Tag Archive for disney world marathon

Jan 3 2018 – Travel day and race kit pickup for Walt Disney World Marathon and Dopey Challenge

Hi folks! We are back from our extended Disney World stay following the Walt Disney World Marathon and I am going to start on my race / trip report.


Our first day started way early getting the kids up before 2:30 am – I think I got about an hour sleep but at least they slept well!


I did the final load of the vehicle and we drove to the airport, parked, got all bags checked, confirmed a few things about our connecting flight (travelling through Toronto on our way down and have to do US Immigration checks there in Toronto so we wanted to make sure we knew how that would all work – especially since it seems to be different there each time we go) and then we head through security.


Nice and easy boarding onto the flight and a good flight to Toronto.


When we got to Toronto though things went downhill fast. We only had about 1.25 hours between flights and had to do US Immigration, so time was tight but things got worse because when we got there, there was another plane sitting at our gate…


After what seemed like an eternity (but probably 15-20 minutes) we were finally assigned a new gate but ground crews had to reposition and things were going to be delayed for the luggage…Yay! Clock is ticking.


We got off the plane and made our way over to the US Immigration area to wait for our bags to pass through so that we could see a US agent and get to our flight. And we waited, and waited, and waited…we could see that our flight was starting to board and we were still stuck and couldn’t do anything.


We tried to talk to an airline agent about our flight but he was aggressively unhelpful…finally after our plane was scheduled to leave we see the flight now listed as delayed and the airline agent announces that the flight has been delayed by 20 minutes…but the times he was quoting made it sound more like 10 minutes. So now we have hope but not necessarily a lot.


Another 10 minutes later and we are finally able to pass into the line for US Immigration and relatively quickly made it through there and bolted for our flight. When we got there the skyway was already closed up but the plane was still there so they let us on, thankfully.


After a short delay the plane then took off.


There wasn’t another flight to Orlando scheduled that day that I could see on our carrier – if we didn’t make the connection we didn’t get to race kit pick up and we didn’t get to do the 5k race together the next morning. But we made it!


From there a relatively uneventful flight and an easy Magical Express ride to our resort for the race weekend and then onto the event bus to go get our race kits.


We could see when the bus pulled up that things were a circus – yay!


First up was getting the 5k race kits for Heather and the kids and then the 10k kit for our son before heading in to get my Dopey Challenge kit.


After grabbing the kit I had to ask 3 different volunteers how to get the area for the pre-purchased merchandise area – once we got there we started to see just how crazy the runDisney merchandise area was and after getting my pre-purchased race pins we decided that we just couldn’t stand in the line to even go look at the gear. It was getting too late at this point and the kids were starving.


We did take a quick look in the building for the rest of the race expo and decided not to go down to the show floor as it just looked like a madhouse.


So basically, we bought no merchandise – that’s just crazy. They really need to do something to cut down the crowds on that first day…I hate to say it but I think the Dopey Challenge is the real issue here and I don’t think runDisney can fix the crowds on that first race expo day unless they get rid of this challenge. There are just too many people trying to get in there in such a short period of time.


Anyway – we headed back to the resort, ate some supper and then headed to Epcot to do some modifications to our annual passes before heading back to the room to crash.


Somehow in this short period our daughter managed to lose her 5k race shirt…still not sure how but at least she didn’t lose the race bib!


Next up – 5k race and some park fun!

Running Road Blocks

Hi Folks!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been invited to participate in Cigna’s Blogger and Social Media Meet-up (super excited!) and as part of that they have passed along a bunch of inspirational stories and infographics that I can share.

So I will do a series of posts using this info to pass along some of this cool info to you folks. I see others involved in the meet-up are already starting to share this info as well – to find those posts look for #cignaruntogether on Twitter and other social media! Very cool stuff!

As I was looking at the info packet Cigna sent along I saw one infographic that spoke to me right off the bat and I am going to do a quick write up on this one and tie it into my own experiences and thoughts as well as into the Walt Disney World Marathon course.


