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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‘‘Twas the night before Dopey

”Twas the night before Dopey, and all through the parks, not a creature was stirring, not even Mickey Mouse.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of medals, danced in their heads.

Okay, yeah, I know – no sleep at Disney!! Lol

But omg guys – we did it! We survived training and taper and now it’s Go Time!!!!

I’m so excited to go “home” today and hit the expo and meet a bajillion new friends and have a truly epic weekend full of fun and frivolity and All the Miles. Yay!!!!!

Hope everyone’s final week of running went well, and that you’ve all reviewed the event guide and know where you gotta be when. I have been studying it like it’s the Patriots playbook. 😁😂

I also have a printed map of the expo vendors, with my must haves circled. (Seriously sparkle athletic – did you actually really put out a rose gold visor? Way to guarantee I stop by!!!)

I feel…oddly calm about running this weekend. Maybe my training was spot on after all. Maybe because I’ve been through this once already I know that the marathon will hurt, but that I will finish. Or maybe it’s because I know that I don’t give up, I don’t give in, I just finish what I start.

And tomorrow – starts 48.6 miles in 4 days.

To all of you running this weekend, no matter the distance, may it be an epic voyage. And may you get all the merchandise, photo ops and gram marnier slushees your little heart desires.

See ya real soon!!

Four weeks to… 4 days, 4 parks, 48.6 miles

Its just four little weeks to Dopey…. So what do we want? Waivers!  When do we want them?  NOW!!!!  LOL

Hopefully this week….especially since last year they came out like the day I wrote about them. But, this year NONE of the race distances are sold out.  (Side note – wanna run??? You still can!)  But, we’ll see.  Not that it really matters where  you start…its the same journey anyways.  Just a matter of how dark it is when you hit main street.  🙂

So FOUR.  Four weeks left for training and planning and ‘omg am I really doing this again.’  Four weeks until….Four Days, Four Races, Four Parks, Four freaking early wake-ups.

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

This weekend was 18 miles… And it made me realize just how far out of marathon shape I am.  Its my own fault.  I had the summer of speed followed by peroneal tendonitis.  I hadn’t done 18 miles since May.  That’s too long.  Not to self – distance all year!!  (And no injuries, please.)

I am being realistic in my training tho.  Knowing how I felt and how I ran last year, I tried to make this more of a marathon simulation than a “lets go kill it” run.  What that means is…running 14 and then run/walking.

Mad props to those of you who can run every step of those 48.6 miles.  I’m not one of them.  And i’m okay with that.  Even my 44-mile overnight ultra had some walking.  Its just a matter of ever forward.   I figure my Dopey brother & I will be using the same strategy we did this past year.  Run to the parking lot at animal kingdom (where I always smile thinking about leaving my toss hoodie at the base of unicorn parking sign) and then alternate walk a mile / run a mile.

So the 18?  I ran a good solid sub-10 paced 13.5,  And then I walked a half-mile eating a chocolate-mint (HOLY CROW THAT IS DELICIOUS) Gu.  Ran the next, then went into 1/2 mile ‘intervals’.  And I finished the 18…feeling like I could totally knock out a couple more miles – as long as I didn’t have to run more than 1/2 of one at a time.   And that’s perfect.

End of next week will be my full-dopey simulation (3, 4, 10, 20) and then taper.  OMG TAPER – that means we’re almost there.  LOL

Okay – getting ahead of myself… lets talk Disney fun…

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’m ready to reveal them….

  • Mike Wazowski (repeat, sorta, last year it was covered in a very warm winter hoodie – fingers crossed I can actually wear the real shirt this time!)
  • Dopey “style” (I made myself a wicked awesome dopey challenge shirt that i’m SO excited for.  Its green and will be paired with purple accessories.  I might even race in my ears again)
  • Rose Gold Minnie (again, custom design – and unless Sparkle Athletics puts out a rose gold visor (PLEASE!!!!!) will also include minnie ears)
  • Snow White (i’m very excited to run as the OG….)

These are in race order….I think.  LOL  And I’ve got my race posse in coordinating outfits for the 5 & 10.

Characters – I have never stopped during a race for a character.  The lines are just too long and while I’m apparently willing to wait 10 minutes for Sangria, I haven’t done the same for a princess.

I mean, I stopped to pet a sheep, and yet I wouldn’t stop for poor Meeko who didn’t even have a line.  Priorities…  Anyway – there are some people that i’m hoping to meet that weekend.  Or at least see.

