Officially Gone Goofy for 2015

We did it!  If you haven’t heard, the 2015 Walt Disney Marathon Weekend went live today at Noon EST, and we registered for Goofy 2015.  As of late this afternoon, the 5K, 10K and Dopey Challenge has sold out.  Wowzers!

We decided on Goofy this time as we are planning on staying away from the WDW resorts for a couple of days to take in some shopping and Orlando.  I’ve never really explored Orlando, and I love to shop when I’m on vacation, so this will be a fun addition to our trip plans.  We will still stay on sight for the marathon weekend, so we can take advantage of the shuttle bus to the half and full marathons, and as well, play like kids at the theme parks.  🙂

I’m excited to be back to run Goofy as it will be the 10th anniversary.  Disney has already leaked the medal and it’s fabulous!  If you haven’t had a chance to see it, check out the Run Disney Twitter feed.  They have it posted in their pics.

It’s a busy time of year for me.  Spring always seems to throw a bunch of different things my way.  My full time job becomes pretty demanding from April to June, the weather gets better, so I want to run outside more, and of course, the house demands some projects that I’ve put off in the winter months.  For instance, the next big home project is painting our bedroom.  Oh yes, it’s a busy time.  And while I can’t do it all in one day, I’ll just have to stay on task in the next few months.

I hope you are enjoying the Spring weather.

Happy Running!

Are you planning on running an event at the 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend?  What are your plans for the Spring?  Do you like to paint? 😉

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When exactly does the marathon start?

I must admit, I keep my eyes open when it comes Run Disney information.  As well, I read multiple Facebook pages devoted to the events to keep informed on people’s opinions and travel plans.

As much as I benefit from others’ insights in terms of helpful tips, some of it has started to wear me down and here’s why….

Annual Pass and DVC members have the benefit to register a week early for races.  I am not one of them. *sigh*

People are reserving Disney World and local Disneyland hotels prior to registering for a race 9-10 months out.  Despite the fact that Run Disney offers special packages for participants after registration begins.  I’ve read multiple people have already booked their hotel and flight for the Wine and Dine in November, and registration doesn’t open until March 4, 2014.

Registration for Run Disney events go online at their designated day and time and some sell out within an hour.

Sure, I have plans for 2015.  I am hoping to register for a Dopey Challenge repeat, as well as other Disney events.  Have I started to plan for it?  In my mind I have.

Given the current environment which seems madder than a Mad Hatter, I’m starting to write down budgets, research hotels, figure out accommodation plans and search out current prices for airline tickets.  This is all for 2015.  I haven’t even thought about this year’s vacation.  But then again, I don’t have any more Disney races planned.

I almost feel like Mr. Rabbit.  I’m late!

Do I need a plan of attack?  I think I do.

I’m starting to feel like I’m at one of those crazy bridal gown sales where all the brides stand at the front of the store, in anticipation; waiting for the guard to let them attack run and stock pile the multiple racks of gowns, looking for a deal on a wedding dress.  With no guarantees that by the time I get in, I’ll find my perfect dress.  Or any dress for that matter. This to me, is true TERROR!

I’ve started to realize, the marathon doesn’t start at the time of the race.  The marathon starts months in advance during the registration process.  It compels me to take a vacation day off work, so that I am sitting at my home computer, waiting for hunting season to begin.  aka April 22nd at 12pm EST.

Must channel my inner Merida.  With my bow cocked mouse in hand, I’ll shoot click off rounds of information and hope that the URLs click seamlessly without hesitation.  Who knows what craziness could unfold when thousands of people are registering on a site at the same time.  I hope I hit a bullseye!

In the spirit of the Olympics, registration is almost a qualifying event.  You can’t go to the big event unless you train-and I’m not even referring to actual running itself.  Check your equipment.  Internet working ok?-not the right time to forget paying a bill.  Ensure you’ve trained on the race course, AKA: know how to navigate on active.com.  Wait for the gun to go off-12pm EST/9am PST.  READY!  SET!  GO!

If you qualify, you make the podium.  We all get medals for finishing a Run Disney race.

Ahh…Countdown begins.  65 days to GO TIME!

KEEP CALM AND PLAN YOUR REGISTRATION!

Time to go running to burn off the anxiety. 😉

Any one else having sleepless nights over registration?  How early are you booking your travel plans?

