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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

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

Disney Marathon Recap – Dopey Challenge Day 4

This is it.  The last race of four on consecutive days.  If you missed my recaps of the earlier races, you can see them here: 5k then 10k then 13.1 half marathon.

Now we have the 26.2 full marathon to complete the Goofy and Dopey Challenges.  I had stuck to my plan of running personal worsts (PW) for the first three races.  Now I wanted to go for it in the final race.

Ready to go 26.2 rounds with Mr. Mile.

Ready to go 26.2 rounds with Mr. Mile.

My “A” goal was to break 4 hours (9:10 per mile).  Considering my pace at shorter distances, I should be able to shatter 4 hours, but I have yet to do it.  My “B” goal was to PR (PB).  I would accomplish one of the two goals.

Traditional pre-race family photo.

Traditional pre-race family photo.

We got a gift this day from the Weather Channel gods.  The temps went from hot and humid the day before at the half, to chilly (and a little humid) for the full!!!  It was in the 50’s (American) at the start!

With Sis on way to the corral!

With Sis on way to the corral!

Even thought it was chilly, I knew my body temp would warm up once we started running, so I wore light clothes – including a new Ohio University tech tee that the wife got me for Christmas!

Ain't I purdy?

Ain’t I purdy?

I also carried the GoPro camera with me.  Looking back, it probably was a bad decision considering I was going for a PR.  It definitely took energy and brain power (I don’t have much to spare) to use it throughout the course.  But I decided to take it anyway, and I don’t really regret that.  We did pass some cool attractions along the way.

Mid race selfie vision.

Mid race selfie vision.

The edited down video is a bit blair-witchy, but I think it shows the race experience.  It’s funny to watch how I go from cracking jokes and getting somewhat stable shots, to gradually having zero sense of humor nor the energy to hold my arm out straight!  Haha!

The night before the full I spoke via phone with my “coach” – My good friend (and awesome endurance athlete) Rexy.  We actually have history of sports at Disney World.  In college, we were cheerleaders and competed in the National Championships there my senior year.

Rexy is

Rexy is 3rd from left in front.  I’m 2nd from right in back.

Anyway, she gave me a pep talk and helped work out the race strategy.  She said to stick to exactly 4 hr pace for the first half.  Then evaluate how I felt and pick up the pace if I could for the next 7 miles.  Then let it all hang out the last 6.2.  She told me to leave it on the course, and that if I crash, it’s better to do so the last few miles knowing that at least I tried.

Peace homey.

Peace homey.

Again, we had a 2am wake up call.  And the race started at 5:30am.  The course began and ended at Epcot.  It immediately went from there to the Magic Kingdom.

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

26.2 magical miles. Click to enlarge.

The first few miles were a bit crowded.  I wasn’t able to go my normal pace, and I had to do some weaving.  By the time we got to Magic Kingdom, I knew from the clock that I was going too slow.  But I also knew I had time to correct that.  5 Mile in 47:39 – 9:32 per mile.

Runnin Down Main St USA!

Runnin Down Main St, USA!

We got into the park – which is the highlight for me.  It’s still dark out, and the whole park is lit up.  Main St. is lined with tons of cheering spectators.  And Cinderella’s Castle is all lit up!  We get to run right through the castle, which is neat.  The MarathonFoto folks had some pictures of me at the castle, but they lost them.  I had even stopped for the official Castle photo – like I took with my sis during the Half the day before…

They did NOT light up the castle for the half.  I wish I had the pretty lit up one to share with y'all.

They did NOT light up the castle for the half. I wish I had the pretty lit up one to share with y’all.

…But they lost that one too.  Bummer.  If they find them later, I will share.  They did have these though…

Still in the park.

Still in the park.

Feelin the love.

Feelin the love.

In Magic Kingdom!

Feelin a little fuzzy in Magic Kingdom!

After we left the Magic Kingdom, we then headed past the Polynesian Resort and the golf course.  There was a glow in the East and I knew the sun would be rising soon.  The weather was still cool, and I felt GREAT!  I was actually smiling and having a really good time.  My pace was steadily fastening.

Suns comin up. Right on my forehead.

Suns comin up. Right on my forehead.

