Archive for Goofy 2013

Trip Report for Family Trip

Feb 10, 2013

We are back from our family trip to Disney World – I have started uploading a bunch images set up in galleries (one per day).  I will be adding a page per day as our trip report as well as soon as time permits.

The images in the galleries will be more generic Disney World pics with few pics of the family.  We have our own family website and those will be going on that site instead.

I also created an amalgamation page to bring together all the Goofy Challenge pages and added a gallery of additional pics we took that trip – those pics aren’t specifically race related but are Disney World related.

The Goofy Challenge pages are under the Goofy 2013 – collection heading above and the images and trip reports will be under the Disney World 2013 family trip heading.  Please have a look and leave comments.

For the trip report ones – in the menu hover over the day’s report and the link to the image gallery for that day will be visible.  If the menu is too long for your display or if you want direct links click on the title link in the menu or click on the link below to get the link list:

http://biggoofyrunner.com/disney-world-2013-family-trip/

Going home travel day and first day home

Monday January 14th, 2012

Woke up around 8:30 and felt freaking great – wide awake and minimal stiffness considering what I put myself through over the weekend.

We said our goodbyes to my brother as he was heading out to the Magical Express shortly and I cleaned up my stuff and started my packing for checkout.  My wife had less stuff to sort out so she wanted to go have a quick swim – she hadn’t gotten in the pool yet and needed to before we headed home.

After all our stuff was sorted and packed we dropped the bags will the bell services folks and headed out enjoy ourselves until our Magical Express pickup at 4:45pm.

We started with bagels on the Boardwalk with a great view of the Yacht and Beach Club resorts.

Yacht and Beach Club resort view while munching bagels on the Boardwalk - aaaahh

Yacht and Beach Club resort view while munching bagels on the Boardwalk – aaaahh

After breakfast we wandered around the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club areas before wandering into Epcot where we eventually had lunch all the while carting around my DSLR camera bag which had my laptop and carry on it it.  I still felt great and I kept seeing other Goofy runners and others having some real issues and all I could say to myself was “man am I glad I recover quickly”.  I trained well and properly which helps (yay not a single blister or raw piece of skin) but somehow I always seem to recover from these long runs very quickly even if I am not trained properly.  So I might have seemed like a bit of an ass when people would ask me how I am doing and I would say “I’m feeling pretty good actually.”  I certainly wasn’t trying to brag or be an ass I was legitimately pleased and excited about how good I felt.  At one point I actually said to my wife “I could actually go for a run right now”, I had energy and no real pain or issues.  My genetic makeup may be a series of catastrophes waiting to happen but at least I got endurance and fast recovery out of the deal.

We hit the Living With The Land ride and wandered around Epcot some more before heading back to the Boardwalk.  We stopped for a drink and snack as we knew we would be getting on the Magical Express soon and wanted to make sure we didn’t get too hungry if things were harried at the airport.  I was also probably over compensating for the energy burned over the weekend at this point.

lovely blossoming tree in Epcot

lovely blossoming tree in Epcot

Magical Express ride to the airport shortly after that was uneventful and after some delays we were able to check in with WestJet and get exit row seating together on the plane.  In the end we got the row to ourselves again giving us lots of room to spread out.

Just as we were checking in though we noticed the departure time get pushed back an hour – crud.

We took advantage of the extra time and did some more shopping (yay) and had a good sit down meal before heading through security.  Security was quick and smooth and we found a nice quiet spot at our gate to hang out while we waited for the plane.

It was a good plane ride – no issues – nice and quiet.  Canadian customs were smooth as well and then a quick run through the freaking cold to the van where we had left our winter jackets.  Put those on and headed home.

Once we got home I had to stop the van on the street and run in and grab a shovel to clear a path to drive the van into the garage – there were some pretty nice sized drifts.  Remainder of the snow will have to cleaned up in the morning.

Got into the house and discovered the house was quite chilly….and the bloody furnace wasn’t running.  It never got anywhere near freezing in the house luckily but still a bit scarey.  I ended up turning the breaker for the furnace off and on again to get it to fire and it kept cutting out but it did run mostly through the night and the next morning.  It seems to be working pretty well now after watching it pretty closely through the day but we still have someone coming to look at it Wednesday morning.

