Tag Archive for Disney World

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.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

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!

Mime!

Mime!

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!

Woody

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.

Princesses

Princesses

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!

Villains

Villains

 

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.

Graveyard

Graveyard

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.

Mike

Mike

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!

Aladdin

Aladdin

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!

Focus!

Focus!

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!

Whohoo!

Whohoo!

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

My rough game plan for the Dopey Challenge…

Alrighty – so I took today off work so I could sleep in and then get my final organization done for the Dopey Challenge before I leave tomorrow morning. And of course I end up waking up an hour before my alarm would normally go off on a work day…and I couldn’t get back to sleep.

I kept running through my head what my game plan was for each day of the challenge and finally I decided I might as well get up and put it down in writing so I could think about something else for a while!

 

Wednesday the 7th:

First flight is at 5:15 am – so not really just doing 4 early mornings, I am doing 5! Will probably have to get up around the same time I will for the 10k, half and full days so that I can get to the airport and check in on time. Flying through Toronto which can be fun but I have plenty of time to clear US customs and make the connecting flight without rushing, but not so much time that it will feel like I am stuck in the airport forever. I will be meeting up with my brother at the Toronto airport and we will be traveling together from there.

We should get into Orlando at around 1:30 pm – grab the Magical Express and off to the hotel from there. Hopefully should then be at the hotel and checked in well before 3:30 pm (would prefer a bit earlier but this still gives plenty of time).

From the hotel, we will hit the shuttle bus to the Expo (with photo ID and race waivers in hand) and grab the race kits…and buy lots of stuff. I am hoping we will be at the Expo before 4:00 pm, this would give lots of time to do the Expo thoroughly in one go.

Then off to find supper…not sure where this will take us yet, potentially Epcot unless we are just too tired.

 

Thursday the 8th:

5k! Strangely this will be my first ever timed 5k run…I have done 14 halfs and 9 fulls at this point but have not run a timed race shorter than that. So I guess a guaranteed PR there?

I’m not sure what corral I will be in for this one but based on my corral placement of D for the other races it should be A or B for the 5k.

Plan for this one is just to take it easy – I just want to wander around Epcot in the dark. I love the atmosphere of Epcot and I want to enjoy every second of it. That being said I also don’t want to walk the race – so I will go for sub 30 minutes, maybe 27 minutes? That should be a relatively easy leg stretch to work out some of the kinks.

After the race, back to the hotel, grab my brother (who is doing Goofy) and off to a park. Perhaps Magic Kingdom? I have set up some fastpasses there for Thursday but may change them based on our moods that day.

Early to bed after Skyping my wife and kids!

 

Friday the 9th:

10k…same as the 5k here, I have never done a timed 10k. A double PR weekend!

The 10k runs through Epcot and the Boardwalk / Yacht Club / Beach Club areas and those all fall in my list of happy places (especially the Beach Club area) – so I will be taking it easy here as well. I want to just absorb the atmosphere and the vibe.

I assume I will be shooting for under an hour but might walk a bit to take pictures and absorb.

Once the race is done then it will be park time again! Still not sure which park – maybe Epcot but perhaps Animal Kingdom. Just staying flexible there.

Then again off to bed early after Skyping the family back home.

 

Saturday the 10th:

Half marathon! I think this is the race I am most looking forward to out of all 4 in the challenge. This is the one race that I expect to try to achieve some speed on. Basically the fastest I have done the half course at the Disney World Marathon weekend is about 2:20. I did a few Goofy Challenges when I really wasn’t ready and took the halfs slow to save myself for the fulls, so my times have never been up there as being that quick. I have also gotten trapped in slow corrals before and also run with others giving me a slower time than I would like to put up.

Now, I’m not going to shoot for my half PR of 1:46:00 but I would like to push a bit. I’m not planning on taking pictures or just wandering around on this one – I want to run strong without hurting myself for the full. That means sub 2 hours but if I am really feeling it sub 1:50. But that will really depend on how beat up my legs feel. So not a PR but a personal course record is the goal.

