Tag Archive for rundisney

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

I’m back! Some random thoughts my plans for fall races. Including the 24 hour Lemming Loop

Hi! Long time no post!

I am going to start to post more regularly again – I promise!

As a bit of a catch up post I wanted to do a bit of a write up of the races I have signed up to run in the fall and go through what my mental process was for those decisions.

So I haven’t run a race since Fargo Marathon back in May. I normally do the Manitoba Marathon on Father’s day but the timing didn’t work this year due to family commitments. From what I have heard from those that ran this year, it was brutal with the heat and humidity. That is one thing I have found for the Manitoba Marathon – it seems to be either really hot and humid or rainy and cold – never seems to be the best running weather.

Since Fargo my running has been fairly light but I have been slowly rebuilding over the last while and hope to be ready for some decent fall races. That then gives me a head start on my training for my 6th Goofy Challenge in January.

In ages past, I have taken it easy for the summer after the Manitoba Marathon and then started training for the Goofy Challenge in September but I found that I much preferred to try to stay in shape with fall races to make the Goofy Challenge training (and races) easier to handle.

With that in mind I decided to look at the various races that are fairly local in the fall and see what would work for me and my schedule. Some of the races that came up:

  1. Treherne Marathon – September 11th – this one is about an hour drive from home on mostly farm roads with some rolling hills. I haven’t done this race before but I know others who have and enjoyed it.
  2. Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon – September 18th – I have run this one before a couple times and it is a nice course. It goes through areas of town that other races in Winnipeg don’t go through and it is pretty scenic.
  3. Grand Forks Marathon – September 24th – about an hour and half drive from home. It is an inaugural race which would be interesting. But would require overnighting out of town.
  4. Lemming Loop – Sept 30th / Oct 1st – 24/12/6/3 hour options. I have done the 12 hour race twice, once just missing 50 miles and once going just over 50 miles. Both those times were on a different course than it is going to be on this year. The race used to always be done at Beaudry Park just outside the city but for a couple years it was in a park in the city due to flooding issues at the original venue. But now they are moving back to the original venue that is rougher and longer (loops are about double the length).
  5. Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half marathon (WFPS) – Oct 16th – a good race that I have done several times.

Some thoughts that go through my head when I look at that list:

  1. I need a good proof of time by October 4th to send to runDisney for corral placement for the Goofy Challenge in January. My more recent races have not been particularly quick so I would like a quicker time to submit. And I will need a time from a half or a full for that. Fort Garry Rotary Half would be good…if I’m not too burnt by running a full the week before.
  2. The inaugural Grand Forks Marathon would be cool but it would require a hotel stay…but…if I did it and the Lemming Loop the next week, it would let me qualify for Marathon Maniacs which I missed out on with the blown 50k at Spruce Woods back in the spring.
  3. Treherne Marathon could also be used for Marathon Maniacs with the Grand Forks Marathon and it would probably be a less painful way to get that qualification than doing a marathon one week and an ultra the next…But if Grand Forks is out due to travel and I am looking at Fort Garry Rotary Half for a good race time then I would just be doing Treherne Marathon to add another number to the Marathon tally.
  4. Lemming Loop…ahh the Lemming Loop – I am so drawn by the 24 hour race just to see what a really long ultra would be like in a relatively safe environment where say I couldn’t walk off a cliff in a stupor. The other side of this is that I wouldn’t want to do less than my last 12 hour Lemming Loop and with the more difficult terrain, if I do the 12 hour again that would be a distinct possibility. Maybe I could do the 24 hour and plan for naps? Just do anything to make sure I am over 50 miles? Hmmm….On the other hand I don’t want to do this and blow it like I did the 50k at Sprucewoods Ultra.
  5. WFPS half – I will most likely do this one – it is a bit of a tradition at this point and it is the last race of the season here so it is a good test as I head into the last 2 months of Goofy Challenge training

So as I was going through all of those thoughts and worries and realized that I have a family wedding to go to out of town on September 24th. So doing Grand Forks Marathon would require me to finish very quickly, get cleaned up, drive home (crossing the US/Canada border in the process), get home and grab the family and drive 2 hours to the wedding. And then would change at the wedding probably? Timing would have to be perfect to make that happen and nothing lately says my marathon time would be good enough to give me much breathing room.

