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:
- You are going to require your passport or some form of government photo ID to get your bibs.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- GPS watch – Garmin Forerunner 201 – a little old but still works well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 4-5 pairs of running underwear
- 4-5 pairs of running socks
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Running gloves – I will be bringing a couple pairs in case it is cold
- 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.
- Nipple protectors / anti chafing stuff – bleeding nipples suck and will ruin your day.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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.