Then we headed into the Speedway – their race car track.  We did the mile lap, and there were a ton of classic cars out.  A childhood fave – Herbie the Love Bug – was there, but for some reason the characters from the movie Cars weren’t out this year.  Where’s Lightning McQueen???

I think running on this race track is a pretty unique experience though – how many people get to do that?  Again tho, the MarathonFoto folks couldn’t find my photos from that locale.  Sorry dude.

(photo missing)

Then it was on toward Animal Kingdom.  Still feeling great.  Still picking up steam.  10 Mile in 1:32:49 – 9:17 per mile.

*Side note.  My sis works at AK, so I happen to know a few other of the zoo keepers there.  I was glad to see some of them at the entrance to the park.  They were there to cheer for us, very cool!

Hello.

Feelin fine.

AK also had some animals and characters out.  And some marathoners would stop to ride the roller coaster, but I didn’t have time for that.

I'm ahead of the guy that thought he could fly.

I’m ahead of the guy that thought he could fly.

Once we left the park, we reached the halfway point.  I was almost EXACTLY at 4 hour pace.  Right at 2:00:06 for 13.1 miles – 9:10 per mile.  I had made up the time I lost due to the slow start.

B.O. check.

B.O. check.

Now was time to reevaluate.  I still felt good, so kept picking up the pace.  We were on the way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  There we got to run through the sports fields, along with a lap on the track where we had been before for the Kids Race.

hi

Unidentified location.

The highlight here is getting to run a lap on the baseball field.  This is where the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball do their spring training.  It’s a really cool experience, especially with people in the stands cheering!  It was in WWOS that I had my fastest mile, but that would soon change.

I already got to first base, now I'm going for home.

I already got to first base, now I’m going for home.

Looking back, I think all the energy I spent trying to make up the time took it’s toll.  I started to feel it around this point.  But at mile 20, I was still on pace to break 4 hours.  3:02:30 – 9:07 per mile.

An angel in the outfield.

An angel in the outfield.

From there we headed toward Hollywood Studios.  Getting closer to home, but like they say, the real marathon starts at mile 20.  I was really feeling it and took short walk breaks at the drink stations to grab a little powerade (and one port-a-potty stop to get rid of the old powerade).

The tower of terror ain't got nothin on my towering form.

The tower of terror ain’t got nothin on my towering form.

But then I felt doing that worked and I got a second wind!  Awesome!!!  But then at mile 21 I think I made a bad choice.  Instead of continuing on with my new energy, I decided to stick to my recent pattern and grab a quick drink at the drink station.  After that brief walk, I never recovered.  I should’ve just kept running past it.

Keeping a brave face.

Putting on a brave face.

Also at this point, I think the cumulative miles from the previous 3 races started to kick in.  My legs started to cramp.  Every step I could feel my quads tense, and when I pulled over to try and stretch them, my hammies cramped into a giant ball.  OUCH!

Still going...

You lookin at me?

My pace slowed considerably as I tried to deal with the cramping.  Kept running, but had to take a few walk breaks.  Mostly at drink stations, but also on a hill or two.  Speaking of which….

…This is supposed to be a flat course.  It is decidedly not!  Sure, it’s not super hilly, but it does have it’s fair share of long steady inclines and declines.  Mostly from the bridges and overpasses we had to traverse.

That's a big wizard hat.  Where's the wizard sleeve?

That’s a big wizard hat. Where’s the wizard sleeve?

Anyway, at this point I could see my “A” goal slipping away.  It was frustrating, and I felt like I was letting people down who I knew were following along with the auto text/facebook/twitter updates runDisney was sending of my splits.  I also felt like I was wasting a great opportunity because of the weather and all the training I had put into it.  But I couldn’t control the leg cramps.  Maybe I wasn’t mentally tough enough to fight through it this time.  Ahh, the stuff we think when we look back.

Goodbye Hollywood.

Goodbye Hollywood.

By now the sun was up and the parks were open, so there were lots of people there.  I’m sure they were annoyed that they had to wait behind a rope for us to pass before they could get to the churro stand, but many of them still cheered, and I appreciated that.  And I had made it through the Studios.

