Tag Archive for Dopey

3 of 4 Dopey Challenge races done at this point and I wanted to put up a bit of a quick recap / race report

So the quick race reports below haven’t been edited very much – I just quickly dumped out some thoughts about how the races went and what I enjoyed to get something up on the blog.

I will update and do more thorough race / trip reports later but for now here is how the Dopey Challenge is going so far with only 1 race left to go (of course it is the big one…).

Please click the link for a review of the final race (the Walt Disney World Marathon) with many pictures.


5k #wdw5k

Official time: 25:18

I got a great surprise last night before I crashed when I got an encouragement tweet from Stacey J. Aswad (https://twitter.com/staceyjaswad – @staceyjaswad) – as in the lovely and energetic lady who stars in the Must Do Disney shows on the Walt Disney World TV channel in the Disney resorts). Bloody awesome!! One of the highlights of the trip!


Cold in the morning, bloody cold in fact. The wind was bitter. I am used to running in some pretty cold weather but I walk out of a nice warm house and run immediately and get warmed up. That is not really an issue with a Disney race considering the hour plus wait time from when I got off the bus until Corral A got to start.

I brought thermal gear as I knew there would be at least one cold day based on the forecasts and put on a big black garbage bag to cut the wind and retain some additional heat. Still chilly with some teeth chattering but I was properly equipped once we got moving.

After the long travel day the day before the race I really just wanted to move a bit. I also wanted to burn off some of the cold that was settling into the muscles. So instead of taking it easy I decided to push the 5k a little harder and then back off on the half marathon on Sunday. I figured as long as I didn’t go all out on the 5k I wouldn’t do too much damage, or at least less damage than going harder on the half.

Everything was going great until a little over a mile into the race and I heard a weird noise of something dropping. I realized it was my phone and had to stop, turn around and go back about 15 paces to get it. It had fallen out of the holster I keep it in – I mustn’t have gotten the phone seated properly in the holster. Crud.

Luckily no one stepped on it but it is definitely an interesting experience running backwards against a mass of people. Not something I recommend.

I held up my arms and waved and did some warning yelling as I went to grab it. Luckily I am a pretty big guy so I was a bit more noticeable that some might be.

Grabbed the phone without anyone getting hurt and got back at it. I didn’t realize until after that I had cracked the screen pretty good. Thankfully the phone and touch screen still works, it just looks like hell. (I have order a new screen that should be at home when I get there to get everything all fixed up.)

Right after that we entered Epcot. I had specifically not worn headphones so I could hear the background music of Epcot as we went through. I am glad I made that decision and it really enhanced the experience.

Disney had all of the mood lighting on around World Showcase and also had the big torches lit. Gorgeous!

After following World Showcase around through France we took the detour down through International Gateway (instead of running through the England pavilion), looped around for a water stop and came back out right by Canada. From there we ran over by The Land pavilion and by the Nemo ride before heading back out to go under Spaceship Earth and toward the finish line.

Besides the phone and the cold (neither of which I can blame on Disney) that was a fantastic experience. It is really too bad the new Marathon course doesn’t start you through Epcot anymore.

There was unfortunately a long wait for buses in the cold after the race was done. Corrals were still being started and the course goes along the road the buses need to take…so no buses until the balloon ladies have come through and the last of the runners have cleared the area.

Even after the runners were cleared there was an issue with our stop – there weren’t any showing up for us! Other hotels were getting 2 or 3 and we hadn’t had one yet. In the cold that was a bit rough.

The logistics folks fixed that quickly by pulling up what appeared to be a generic bus (didn’t have any of the hotel specific cards or info on the front that the dedicated buses had). And I think the driver got a bit lost as it was a fairly long drive back to the hotel. A lot longer that it should have been. But at least the bus was warm!


10k – #wdw10k

Official Time: 53:59

Not quite as cold as yesterday but still pretty chilly. Onto my backup set of thermal gear and my second garbage bag! My legs were feeling a bit rough after a lot of walking yesterday so I decided to run in my Hoka One One Cliftons – I was going to only use those on the half and the full but figured they were probably a good idea for the 10k at this point as well.

Once I got to the staging area I wandered around for a bit and then headed over to the corrals. There I met up with Bill who blogs over at rillaruns.wordpress.com and on twitter at @rilla6969 and chatted for a while as Corral A was brought up to the start line.

