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Disney Marathon Weekend – Complete Guide from Expo to All Races (incl. Kids’ & Dopey)

This weekend is the Disney Marathon Weekend. I have run the 26.2 magical miles x’s 4. And last year I ran the inaugural Dopey Challenge – 4 straight days, 4 straight races – Thurs 5k, Fri 10k, Sat 13.1, Sun 26.2. For all those running any of the events this weekend, or thinking about running in the future, here’s my official guide.

BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE RECAP LINKS BELOW FOR TONS OF PICS/VIDS/INSIGHT!!!!

The 6 Dopey Challenge Medals.

The 6 Dopey Challenge Medals.

1. The Expo!

Yup, that's an expo.

Yup, that’s an expo.

The Expo is Huuuuuuge. It’s takes over three buildings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. You pick up your race packets, you get to see famous expert speakers, and you shop. You can shop for miles. It can be pretty overwhelming, but luckily there is a bar on hand where you can relax with a cold one, if you so desire.

To read my full in depth Expo recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

2. The Kids’ Races

Medals for everyone!

Medals for everyone!

Our boy has run the Kids’ Race x’s 3. The races also take place at the ESPN sports complex. Distances depend on age and desire, from the 100 to a mile. And yes, parents can run with their kids. And yes, it can be pretty chaotic. The start times, corrals, etc. can AND DO change at the drop of a hat. My advice: Be early, be ready, be flexible. They are a lot of fun though, and it’s great to get kids involved in the marathon weekend.

To read my full in depth Kids’ Races recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

3. The 5k (or Day 1 of the Dopey Challenge)!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

The 5k takes place on Thursday at the parking lot of Epcot. The race itself basically takes you in and around the theme park. It’s actually kind of neat to be in the park before it’s open. They still have characters you can take pictures with, and tons of volunteers to cheer for you. And just like that, it’s over. A quick 3.1 miles through Epcot.

To read my full in depth 5k recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

4. The 10k (or Day 2 of Dopey)!

Don't really need gloves in Florida heat, but ya know...

Don’t really need gloves in Florida heat, but ya know…

2014 was the also the inaugural 10k. I gotta say, this was probably the least exciting of all the races. Again, you start/end at Epcot, but the first 3 miles you are on the dark roads outside the park. There’s a little entertainment, but mostly it’s silent. The second 3 miles you do run through a resort before entering Epcot to the finish – that part is fun!

To read my full in depth 10k recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

5. The Half Marathon (or Day 3 of Dopey & Day 1 of The Goofy Challenge)

Yes, I wore a child's Snow White apron.

Yes, I wore a child’s Snow White apron.

The half marathon again starts/ends at Epcot. The difference is here that you do an out and back from the park to Magic Kingdom and back. The highlight is running through Magic Kingdom (and thru Cinderella’s Castle), but in between the two parks, again you’re just running on roads. Of course, they do have people cheering, characters, entertainment, and there’s more to see (resorts, etc.). And this race can be a lot of fun.

To read my full in depth Half Marathon recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

6. The Marathon (or Day 4 of Dopey & Day 2 of Goofy)

Medals 6/6 (includes Dopey & Goofy bonus medals)

Medals 6/6 (includes Dopey & Goofy bonus medals)

The marathon is the shining jewel of the whole weekend. The granddaddy. The big kahuna. And it’s my favorite as well. Over the course of 26.2 miles, you go through all the theme parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios) as well as through several resorts and also a lap on the race car track and a jaunt through the ESPN sports complex (incl. a lap on the track & baseball stadium). There is excellent support along the course & tons of entertainment. This is Disney at it’s best. They pull out all the bells & whistles. Really a magical marathon.

To read my full in depth Marathon recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

7. Disney Meet-Ups!

We had to refill our carb levels somehow.

We had to refill our carb levels somehow.

Of course, Disney is a big draw. Not only for tourists, but for runners as well. I’m really happy that at the Disney races I’ve run, I’ve been able to meet-up with so many long lost (and new) friends. At the Dopey Challenge, I couldn’t believe how many old friends, fellow bloggers, etc. that I had the fortune to meet up with.

To see my in-depth Meet-Up recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

8. After the Races – Time to Celebrate!

At Magic Kingdom with our medals.

At Magic Kingdom with our medals.

Of course, Orlando is a huge tourist destination. There’s tons to do and see there. Disney World has so much to offer. But so do others, such as Universal. So many rides, foods, drinks, good times.

To see my in depth recap of how we celebrated CLICK HERE NOW!

9. Finally, Be Thankful!

Anyone who runs, knows it takes a lot of support. Months and months of early morning miles can’t happen without the support of family, friends, social media pals, etc. This was not lost on me when I was Dopey last year. And so I made sure to thank everyone – from fellow runners to fellow bloggers to the fams.

To read my in depth thankful recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

Rumors confirmed - I am dopey.

Rumors confirmed – I am dopey.

