Tag Archive for Goofy Race and a Half Challenge

2018 – 25th Walt Disney World Marathon – race #4 of the Dopey Challenge

Time for the 25th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon!!

Cold again! But forecast to get warmer through the race – this required a bit of a rethink of my gear.

On the other 3 races I wore thermal running leggings and my winter running jacket – with the expected warmth later in the race the leggings were too warm so I skipped using those for the full. I also had to carry the winter running jacket from mile 4 on during the half so I didn’t want to have to do the same thing for the marathon. Instead I used an extra thermal mid-layer that I could toss if I needed to.

These gear changes meant I needed to also wear some disposable sweat pants and anther Mylar blanket and garbage bag.

For the past several years I have run marathons using a hydration backpack but I didn’t bring it with me this race – and I re-discovered on half the day before that the Powerade will not work for me. I did however bring a belt pouch that had 2 bottle holders – I put a flat bottle of Coke in one and a bottle of the zero calorie electrolyte drink I have used on ultra-marathons in the other. I resolved to drink water at every aid station and slowly work out my 2 bottles through the race – this worked surprisingly well and I had absolutely no stomach issues through the race!

I decided that I wanted to use the gimbal again this morning but once I got back to the hotel after the half, I saw that my phone was down to 16% battery life – as a Canadian my phone is always in roam mode when I am at Disney World and that burns more battery (cell looks for a non-roaming tower more frequently using more juice than it normally would), plus I used the phone for music to run to. So I needed another plan for what to take videos with if I wanted to use the gimbal the next day.

I spent some time after the half rigging up my GoPro Session 4 to fit in the gimbal – there are gimbals specifically for GoPro cameras but mine is designed for smart phones so it took some playing but I came up with a solution that I was comfortable with.

The GoPro does not do as well as the smartphone in low light so my videos before dawn are not as good. Also the GoPro will not do 4k so my videos for the full are in 1080p instead. But that was the trade off to make sure my phone lasted to the end of the race giving me running music!

So I was up extra early again and once again I was on the first bus out of the Boardwalk Resort – whoohoo!

There were more buses at the drop area than there were for the half – so there were more people already there!

That meant there were more people already in line to see the characters but I needed to still visit Pluto and Minnie Mouse and their lines were the shortest since their associated races were already completed.

I got those pictures relatively quickly.

Pluto character greeting before the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Minnie Mouse character greeting before the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

After that I made one pit stop before heading out to the corrals. Corral C again for this race.

I found a spot by the fences and sat down, snuggled into my Mylar and garbage bag, and relaxed until it was time to get up and get ready to move.

I ditched the throw away sweat pants, the Mylar and the garbage before the start and then we were off.

I had no plan to get pics of the mile markers for this one so I didn’t have any regular stops planned – this worked out fine – I was able to keep my brain occupied even without a short term goal to keep hitting.

Video of some of the highlights of the run:

In the backstage area on the back side of Magic Kingdom they had out the steampunk dragon from the Festival of Fantasy parade. I hadn’t intended to do any character stops but I had to stop for this one. There was no line and I love the look of the float. I always have to make this stop!

Festival of Fantasy Parade dragon character stop on the 2018 Disney World Marathon course

By the time I got through Magic Kingdom, the sun was up and I was boiling! Time to ditch one of my thermal shirts…that was made fun since I had to ditch a mid layer. Put down the gimbal,rRunning hat and belt off, top shirt off, thermal shirt off, top shirt back on, then hat and belt back on, tie shirt around waist, pick up the gimbal and continue on…then stop 5 minutes later to ditch the shirt that I tied around my waist because I could not get it to sit comfortable. Some time lost there!

Then it was the long stretch between the Grand Floridian and Animal Kingdom – I stopped to get some pictures of some old ride vehicles that were out for viewing. Love the Nautilus sub!

20000 leagues under the sea ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

20000 leagues under the sea ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

I enjoyed to run through Animal Kingdom and I like that the half way point is now in the park instead of in the parking / backstage areas – although I don’t really enjoy the out and back section that makes this possible.

And then, continue on toward ESPN along the road system – not really exciting but no drama and it went smoothly.

Next ESPN Wide World of Sports – it is always a bit disheartening to see the runners coming out of ESPN as you are going in and knowing they are at least 3 miles ahead of you. Meandered through ESPN and made the obligatory stop to get stones out of my shoes after the run through the stadium. At least there were benches right after the exit from the stadium!

From there back out on the highway through the area where they are doing a bunch of road construction – not particularly magical but before long we were taking the onramp to head toward Hollywood Studios.

