Alright friends. Let’s talk about how I felt about the 2017 runDisney Dopey Challenge. If you’ve been following me for a while you know this wasn’t my first Dopey Challenge. This was my second Dopey and third Walt Disney World Marathon. Thankfully, once you put yourself through that kind of madness the first time you learn a couple things. I will say, this experience was far more enjoyable than my first Dopey. Some things that kept me sane were knowing when to lay down or go to bed. I didn’t push myself to hard. When I was tired I laid down and napped. I hydrated frequently. I planned my meals and meal times better. I also focused on just having fun. I knew these races were not going to be anywhere close to PR races for me. I am truthfully trying to re-establish my mojo that I lost during the fall months, so there was no point in stressing out over time. I went to Dopey with every intention of just having a good time. And that is what I did.
The 5K on Thursday morning was great. Weather was moderate, a touch warmer than desired but comfortable for me. I started in Corral A and got to witness the new “mini-waves” runDisney implemented into their corral system. Basically, they break the corral up into smaller sections so only so many runners go out at a time. This makes the course comfortable and not as crowded at the start. Huge success. With character stops (and I stopped a lot) I finished the 5K just under 35 minutes with an average pace of about 10:36. A little faster than I expected considering all of the miles coming up but happy with the results. An easy-breezy morning.
I have always liked this race. I remember running the inaugural Walt Disney World 10K and saying that it was going to be a crowd favorite. Started in Corral A again and the same “mini-wave” system was being implemented. Again, great call. I thought the temperature was a bit cooler this morning but that didn’t stop me from having a good time. More miles, more smiles, more character stops. This race I finished in 1:10 with an average pace of 11 minutes a mile. Not a big rush to finish but certainly enjoyed myself running around Epcot and the Boardwalk. Legs still feel good at this point. But I can tell I will need an afternoon nap. Naps are king during Dopey.
The Half Marathon
As I wrote earlier in the week, the half marathon was unfortunately cancelled due to lightning storms in the area. You can read all about how we ran our 13.1 miles as a community here.
So the rain has passed but it left frigid temperatures and high winds behind. Thankfully, I had went out and made some purchases to help keep me warm…but I don’t think it did me much good.
I met my friend Matthew and we headed to the corrals. We started in corral E and both just settled into an easy pace. I had ZERO expectations for this race as I was not full marathon trained and knew it. Matthew is a rock star runner (very fast) and decided to hang with me the whole way. We had one hell of a party out there. We laughed. We drank. We ran. We walked (more than I would of preferred but oh well). Long story short, we kept commenting on how the mile markers just kept popping up on us. We were having the best time. It was just over half way through the marathon I realized something. This is probably the first time I have run a Disney race and experienced the “magic”.
So often I am always focused on my time, and I never really appreciate the entertainment or fun this really is. Which explains why I couldn’t stop smiling. We galloped across the finish line a little over 6 hours as I predicted and hugged it out. Sometimes a fun day with a good friend discussing everything under the sun is what the soul needs. I seriously can’t thank Matthew enough for sticking with me. The race would of gotten done if I was alone, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. That’s the truth.
The race weekend was a huge success. I loved it. All of it. Will I be back for Dopey in 2018? YES! I actually can not even wait. I know so many great people are going to be joining the fun. Yes, this experience was amazing. I had the best time. It is about balance. I have some training and goals I must hit before the summer to help get myself on track so that will certainly help me get back into 26.2 shape. All in all…I am happy with how the events of the weekend played out and I look forward to more fun and magic in the future. The next Disney race is Disneyland Half weekend followed by Wine and Dine :). See you on the roads, folks.