Well – Grand Forks is out and with it that means that Marathon Maniacs won’t happen either as the Treherne Marathon and the Lemming Loop are too far apart to meet the requirements. And that means Treherne is probably out too if I want to make sure I have speed in my legs for the Fort Garry Rotary half the next week for race timing.

That leaves Lemming Loop. What to do there? How different is the terrain at the venue versus where I have run it before?

To help answer that question I headed out to the park late one Friday morning and did 3 loops around (about 10.5 miles) to see what it was like and to get familiar with the terrain. And that all worked pretty well besides not putting on enough bug spray the first loop.

So that means I can do Lemming Loop and survive but my speed showed that 50 miles in 12 hours at my current conditioning level might be unlikely. With about 9-10 weeks to train it could happen but it is a risk….OK 24 hours it is and I will plan naps. I will do another post eventually discussing what kind of mileage I will be shooting for but basically 52.4 miles (double marathon) with an extreme stretch goal of 78.6 miles (triple marathon). A miracle will have to happen to get that stretch goal though…but maybe I could hit 100k? Really though I need to make sure to get past 50k to rebuild my ego after Sprucewoods.

Now at the time of this writing I have signed up for the Fort Garry Rotary half with my wife (who is looking for times for corral placement for the Glass Slipper Challenge in February) and the 24 hour Lemming Loop. I will sign up for the WFPS Half marathon as well but I am going to wait until I see how Lemming Loop training damages me.

I might also sign up for the Treherne Marathon and use it as a training run for the Lemming Loop but it would be more efficient to do a long run near home, so we will see on that one.

I am going to cut this post at this point and I should be back with more posts in the next few days on things like my Lemming Loop training and gear plans.

Thanks for reading!

Finally sorted out my 2015 goals…

I have been thinking for a while now about what my goals should be for 2015. I didn’t want to lock myself down to anything until after the Dopey Challenge was completed and I saw if I met my goals there or not.

With the Dopey Challenge now complete and those goals met, I have now had a chance to sit down and really think about what I want to do with my running and fitness in 2015. But I also thought about what else I want to do this year beyond the running stuff…you know…like other hobbies? I vaguely remember having hobbies…

Where I am coming from here is that I put in some major milestones with running in 2014 (and early 2015 so far) but those milestones came with a time cost. It meant spending less time with my family than I would like (don’t get me wrong – they were very understanding and never complained about the amount of time I was putting in) and it meant sacrificing other hobbies, etc as the time needed to run had to be balanced out.

As a bit of a recap for 2014 and early 2015:

  • 1971 miles for the year – my highest mileage year ever
  • 3 months where mileage was 200 miles or greater
  • set a new half marathon PR (1:46:00)
  • set a new full marathon PR (4:09:44)
  • ran my first ever ultramarathon – 12 hour run totaling 49.2785 miles
  • completed the 2015 Dopey Challenge while hitting a significant number of photo stops
  • As part of the Dopey Challenge I also completed my 5th Goofy Challenge, 10th marathon and 15th half marathon

 

So all told the last 13 months have been significant and filled with many phenomenal milestones! I am proud of what I accomplished in this time period.

So with all that in mind here are some of my thoughts on what my running goals will be for the rest of 2015:

 