Then the shortened trip through Hollywood Studios – all the construction there means that you don’t get as much time in this park unfortunately – I am holding out hope that once Toy Story and Star Wars lands are complete the marathon will give more time in this park. Thinking about it though they might reserve Star Wars land for the Dark Side half?

Coming out of Hollywood Studios you head past the construction area for the Skyway station for Hollywood Studios before going down the path towards mile 24 and the Boardwalk area.

Just past mile 24 my wife and kids were out and waiting to cheer me on! They had a can of Coke for me as well which would have been great but I didn’t think I could handle the fizz at that point.

I continued on from there past the Dolphin and Swan hotel areas, past the Yacht Club Resort, Stormalong Bay and the Beach Club Resort.

Heather and the kids were waiting for me on the bridge heading toward International Gateway but unfortunately I didn’t see them. I had my headphones in and did not hear them call me and wasn’t expecting them so wasn’t looking around. Oops.

Then through the construction area for the Skyway station by International Gateway, hit the last aid station for water and then into World Showcase by England. I did the tour through World Showcase before heading toward Future World and Spaceship Earth.

Interestingly they had out some princesses in the France pavilion but they were off to the side so the runners were missing that they were there…Heather and our daughter took advantage though!

Kaia with Belle in France

Kaia with Aurora in France

Made the corner at Spaceship Earth and headed into the backstage area for mile 26 and the choir. Interestingly the choir was split up on both sides of the course instead of on just one side like usual. Kind of liked the split as it gave a stereo effect.

Checked my watch and I was at 26.4 miles with around 0.2 to go – definitely added some of my own mileage to this race!

And then the home stretch toward the finish line!

Done and it never turned into a death march – frankly that was a nice surprise – my training was not good going into this race (injuries, etc) but I finished in less time than I expected and still felt ok. No injuries! This means I have figured out my nagging Achilles and knee issues and I can start to get training properly again – maybe a return to form for 2018?

Got my awesome 25th anniversary medal!

25th Walt Disney World Marathon medal. Mickey side of spinner.

25th Walt Disney World Marathon medal. Other side of spinner.

Then went to the challenge tent and got my Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge medals. Both are awesome – love the angular design of the Goofy medal and the blue jewel eyes on the Dopey!

2018 Goofy Challenge medal

2018 Dopey Challenge Medal

Next it was time to get in line for some after pictures.

Finisher pic courtesy of runDisney and the photopass service

While I was waiting I noticed something drop off the guy in front of me when his picture was getting taken…I scanned around and realized he had lost one of the eyes off of his Dopey medal. Crap! I pointed it out to him and he grabbed it – it could be glued back on for sure but I personally probably would have gone back to the challenge tent and asked for another medal. Not sure what he did.

I saw online after that some others have had the same issue. I babied my medal after I saw the one fall off and mine made it home with no issues.

After getting through the recovery area I thought about grabbing a post race beer from the beer cart but saw that it was over near the entrance to the secure area – across the full parking lot from the hotel buses. Decided that I had beer in our hotel room and opted for the buses.

Short wait for a bus and then a quick trip to the hotel and a long shower!

Whoohoo!! My 2nd Dopey Challenge complete including my 7th Goofy Challenge, 14th full marathon (8 of which were the Walt Disney World Marathon)!!!!

I then opted for a short nap before we headed into Epcot to celebrate our running adventures together. We visited with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Minnie Mouse with our medals and got some great pictures!

Meeting Mickey Mouse with our 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon race medals!

Meeting my idol and the reason I have this blog! Goofy!

Whole family with our 2018 Walt Disney World Medals and Goofy!

Tae with Minnie Mouse and his 2018 Walt Disney World 10k race medal.

The whole family with our 2018 Disney World Marathon medals with Minnie Mouse!

Showing off our 2018 Walt Disney World race medals on the bridge between England and France in Epcot’s World Showcase

And with that the running portion of the vacation was over and the true family vacation part began. Great trip and great fun running around Disney World!

2 week out update for Dopey Challenge #2

Ok – I am back – it’s been busy the past few weeks so I haven’t been doing the blogging I want to do but today marks 2 weeks out from our travel day to the Disney World Marathon weekend and my 2nd Dopey Challenge (7th Goofy? wow…) and I figured I should find some time to get in here and give a quick round up of where I am and get everyone up to date on what is going on. (it is going to be a long one…)

I will start off with a major cool surprise this week as I was invited to attend the Cigna Blogger and Social Media Meet-Up over the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! I have read up on how fun the event can be from some of the runners I follow on Twitter and it sounds like a great time. Honored to have been invited and very excited to attend!

And with that wild announcement out of the way on with the update…


Where do I stand running wise?

