Dopey Challenge – Day 4 – THE Marathon

Sunday, brought Day 4 of the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World.  Marathon Day.  26,000 runners.  We were down to about 6,400 Dopey runners out of the 7,000 who had started with us on Thursday, in the 5K.  The half marathon on Saturday, and specifically the 100% humidity had taken out some of my Dopey friends.  Sad smile  But alas, the majority of us were still standing strong, even if we were a little delusional from lack of sleep.  My Dopy Rockstar pals once again climbed out of bed at 2am FL time (1am, Chicago time) and hauled it up and out, leaving for our drive to Epcot by 2:30am.  Easy parking day.  We were very close to the entrance as opposed to the other days.  Seems Disney Officials finally got it right and put the early birds up front by the gates.  Just in time for us for the BIG day!  We stayed tucked up in the car til the very last minute it was time to go in for gear check.  We made a lame attempt at photos.  My brilliant photo thought of the day was to do “game faces” but as you can see, Judy and I just smiled cuz well, that’s all the thought we could put into this last game day.  Jason, Dawn, Judy & I below:

game face

Then we did a quick meet up with a few of Jason’s British friends.  I think we were going for muscles here, not really sure.  Me, Jason, Julian, Dawn, Judy, Jonny & Martin.

pre marathon

Then off to the start to finish this thing run the marathon.  Another amazing set of fireworks, even better than that which they did for the half, if that is even possible.  This is the photo that runDisney posted and it’s ahmazing!!

marathon start_runDisney

Each corral (A thru M) started with their own set of amazing fireworks with Mickey Mouse as the official conductor who sent us off into the darkness for one last run thru the streets of Disney.  Here is the course map to get an idea of exactly how much of Disney we would be tackling.

Full map

The first portion, maybe 8 miles was a repeat of the half marathon, which I was perfectly fine with me because I had really enjoyed it the day previous.  However, soon enough they turned us off to see new things.  I did get an early photo of Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship, from Pirates of the Caribbean, because it was so cool when I saw it on the half that I wanted to make the stop to take a pic this time around.  Disney really did a great job setting up the scene where each character was located in order to create the look and feel of the movie set for which they represented.  It was very nicely done and a pleasure to see as we sped past.

Pirate ship

On to the Magic Kingdom and I don’t think running thru there could EVER get old!  This was definitely my favorite part of both the full and the half marathon.  Running down Main Street was absolutely amazing and there was MASSIVE crowd support.  It was even better this go round seeing a run club buddy, who has moved to FL, in the crowd cheering!!  Love main street and I love Diane!!

diane

Then the highlight of Magic Kingdom for me was seeing Cinderella’s Castle all lit up and draped in icicle lights.  Absolutely breathtaking.

castle

After the Magic Kingdom, we started weaving thru the rest of the parks, starting with the Richard Petty race track where a local car club got up super early to surround the track with all for their old and new muscle cars.  We ran the entire track and it was SUPER cool!  Then off on the back roads to Animal Kingdom where I was super stoked to ride the Everest Adventure roller coaster.  Til I got there and it was still closed.  Boooo!  I was SO disappointed.  Like really disappointed.  I had been anticipating riding the Everest during the marathon ALL year.  I was crushed.  Last time the family and I went to Disney, I was pregnant with Michael so didn’t get to ride.  This year when we go back, Michael will still be too little to ride.  This was my only chance for YEARS to come.  Sad smile

It was right before we got to Animal Kingdom, around Mile 12 that my tummy started giving me trouble too {read more disappointment}.  I had spent all day/night Saturday trying to refuel from everything I had lost during the half and it was going well until I popped that first energy gel of the day, then it was ALL down hill.  I may have even shed a tear or two on one of the SIX potty stops I had to make (under total duress) during the last half of the marathon.  It was a rough because it left me empty and devoid of energy.  I just kept following my Dopey Rockstar ladies who were so utterly kind to wait for me each and EVERY time I had to stop.  Now those are good friends.  Thank you, Dawn & Judy!  So the second half of the marathon course is a bit of a blur.  I just followed their shirts.  Didn’t talk much.  Noticed the characters were out but always wondered if we would see the ones I liked.  We didn’t.  Here is Maleficent in a photo that Dawn snapped.

I really expected more characters to be around from all the hype I’ve heard about previous Disney Marathons.  Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot but I expected all the big name Disney characters to be out so we could see them and that wasn’t the case.  I thought it was a great course though that covered a lot of the property.  I didn’t mind the back roads at all and I just kept on trucking.  We stopped for a few photos but since I had my own issues happening, I just tried to keep moving.  We walked thru water stops, and there were a lot of those, probably every mile or mile and a half, but kept moving otherwise.  We finally did find Dopey right at Mile 25 though and fortunately Dawn had run ahead (during my last potty stop) and she had a place in line for us.  Yay!!