Cigna Run Together – running road blocks

(please ignore that their runner seemed to jump from 5 miles to 13.1 and back to 10…)

Mile 1 – Set your own pace and save energy! Makes sense to me – at the start of the full marathon their is so much energy in the air you are going to want to fly out of the corrals but try to pull back on that instinct and save that energy later in the course. Things can be crowded in the first few miles as well so you don’t want to cause an accident either.

Mile 5 – Pace yourself. Listen to music and enjoy your surroundings. On the Walt Disney World Marathon course this puts you right before the entrance to Magic Kingdom – enjoy that run down Main Street toward the castle, it is hard to express how amazing that section of the course is! Also, take advantage of the park bathrooms if you need to and skip the scenic porta-potties.

Mile 10 – Self-doubt may start creeping in. Focus on yourself, not on the other runners. I like to say “run your own race” and it is especially true at a runDisney race. You can have fast runners doing character stops, getting passed by slower runners and then catching back up and blasting past again – you have thousands of runners out there doing their own thing, don’t waste mental energy on what they are doing. This is not always the most exciting mile of the Disney World Marathon but Animal Kingdom is coming soon and runDisney does try to have character spots and entertainment along the way to keep you going.

Mile 13.1 – Break the race into chunks and focus on the next mile marker. You are in Animal Kingdom now which is very cool to run through – amazing scenery. After you come out of this park though you have some road miles ahead of you that aren’t really exciting but keep your mind distracted looking for some interesting things – like the runners’ graveyard staffed by Haunted Mansion cast members and the McDonalds…

Mile 18 – wall may be nearing. Think positive; it will give you more energy. At this point you are entering the ESPN sports complex and some runners have expressed frustration and this part of the course – but I like to enjoy it in pieces. For example running on the 1/4 mile track, it is fun to enjoy the bounce of the track after lots of pavement, also the run through the baseball diamond is very cool. Plus enjoy the shade where you can get it in this area – it is one of the few places on course where you can get some shade from the Florida sun.

Mile 23 – Exhaustion is setting in. Visualize crossing the finish line. You are now entering the Hollywood Studios park and from here on out there is always some kind of scenery or cool area to keep you positive. The 2 miles after you leave ESPN and before you get to Hollywood Studios are the hardest to push through in my opinion – there isn’t a lot there to keep you going but once you get through that you get a string of visual treats right up to the finish line. You get Hollywood Studios, the beautiful walking path towards Disney’s Boardwalk Resort area, fantastic views around the lake seeing the Dolphin, Swan, Yacht and Beach Club resorts before entering Epcot and getting see all of World Showcase except Canada. Then you have your final stretch toward Spaceship Earth, the run by the choir at mile 26 and then the crowds cheering you down the final 0.2 miles. Miles 21 through 23 are where I start concentrating on my Pieces of Magic items that I bring along to remind me of my family and to keep me motivated.

Mile 26.2 – Celebrate! You will be tired, you may just want to crash out and go to bed, but make sure to take some time to wander around with your medal at Disney World. You will get congratulations from other runners, from all the Disney Cast Members – it feels good, as it should – you just finished a marathon! Also make sure to move around to keep the legs loose and work some of the lactic acid out – if you can do some walking around you will feel better the next day as opposed to just sitting around getting stiff.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you do to keep moving through the miles!

2 week out update for Dopey Challenge #2

Ok – I am back – it’s been busy the past few weeks so I haven’t been doing the blogging I want to do but today marks 2 weeks out from our travel day to the Disney World Marathon weekend and my 2nd Dopey Challenge (7th Goofy? wow…) and I figured I should find some time to get in here and give a quick round up of where I am and get everyone up to date on what is going on. (it is going to be a long one…)

I will start off with a major cool surprise this week as I was invited to attend the Cigna Blogger and Social Media Meet-Up over the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! I have read up on how fun the event can be from some of the runners I follow on Twitter and it sounds like a great time. Honored to have been invited and very excited to attend!

And with that wild announcement out of the way on with the update…


Where do I stand running wise?

Running has been going decently well – furthest I have gotten on my recent longer runs has been 14 miles – which is not long enough but at least showed I could still do something. I have had several 10s in there as well so the 14 wasn’t a fluke.

For the most part my legs have been good. The ankle that has caused me grief for the past year and a half seems very solid so that seems to finally be truly solved – major sigh of relief there!

