Archive for Goofy 2017

2017 Goofy Challenge trip / race report – Day 5 – checkout, 2 parks and flight home

I was up relatively early today for my last day at Disney World (I had wanted to sleep in but that didn’t happen) before catching a flight in the evening back home to wintry Winnipeg. The temperatures in Disney World were already starting to recover from the cold Sunday marathon and that made it extra hard to want to go home to the -30C (-22F) and colder with the wind chill temperatures.

After a quick room scour to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I did the wander down to Bell Services to hold my bags until Magical Express would pick me up just after 4pm.

I decided to have a quick breakfast at the Artist’s Palette at Saratoga Springs next which was very good and then I took a bus to Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom was the one park that I had not yet ridden a ride at on this trip and I wanted to rectify that. The My Disney Experience app was saying the wait times were pretty good there too so I might be able to do a bunch of stuff.

When I got there, there were large groups of people streaming into the park – I suspected that the light wait times were going to change quickly. So I did a fast walk over to Expedition Everest and was through the single rider line in under 5 minutes. Mission accomplished! At least one ride at each of the 4 parks!

I then did a bit of a wander around the park with the intention of trying Kilimanjaro Safari ride next but once I got over there the sign said there was a 45 minute wait but people were line up outside the line que area so I suspected it was actually a much longer wait than that. Sure enough a couple minutes later the wait time updated to 75 minutes…ok, Magic Kingdom wait times look better.  So off to Magic Kingdom I go. It hadn’t been my intention to do anything besides a quick run through Animal Kingdom but I ended up with way more free time than I expected.

It is nice that Disney has busses that run directly between the parks – it is a pain to go through security each time though so I might have to look at the new express service they have introduced when I am down with the family. It looks like (for a fee) you will get on a bus at a special location within the park and then get dropped at a special location at the next park and you don’t have to go through security again. Sounds interesting!

By the time I get to Magic Kingdom that park is getting busy too! Wait times have spiked all over but I took the opportunity to ride People Mover again and then wander all over the park just absorbing the feel of everything. I didn’t end up doing any more rides before I took the bus back over to Saratoga Springs.

I had a bit of time before my Magical Express bus came so I took the opportunity to rearrange some stuff in my bags before we were off to the airport. This included making sure I had my warmest jacket available in an easy to grab spot for as soon as I was off the plane!

It was nice that our bus only had the one hotel stop – sometimes Magical Express stops at multiple resorts to pick up people going back to the airport so it was quicker to not to have to do that.

Strangely the bus only stopped at one of the airport terminals – normally they will hit both and you get off on whichever side you need to get to your airline but this time the driver didn’t do that. Not sure if this was a policy change or the bus driver decision. Either way it meant a hike across the airport for me with all my bags. Not a big deal but it was a surprise.

After checking in with the airline and dropping my checked bag it was off to the long security line – it surprisingly didn’t take too long to get through but it certainly looked like chaos at first.

Through security – the quick monorail ride out to my terminal and had a sit, did some reading and had a light snack before getting on the plane about 30 minutes late for the 4hr plus flight home. There were some concerns there as there was significant snow fall occurring back home and it could have meant even more delays. But the flight was uneventful besides the short delay though which is always good.

Then through Canadian customs, pick up my bag and do the trek through the near -40C temperatures to my truck (which started easily and quickly warmed up, luckily). Then a 20 minute ride home through the fresh 3-4 inches of snow that had fallen in the past couple hours.

But I made it home safe and sound around 1 am. Finally got to bed around 2:30 so I could get 4 hours of sleep before getting up for work in the morning! Whoohoo!

It was nice the next morning that the kids got up to see me off to work as I hadn’t seen them since I tucked them in Wednesday night.

And that ended another Goofy Challenge / Disney World Marathon weekend trip…besides all the typing!

 

Hope you enjoyed following along!

2017 Goofy Challenge race / trip report – Day 4 part 2 – Epcot evening after race fun

See here for Day 4 part 1 describing the actual Disney World Marathon portion of the day.

After making it back to the hotel room and having a much needed warm shower, I sorted out a bunch of my gear and ate a sandwich that I had waiting ready in the room’s fridge. I also made my way through the rest of the runDisney snack box. 

