“None of us got to where we are alone. Whether the assistance we received was obvious or subtle, acknowledging someone’s help is a big part of understanding the importance of saying thank you.”
– Harvey Mackay
The most important and life changing thing to come out of this run was the support and help I received from the bogging community, my family and GOD. You have unselfishly helped me achieve my goal of completing the challenge. The value is much greater then the challenge itself and for that I am eternally grateful. With this I’m also thankful to the company with whom I’m employed and its leadership; without them to have offered and convinced me to take part in this challenge; I don’t know that I would have found the friendships and rich rewards afforded me in this evolution of running and life.
I’ve had a week now to reflect on the Disney Marathon Weekend Dopey Challenge. I find I still struggle with how I feel about the race. My goal was to ‘just complete’ the challenge but I find myself continually analyzing how I ran. I was/am in the best shape I have been in since the 80’s maybe; that is as far as running is concerned. Though I built my legs my upper body could use some work. I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best when he said “It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.”
I teeter between feeling I could have done much better AND I should have paced myself more because the goal was to finish not to PR. I could have I run longer and faster than I did, my body and mind was capable; but I didn’t and I knew I didn’t have too, or shouldn’t. I finished the race actually better time wise than I had planed because I didn’t stick to my plan in the earlier races, I didn’t run at the slower pace ‘to save my legs’ I planned but at the same time I didn’t run those races at what I would consider a race pace. Yes, I’m conflicted.
Even during the races I found that I felt like a 396ci/375Hp 68’ Camaro SS with a speed limiter. It was hard for me to differentiate between running for the ‘Disney experience’ as Rod put it, and running an actual competition style race. I did kind of figure it our there at the end; better late then never, but never really got comfortable with it. I sure I may have felt different had this not been my first Marathon because I would know what my body was capable with. I guess that’s what the real issue here is; I ran a Marathon but really don’t know how well I could have really done.
Never the less I did finish it and 48.6 miles in four days is something I’m proud of completing.
The Disney experience, even with the cold weather and rain was truly a great experience. It was a fun time with a bunch of great people I enjoyed being with and look forward in doing more things with. I would say you have to do something Disney at least once in your running career and even though my exposure to races is somewhat limited I would have to say there is nothing like a Disney Run. I was totally blown away by the size of the venues and crowds. I was amazed at what the Disney Staff was able to pull off logistically; it was a massive undertaking and now I understand the price tag of the run.
If you do consider a Disney run, and I can only speak for Disney World Florida, don’t listen to people when they tell you its ‘flat’ it is maybe in some sections but there are a number of man made hills in the form of over and under passes that you will have to traverse and conveniently these are mostly near the end of the races rather then in the beginning. Then there are the roads, you will run along roads that have right and left banked turns which I found do not make your legs happy. Be prepared for runners with ZERO running etiquette. Sadly, this is the norm on a Disney run, you will have to be aware every minute you are running of the people around you; people will stop right in front of you without warning because they are tired of running or decide to take a selfie. They will run perpendicular to your path to grab such things as wet wipes or snacks from spectators. On five 5K runs watch for kids that suddenly blot out from in front of their parents right into your path. Even if you are in the group “B” corral expect that you are not going to get anywhere fast people seem to walk almost from the get go and block the path. Walkers DO NOT walk on the right or left, they walk in place some time six or more abreast.
You WILL experience a lot of areas where there will be bottle necks narrow paths and hair pin turns mostly. Use extreme caution when running through and just beyond the water and food stations; people are unpredictable in these areas and they seems to find it necessary to just drop the drink and food containers on the ground rather then in the provided trash cans or at minimum on the SIDE of the road. I saw a few people almost take a spill from slipping on these discarded containers.
Remember, it’s not just the runs that will take a toll on your legs; you’re at Disney and you are going to be walking around all day and night between races at the parks. One last item; buy those emergency disposable rain ponchos they come with hoods; trash bags don’t and carry one with you not its just for rain, you will thank me for this one.
I had a great time at the Disney Marathon Weekend and I know you’re wondering if I would do the Dopey Challenge again. Well, I don’t know really; I don’t think I would unless there was a pressing reason too; I did it already so there isn’t much to gain by doing it again. I have been considering doing I Disneyland run in Southern California it add the coast to coast medal to with batch; but if I do I’m sure it would be the last Disney run I might ever do.
So what’s next? IRONMAN is….. Once again I could not resist the urge to say YES when one of guys who ran the Dopey challenge with me sent and email asking if anyone wanted to join him in the Seal Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at Silver Strand State Beach Bay in Coronado, CA. So far only three of us from the group that ran the Dopey Challenge have joined. And, Yes I’m already stressing out over this challenge. I can’t even remember the last time I swam 500 meters.