It all began on Tuesday, January 6th. Myself along with my husband and two daughters flew to Florida for a vacation/destination race. I think my husband and I were more excited than the girls were. We were all Walt Disney World first-timers. We visited with family on our first day in Florida and managed to hit the beach. It was great to take in the ocean.
We hit the expo in the early evening. I picked up my bibs and my six race shirts. My photo with my bib was taken for the Dopey Challenge. Although the New Balance vendor was mobbed with people, I managed to try on and purchase the #RunDisney retro sneakers. It's all I really wanted, so we made our way back to the resort. We ate dinner and relaxed the rest of the night.
For those of you that don't know, the Dopey Challenge consisted of running four races in four days through the Walt Disney Parks. A 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, and finally completing the challenge with a Marathon on Sunday.
I woke up at 3am for all four races. Each race began and ended at Epcot. I kept breakfast pretty light for the 5k and 10k. Eating two boiled eggs, a banana, and a cup of coffee. I sipped on 16 oz's of water on the way to the start. For the half and full marathon, my breakfast was a bit more hearty. I had some oatmeal, a cup of coffee, and a banana. I brought with me to the start a 16oz bottle of water with a nuun electrolyte tablet in it and a bagel. I made sure not to eat anything that I didn't normally eat the night before a race. The one thing I did add in was a muffin an hour before bed. I did this the night before the 10k, half and full marathon. I didn't want to prematurely wake up as I did for the 5k. The muffin did the trick and did not cause me any stomach distress.
All the races started with a display of fireworks. The 5k and 10k were much smaller in comparison to the half and full marathon fireworks. But, nonetheless, it was a very cool way to start all the races and a first for me. The start of the 5k was very cold and windy. I actually did not throw away my throw away long sleeve shirt. Yes, it was that cold. The 5k began in Epcot and kept me in the park for the 3.1 miles. It was actually still dark out when I finished (25:47).
The start of the 10k was not as cold as the start of the 5k. But, I had my arm warmers on and they did the trick. They kept me comfortable throughout the race. For the 10k, the course took me out onto Epcot's service roads for 3.1 miles then back into Epcot for the last 3.1 miles which was basically a repeat of the 5k race. I finished in 53:59 and felt great despite just getting 5 hours of sleep. Yup, Magic Kingdom happened to me the day before. With a blink of an eye, two of the four races were completed. So far, I was very happy that "for the first time in forever" (FROZEN), lol, I managed to run negative splits and felt great. Running the second half of a race faster than the first half is very difficult to do, but that's just what I did. So, for the next two races I would also take on the challenge of trying to run negative splits. Why not?! Plus, that nagging left hamstring that I had throughout training was gone. I'm not sure if I was completely healed or if the KT tape helped.
I had never been so nervous about running a half and full marathon. It wasn't the individual races themselves. It was the fact that I would be running them back to back and that I had challenged myself to run negative splits for both. I knew I had to run the half marathon at a very comfortable pace or I would pay for it the next day. So, the morning of the half marathon, as I waited in the corral, I realized that I forgot my garmin watch. WTH!!! Ok, it was not the time to panic or get pissed off about not knowing what my exact pace would be. I could and would run the race without my watch. I was running at THE happiest places on Earth. The half took me out of Epcot and toward Magic Kingdom. At every mile marker I kept looking down to my everyday watch trying to figure out what pace I was running. I knew that once I was saw, ran around, and through Cinderella's castle, I would be at about 5.5 miles into the race. I couldn't resist taking a selfie in front of the castle, of course.
Marathon morning arrived. And I did not forget my Garmin watch. The pre-marathon fireworks were the biggest of all four. First, the course would take me from Epcot to Magic Kingdom just like the half marathon. The crowds were the best in Magic Kingdom. What a big pump! Then from Magic Kingdom, the course took me towards Walt Disney speedway. It was pretty cool to run on the speedway and run past a big display of muscle cars. My husband would have been in car heaven. Out of the speedway and towards Animal Kingdom I headed. Where before actually getting into the park, I took my first character picture with some very cool villains.
|Some cool villains|
Runners were greeted by a few animals and their keepers as we made our way into Animal Kingdom. Before heading out of Animal Kingdom, I stopped a second time for a photo op with this magical rodent:
The Dopey Challenge was one of the best running experiences I've ever had. The races were well organized and the medals are some of the best medals I've earned. I forgot to mention that I walked through each and every one of the water stations for all the races. Maintaining hydration was very important during and after each race. In addition to water, I drank coconut water and added an electrolyte tablet to my water daily. During the marathon, I stopped three addition times. Once for a potty stop and twice at the medical tent for biofreeze.
The parks were amazing. We went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, in that order. Magic Kingdom wiped me out so I'm glad it was the first park we visited. The other two parks were much more low key, which turned out to be great for my legs.
48.6 miles done! All on a 12 week Crossfit Endurance training plan. I never ran anything over 10 miles and never ran the recommended 4 day in a row training runs. Any questions? Feel free to ask me in the comment box.
Thanks for taking the time,