I don’t even know where to begin. But basically, if you like running, and you like Disney, DO A DISNEY RACE.
Or, even if you reallllllyy don’t like running that much … DO A DISNEY RACE! 🙂
It’s unlike any race I’ve done. For me, I had two goals – to go out there and have FUN, and to finish. There was absolutely zero pressure to finish in any sort of time (minus the race cut-off).
My friend and I registered for the Dopey Challenge back in April of last year, and had been looking forward to the trip for some time. She flew down with her family, and I drove down with mine. There, we all stayed in a large 3-bedroom timeshare at Orange Lake, located a few miles from Disney.
The first half of the week was relaxing; like a normal vacation. We slept in, chilled by the pool, played games, drank some frozen cocktails, shopped, went out to eat, etc. etc. etc.
Sooooo happy we got to spend some time poolside soaking up some rays before a cold front moved in later in the week!
Then on Wednesday, we hit up the Expo. It. Was. Huge! It was held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, and we got there around 11 am so we could have ample time to explore, shop and enjoy!
Even with sooo many people, lines were relatively short, and they were super organized. Gotta love that. Plus, they gave away tonssss of swag … I mean, just for running the Dopey Challenge, we got SIX shirts! And they are all adorable. 🙂
Come Thursday, the races began, along with 3:30 am wake-ups!
You read that right —-> 3:30 A.M.!
That face pretty much sums up how I felt when the alarm went off. Every. Morning.
But, I have to admit, once I got out of bed, I quickly woke up. It was fun getting ready and dressing up, and since our dads brought us each morning we always made a quick stop at Wawa (They loveee Wawa). They got coffee and donuts; and I got to get COFFEE!!! 🙂
The 5K (3.1 miles)
One word: COLD. I know, I know … it’s hard complaining since it supposedly felt like -30 back in Albany, but man, oh man, we were freezing! Since this was the first race and we didn’t know what to expect, we got there superrrr early. Translation: we had to stand in the cold for about 90 minutes before the race even started. It was about 42 degrees, windy, and no humidity.
But once the race started, we warmed up fast and forgot allll about the cold. But for this race, Becky and I didn’t start together – I was in Coral C; Becky was in D. And even though the race started right on time, complete with the national anthem and a fireworks display (which was AWESOME!) … I didn’t cross the start line until about 30 minutes after the initial start.
After the first 1/2 mile or so, we entered EPCOT, and it was SO cool running through the park, before they opened. They still had Christmas decorations up, and all the buildings were all lit up with lights. We ran all around the different countries; it was really beautiful. So many things to look at! Andddd — they had a character or two every mile. That was soo fun! Every time I saw a line of runners off to the side (usually 20-30 runners deep), I’d get all excited and be like, “Who is that!? Which character is that?!?”
Since it was still pretty dark, and my first race, my phone took some crappy pictures, and not all the pics came out 😦 — but I did get a picture with this cool guy:
After finishing the first race Becky and I were on such a high!! It was only a 5k, but we had a blast and were instantly hooked to Disney races!! I was looking SUPER forward to the next 3 days!!!
The 10K (6.2 miles)
I decided to start with Becky this race, and we both started in Coral D. Our goal: Stop at as many characters as possible, take pics, smile and like usual, have fun!
To sum it up: I’d say we accomplished our mission. We ran the whole race together – and it was a blast. We stopped at a ton of characters – our favorite one being MICKEY himself!! We had to wait about 10 minutes for him — but it was soooo worth it. We can do countless races … but how many times do you have the opportunity to stop and take pictures with characters??!
But … we diddddd kinda get in trouble at one point. 😉
The poor sheriff had no idea he’d be a character himself and have a line of runners! It was too funny!
That picture just makes me smile. 🙂 Love Mickey Mouse!
The Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)
Soooo …. for this race, we didn’t have a costume to wear. Which, frankly, made us kind of sad. We couldn’t have that. 🙂 Insert a trip to Target and a silly purchase at Downtown Disney — and we were good to go!