I will be strapping on my Hoka’s for this race, so that should help protect my legs a bit for the full.

After the race the plan will be to avoid further damage! Ice bath once back at the hotel and compression gear for the rest of the day.

I will probably also hit a park but one without a lot of walking. I will want a bit of walking to help stretch out the legs and work the lactic acid through the system but also don’t want to feel like my legs are wood the next day.

Early, early, early to bed! After a quick Skype to the family.

 

Sunday the 11th:

The full! It all comes down to this race in the end! My stated goal for this one was that I want to enjoy it – that means I will be doing picture stops and taking it easy. Weather forecast for Sunday (so far) is hot and extremely humid right from the beginning so I will definitely be trying to not push too hard.

So yeah, character picture stops – I have never done that before on a Disney race (which seems odd now that I think about it) so it will be something new to me and the lower corral placement should mean shorter wait times for the characters.

I’m not sure I really have a goal time on this one but I think a personal course record should be quite achievable even with character photo stops, if I am focused. The fastest I have done the full course at Disney World is about 4:40 which I did during last year’s Goofy Challenge (marathon PR of 4:09:44 with a bad knee and in a downpour). I am in better shape for the Dopey Challenge this year and have been training for these back to back to back to back scenarios so hopefully my legs should be good when I toe the start line! If the legs are feeling strong then a personal course record should be more than possible even with the character photo stops.

I will also be using the Hokas for this race and that should help. I ran my Hokas on the 12 hour race (49.2785 miles) I did back in early October (the Lemming Loop) and when I finished I was still able to climb stairs and was quite functional the next day. Since I trained to do a 50k and did damned near 50 miles, the condition I was in after had a lot to do with the Hoka cushioning and I will be looking to use that to my advantage during the Dopey Challenge!

I have a history with the portapotties during the full marathon at Disney World that I am trying to avoid on this trip. The biggest downfall for me seems to be Poweraid on course – my system can’t seem to handle it. To combat that issue then I will be bringing my hydration backpack (which carries 2 liters of liquid) onto the course with my fuel of choice (flat Coke). With the heat and humidity forecast I will supplement on course with water but not Poweraid.

After the race is done and I have purchased and drank the obligatory finish line beer (hopefully Disney does that again this year), I will head back to the hotel. How long I hang out at the finish line will depend on where my brother is on the race and who I run into from the Twittersphere!

Then an ice bath and more compression gear. What happens next depends on how my brother is doing and what he is up for. I am hoping that I am solid and functional because I would love to hit a park (or 2) after the race is done.

Today I go as long as my body and mind will let me!

 

Monday the 12th:

Returning home today – at least I got a direct flight back to Winnipeg – it isn’t until late evening and the Magical Express probably won’t take me to the airport until sometime around supper so I am hoping to spend some time at Downtown Disney but again that will depend on how my legs are doing!

 

Tuesday the 13th:

Home…sleep. If I wake up…do laundry.

3.1 miles today to finish out Dopey Challenge taper. Unless I decide to run tomorrow to cut the nerves a bit…

So I did a 3.1 mile run on Saturday and another today. Just plugging away at the last few miles of taper, trying to keep the legs stretched out and not do anything silly (like try to get one last speed run in).

Saturday’s run was 3.1 miles in 25:20 and today’s was 3.1 miles in 27:30. No real drama with either run – just smooth and easy with little to no pace changes. Just running steady.

I might still do another short run tomorrow night to stretch out the legs one last time before getting on the plane dark and early Wednesday morning. That will really depend on how well packing goes today and tomorrow and how much time I need to spend running around to get last minute items.

At this point I am feeling good and looking forward to the races!

Things I want to do at Disney World during the Disney World Marathon weekend, besides run!

