Epilog: Disney Marathon Weekend


“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.


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13 Responses to Epilog: Disney Marathon Weekend

  1. 50in50marathonquest says:

    Congratulations on a great accomplishment…me and Wifey have discussed this challenge but are very much on the fence for ’17. Great reading your summary…best of luck with the next adventure! Cheers!

    • usabaker says:

      Why on the fence? with the amount of running you guys do the Dopey Challenge would be a breeze. I wish my wife would run with me, you’re lucky 🙂

      • 50in50marathonquest says:

        Yeah, but training for the Maui Oceanfront this fall and winter sucked…it was really tough to get the miles in for just a single marathon, and to be honest I didn’t even come close to my training plan which kicked me in the ass yesterday, especially throwing in the heat and humidity. Also, you make some good points about getting up at 2-3 in the morning to go run with 25-45 thousand other runners for 4 days in a row!! I got a feeling we probably will give it a shot one day, just not sure when…cheers!

      • usabaker says:

        Oh man the heat and humidity will kick most people butt.i don’t know how people run ultras in that stuff. The time change at the Disney run is what kick my butt. 🙂

      • 50in50marathonquest says:

        Yeah, the humidity freakin crushed me along with the hills in Maui yesterday but I wont bitch too much ‘cos, well I’m in Maui…aloha and all, cheers!

  2. ABCofRunning says:

    Congratulations!! It is such an amazing achievement!you should be very proud of yourself!

  3. Congratulations, that’s a major accomplishment! And what a beautiful array of medals! 🏅

  4. janerunswild says:

    Congrats on your tremendous accomplishment! You must feel on top of the world right now! I actually cracked up at your description of people not following running etiquette– that must have been so annoying! I find it super annoying when people just stop in the middle of the course to walk, etc…they should just step aside! Thanks for this post and congrats again!

    • usabaker says:

      It was fun more so because I was with ‘the guys’ I was SO annoyed on the first run because I didn’t expect it. On the 10K (I think) this guy stopped right before the finish line to take a selfie; he lucky I decided not to sprint in to the finish like I normally do else both him and I would be road kill. with the exception of the lack of etiquette it was great 🙂 thanks.

  5. Brittany says:

    I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH! My very first “big race” was the Disneyland half marathon back in 2011. I ran it “just to finish” which left SO much room to continue to improve. I think with anything Disney for me it would be about the experience, although a good chunk of the races are OUTSIDE of the park so in that aspect I may want to push it a bit. Regardless of your mindset, you accomplished a HUGE feat with this multi day challenge and you look great doing it!! Give yourself a pat on the back, and eat yourself a huge helping of carbs! I really want to do a Disney full marathon now…

    • usabaker says:

      Thank you! I the experience was good; I think though, now that I ran it, that I would have felt more accomplish had I run a non-Disney Marathon first. I’m left with a feeling of not really accomplising much. That said, I think everyone should run a Disney Marathon at least once because it is really different, or so I think, can’t really say since I never ran a full marathon any where else.

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