Tag Archive for Disney World

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!

Goofy Challenge training / health update – 11 treadmill miles this morning

I just wanted to get up a quick update this morning for how my training is going for the Goofy Challenge in January. Just under 5 weeks to go – I guess 5 weeks this morning until the Donald Duck half marathon!

My ankle has been improving slowly and steadily and I have been able to get some ok miles in both outside and on the treadmill. I have been careful to not push it too hard and to slowly build up. I figure I still have time to make sure I do at least one or two 20 mile runs before taper time. In fact I was hoping to do one tomorrow, but now I’m not sure.

The ankle is still doing well after 11 miles this morning and a decent speed run on Tuesday night, however I have been fighting something with my lungs I have been getting winded even doing a few stairs since Wednesday. I ended up taking Wednesday afternoon off work as well as Thursday and Friday to try to rest and get over whatever I have.

Potentially it is pneumonia as both kids were diagnosed this week (yay!) but if it is, I don’t think I have gotten it nearly as bad as they did. Both are doing well now besides the occasional wicked coughing fit – antibiotics are a wonderful thing.

So I have missed about 15 training miles this week and I absolutely had to try to run this morning even if my lungs rebelled. However running outside in the cold didn’t seem wise, so I decided on the treadmill. Also, that way if I had to call the run I wouldn’t be miles from the house.

The first 3-4 miles involved a lot of coughing but as long as I kept things very slow I was able to keep moving. In the end the 11 miles took me almost 2 hours but I survived and managed to get it done.

After the run I did some vacuuming to make sure the living room is ready for the Christmas tree and then started bringing stuff up from the basement to start the decorating later. After the third time coming up the stairs from the basement my lungs definitely decided they had had enough. So that probably ends any strenuous activity for the day.

The trick will be if I can try to go longer tomorrow. I will see how I feel tomorrow morning but hopefully I continue to recover and I can go a touch quicker and get a 20 miler in. At this point 3.5 to 4 hours would be acceptable – I just need to start getting the distance in!

Anyway – I will keep twittering and start posting more frequently as we get closer to the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.

Good luck to everyone training for any of the races! Getting close to the final push!

Feb 2016 Disney World vacation running overview

I tweeted my vacation runs over the past couple weeks but never put anything up on the blog here to talk about what kind of running I did or how I felt, etc. So this post will be a bit of an overview of the vacation running and how I kept the 2016 run streak alive.

Feb 4th – my last day of work before vacation so we were finalizing our packing – we also had parent-teach conferences that night so there really wasn’t a lot of time to run so I just squeaked in a mile on the treadmill to keep the streak alive.

Feb 5th – busy morning! I did a quick run outside of 2.15 miles doing a shortened loop around the neighborhood and then came back and did a 0.75 run with the pups. Bit of a bitter sweet run with the dogs as we took them to the kennel right after the run and we won’t be seeing them again for 2 weeks. After that we were off to start the first road trip portion of our trip. (We got good flight deals out of Minneapolis but that means about 6-8 hours of driving and extra hotel rooms – still worth it cost wise plus it gives some wind down time from work before hitting Disney for the real vacation. Plan was take 2 days to drive / shop or way to Minneapolis and then do a straight shot home after the trip was done)

Feb 6th – Ran on the hotel treadmill in Fargo before we headed out – I forgot my good running shoes in the van overnight so I ran in my walking around shoes (that had been running shoes previously) and they worked not bad but I could tell I wouldn’t want to do longer runs in them anymore.

Shopping in Fargo netted me a good deal on some Nike Vomero 10s that I have been trying out lately as my trusty Pegasus runners don’t work for me anymore and the Hoka Cliftons have been changed as well and had a price increase in Canada – so I have been looking for alternatives and Vomeros seem to be the way to go. They are quite expensive in Canada though and the deal I got in Fargo was about 2/3s the price even after exchange.

Feb 7th – In Minneapolis for 2 nights (overnight the 6th and the 7th) – 3.5 miles on the hotel treadmill. Tested out some Vomero 9s that I had found at the Nike discount outlet – wanted to make sure they were equivalent or as good as the 10s…and they did well! These were even cheaper than the 10s I got in Fargo. If nothing else this trip has netted me enough shoes to last through the miles I have planned for this year at ½ to 2/3s the price of what they shoes would cost me in Canada.

Feb 8th – up early before the shuttle to the airport and put in a quick mile to keep the streak alive.

Feb 9th – at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort – up earlier than the family and did a couple laps of the running loop at the hotel – 3.66 scenic miles. Got back to the room and everyone was still asleep – made me a bit sad that I didn’t go longer.

Feb 10th – 3.62 miles at the hotel again this morning with a hawk sighting.

Feb 11th – another 3.62 miles on the hotel paths. Our son was up when I got back to the room – it was fairly cool but I had checked the pool temperature while I was out running and it was warm so I convinced him to come swimming with me for a while. We spent a good half hour in the pool – was good to get some time alone with him outside the craziness of the parks.