With less than a week to go before I make it to Disney World for the 2015 Walt Disney World marathon and the Dopey Challenge, I thought it would be a good time to sit down and think about what I want to do there (besides run the races and spend tons of money at the expo of course).

Doing the Dopey Challenge, I will need to conserve some energy and hitting every ride at every park is probably not going to be the smartest thing to do for the legs. That means I need to determine what my “Must Do’s” are for this trip. If just to make sure I get best Disney vibe for my money while I am there.

The past few months have been quite hectic and stressful at work and I have put in significant miles running besides. Throw in the holidays and I am looking for peace. So a peaceful and quiet atmosphere is going to be the major theme for the list with some new things thrown in that I haven’t had a chance to do or see before.

So on with the list:

 

  1. 7 Dwarfs Mine Train – the ride wasn’t open yet the last time I was at Magic Kingdom so I want to see this ride

 

  1. Festival of Fantasy Parade – I have to see that steampunk fire breathing dragon up close!

 

  1. Sticking at the Magic Kingdom – the People Mover – not an exciting ride but this one fits the peaceful criteria for me – I love to ride it and people watch Tomorrowland.

 

  1. Monorail – I enjoy the ride between Magic Kingdom and Epcot and it is a uniquely Disney experience

 

  1. Epcot in general – it is our family’s favorite park and I just love the feel of the various areas. I enjoy just finding a bench and sitting and watching people or the fountains in different areas.

 

  1. If I can do that sitting and watching in Epcot with a beer in hand it will be even better – don’t get the chance to sit out and have a drink in the fresh air much in winter here in Winnipeg and it would feel really good.

 

  1. Spaceship Earth – there is just something so comfortable and relaxing about this ride – love it!

 

  1. Illuminations – it is a tough call but I think Illuminations is my favorite fireworks show at Disney World.

 

  1. International Gateway – my whole family loves this back entrance to Epcot and World Showcase. It is a great place to sit and relax or just to pick up the peaceful vibe.

 

  1. That then leads out to the Beach and Yacht Club and Boardwalk areas – I love the Beach and Yacht areas and we have so many good memories of the trips when we have stayed in this area. I always feel good walking around there. (Kind of nice that my happy place happens to be at about the 24.5 mile point in the Disney World Marathon – nice little mental mood boost right when it is needed most!)

There are obviously many, many more things I will be looking at doing but this is the short list of things I am truly looking forward to for this trip. Beside the running, of course!

Dopey Challenge packing list / to take list posted #dopeychallenge

With about a week and a half to go before I get on a plane to Orlando for the 2015 Disney World Marathon and Dopey Challenge I figured I should review what I need to take with me! If I need to rush out and buy anything it would be good to do that now instead of say just before I get on the plane…

I am posting the list here but also over on it’s own “to take list for Dopey Challenge” page so it is easier to find through the site’s pull down menus at the top of the site header.

A few years back I made up a packing list for the Goofy Challenge but as I have started thinking about what I will need for the Dopey Challenge I have realized that that original list needs to be expanded.

(If you like you can also check out my list of Top 5 things to NOT do at the Walt Disney World Marathon for additional ideas.

I still think the Goofy Challenge list is solid for what it is – covering 2 days of running back to back. But with the Dopey Challenge’s 4 days straight of running, more gear will be required. Beyond the obvious things like needing gear for 4 days there is the fact that the Florida weather can change quickly and runners will need to be ready for cold weather, hot weather, rain, fog, sun, etc – this means I am going to need to pack a big variety of items to cover all contingencies.

I have managed to do a Goofy Challenge trip with only carry on bags – that is not going to happen for the Dopey Challenge (at least not for me – if you can pull it off, let me know how because the physics of that must be incredible). I will need to check a bag if just because this trip requires me to be at Disney World 2 days longer than that previous trip did.

So with that in mind this packing list will include items specifically required for the runs, recovery and making it through package pickup.

