Monday, January 12, 2015

Dopey Challenge 2015

Last year, around this very same time, I traveled to Disney to once again participate in the big runDisney Marathon Weekend. Not just as a marathon participant -- or to do the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge again (half marathon on Saturday, full marathon on Sunday). Last year was the inaugural Dopey Challenge. Over the course of 4 days, you traverse 48.6 miles by running a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday.

I finished the challenge last year, despite some injury setbacks for my training, but for the marathon, I ran out of gas about mile 15, and it was a LONG 11.2 miles of walking and shuffling to the finish in my Personal Worst marathon time of 4 hours and 50 minutes. I also parsed all of the data on the site, added up the total time to finish all distances, and sorted the runners by finishing times (because Disney doesn't do that for some reason) -- and found myself in 1672th place of 6114 finishers (7000 total registered for the race). I wasn't entirely upset about my performance, but I wasn't really happy with it, either. I wasn't even in the top 25% :(

Undeterred by the pain and suffering I put myself through last year, I signed up once again to prove to myself that I could improve on that time. And because honestly, Disney puts on the best show for a marathon I have ever experienced. Granted, I've only run events in New Orleans and Disney -- so other cities might have really good marathons that I have not yet witnessed, but how cool is it to stop mid-race and get your photo taken with the Disney characters?

Or to run through all 4 Disney parks with 25,000 other people that all have the same goal in mind?

This year, I didn't stop at nearly as many characters for photos as I have in years past, but I thought I'd share with you the ones I did take.
I was a little more choosy since I have so many character photos from previous races -- I was mostly going for characters I haven't been photographed with yet.

I do have Wreck-it Ralph, but I didn't have a photo with Vanellope yet.

And who could resist the mime thug from Rapunzel?
 I did get a picture with Malificent and the evil queen from Snow White -- but the Shadow Man from Princess and the Frog took a break just after I got in line so I missed him. I snagged a photo with him, Jaffar, the Queen of Hearts, AND Cruella -- I couldn't pass that opportunity up.
And the Disney version of Robin Hood was a childhood favorite of mine, so I couldn't resist this one, either.

So 26.2 miles with 4 photo breaks -- I still managed to absolutely smash last year's time by about 23 minutes! This is still nowhere near my personal record, but I'm much happier with the results this year. Instead of 1672th place, I came in 861st place of 6400 finishers. Better things all around -- more people finished, I improved significantly (almost top 10% of finishers), and Lizzie came out to see me this year. She was hanging out by the entrance to Wide World of Sports -- which the race hits at miles 16 and 20. If you know anything about marathons, you may see the great strategy in having someone you know to cheer you on right around that time. Last year, I died at mile 15. This year, I made it from Lizzie at 20 all the way to mile 23. I thought I'd be home free once I made it into the last 2 parks, but I just ran out of gas at 23 and had to take 3 short walk breaks before running it in to the finish line.

So I still need a little more training for next year -- I'm going to try to stay Perfectly Dopey, and continue the trail of torture. If anyone is interested in joining the fun, the registration for next year's races opens up April 28th. This year's Dopey sold out faster than my marathon time, so you'll have to make a decision on it somewhat soon. In 2016, I'm shooting for a sub 4 hour finish.

1 comment:

  1. Yay Doug! I think my brother should join you next year :)