Tag Archive for Dopey Challenge 2018

Disney World Half Marathon 2018 – race #3 of the Dopey Challenge

OK – day 3 of the Dopey Challenge / Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Up at about 2 am and on the first bus heading out of BoardWalk Resort for the race staging area. It looks like we were one of the first buses at the staging area as there weren’t any lined up letting people off when we got there.

Still lots of people there but the lines were super short for the characters – so I did something I hadn’t done before…I got character pics before the race!

There were 6 characters for runners to get pictures with and I got through 4 lines before it was time to head out to the race corrals. I picked Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Dopey and Donald Duck for pictures leaving Pluto and Minnie Mouse to hopefully get the next morning before the full marathon.

Character pic with Goofy before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Dopey before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Mickey Mouse before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Donald Duck before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon


I also decided to try something else new. I received a camera gimbal for Christmas and I decided to run the race with it and my smartphone.

For those that don’t know a gimbal is a device that you attach a camera to that helps to reduce jittery camera movement on videos. I have seen videos from several runners do this on various YouTube videos and I thought it would be good to give it a try myself.

I didn’t get a chance to use the gimbal on a run between Christmas and the marathon weekend so I was definitely going into the race green and without a plan on how exactly I planned to use the device. But I also knew I wasn’t going to be particularly quick so spending a bit of time to learn on course was not that big a deal.

I mounted my Galaxy S7 in the gimbal and set it to record in 4k. I have edited a bunch of video together and also loaded the raw video of the full run through Magic Kingdom. The nice thing about this phone is that it can record in 4k and still take high resolution images at the same time.

So with that all out of the way more about the race…

It was another cold morning so I was bundled up pretty well and had both a Mylar blanket and a big black garbage on to try to hold off the cold during the wait in the corral. I was in corral C, so at least the wait wasn’t going to be extremely long.

It was fun taking off the Mylar and garbage bag for the character photos before the race – but it was worth it.

I made my way with the crowds out to the corrals and found a spot to hang out and play with the camera and gimbal while I waited for the start.

Before too long we were on our way.

I decided on the fly to take a picture of every mile marker through the race – I had thought about doing that a few times before but always gave up during the race but decided to make sure to do this as well as yet another new thing to do on this race.

Here is the gallery of the mile markers for the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon: 

Having both the gimbal and a plan for taking pictures in mind helped passed the time on the race.

One thing I did learn about holding the gimbal is that my running style changed significantly and I was a good mile per hour slower running when I was recording than I was when I ran normally. I also found that I was holding very stiff and that I was out of breath more requiring more walk breaks. This is going to take much more practice to get used to running with the device.

Around mile 4 (just past the Ticket and Transportation Center) I had to take a porta-pottie break and take off my running jacket as I was starting to overheat. It was an expensive jacket so I spent the rest of the race with the jacket tied around my waist. Unfortunately that took more time that I would have liked to get things adjusted (about 10 minutes or so).

As we approached the Magic Kingdom we ran into a course change from previous years – instead of going past the bus area and entering Magic Kingdom through a backstage area we went through the bus area and entered the park through the front entrance. It was a cool change that I think added an extra element to the run – I liked that change.

I was happy I got into Magic Kingdom before the sun was really up so I got some great video of the park all lit up.


After the run through the park it was time to head back toward Epcot. I have to be honest this part of the race is a bit of a blur – no drama or big changes to the course – just the usual fun.

And then well before I expected, I was at mile 12 and heading into Epcot.

It was cool to see Tinker Bell and some of the fairy friends out in the backstage area as you enter Epcot!

The last mile of this race is always great – it is fun to run through Future World toward World Showcase before turning around and running back toward Spaceship Earth before heading out to the finish line.

And then across the line and got the awesome medal – and another Mylar blanket to replace the one I had to give up at the start line.

2018 Walt Disney World Half Marathon medal

I had some of the runner’s snack box, headed out to the buses and got on the bus back the hotel.

Another great race!

One thing that was re-enforced for me is that I cannot run using Gatorade or Powerade (which is used during runDisney races) – I had stomach issues through the race that started shortly after I hit the first aid station – I had Powerade at every aid station since I didn’t bring any of my own liquid on this race. This was a mistake that I was not going to make on the full the next day!

