Tag Archive for Disney World

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!

Final Race – Dopey Challenge 2015 – Disney World Marathon race report and pictures!

Ok – last run of the 2015 Dopey Challenge…up and at ‘em! (see my quick report for the 5k, 10k and half marathon here)

So as a warning this report is long :-(  But it has pictures :-)  But lots of those pictures have me in them :-(

Again the wake up call and alarms go off at a time of night usually best seen when going to bed not getting up. But at least I got a good 6 hours of sleep – kind of nice to not go into the hardest run feeling like an utter zombie!

Got dressed and grabbed my gear. Double checked to make sure my repairs on by bib that broke the day before were holding up then downed a quick bit of caffeine and some food…well really some coke and pecan clusters…

The full day was forecast to be warmer than the past 3 days so it was finally a day without several thermal layers! Baggy shorts over compression shorts because ain’t nobody needs to see that, compression calf sleeves, Hoka One One Cliftons, long sleeve shirt (more to prevent any chance of sunburn) and my hydration backpack.

I was taking the hydration backpack because I have finally learned my lesson that Gatoraid / Powerade just does not work for me – so I was bringing my own liquid fuel (flat Coke) and avoiding any on course electrolyte drinks. I was also using the backpack to clip my point and shoot camera to (more on that later).

Out the door of the hotel a bit later than I had planned meaning there was a bit more of a wait at the buses than there had been the past few days. Still, the buses got me to the staging area with plenty of time.

Again I met up with Bill (who blogs over at rillaruns.wordpress.com and on twitter at @rilla6969) and we chatted about previous races and strategies as we wandered out to our respective corals. After a quick good luck I headed off to coral D to get my mind in the correct frame of mind.

coral D

Coral D


Bill...and Ted...

Bill…and Ted…

My intention was to hit multiple photo stops, take it easy, finish happy and around the 5 hour mark. Basically this is likely to be my last Disney Challenge race for a while so I wanted to just finish strong and really enjoy myself.

A little while before it was time to head off I dropped my jacket and went to put on my backpack…and discovered my point and shoot camera was no longer attached to the backpack…CRAP!!!!

After a couple minutes of kicking myself I realized that I had to just deal with it and hope it was sitting back in the room and hadn’t been lost on the long walk out to the corals. I had been planning to get the MarathonFoto package of shots anyway so told myself I was going to have to make sure I got good shots with the characters with the professional photographers. I also had my smartphone on me but with its newly cracked screen (from the 5k) so I could take some other shots if I wanted but I wouldn’t be handing it off to other people to take shots of me. The fewer times it came out the holster the better.

So one minor crisis passed and we were quickly off and moving!

I took it fairly easy in the crowd at the start and like most folks just tried to find a clear path to run for the first while.

And then coming up on the first character stop – gut check time…could I actually do a marathon as a string of photo ops? I had never done it before and I wasn’t sure if I could sustain that or if I would regret not pushing harder….

Deep breath and stop…no lightning strike or earthquakes…maybe I could do this…

First photo stop was Captain Jack Sparrow at around mile 2.

Captain Jack

Captain Jack


Then very quickly after that another stop to take a photo on my cell phone of the Magic Kingdom entrance gate.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Settled into a bit of a groove through a water stop and then stopped for a picture with Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope.

Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope

Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope


Off running again and very quickly at the next photo stop – Jack Skellington and Sally. A bit more of a wait for these characters but at this point I was getting into the swing of things with these photo stops. This one stop was themed pretty well too – very cool.

Jack Skellington and Sally

Jack Skellington and Sally

From there off toward the Ticket and Transportation Center – at this point I ran past Sean Astin and wished him good luck.

At mile 4 (yes only mile 4!) I took my first solid fuel break before heading off toward the Contemporary Resort and the mile 5 marker. Along the way there is a long underpass with a good climb as you go under one of Disney’s canal ways.