I am however having an issue with my right knee. Over the years this knee has caused me some grief (going back to high school football…back in the dark ages…) but I am still surprised it has popped up as an issue now. Mostly because of how / why it started bugging me. That is, I didn’t seem to do anything bad to it running…I seem to have buggered it up by having a nap on the couch a week or so ago…

That deserves an explanation I suppose.

So about a week and a half ago I sat down on the couch with my legs up on the ottoman to do some reading and promptly fell asleep. I had my legs crossed at the ankles with my right leg underneath…when I woke up a couple hours later I had not moved at all…and when I stood up my right knee would barely hold my weight – it had been hyper-extended pretty good by the weight of the other leg being on top of it for a few hours. Getting old sucks. The knee improved quickly just by moving it around but ever since it gives me shots now and then when I run. So I have been taking it easy with how hard I am running as truly injuring my leg right now would not be a good thing.

I still hope to get in a real good long run over the next week to clear the cobwebs but at this point it will just be for convincing myself I can as opposed to actually improving my conditioning.


My weight:

I have been getting my weight to go down – probably down about 5-8 pounds from where I was 2 months ago which is an improvement but still not where I need to be. Back in 2015 when I ran my first Dopey Challenge I was around the 220 pound mark and I am sitting above the 240 point right now – so I have a lot of work to do but obviously that won’t be fixed before the races in 2 weeks. But I have made positive improvements and I expect to keep that going so that I can train and run better races later in 2018. I have to take the long term goal of getting my weight under control – it took me a few years to get where I am so I won’t be able to fix it overnight. (on a side note my half and full PRs were set at about the 220 pound point – 1:46:00 for the half – I am tall and carry a fair bit of muscle so the 220 on me is not as dramatically overweight as it might sound…)


Kids’ training:

This year we are doing the 5k race as a family – so my wife Heather, our son (11) and daughter (9), and I will all be running the 5k.

I will then be doing the 10k with our son before going on and doing the half and full on my own to finish out the Dopey Challenge.

We did the ProBowl 5k together back in February but this will be the kids’ first taste of a real runDisney race and I want them in good enough shape that they can enjoy it and not be struggling with the distance or the cut off times.

How has their training been going? Probably more consistently than mine actually…

Our daughter has been doing 1-2 mile run/walks a few times a week as well as walking the pups with me. She also has run club before school twice a week. So she will be quite ready. She has crazy good natural running form too, so I really hope she keeps an interest in running.

Our son has been doing a few 2 mile runs a week plus occasionally longer. He might have some troubles with the 10k but the hope is at a minimum we can do the first 5k in a strong fashion and then really enjoy the back half of the race – because if he has to do some walking there it will at least be the most fun places to do that and we should have a time buffer to make sure we can finish. He did seem to have some issues earlier in the training with his form –  a lot of clomping and almost looked like he was going to trip himself all the time. One of his feet bends inward a bit and the shoes he was wearing seemed to be amplifying the issue. For an 11 year old he has pretty gigantic feet and we had to move up to smaller adult size to get him a decent pair of running shoes. But on the positive side of that, because we had to go with an adult size we could get him very good quality running shoes – once we did his form improved immensely.

Heather has been training as well so we will all be ready to have a really good time with the 5k race!


Overall – where is my head at?

Frankly my running has been on a slow and steady decline since spring 2015 when I got a bit sick and I have struggled with motivation and training since. My weight has slowly gotten worse as well over that time frame. And to top it off stress has been beating me up pretty good too.

BUT it seems like in the past couple months I have been able to start to make improvements in both my running and my weight and just feel better physically and mentally overall. I have a lot of work ahead of me but at least I am feeling positive about running and being healthy again.

I am going into these races with no real game plan either – I haven’t been in an organized race since the Spruce Woods 50k ultra back in early May and I haven’t done a road race since Goofy Challenge back in January. So I really have no idea what is going to happen on the races, how fast I will go, how I will feel, everything is in the air here.

Surprisingly I did get corral C from a time I had from last spring – I am probably not in the shape I should be to be in that corral so I might move back voluntarily but on the other side of it I am wondering if getting those extra few minutes isn’t going to be a good thing in case I implode spectacularly on the marathon. Which is entirely possible at this point.