I almost wore the same outfit as that chick, that would've been embarrassing for her.

I almost wore the same outfit as that chick…that would’ve been embarrassing for her.

We then made our way to the Boardwalk Resort.  I know that we’re close to finishing, as it borders Epcot.  I was slowing even more, but still going.

Somewhere in Disney World.

Somewhere in Disney World.

Finally we enter Epcot.  You’d think we’d be right at the finish, but get this – we still have 1.2 miles to go before getting to the parking lot finish.  That’s how big those theme parks are!!!

The big spiky golf ball means we're in Epcot.

The big spiky golf ball means we’re in Epcot.

Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.

Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.

By now I knew my “A” goal was gone.  And when I saw some characters with virtually line (queue), I decided to take the opportunity to stop for a photo – especially with DOPEY!!!!

I cannot explain the Dopey expression on my face, other than we were 47.6 miles into the Challenge.

I cannot explain the Dopey expression on my face, other than we were 47.6 miles into the Challenge.

Disney puts characters ALL along the course, but this is the first time I’ve ever stopped for a photo.  Then I got a second one with one of my Asian wife’s fave movie characters – Mulan!

I want a funny pet dragon.

I want a funny pet dragon.

One of the highlights, right before you leave Epcot, hidden from the general public, is a gospel choir.  When I ran past them, I turned to look at them and had one final big full body CRAMP!  I stopped in my tracks and doubled over in pain.  A race attendant asked if I needed the medics.  I shook her off, sucked it up and ran toward the finish!

Waving to my fans.

Waving to my fans.

About 100 meters to go and I see my boy!  My sister’s roommate and her boyfriend graciously agreed to babysit him while we ran, and they made it just in time to the race to see me finish!  That was the final boost I needed to finish strong!

Waving at the boy.  Pretty cool pic!

Waving at the boy. Pretty cool pic!

Past the bleachers of cheering spectators, I ran to the finish, and high fived Donald Duck (why wouldn’t I?)…

That guy quacks me up.

That guy quacks me up.

His hands were downy soft.

His hands were downy soft.

And finished with a defiant fist pump!

I will punch you air!

I will punch you air, in your face’s mouth!

Yes, I was disappointed that I didn’t break 4 hours, but I still PR’d!  I broke my previous personal best by 2+ minutes to finish at 4:07:47 – 9:28 per mile.

Yay for me!

Yay for me!

They said there were somewhere between 25,000 – 30,000 people in the marathon.  In the end, only around 19,000+ of them finished.

We did it!

We did it!

Overall Place: 2249/19,225.  Division Place: 344/1602.

Can I stop running now?

Can I stop running now?

It’s too bad, I had a nice negative split going on until I bonked.  But hey, at least I finished the challenge!  Next time I run a Full Marathon however, I will NOT run 3 races in the days leading up to it!

Pace getting gradually faster.

Pace getting gradually faster…

...and then the wheels fell off.

…and then the wheels fell off.

After we crossed the line, I collected my Mickey medal for the full.  Then on to the Goofy station to get that medal.  Then finally to the Dopey station to get that medal.

Finally our blingy reward!

Finally our blingy reward!

It’s funny, as soon as they put that medal on my neck, I felt real emotional.  Instantaneously.  I guess it finally kicked in all those months and months of training, all the early hours, all the miles and miles, all the preparation.  But sadly, the Disney folks don’t let you stop and enjoy the moment.  They.keep.you.moving.  “You can’t stop here.  You can’t stretch here.  Keep walking.  Keep moving.”  If only I had the energy to tell them that I can’t walk right now.  My legs are a ball of lactic buildup!

I'm screaming in triumph, or pain, either or.

I’m screaming in triumph, or pain, either or.

Funny story after I collected the medals and walked past the medical tent, a medical person started screaming – the other medics all thought someone was really hurt, but it turns out she went to Ohio University too.  You have no idea how many “Go Ohio!” and “Go ‘Cats” I got on the course.  Such great support!

After a chat with her, I then retrieved my gear bag, which had the other medals ready for their photo op!

Finally they are all got!

Finally, they are all got!

