right behind us.  That, was awesome!  Even more awesome?  My nephew got a new PR.  By between 3 & 4 minutes.  A 30:44.

Park: Animal Kingdom. Rope dropped flight of passage, rode all the rides, saw all the critters.  Including a private safari trek (OMG SO COOL!).

Dinner: Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge) – the bread service is to die for!

10k

For the 10k, we were in purple & green (Dopey colors) in shirts I custom made.  Our challenge shirts.  For this race my nephew & I started in A, while my brother started in B.  So we tried to be the last wave of A, and him the front of B.  Again, my handsome nephew made himself a friend in a volunteer and we started on the front line.  Where I interacted with (raised heck with. LOL) the DJ as we waited to start. SO much fun.

We took off a little slower this day, knowing my brother needed to catch us, which he did just at mile 2.  I’d seen him on the other side of one of the turns, so I knew he would. Which was good because apparently my poor nephew had left it all out there in the 5k and struggled.   But people are so great running Disney.  The other runners were all so encouraging of him, telling him he was doing great and trying to help him get out of his head.  No matter how much he struggled tho, he never gave up. And only took one walk break to regroup.   As we went through the world showcase (OMG this is so my favorite part of marathon weekend – the showcase light by torches) and then onto the boardwalk past the cheering crowd, I just smiled and soaked it all in.  I got a little ahead of the guys by the end and let my brother help my nephew.  In the end…my nephew got another 10k PR, a 1:12:16, beating his first one last year by just over 4 minutes.  So proud of this guy!

Park: Hollywood Studios/Epcot. Rope dropped slinky dog, rode all the rides, hugged a wookie.  Then at Epcot – Imagination, Soarin, Test Track, Spaceship Earth and a Gran Marnier slushie.  The basics.

Dinner: Fairytale Dining at Artist Point – Dinner with Dopey!  And snow, grumpy and the evil queen.  Totally worth it.

Half-Marathon

It was just my brother and I for this one. I dressed as Rose Gold Minnie.  And the ears stayed on the whole race.  LOL

We started in corral D and noticed it definitely had less people than prior years.  We had more room to run and HUGE props to Disney for having the first 3 miles much better lit than in prior years.  I carry a mini flashlight for safety (and dark POP’s) and was happy to not need it for the course this year.  We made it to the “under the sea” hill away from any Galloway Groups, then through the gates to main street with no issues.  I also thought Main Street was a lot less crowded.  Tho I spend most of that stretch just staring at the castle all shiny and beautiful.   I love this little section of course – Main Street, Tomorrowland, past Mine Train and then though the castle.  Out beyond the Country Bears, splash mountain and onto the backstage area where the villains always hide.  Even “cone alley” was better this year for pacing.

But once you leave that, its wide open and slightly boring.  LOL Miles 8-11 are a whole lotta highway.  And yikes those onramps.  But the minute you head back into Epcot’s backstage area you know its the home stretch.  The course was a little different this year, and as we came behind The Land (i still have Listen to the Land stuck in my head from hearing it there and again the next day at animal kingdom) I thought it was cool to see something different.

We headed out towards the front of the land and out towards, as the cast member said “The giant golf ball”  LOL  Past the Gospel Choir and toward the finish. I high-fived a pair of chipmunks and crossed the line. 🙂

Park: Magic Kingdom

Dinner: Maria & Enzos – loved it. Great sangria, great pasta

 

Marathon

It gets a little harder each day hearing that 3am alarm. But there’s something about knowing its the last day to hear it that helps you drag yourself out of bed and into a costume.  I think by Sunday i’m almost on remote…and on the monorail before my brain realized what I was doing.  LOL

Just like during the half, the roads were well lit and the crowd definitely thinner than prior years. We had room to run and when my brother had technical difficulties with his music we had no fear of being trampled trying to fix it.  It was right around here that I saw a man in a Run for Rett Syndrome t-shirt.  I smiled and told him that i’ve run for Rett too – three times and that my friend continues to do so.  He told me he pushes a girl in Alabama.  I told him he was awesome and wished him luck today.  🙂

We made it through the TTC, and on to the Magic Kingdom, cruising up main street.  I just can’t help but stare at the castle the whole time.  Its SO pretty and I treat each race as if “what if this the last time I get to run this” to make sure I soak it all in.

Past the characters – I always look to see who it is, and yet never stop.  I think i’m afraid to lose momentum by stopping so early and yet later in the race am usually too tired to want to stop – and out to the backstage Villains area.  Then on to cone alley.  Cone Alley is the worst spot of the course – its so narrow and crowded and often boring, but I still laugh thinking about the year the truck got stuck.