At this point the early mornings caught up with me and I decided to lay down and have a nap so I could do my planned late night in Epcot that night. 

I set my alarm to wake me up at 3pm and I woke up feeling pretty good. Then I blinked and lost a half hour…ok, so up at 3:30 then. 

I got dressed up nice and warm and headed to Epcot wearing my Goofy Challenge medal. 

Interesting observation though – I saw very few other Goofy Challenge medals but several Dopey Challenge and stand alone Walt Disney World Marathon medals around the park. Why so few Goofy Challenge medals? Were there actually that few Goofy Challenge runners by percentage or did many of the Goofy Challenge runners decide they hadn’t earned that medal since the half marathon was cancelled and decided to wear the full marathon medal instead? I’m not sure frankly. Either way I felt I had earned the Goofy Challenge medal and displayed it proudly. 

I did a bunch of wandering around Epcot through the late afternoon and evening as the temperature got steadily cooler. At one point I hopped into the France pavilion to watch “Impressions of France” to get a half hour out of the cold. 

The cold didn’t stop me from wandering around with a cold beer in my hand though… 

I had a light supper in there at some point – most years I end up getting a reservation for one of the table service restaurants to celebrate but since I was on my own this year I hadn’t bothered. So instead I hit Electric Umbrella quick service instead and sat where I had a view of Fountain of Nations – not the fanciest of places but it holds good memories of eating here with my family on previous trips that makes it kind of special. 

I then hit a few rides – Frozen Ever After and Little Nemo – before wandering over to watch Illuminations – I picked up a hot coffee and a pastry to enjoy the show as well. It has become tradition for me to catch Illuminations on the last night of the Disney World Marathon weekend trips, it always feels like a great end to an epic weekend. 

It wasn’t exactly the end though. The park closed to standard guests after Illuminations but resort guests enjoyed a couple extra “Magic Hours” and I took advantage of that to get on Soarin’ and Spaceship Earth with very little to no wait. 

I then had to head into the Mouse Gears shop to pick up another piece of luggage – I had been given a shopping list of stuff to get by my wife and between that and my Goofy Challenge swag, I needed more carrying capacity. 

I found something at Mouse Gears that was big enough to carry what I needed while still counting as a carry on bag so I wouldn’t need to check another piece of luggage. It was not a cheap solution but it was well built and I will be able to take advantage of it on future trips with the family for sure which lessens the per use cost. 

At this point there was still a half hour until the Magic Hours were over but I was burnt out and still needed to get back to the room to pack! 

A relatively short bus ride later I was back at the hotel packing and luckily the new bag was a great size for what I needed. Yay! 

And shortly after midnight I was able to crash out and get some sleep! 

Next up Day 5 – hotel checkout, 2 parks and catching a plane home.

2017 Goofy Challenge trip / race report – Day 4 part 1 – a chilly marathon!

Ok – alarm went off at 2:30 and I started the layering process. It was super cold out (for Orlando) and with a sharp wind it was going to be chilly standing at the start line waiting for the chance to run!

(I haven’t added many race pics to this post but one quick note on the race pictures – the on course photographers are now Disney’s Photopass folks and you get your pictures through purchasing Memory Maker or by purchasing the individual pics you want. As an annual passholder I got the Memory Maker included so this was perfect for me. The photos looks pretty good too – well they look well composed, since I am in the contents they don’t look that good…)

Luckily (?) I had experienced cold before and my packing list (goofy challenge packing list) included cold weather running gear. I ended up with thermal leggings under running shorts, a thermal long sleeve shirt and my Nike Elements jacket. I also wore a thermal cap bought from the race expo on Thursday (I had brought one with me too but the runDisney one actually fit better). I also put on my running gloves and then loaded up my hydration backpack, grabbed one of the big black garbage bags I had brought and I was ready to go!

I got to the bus after a short walk and after they filled it up we were off. The drive to Epcot was uneventful (the driver didn’t get lost or anything like I have seen in the past). I did the wander through the security bag check and I was in with the crowd ready to race. Well, more like ready to snug together, any place out of the wind had large groups of people crowded together trying to stay warm.