Walt Disney World Marathon – The BIG Finish

As per our plan, we caught the 3am bus to the Race Retreat to enjoy our pre race bagel and get ourselves pumped for the marathon.  Mary Poppins and her gang was in the photo op area again so we posed for a few before the line up started.  We made the long walk out to K corral when the announcer called our letters over the speaker. Again, we spent the time in the corral listening to the race announcers, talking to our co-runners who waited amongst us, and watched several runners jump the barrier so they could take one last pee break in the field of darkness that was over to our right of the corral.

Pre race and start of marathon

Pre race and start of marathon

Finally, it was our turn to start the race. As we began our journey just outside of Epcot, we ran until we found mile marker number 2. We were sure to take a picture as this was the halfway point of our 4 day journey. Finally, we could say, “We made it halfway!”. We entered the Magic Kingdom just outside of 5 miles. Again, we felt the rush of energy and excitement as we entered Main Street, Tomorrowland and Cinderella’s Castle.

Mile 2 - Halfway point of the Dopey Challenge.  Magic Kingdom

Mile 2 – Halfway point of the Dopey Challenge. Magic Kingdom

By mile 6 we were outside of the Magic Kingdom and making our journey towards the Walt Disney World Speedway. This was a welcome change to the last time I ran this route as the course had been changed for the 2013 marathon anniversary. We actually got to run on the speedway. How cool is that? As well, there were several cars lining the speedway for runners to take pictures along the way.

Walkt Disney Marathon Speedway

Walkt Disney World Speedway

As we left the speedway, there were several miles of road until we came to mile 12 just outside Animal Kingdom.  As we entered Animal Kingdom, we found ourselves running past Expedition Everest.  We also saw a non-person runner.  Wonder how far he got? 😉 Not really sure where I saw the Grave Diggers.  I was tempted to lay down for a few minutes, but really, who’s kidding who?  If I sat down, I don’t think I would have gotten up! As we left Animal Kingdom we ran past the mile 13 marker.  Almost halfway there!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

At some point I remember slathering on some Bio Freeze on my left hip and quad area. Nothing like getting a handful of the gooey gel and putting my hands down my tights to get it to the necessary area.  No one thinks anything of it, as we are all in the same situation.

We ran several more miles before reaching our next stop at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This was another cool revision to the race course.

ESPN Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports

We got to run around the track, and see ourselves on the big screen at the baseball diamond. The place is gigantic and if it weren’t for the runners ahead of me, I would have surely got lost.

As we left the complex, we were well on our way to mile 20 and a few more miles before entering Hollywood studios.  By this time, my quads and hamstrings really hated me, and it was easier for me to run than to do intervals.  I just kept the pace and moved myself forward.  One step at a time.

Somewhere along the route, we ran into this guy and his running companion.  YES, THAT IS A TUBA!  I cannot comment on this without dampening my ego. *Wuah, Wuahhh*

Ran 26.2 miles with a tuba

Ran 26.2 miles with a tuba

The road to Hollywood studios

The road to Hollywood studios

It was a welcome sight to see Hollywood studios as I knew we were nearing the finish. The medical stops had run out of Bio Freeze and my quads had decided to fight me every step of the way. With my fists up, I battled back, and said “Move it”. They listened and followed direction, but they did so stubbornly.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

As we left Hollywood Studios just outside of mile 23 we entered a little more road and then the Disney Yacht Club area. There were tons of people cheering us on towards the finish, and I was able to find one more medical station with Bio Freeze. Just before entering Epcot, we saw Dopey cheering us on. He didn’t say anything, but I got the feeling he was laughing on the inside.

Disney Yacht Club area.  Dopey!  Mile 25 before entering Epcot

Disney Yacht Club area. Dopey! Mile 25 before entering Epcot

At last we saw the iconic Spaceship Earth and we knew we had arrived. What a welcome sight. The crowds were cheering and I over heard a father tell his daughter who wanted to stop, “It’s just 200 yards!”. A few of us chimed in and said to her “You got this”. She proceeded on.

As much as my quads hurt, I had that extra step in my gait near the finish line. The music was blaring, the crowds were cheering; I couldn’t help but do a little running dance as I ran into the last stretch.  I think I even gave Mickey a High-Five!   We crossed the finish line upright and smiling. We made our way to the medal area and first received our Mickey Marathon medal. Next up was Goofy, and then finally, the coveted Dopey inaugural bling! Two Dopeys on the run….WE DID IT!

Spaceship Earth - We have arrived!

Spaceship Earth – We have arrived!

The PAYOFF!  Mickey, Goofy and Dopey medals.

The PAYOFF! Mickey, Goofy and Dopey medals.

After the race, we went to the medical area for some ice. I think this added a nice touch to my Dopey outfit.