Once you’re out the road opens wide past Grand Floridian and Polynesian.  Where family  was sleeping – and even knowing full well they were definitely sleeping, I still looked as we went by….just in case. Then past the golf course the road turns to head to Animal Kingdom.  This road can get boring – but by now i’d found a pack of dwarves (only 4 – tho they had great excuses as to the missing ones) who were only too happy to have fun with this snow white.  In fact for the next few miles we played tag – passing each other – and always with a fun comment.  “That house better be clean when we get home” “Doc’s in the med tent, and we didn’t even bother asking Grumpy to run”  (Guys – if you read this – thanks for that. Ya gotta have fun during a marathon.)

My favorite character stop ever – was there outside Animal Kingdom.  I got to pet a goat. Yay!  And in animal kingdom I almost stopped for a character photo with Timon.  And just didn’t.  I did however carry a banana for almost a mile just to get a good banana phone picture (sorry – can’t talk, running a marathon)

The first half of the marathon my brother & I always do much better than the second half.  We usually run 99% of the first 14-15 miles and then ‘survive’ the second half.  It becomes a run walk strategy – first run as long as we can, then walk, then alternating 1/2 miles, or 1/4 miles or ‘run to the med tent/water table’ and then walk a bit.  Plus by now it was getting sunny and a little warmer.  Which, combined with fatigue, makes it a little tougher.   And the road from Animal Kingdom to the Wide World of Sports is a section we refer to as the “Highway to Hell” because there’s not much to see and you know that WWOS is just torture.

But in we headed and did our best.  And when we got to the track I asked my brother if he wanted to run.  He looked at me like I had three heads and replied No.  I grinned and said “Meet you at Goofy” and took off like a shot.  Full sprinted around the track and got in line for my first even character photo.  YAY!  Got the pic, turned around and there was my brother.  Perfect timing.  🙂

And I did it again – upon spying Joy & Sadness (OMG LOVE THEM) outside the baseball stadium I sent my brother ahead and said i’d catch up.  Short line, quick photo, and I sprinted into the stadium.  Around the warning track, past my brother (cuz if you can’t tease family, who can you tease) and to the mile 20 sign.

I LOVE that sign.  because it means you are almost done with WWOS and there’s just a 10k to go.  I feel like at that point if I have to walk the whole rest of it, so be it.  I will finish.  From there is just a short hop and a couple of med tents to Hollywood Studios.  Well and one hill.  And ugly hill with a green army man yelling at you.  As bad as that hill feels in that moment, I shimmy up that sucker.  And when we hit the next med tent and my brother stopped for biofreeze I spied a can of coke on the table. And asked if they had any.  I could have kissed the volunteer who handed me an ice cold can.  Because in that moment it was exactly what I needed.  Walking along, drinking coke and singing “Sweet Caroline” was an awesome moment.  I left my can just outside Hollywood and in we went.

I scored a cool Mickey Mouse sticker from a young spectator and tissues from a couple others.  Got compliments on my outfit and some pictures.  Hollywood goes SO fast and we were out before we knew it.  Along the water towards Epcot.  So close…and yet still so far. But this section along the water? Its Candy Row! Just lined with spectators who know that sugar and chocolate the last two miles of a marathon can make a difference.  I loved the woman yelling “who wants to take candy from a stranger” and did – thanks for the swedish fish!

We FINALLY made it into Epcot and saw the 25 mile sign. I looked at my brother and said, shall we run? He goes NOW? I said, yeah, why? And he goes “we’re in france”  Oops – slushee time! Expect….the sucker was still closed. 😦 So instead he said “why don’t you go fetch us sangrias”  hahaha  And I did.

I ran strong through the world showcase, waving to cast members and spectators, singing along to ‘how far i’ll go’ and on to Mexico.  OMG that was SO much fun.  I hopped in the short line for sangria where the cast member promised to get me through there quickly and when I got them, turned to see my brother standing at the fence.  Again, great timing and we didn’t lose the 10 minutes we did last year.

These sangrias are amazing… And I will happily walk that 1/2 mile stretch of the race drinking it.  Because by now, time doesn’t matter.  Having an awesome fun-filled experience with my littlest brother does. Its moments like that that keep me going back to the race.

We finished them right before we hit the finish chute and tossed them in a trash can.  Smiled and took off to the finish.  Past pluto and across the line.  I threw my arms up in victory and crossed SO happy. (hmmmm maybe that was the sangria talking. LOL)

We finished nearly 10 minutes faster than last year – and still got sangria as well as two photo stops.  I say we aced this year. 🙂  Let see how much more we can fit in next year!  (No, i’m still not riding everest mid-race.  But maybe this time I will stop for Timon.)

No matter what tho – we will be back next year.  Me and my perfectly Dopey brother.  Because….I mean LOOK at this medal!WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARAMEDALBACKDROP5_20190113_8306814426.jpg

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6 weeks to Dopey – let’s talk costumes!