Running has been going decently well – furthest I have gotten on my recent longer runs has been 14 miles – which is not long enough but at least showed I could still do something. I have had several 10s in there as well so the 14 wasn’t a fluke.

For the most part my legs have been good. The ankle that has caused me grief for the past year and a half seems very solid so that seems to finally be truly solved – major sigh of relief there!

I am however having an issue with my right knee. Over the years this knee has caused me some grief (going back to high school football…back in the dark ages…) but I am still surprised it has popped up as an issue now. Mostly because of how / why it started bugging me. That is, I didn’t seem to do anything bad to it running…I seem to have buggered it up by having a nap on the couch a week or so ago…

That deserves an explanation I suppose.

So about a week and a half ago I sat down on the couch with my legs up on the ottoman to do some reading and promptly fell asleep. I had my legs crossed at the ankles with my right leg underneath…when I woke up a couple hours later I had not moved at all…and when I stood up my right knee would barely hold my weight – it had been hyper-extended pretty good by the weight of the other leg being on top of it for a few hours. Getting old sucks. The knee improved quickly just by moving it around but ever since it gives me shots now and then when I run. So I have been taking it easy with how hard I am running as truly injuring my leg right now would not be a good thing.

I still hope to get in a real good long run over the next week to clear the cobwebs but at this point it will just be for convincing myself I can as opposed to actually improving my conditioning.


My weight:

I have been getting my weight to go down – probably down about 5-8 pounds from where I was 2 months ago which is an improvement but still not where I need to be. Back in 2015 when I ran my first Dopey Challenge I was around the 220 pound mark and I am sitting above the 240 point right now – so I have a lot of work to do but obviously that won’t be fixed before the races in 2 weeks. But I have made positive improvements and I expect to keep that going so that I can train and run better races later in 2018. I have to take the long term goal of getting my weight under control – it took me a few years to get where I am so I won’t be able to fix it overnight. (on a side note my half and full PRs were set at about the 220 pound point – 1:46:00 for the half – I am tall and carry a fair bit of muscle so the 220 on me is not as dramatically overweight as it might sound…)


Kids’ training:

This year we are doing the 5k race as a family – so my wife Heather, our son (11) and daughter (9), and I will all be running the 5k.

I will then be doing the 10k with our son before going on and doing the half and full on my own to finish out the Dopey Challenge.

We did the ProBowl 5k together back in February but this will be the kids’ first taste of a real runDisney race and I want them in good enough shape that they can enjoy it and not be struggling with the distance or the cut off times.

How has their training been going? Probably more consistently than mine actually…

Our daughter has been doing 1-2 mile run/walks a few times a week as well as walking the pups with me. She also has run club before school twice a week. So she will be quite ready. She has crazy good natural running form too, so I really hope she keeps an interest in running.

Our son has been doing a few 2 mile runs a week plus occasionally longer. He might have some troubles with the 10k but the hope is at a minimum we can do the first 5k in a strong fashion and then really enjoy the back half of the race – because if he has to do some walking there it will at least be the most fun places to do that and we should have a time buffer to make sure we can finish. He did seem to have some issues earlier in the training with his form –  a lot of clomping and almost looked like he was going to trip himself all the time. One of his feet bends inward a bit and the shoes he was wearing seemed to be amplifying the issue. For an 11 year old he has pretty gigantic feet and we had to move up to smaller adult size to get him a decent pair of running shoes. But on the positive side of that, because we had to go with an adult size we could get him very good quality running shoes – once we did his form improved immensely.

Heather has been training as well so we will all be ready to have a really good time with the 5k race!


Overall – where is my head at?

Frankly my running has been on a slow and steady decline since spring 2015 when I got a bit sick and I have struggled with motivation and training since. My weight has slowly gotten worse as well over that time frame. And to top it off stress has been beating me up pretty good too.

BUT it seems like in the past couple months I have been able to start to make improvements in both my running and my weight and just feel better physically and mentally overall. I have a lot of work ahead of me but at least I am feeling positive about running and being healthy again.

I am going into these races with no real game plan either – I haven’t been in an organized race since the Spruce Woods 50k ultra back in early May and I haven’t done a road race since Goofy Challenge back in January. So I really have no idea what is going to happen on the races, how fast I will go, how I will feel, everything is in the air here.

Surprisingly I did get corral C from a time I had from last spring – I am probably not in the shape I should be to be in that corral so I might move back voluntarily but on the other side of it I am wondering if getting those extra few minutes isn’t going to be a good thing in case I implode spectacularly on the marathon. Which is entirely possible at this point.

So…what does that mean?

I am feeling generally positive going into the races but I am not expecting miracles from myself. My times for the longer runs I have done lately say 5 to 5.5 hours could be possible but I realistically expect closer to 6 hours for the full.

