Why do such a thing? Why not? What am I gonna do, wait until next year? When I heard about this challenge last year I had no idea what it would be like to do it, but I knew there was only one way to find out!
When I've traveled for races, I'll sometimes pack two pair of running shoes, especially if I'm going to be there long enough to want to get in a training run. Just in case it rains or is damp. I don't like running in wet shoes, and you can never count on them drying quickly. This trip, I packed four pair, and yes, I wore them all.
The best part? The shirts fit!! I normally wear a small t-shirt, but the shirts at the Princess Half were tiny, and I had to switch for a medium. That was no problem, but at the Disneyland Half, I ordered a medium, not realising it was “unisex” and GIANT! Even the small was roomy, but I was grateful one of the volunteers switched it for me—that expo was a ZOO! At Tower of Terror, again with the huge unisex shirts, and they had no smaller sizes to trade. After checking back twice, we were finally able to make the switch on the second day of the expo, but I wasn’t looking forward to trying to sort that out for myself and 4 kids. We also had park tickets, and not a ton of spare time to keep going back and forth. Very happily, ALL of our shirts were the correct sizes!!! Such a huge relief!
DOPEY CHALLENGE DAY 1: 5K 45:30:00 14:17mm
I loved having my daughter with me for the 5K, but I also enjoy running solo. It’s a good chance to meet people, and to run soley based on how I’m feeling, which on Friday, was pretty awesome!
The race was almost entirely in the Epcot park, with a jaunt along the Boardwalk. So many beautiful sights along the way, and I find I really love the 10K distance. It’s right in my sweet spot for distance and pace—I feel like I can push for a little more speed and still have plenty of energy left for the finish.
When I run with my kids, I usually call the run/walk intervals. I’ve struggled with the transitions, and often find walking harder on my knees than running. The Dopey training plan included a lot of walking, and I learned that softening my knees, so that my walk was more like a shuffle or really slow jog, really made the walking intervals faster and nearly effortless. But my kids are always looking at me sideways, “are you walking or running? I can’t tell by looking at you.” (which tells you, I’m not a super fast runner!) Well, running this 10K alone, I found myself asking the same question, “am I walking or running?” More than once I was in the middle of an interval and couldn’t remember, and I couldn’t tell from the way I was moving. Little things amuse me.
I thought I might want to nap, but I was wide awake and feeling great.
We were all in bed early, again, and ready to run the half marathon on Saturday morning.
The morning of the half was warm and humid. I was glad we were starting in Corral K rather than M, but I was still doing the math in my head. I was nervous about keeping pace so that we didn’t get swept before the finish. I was also not 100% comfortable with what I was wearing, particularly a brand new pair of shorts I had never run in! Fortunately, my daughter brought and extra pair of compression shorts that I wore under the new ones, or I would have been in big trouble. I was also wearing new socks—knee socks, which I had also never run in before. What was I thinking?
Yes, a white wraparound TUBA! I chased him for about half a mile—the guy was MOVING! He paused for a photo, but my phone flash was doing something strange and my pics were blurry. He started the race back in M, passed us and just kept going, costume, tuba and all! Amazing!
A bit of gadget trivia: during the last weeks of training, I noticed I was coming up on 1000 miles in Nike+. I considered running a little extra to try an hit it before the end of 2013. I also considered how annoying it would be to end up injured right before this race. As it turned out, I crossed the 1000 milestone during the half. Way cooler to hit that number in Disney World, running with my kids!
We had to sprint, but we made it to Soarin’ just minutes before our FastPasses expired! I had seen a Starbucks at Mile 12 when we ran thru the park earlier, and was beyond happy to finally get my Caramel Flan Latte.
Again, thanks to the concierge we had all of our FastPasses lined up, and enjoyed all the rides before our food tour around the World Showcase.
Haley let me borrow her extra pair of knee socks, Morgan had gotten me the tank when she worked at Athleta, I borrowed Jack’s purple earbuds, and Katharine encouraged me to take a jacket. That turned out to be key, because it was COLD on Sunday morning!!
Aside from finishing the marathon within the pacing requirement to complete the Dopey Challenge, I now had an additional goal of finishing by 12:30, so I’d have enough time to get back to the hotel and hang out with them a bit before they had to leave.
The cold air really felt good, and my first few miles were a little wonky, as usual. It was 4 miles to the Magic Kingdom, and then I was finally warmed up really enjoying the run. The next mile took us up Main Street USA and around and thru Cinderella’s Castle. Just before the castle, I spotted the tuba guy! He stopped for a clear photo, and I felt vindicated for yesterday’s sprint!
I also stopped for a quick selfie in front of the castle.
But I was glad I got one, because by the end of the race, my phone was dying and I couldn’t get a finish line photo.
It was a very cool sight, but a little tricky running on that banked track. And long. Somehow, my legs felt better than they had in months. No knee pain, no calf or shin pain, nothing. Just happy running feet! Continue the mental game. I’m always dividing and re-dividing up the run. Less than 2 miles to get to 10, then a little over an hour to 15. I was especially pleased to notice I was running negative splits! (each mile slightly faster than the last) Starting conservatively was paying off!
It’s crazy, because we’ve done 4 days in the parks many times over the years, but this time, even with the running, I felt better at the end than I ever had! I’m still processing how and why that is even possible, but I’ll take it! I do think the Disney magic is a big part of it! I can’t imagine a better place to enjoy such an exciting accomplishment!
And best of all, I finished more than 15 minutes ahead of my 12:30 goal, and had plenty of time to hang out with these two before they headed back to school!
Once they were on the shuttle to the airport, we were off to Downtown Disney, where it was all about the food. When I run distances, I am the whole time thinking about what I'm gonna eat when I'm finished! On Sunday, it was Sangria, bruschetta and sushi at Wolfgang Puck's.
And then, what has become my runDisney tradition, a big salted caramel sundae at Ghiradelli... yum!
A bonus Dopey photo op
...and this bit of beautifully cute artistry from our new favorite Disney movie.