Disney World 10k – Jan 5, 2017 – Ran with my son!

This will be another quick write up – this time for the Walt Disney World 10k run that I did with my son (11) on Jan 5th, 2018.


It was his first 10k run and he had done the 5k with the rest of the family yesterday so I knew he was going to be tired and wasn’t sure how he would handle it. But he did great!



Another early morning, very cold as well again. Yay!


I let the boy sleep as long as I could while I showered and got dressed (at least the first few layers) and then I tried to wake him. I’m not sure how good a sleep he had because when I told him it was time he thought it was time to go to bed…he recovered quickly though.


After we were both dressed we headed out to catch an event bus to the staging area. We brought more Mylar blankets and a towel that we could use as extra insulation or something to sit on while we waited to start our run.


Bundled up!


So early…and the fire is so warm!


The bus ride was uneventful and there were many people there already when we got there. It wasn’t long before we were allowed into the corrals. Corral D for us this race – one back from where we were for the 5k but at least not in the end corral.


We wandered around a bit in the corrals and stepped out a few times to use the porta-potties before finding a place to sit down on the towel we brought and huddle under the Mylar blankets for warmth.


Mylar everywhere!


As they started moving the corrals forward we stood up and got rid of the towel – we should have hung onto it for a while longer. Moving up from Corral D to the start line took quite a bit longer than it had from Corral C the day before – in reality the time probably wasn’t that long since the mini waves they were doing kept things going but in the cold weather it felt like an eternity.


I could tell my son was getting nervous including his stomach starting to feel “weird” – so I kept him talking about the run and about other stuff


Finally it was our chance to get moving.


Not a huge amount to see in the half of the race before you head into Epcot but we had fun. I let him set his own pace – he dictated when he wanted to run and when he wanted to walk. It was good to see he pushed himself without going crazy.


We entered Epcot / World Showcase between the Norway and China pavilions (which is different from the 5k which comes in between Mexico and Norway).


At this point I started filming some of the run (sun was starting to come up and World Showcase was beautiful) and taking some pictures. Some of those will be below as will be some of the Disney photographer pics.


There were definitely characters out for pictures but we decided it was too cold to stop and opted to keep moving instead of standing in lines.


After you enter World Showcase you loop through that area of Epcot and exit out the International Gateway (Epcot’s back door to the Boardwalk hotel area) and cross the bridge to run along the Boardwalk. After that area you run past the Dolphin and Swan resorts before passing Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club resorts and their great pool (Stormalong Bay).


You then enter the Epcot backstage area beside International Gateway – there was some construction there as they are building a SkyWay station in that location. They spiced up the construction area with some dressed up “construction workers” who helped cheer everyone on.


After the backstage you re-enter World Showcase by the England Pavilion, pass Canada and then head toward the Fountain of Nations and Spaceship Earth. You run around Spaceship Earth and then out toward the Epcot parking lot and the finish line.


The first half of the race isn’t particularly exciting but he second half is probably the best 3 miles of scenery you could hope for on a race.




As we progressed we got beautiful light as the sun was coming up – it ended up being a great day to run (if a bit too cold).


Trying to catch Spaceship Earth on his head.


Coming up on Spaceship Earth


Spaceship Earth


Spaceship Earth


Passing Spaceship Earth – photo by runDisney


In the end, even with a few picture stops, the boy managed to push us to a faster pace than what we did on the 5k the day before. And he looked strong the whole way – super proud of him for training and pushing himself leading up to the races. The back to back races have to have worn on him but he push though strong! Good job dude!


focused on the end – photo by runDisney – watch the shoe laces!


And across the line! photo by runDisney


He did – pic courtesy of runDisney


We did it together – pic by runDisney


Thumbs up!


Running Road Blocks

Hi Folks!

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

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

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


Cigna Run Together – running road blocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Brief synopsis:


Where do I stand running wise?

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


Where do I stand weight wise?

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

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


So what the heck is the problem?

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

2017 plans. A return to form and a push to Dopey Challenge 2018!?!

With a new year we get a chance to reflect on things both good and bad from the past year and make plans for the future. What do we want to change? What should we keep doing? What can we do (or not do) to build ourselves and others up?