Later on after all our friends and family members finished, we wore our 6 medals into Epcot to cheer on the later finishers and to ride some rides and get some Guinness and grub.  People commented that we sounded like robots with all the clinking that accompanied each step.

It really was kind of heavy.

It really was kind of heavy.  The weight we Dopes carry is indeed a heavy burden of joy.

So there it is: 48.6 miles done.  It was a fun challenge, and I’m glad I did it.  It’s always a treat to run through all the parks that we would visit as kids.  And they do a good job of having characters and volunteers along the way to keep your spirits up!  Also, I’m glad I followed my “coach’s” plan the best I could, and even though I crashed toward the end, at least I left it all on the course.

Rumors confirmed - I am dopey.

Rumors confirmed – I am dopey.

In the future I’m not sure if I’ll do it again.  But I would like to do another full with this same training.  I think if I put in the same mileage, but with only one race as the goal, then I can slap that timing clock around!

I will say this though, the thing I’m most proud of is that while I was doing the Dopey Challenge, and posting about it on Twitter and Instagram and such.  That I had people message me that I had inspired them to get out and run themselves!  That’s probably the best result of this whole thing!

Did I leave anything out?  Any questions about the inaugural Dopey Challenge?  You have any desire to do it?  What’s up?

 

Categories: Race Recaps | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 70 Comments

5k Recap – Disney Dopey Challenge Day 1

Day 1 of 4 of the inaugural Dopey Challenge.  This was the 5k Family Fun Run.  It was chilly, but humid.  I was there with my mom and sis.  It was early.  The 2 am alarm clock did not allow for much sleep – especially since I kept tossing and turning afraid we’d miss the alarm.  I also couldn’t shut my mind off while struggling to figure out which outfit to wear for this race (a manly problem, I know).

Sis, mom, me.  Before the race.

Sis, mom, me. Before the race.

My goal for the first 3 races was to finish with a PW (personal worst).  I wanted to save my legs for the finale of 26.2 miles in just a few days.  To remind myself to take it easy, I had brought a few outfits to wear.  You can’t take a race too seriously if you’re wearing something silly.  I decided on an old Goofy hat that I own, along with giant Disney cartoon gloves.  And of course, I had to represent my Ohio Bobcats!

The theme of the race was Pluto, but Goofy's a dog too...isn't he?

The theme of the race was Pluto, but Goofy’s a dog too…isn’t he?

I also carried a GoPro video camera to capture some of the highlights.  If you have a couple minutes, and don’t mind Blair Witch style cinematography, then you can watch the video here:

And while I wanted to get a PW, I still wanted to RUN all 4 races.  I figured part of the Challenge is to actually run, and not walk.  Save for a few photo ops.  Not that I have anything against walk/runners, but for me personally, I wanted to complete what I took to be part of the challenge – running the races.

Yes, I started and finished the race before the sun came up.

Yes, I started and finished the race before the sun came up.

The 5k started in the Epcot parking lot, and finished there too.  Basically the course took us on a lap of the park.

The warm-up runs.

The warm-up runs.

I was a tad disappointed with the lack of characters out.  They’re were a few – but the line to get a pic with Dopey was insane!!!  Luckily I got to meet up with him later on (stay tuned for that pic)!

Judging from the photos, I ran the whole race with my arms in the air...like I don't have a care.

Judging from the photos, I ran the whole race with my arms in the air…like I don’t have a care.

I was also a tad disappointed that they didn’t have all the Disney flair going on – Like lighting up the giant torches.  This was done for a later race, however.

At the finish, next to a lady with a glorious lion mane of hair!

At the finish, next to a lady with a glorious lion mane of hair!

I was lucky to start in Corral A.  From the peeps I talked to who were in the later corrals (through E), it took a long time before they got started.  In fact, I talked to some who said people were finishing the race before they even started!  Apparently the gap between corral starts were kind of lengthy.

Bird's eye view of the finish.  Hands still in the air.

Bird’s eye view of the finish. Hands still in the air.

In the end, I reached my goal of getting a PW by about 10 minutes – 35:26.  Considering my last two 5k’s I finished right at 21:50, I’d say this result is a good job of taking it easy!!!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

Race 1 done, 3 more to come!  3.1 miles over, 45.5 to go!  And a fun finisher’s medallion to boot!