Doing weekly countdowns keeps me so very aware of how many (or few?) days are left until Dopey. And we’re at 42. Eek!!!
It’s time to really get my costumes together. While I know what I’m planning – there’s still some organizing and cricuting still to do. 🙂 And I’m definitely doing some reminiscing about the ones I’ve worn over the years. Below…I’ll discuss my favorites!
But first…training update. While my mileage is definitely down from last year, having been through it once already totally helps my confidence.  I know I can finish.  And having the loooooong runs begin totally makes it feel like go time.
I did run my last race of the year on thanksgiving.  My third time at the Attleboro YMCA Gobble Wobble.  Some of you may remember the last two years of Turkey Vision Quest…well this year was NOT that.  LOL  I had no time or placement goal, I had no expectations and I had no idea what my legs had.  It was C O L D and I felt both totally silly and badass running a 5k in feels like -1.
When the race started I took off with the group, fell into pace, warmed up and just went for it.  That said – when I saw the clock at the end I had to grin.  Because it was over 2 minutes faster than I expected!  And within 40 seconds of the PR I set last year.  So while sure, part of me was disappointed I missed 3rd place in my age group by 30 seconds (drat!) I know there is NO WAY I could have shaved that off what I ran.  So i’m happily walking away from that with 4th AG.  And 99th overall, which is pretty cool.  😀
I followed that up two days later with a Saturday 16-miler.  I found that window of time that would be prime running – and it was Saturday afternoon.  A time I NEVER run.  But it was single digits again friday and rain expected Sunday – so when you find 45 degrees and sun you take it.
I told myself the run was a no-pressure, time on my feet kinda long run (just Dopey marathon practice) and yet, my legs had other ideas.  I should NOT have been running 9:40’s…for 10 whole miles.  I did finally get my legs to slow some after that…but still super awesome long run pace for me.  I ran by a lot of christmas decor and even a tree farm.  I saw two ponies and some chickens.  And I just enjoyed what might be the last chance to run in capris in 2018.  It was an awesome run and a confidence boost for sure.
Of course, since my mind loves to wander during runs….I was trying to remember what I still need to do (or buy) for my costumes.
Picking out four is both easy, and hard. There are SO many to choose from! And while I try to not repeat myself, I am bringing back characters this year – although with new costumes.
One is my girl Snow White. She wasn’t meant to be a costume last year. But it was SO cold for marathon weekend, that what I had originally planned just wasn’t gonna work and I had enough cold gear with me to “Disney bound” her. So this year, she’s gonna get the royal treatment. She’ll be my marathon outfit.
She’ll join that ‘hall of fame’ of the four other outfits i’ve worn running the Disney marathon.  And I think she’s a great choice for fifth.
I definitely have a favorite from each year – and its usually my m marathon one.  I think its because I save the good one for the big race (whether i’m running Goofy or Dopey). I also have a favorite picture that goes with each one.
So here they are…my favorites so far!
2014 –  Minnie Mouse / Goofy
It was my first year and I wasn’t as good at costumes yet.  I chose Minnie as my first (for the half) and Goofy for the marathon, as that was my challenge of choice that year.  I made custom shirts for my brother (who was running Dopey) and I that read – I’m Goofy but my brother’s Dopey…it runs in the family (and the reverse for him.) Those shirts got a lot of love…and will always have a special place in my heart.img_0382
2016 – Ariel / Tigger
My second Goofy, I branched out a little and joined team sparkle.  I kept Ariel simple so I could run well (purple shirt and visor, green sparkle skirt) and Tigger, my bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy buddy, was FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!img_1356
This is also the infamous “I kicked a squirrel” photo…(see my 2016 weekend recap blog.  LOL)
2017 Joy / Merida
This year my family ran the 5k together as the emotions from Inside Out.  I was Joy (obviously – lol) and it was fun to do a group costume. I had planned Mike Wazowski for the 1/2, which got cancelled and almost chose to run in that for the marathon…but I knew I had to stick with my original plan – Merida.  And i’m SO glad I did.  I had a blast posing for the photographers…and got what will always be one of my most epic race photos.img_2091
2018 Mike Wazowksi / Dopey colors / Snow bounding / Figment
My first Dopey…and boy was it cold!  I had planned to run the 5k as Mike with my hubs as Sully, but when its in the 30’s, you adapt.  I was fortunate enough to have a green fleece Mike colored, but still, my awesome shirt has yet to have its moment.  So him, we will bring back in January – hoping third time is the charm for this guy.
This was also another year of the costume shirt.  I designed Dopey challenge shirts and a challenge shirt for my nephew (who runs the 5k/10k) and we wore those (with a billion layers under them) for the 10k.  I ran the whole race also in a pair of sparkle purple and green minnie mouse ears.  So awesome!
For the half – I had a minnie mouse costume packed…but it wasn’t going to be nearly warm enough for a thank top, and i didn’t have any black long sleeves. So a quick plan B and Snow was ready to go.  Like I said, this was not one of my best costumes and the OG princess deserves a chance to shine.
Figment….this goes right up there with Merida as my favorite Disney costume ever.  My awesome sister in law gave me the idea (she’s a MAJOR Figment Fan) and I totally ran with it.  It was fun to craft and fun to run it – the crowds loved it.  And this picture…makes me smile.img_2933-1
So my fellow Dopeys, Goofys and other marathon weekend runners…what’s your favorite costume ever?