Feb 12th – there was no time to run first thing in the morning due to a breakfast reservation so I needed to run later in the day. We went to the Blizzard Beach water park during the afternoon and we spent several hours walking barefoot on concrete so the legs were pretty tired by the time we got back to the hotel. Everyone was getting hungry too so I wasn’t sure how I was going to get the run in today at that point. But the Disney bus stopped at the neighboring hotel before getting back to ours so I quickly talked with Heather and I hopped off the bus to run back to our hotel while she and the kids stayed on the bus and I would meet them when I got back to the room. Legs were definitely tired but I was in a technical shirt and shorts from the water so I put in a decent run of 1.15 miles back to the room.

Feb 13th – definitely starting to feel the walking and running on nothing but cement this morning. Did 1.88 miles around the hotel and then when I got back our daughter was up and wanted to run with me – so we did a short 0.32 mile run/walk/talk before heading back to the room.

Feb 14th – Just a short 1.88 mile run before heading out for a tour appointment.

Feb 15th – 3.6 miles – warmest morning we got while we were down there – it felt good to get out and move a bit. Starting to see more runners out – looks like the Princess Half Marathon folks are starting to show up. We ended up doing some major walking around touring various resorts and such and I figured in the end we did more than 6 miles of walking today. Makes me wish I had been tracking the walking miles over the whole vacation!

Feb 16th – 2 warm miles this morning – legs were definitely tired from the walking and cement yesterday.

Feb 17th – 3.68 miles around the hotel running paths this morning. Switched up how I was doing the loops to avoid the area around the main hotel building because the crowds there could be a pain in the ass some mornings.

Feb 18th – 2 miles to finish off my last running miles at Disney World this trip – on the plane later that afternoon and in Minneapolis that night.

Feb 19th – 2 miles on the treadmill at the hotel in Minneapolis before loading all the stuff back in the vehicle for the drive home. Stopped at the Nike outlet store again for some more heavily discounted gear.

Feb 20th – Picked the pups from the kennel this morning – looks like they have picked up some vacation weight! Going to have to run that off for them. Did 4 miles on the treadmill in the evening with a bit more of a push than I have been doing lately – it felt good and my legs are recovering from the cement surfaces already.

Feb 21st – wicked headache when I got on the treadmill that night but I pushed through 3 miles – took close to a mile before the headache loosened up but it came back almost immediately after I stopped running. Ugh.

Feb 22nd – back to work today – vacation is officially over. I decided to go a little longer on the treadmill once the kids were in bed and managed to do 7.63 miles in an hour. Legs felt better than they had in a while.

Now that I am back from vacation it is time to keep pushing and get my mileage up for the month. So far it looks the total will be fairly low but I am fairly proud that I was able to keep the run streak alive through the vacation. I am also pretty happy that there were few runs that were only a single mile to just keep the streak alive.

Top 5 things NOT to do during the Walt Disney World Marathon #wdwmarathon #goofychallenge #dopeychallenge

The Walt Disney World Marathon weekend is coming up in about a month and my jealousy has been building since I am not running it after a 4 year streak. That has gotten me reminiscing about the races and I have a lot of great memories, but I also have realized that I made many mistakes as well.


With that in mind, I figured some lucky runners that are doing the races this year would maybe benefit from hearing about these mistakes so they can avoid them. Or at least laugh at my idiocy.


So, without further ado, here is my list of 5 (hopefully vaguely humorous) things not to do during the Walt Disney World Marathon (or Goofy Challenge or Dopey Challenge for that matter):


  1. Don’t forget to update your music list prior to the race.


So – true story…My first ever Disney World Marathon – in the ancient times of 2008. MP3 players really didn’t have very much storage back then and I tended to have to load the player for weight lifting and then reload it with different music for running…and I forgot to do this before I left home to travel to Florida for the race. Listening to the harder / angrier weight lifting music was ok for the first part of the race but by the time I hit Magic Kingdom I was finding the music exhausting. But I still needed something so I stuck with it. (back then Magic Kingdom was closer to the half way point of the marathon than it is now with the current route)


But then the Manowar song “The Blood of the Kings” came on as I was running through Cinderella’s castle – for those who don’t know the song, it contains the lyrics “’till the blood on your hands is the blood of a king”.


“’till the blood on your hands is the blood of king”, growling in my ears as I was going through Cinderella’s castle – not a song truly fitting with the nature of the place.

I was definitely not in the right mindset at that point – it is pretty funny now but at that point I had to stop and figure out what hell else I had on the MP3 player to save my sanity.


I spent the rest of the race listening to Weird Al.


I love Weird Al, but there is only so much polka music you can listen to during a marathon. So I reiterate: don’t forget to update your music player.