We also went and picked up our daughter from Gram and got some nice leaping hugs from her and then went to pick up our son from school for lunch.  I got a nice running hug from him as well when he spotted me waiting for him.  Aahhh, it’s good to be home.  By the time we got them to their swimming lessons and home for supper and bedtime I felt like I had done another marathon.  Wow, I love them but they are exhausting some times!

So, back to work tomorrow and the Goofy is done for another year.  I will write up a bit of a recap and overview of the weekend on how I felt about it and how I think my training worked, etc soon.  Then I need to figure out what’s next…

Mickey Mouse Full Marathon Day

Sunday January 13th – full marathon day

I had a Pokemon card with me that my son had given me as a present a few months back that I brought along with me on the half the day before and I had realized that I didn’t bring anything for my daughter that I could take along.  So we had found these little tokens that Disney calls “pieces of magic” that you can pick up for 6 for $10 (or something like that) and I put those in my little camera bag to take with me.  I had one for my daughter that was in the shape of Tinkerbell and had the caption on the back of “believe”.  The one for my son was a little envelope that said “thinking of you”.  And the one for my wife was a little Cinderella carriage that said “happily ever after”.  Strong words and good sentiments to take with me to help give strength when it is needed so I made sure I had these packed and ready to go with me in my gear.

Woke up before my alarm again – up and moving by about 2:20am.  Had a shower and got dressed and my brother and I headed out for the buses.  Probably got on the bus around 3:15am or so with a quick and easy ride to the drop off.

I had decided due to the amount of running around people I had to do the day before I was going to make sure I got into the staging area past the bag drop area early so that I could be near the start of my cue.  My brother had decided that in order to cut some of the heat issues he figured he would have he was going to take advantage of the Race Retreat and join the others Runners World Challenge folks in corral B.  He figured the earlier he started the less direct sunlight he was going to have to endure.  So we separated relatively early and went to work through our own plans.

I got near the gate to the corrals pretty early and amazingly Disney opened up the gate at around 4:10 – at least 20-25 minutes earlier than Saturday – I’m guessing they realized their mistake and were making sure not to repeat it (whoohoo!).  You could hear the relief in the voices of some of the runners when they saw gate opening earlier.  This all made for a nice leisurely walk to the corrals.

Once at the corral there was still an hour until the official start and probably 1.5 hours before I would get to start so I took the cue from several others and had a seat to rest my legs.  I had brought a thermal blanket with me so I wrapped myself in it to cut the slightly cool breeze and sat there munching on a few snacks I had brought and sipped at a Powerade.

A 5 hour marathon pace bunny lined up near me in the same corral so I knew who to watch for after I got going if I wanted to shoot for 5 hours.  I came down trained to shoot for 4:30 but kind of expecting that not to happen but with 4:45 being possible.  With the heat I figured I would be more realistic and shoot for 5 hours instead so seeing the 5 hour pace bunny was good.

Prior to the official start many luminaries were quickly brought out to talk about the race and the universal message was “take it easy and hydrate” – words to live by today with temps expected to be around 28C and real high humidity (say a “feels like” temp of around 33-35C when I was set to finish – majorly different from the -15C / -25C with the windchill that I had on my last outdoor training run).

I started off pretty solid as things got going but was still holding things back since I knew I would need energy in reserve for later.

I was pleasantly surprised that the bottle necks from the previous day seemed to have cleared – running was pretty smooth with only the normal expected dodging that you would see in any race.  I only spent a bit of time out on the grass passing and then only on some tighter choke points.

Even in Magic Kingdom things went much smoother even with the tighter confines – one guy did start to walk right at the entrance to Cinderella’s Castle right in front of me but his running partner gave him a tug on the shoulder to nudge him along at least until they were in a less confined space.  Awesome team work there.

After Magic Kingdom the Richard Petty area was fun – most people knew the course changes for the anniversary run and weren’t surprised to see the change but I think almost everyone was surprised at the sudden steep ramp down and then back up to enter the track.  I heard a collective “ooohhhh” as people got close enough to see the ramp.

