January 9, 2017
After writing my last blog, I began to think about how I wanted to attack this new concept. How do I want to put the content together? Can I keep it interesting and entertaining while sticking to how I perceive it in my head? These are all things I can’t really answer. But, I hope as I continue writing and sticking to the direction I envision, I will be able to achieve my goals.
Going to work for only one day in the New Year was both fun and a nightmare. I have so much end-of-the-year type work to do and I cannot get it all done in one day, especially when that one day is taken up by catching up on two weeks of emails and such from the end of last year.
I managed to catch up on all of my emails before I left the office. I did not mange to do much of anything else. So, when I got back to work today, I walked into a pile of things that need attention including about 300 more emails. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could clone myself. Then I realize that the world probably isn’t ready for two of me.
Walt Disney World Marathon weekend started on Wednesday, January 4. For those of you that have been following along, you know that means it’s Dopey Challenge weekend. I’m perfectly Dopey having done all three years thus far. I know going into this I’m going to hate myself by the end of it. I’m under-trained (100% my fault); I make no excuses. I’ve been struggling for awhile and I just haven’t gotten my act back together. And now, it’s crunch time.
Marathon weekend is crazy. I have several friends that participate in various events as well. And, since most of us are annual pass holders, and several others visit and buy tickets, we generally go to parks as well. This all adds up to early mornings followed by long days and late nights which equals very little rest and a whole lot of tired. But, it also means I get to hang out with a lot of my friends. I don’t see some of them any other time so we all try to make the most of these weekends.
Wednesday is packet pick up, Thursday is the Family Fun Run 5k, Friday is the Walt Disney World 10k, Saturday is the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and Sunday is the Walt Disney World Marathon. Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge consists of the half marathon and the full marathon; 39.3 miles in two days. The Dopey Challenge consists of all four races; 48.6 miles over four days.
I’ve written about the various races in the past so there’s not really a lot new to tell. One new thing was that runDisney didn’t print event guides; everything was electronic. I liked the electronic version but I also missed having the printed one for reference when I wanted to look up information. Also, bag tags weren’t given to participants with their bibs. I assume this is because so many people don’t use bag check so it was a bit of a waste. As I noticed when I cut through one of the bag tents, volunteers were hand-writing labels when runners would check their bag.
For the most part, the courses for the races didn’t change. There were some small shifts in both the 5k and 10k courses but nothing that made the courses better or worse in my opinion. The half marathon course shifted to include a little more of Magic Kingdom as did the marathon course. The marathon course also had a longer out and back section before getting to Animal Kingdom. The entrance and exit areas to Animal Kingdom were slightly different as well this year. The Hollywood Studios section changed as well; this year we entered right beside Tower of Terror (reminiscent of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler). The time and distance inside Hollywood Studios was shorter though. The trek back to EPCOT and the finish were essentially the same.
Unfortunately, as Mother Nature would have it, the weather did not cooperate and runDisney made the call to cancel the half marathon. The weather was ridiculous; torrential downpour with lightning in the area all projected during the time when we would be running. Since the half marathon course is basically on open roadways with a little time in the two parks (Magic Kingdom and EPCOT), runDisney had to think about what was best for runner, volunteer, and staff safety. Having all those people outside and not being able to move them indoors with any kind of efficiency really would have been a recipe for disaster. I’ll get back to all this in a minute though.
I decided to mostly walk with a little running for the 5k and 10k. Knowing I’m not in very good shape, I just wanted to take it easy and get through the races. The 5k was relatively uneventful. It was a cool morning; I started with a pullover that I had to shed before the first mile. The 10k was similar; cool and I had to shed my pullover within a mile or two. The 10k was a bit more of an adventure though. When we finally started, I realized I had to use the bathroom. Since we weren’t in the park, I knew I would have to wait until the first stop on the course. That wasn’t until just before mile two. By the time I got to the stop, I had to go to the bathroom so badly; I swear my eyes were starting to water! Because it was the first stop, the line was pretty long. I waited in line for about 10 minutes. As such, my second mile took almost 25 minutes (note – I do NOT stop my Garmin for bathroom breaks or picture stops; the race timer doesn’t stop so neither does my Garmin). Even though my intentions were to take the race easily, I hated having a 25 minute mile!
Since the half marathon was cancelled, we all got to sleep later on Saturday. My crew actually went to breakfast and then we hit Target to get some warmer gear for the marathon. The weather was calling for low 30’s with wind chill in the 20’s; that’s cold by any standards.
The marathon was cold. It got warmer as the sun rose, but it stayed cold and the wind cut through me when it would blow. I shed my first layer around mile 11. I kept on my pullover and hat for the entire race. I also pulled off and put on my gloves a couple of times. I finally left those off around mile 13.