Dopey Challenge…I did it!

There’s a feeling you get when you cross the finish line of a race.  It’s a combination of victory, exhilaration and exhaustion.   When you cross the finish line of the marathon of the Dopey Challenge, its all that amplified.  I could only describe it as “Run Drunk”  I was, in a word, HYPER.  🙂  And i’m sure the sangria didn’t help.  LOL

I don’t think i’ve ever been so happy, excited and tired in my entire life.  I felt completely badass and victorious.  And I instantly knew I need to do this again.

It was that same kind of feeling I got after riding Flight of Passage.  Such a major adrenaline rush that you want again.  And again.  I totally get why my brother is Perfectly Dopey.  You just can’t resist repeating it.

As someone who is three times Goofy (well, two and an asterisk) I have always loved running Disney.  But running Dopey is its own creature.  Its hard. But beyond rewarding. Plus its fun when my coworkers ask “oh, did you run the half or the full” and I reply “both, plus a 5k and 10k”.  The look on their faces is priceless.

I’ve spent days trying to write this blog.  Because how do you capture four days of running and parks and magic and pixie dust and amazing experiences in a few hundred words.  Lets just say the weekend as a whole was magical.  And i’m going to highlight a few of my favorite parts of each race.

5k – Thursday

Running with my husband, brother & nephew was a blast.  Even tho it was absurdly cold and I had to layer my warmest hoodie over my mike wazowski tank, I still pulled off cute.  I love this course – the world showcase light by tiki torches is so pretty.  And not only running with, but crossing the finish line with the hubs was a highlight of the weekend. I was also inspired post race to take a silly medal photo – a trend I continued all weekend (photos below).

We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom.  Got to see hippos lying on the ground with their mouths wide open (LOL), rode Flight of Passage twice, hit all the rides we could (Everest was closed and Dinosaur had a 2 hour fast pass line so those were out) and had amazing drinks at Nomad Lounge.  I’m also glad we got to see Pandora at night.  To me, that was cooler than fireworks.

And while at Nomad lounge, I met some great people.  We were invited to share a table with two random strangers, who turned out to be members of the Dopey Challenge facebook group I’m in, and had a great time chatting with them.  Shortly after they left a family asked if we were leaving soon as they were looking for a table.  I invited them to sit down, as we likely were, but we were happy to share space, as we’d been invited to do.  It was a couple and their son, and noticing our medals we chatted about the races.  The mom, Julie, was in a wheelchair, and in awe of runners, as she’ll never get to.  I vowed to run a mile for her.  Which I did during the half (see that section for more….).

10k – Friday

This was me, my nephew and my brother.  My nephew’s first 10k and he did SO good.  We had coordinating shirts (Perfectly Dopey, 1st Dopey and Trevor’s Challenge) which got some love from other runners.  At one point my nephew was struggling so I told him to smile.  That when runners smile it makes the running easier because you’re happy.  At this point another runner chimed in with “and listening to runners talk about smiling helps too”.  With a fist bump, he was off.  🙂

This was my first time running a Disney 10k.  And i’d heard that its a lot of folk’s favorite course.  I could totally see why.  Not only do you get the beauty of the tiki torch lit world showcase again, but running the boardwalk is SO fun.  The lights reflecting on the water, the smells from the bakery, the spectators cheering so loud i’m sure it woke people up, all of it made for a fun run.

A shout out to my favorite volunteer at the race – after thanking her for a bottle of water she replied singing “You’re Welcome”  Disney humor…never gets old.

The rest of the day was spent at the Magic Kingdom.  I got to ride Haunted Mansion for the first time in years, but going there first cost me a chance at Space Mountain (the wait never dropped below 2 hours).  It was worth it.  The park was crazy crowded but through my brother’s skill at “Fast Pass Chess” we managed to ride some classics – Dumbo, the Tea Cups – as well as Monster’s Inc  Laugh Floor and a first and final ride on Stitch’s Great Escape.  I’d heard it was terrible, but since its closing, it was now or never.  And I love Stitch, good or bad.

13.1 – Saturday

Down to me and my Dopey brother now. (My nephew isn’t old enough for the half yet, but will totally run it once he is.) It was slightly warmer for the half so i was able to run in a skort and compression socks instead of pants (YAY).  And in ran this one sort of dressed as snow white, and continuing a trend from last year, with my hair down.

My brother had a goal for this one; he wanted a PR.  And we were going to get him one.