We decided to be what we are 99% of the time: GOOFY!! Althoughhhhh, Grumpy or Sleepy probably would have been fitting costumes as well! 😉 And this is why: I was feeling reallllly stressed before the half (even though my goal was to not stress!!), and just knowing that the alarm was going to go off bright and early, I got ZERO sleep before tackling day 3 of the Dopey Challenge. But seriously, Goofy was a perfect fit: being sleepy just made me more goofy than normal!
But then, thanks to our tall hats, Becky and I found each other!!
And, guess where?!?! Waiting in line for none other than:
How perfect timing was that?!?
We stayed together until the end, but ended up walking a majority of the last 2 miles together. We both felt good, and could have totally ran it, but we also knew we had 26.2 miles waiting for us in less than 24 hours. So we decided to just be more cautious than normal. No sense in pushing since our times were already through the roof.
Once we finished, our families met us at the finish. And my sister and her fiance, Matthew, got out of bed to also cheer us on!! It meant a lot to have everyone there supporting us! 🙂
The Marathon (26.2 miles)
This was the BIG. DAY. The MARATHON. 26.2 miles between you and the finish. Your tired. Your legs are sore. Your feet hurt. Doubt sets in. You think, “Can I do this?!?”
And then something magical happens. The race starts, you put one foot in front of the other, you get into a rhythm. The miles tick by. One after the other.
You run through Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. You run through the Wide World of Sports; on the NASCAR track, around the bases of the baseball field. You run through Cinderella’s castle. You stop and take pictures with every possible character you can. You smile. You laugh. You appreciate. You worry. You dig deep. You start to run the mile you are in. You walk. You walk fast. You keep checking your watch. You start conversation with runners next to you. … You DIG DEEP. Mile 24. Mile 25. Mile 26. Mile 26 you pick up the speed. You run through the hundreds of cheering spectators. You run towards the finish. You hear your name called. YOU CROSS THE FINISH LINE.
That feeling you get from crossing the finish line will never grow old for me. Every single time, it represents so much: dedication, perseverance, commitment, to believing in yourself, to pushing your limits, defeating doubt, to accomplishing a GOAL. It’s a high like no other.
And I am so grateful that these 26.2 miles were filled with so much happiness. Disney, I owe ya one! Here’s just a glimpse inside those 5 hours, 47 minutes:
After Minnie and Daisy, I of course had to stop for a pick with these kind looking folks:
And of course this guy:
He told me he’d come and visit me on his magic carpet 😉
And, of course, THE BLING!!:
Those are some serious. medals. … My neck is still sore from all that bling. 😉
I wont go into any more detail since this post is SUPER long, but basically, my foam roller has been my best friend for the past week!!
Andddd lastly, for all those interested, my Workout Recap since my last post:
1/2 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/3 – Nothing (Road Trip to FLORIDA!)
1/4 – Nothing (Driving: Day 2!)
1/5 – Stationary Bike (1 hr.) Rode 18 miles of hill repeats; Weights/100 push-ups (20 min.); Walk (30 min.) 2 miles
1/6 – Stationary Bike (1 hr.) Rode 18 miles of hill repeats; 100 push-ups (5 min.); Walking (1 hr.) 4 miles
1/7 – Nothing
1/8 – Disney’s 5K! (49:01) 3.1 miles
Total: 5 hours, 44 minutes
1/9 – Disney’s 10K! (1:45:16) 6.2 miles
1/10 – Disney’s ½ Marathon (3:18:15) 13.1 miles
1/11 – Disney’s Full Marathon (5:47:44) 26.2 miles
1/12 – Rest Day
1/13 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/14 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.); Stationary Bike (35 min.) Rode 10 miles
1/15 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
Total: 14 hours, 26 minutes
Week 3 (5 Days):
1/16 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/17 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.); Stationary Bike (65 min.) Rode 20 miles
1/18 – Stationary Bike (68 min.) Rode 20 miles
1/19 – Bike Trainer (1 hr.) Rode 17 miles of hill repeats; F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/20 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr).
Total: 7 hours, 13 minutes
19-Day Total: 27 hours, 23 minutes (plus LOTS of time stretching!!)
Hope everyone is tackling their 2015 goals and getting in some kick ass workouts in!! Believe in yourself, push through, and enjoy whatever fitness journey you are on!! This is OUR year!! 🙂