We headed off to run and I intended to go fairly slow and finish at about the hour mark…but the highway boredom got to me so I pushed it a bit more for the first half of the race until we entered Epcot. At that point I slowed down.

I wanted to relax some more and enjoy the atmosphere even more than I did the day before on the 5k so I slowed down and took some video while I ran. I had also did a quick walk break right by the China pavilion while I had some water.

The course then headed International Gateway as the 5k did but instead of cutting back around to go back into Epcot right away, runners head up the ramp and across the bridge to go toward the Boardwalk Inn. A great place to run although you do have to be careful on the actual boardwalk.

From there we were sent back over the bridge toward the Yacht Club Resort and the Beach Club Resort.

Now I have mentioned in the past that the Beach Club resort is a place I really love and enjoy. So while running by the Yacht and Beach Club hotels I took video while running and stopped to do a quick scan of the Stormalong Bay pool area before continuing on.

I then put the camera away and pushed the speed back up as we headed back into Epcot and by The Land pavilion and back by Spaceship Earth.

From there a quick push to the finish where Bill tapped me on the shoulder. I had lost track of Bill 10 seconds into the run and he did his own race and we ended up finishing within seconds of each other.

Medal #2 received and Bill and I had another short chat before I headed over to the buses to go get warmed up.

All in all a good run – 5-6 minutes faster than I wanted to go since I wanted to save my legs a bit but as long as I don’t do anything crazy on the half it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Buses were fairly smooth today – I got on a bus very quickly after I headed to the bus stops and back at the hotel not long after that.

2 of 4 races done for the Dopey Challenge! At this point the realization started to set in that there was a full Goofy Challenge left to do this weekend…ouch!


Half – #wdwhalf

Official time: 1:58:52

Third cold day in a row…I brought 2 sets of cold weather gear. One set for the day that was actually forecasted to be cold and a spare – both sets were used so I had had to wash a bit of stuff yesterday to be ready for today.

My brother is doing the Goofy this weekend (his 3rd one) and we went down to the race together and hung out in the staging area for a while and wandered around.

We weren’t near the stage and didn’t hear any announcement to go to the corrals but we noticed people streaming that direction so we wandered that way as well figuring it was getting close to time.

I don’t know if Disney has done anything specifically to make the walk to the corrals less crowded but this was the first year that I could walk and talk with someone without constantly watching my feet so I didn’t run into someone. It was significantly less crowded on that walk and it was appreciated!

Along the walk we saw what could have been a bright red meteorite in the sky that faded after a while. I could have been a fireworks test or something but didn’t look like any fireworks I had seen but it was cool to see either way. If it was a meteor … was it a bad omen? Made for some good chuckles along the long walk.

We were in separate corrals so we split up and went to our own spots to get ready.

I wandered into Corral D and started getting ready mentally.

After what seemed like a very short wait the wheelchair folks were off and then Corral A shortly after. Things move quickly from there and Corral D was off and moving pretty soon after that.

Because I wanted to take it easy today (with a goal pace of around 2 hours to finish) I had decided to wear an old running jacket the whole race, I have done it before with that jacket in temperatures near where they were forecast so I figured it would be ok. About 2 miles in though it was too hot and I had to abandon it. But with how I had planned to run it took a bit of time to get it off and reseat my hydration belt, etc – that cost some time.

That also meant, that in some areas it was cooler than I would have liked and I pushed the speed up to warm up a bit. I was in danger of doing something dumb there and pushing too fast which would cost me on the full tomorrow.

Then I look down around mile 3 and realize that my bib is only hanging by one of the two cords from my bib belt. The top left hole had ripped out and my bib was just dangling there. Losing the bib would have royally buggered the weekend, so I started running holding up the torn corner in my left hand. This would ensure I didn’t lose it and that it was visible for any photographers.

It was obviously kind of awkward to run that way but it did have the bonus of slowing me down a bit. But perhaps too much as I could tell from my mile times I was in danger of being slower than my goal pace. With the lost time for the jacket it was beginning to look like I would not get my 2 hour time.

I needed to get the bib fixed!

I realized that the medical tents might have something to help out but I had already passed one a while so it was going to be a while until I got to the next one just on the back end of the course through the Magic Kingdom.

So I had to run like that for a while – around 3.5 miles actually and you can see in my split times that I was doing ok at keeping my pace steady but I couldn’t go like that for the rest of the race.

Finally I hit the medical tent hoping they would have a safety pin or something to help out. In the end they didn’t have a safety pin but some medical tape helped out and I was able to get moving again.