Then mile 5 and on to the Magic Kingdom. Hit the 5 mile marker at 50:06 – not too bad – definitely in the right range to make sure I hit 5 hours or less.

Shortly before the heading out of the backstage area and out onto Main Street USA I took out my phone to try to take some video but without image stabilization it was looking pretty awful…so I stopped that!

I then quickly stopped for a pic of the Christmas tree that was still up before heading down Main Street, stopping a couple times to take pics of Cinderella’s Castle all lit up with the Elsa / Frozen lights.

Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree

Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree

Cinderella's Castle

Cinderella’s Castle


Just before heading into Tomorrowland I stopped for a pic with the castle done by the professionals of MarathonFoto.

Cinderella's Castle

Cinderella’s Castle

Then part way across the bridge into Tomorrowland I stopped to take a pic of scenery before continuing on to a stop to see Buzz Lightyear.



Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear

Off and running again and missed the picture stop with the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland by the Tea Cups – whoops! Must keep moving forward! Just to stop for a quick stop with the big mime guy from Tangled. Awesome!



Just a short jog from there to come up on Cinderella’s Castle from the back side – pulled over to the site to take a quick pic and vid of Anna, Else and Kristoff who were hanging out on the balcony of the castle over the arch way that the runners head through. Very cool!

Elsa, Anna and Kristoff

Elsa, Anna and Kristoff

I also grabbed a short video of them talking to the runners. The audio in this one sounds like “…a little goofy. It looks good on you…” It wasn’t directed at me but is vaguely appropriate.

Now – through the castle! Always very cool to enter and see Main Street all lit up on the other side.

Once I was through the castle I stopped to get another photo in front of the castle before continuing on.

Cinderella's Castle

Cinderella’s Castle

Damn – missed another photo stop as I headed past the big crocodile from The Princess and the Frog before I noticed him.

Didn’t miss the next stop though – Woody!



Wow…only mile 6…feeling good but not definitely not moving fast!

I deliberately skipped stopping for the steam train but it was cool to see as I ran past heading toward the next stop – Snow White, her Prince and Rapunzel with Flynn – this was the longest wait of any of the photo stops but very cool. Too bad the pic is a bit blurry.



Ok – now maybe time to move a little…

Heading out of Magic Kingdom onto Cone Alley (nicknamed by runners because of the steady stream of miles upon miles of cones with no breaks between them). This stretch is always a bit tight to move but I did get some speed going and felt good.

I made a quick stop to get my picture taken with Mary Poppins, Burt and the penguins before I realized that there didn’t seem to be a professional photographer there? Odd – like I mentioned near the top I didn’t want to be handing my broken phone around to folks in case it got worse so I headed off without a picture.

Shortly after that it was I hit the picture stop for Abu and the Genie from Alladin just before mile 8 and my second solid fuel stop.

Abu and Genie

Abu and Genie

Then into the Speedway (after the frighteningly steep ramp down and then back up to the track…

I was a bit disappointed this year that McQueen and/or Mater weren’t there for a photo stop like they were in a previous year.

Oh well – out of the Speedway and past mile 9. And this point could not deny a nature call any longer so I quickly hit a porta potty before continuing on.

Around mile 10 or so I ran into the villians photo stop – Cruela, the voodoo guy from The Princess and the Frog, the Queen of Hearts and the Evil Queen…I would check the photo but unfortunately it looks like it is not showing up in my photos package. Crap!!! I have to say I am pissed about that. Hopefully it gets found and posted soon as MarathonFoto says they are still sorting through the images from the race. This was also the second longest photo stop of the race at around 4 minutes.

Edit January 16th – got the photo!




I hit the 10 mile mark at about 1:53:28 – so over 63 minutes to do the second 5 miles of the race – kind of understandable with all the stops and a few crowded areas.