Very shortly after I got there they were calling for some of the lower corrals (I was in E) to head through the bag drop off area and get ready to head out to the race corrals. So I did that and had a bit of a wait on the other side before they opened up the gates to let everyone do the long walk out to the corrals.

The walk was a bit different this year as they are doing construction on some of the roads near the start line. So instead of splitting the corrals early they all followed one path to a final split point where there were 3 different ways to go. This actually worked really well. There seemed to be less crowding this year which is always a good thing.

I made my way to corral E after a quick pit stop and then proceeded to chill…and get cold. The gear I was wearing has kept me warm down to -20C (-4F) and colder and I was still starting to shiver a bit. It must be something to do with the humidity because it wasn’t even below freezing. In Winnipeg when it gets cold the humidity is very low but I think the wind and the humidity gave the cold more bite than you would expect.

So at this point I broke out the black garbage bag and put it on as an extra wind break – much better immediately.

It seemed like no time at all before it was our time to go and corral E was off.

I kept a slow and steady pace through the first 4 miles or so until just past the Ticket and Transportation Center. At this point I was getting too warm in my gear. So I did a quick stop, popped off my hydration backpack and my Nike jacket. The jacket was too expensive to abandon so it got tied around my waist for the rest of the race.

At this point my guess from the first time I looked at my bib was confirmed. The holes were too close to the edge of the bib – I ripped one of holes out! I use a bib belt so I only use the top 2 holes and now one of them was buggered. But had listened to my intuition the night before and put some safety pins in my hydration backpack. One quick pin of the damaged corner to the bib belt and I was ready to move again. But probably lost a good 5 minutes or more here.

From there it was a short run into Magic Kingdom and that awesome turn around the corner to see the castle all lit up and glowing. Always a cool thing to see.

Then through Magic Kingdom and a quick stop to take a picture of Maleficent in her steampunk dragon form from the Festival of Fantasy parade (add picture). And then back out and keep on moving toward cone alley.

Steampunk Maleficent

 

For whatever reason cone alley didn’t seem as crowded this year – that was actually a theme for this race, the crowds weren’t too bad. This was a surprise since they also allowed an extra 2500 half marathon folks from the day before to move up to the marathon.

At this point I was approaching the Grand Floridian Resort. Mark Daniel (@lof4life2 on twitter) was one of the groomsmen cast members set up to greet the runners there. Mark is one of the presenters that Disney has been tapping to host various live streaming events from around the parks over the past year. He has a great energy and charisma on the screen! During the New Years Eve fireworks presentation live stream this year I had followed Mark on twitter and ended up being his 1000th follower. He had direct messaged me the next day or so thanking me for the follow and joked that next time I was in Disney World he would get me a Dole whip. I laughed and indicated that I would be down for the Goofy Challenge in just a few days. That was when he indicated that he would be one of the groomsmen on course. Pretty funny stuff.

So I needed to make sure I introduced myself, so around the Grand Floridian I started watching the sidelines very closely to see where they were set up and I quickly found them. I went up quickly and introduced myself to Mark before continuing on my way. Super cool.

I’m not exactly sure how I have lucked out on my twitter account the way I have, because in addition to chatting with Mark, I have also interacted with Steve Miller (@samhowzit) from Disney Parks blog and Stacey J Aswad (@staceyjaswad) from the Must Do Disney shows that play at all the Disney resorts at Disney World. One year, I even had Stacey give me a “run like the wind Ted” tweet! Disney nerd heaven there.

 Ok – back at it.

After mile 9, I noticed an older gentleman doing run/walk/run cycles – he would run in a diagonal pattern across the road and then do a little walk and then diagonal pattern back across the road in the other direction. Kind of interesting and it made me notice him amongst the other runners. I also noticed that he appeared to have a coke bottle hanging off of each hip and I figured this is my kind of runner!

I then started wondering if it was Olympian / runDisney legend Jeff Galloway (@JeffGalloway) – but I wasn’t sure and as I was trying to figure it out I lost track of where he was. I figured out later on twitter that it was actually him. Damn – missed opportunity to say hi to the legend.

Running continued without much event and we then did the tour around Animal Kingdom. This year the half way point was actually in Animal Kingdom which was a cool change. Interestingly they also had a big sign indicating where 13.1 was and there was a cast member there and it seemed about 5 or 6 people standing to the side who looked like they had been running but had now stopped. It made me wonder if they allowed the half marathon folks who managed to get one of the bump up to full spots to check out at that point. It would be a cool thing for runDisney to do but I don’t know if they did or not.