At this point my toque / knitted hat was fairly saturated so I abandoned it and the old beat up running gloves I was using today expecting to have to get rid of them.

And then I got to work at getting some time back. I had missed my scheduled fuel break so I took that around mile 7 and another at mile 10. But I steadily made back time.

I was glad I made that time up when I did because that was when we hit the overpass followed by the long bridge. Some long steady inclines that required some effort to push through.

But by then the sun was coming up with a blue sky – perfect time to enter Epcot for the last mile! At this point I knew I had made up enough time to make the 2 hour arbitrary goal pace with about a minute to spare. So I just focused on a slightly slower but solid and steady pace that would let me finish with that spare minute in reserve incase anything came up like an emergency walk break or something like that.

In the end I didn’t need the emergency minute and I finished strong.

If I hadn’t had the gear issues I probably would have ended up closer to the 1:50 mark…which would probably have cost me big time tomorrow on the full marathon but as it is I feel pretty good with my only issue being a slight ache in my right ankle that I should be able to walk out today.

After the run I quickly checked to see where my brother was on Disney’s new live tracking tools and saw that he was still quite a way out. With the cold sinking into to my now damp clothes I decided to hit the buses and get warm. Walked on a bus and it took off back to the hotel very shortly after that. Barely any wait at all. Nice!

Plan for today is to not do too much walking and get my head focused for the full marathon tomorrow.

The plan for tomorrow is to take it easy and survive! I will be doing photo stops along the course and just trying to keep a steady running pace with probably some walk breaks thrown in. I don’t have a specific goal pace but under 5 hours would be great and under 4:30 would be fantastic. But I will take finishing in one piece as a major victory as well.

18.15 miles in 2:58:57 – slowed by uneven, slippery sections and uncooperative traffic lights

I slept in really late this morning so I wasn’t sure I was even going to have time to run but I needed to do something so I managed to get out. And surprisingly once I got going I had motivation to keep going to try to make up some of the miles missed due to the deep cold last weekend killing my long run on Sunday.

Weather was pretty good today – hovering near freezing when I got finished – there was some wind however that really wasn’t a factor until near the end. I spent many of the miles today in a sheltered area and when I came out of it I was sweaty – the wind became a factor pretty fast there – luckily I only had a few miles in the open area before I got into shelter again because even in that short period of time I could feel my hands starting to freeze up pretty good. It was all good in the end but it came as a heck of a surprise when it hit me for the first time.

Other than that the run was slowed quite a lot by areas that were slippery and uneven (the warming temperatures meant a bit of melting and snow that was hard packed was now loose and shifted under foot at unexpected times. There was also a minor amount of slush here and there adding wet feet to the fun mix.

At least those kinds of footing conditions help strengthen the legs and stabilizers – they also make sure I do the long slow runs as a long slow run. Can’t try to sprint ever run!

Heading now into the last 2 weeks of hard training for the Dopey Challenge in January – I have another 18 miler and a 20 scheduled in those 2 weeks which is highly ambitious but we will see what happens – will need to monitor myself closely and back off to prevent any injuries. The current outdoor running conditions will be very unforgiving if I get sloppy on my form and I want to make sure I avoid any injuries. At this point I am ready for Dopey so staying healthy is my most important goal.

OK – time to keep pushing!

10 miles in 78 min on the treadmill – hit a nice zone! Felt good.

I managed to get on the treadmill relatively early tonight – kind of a nice change.

I started out with 5 minutes at 7 mph to just stretch the legs out a bit and then worked my way up to 8 mph and stayed there pretty consistently. There were a couple points where I backed off to a walk or a slower speed but the vast majority of the run was kept up at 8 mph.

Things definitely felt good and I was able to stay at a very good pace. It was one of those nice runs where pushing a little didn’t take your whole focus – I was able to push the speed while still letting my mind work on other things.

Lots more miles to go this week though – still have a 5 miler tomorrow, a 10 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday for another conditioning check for the Dopey Challenge in January. Should be interesting!

2.02 miles in 16:11 – last leg stretch before Fort Garry Rotary Club Half tomorrow – feeling strong

I did a couple miles last night on the treadmill and then 2.02 miles this morning outside. I am feeling good and strong and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.

I haven’t had any issues with my knee or hamstrings in a while so I am hoping those don’t play a factor in the race!

My wife will be running tomorrow too – we will be each doing our own thing on the race and she will be heading out to set a nice shiny new PR at the half distance.