After coming off of this character stop I was feeling damned good. I found I was passing people like crazy here – looked down at the Garmin and it said I was doing 10 mph…? Looking at my phone GPS app after it was probably closer to 9 mph but still – crazy to get that kind of a burst of energy at about mile 10 of a marathon!


Edit January 16th – I forgot about a character stop? Found the orphaned photo while looking for the villains pic! Hanging out with the big bears. I can’t remember it if it came before the villains stop above or the Robin Hood stop below.

The Bears

The Bears


Continuing onwards I ran into Robin Hood, Little John and Friar Tuck and got a quick photo.

Robin Hood and friends

Robin Hood and friends

At this point things had opened up a bit I got some room to move and my average pace was significantly quicker than it was in the first hour or so.

I then ran into Jiminy Cricket just on the edge of Animal Kingdom. Matching his pose was a fluke and not planned at all.

Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket

It would have been about this time that I took my mile 12 solid fuel stop.

Into Animal Kingdom – not particularly exiting this year – there were so many construction barricades up blocking the cool views everywhere. Too bad really.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

The sun did come up and out of the clouds though at this point and that was pretty awesome.

Also Expedition Everest wasn’t open when I went through so I couldn’t do the ride like many others have managed to do in the past. Oh well.

Right before leaving Animal Kingdom, I ran into Minnie and Daisy in safari gear and got a quick photo before heading out to the parking lot and the half way point of the race!

Minnie and Daisy

Minnie and Daisy

Hit the half way point at just around the 2:24 mark – the 3.1 mile since the 10 mile marker done in 30.5 minutes – pace definitely came back up a bit. Still well on track to hit 5 hours or under.

I realized that there would be fewer character stops in the second half but I also knew I would have to stay focused to keep moving well and make sure I hit the goal.

Shortly after the half way marker I came upon Mickey in his safari gear and grabbed a shot with him – a bit more of a wait for Mickey of course but worth it.

Safari Mickey

Safari Mickey

Just a short run from there to run into the grave diggers / Haunted Mansion folks with the graveyard. I didn’t stop to lay down and have my picture taken but I did grab a quick pic on my phone before moving on. This was just past mile 14.



I think at this point I passed Sean Astin again – he had obviously gotten ahead of me at one of my many stops and I caught up with him again.

In the mile 15-16 range Phineas and Ferb were waiting and I definitely needed a picture with those guys!

Phineas and Ferb

Phineas and Ferb

Interestingly after heading out from this photo stop I noticed how comfortable my feet were – I felt like I was still running fresh. These Hoka’s are really working for me.

Then continued on toward mile 17 and the ESPN World of Sports – at this point I was moving a pretty steady 7.2 mph but the back of my left thigh kept cramping a bit. So I made sure to get some water at the next couple water stops and to keep the speed down a bit.

Unfortunately the clouds came in at this point which was kind of disappointing.

I continued on through the ball diamond around mile 19. Much of the trail through ESPN seemed new to me, which was strange as I have run the same course 3 times now so it should all be familiar – kind of speaks to the fact that I was feeling much more coherent and in control in this race compared to previous races.

Right before the ball diamond Chip and Dale were out and I stopped and they realized there was no professional photographer again (just like Mary Poppins) – strange. Oh well – no photo for me here.

ball park

ball park

After the obligatory stop to take rocks out of my shoes after the ball diamond, I continued on toward mile 20 where I had my final solid fuel break.

I hit the 20 mile mark at 3:35:01 – very solid to be well under goal pace of 5 hours. I did the 6.9 miles from the half point to here in 1:11:02 – definitely not bad with some character stops and a break to get rocks out of my shoes.

At about mile 20.4 or so they had up a big video camera projecting the runners on giant screen – I caught a look at myself and thought “man…I still look strong!” Awesome!

Then hardest part of the Walt Disneyworld Marathon begins – the stretch between that point and about mile 22.5 – those couple miles of highway and overpasses and up and downs can kind of wear on you. The only real entertainment in that area is the green army man at just past mile 21 on the onramp. He definitely provides solid encouragement but this area can be kind of dull.