Again a fairly drama free run from the Animal Kingdom on for a while. Although I did have to take my phone out of my carrying belt as it started to do the volume dance that it did the day before on the half marathon run – I ended up reseating the headphones in the jack and it worked well for the rest of the race. I did hold my phone in my hand the rest of the race just in case it did it again though.

I took another pit stop and ripped my bib again – yay! A quick fix and off again.

And then into ESPN – I think they added even more looping around ESPN World of Sports this year – it was cool and all but a little frustrating. After the cool run through the stadium I had to stop to take the rocks out of my shoes – happens to me every time! I don’t see other people impacted so it has to be the way I run. At this point it is part of my Walt Disney World Marathon race plan.

Back out on the highways for the run toward Hollywood Studios – I was definitely doing run/walk/run cycles by this point but at irregular times as my app on my phone decided to only occasionally give me the audibles to run or walk when it was time. I was tired at this point but not really feeling beat up – that was a nice surprise.

Shortly before making the exit toward Hollywood Studios there was an ambulance and they were loading a runner in. Hopefully he is ok. It does serve as a reminder that even though you are at Disney World a marathon is no joke.

Now Hollywood Studios – with all the construction going on there they changed the path through that park and unfortunately it was much shorter than the old path. But we did get to see different back stage areas which I always find fascinating and we got to run down Hollywood Boulevard which was not done before – so that was a definite positive.

Out of the park quickly and at my happy place. I have so many good memories with the family on the path between Hollywood Studios and Epcot and all the beautiful scenery as you pass the various resorts (especially the Yacht and Beach Clubs for me). I always get a spring in my step here. Frankly if runDisney were to ever remove this section of the marathon, I might stop going – this section is that important to me.

After the truly fun mile it was into Epcot for the final stretch. Through World Showcase and on toward Spaceship Earth. I love running up that stretch too – the fountains and the music and atmosphere. I take my headphones out here usually to get the full impact.

And then a quick cut past the bathrooms to the mile 26 marker and the gospel choir. Just 0.2 to go!

Just a quick steady pace down the homestretch and the oddest Goofy Challenge ever was done. #6 in the bag.

It wasn’t a fast time for me but I enjoyed myself and took it easy and I had zero issues with my Achilles tendon so this was a huge mark in the win column for me.

Marathon medal obtained as well as a runDisney mylar blanket to wrap in and grabbed a bottle of water walking toward the tent to get the Goofy Challenge medal.

First person asked if I had my Half Marathon medal yet – Nope – here you go – thanks. And then the next person gave me the Goofy Challenge medal – whoohoo!

Grabbed a quick picture with the medals and picked up the runDisney snack box before running out to the meeting area. I did a short wander around there but decided to head back out to the buses fairly quickly.

Back at the hotel, on the walk back to the room, I had a quick chat with a family whose daughter had run the full and they asked about the Goofy and what training for that is like and wondered why I was walking faster than they were. I do walk quickly but I found early on that if I do a lot of walking after a long run I recover so much faster, so the fast walk was part of my recovery plan.

Then back in the room, shower and a nap! I did a whole bunch of stuff in Epcot later in the day as well that I will put in another post so that should be come out either later today or tomorrow.

Next up – wandering Epcot in the cold and hitting two parks the next day before getting on the plane home!

2017 Goofy Challenge trip / race report – Day 3 – a very special half marathon

Alrighty – up at 7am – should have been over half done the Disney World half marathon by now but the weather cancellation that came through the night meant I got to sleep in. 

I lay in bed trying to figure out what I wanted to do and when I wanted to run my unofficial half marathon to get the miles in to make the Goofy Challenge legitimate. I looked at the weather radar and it looked like the worst of everything was going well north of where I was and would be for a while. Ok – let’s go. 

There was a light rain when I started out but at least it was warm out and the rain was fairly warm as well. So that was nice. 

I decided to wear the 2017 Disney World Half marathon shirt out for the run as a bit of a shout out to the cancelled race. I also put on my Nike Pegasus Shield runners to help with their waterproofing. 