The first mile at Disney is always slow as you find space and get through the narrow sections, but we quickly settled into a good pace and were through the Magic Kingdom clocking sub-10 minute miles and out to the narrow mile 7 with no crowding issues. (aside – there was a truck stuck in the middle of an open area of deep sand here – much to the amusement of the runners.  Dude…what were you thinking?)

By mile 8, the course opens wide and there’s lots of room to run and lots of spectators to cheer you along.  SO many signs, so many high fives, so much fun. And still moving faster than we expected.  So fast in fact that we flew past Jeff Galloway who was walking along the side of the road.

I hit a mini wall at mile 9.  The second it started to hurt I thought of Julie, who would give anything to run and knew that this was her mile and i was going to push through it for her. At mile 10, we took one quick walk break, assessed our time, and knew that with just that 5k left, we were getting Jeff that PR.  We dropped our pace, flew up those annoying onramp hills and surged into Epcot on a mission. And then, the dry heaves started.  I don’t know if it was from pushing pace a little, or from this weird congestion thing i get while running, but it wasn’t pretty.

When we got close to the finish my brother looked at me as he typically does during the half and said “See you at the finish”, only for the first time in 4 years of racing, HE was the one that took off.  🙂   I didn’t fall too far behind, only finished 6 seconds back, but it took everything I had to smile while high-fiving Chip and crossing the finish.

My pics are hilarious – half are happy and smiley and half are a weird “omg i’m going to hurl” face.  And I love them all.  Because getting my brother a shiny new PR?  Priceless.

For the rest of the day we went to Hollywood Studios – rode Tower of Terror, Rock & Roller Coaster & Star Tours, met Chip & Dale (who tried to eat my nephew’s medal) and saw Muppet Vision 3D (always a classic), then on to Epcot to ride and see everything we could and grab a Orange Slushie (OMG those are SO good).  By 5pm we’d hit our limit for the day, because the final leg would soon be upon us.  And I was tired.

26.2 – Sunday

The Big day.  The final 26.2.  And my favorite costume for the weekend – Figment.

Maybe its because I made a lot of it myself.  Maybe its because everyone loves Figment.  But it was super fun and I got TONS of love and figment related jokes out on course.

I’m not gonna lie and say I woke up feeling great and ready to race.  In fact I sort of didn’t recognize my alarm for what it was and the hubs had to nudge me up.  I also woke up to a sore achilles and a desperate need for coffee.  Fortunately my brother was also stiff and sore so neither of us had great expectations for the race other than “We WILL finish”

We started out slow and stayed there.  LOL   We hit the first med tent for some bio freeze for Jeff (and several other ones along the way…) and at mile 5.5 hit a restroom near the carousel.  Waiting for my brother I snagged a quick photo.

We trudged along, never pushing, just keeping an easy pace.  At mile 7 we discovered the truck from the half had been rescued (YAY) and we kept our fingers crossed we could get through the narrows easily again (we did).   Mile 9-10 Disney had hauled out some throwback items from rides (20,000 leagues, jungle book, haunted mansion) and played Making Memories.  I started singing along and Jeff was like “what is this song”.  Awww, early epcot.  Kodak sponsored imagination stuff.  I’m not old, but i’m glad i’m old enough to remember it.

At this point our goal became to run to the half (or 14) before we started a run/walk strategy.  We made it into Animal Kingdom, where I was disappointed that I had just missed the critters from the conservation station (it was cold enough that they had the out in shifts and we were between shifts). Oh well.  We were happy to get bananas – and I carried mine for a half mile to get a new banana phone pic.  Which oddly never showed in my photo pass.  (So if any of you encounter figment on a banana phone in your pics – send it my way.)  And we made it to mile 14 and a little past, before we decided to walk through the parking lot, past the marching band, to finish the mile. And that we’d run a mile / walk a mile to the end.

Mentally, its a great strategy and it lined up perfectly so that all my gels, etc were during walk miles.  It also gave us a chance to relax and have fun.  I totally raised hell during the walk miles – singing, dancing, chatting.  I run Disney because its fun, and fun I am going to have.   So even when we entered “purgatory” (i.e. Wide World of Sports Complex) I was in a good mood.  We got around the track, past the boring mile 19-20 amused by the DJ and the bad jokes they had posted on signs along the mile (Where does a mermaid sleep? A water bed.) We ran the warning track at the baseball stadium, and I heard them announce my name (woohoo!) and made it out to the parking lot, where I HAD to run over and high-five the guy in the Brady jersey (Go Pats!).  And we made our exit out to mile 21 and the final stretch.    I had friends who had started in later corrals that I thought might be headed in there as we were headed out, and I watched the ‘parade of runners’ as long as I could, but never spotted them.

Mile 22 we were facing a steep onramp hill and I was afraid I was going to have to walk it, but after a brief biofreeze stop for Jeff, I was rested enough to crush that hill past the green army men and then back downhill to the strains of Sweet Caroline (So good! So good!)