For the coming year there are a few things I know I need to change both running wise and just for life in general.

I don’t like to make resolutions since they usually get broken pretty damned quick – instead I am going to make a few commitments to myself.


First Commitment:

2018 Dopey Challenge – I am just days away from heading down to Orlando / Disney World for the 2017 Goofy Challenge but I am committing to running the 2018 Dopey Challenge now and doing it well. I want a better overall time than I got when I ran it in 2015. I was very happy with my overall time and strength that year and if I want to better that time, then I need to start work now and build through the year. I did 1971 miles in 2014 leading up to the 2015 Dopey Challenge so I will be trying to beat those numbers for 2017. I also set my PRs in the half and full marathons in 2014, so I will have some work to do to rebuild here.

In 2018 the race will be the 5th anniversary of the Dopey Challenge, the 5th anniversary of the Minnie 10k and the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon. That is a party I want to be involved with! I suspect there will be many who feel the same way so hopefully I can get in through the early entry with my annual pass!

My wife and I want to bring the kids down for this one too. I am doing Goofy Challenge this year and Heather is doing the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. We both have fallen in love with runDisney races and we really want to share that with the kids and get them more active at the same time. So we intend to do the 5k with them and see where else we end up. Our son is old enough to do the 10k so we will see if we can get him interested in that too. We are going to start building them up to this with the Pro Bowl 5k on January 28th – they will get a taste of a race through Epcot and hopefully they will catch the bug too!

Basically, all my running this year must lead toward this goal.


Second Commitment:

Spruce Woods Ultra – I let myself down on this one in 2016. I didn’t run my own race and it cost me. I know I could have completed this race and it eats at me a bit that I messed it up. So this year I will do it again and do it properly (properly for me – RUN MY OWN RACE). The only thing here is that I will have to decide what distance – 50k, 50 miles or 100k (smart enough to know I will not be ready for a 100 miler any time soon). Completing the race will be rebuilding my confidence so I need to figure out if I will feel better running a very strong 50k or if going well beyond 50k will work better.

The decision here will depend on how well my Achilles tendon continues to recover. I also don’t want to jeopardize 2018 Dopey Challenge with a big injury during the year. I realize you risk injury on every run and you can’t let that hold you back from reaching your goals…but there is a big difference between taking chances and deliberately flitting with disaster.

This race is in May, so I have some time to decide how things are going before I finalize my plans.


Third Commitment:

24 hour Lemming Loop – considering I really had no idea what I was getting into and my Achilles tendon didn’t cooperate  at all, I am a fairly happy with what I accomplished at the 2016 Lemming Loop…but I know I can do better.

I want to do this one again when I am stronger and healthier and just see what I can do. I have always thought my strength as a runner was more about endurance and quick recovery and this event lends itself to those traits. And I want to know what I am capable of here.


Other things:

These aren’t quite the same as the commitments above but they are things that will either need to happen or I want to happen over the year.


Lose weight…this one starts to sound a bit like a New Years resolution but it really isn’t. With my reduced mileage and injuries, my weight has crept up over the past year and a half and I have probably gained back 20 of the pounds I had previously lost. This needs to be rectified to achieve my goals above. I know how to do it and this will happen.


Marathon Maniacs – there are about 4 marathons run near(ish) to where I live and either combined with each other or with the ultras listed above I should be able to get Marathon Maniac status this year. I think this is something that would be pretty cool – but I am not going to commit to it as being healthy for the above races will take precedent as will various family commitments through the year.


Half Marathons – there are a few I like to do every year and I will most likely do so again with the goal of getting some speed back. My half PR is 1:46:00 and getting back there this year might be difficult but I think I can get back down to sub 1:50 and I would be quite happy with that.


Stress reduction – Over the past year or so I have been dealing with some big stressors that have been impacting my running motivation. I need to find a way to deal with those. At this point I suspect doing additional writing on the blog will help. I have been a bit lax over the past year on the blog but I will be picking it up and posting more. I find the writing helps focus my brain and lets me come up with solid plans better…so let’s do that.


As a conclusion, I have to say I am fairly excited about the upcoming year of running and looking forward to see where I end up!

Good luck to everyone in 2017!!