Feels so good!

Feels so good!

After leaving the medical area, we made our way back to the Race Retreat to have lunch and changed into some warmer clothes. We met up with Tabetha and her group and shared our marathon stories. It was a nice relaxing way to finish off our marathon.

But wait! It wasn’t over just yet….it was only mid afternoon!

We jumped (more like shuffled) our way to the shuttle bus and cleaned up at the resort. We then made our way to Hollywood Studios for some celebratory fun. We found Mickey and of course had to show him our marathon bling.

Two thumbs up from Mickey!

Two thumbs up from Mickey!

Later in the day, we dined at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios. Nothing like a good home cooked comfort meal after running a marathon. The celebratory drink was pretty snazzy too as our ice cubes lit up!  We were famished!

50's Prime Time Cafe

50’s Prime Time Cafe

Finishing the Dopey Challenge and the marathon was an amazing experience. I’m not sure if I would have done anything differently.  We paced ourselves accordingly to deal with the traffic, the heat and to allow ourselves enough stamina as each day got progressively longer in mileage. Of course, we could have done a little less theme park and a little more sleeping, however, I’m pretty amped at a WDW running vacation. The adrenaline just keeps me going. By the time we finished our meals at the Prime Time Cafe, I think we were pretty wiped out. Relaxation mode started to kick in – No more races to run.  We knew we had to go back to the resort and start packing up our things for the flight back to Toronto the following day. We were able to spend a few more hours at the Magic Kingdom on Monday before saying so long to Walt Disney World for 2014.

But wait…is that all?  Is that where it all ends?

NO WAY!

A few days later, we were going to say “Hello to Disneyland”, to participate in another 3 races at the Tinker Bell weekend in California. We had two days to rest and recover before we had to take to the pavement yet again.

Stay tuned!

Happy Running!

Walt Disney World Minnie 10K and Friday Fun

It’s funny how we were at WDW just days ago, and yet the whole experience went by so fast, it’s almost a blur now. Thank goodness I took lots of pictures so I can recall exactly what it was that we did!

The Minnie 10K pre morning preparation went off without a hitch. We had to get up earlier as the race started at 5:30am, but we were well into the groove of leaving sleep behind and focussing on the running events. Two alarms helped as well. 🙂

We made our way to the start via the WDW shuttle bus. We found ourselves in the midst of the other excited but sleep deprived runners, waiting at the last minutes before they had to rally over to the start corrals and wait patiently for their herding to the start. We gazed at all the costumes in our midst for a while and then suddenly, out of no where, walking up to us was Tabetha of I Run on Water, her husband Greg and their sisters, Rachael and Kathryn. What a great site to see! I had known about their car trip extravaganza, so I was so excited that they had finally arrived. Hugs for all! We chatted a bit. Caught up on the craziness they endured, and then parted ways so that we could find our corrals and organize our race plans. And of course, just like I would forget to turn off my Garmin after crossing the finish, not two minutes after we parted, and I said to myself, “darn, I forgot to get pics of us all”.

We corralled ourselves, and got to the start when it was time for the C group to begin. I have to say, I don’t recall to much about this race, other than being slightly annoyed by the bottle necking on the course. There were moments when we were on wide passages of road way, only to be filtered into narrow passages of road about one lane way thick. It was like sucking on a milkshake through a coffee straw.  We all just didn’t fit.  The runners struggled to pass the walkers, and the walkers for the most part kept in groups of twos, however, sometimes those groups of twos became groups of 4 and 6. They weren’t together as a group, but the walls were starting to form. I wasn’t going to push through, so I just kept my line and continued on in the best way I could. It was still dark, and difficult to see in parts as well. There weren’t a ton of highlights during the race. The first 3.5 miles was road, so nothing really to see. I kinda felt like it was missing a bit of the magic, but I was still glad to be running. You know…it was Disney after all.  We eventually hit Epcot where there were a few picture ops along the way. I like running in Epcot. It has a certain zen feeling for me as I ran along the water.

10kwdw

Waiting in the corrals at the start. Peter finds another Peter. Smee and Captain Hook. End of race with Minnie 10K bling.

After we finished the race, we didn’t waste much time. We jumped aboard the bus back to the Coronado Springs, and got ourselves ready for the day to explore the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom here we come!

Magic Kingdom here we come!

Our first point of interest was Space Mountain. We had our Fast Pass already arranged. Nothing like spending the first moments at WDW getting a thrill. Afterwards, we strolled around the new Fantasyland area and took in the sites. More rides, and window shopping ensued. Before long it was our lunch at Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and gang. Crystal Palace is always cheerful and fun. One day, I’m going to jump in when they do the mini Character parade around the restaurant. For today though…I left it for the kiddies.