Knowing that I am under-trained, I took the marathon easy as well. My friend, Shannon, and I decided we would run 30 seconds and walk 90 seconds. We kept this going for awhile and I felt pretty good. Shannon started struggling though; her legs were really bothering her and she needed to walk. I was feeling good and needed to run. So, reluctantly, we separated just after mile 11. Some of her friends caught up to her and I continued by myself.
I kept going with the run/walk intervals we set until about mile 20. Then, my legs really started to bother me. I walked more and tried to run as much as I could. I walked most of the way from mile 20-ish to about mile 24. Once I entered EPCOT, I made a quick bathroom stop and then tried to run/walk the rest of the way. My legs felt heavy; like I had brick shoes on my feet; but I managed to run/walk it the rest of the way to the finish line.
Overall, Dopey weekend was just OK. There was good, there was bad, and there was wow.
The good of it:
- Roommates: I roomed with Shannon and Matt and all three of us commented on how great the rooming situation was; we all got along great.
- Spending time with my friends: I love seeing these people. I’ve met almost all of them through running and I have gotten very close to them. They are a diverse group and we have a fantastic time when we are together. Spending time with them is always one of my favorite things about race weekends.
- Eating at some new restaurants: Matt is a cast member and Shannon is basically a Disney expert. They had made some reservations at a few restaurants that I had never tried before. So, it was awesome to be able to eat at some new places.
- Top of the World: Viewing the fireworks from Magic Kingdom from the Top of the World bar at the Contemporary resort was a real treat! You have to be a DVC member (or be with a DVC member) to get into the bar. I’m not a DVC member but I have friends who are. Sometimes, it is about who you know!
- I finished the races. My times weren’t great (and I never expected them to be), but I did finish. And, the cherry on top of that is that I didn’t have any blisters on my feet (remember Space Coast?). I used a new brand of socks; Wright Double Layer; and a new blister protection gel/cream; Sport Slick. Both products get two enthusiastic thumbs up! I’ll write more about them another time.
The bad of it:
- I’m sick. After pretty much running myself ragged for five days and being out in the cold for the race, I’m hacking up my lungs like a smoker with a two-pack a day habit. It sucks.
- I realize how bad of shape I am in. I seriously doubt that I would have made it through the marathon had I done the half marathon on Saturday. Plain and simple, I have GOT to figure out a plan and get back on track.
- runDisney made a fairly quick decision about cancelling the race for Saturday. Considering we all sign waivers that essentially says Disney can do whatever they deem necessary without compensation to us, they made some pretty awesome concessions to runners to “make up” for Mother Nature’s wrath. I’m not going into all the details here, but, I feel as though they were more than fair in their compensation options. They didn’t have to do anything at all.
- I’m sore and my body is tired. That said, I am far less sore than I feel as though I should be considering how out of shape I am. I will qualify that by saying that it isn’t as though I’ve been sitting on the couch doing nothing for six months and then just up and decided to run a marathon. I have been going to boot camp and I have been getting in some cardio (mostly elliptical); I just haven’t had as much consistency as I need to build my endurance and I haven’t logged the miles on my legs that I need to adequately prepare for a marathon.
- I have some truly awesome friends. I had friends that weren’t running any events that came to cheer for the rest of us. They handed out sodas and snacks and were basically cheer and support staff. Even friends that were running other events came out to support and cheer during the marathon.
- I saw the true spirit of the running community. After runDisney cancelled the half marathon, many of the Goofy and Dopey Challenge participants and many of the half marathon registrants still wanted to run. So, there were runs held at several of the hotels. Runners did laps around trails; many even wore their race costumes and bibs; while supporters came out to cheer for them. At some “events”, volunteers even setup water stations to hand out water to runners as they passed. It was inspiring to see the resolve and spirit of the running community.
It has been a hectic week. I was back at work today and it took me all morning and a bit of the afternoon just to get through emails and voicemails. I knew I was walking into a lot though; I had logged into my emails a couple of times to check on a few things so I saw some of what was waiting for me.
Since I’m sick and my body needs rest, I am taking this week off from the gym. I am also going to plan some menus for the next few weeks so I can go to the grocery store over the weekend. I eat so much healthier when I plan my meals. It also saves money over going out to eat for meals. I have a mountain of laundry to do and I need to work on some little things around the house (like putting away race shirts). I am going to schedule a massage as well; this will help loosen up all these sore muscles from the races. I need to take it easy so I can start fresh next Monday and work towards getting myself back on track and back in shape!
Until next Monday…gotta run.