Medal 1/6 gotten!

Medal 1/6 gotten!

This race was over quick.  Like I said, it was still dark out at the finish.  And it was good to get the race jitters out of the way.  It was weird to line up for a race that I wasn’t “racing”, but like I said – I had a plan and stuck to it!

So there you go, Dopey Challenge Race 1 Recap!  Next up will be the race 2 recap – the inaugural Minnie Mouse 10k!  If you missed my recap of the Expo, you can read it HERE.

How bout you?  Ever ran a race that you didn’t “race”?  What do you think of the Disney 5k?  Holla at me!

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Dopey Challenge Training Done & A Look Back!

I can’t believe the training is finally finished!  I basically started back in the late spring.  Then in the dead of summer the real training began.  I followed the Hal Higdon plan as closely as I could.  Except for a couple weeks when my knee was achy and so I had to swim instead of run.  And a few days when we were under a coat of ice and I had to run on the treadmill instead of outdoors.  I hope that means I’m ready!

20140107-164322.jpg

Hundreds and hundreds of miles done!  I added up the entire past year and I ran somewhere between 1050 – 1100.  Pretty good!

But as I prepare to get Dopey, I realized I never did a race recap of last year’s Disney Marathon.  Oops, my bad.  To be honest, I didn’t have too much drive to write it because I didn’t have a great performance.

Me and my sis running this past year's Disney Marathon.  4 miles and and doing OK.

Me and my sis running this past year’s Disney Marathon. 4 miles and and doing OK.

While the race experience was wonderful, the weather was not.  It was so fargin hot and humid, that it was a real struggle to keep moving.  In fact, I didn’t even look at the race photos until last night…

Check the Sweat!  I was drenched!

Somewhere near mile 18, not doing OK.  Check the Sweat! I was drenched!

I’ve bought my share of Disney race photos before, but I didn’t have any good ones this time around.  Although this one gave me a chuckle…

I don't know who that guy is, but it looks like we planned to wear university shirts.  haha!

I don’t know who that guy is, but it looks like we planned to wear green university shirts. His was a little generic.  haha!

I eventually did finish, but my time was waaay off my goal.  I was pretty bummed, and was mad at the weather, and even tweeted about it.  But then a cool thing happened.  Sean Astin – famous actor dude, lover of running, and sometimes Hobbit responded to my tweet.

Puts it in perspective.

Puts it in perspective.

Yes, it was hot, but we still had a great time.  Can’t do anything about it, so just enjoy the experience.

Medals dang near big as yo head!

Medals dang near big as yo head!

Anyway, I hope to get better actual race photos this  year, in fact I already scouted out the photographers’ locations Here, Here & Here.  Hahaha!

Next up is travel and Expo!  So close!  If you’re running at Disney this week, best of luck!  If you see me, please say, “Hi.”  You can recognize me because I look like the guy in the photos above.^^^^^^^^^^

To everyone else, what do you do to get a good race photo?  How would you handle running in that heat?  Tell me something good!

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Official Disney Dopey Challenge Training – Week 1

116 days until the Dopey Challenge commences, and I’m feeling good.  I’ve completed my “unofficial” training and now the “official” plan kicks in.  Hal Higdon designed the plan, and I had to train for it because week one’s long run is 13 miles.  So obviously I had to train just to be ready to train.  Here’s the week’s workouts so far:

Sunday – cross train (6 mile trail run)
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 3 mile run + weight training
Wednesday – 5 mile run with hill repeats
Thursday – 3 mile run + weight training
Friday –  rest

The weight training and hill repeats aren’t in the official plan, but I added them in.  The cross training choice is up to you, and I decided to join friends on a trail run.

I’m a tad sore and tired heading into the weekend of workouts, but not too bad. This weekend calls for a 3 mile run on Saturday (I may also go to yoga) and 13 miles on Sunday.  Luckily some friends are going to join me on Sunday at White Rock Lake in Dallas to run part of the way with me.  I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

I will say this – most friends, family members, etc. only get to see the finished product – the race.  They don’t get to see all the work that goes into getting there.  I say this because if I were to run a half marathon race this weekend, I’d get a medal, food, drinks, and all the other stuff that comes with a race.  But this weekend I’m running a half marathon training run.  There won’t be cheering spectators, bands, funny signs, or any of the other stuff that comes with a race.  But gotta do the work so hopefully I’ll be strong at the actual race.