Let’s start with package pickup:

  1. You are going to require your passport or some form of government photo ID to get your bibs.
  1. You also need your signed waiver available off of the runDisney / Track Shack sites (2015 Walt Disney World Marathon waiver / bib # look up) – you can also print a copy at the race expo but that cuts into shopping and exploring time.
  1. Currency – lots of shopping to do at the race expo – I believe last year the runDisney areas would take the magic bands to charge to your room but the other vendors aren’t likely to. So have some cash or credit card available for the expo.

Now for the races a lot of what will be required will heavily depend on the weather. I did my first Goofy Challenge during the infamous freeze out of 2010 (it snowed the morning of the half that year and it was actually warmer in Winnipeg that day) but I also did 2013 where many runners dropped out of the full due to the heat and humidity. You can get sun, you can get clouds, you can get fog, you can get rain – and you really don’t want to be spending time the day before the race running around trying to find what you need for the next day. I go into these races with more than I probably need but I like not having to scramble to find stuff (it takes away one of the stressors of the races).

I could reduce the list below by planning on doing laundry during the trip but I would rather go to a park instead…

So on to the list for the races:

  1. Disney Pieces of Magic – these are basically tokens I take with me on every race to help remind me of my family and why I am out there running. Not everyone will have this kind of a thing but they are important to me.
  1.  GPS watch – Garmin Forerunner 201 – a little old but still works well.
  1. Smart phone and headphones – Samsung S4 – music and gps apps as well as photos, Twitter, etc. If things go to hell I also have a run/walk interval timer app installed to get me through the full. I will have the phone in an armored case and on a belt clip. I will most likely have a spare battery with me on the full as well.
  1. Point and shoot camera and case – Canon 300HS – a nice little camera that is easy to handle and can take a bit of a beating. I could use the phone for photos but in the environment of the races it will be nice to have an independent camera.
  1. 4-5 pairs of running shorts – one for each day of racing – I prefer ones with pockets for carrying a variety of items within easy reach (like Kleenex or a bag of candy)
  1. 4-5 pairs of running underwear
  1. 4-5 pairs of running socks
  1. 3-4 pairs of running shoes – I will be bringing a fairly new pair of Nike Pegasus 30s that I will use for the 5k and 10k for sure and maybe the half marathon. I will also have some well used but still good Hoka One One Cliftons for full marathon (and maybe the half). Beyond that I also will be bringing a set pf well used but still solid set of Nike Pegasus 30 LE’s as a backup pair in case there is an issue with one of the other pairs or they get wet, etc
  1. 2 thermal running undershirts – to only be used if it is quite cold out – if the weather forecast looks to be cold before I leave home I could pack more
  1. 4-5 short or long sleeve running shirts – a mix of short and long sleeves and the actual numbers of each will depend on the weather forecast. You could supplement or reduce the number by using the race shirts you will get at the expo but there are couple problems there. First some old school runners get pissy if they see someone using the race shirt before it has been “earned” – that falls back to when the race shirts were given out after the race was done and they were specifically “finisher” shirts. Now the shirts are for “participants” so that argument seems to fall more along the lines of either elitism or superstition. But there is a more practical reason to not wear the race shirts on the day of the race and that falls to the old mistake of using something new on race day – the race shirts could chafe or bind where you aren’t expecting and could really wreck the experience. It really is best to used tried and true gear on race day if you can.
  1. Running hat – humidity during the races can be wicked and even if the sun doesn’t make it up until after you are done racing you will most likely be thankful to have something wicking moisture away from your eyes.
  1. Arm sleeves – I only have one set and I will be bringing them but will most likely only wear them if it is going to be cool. Basically I will use them as an extra layer of warmth if required.
  1. Calf sleeves – I will be bringing the 3 pairs I have – I don’t tend to use them on shorter runs so I intend to use 1 pair on the half marathon, another on the full and the last one will be used for recovery after both of those races