Running on the race track was fun as was seeing the vintage, classic cars and the some of the modern super cars you wouldn’t normally get to see.  Yay Aston Martin – gorgeous car!

Richard Petty - track full of a different kind of racer

Richard Petty – track full of a different kind of racer

dawn over Richard Petty - between mile 8 and 9

dawn over Richard Petty – between mile 8 and 9

The change in the course was also a welcome addition to add some more flavor on the run between Magic and Animal Kingdoms.  The addition of the run past the solid waste station could be considered added flavor as well but was not quite as welcome.  That being said I like seeing behind the curtain and getting a view of the logistics of Disney World is one of the reasons I do this race.

Animal Kingdom was good to run through a little earlier in the course when I had more energy to enjoy it – some folks might have been disappointed they couldn’t get on Expedition Everest part way through their race though.

But for those of you who were concerned about the course changes – don’t be!  THE RUN PAST THE SEWER TREATMENT PLANT IS STILL THERE!!

The 5 hour pace bunny caught me just before Animal Kingdom and lost me around mile 15.  At around mile 14/15 I had to do a bit of gut check – up to that point I was on track to hit 5 hours but I could feel the energy falling off as the temperature kept rising.  Up until then I had only been doing a bit of walking at water stops but at this point I decided I needed to trigger run/walk cycles to maintain my energy.  I wasn’t falling apart yet but could feel things slipping.  So I fired up a run/walk cycle app on my Android media player and set it for 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking.  I followed that pattern for the rest of the race – a couple places I had to partially skip a run cycle to match up with a water stop or just to take an extra breather but in a few others I skipped the walk cycle.  This definitely kept me push through the heat even if it meant I had to toss out the 5 hour hopes.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Center – this was an interesting addition – breaking up those there and back again miles out on the highway near the end is a very welcome addition without a doubt.  I think some might not have liked all the short stretches and multiple turns which would have made it harder to maintain a faster pace but as I was already into a run-walk (5 min – 1 min) cycle I enjoyed how the miles slipped by in this area.  Plus the shaded areas were nice.

The scenery is definitely more distracting there than along the highway stretches so it helped keep the mind occupied as did the constantly changing venues.  The running track was a favorite for me and I did enjoy running through the stadium as well.  I had a few minor complaints on the stadium run though – one being the little stones that got in my shoes while running through it (around mile 19 bending over to take stones out of the shoes was not a pleasant experience) and number two was the video camera putting everyone up on the jumbo-tron (you didn’t know it was there until it was too late to see yourself on the big screen – it would have been nice to have some warning so I could have seen it) – minor complaints really.

The Mile 20 spectacular was pretty cool with the big puppets / marionettes of the various Disney characters but it seemed a bit of a letdown after how the ESPN section felt.  Maybe the ESPN section was supposed to be part of the whole Mile 20 spectacular too and the puppets were just the end of it?  Not sure.  Either way back to the highway after that.

The previous times I have done the Disney World Marathon and the Goofy I have ended up walking by now and these few miles before entering Hollywood Studios always seemed awful but they felt pretty good this time.

Hollywood Studios – I have done 1 Disney World Marathon and 2 Goofys before and this was the first time I actually still had energy to keep running when I hit the park so I skipped a walking cycle or 2 at this stage to enjoy that victory.

After Hollywood Studios the run out to the path to the Boardwalk and the boardwalk along by the Yacht and Beach Clubs was great.  The area by the Yacht and the Beach is one my favorites at Disney World and I really enjoyed the run through there.

Met my wife (according to plan) up by the bridge that leads to the Boardwalk from Epcot and stopped to chat for a minute before continuing on into Epcot.  She walked into Epcot from there as well and I saw her again by the England Pavilion and again (after my trip around the lagoon) near the fountain.  From there it was it was just a short run to 26 miles and then that extra 0.2 to go.  I had a walk cycle come up just past the 26 mile point and was going to skip it but figured a short walk would make the final run happen with much more energy.  It felt good to finish in the end but I also felt good in general which is a nice change.

me just before entering Epcot with about 1.5 miles to go

me just before entering Epcot with about 1.5 miles to go

So my time? 5:25:54 – much slower than I wanted but 45 minutes faster than last year and a full hour faster than my first Goofy.  So a solid time all things considered – it this case Disney had everything laid out to let me have a good race and maybe get that time I was looking for – unfortunately I got spanked by the heat.