Crystal Palace - Character Lunch

Crystal Palace – Character Lunch

After lunch we spent some more time walking the various areas of the park. Before long, it was late afternoon. It was getting hot, an Kari was getting grumpy, so I knew just what would cheer him up. Nothing like a Dole Whip!

Yummy Yummy in my tummy, Dole Whip Pineapple Float

Yummy Yummy in my tummy, Dole Whip Pineapple Float

I missed the photo op during the 5k for Dopey.  The line was the longest I have ever seen for a character during a race.  So I settled for this at MK.

dopey

By the end of the afternoon, we were ready to pack it in. We headed back to our resort and grabbed a Quick bite at our Quick Service restaurant before resting our tired heads. The half marathon was the following morning, so we needed a good nights sleep.

Till Tomorrow, Happy Running.

A little Dopey will do ya

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It was a whirlwind visit to Walt Disney World to participate in the Dopey Challenge. 4 days/4 races. A 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathon. We made it though the inaugural year. 48.6 miles of running fun. In the coming days, I hope to talk a bit about my adventure, however as of now, we are gearing up for the second half of our journey; The Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend and the coveted Coast To Coast medal.

Congratulations to all the runners who participated this weekend. What a ride!

Run Disney Excitement

Right this moment, thousands of people are enjoying the annual Run Disney weekend at Disneyland.  I’ve been reading the tweets and posts and it seems that aside from the lines at the expo, another Run Disney event is moving ahead fabulously.  I have to say, the new Dumbo medal is pretty special.  Wish I was there, but alas, I can only run a Disney event so many times a year.  Haha!

Good luck runners!

Disney also released the new medals for WDW 2014 and they too are fabulous. FABULOUS!  If you haven’t seen them, go check them out.  I found close ups here on the Dopey Challenge Facebook page.  After seeing them yesterday, it definitely gave me an extra push of inspiration to get out and do my daily run after a long working week.

And while I know we can’t all be putting on our Mickey ears and running a race this weekend; No matter where you are, have a great weekend!

Happy Running!

Reflections – My 2010 Goofy Challenge

I started running in 2008.  I don’t exactly know what it was that prompted me to do so. Perhaps I had the need to be more active.  It’s relatively easy to do in terms of equipment: good shoes and my favourite tunes on my iPod.  I really started to enjoy it, and wanted to learn more to improve my race times. I went to my local running clinic and signed up for a 10k clinic.  It was during this clinic that I learned about the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World.  Well, say no more.  Running & Disney combined?  I was hooked!!

In 2009, I began my training for the Goofy.  I called it, “39 miles before turning 39”  (which I was turning a few days later)  I even signed up for the 5k that weekend, which unofficially is called the ‘Dopey’.  Which I guess has some truth to it!  I mean, who wants to race in the same weekend; a 5k on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday?  Most people don’t.  Us runners?  We seem to be an excessive bunch!  However, as a traveller to Disney, my thought was, if I was going to experience the WDW marathon weekend, I was going to do it all.

The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend had the worst weather on record.  I think it was colder in Florida than it was in Toronto.  The news reported orange groves freezing over.  There was sleet and ice on the race course.  It was dreadful for locals whom were not accustomed to winter weather of this nature.  For me though, my pursuit for Goofy was all the motivation I required.  Nothing was going to stand in my way!

The 5k was a nice warm-up for the weekend, and during the half, I was too occupied with motivating my spouse, to really be concerned about me.  It was his first half marathon. Upon finishing the half marathon, I do remember thinking to myself; “You really want to run a marathon tomorrow?”  The answer was a resounding “Yes!!”

I’ll admit it was painful.  For the first 18 miles, I was able to shut out the pain from my mind, concentrate on my run and just enjoy the race.  The last 8 miles however is when I felt my body shutting down.  It was at this time, that my mind kept me going.  It’s surprising what you can accomplish when you think positive.  I envisioned crossing the finish line and receiving my medals.  I looked back on all my training leading up to the race, and in that moment, nothing was going to stand in my way to achieve my goal.

One of my favourite sayings is from Walt Disney himself.  “If we can dream it, we can do it”. Sometimes, that is all the motivation I need.

I look back at the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend as one of my fondest running achievements.

For a full look back at the 2010 Goofy Challenge, you can view my video here 2010 Goofy Challenge

What is your favourite running adventure and why?