If you’re in the Dallas area and want to join us on Sunday…holla!  Everyone else, how’s your training going?

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runDisney Kids Races (Part 1) #WDWMarathon

So as part of the Disney Marathon Weekend, they also had something for the kiddos.  And why wouldn’t they?  It’s Disney after all!  It’s also a small world after all (Now try getting that song out of your head!).

They had a few options depending on their age, and for our toddler Griffin, he was in the 100 yard dash.  I think we could’ve signed him up for the mile, but stuck with the shorter distance this time (he has done a 1 mile fun run before).  He ran the same race last year too, so we knew a little better what to expect…and it went well!

I can't believe he has better form than I do.  He also has better race photos.

I can’t believe he has better form than I do. He also has better race photos.

The race takes place at their Wide World of Sports complex on their really nice track.  And being Disney, they go all out with a DJ spinnin tunage, a couple hosts/commentators, t-shirts, finishers medals, food and drink, personalized bibs, and even Mickey himself!  You can’t beat the price either – $10 entry fee!!!

Photo op with the mouse.

Photo op with the mouse.

You even get to get their goody bags at the race expo.  I think the kids really liked the race and the whole experience made them feel like real runners (which they are!).

And they're off!  Most of them anyway.

And they’re off! Most of them anyway.

Griffin actually warmed up for about 20 minutes before the race.  He also wanted “energy” in the form of my mom’s Power Bar Gel Blasts.  Speaking of energy, Griffin told me before the race that he would leave some of his on the track for me to use during my marathon.  I remembered that around mile 18 when we ran on the exact same track!  Definitely helped me to keep moving.  He was sure to remind me before the race to pick up some of the energy he left, and I did!

He's leading the pack!  I'm taking a shaky movie of it.

He’s leading the pack! I’m taking a shaky movie of it.

All the warming up and “energy” must’ve worked because Griffin won his race!  To be fair, he was only in one of three heats on our day and there were three days of kids races.  But still, he crushed it!  Nobody else was even close to him at the finish.

Breaking away from the pack. Note how I'm not even in the picture anymore.

Breaking away from the pack. Note how I’m not even in the picture anymore.

I don't think his feet ever touched the track.

I don’t think his feet ever touched the track.

Crossing the finish line, still floating.

Crossing the finish line, still floating.

My only instructions to him before the race were to run right down the middle of his lane and don’t stop till he gets to Mickey, who was at the finish line.  He did and did.  He was pleased with himself that he “beat all the other kids”.  But we had to have a good sport talk after we passed a girl who was crying cause she didn’t win and Grif told her, “I did.”
Hard to blame him though, he did really well and earned his second race medal!

Showing off his medal.  He's as serious around a camera as his pops is.

Showing off his medal. He’s as serious around a camera as his pops is.

Funny thing is that after the race, he just kept running.  I didn’t want to chase him as I was conserving “energy” for my marathon, but at one point he had run almost a mile away from us.  I finally caught up to him and asked why he kept running.  He responded that he’s, “getting ready for my next race.”  Haha, good for him!

In part 2 of my review of the runDisney Kids Races, I’ll post the videos – wait until you see them!!!  They’re amazing, trust me!  So stay tuned!

In the meantime, I need to study Griffin’s photos to learn myself how to have better running form!  Peace out Internet!

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Disney World Marathon #blog #WDWMarathon

This weekend I am about to headbutt my third marathon in it’s face’s mouth.  I’ve been training for months, and I feel that I will have my best ever showing at 26.2 miles.  All three marathons have been the Disney World one.  I figure that if I’m going to go through the pain of a full marathon, I may as well do it someplace somewhat somescenic.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty flat and they have pretty decent weather in Central Florida either.  But my theory is that that miles go by faster if you have pretty stuff to look at – and since Hawaiian Tropic Calendar Girls Marathon doesn’t exist to my knowledge, then a magical place like Disney will have to do!