Again on this race Disney had more than enough water and Powerade along the course and after the race was done (no Coke again dammit) – they also had some health officials making sure people were drinking something as soon as they got off the course.

I have to give credit to all the volunteers out there – it was bad enough running in that heat but just standing out there for hours on end would have been a rough go.  Thanks to any volunteers who might someday read this!

Grabbed my bling and wandered out to the family meet up area and caught up with my wife – just in time for my back to spasm again.  Yay!  Obviously held myself too rigid for most of the race again – this is definitely something I will need to work on further.

Because of the spasm and not really knowing where my brother was on the course I decided to skip the plan of heading back along the course to try to cheer him on and instead we got on a bus and headed to the hotel.

So after a quick warm shower I had a good cold one (although it wouldn’t get too cold) to help reduce any swelling and took a couple Tylenol.  My wife had gone to get us a couple bagels as a quick snack and after those were done and I had put a few things in the sink to soak for while we lay down for a nap.

After the nap we got dressed and hunted down some Advil to help further reduce any swelling (my travel bottle ran out so we grabbed another).  We talked to my brother to see how things had finished up for him – I had caught up with him on the Richard Petty race track and he had settled into a walk/run cycle that was working for him and his injury and he was able to push out the race in a solid time all things considered – fantastic job dude!!

My wife and I went for a bit of a walk around the Boardwalk and once my brother caught up to us we headed into the Yacht Club for a celebratory supper of meat at the Yachtsman Steakhouse.  Great food, good service, good beer.  Awesome.

After a leisurely 2 hour supper and chat we headed back to the hotel and my brother decided to do his own thing while my wife and I headed into Epcot, wandered around, did Spaceship Earth and then headed off to the monorails to Magic Kingdom.

We did a few hours in Magic Kingdom – we did the new Under the Sea ride, wandered around the new Fantasyland before wandering over to do Small World, the Tiki Room, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  At this point they were closing down the Magic Kingdom and we headed out to the buses to go back to the hotel.

Amazingly my legs felt fantastic – better than after the half – I was awake, had energy and was ready to move.  Apparently I was training properly!

I crashed pretty hard at around 12:30 and got a good 8 hour sleep.  We check out of the hotel in the morning but our flight isn’t until the evening with a Magical Express pickup in the late afternoon.

Donald Duck Half Marathon – 2013 race recap

Saturday January 12th, 2013 – half day

I was up before my alarm with only about 2 hours of sleep – wonderful.  But I was feeling good so no worries.

Got dressed and caught up with my brother and we headed out to the bus from the Boardwalk at about 3:10 am.  Last year we had stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter and we had gotten on the bus just before 4 and with all the traffic back up we missed the initial start and I had to put in an extra mile of running to catch my corral as it was starting.  I didn’t want a repeat of that this year so we got there nice and early and there weren’t many people there yet which helped to cut the “are we going to be late?” stress.

Being in the Runners World Challenge group my brother was eligible for the Race Retreat and to start in corral B.  He decided in the end to forgo that and head into corral E with me – he had an injury in the fall and he didn’t want to be in the way so he decided to stay back in the slower corral.  So we hung out and wandered in the area prior to bag check – as they started calling runners to head through to the final staging area for the walk to the corrals we hung back and finally went through the tents around 4:30 am after a big portion of the crowd had thinned out.

My first thought was “this is how people get hurt” – they still hadn’t opened the gate keeping everyone in the staging area and people were squished in like sardines and more people were still coming through the tents.  Luckily things went pretty smooth once they opened the gate but it was still a very long slooooow walk to the corals.

As we wandered into corral E near the back and hovered around waiting for the start, I was surprised to see a 3:00-3:15 pace bunny line up his group in front of me.  I was shooting for 2:10 so I realized at that point that I was going to be doing a fair bit of dodging early on to try to be able to get into a comfortable pace with other runners going a similar speed.  Then as I heard the announcers talking about the various folks crossing the start line I realized that one of the 2 pace bunnies I would have wanted to follow was 2 corrals ahead of me – at that point I knew it was going to be a pretty rough race.

