Dopey challenge – part 1

22 years ago, Disney introduced a marathon. When we did the 5th anniversary WDW marathon, they had a half and a full marathon.  They were held on the same day – the half marathoners simply ran the first half and then peeled off and finished.  At some point – the races got so popular, that they spread them over two days – the half marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday.  With this – of course crazy people started doing both and unofficially calling it the Goofy.  Disney picked up on this and the Goofy Challenge was born.  2015 is the 10 year anniversary of the official Goofy challenge.

Now marathon weekend is a huge event with four races (and kids races) – a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. The races are held on consecutive days which means that people can do more than one – in fact, they can do all of them. Never shy to pick up on a revenue opportunity – Disney introduced the Dopey Challenge: a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon on four consecutive days.

A couple of years ago, a bunch of our friends (Disney running friends) were talking and everyone started talking about doing the Goofy challenge for the 10th anniversary.  Now, I’ve never really had a desire to do Goofy, but I’m also one to join in a crowd.  Then when Dopey was announced – it seemed like a whole group of us were going to do Dopey together and get the 10th anniversary Goofy medal.

In the end, only three of us signed up – Derek, our friend Beth and me.  The fall ramp up was challenging for all three of us.  I started out injured and then had to nurse it through training.  Beth had a tough illness and really never was able to train fully.  Derek had a great early fall season, but then got injured and couldn’t train.

Because I’d really like to focus fall 2015 on building speed especially for a half marathon, yet I still wanted to qualify for Boston 2016, I had an extra challenge to tackle.  I only have the WDW marathon and Boston itself this year to try and qualify for Boston 2016.  Neither race is well set up for me to go after a marathon PR – I’d be entering the WDW marathon with tired legs because of Dopey and I’d have a shortened training cycle (even assuming no injury) for Boston, and Boston is a tougher course than my PR course.  Luckily for me, I’ve aged up into the 45-49 age group and my needed qualifying time is 3:55, so I could run a good bit below my PR and still qualify comfortably.  As a result, I decided to go after a BQ in the WDW marathon.

The morning of the 5k was cold: 27 degrees after windchill. Everyone was standing in large clumps in the staging area, huddling for warmth. Because of the size of the races, they assign corrals based on expected finish times – for the 5k and 10k, they had 6 corrals (A-F). We’re fortunate enough to be assigned corral A, but we had decided to run the 5k with our friend Gil in corral F. This was a good learning experience. For one thing – runners were finished before we even started! And standing around those extra minutes on a freezing day really tested our friendship 🙂  Second, there are a lot of walkers in the last corral, which made any semblance of running difficult. But we had a great time hanging out in the cold and running around Epcot with Gil, his bff Jason, and Beth.

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Mid-way through the run

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At the finish.

We didn’t hang out long after – it was too cold!  We dashed back to the hotel to warm up.

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Our mascots for the weekend.

We were staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani) on DVC points.  The rest of the day was filled with grocery shopping, a little bit of Hollywood Studios (Toy Story Midway Mania where I beat Derek for the first time maybe ever), dinner at Sanaa (always a favorite), and getting Noel (Beth’s husband) from the airport.

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