  1. Leggings / running pants – I will be bringing 2 pairs of these but with the same proviso as the thermal under shirts – I will only use them if it is cool enough.
  1. Running gloves – I will be bringing a couple pairs in case it is cold
  1. Toque / knitted hat / balaclava – I will be bringing one or 2 in case it is cold but it will have to be near 2010 temperatures before I will use them.
  1. Nipple protectors / anti chafing stuff – bleeding nipples suck and will ruin your day.
  1. Running bib belt – I got into using one of these last year and I find it much more convenient to use than the safety pins. You do have to be careful with it to ensure your number is visible for photographers but that is a minor inconvenience for me compared to trying like 3 or 4 times to get a bib pinned on a shirt correctly. With having 2 bibs for the Dopey Challenge, with each one needing to be used for 2 races, the bib belt makes even more sense since you don’t have to move the bib from shirt to shirt.
  1. Water bottle belt and bottle – I use this as something to clip my phone on, to hook my camera pouch to, to store some of the stuff I carry with me like wipes and Kleenex…and to carry a water bottle. For the 5k and 10k I will most likely just have plain old water in this but will have a glucose drink of some sort in there for the half marathon.
  1. Hydration backpack – I will use this on the full. I have lots of tummy troubles when I drink Gatorade or PowerAde in races so I need to carry my own fuel and I have had good success with the hydration backpack on several of my long training runs. Mine holds 2 liters of liquid and in this case I will essentially be drinking flat Coke for the full race. I had good success with that on the 12 hour run (Lemming Loop – I completed 49.2785 miles) I did back in early October.
  1. Wipes – happy bum = happy runner – not sure who first said that but it is a valid statement! Several in a small ziplock sandwich bag for easy transport.
  1. Kleenex – several in a small ziplock for easy transport – I have used them for everything from cleaning my sunglasses to covering a chafing area to actually blowing my nose…
  1. Spirulina algae – lots of runners swear by EnergyBits when running but I have never had a chance to try them. I have however tried and have had success with other name brand spirulina algae tablets (the same ingredient as in the EnergyBits) in some races and on many long training runs. Gels disagree with me the same way Gatorade does so I need another method of fueling on longer runs and the algae tablets seem to be working for me. If you don’t use these kinds of things then substitute the fuel you are used to. Don’t count on finding anything you specifically want at the expo – bring it with you so you have it!
  1. Large black garbage bags / thermal emergency blankets – to stay warm before the races – it can get chilly waiting around in the staging areas and the corrals and these help you retain body heat. A bonus with the garbage bags is that they can also be used if it is rainy.
  1. Toss away warm up sweaters – for the same reason as the item above – if it gets cool, that Florida humidity will sink in and really make you feel cold. This is something even runners from northern climates need to watch for – a temperature that looks like it would have been fine at home can quickly feel very cold because the humidity makes it feel even colder. Remember we are talking potentially hours of standing / sitting around between when you get to the staging area before you get to actually run.
  1. Sunglasses – The timing of the 5k and 10k is probably such that sunglasses aren’t needed for those races but if it is sunny then you will definitely want them for the full and the half (unless you are super speedy). I am also bringing some different lenses to try out on a pair of sunglasses I have, a clear (no tinting) set of lenses that would cut wind to the eyes if it is really windy and a blue set that could be useful on hazy days to get better visibility (and probably improve my mood).
  1. Blister kit / bandages – might not bring this on the actual runs but good to have with you in the room to take care of any blisters or hiccups from the various races
  1. Painkillers – Tylenol – they hand these out at a few of the medical tents but it might be good to have some in the hotel room. Ibuprofen would be good to have as well but do some hunting around the net to see when it is safe to have in conjunction with running.

I think that is about all of it but if I think of anything else I will add it. Also check out the Goofy Challenge to take list for other ideas and more explanations of why I bring what I do.

It is also good to note that over time I have changed what I bring with me to these races – as I do more races and continue to learn what works best for me I will continue to adapt the list.