  1. Don’t forget to scope out where the full bathrooms are along the route and take advantage of the 2nd or 3rd one in the park (the 1st is always crowded)


Take it from someone who has spent way too much time in porta potties on Disney property (and at many races) being able to use the full bathrooms is truly an amazing perk.


  1. Don’t beat yourself up about race finish times and about doing all the right race things before the races.


Have a few drinks, burn out the legs a bit in the parks, go for a swim.


I have done a total of 6 Walt Disney World full marathons (5 as part of Goofy Challenges and 1 of those a Dopey Challenge) and my favorite was the one I didn’t worry about time and just had fun before, during, and after the race. That was part of my Dopey Challenge and I tried to follow that philosophy that whole trip and it may actually be the only marathon I have smiled during.


Disney and the WDW Marathon are about fun – make sure to have some.


  1. For men – Don’t wear compression running shorts without other loose fitting shorts over top.


The first races I ever did using compression running shorts I didn’t wear other shorts over top – this was during my second Goofy Challenge…the pictures are not a pleasant experience to view….


At the WDW Marathon there a huge number of photographers to take advantage of all the iconic picture opportunities for the runners, and most of them are lower down taking shots up at the runners as they pass.

Let’s just say most of my pictures from that race are not suitable for mixed company.


I hereby apologize to all the other racers from that year.


  1. Don’t forget to pay attention to the weather reports.


For my first Goofy Challenge back in 2010, I was seeing weather reports that had Florida being cold, like very cold. I didn’t really believe the reports and didn’t pack my winter running gear.


It freaking snowed.


I will always remember standing in the starting corrals, getting snowed on and my 6. 2″ height and wide shoulders providing a wind break for teams of smaller runners standing leeward of me. It stayed around freezing that whole weekend and I didn’t have the right gear with me.


Don’t believe me about the cold? Check out Lee Hoedl’s video on YouTube for the half marathon. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMjpeCSFErU) (edit – apparently the video won’t play on some mobile devices but does work via a desktop or laptop – not sure why – the link is good but it has something to do with how YouTube has this video set up.)

Then, I believe in 2013, the forecast was for it to be ok in the morning but get hot later in the day. I didn’t really believe it and I wore a compression running base layer shirt. It got very hot (something like 20% of those set to race did not finish and heat was a major factor in that) and the thermal nature of that base layer shirt was not a good thing that day!


I pay more attention to weather forecasts now.

I hope you enjoyed the list and if you are running at Disney in January – good luck and have fun!

Let me know in the comments if I missed anything.

3.5 miles in 29:44 tonight. First day in 2 weeks my head has felt clear. Still lots of work to do to get strong again.

First off – congrats to all that managed to get into the early entries for the 2016 Disney World Marathon! I envy you all. I have gone a total of 6 times (the last 4 in a row) and would love to go and do my beloved Goofy Challenge again but it isn’t in the cards this year.

So now my health. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been having some health issues out of nowhere and I have been feeling pretty awful. Today was the first day in 2 weeks that I felt like I could think clearly and didn’t need to take anything for headaches. It appears I had a toxicity issue with black licorice and my system went wonky and my potassium levels crashed hard. This led to some major swelling and weight gain – a total of 14 pounds gained in under 10 days. Over the past 2 weeks I have tried to run twice – once early on where I got in 3 miles in about a half hour and then once on this past Sunday. About a minute into that one I ended up walking to finish out 3 miles in just under 45 minutes.

In that time I did get in some yard work and I seemed ok but with anything strenuous like climbing multiple sets of stairs, I felt pretty much destroyed.

But I started hammering back the potassium in the form of Gatorade, bananas, orange juice and supplements. This got me to the point where I felt mostly human yesterday and then today I was feeling pretty close to myself (in the head at least).

In the end I felt good enough to attempt a run and even though it was glorious outside I decided I better do it on the treadmill in case things went south really quickly.

I started out at 7 mph and felt a bit rough, so I backed it off to 6 mph for a minute to catch my breath and then pushed it up to 7 again. I took the 7 mph to the 15 minute mark with one more minute at 6 mph thrown in there. After that I was up to 7.2 / 7.3 mph with another minute at 6 mph near the 25 minute mark and then finished up the remaining time at 7.5 mph. This gave me a total of 3.5 miles in 29:44 with a 1% incline.

By the end of the run I felt pretty good and probably could have kept going if I backed the speed down. But I really didn’t want to push it too hard and maybe relapse a bit, so I counted the run as a victory and shut it down.

Now that I have showered, I still feel pretty good – I guess I am on the mend here but it will probably take some time to get back to normal! It should be interesting to see how things go with my next race coming up on May 3rd (the WPS Half Marathon).

On a side note, I have now dropped 5 of the 14 pound weight spike over the last day and a half. I am hoping that most of the rest of the spike is gone by the end of the weekend!