We entered Hollywood Studios and snagged some candy (omg those were the best m&ms EVER) and cruised up Sunset Boulevard, where my favorite photo from the race was taken:

Then out through the front and to the water.  This is a crazy narrow stretch to the Yacht & Beach Club and there’s not a lot of room for getting around runners, so its good that we didn’t want to. But we got through, and to the back entrance of Epcot and felt the crowd. Past the mile 25 marker (themed for the 25th anniversary) and through the world showcase.  I said to Jeff “I have $30 in my pocket, what should we get” and we decided on Sangria from Mexico.

It cost us about 10 minutes in line, but it was worth it.  I said to my brother, it is very hard for me to not care about my time during a race, but this sangria helps.

We walked past Spaceship Earth, waving to our adoring fans and sipping our drinks.  The closer we got to the finish, the slower I wanted to go.  I didn’t want it to end.  But we walked past the gospel choir and to the finish chute and ran it in.  I crossed the finish with my sangria in one hand and the other raised in victory.  (Oooh – and a photo that shows me doing this, my brother and some other folks made the post event guide – sweet!).

We got our marathon medal and a heatsheet and suddenly spotted our family!  The hubs,  my sis in law and my nephews had come to cheer us on.  LOVE!  We got the rest of our medals, some great pictures and then found our family.  I was just so freaking excited.

Best. Day. Ever.

Back at the hotel to shower I found Mickey Mouse.  And got a picture with him.

Then we went to Disney Springs for a good medal photo.  And some onion rings.

I’d say it was a once in a lifetime kind of weekend, except that I know i’m going back next year to do it again.  And I can’t wait.

Oh, those silly medal photos I mentioned? Here’s the complete set.

A quick shout out to the products that got me through this weekend:

  • Running Buddy – my buddy brites let me brother easily find us during the 5k & 10k (he started a corral behind), my bib clips kept my run shirts hole free and my buddy pouch kept my phone secure under all those layers
  • Sparkle Athletic – LOVE my sparkle skirts and visors – and my purple one pulled double-duty this weekend.  Runs are more fun when you sparkle
  • Pro Compression & Balega – kept my legs and toes warm and happy. My two fave kinds of socks (5k day i wore both!)
  • New Balance – 880 v7’s for distance and vazee pace for speed. Love these shoes
  • Huma gel – raspberry lemonade (YUM) got me through the marathon
  • Miscellanous – three toss pairs of gloves, two toss hoodies and two heatsheets returned back to rundisney.

Its been a lot of fun these past few months blogging my Road to Dopey – I hope you’ve all enjoyed it.  Time for some new topics, which I hope you’ll enjoy too.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho – Just one more week to go!

Omg, omg, omg, it’s one week to Dopey!!!!! Is everybody ready? I am!! At least I think so.

So I did my dress rehearsal last week.  At the time of my last blog, I had already completed the easy half of my Dopey simulation. And the tougher half went just as well. 🙂

Wednesday’s 10 miler went great. I headed out at dawn and saw a gorgeous sunrise, a “hidden mickey” and took a Santa selfie at the end. I spent the rest of the day refueling and trying to recover properly for the next day’s 20.

My 20 miler was a little tougher, which was completely expected. The legs were kind of ummm what?? So I ran easy, breathed through it and kept my eyes out for a good character stop. Found a bunch of turkeys, a cool heart and Olaf.

By mile 15 I was starting to struggle. And opted to start walk breaks. I know full well there will be walking during the marathon. I’ve been there to witness my Dopey brother’s legs say “no more” during it, and I know that mine likely will too. And I am completely okay with that. So I walked a 1/4 mile, ran to 16, then repeated it each of the final miles. Which was apparently the right strategy and mile 20 felt pretty good.

I was also delighted to see that those 5 miles weren’t all that much slower than the full-run miles. And I’m thrilled with my overall pace. Training is like, done. Expect for some short runs. So now…. we are knee deep in taper. You know… that place where you Question Everything.

And by question everything I mean it… did I run enough miles, did I train hard enough, should I get in one more long run, am I really going to be comfortable in that skirt for 26 miles, will 3 gels be enough or should I pack 4? Why in the world did I think running 48.6 miles in 4 days was a good idea?!!?

It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve run 12 marathons, 3 of which were at Disney (and part of the Goofy Challenge). I know that the taper crazies are just all a mind game.

And that all I can do from here…Is have faith, trust and pixie dust.

And pack. And make lists. And finish my costumes. And make more lists. And weather stalk. And watch Disney movies.

Since the hubs is coming this year and he hasn’t been to Disney in ages, we’re doing kind of a crash course and rewatching a few movies. Like Avatar and Monsters Inc and Lilo and Stitch. Nothing too princessy.

At this point the weather looks awesome.Which makes packing easier. Although after last year’s marathon temps, I’m packing for all possibilities.