My plan was to run around Saratoga Springs, find the nature path to the Old Key West Resort, run around that resort, run back to Saratoga Springs and then loop it again to make the necessary 13.1 miles. 

As soon as I headed out, I immediately started to run into other runners out doing the same thing – not many yet but by the time I was done the run there were runners everywhere! 

I started by doing a bit of a run around the resort in a random pattern – Saratoga Springs does have a designated running path but there are sidewalks all over the place so I didn’t follow the path, I just wandered with no set goals. 

After a half mile or so, I decided to try to find the path over to Old Key West to get away from any vehicle traffic. Disney really does not advertise the path, it wasn’t on any of the guide maps around the resort or on the Disney site that I could find. To find it I eventually resorted to an internet search and Google Maps. That added some time to my run. 

The path itself was nice running along beside a golf course on one side and a river/canal on the other. I met another runner or two out on that path and then even more in Old Key West. 

Old Key West is similar to Saratoga Springs in that there are side walks all over, so more wandering. At one point I realized that the path I was on looked familiar, yep, I had gotten lost and circled back. I turned around and ended up back on the path back to Saratoga Springs. 

After a few minutes the skies opened up and it got wet, very wet. Sheets of rain and no easy cover. I also heard some thunder at this point but saw no lightning. At this point I had to keep going since the only cover was trees (not a good idea in a lightning) or under a bridge. Troll jokes aside I’m not sure hiding under a bridge in Florida is the safest thing either considering the gator / snake warning signs along the canal. I eventually did see a shed I could have sheltered under but by that point the thunder had passed. 

I continued on and shared a few jokes with other runners going for a quick drowning and eventually the rain started to let up a bit. 

As the rain died off, more and more runners came out, several wearing their race bibs…wish I had thought of that! 

Every runner out there seemed to be in a great mood and everyone was cheering each other on. A super atmosphere! 

I kept running and decided to go off plan and run through Disney Springs as well – that was fun – only a few runners there but very little foot traffic since the shops weren’t open. But there were Disney cast members standing out at the doorways of several of the shops cheering on the runners. Definitely a cool vibe – it made up a bit for missing running through the parks. 

I then discovered that if you continue out to the parking lot on the west side of Disney Springs you end up at the natural trail out to Old Key West – alrighty – back out to Old Key West then. 

I was about half done my mileage at this point so I stopped to tweet that I was half done and probably needed to jump in the pool after the run in order to dry off. Still quite wet but the rain had definitely slacked off at this point. 

However my headphone internal volume controls had apparently taken on some water – volume all the way up, all the way down, skip song, all over the place. At one point the music had muted and had been for some time, I hadn’t noticed since I was enjoying the run in the rain…but then the volume came back full blast, during a DragonForce song. I literally jumped and my heart rate spiked! Holy crap…I took my headphones out at this point. 

The number of runners out kept increasing through the last half of the run. It was so cool to see runners of so many different levels out getting their miles in and cheering each other on. 

After another loop of Old Key West, I came back to Saratoga Springs and did another loop there before doing an out and back through Disney Springs. I got back to my hotel room at about 12.8 miles…damn…gotta keep going. So I did a few back and forth runs on the sideway by the hotel and ended up with a total of 13.18 miles. Cool – unofficial Walt Disney World Half Marathon done. 

After I got back to the room and had a long warm shower, I started to check twitter and saw that the unofficial half movement wasn’t isolated to Saratoga Springs. Other resorts were doing the same things and places like the Pop Century and Port Orleans Riverside resort even had cheering and water aid stations set up. Just bloody amazing. 

Resorts like the Pop and Riverside have very defined loops for running trails that helps set up designated spots for aid stations and the like and the runners don’t then get spread out as much. I was impressed with the atmosphere where I was but I can only imagine that that feeling was amplified at these resorts due to that concentration of runners. 

I am so impressed with the runDisney community. I said it in a tweet but I will say it again here – runDisney can give us venue but the community is what makes the runDisney events so special. The race cancellation was turned into something truly magical. 

At this point I should have gone to rest for a bit but I was starving since I hadn’t eaten before I ran. So I walked to Disney Springs (cheering runners along the way) and grabbed a sandwich at Earl of Sandwich. I then headed back to the room for a rest and now there was a cheer squad out cheering on runners at Saratoga Springs – super cool. 