So combine that I knew I was going to have to do extra work to get a clear path, the humidity and the knowledge that the heat was coming and I could tell I was going to be a bit frustrated with the race.  Not a great mindset to be in when starting a race.  But I put it out of my head and went out to run my race as close to my way as I could under the circumstances.

In the end I finished with a time of 2:20:35 – about 10 minutes slower than I wanted which doesn’t sound too bad taken straight especially when compared to my time of 2:38:24 last year.  And don’t get me wrong – I am not trying to be negative here – it was my best time in a half marathon race in many years but if you look at the actual effort that I put in to get that time (based on my Garmin readings) I probably would have finished closer to the 2 hour mark on a less crowded course.

I went out with the intention of taking a picture of every mile marker on the race – I got the first one and then after that I was finding it difficult to get through the crowd to get to the markers to get photos.  But the first mile marker does give you an indication of the humidity that everyone was dealing with – even the billboard was sweating.

the sweating mile marker

the sweating mile marker

I did however get a very good video of running down Main Street in Magic Kingdom – hopefully I can get it put up on Youtube and put a link here shortly.

I stopped counting the number of people that would run in front of me near a race photographer and stop, causing me to have to dodge.  It happened at least 4 times in Magic Kingdom alone – in fact I had someone stop right in front of me as we were going through Cinderella’s Castle – the most narrow / choked point of the whole course and he just stopped to take it all in.  Luckily by then I was watching everyone around me very closely.

I think in the end I spent about a quarter of the run to Magic Kingdom running on the grass beside the road just to get a clear path – I could definitely feel the impacts of the running on uneven ground in my feet and knees after the race was done.

My brother asked me after he was done if they had narrowed the course because he thought there were more choke points this year than last and he felt that he had to dodge a lot more than he should have.  He was running injured, specifically going slow and in the corral where a 3 hour pace bunny was located and he still spent most of the race dodging people as well.

So I’m not exactly sure what happened here – I didn’t see the same issues from the same corral on the full marathon day so why the apparent issues during the half?  There could be a few:

  • there were 3000 more runners finish the half versus the full and those extra runners might have clogged things up more than expected
  • lots of half marathoners are relative newcomers to the running race scene and may not really have the running etiquette down (you could really tell the experienced runners who would point to the open spot they were heading to so you didn’t cut them off or who would give a hand sign to signal they were stopping to walk – I definitely learned some things by watching those runners).  Even a couple near misses or slowdowns caused by  an honest mistake made by a greener runner could have impacts far down the course when things are congested (think of a car accident that can have an impact on traffic for a long time after it has occurred and even cleaned up)
  • Disney may have generically assigned the Goofy runners to corrals based on their expected marathon times – so in my case I was put in E because I put in an expected time of around 5 hours.  The Goofy runners then also get the same corral for the half and maybe Disney uses different criteria for the strictly half runners when assigning corrals – as shown by the 3 hour pace bunny.  So as a full runner training to be under 5 hours if I put in a strong half run I would probably be expected to be in the 2:10 to 2:15 range but I was in a corral with runners shooting for around 3 hours.  If this happened to all the 3000 Goofy runners the mismatch of speeds could have caused grief as well.

I don’t know if anyone else experienced this as well but I did hear from some other Goofy runners that were shooting for faster speeds on the half and had issues with the crowd.  And there were definitely some impatient faster runners who got caught in traffic as evidenced by the 5’ tall blond girl who tried to push past me when I got trapped between a group of walkers and a fence.

I know it doesn’t sound it but I am not trying to be negative here – I am just disappointed that I didn’t get to see more of the great course, entertainment and Magic Kingdom because I had to spend all of my time monitoring all the other runners very closely.  I could never get into a zone and just run and enjoy myself and that was kind of disappointing.

But things did clear up a little near the end enough for me to enjoy myself – especially once the sun came out – although that did bring the heat as well.  The humidity was so bad that my running hat couldn’t wick and evaporate fast enough – at one point I saw water falling in front of me and I thought for a second that it was rain and then I realized it was just sweat dripping off my hat.  Lovely image I know – my apologies.

