Wednesday, January 14, 2015

RunDisney Dopey Challenge Part 1: Expo and 5K

On a cold and blustery day I flew down to Orlando with 2 friends. We were lucky enough to fly on a day that fell in between various snowstorms. Our flight was still slightly delayed, but it wasn't bad. Our room was booked at a Disney resort and therefore we were able to take advantage of all that had to offer starting with taking the Magical Express from the airport to our resort. About an hour later we were checked in and settling into our room at our home for the week, Port Orleans Riverside. I had secured the room during a Disney sale and wound up with a Princess room which while had a childish flair, did put us in a building closer to the main building and bus stop.

 The next morning I woke up and did a quick run on the paths around the resort before getting ready and grabbing breakfast. We soon caught the provided bus to the expo. The expo was held at the ESPN Sports complex which also doubles as the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves and one high school competition after another. We were initially concerned with have to fetch packets and shirts from multiple buildings, but it turned out to be a breeze. The efficiency puts the NYC Marathon to shame. For the Dopey Challenge I went to one desk to grab 2 bibs which would be used for 2 races each, and then headed downstairs to grab a bag that contained all 6 of my shirts. Jennifer, who was running 3 races, went to 2 stalls upstairs before heading downstairs for her 3rd bib. The shirts for non-Dopey and Goofy challenge people were located in the 2nd building along with most of the expo sales stalls. Both locations sold official race merchandise where people were going nuts for everything from the House of Mouse.


After getting our fill of merchandise we made our way back to our hotel room and then off to the Magic Kingdom. I behaved and only bought a 48.6 magnet, Dopey collectible Disney Trader pen and a commemorative vinyl figure. I figured with the 6 race shirts I collected that I had enough clothes. I also wasn't fanatical enough to sign up for the virtual queue to just be able to try on the special edition Disney New Balance shoes. My friend did pick up a humorous Star Wars shirt that said "In a Corral Far Far Away" which was fitting since he started in the last corral of the half marathon. After perhaps too long of a day at the park that saw running all around and on our feet all day we finally went to bed.

Wake up came at 4:00AM the next day to catch a bus to the start line. It was a far chillier morning than expected with a windchill pushing the feels like temps into the mid 30s. The moisture of the Florida air helped give that air enough mass to help chill you to the bone faster. I wound up running in a jacket I didn't intend to use. We waited in the reunion area where a DJ was playing music and people were gathered around trying to stay warm, many in costume. We eventually made our way to the start corrals when asked. I had a bib for Corral A, but dropped back to C to run with Jennifer so I wouldn't have to shiver alone. We were surrounded by runners from southern states who were in various stages of panic about the weather. We just joked that this was spring-like for us. Soon our corral was led towards the start and off we went to our own set of fireworks.

I had an unshared goal for the event where I wanted to do the whole 48.6 miles in a sub 4:00 hour marathon pace or 9:09 min/per mile pace. I knew this goal was a bit aggressive given all the nature of doing 4 races in a row on top of spending all day at the parks. I ran the 5K with Jennifer knowing the pace would be far slower than my goal pace, but would serve as a good warm up and make sure I didn't injure myself in the cold. Little did I know that Jennifer had to pee the whole time and ran even slower than normal.

The course started out on a highway before heading backstage of Epcot and turning into the park for a run around the World Showcase. Since it was still dark out everything was lit up and amazing to run through. Disney still had up most of its Christmas decorations. We eventually were led out a side area and back to the Epcot parking lot for the finish line.  There was a bit of a wait for the bus, but after getting back and warming up with some showers we were off to the next park for the day. I used my GoPro camera for the first time during the race and am still working on editing the video. In the meantime settle for some screenshots from the video.


  1. Congrats on the 5k. Really easy huh? :-) Bummer about the weather. Great shots from the GoPro!!

    1. Ha, yeah, this was a journey, not a race. I've run in worse weather, just wasn't expecting that in Florida. I'm really excited for the GoPro shots. Going to make logging my races so much more fun.