Once back at the room and ended up sitting down to read some email…and lost an hour and a half. 

After my nap I was anxious to hit a park. Still so many runners out as I walked to the bus stop and caught the ride to Hollywood Studios. After a bit of wandering there and a ride on Star Tours and a late lunch I decided to do the walk from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. I would be doing that path on the marathon the next day but I wanted to do it once at a relaxing walk before the race. 

The path had so many runners out – even a few teams running together – just bloody awesome. They were near the Boardwalk Resort, near the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, running into Epcot. 

I tweeted about this as I wandered toward Epcot and got a response from Christina from @RunDisneyBelle that she was actually running in Epcot. I fired back that I was basically walking into Epcot at that point. 

As I wandered into the park and started crossing the bridge between England and France in World Showcase I recognized her running with @KnightBuilder65 and introduced myself to say hi. We had a quick chat about how cool it was that the so many people were getting their miles in. I didn’t want to take away from her run so we just had a short chat and I continued my wander as she continued her run. 

Super cool to meet yet another awesome runner this weekend! Christina also has an awesome recap from this cool day up on her site: The Glass Slipper Chronicles https://glassslipperchronicles.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/2017-diy-wdw-half-marathon/ After that I continued a wander through World Showcase (yay beer) and then had an early supper before heading out to the buses back to the hotel for an early night. 

Just a bloody cool day all around. That day made the trip worthwhile. 

Edit – Jan 14 – Just wanted to put in a quick other bit here. On the Friday night I was chatting with some folks on twitter who had a tough decision to make. They were Goofy Challenge runners who could probably PR the full marathon if they took it easy on Saturday. But they would still get in their half on the Monday. The conundrum they had was that Monday was their travel day out of Disney World and would they have enough time? Plus running a half the day after you beat yourself up with a full is probably harder mentally than doing the half the day before. Seeing everyone running around on the Saturday would have been tough too – it would have been hard to resist the atmosphere! I know there are probably a few runners who did this though – and I wanted to say congrats to those folks too!

Next up – Day 4 – the Walt Disney World Marathon – and I meet a cool Disney Cast Member in person.

2017 Goofy Challenge race trip report – Day 2 – spectating the Minnie 10k and bad news about the half marathon

Ok – day 2 of this interesting trip for the 2017 Goofy Challenge 

I was up early and got out quickly to the path by Disney’s Beach Club Resort to spectate the Minnie 10k race. I just missed the first of the runners heading past the hotel just after mile 5 of the race – I had hoped to get out there to see everyone but I was just a bit too slow. 

I clapped and cheered on the runners right up until the golf cart passed that was there to sweep up anyone unfortunate enough to not be able to maintain the minimum pace. 

I was awesome to see so many people out there having fun – it gives a different perspective on the race watching everyone go by instead of being in your own little bubble rushing through the race. You get a bit more of a sense of the sheer number of folks running one of these runDisney races. Then I thought back to the variety of stories I had heard from just a few runners on my way down and it really hit me just how many reasons for running, goals and stories there must be. Pretty amazing when you think about it. 

I saw a few people I recognized from twitter that I interact with but most wouldn’t have recognized me in real life. But I saw Jeff Galloway, which was awesome and said a quick hello to him as he went past. I also saw @sharpendurance from twitter go by looking very focused and I recognized @LoveDisneyRun as well, but she was across the course so I didn’t do a shout out. Looking at my twitter feed later, it looks like there were other runners there that I follow that I did not recognize, so if you are one of those folks, sorry I didn’t say “hi” as you went past! 

That was a cool experience. 

My Garmin tracker figures I did 150% of my step goals for the day just from the clapping which was kind of funny. 

From there, I went and had a quick bite to eat and packed up my stuff since I had to move hotels that day. I dropped my bags with the bag check folks at the hotel to be transferred to my new location and headed into Epcot. I was able to get on Soarin’ after a short wait and then headed out of Epcot to get on the monorail to Magic Kingdom. 

I had lunch there and did a quick ride of People Mover, which has become a bit of a tradition for me during Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. 