My plan is to run the races with my gimbal and a camera (for the 5k and 10k for sure and hopefully all 4 races) to take video and pictures and to distract my brain so that my body can do what it needs to do.

So with all that said for the marathon I am hoping to start with a pace to finish in 5 hours with the expectation that it my poor conditioning will catch up with me after about 2 hours and I will slow down significantly while still shooting to complete in 6 hours. That then gives me a buffer for things to go spectacularly wrong and still be have time to finish…


Alrighty – thanks for sticking with me through that one – it was definitely a long one…if I could post more frequently these things would be shorter…probably something I should remember…

Good luck to everyone on their training and if you see me at the Walt Disney World Marathon please say hi!

7 week short update!

Ok… a short couple mile walk on the treadmill tonight. Strangely that is a win for the day.

Over the past couple weeks I have been slowly getting better mentally for my running. I have had some decent runs and I have been slowly increasing my mileage again. Still not where I need to be for Dopey Challenge in January but it was a start.

I was also getting my weight to move in the right direction finally.

So YAY!! Positive stuff for the first time in a while.

And then this past weekend we did a couple day road trip…how in the world do you gain 5.5 pounds in 2 days?

I can’t work out what happened – sure we ate out but I was very conscious of what I was eating and we did a lot of walking. So I’m not sure what is going on there.

My stomach did feel like crap the whole trip and I had the last 2 days off work sick for stomach issues as well.

So yeah – I was supposed to run and do some speed work tonight but even walking caused some stomach turns making a couple miles of walking was more than I could have expected.

But hopefully I am over whatever is going on with my stomach and I will be back at it. I have a rough plan for the next 50 days before we leave for Dopey Challenge in Disney World. I won’t be in great shape, or good shape really but as long as I am used to moving I will be able to have fun with it. And that is what my plan is for the next 50 days – move, move and move some more just so I am used to it again.

Well – that was a short one but I will be looking to get more posts up regularly from here on out.

Happy running!

Goofy Challenge 2017 race trip report – Day 1 – travel day and meeting some cool folks

Well, this is my third time starting to write up a race trip report for this past weekend’s Goofy Challenge / Walt Disney World Marathon trip and I think I might finally have figured it out! 

Let’s start of with saying that this trip was unique and full of firsts and cool events. I didn’t have a great race but the trip reinforced to me the strength and awesomeness of the runDisney community!

I met some cool runners on the trip starting even before I made it down to Orlando. 

In Toronto, during my layover, I had a runner (Mike) come up to me recognizing the Goofy Challenge shirt that I was wearing and we started chatting about the races coming up. He was also on his way down to do the Goofy Challenge. As we chatted, it came out that he had read my packing list posts (which turned out to be prophetic considering how cold the marathon was on Sunday, but more on that later). That was pretty cool – the blog doesn’t get a huge amount of traffic so anytime I run into someone who has read some part of the blog it is pretty amazing to me. He had a pretty powerful story too about having part of one of his lungs removed in Dec 2015 and trained through 2016, running 3 half marathons all culminating for a celebratory Goofy Challenge. Fantastic and very inspiring! Cool start to the weekend meeting someone like that! I didn’t run into him again after we got off the plane in Orlando but if you are reading this, I have got to say, it is a very inspiring story man, and I hope you had a good set of runs over the weekend! Cheers to you!!

Also in Toronto, we chatted with another runner going down and she was running for Team Diabetes. 

So many cool, inspiring stories and I haven’t even made it out of the country yet! 

On the plane, I sat next to a family from Ontario heading down to cheer their daughter on who was running the marathon. Again, very cool. And it just shows the variety of people that go to the runDisney racing events. 

Once down in Orlando, I hopped on the Magical Express and got the ride to the resort. And after taking care of a quick stop to sort out my park tickets, I got on the event bus to go get my race package from the race expo. 

runDisney had tweaked the race expo since the last time I was there and I’m not sure it was really an improvement but it worked well enough. Although, I have to say the routing of the runners who had pre-ordered merchandise was very strange and did not seem efficient at all. But I got my stuff, so how bad could it be? Before leaving the expo I caught a few minutes of Olympian and runDisney legend Jeff Galloway’s presentation. 

At the expo I picked up a few things like a new running hat and a new set of shoes that were a pretty good deal even after US to Canadian exchange. 

After that it was back to the hotel before heading into Epcot to wander around (and have a beer and a pretzel the size of my head). And then I did a wander around the Boardwalk area before heading back to the room to turn in for the night. 

Next up Day 2 – spectating the Minnie 10k and some bad news about the half marathon

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!!