Including:

  • Race outfits – including sparkle visors, arm sleeves, sparkle skirts, shorts / capri options and possible layering shirts
  • Start Line “tossables” – hoodies from the goodwill store, cheap gloves, hand warmers, trash bags, cheap poncho
  • Sneakers – New Balance, 2 pairs (a purple and a raspberry) which go perfectly with my race outfits and both have about 100 miles on them
  • Huma gel – strawberry lemonade flavor. 3 or 4 of them (for the marathon). I’ve found citrus flavors go down better in the later miles.
  • Running Buddy – I’m bringing my bib clips, my buddy 7 pouch and my red buddy clutch.  (Race buddy & parks buddy) I’ve also packed a set of clips for the hubs.
  • Miscellaneous – glide, mini flashlight, tape, tiny scissors, bandaids, Advil, sandwich bags, sharpie
  • Ears! – This year I have both my Minnie Mouse ears that have been at all my runDisney weekends and a new pair of Dopey themed sequin ones (purple ears, green bow and 100% gorgeous)

How about you? What’s in your suitcase?

I really can’t believe that one week from right now I’ll be blogging from the airport as I get ready to head to Best Race Weekend Ever. And one of the craziest, make that Dopiest, things I’ve ever done.

To my fellow marathon weekend runners – see ya real soon!

Holy crow, just two weeks to go!

Two weeks to go! Woohoo!! And omg I’m almost Dopey. Well, officially that is. First things first…did everyone get their bib # & corral info?? Have you read the event guide? It’s all there on rundisney.com.

For me, getting my bib & corral info is just a sense of relief that they were able to properly verify my proof of time. I told the hubs it’s all “submit in October and spend two months hoping you put the right link” lol

With the smaller corrals this year, I got C! Tho had my 13.1 qualifier not been 13.4 long (stupid lead car confusion detour) I might have made B. So close.

Oh well, it’s all good because I’m not starting in my corral anyways. I always run with my (soon to be perfectly) Dopey brother. And he got D! Which I love – D for Dopey!!

And speaking of Dopey, this week is my dress rehearsal / simulation. So far I’ve completed the 5k (treadmill) and 10k (along the Charles river). With the 10 miler about to be completed and 20 tomorrow. Yay!

I’m running all of them as early as possible to try to be as close to start time as possible. And also trying to walk around enough during the day to try to mimic “park miles”.

And I’m half wondering if I need wine with lunch tomorrow (as we usually wine tour at Epcot the day of the half). Or hmmm should I make my own gran marnier slushie?

With 2 legs of the 4 complete, I’m feeling pretty good. And I’m sure by the time I’m done I will be SO ready to taper.

I hate tapering. I really do. But this may be the one time I embrace it with arms spread wide – reaching for a Christmas cookie. 🙂

Since most of the rest of my fellow Dopeys or Goofys or marathon runners are in taper town too, here’s some helpful tips for “winning at taper”.

  • Warm your friends & family. You will be an antsy cranky mess and don’t want to toss a fruitcake at Aunt Edna just because she looked at you funny.
  • It’s the holidays – eat the damn cookie. You’ve worked SO hard the past 16 (or however many) weeks and you’ve earned it. Besides – cookies are carbs, and carbs fight the crabbies.
  • Speaking of the holidays…enjoy them! Be glad you don’t have to run long on Christmas or New Years Day. Sleep in, relax, watch your favorite holiday movie. (May I suggest Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas)
  • Quality vs Quantity. Make your miles count. There’s less of them the next two weeks so don’t phone them in. Keep them good solid quality runs to ease the “omg am I truly Dopey? What am I getting myself into?” freakouts.
  • Get a massage. Not only will it help reset your legs, but it will help control the taper crazies. I’ve got mine booked.
  • Use your free time wisely. You are headed to Disney World after all. There’s lots to do, like finish your costume, make a packing list, bling your magic band and study the event guide. Over. And over. And over. Now is the time (now is the best time…) to get that done.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a Successful Taper!

We’re almost there – let’s raise a mug of cocoa as a toast to the fun that awaits us in…14 days.

21 Days to Dopey, 12 Days to Christmas…how about a song?

Dashing through the snow, to get my miles in…slid on some black ice, and went home again.

Actually – that wasn’t the song. I have a better one below…The 12 Days of Dopey Christmas!  Because you know…. its only 12 days to Christmas and holy crow – 21 days to DOPEY!  Yay!!

Let me just say first, I am SO happy I have a treadmill. Because even tho I had only 10 miles on my schedule for Sunday, it wouldn’t have happened without one.

I got about a 1/10 of a mile from my house and stopped to admire this winter wonderland.

The next step, black ice, foot out from under me and I decided it’s WAY too close to Dopey to do anything stupid. (cold? sure.  snow?  sure.  Ice? no way.)