But then into Hollywood Studios!

In previous years they have had some character to get a photo stop with just as you enter the backstage area but I didn’t see that this year – maybe I missed it.

A big change this year from previous years was the tunnel where on the Backlot Tour you could see where character costumes were made. With the closing of the Backlot Tour, Disney must be doing some refurbs in this area and the windows were all blacked out. To make this section not just be a dark tunnel they added fog and disco lighting! It was kind of cool and brought a smile to my face – there was an issue with people stopping dead to take pictures though…

Anyway – onwards!

Mike and Sully! Got in line to see these guys but just before it was my turn they took Sully off for his break. So I didn’t get both of the Monsters, Inc guys but still, it was cool.



From there it was quick tour through Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

And then out toward the walking path to the Boardwalk Resort. I love this area around the Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts and was feeling great as I hit mile 24.

At about mile 24.5 I stopped to walk and tweet that I was at my happy place – in front of the Yacht / Beach Club pool area (Stormalong Bay). I figured this would also let my wife know how far out I was so she could try to catch me on the live finish feed that Disney had set up.

From there on toward International Gateway and into Epcot by the England pavilion, quickly followed by mile 25! Still feeling great – even if it had decided to start raining.

Just a few steps away I ran into Aladdin at the Morocco pavilion and got a picture with him. Last character stop!



Next up a quick tour through the World Showcase.

By Mexico

By Mexico

And onto the run toward the fountains and Spaceship Earth – I love that straight shot toward the big ball – that stretch of the run always lifts me up!

Just as you get up to the ball there is a quick jog right to head toward mile 26 and the choir. Just 0.2 miles to go!



A few bobs and weaves and then continue on the final stretch to the finish line for the 4th time in 4 days – and with that Dopey Challenge is done!



Cross the line

Cross the line


1st Dopey Challenge, 5th Goofy Challenge, 10th marathon, 15 half marathon all finished over the course of this challenge. Awesome!

Done and happy

Done and happy

4:40:36 – definitely beat my goal pace for the race. Meaning that I was faster than my goal for each of the 4 races this weekend. I will take that as a solid victory!

I figure with all the stops I made I ran most of that race at marathon PR pace and never felt like I was falling apart. I am simply giddy about that.

From there I got my finishers medal and did the walk toward the photo stop and then checked into the Goofy/Dopey Challenge tent to get verified before getting my final 2 medals for the weekend. Then one more photo stop with 3 medals and off to find a beer.

One medal

One medal

3 medals - they multiplied

3 medals – they multiplied

Had a good beer and a bit of a snack and then headed toward the bus and hotel. On the walk to the bus I walked past Sean Astin again and congratulated him quickly. Strange that of all the multiple thousands of people out there running that day it would be him that I saw so frequently. Life is strange.

Quick bus ride to the hotel and a shower before calling the wife and grabbing my brother to go get lunch. At Epcot of course!

We spent a few hours there before heading back to the hotel to figure out supper. Best we could find was back at Epcot (Tokyo Dining) – it was very good and we hung out and hit Soarin’ before fireworks.

Illuminations at Epcot

Illuminations at Epcot

Then back to the hotel for a quick beer and a well deserved rest. Felt awesome the next day too – whoohoo! Dopey was conquered in style!

It looks like my full total for all 4 races was 7:58:44 – wicked!

Interestingly it looks like I may have also been the top Dopey Challenge finisher from Winnipeg this year (I could find 11 Dopey finishers in the stats). It is kind of a silly thing to look at really since everyone ran those 4 races with a different strategy so it really doesn’t mean anything. But it is a cool statistic to see. Surprisingly that also puts me at the 4th fastest overall time for the Goofy Challenge for Winnipeg finishers as well. Again – doesn’t mean much but cool to see.

Alrighty…now what?


ps – the missing camera was in the room