So to all you who are running in any or all of the races this Disney Marathon Weekend, I wish you the bestest of luck! Whether you’re running or not, or just thinking about running this event in the future – hit me up with any questions you have! I’ll try to help! Soooooo……

Today’s Question: What Disney Marathon Weekend questions do you have for me?

-Scott

Categories: disney, fitfluetial, marathon, Race Recaps, run, Running, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Dopey Challenge Race Courses Revealed!

As many of you know, I’ve spent the past several months training for the Disney Dopey Challenge.  It’s 4 straight days of racing.  Thurs: 5k, Fri: 10k, Sat: 13.1, Sun: 26.2.  I’ve been waiting patiently for them to release the course maps…they finally have!

**CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE AN ENLARGED VERSION**

Here’s the 5k and 10k routes…

The warm-up runs.

The warm-up runs.

The first few miles of the 10k ain’t all that exciting, but I’m glad that at least both races follow somewhat different routes (in the same area).  I love variety in my running!  I’m also happy that the start and finish are near each other.  That way any spectators we have can at least see us twice!

Next up is the half marathon…

Half of the most magical place on Earth.

Half of the most magical place on Earth.

Basically a jaunt up to the Magic Kingdom and back from EPCOT.  Only thing that concerns me is the round-a-bout at mile 10.  I’ve been there before and it is a man made hill.  It’s a swirly overpass of road, and it. is. very. angled.  You can’t take two even steps because of the slant.  I’ve had several friends get injured at that overpass.  At least I know what to expect and can try to be safe there.

Finally is the main event, the full marathon…

26.2 magical miles.  Or so they claim... :)

26.2 magical miles. Or so they claim… 🙂

I really like this course.  You get to see most of the main attractions of Disney World.  I only wish there was a way they could mix in Downtown Disney.

As you can see, they take us through all 4 major parks – EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, & Hollywood Studios.  In addition, we also get to do a lap on their race car track (1 mile around) and through their Boardwalk resort.

In between we pass by various other “attractions”.  Running past the golf course is cool, but in years past running past the waste water management plant didn’t smell too pleasant.  But I guess you gotta take the good with the not so good, right?

I also really like how that now have us going through the Sports Complex.  There we get to run through the training soccer and football and baseball fields.  We also get to do a lap on the track!  And the highlight is running thru the baseball field where the Atlanta Braves do their spring training.  Last year, that was coolio because there was a big crowd in the stands cheering for us (and they had cameras putting us on the big screen on the outfield wall).

It all ends up back at EPCOT.  Which, if you look at the map, is over a mile in itself.  That just goes to show you how big the parks actually are.  I can say this from experience:  there’s not much more deflating than entering the final park, thinking you’re almost done, then turning a corner and seeing the “mile 25 marker”.  Ugh, another 1.2 to go, all in the same theme park!!!

But it’s all good.  I’ve done the Disney Marathon 3 times now, and I know how the game is played.  In the coming weeks I’ll offer my tips from experience for anyone else who happens to be running at Disney Marathon Weekend.

What about you?  Do you obsess over course maps before a race, or do you care?  Have you run at Disney?  Any tips?  What do you think of the courses?

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

How to Train to be Dopey

So I’m still in “pre-training” for the Dopey Challenge at Disney World in January ’14.  And I’m trying to decide which plan(s) to follow.  I do NOT want to sacrifice my cross training as I believe that is key to avoiding injury for runners.  So however I attack it, I’m going to have to remember to add x-training to the running schedule.

I’ve asked several people how they think I should train for Dopey and I get a lot of this, “You’re on your own on that one, brutha.”  All I know is that I’m going to have to do back to back “long runs” to get my legs used to working when they’re full of lactic acid.  So here’s some plan options:

Here’s Jeff Galloway’s.  He’s Disney’s official trainer and advocates doing a walk-run approach.
http://as1.wdpromedia.com/media/ewwos/pdf/rundisney/training-programs/2014/DopeyChallenge14.pdf

Here’s Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2.  He says it’s good for people doing the Goofy.
http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51140/Marathon-Intermediate-2-Training-Program

Here’s another option called the Hanson Method.  They don’t go more than 16 miles in a long run, but do advocate running more miles more often.
http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/marathoning-hansons-way?page=single

I’m kind of leaning toward Hal Higdon as he has the whole back to back long runs I think I’ll need.  I’ve had a few people recommend his to me.  The Hanson one is intriguing, as I do like the idea of not having to go out on some 20 milers, but also don’t want to have running overtake my entire life – I wish running was my job, but it ain’t.  Galloway’s I think is geared more toward novice level, and that’s great, but I want to be able to run this challenge, not walk/run it.

So that’s what I’m looking at.  Anyone have any suggestions??????  Hollaback if you do!