The park was too busy to do much else though, so I went out and caught the bus to the new resort to check in. I moved to the Saratoga Springs Resort for the rest of the trip and luckily the room was ready when I got there. 

Saratoga Springs has a walking path in to Disney Springs (the new name for Downtown Disney), so after a bit of a walk around I went there for some shopping and exploring of the new areas I hadn’t seen yet. 

While there I had an early supper to make sure whatever I ate wouldn’t impact the half marathon race the next morning. 

At this point though I am starting to stalk the weather reports as they were calling for a chance of thunderstorms the next morning…and lightning is the one thing that runDisney is pretty specific about cancelling a race for. The forecasts kept changing too, sometimes it would just show rain (which I could handle) and then it would come back and show lightning again. 

I then went back to the room to prep my gear for the next day and to get to bed early. 

As I prepped, I noticed that the pin holes in the racing bib seemed awfully close to the edge of the bib. I had visions of ripping my bib like I did on the 2015 half marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge that year. I put that out of my head for the time being though to continue to stalk the weather reports. 

runDisney indicated that they were going report back by 7:00 pm through various channels on what they were going to do about the race and weather, however by 7:30 there was still nothing coming. And then we started to hear noise that the race was cancelled the next morning…but still nothing official from runDisney on any of the 4 info channels that they indicated. 

And then they finally made the official announcement…but only on Facebook. I don’t use Facebook so my wife had to send me screen captures. It took ages before they finally put out the info on the other channels. To me this was the one real failure for runDisney. I fully accept, understand and support the decision they made but it was ridiculous that they only provided info to one of the 4 info channels they had just indicated they would put info out on….sigh. 

Edit – I have heard some grumbling on the net that runDisney did the best they could and that they are only human and that my opinion above that they fell down in one area is just sour grapes. I agree that they did extremely well – but they set themselves up to have a problem by indicating that they would update all 4 info channels. The comment above is meant as constructive criticism. As a learning opportunity for runDisney, they should be reviewing their contingency plans (and I have no doubt they will be) and refining their communication strategy. So for those that didn’t like my critique – remember that a company like Disney, and runDisney in particular, is always trying to improve and constructive criticism is a method to let them know how they can get even better. I think they did awesome all around with the unique issue but when they look to see where they can improve – here is a spot. Disaster management should have one info channel to prevent miscommunication but they indicated that they would use 4 and only updated 1 initially. If runDisney had indicated that they would provide the info by Facebook only initially then the onus would be on me to monitor that info channel but the communications strategy as it stood indicated that I did not need to look at the one channel they initially updated. So again – great job! But here is a spot that can get better.

Now with that being said, runDisney is very clear that there are no refunds but they stepped up and gave everyone a variety of options. One of them was a refund in the form of a Disney gift card and you could still get the race medal. Another option was a sign up for another runDisney half over the next couple years, and yet some others could try to get a few limit spots to move up to the full marathon on Sunday. 

When I think back to the 10k in the morning and all those runners’ stories, I really feel for the runners who were down to do the half marathon as their destination race and weren’t able to do it. 

Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge runners were put in a strange position though – you would still get your medals…but you wouldn’t have actually done the challenge…I think for most runners doing the challenges the mindset at that point was not about the race being cancelled but instead being concerned that they didn’t earn the final challenge medals. 

Not acceptable. 

I started doing math of how many laps around the resort I would need to do to get 13.1 and I saw on twitters that others were doing the same. I even saw runners blast out basically as soon as the announcement came out – they got in their miles that night. Just awesome. 

So now I was left with the decision of what to do that night. I was no longer planning on going to bed early so I decided to head out and hit Disney Springs again for a wander and a think (and a beer). 

By the time I wandered back to the room, I had come up with a plan. My resort (Saratoga Springs) has a nature trail to the Old Key West Resort and also a walking path to Disney Springs and a running trail around the resort. I decided to loop around Saratoga Springs then take the trail out to Old Key West, do a loop there and come back and repeat. It would take only a few of those loops to hit 13.1 miles. Plan sorted. 

I filled a water bottle with some electrolyte drink for the morning and went to bed wondering when I would be able to actually get my miles in the next day. 

Next – Day 3 – a monsoon half marathon and thousands of determined runners…everywhere