So…what does that mean?

I am feeling generally positive going into the races but I am not expecting miracles from myself. My times for the longer runs I have done lately say 5 to 5.5 hours could be possible but I realistically expect closer to 6 hours for the full.

My plan is to run the races with my gimbal and a camera (for the 5k and 10k for sure and hopefully all 4 races) to take video and pictures and to distract my brain so that my body can do what it needs to do.

So with all that said for the marathon I am hoping to start with a pace to finish in 5 hours with the expectation that it my poor conditioning will catch up with me after about 2 hours and I will slow down significantly while still shooting to complete in 6 hours. That then gives me a buffer for things to go spectacularly wrong and still be have time to finish…


Alrighty – thanks for sticking with me through that one – it was definitely a long one…if I could post more frequently these things would be shorter…probably something I should remember…

Good luck to everyone on their training and if you see me at the Walt Disney World Marathon please say hi!

7 week short update!

Ok… a short couple mile walk on the treadmill tonight. Strangely that is a win for the day.

Over the past couple weeks I have been slowly getting better mentally for my running. I have had some decent runs and I have been slowly increasing my mileage again. Still not where I need to be for Dopey Challenge in January but it was a start.

I was also getting my weight to move in the right direction finally.

So YAY!! Positive stuff for the first time in a while.

And then this past weekend we did a couple day road trip…how in the world do you gain 5.5 pounds in 2 days?

I can’t work out what happened – sure we ate out but I was very conscious of what I was eating and we did a lot of walking. So I’m not sure what is going on there.

My stomach did feel like crap the whole trip and I had the last 2 days off work sick for stomach issues as well.

So yeah – I was supposed to run and do some speed work tonight but even walking caused some stomach turns making a couple miles of walking was more than I could have expected.

But hopefully I am over whatever is going on with my stomach and I will be back at it. I have a rough plan for the next 50 days before we leave for Dopey Challenge in Disney World. I won’t be in great shape, or good shape really but as long as I am used to moving I will be able to have fun with it. And that is what my plan is for the next 50 days – move, move and move some more just so I am used to it again.

Well – that was a short one but I will be looking to get more posts up regularly from here on out.

Happy running!

OK – got the site back up…maybe I should write something? Status report

Alrighty – the site is back up and running after some issues with the hosting…so maybe I should actually use the site?

Brief synopsis:


Where do I stand running wise?

Not good – I feel like I am pretty much back at square one. I did a decent 5 mile run tonight so it probably isn’t as doom and gloom as I think in my head but it still isn’t great. This means I am basically going to do my standard 18 week training program for the Dopey Challenge in January. Nothing fancy – just do the miles, follow the program, and train myself to make running a habit again.


Where do I stand weight wise?

Heavy – I stand heavy. With my running not happening and lots and lots of stress my weight has gone from a slow climb to deciding to take the elevator. I bloody gained 5 pounds on a 4 day road trip to see the total eclipse for crying out loud and that trip included lots of walking.

I have started to make headway on bringing it back down but it is going to take time and commitment.


So what the heck is the problem?

Stress mostly. In a moment stress can be a good motivator but steady constant stress will kill you.

I know running can help but grabbing that life line has been tough over the past 6 months or so. Which is part of the reason I need to make it a habit again, so I don’t even think about it and convince myself to not run.

Shoes appear to have been an issue too. I have been feeling beat up after every run and that was pretty demoralizing too. But I think I have the shoes figure out now and I can run without my joints (especially my Achilles tendon) feeling destroyed.


Rough game plan to stop being a slug and get back to where I want to be?

  • Follow the 18 week plan.
  • Get strict on my diet again.
  • Pay close attention to my gear and make sure to make changes as soon as necessary. Trust my body.
  • Write / blog – vent my frustration and brag my accomplishments – get the good and the bad out there so that I don’t dwell too much on the negative.
  • Train with my son (doing the 10k with him for Dopey Challenge in January as well as the 5k with the whole family)
  • Resistance training


More dedicate posts will come out getting into more detail but I wanted to get something out to avoid the procrastination.


Anyway, I will cut this one off here and talk to you folks later. Happy running!