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In Training: The Run Disney Dopey Challenge

So I did something that might be a little suspect.  It went down a couple months ago I was in North Crackalaka to run The Flying Pirate Half Marathon.  I was at the apt. of my good friend Christie, or Xty as I call her.  She has a gluten allergy and can’t drink beer, so wine it is!  After a couple glasses I get a text from my sis in Florida.  She was getting ready to join us in NC for the race, but had just done something a little suspect.  She had registered for the Dopey Challenge at Disney World.  The Dopey is a brand spankin’ new event.  It takes place during Disney’s Marathon Weekend.  It’s four straight days of racing with each day increasing the distance.  Thurs=5k Fri=10k Sat=1/2 marathon Sun=Full marathon.  She registered because she lives there, wants the challenge, and wants the bling (you get 6 crazy medals for completing the challenge).  Also, after a day and a half of being on sale, the Dopey was already 99% full.  Drats!  I had to make a choice to join her or not then and there.  It was about to sell out, but I wanted time to ponder.  No time to ponder.  Another glass of wine.  Registered!

Let's get doped up.

Let’s get doped up.

Registered.  Now time to train.  But how does one train for this?  I’ve asked several people but they usually tell me I’m on my own with that one.  Some say I should treat it like an Ultra.  The official training guru for Disney is Jeff Galloway, and he does have a plan on their web page.  I will reference it in my training, but I know his method is the run/walk one.  I want to attempt to run each race, to me that’s part of the challenge.

One thing I do know is that our bodies won’t get much recovery time between races.  So what I’ve been doing is trying to make my body sore/tired all the time to get used to it.  I’ve been basically doing two-a-days of running and weights or yoga, back to back long runs, etc.  Last week I was so drained that it was a struggle just to walk the dogs around the block, and when I got on the floor to do my foam rolling, I promptly fell asleep. On the floor.  On my foam roller.

But it’s all good.  I think my body is getting used to the constant (as can be) motion.  Already lost some extra lbs.  Adjusting my diet too to keep up with the extra energy I need.  And I think the lactic acid in my legs are getting flushed out faster so they can be ready to run again sooner.  But in reality, I haven’t started the actual training yet.  The race isn’t until January, which is good.  Gives me time to get ready.  So I’m trying to be smart about it and not do too much too quickly.  Avoiding injury is key!  But I’m wondering how my body is going to respond in a few months when I have to run 10+ miles one day, and then 20+ miles the next.

As far as training programs go, I already mentioned Galloway, which I will reference once in a while.  I’m also looking at Hal Higdon.  I think he advocates back to back medium/long runs.  So that could be useful.  I’ve also looked into the Hanson marathon method.  They never have you run more than 16 miles, but you are running almost every day and going pretty good distances each time.  Something to consider.  I will look at all of it and try to figure out a plan of attack.

I know I’m probably just telling myself what I want to hear, but I’m thinking it won’t be so bad.  I’ve been running these distances for about 5 years now.  And this past year was the first time it all felt like it was starting to click.  I’ve been injury free (mostly) for that time and I keep getting faster.  I recently read that they tell elites coming out of college that it will take them about 3 years before it clicks for them, and it makes sense.  You’d think running is just running, but it’s not. It’s a lifestyle.  You’ve got to learn to put it all together – the diet, sleep, cross training, etc. etc.  It can take a while to get it.  I still have more to learn, but I hope I’m getting it.

Good news is the 5k is not timed.  My goal will be to get a PW (personal worst).  The other races are timed, but I’m hoping to be smart about it.  I do NOT want to PR in the 10k or half marathon.  I want to keep as much in the tank as possible for the full.  It will hurt the ego and competitive spirit to run slow in a race, but it is necessary.  And I know it’s dumb, but I’m secretly hoping I can still PR in the full.  Like I said, I know that may be a dumb wish.  It would be pretty cool to PR though after three straight days of racing.  We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I’ve resisted in the past using this blog as a place to post my routine workouts, but I might start doing more of that now.  Hopefully some of you others doing the Dopey can get some use out of my training posts.  And maybe some of you can offer me some advice from your own perspectives.  Runners helping runners.  There you go.

So it starts here.  I’ll recap my week.  Saturday, 7 miles then 1 hr yoga.  Sun, 7 miles.  Mon, weights.  Tues, 4 miles. Wed, weights then 5 mile track workout.  Thursday (today), weights then running around 4 miles.

Like I said, it’s Thursday.  That means evening social run.  This week we’re running from one of my fav local pubs (they always have good quality beers and it helps that I know the owners) – Rugby House.  Last week we ran from the Katy Trail Icehouse Outpost in Plano.  GREAT patio!  It’s close to 100 degrees outside in North Texas right about now, but on the patio you wouldn’t know it.  Blanked with tree shade, chilled with cold brews, and fanned by misty fans.  Though on my track workout yesterday, I definitely did know it was close to triple digits….HAWT!

That’s enough for now.  I’ll leave you with a pic from our social run last week.  Join us sometime why don’t you?

We run.  We socialize.  It's cool.

We run. We socialize. It’s cool.

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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