  • Snow White (She’s a guarantee – i’m having dinner with her that Friday night!)
  • Stitch (I have seen him on course.  This year I may be tempted to actually stop)
  • Flynn Rider (I would love to get up close with that smolder!)
  • Oswald (he’s this year’s GOAL.  He’s the 5k mascot and my nephew LOVES him.  If he’s out – we are stopping!)

Rides – What’s on your fast pass list?  Did you get all the ones you want?  My four that i’m most excited about riding (one in each park) are…

  • Flight of Passage (Best.  Ride.  Ever.)
  • Seven Dwarves Mine Train (Sooooo fun.  And I love seeing them dance at the end.)
  • Spaceship Earth (I know – for some people its a toss-away.  But this ride just speaks to me.)
  • Rock & Roller Coaster (horns up, upside down that is…. fast and fun!)

Things We Want – The important one! 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.  Personally I want this even more!!!!
  • 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 them with the decals I designed. Yes, I may be a little cricut crazy, but if i’m going to wear something all day, its gotta be pretty.
  • Merchandise – this we won’t see most of until race week.  Although a picture of the Dooney & Bourke purses has been released, and I AM due for a new tote (I just wish it had Dopey on it) and the magnets have come out – which totally gives us an idea of the them for all the merchandise.

I definitely need the magnet.  And probably another ‘I did it” shirt.  And a headband. And oooh – fingers crossed for another Alex & Ani bracelet! Or a pandora charm…Maybe a pint glass this year (i’m still bummed they didn’t get the last year).  Yeah – I always overspend at the expo.

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

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

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 2019…the return

Well, it’s official! I’m getting Dopey again. 😁

This past week registration FINALLY opened for Disney Marathon Weekend in January. Yay! So while I’ve known I was going to be Dopey again, it’s never official until you get that confirmation email.

I mean, hotel has been booked, dinner reservations were made a week before and both costumes and travel have been in the planning stages. But now, we’re good to go.

The big question is…when does training begin?

I mean I’m always “training”. But when do we hit the line of “in training”? Is it now? Is it September?

I suppose it depends on the training plan I end up following. Last year, I had a late September marathon, so it started the day after. But this year, nothing big on the horizon for fall – just a half or two. So…I think I’ll go with September 5th.

This summer is all about speed and short races…because it’s just too darn hot and humid for distance. Plus I’m too busy having fun. Lol

But September says fall, and cooler temps and time to buckle down and get serious. So…as soon as I’m back from my Labor Day weekend getaway, we’ll say goodbye to summer and hello to Dopey!

And no worries – I’ll blog my journey once again. 🙂❤🏃🏻‍♀️

The cold never bothered me anyway…tales from the Disney Marathon

Cold? No problem. Rain? No Problem. Lightning? No thank you!

This year’s Disney marathon weekend was definitely one for the books. There were highs and lows and a new challenge formed. But thousands of people proved this weekend that you can’t keep a good runner down. And the power of positivity will always win. 😀

My plan this year was to up the stakes and go ‘almost Dopey’, running the 5k, the half-marathon and the marathon.  My brother that I always run Disney with was running his fourth Dopey. Mother nature had other ideas. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I flew in on Wednesday and after lunch at Disney Springs (D-Luxe burger has the BEST FRIES EVER), we hit the expo.  Or at least most of it.  Because for some reason, the line to get into the main building where all the exhibitors was was long than the ones for Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Frozen combined.  Eek!

Fortunately everything I needed (bibs, shirts, Dooney purse, sparkle visor) was in the other buildings.  Yay!

After the expo we settled into the hotel and headed over to the Wilderness Resort for some frontier style family fun – the Hoop De Doo Revue.  Its become kind of a family tradition to eat here marathon weekend.  The show is corny and hilarious.  And the food is amazing.  Even for celiacs… the chef made me salmon and veggies and for dessert, brownies covered in strawberries & whipped cream.  Oh yeah, and the sangria is good too.  Plus! I got to play the washboard!

Thursday morning was the 5k, which i ran with my brother, sis-in-law and nephews.  It was the younger one’s first 5k and the older one’s second and they both did SO good.  We had a blast running through epcot in the dark, lit by torches and crossed the finish line all holding hands.    There is always moments as a runner that warm your heart and stay with you.  Crossing that finish line hand in hand with family will always be one of them.

Friday was my morning to sleep in with the boys while my brother & sis-in-law tackled the 10k. We did spend the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom where I got to meet Merida (love her!) and tell her I was running dressed as her Sunday. 😀

Saturday should have been the half-marathon.  However, as often happens in Florida, fireworks of another kind were on the schedule.  I have to give props to Disney for how they handled it.  As this was the 20th anniversary of the half-marathon, it was a big race for them and they had a lot of special things planned.  When the first threat of storms came along they monitored the weather and updated us regularly through social media.  And when they realized that the danger wasn’t going away, they made the difficult decision to cancel the race.

