Tag Archive for Magic Kingdom

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.



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!



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!



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.



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!




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.



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.



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!



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!



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!



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

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.

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.

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!

Posted a vid to youtube – running down Main St at Magic Kingdom during 2013 Disney World Marathon – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdHgpAPwf-I

Finally got around to posting a vid to YouTube that I took during the 2013 Disney World half marathon (as part of the Goofy).  Gives you a bit of an idea of the crowding that coral E had to deal with last year.  Here’s hoping that the changes made by Disney help alleviate the problems in 2014!