I am still trying to figure out my strategy for the run though – after I unexpectedly set a new half marathon PR back in May I want to do it again! …But I also don’t want to hurt myself. I have another half marathon set to go in October (WFPS Half Marathon) and I don’t want to wreck my Dopey Challenge 2015 training.

So my current plan (which could change wildly over the course of today and tomorrow morning) is to start out taking the first mile relatively easy (maybe 8:20 ish?) and then try to settle in with each mile being well under 8:00 although closer to 7:45 would be better. Realistically I would like to be under 1:44:00 for the race with a strong effort but if I can get some of my treadmill pacing to translate outdoors sub 1:40 seems possible.

That kind of highlights one of the things I will have to look after mentally during the race. Most of my speed work is done on the treadmill and I do my longer, slower runs outside. So I am not currently specifically trained to run fast outside. What I mean is cardiovascular, endurance and muscle wise I am trained up but I am also used to not having to worry about pacing myself – the treadmill takes care of it. Outside I run significantly slower on my long, slow runs where pacing isn’t as big a factor. Basically during the run tomorrow I am going to have to push myself to keep the speed up – physically I am capable but it will be a mental game tomorrow to get the time I have the potential to reach.

It is going to be an interesting run tomorrow! But now it is time to get some breakfast in me, hit the packet pickup and then make sure I have fuel ready to go for tomorrow!….oh yeah and laundry…running clothes would be a good idea.

9.9 miles in 90:12 outside – bit of rain but it felt great. Realizing that Saturday runs are my relaxing “me” runs.

It’s kind of interesting – it seems that I have fallen into a bit of a pattern with my weekly runs, with different runs focused on different things to meet my overall running goals. But Saturday runs seem to be more about me than my running specifically. That sounds a bit strange but I will explain.

I do Tuesday (short), Wednesday (medium) and Thursday runs (short) on the treadmill and I find on those runs that I feel the need to push the speed. So those runs end up being pretty fast and strong – definitely faster and more focused than my outdoor runs. That means I get used to running faster and push up my cardio level.

Then I do a medium run outside on Saturdays and my weekly long run on Sundays. The long run is about the distance – I go slow and push through so it is never a very fast run but I concentrate hard on making the distance I have set for myself. The Sunday run then is about getting my body used to storing fuel for a long run and for toughening the mind to keep pushing when I am tired.

On the Saturday runs though (like today’s), I find that I have no drivers – nothing that I am pushing for besides just running. I am not trying for speed and I am not pushing for long distances. The Saturday runs then end up being just about me and the miles. They seem to be the only runs that really clear the mind and let me just actually enjoy the running.

That may seem like an odd statement too – I only enjoy the Saturday runs? That’s not really true – I enjoy seeing the progress in my abilities that the other runs give me and I get major satisfaction from reaching new levels and new goals. But…those runs end up being a tool for the satisfaction of reaching the goal and not about just enjoying the act of running. So really, I enjoy those runs AFTER they are done – but maybe not so much during the run sometimes.

I realized today that these Saturday runs, without any other external driver, are about enjoying the run for what it is. Sure they also help me reach my goals by increasing endurance and keeping me used to running my long runs on at least partially tired legs (which is required for the Goofy and Dopey Challenges). But I think I actually get more than that out of the Saturday runs because they help me clear my mind and refresh my drive to run…because I am enjoying them when I am doing them and not just when they are done.

Now that I have made this realization, I need to keep it in mind for September through December when I shift away from this current pattern of weekly runs for my Dopey Challenge 2015 training. During those months I will be doing a medium run on Tuesdays (probably treadmill) and then short runs Thursday and Friday (both probably on the treadmill). On Saturday and Sundays I will continue doing what I am doing now with a medium run on Saturday and then the weekly long run on Sunday (both outside when the weather cooperates).

I need to think then about which of the weekly runs will be the “me” run? Which one will refresh my drive and clear my mind so that I can continue to push through the many weeks of Dopey Challenge training? I suspect it will still be the Saturday run but maybe it will be Tuesday instead? It’s hard to say until I get into that training cycle to see what fits and feels right but it has become obvious that I need to make sure I have one of these “me” runs each week.

So the lesson appears to be that focusing on the work you need to do to meet your goals is very important but you can still get major benefits out of occasionally letting go and just enjoying yourself.

Hey! Yet another life lesson learned from running!