  • Run less – stick with me here…I hit 1971 miles in 2014 and invested significant time in the training but by the end of the year I just felt like I was putting in time. It was not focused. I put in mile after mile but most of it was at easy speeds due to weather and treadmill issues – I never felt like I was pushing myself. I want to focus and get more out of every mile I train. I then also want to get more time with the family. This means I want to do more speed work, more hill work and reduce the number of long runs on the weekends. I want to get energized about running again.
  • So what does this look like? Probably something like 1400 miles this year – significant drop from the 2014 year but still quite good.
    • My basic schedule will have approximately 30 minutes on the treadmill Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I say approx 30 minutes because I will probably try to do these as 5 mile runs and that should be in the 35-40 minute range. These weekday runs will be done involving lots of speed and some hills. This speed work is the reason we got a new robust treadmill.
    • I will then back off my weekend runs from 2 long runs (10 miles Saturday and 13-20 miles Sunday currently) to only one medium to long run – that is, I will most likely run 13.1 miles every Saturday and take Sunday off as a family day. I don’t want to completely lose the endurance I have built up so I also intend to make one of these Saturday runs a 3 hour run once a month. This should equate to a 18-20 mile run once a month with three 13.1s.
    • So I will be backing off from an average of 40-50+ miles a week to around 30-35.
  • The only race I am currently putting on my calendar for 2015 is the Winnipeg Police Service Half (WPS Half marathon) in May. My intention is to PR this race (this is the reason for all the speed work).
  • After that in June the Manitoba Marathon comes up on Father’s Day. I suspect I will run this race but I don’t know yet if I will do the half or the full. I will make the final decision on that based upon how the WPS Half goes. If I break my half PR there I will run the full here. If I don’t make the half PR then I will run the half here and try again.
  • I might do a couple of the half marathons in the fall I have done the past couple years but I will decide that this summer.
  • I also keep thinking about the 12 hour Lemming Loop again – I didn’t quite make 50 miles and I would like to break that milestone but the race is in October and I’m not sure I want to put in the many long hours of training required to get ready for this race though the summer. It would mean giving many hours of my summer weekends to training and I’m not sure if I will be willing to do that again. I’m putting this one as a maybe at this point.
  • runDisney races – I will be taking a break from the Walt Disney World Marathon races for 2016 from what I can tell at this point. I love the races but I have done it several years in a row now and it may be time to back off for a bit.

 

Some other non-running fitness themed goals for 2015:

  • Lose some more weight – I am currently down 35-40 pounds from what I consider my starting point in September 2012 or about 50 down from my worst point. But I have been in the same 5 pound range for about a year now and it is time to get things moving down again. I’m hoping the extra intensity from doing more speed and hill work will help here, but I also need to re-evaluate my diet at this point as well.
    • short term goal is to get to 210 pounds by the end of April
    • longer term goal is to get to 207 (with increased muscle mass) prior to September (3 years since I started trying to get back in shape) equaling a 50 pound loss since my start point.
  • Increase strength training – I want to refine my body shape by losing more fat and adding more muscle:
    • I already do daily chin ups, pull ups and push ups but want to increase the number done in each set by the end of the year by 100%. I also want to change up to doing this twice daily – so in the morning as I do now and in the evening as well.
    • Start back on some free weights at home – arms, shoulders and legs. 2-4 days a week for 15-20 minutes per day. I’m not going to go back to doing hours of weight lifting every week like I used to but I do want some muscle back.
  • Get more sleep! I may be the only person that actually got more sleep during the Dopey Challenge than I normally do – I really need to focus on getting to bed at a decent time on weekdays!

 

I also have some more general goals to be happier, healthier and more productive:

  • Spend more time with the kids and my wife – this is really the big goal for the year. It means doing more healthy and active things together but also more quiet time.
  • Get back into some of my other hobbies – photography (I’m not any good but I enjoy the process), writing, doodling, playing video games, reading, walking
  • Be more present – less screen time! This means less smart phone, computer, tv, etc and more actually being there mentally.
  • Play music around the house more – there always seems to be a tv on for background noise in our house, music would be a better choice all around.
  • Do more stuff with my hands – building things, drawing, crafty things, etc – this will include doing more stuff like when I built my own standing desk out of copper tubing.

 

So that is an overview of where I want to go in 2015 and at this point I am only going to truly focus on the shorter term goals of the weight loss and the WPS Half Marathon in May. I am keeping myself open to re-evaluate in May once that race is done and I am willing to change my goals at that point once I see where I get to in the next 4 months.

 

Stick around and let’s see where we end up!

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.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

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!

Mime!

Mime!

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!

Woody

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.

Princesses

Princesses

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!

Villains

Villains

 

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.

Graveyard

Graveyard

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.

Mike

Mike

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!

Aladdin

Aladdin

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!

Focus!

Focus!

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!

Whohoo!

Whohoo!

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

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.