Then they made sure that all runners were aware via email, social media, the event guide, messages to all hotel room phones, and anything else they could think of.

They also gave options to those registered for just the half, including the choice to run the full marathon Sunday as space permitted.  1,500 people took that opportunity.  And from what i’ve heard, a good portion of them finished.  Other choices were transfers to other races, a refund, or park tickets.  Plus every runner still got their medal.

And this is where those amazing half-marathon runners made lemonade out of lemons.  They decided to run anyways.

After the storms rolled through (and boy did they – crazy forks of lightning striking about when I would have been at mile 9 – EEK) those runners all got together and did their own half.  Running through hotels and the parks to earn their half medal, or in the case of challengers, their Goofy & Dopey medals.  Cast member set up water and aid stations as best they could.  Other vacationers donated snacks.  Everyone really came together.

And this is why I love running Disney – its truly an amazing group of people.

Did i run 13.1 Saturday?  No.  I had already walked about 20 in the parks the past two days and my brother & I decided that we’d rather save our legs and have a really great marathon. And I think we made the right choice. Also, we got to go into Epcot early which let us meet Joy & Sadness. And I got to tell Joy I had run dressed as her the day before. 😀

And here’s where mother nature threw us another curve ball.   After those storms came through, the temperatures dropped.  Like to Boston temps…  we were going to go to see Wishes Saturday night.  But as we sat at dinner shivering we decided having an early night in a warm room was a way better choice.

And Sunday morning, at the race start…was a wind chill of 30 degrees. Say what?

Those who know me know I like running in the cold.  However I usually have more clothes with me than a skirt, tank top, sparkle arm sleeves and a thin toss hoodie (when I left home they said high 40’s for the start.  oops).  Needless to say we caught the latest bus possible to the start to minimize waiting time.  But even still… it was COLD and windy. 

Our first mile was the thawing out our hands and legs mile.  I ran with my hood up and my hands tucked in my sleeve as best I could.  It was crowded and slow going, but eventually room opened up and we warmed up and it got better.

We trudged along chatting and laughing and soon were at mile 5 – the Magic Kingdom.  Main Street gives the Wellesley girls of the Boston marathon a run for their money.  Its lined with adoring and loudly cheering fans, plus the castle is right there, all covered in lights, a beacon showing you the way home.  Its….magical.

And when we came up on the castle from behind to run through, there stood Elsa on the balcony.  Poor Elsa probably caught a lot of grief…I simply yelled out “The cold never bothered me anyway”.  Before getting through the castle and mugging the photographer for an “I’m freezing” pic.  LOL

The course has long stretches between parks, but there are character stops everywhere and fans along most of the route.  So there’s always something to see.  There are also things i’ve now seen in each of my three Disney marathons.  Because it isn’t mile 7 unless i’ve heard “Don’t Stop Believing”

Around mile 8 my brother tossed his hoodie (he’d had both a hoodie & sweats for the start) in a pile with some others, but i kept mine.  Mine had been given to me by a friend when she & I walked a half-marathon together the year I broke my hip.  And I wanted to leave it somewhere that meant something.

Mile 12 is the entrance to Animal Kingdom.  Every year volunteers stand out there with animals from the conservation station wearing race bibs.  Its one of my favorite things on course.  So I had to stop…and pet a sheep.  🙂

We made it through Animal Kingdom, crossed the half-marathon point and cruised along. My brother was doing great – and I could tell that he was going to have his best race ever.  And around mile 14 coming through the parking lot of Animal Kingdom, just past the marching band (love that!) I saw the spot to leave my hoodie.  We were in the unicorn lot.  And there, at the base of the next unicorn, I carefully placed the ‘tribute to the unicorn gods’ with a smile and a “Thanks Amy”.

The next ‘destination’ was the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex…aka the labyrinth of doom.  Seriously – I don’t know if its the way it winds or simply because its at those critical miles of a marathon, but everyone I know considers it sheer torture.  I took a picture of my brother on the “highway to hell”  LOL

By now we were taking a couple minute walk break at every mile sign, which gave us a chance to hit the water stop and take in fuel as needed.  A great strategy, which always helped break up the miles.