Feeling like a princess coming out of Cinderella's Castle with my sis.

Feeling like a princess coming out of Cinderella’s Castle with my sis in 2012.

I’ve always been a runner – I was a 4-year letter winner and honorable mention All-Conferance track athlete in high school – and ever since then I’ve run around three times per week and countless 5k’s.

Smokin' fools in the 400 in high school.

Smokin’ fools in the 400 in high school.

However, I never felt the urge to run longer distances.  That was until I ran my first marathon.  It got addicting, kind of like golf, as you keep learning and thinking that your next outing will be better than your last.  And let me tell you, ANY race after my first marathon would have no choice but to be better.  You see, I didn’t know what I was doing.  I printed some training schedule off the internet and just went for it.  I didn’t know how to stretch right, eat right, cross train right, or even what to wear.  I ended up getting horrible IT Band Syndrome, which relegated my training to the elliptical machine.  And since I wasn’t used to the pounding of concrete, my feet bled like a hemophiliac for most of the race.  It wasn’t pretty.  I had to walk most of the way cause it hurt so bad to run.

I think the looks on our faces capture the feels of our bodies.

I think the looks on our faces capture the feels of our bodies in 2008.

My shoes and socks after the race.  Try not to barf.

My shoes and socks after the race. Try not to barf.

But then I got smarter.  I took four months off to rest my IT Band.  I added yoga to my multiple weekly workouts.  I started building the miles back up slowly.  I listened to my body.  I got support from friends and family.  I got better running equipment.  I read tons of articles on running.  I took the right supplements.  I started going to a chiropractor.  I wore out one foam roller and got a new torturous one.  I kept and keep learning.  So much of this lead me to give Disney another go – four years later.  It went much better.

Disney 2012 - much better, but I should've photoshopped out the photobomber.

Disney 2012 – much better, but I should’ve photoshopped out the photobomber.

It was better, but I can do better.  I didn’t time my training right and peaked a month too early.  I also started getting the old IT Band issue back toward the end of my training.  That said, I was able to run this race, which was goal #1.  Though I hit the wall starting at mile 18 and had to take walk breaks the rest of the way.  Plus the IT Band flared up some – not so much that I had to quit, but it was noticeable and affected my run.  But like I said, I was able to get it done!

Despite my finger I didn't actually finish in first place.

Despite my finger I didn’t actually finish in first place.

Here’s a quick video of me during the 2012 race – I felt like was going much faster than I look.

Which leads me to 2013.  I’m taking on the Mouse once again.  I couldn’t help myself.  Besides wanting to run the whole way strong and reach my goal time, they also suckered me in with this year’s race plan.  It’s the 20th anniversary of the Disney Marathon and they’re pulling out all the stops, and the go’s too for that matter.  They redesigned the course, and I like the changes a lot.  New this year we don’t have to run a lap around Epcot to start the race, we get to run on their auto racing track, we get to run through the sports complex (spring training baseball fields, etc.), and they have a special celebration planned all along mile 20.

If you watched that video, you saw a glimpse of the medal.  That is always a draw for me, and this year’s looks to be baddbutt!  Two spinning elements?  Yes please!

The 20th anniversary medal is 20% more awesomer.

The 20th anniversary medal is 20% more awesomer.

In addition, this race is cool because all along the course they have characters, props, entertainers, volunteer cheerers, etc. so that you never get bored.  And if you’re not in it for a PR, then you can stop and have your picture taken with the characters by an official race photographer.  There’s also some celebs set to run this race.  Joey Fatone, Sean Astin, Drew Carey, etc.  I also found out that I have some friends running it, so it will be fun to see them!  Not to mention I’ll be running with my sister again!

One cool thing is that this will also be the first time that I actually get to watch a race – the day before the marathon they have a half marathon, which my moms and other peeps are running.  I can’t wait to see what it’s like from the spectators perspective, and I especially can’t wait to make some funny signs!!!

Anykitandkaboodle, I probably won’t be posting any blogs the next week or so as I’ll be enjoying sunny Florida after the race.  But as soon as I get back I’ll write up a full recap of the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!

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