But in the end I had a good finish and I felt very good after it all was said and done…but Disney – what the hell?  No Coke at the finish line?  Bah!

I give Disney credit – with the number of runners and the heat they had plenty of water and Powerade available on the course and at the finish.

After sitting in the bus on the way back to the hotel I got some back spasms and major pains in the muscles in my back – mostly due to how I must have been holding myself while I was running.  Obviously I was holding myself too rigid and I paid the price for a few minutes until I could stretch it out and take some Tylenol.

I ended up having a short nap after and went for a walk with my wife around the Boardwalk and to Hollywood Studios to stretch out the legs and knees and try to work through the pounding they took while running beside the road.

One thing I realized I missed was having a cold shower / ice bath to reduce any swelling or pain and this may have contributed to the issues I was having with my legs.  I made sure I remembered for the next day.

Supper was simple – a beer and pepperoni pizza on the Boardwalk with a few slices left over for breakfast.  Awesome way to relax.

having a beer waiting for pizza on the Boardwalk

having a beer waiting for pizza on the Boardwalk

We then did a shopping excursion over to the Beach and Yacht Club resorts to find a hat – my running hat was obviously unusable for anything but running after the race in the morning and I needed to find something to keep the sizzle down – if you look at the picture above you can almost see the smoke coming off the back of my head.

I ended up going to bed early and fell to sleep by around 8:30pm while my wife went on a shopping excursion around the Boardwalk and Epcot.   Got a good solid rest going into Sunday.

Race Day minus 1

Friday January 11th, 2013 – more of a rest day

We were up relatively early – my brother hadn’t managed to get to package pick on Thursday after he got in so he was heading there this morning to get his stuff.  He had missed the regular Goofy sign up so he had signed up for the Runners World Challenge so he had a different pick up location which went smoothly.  The Runners World folks didn’t have to get their shirts at the expo so he didn’t have to go in – he had thought about it but the line was apparently out the door so he passed.

While he was doing that my wife and I went to Animal Kingdom to do the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.  It was a good day for it – weather is nice and the animals were very active.  We saw an elephant playing in one of the pools – running around with only its trunk and tusks up.  We also saw a pretty young white rhino running around and playing.  One of the better runs I have had on the ride – very cool.

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view of Everest

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tiger on Maharaja trek

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same tiger

very colourful pigeon

elephant having fun

rhino family

After we were done there we had a text from my brother and headed out to meet him at Downtown Disney.  We got a bit of a surprise – I knew that they run buses to other parks from Animal Kingdom and had assumed they ran a bus to Downtown Disney as well…but they don’t.  I can understand why as they wouldn’t want someone parking for free at Downtown Disney and riding the bus over to Animal Kingdom from there.

So we ended up taking a bus to Port Orleans: French Quarter and then riding the boat from there to Downtown Disney – a nice ride and good weather for it.  The extra time it took though without having a direct bus meant my brother had already eaten but he joined us as we had Earl of Sandwich and wandered around shopping.

We stayed at Downtown for supper – T-Rex – we had a bit of a mix up as the hostess sat us in a closed serving location and we didn’t realize until people around us were getting served that had been seated after us.  That was all resolved and we headed out to the buses to get back to the hotel.

Ended up having some fun on the buses though – one of a group of 4 teenage boys was taking a bunch of flash pics of the bus which ended up in a bit of confrontation.  I assume the boys were there as part of one of the high school bands playing along the course or something over the weekend as they didn’t seem related.  His friends gave him crap and they ditched off the bus at the next stop – while he did try to get chirpy again as he got off the bus it was pretty obvious he just blustering and trying to get attention – pretty sad really.  The worst part of that would be that if he was part of one of the bands or something it takes away a bit from the great thing that the bands and volunteers are doing on race day.  You don’t often run into jerks at Disney World but when you do they really stand out.

Got back to the hotel – laid out my stuff for the morning and sacked out.

So – being amped up on adrenaline from the pissing contest and worry about the heat on the race the next day it took quite some time to fall asleep.  Probably got 2 hours sleep – yay!