We ran around the track and we ran the warning track of the baseball field and then on the way back out we stopped to fish stones from the warning track out of our shoes (and I almost couldn’t tie my shoes – my fingers were so numb.), we were offered beer and assorted candy and I found a pats fan in a jersey in full game-day attire (love that guy – Go Pats!).

By mile 22 my brother was at the “get all the biofreeze” stage of the race.  So we hit the water stops and the med tents and while our paces then slowed, our spirits didn’t.  My brother looked better than i’ve ever seen him at this point.

And a shoutout to a guy I chatted with for a bit that mile.  A runner and race director from Utah named John who was running 411 (412th?) marathon – and like 280 something consecutive month.  Such a nice guy and really amazing.  He’d been wearing a marathon maniacs shirt and I came up behind him with a “you maniac” which got us talking.  Thanks for the chat!

As we made the turn to head towards Hollywood Studios, I had one of those awesome karma moments… they played Don’t Stop Believing followed immediately by Sweet Caroline. I sang along (well, sorta) to both and thought of my Sole Sister Karen – who loves both.  That was your mile woman!

Coming through Hollywood Studios is always fun – they hand out chocolate as you enter!  And I mugged for the camera (really – I had all race) on the turn, then grabbed smarties from a spectator.  There is a picture I won’t share of me with half a roll in my mouth.  Its funny!

And coming out to head to the boardwalk was a sea of fans and high-fives.  I had to high-five someone dressed as Judy Hopps!  Great costume.

Along the boardwalk are just tons of people cheering and handing out sugar. I snagged more smarties and a nestle bar. Which I declared “omg this is better than a medal.” Then “no, not really” which totally cracked up the couple standing there. 

And we made it to Epcot. We decided to walk to mile 25 and then run it the rest of the way in. And we did…waving at fans, smiling and watching all the while for squirrels. I didn’t want a repeat of last year. Lol

And I suddenly had a genius idea for a photo. I don’t know if it was the warrior music playing or not, but I channeled my inner Merida and pulled out an imaginary bow & arrow. And was rewarded with what is now my new fave race photo. 

Just before mile 26, my brother looked over and said “see you at the finish”. With a grin I took off. 

Just before the finish chute I spotted a man struggling. Badly. And I noticed he was wearing plaid pants that matched my ribbon. So I put my hand on his shoulder, said “come on clansman, let’s finish this” and kept going.  (He came up to me after to thank me. Said he really needed it at that moment. Awww. I’m just always happy to help another runner. We’re all in this together). 

And I sprinted full on to the finish line. Veering over to the side to high-five Pluto. 

And crossed the finish with arms held high. Gosh I love this race!!

It should be noted that this was a marathon PR for my brother, by 7 minutes. So proud of him. He really trained hard this year. And even tho we didn’t get to run the half, he still 100% deserves that Dopey medal. 

It should also be noted that I ran the entire marathon with my hair down. That’s a PR too! Lol

Speaking of Dopey…I think it’s time. I’ve been Goofy long enough, and it’s time to fully embrace the crazy. Let 2018 be the year I get Dopey. Who’s with me? 😁

 Thanks Disney for an awesome weekend. See ya real soon!

 

 

 

Time to get goofy…it’s Disney Day!!

Finally yay – it’s Disney day!!!!!

And I can’t get there quickly enough. Yes, I’m writing this from the airport with a caramel coffee in hand and my mouse ears in the polka dot bag beside me. 

Training is over. Taper is over. It’s go time. In less than 24 hours from now I’ll be running my first Disney 5k. 

This last week of taper was less than stellar. I had a nasty head cold and chose rest over running a couple times.

And then Sunday on what was going to be my last long run, I headed out only to find the roads covered in a sheen of black ice. And after a half-mile of questioning my sanity, I obeyed the first rule of taper “Do No Harm” and turned back. 

Monday I decided that a 10k was a perfect choice. Because that actually will give me a Dopey for the week (48.6!!). #runnerlogic 

That, went swimmingly. 😀

And so, it’s time to go! Let’s get this party started!!

Today’s shenanigans will be the Expo and the Hoop De Doo Revue. One I will drink too much sangria. The other I will spend too much money. Try to guess which is which. Lol

No, I have to restrain myself this year. I have a small suitcase. 😉 Just a pint glass, a magnet, a couple shirts and a new Dooney bag. Maybe a headband. Or some socks. Oh who am I kidding…I can’t resist an expo. 

Then, it’s both work and play! Run. Park. Repeat!!

Thanks to all who’ve been following my training adventures. Good luck to those who are also running this weekend. 

And if you see me – say hi – I’ll be hard to miss. 😀

And tune in next week for my race recap(s)!