So I went home, swapped fleece for shorts and knocked out 9 miles on the treadmill and 2 episodes of Haven on Netflix.

While it wasn’t the training run I had hoped for… all roads lead to Dopey. Even the indoor ones.

But you know what happens when you spend 90 minutes on a treadmill?  You get creative.  Even while watching a great show, its not always enough to keep you going.  And mine started thinking about what I want for Christmas…from a Disney runner’s standpoint.

So, let me present…the 12 Days of Dopey Christmas!

You know the song…i’ll just feed you the lines.  🙂  On the 12th Day of Dopey Christmas, Mickey Santa gave to me…

12 o’clock reservation at Be Our Guest

11 rides on Everest

10 perfect toenails

9 Mickey bars

8 character stops

7 dwarves mine train fast pass

6 shiny medals

5 long sleeved race shirts

4 finish lines

3 gran marnier slushies

2 race bibs

And a pair of rose gold Mickey ears

Yes, you’ll be singing this all day.

You’re Welcome.

Four Magical Weeks to Dopey!

And then there were four.  Four weeks left for training and planning and ‘omg what have I signed up for.’  Four weeks until….Four Days, Four Races, Four Parks, Four 4am buses.

In keeping with this week’s theme, i’m going to bring you four top-4 lists.  But first, a training update.

While not truly a Dopey simulation, I did run four days in a row this week.  Not a TON of miles (4, 7.4, 4.25, 3.25), but this was the first time i’ve run four in a row in a very long time.  And everything felt fine.  Tho I was glad for that one rest between it and my 20-mile long run.

Sunday was my first of my 20-milers.  The second will be at the end of a true Dopey simulation the week before Christmas.  And knowing that that one will undoubtedly involve some walking (as will the marathon itself), I wanted to do well on this one.

Well….have you ever had one of those mornings that you put SO much pressure on yourself to do well on a run that you had an absolute meltdown before you even got out the door?  A whole “why do I even run, I’m going to be awful out there, I won’t even be able to enjoy it,  i’m gonna push too hard and have to walk the last four miles” meltdown? I know it’s just this stage of training.  It’s the longer miles and the “I have seen the same road SO much lately I just can’t even” route boredom.  And it messes with my head.  You’d think having 12 marathons under your belt would be enough.  Yet still…20 miles freaks me out.

So I planned out a longer loop over into a more rural area I don’t run often and hoped for the best.  I ran slow, stopped for a minute when I needed to eat my gels, and gave myself permission to relax.  I looked at all the beautiful christmas decorations (and mentally ticketed those with pumpkins still out). I stopped to say hi to a pony (character op! Lol)

I talked myself through a couple of rough patches, and somehow, I managed to actually run all 20.  Yay!!

It feels good to have that done.  And to know it’s like 15 days before I do it again.  LOL

Now back to the fun stuff!

So here’s four lists, each with four items, to get you in a Dopey state of mind: Costumes, Characters, Rides, and Things We Want.

Costumes – do you have yours planned?  I do. And I have yet to repeat one from three years of Disney races, because there’s SO many to choose from. This year, the four i’ve chosen are…

  • Mike Wazowski
  • Dopey “style”
  • Figment
  • Moana

I won’t tell you which is for which race, because while 2 are set, the others may depend on the weather the other two races (warmer vs colder).  🙂

Characters – I’ve been very lucky over the years to meet a lot of characters, but there are still quite a few I haven’t.  I’ve made a character goal list for this year, which between the races and parks i’m hoping to hit. And it is…

  • Snow White
  • Mike Wazowski
  • BB8
  • Rapunzel

Rides – What’s on your fast pass list?  Did you get all the ones you want?  They did just release some extra time slots this week, so don’t give up if you didn’t – just keep checking!  My four that i’m most excited about (one in each park) are…

  • Flight of Passage
  • Seven Dwarves Mine Train
  • Test Track
  • Rock & Roller Coaster

Things We Want – So…what are we runners waiting for right now? What, other than the long runs, is keeping us awake at night? These…

  • Waivers – show me the waivers!  They’ve come out anywhere between the 5th & 16th. So soon my pretties.  Soon.  And may the corrals be ever in your favor.
  • Event Guide – Just as important as the waivers…we want the courses and the other little details and information that matters.
  • Magic Bands – Mine are ordered and I’m just waiting on them to ship.  I can’t wait until they arrive so I can customize (Etsy has some fun decals to trick them all out.).  If i’m going to wear something all day, its gotta be pretty. And I have a special surprise for my nephews.
  • Merchandise – this we won’t see until race week.  Although a small picture of the Dooney & Bourke purses has been released, and a throwback 25th anniversary shirt came out, with the design below, which leaves us all wondering ‘what in the world will the weekend logo look like’ (and kind of hoping it’s less…pastel)

What else is on your “alright, where is it” list?

Are you as excited as I am? Let’s Get Dopey!!