Dopey pic

Over all, I give the Disney Marathon several thumbs up.  I really enjoyed running thru the parks, even the back roads.  There were tons of water stops.  Medical support at every aid station.  More volunteers than you can possibly imagine.  Anything you might want:  sunscreen (thank you!), Motrin, Biofreeze, Vaseline on sticks, and so many port o potties (super thankful for that!).

The bling is off the hook and that’s coming from someone who rarely even looks at a race finishers medal.

Dopey medals

They offer events for everyone from your little one, all the way up to Grandma and Grandpa.  It’s a real class act and a very family friendly event.  Plus they have beer and champagne at the finish and let’s just say after 48.6 miles of fun, I was ready to have a celebratory beer.  Myself and Judy toasting to a job well done.  We were happy campers!

Dopey Finishe_me & Judy

So that’s that.  The Dopey Challenge, race by race.  Tomorrow I’ll sum everything up and let you know if I think that the big price tag is worth the experience.  Until then, Happy Running my friends!

** Just Keep Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Dopey Challenge – Day 2

Today brought us the race at Disney which I was awaiting, the Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10K. I’m pretty sure I signed up for the Dopey Challenge JUST to run this race cuz really, who would come all this way to run a 10K? Maybe me but I added in a few other races to make it seem legit for hubby. Without further adoo, my photo with my girl, Minnie. We are totally BFF’s now. She hugged me and complimented me on my outfit. Total BESTIES!

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Of course, before I got to the point where Minnie and I got to have a real girlfriend “moment” we had a few things on the agenda. First, it was a 2:45 am wakeup call. That’s 1:45 am Chicago time and yes, I’ll keep mentioning that in EVERY post. Then a short drive to Epcot where we lucked out in getting the best parking spot ever {totally hoping we luck out like that on marathon day!}. Next, into the “holding area” for some amazing photos. I’d like to thank my Dopey Rockstar pals for being particularly cheery, amazing sports, and VERY photogenic for my most anticipated race of the series!

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We even got to meet a couple TTF readers Becky & Amy, see photo below {and let me apologize to Kristina S from yesterday who I met but neglected to take a photo of her in her amazing costume. Kristina, find me tomorrow, ok?}

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A few potties stops later and we were packed into B corral and ready to roll. The corral starts were much slower today with maybe 10 minutes between corrals. This was due to the congestion in and out of the park for yesterday’s 5K event and I, for one, appreciate that they noticed. Once again each corral was sent off with fireworks and I managed to snag a shot today!

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Off we went with a group of 10,000 total 10K runners. Remember that approximately 7,000 are Dopey Challenge participants. Today certainly SEEMED bigger, even though the numbers were about the same as yesterday. Today also brought more costumes, some which were even more amazing than yesterday. The 10K bought us a better race route too. Space. Fun. And loads of amazing people and sights. The people watching at the Disney races IS one of the main attractions and I was constantly blown away by the creativity that some showed on their artistic costumes. Kudos to you creative types. I super impressed and somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t try harder!!!! Needless to say the 10K flew by. I played music and sang in the boring parts of the race course. I waived and yelled to the crowd and volunteers. I really hammed it up during the race and LOVED every minute of it. I loved it so much that I had a brilliant idea to attempt a jumping photo with my Dopey Rockstars at the finish line. Not my most brilliant moment of the day. In my defense, I was excited. I was also assuming with the 5 billion photogs at the finish line, that SOMEONE would manage to get our jump shot. Yeah, well, the amazing action shot that they managed to capture wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned as I slipped on the wet pavement and fell down on my ass, while simultaneously hitting my head, scraping my elbows and spraining my thumb a mere step away from the finish line. Yes, I’m okay. No I’m not really embarrassed, more irritated that I ruined our photo. No, I won’t be trying again for the jumping photo tomorrow. I mean, like I’m not totally stupid. And yes, I’ll post the action shot later of me slipping and falling IF it doesn’t look like it will scare my mom too badly. No, I didn’t remember to stop my Garmin as I walked across the finish line in a very dazed and confused state. Fortuneately, my Dopey Rockstar friends did usher me in the proper direction for Dopey Challenge Finishers. Disney officials then made a mark on our 5K bracelets before giving us a 10K wristband to add to the collection.

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And they made sure that I got my medal. Priorities!

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Finally, we made our way to the line to wait to see Minnie Mouse. I thought sure since we were Besties now that my friends and I would get to skip the line. However, the Disney officials are very professional and didn’t want anyone to think that we were getting preferential treatment, due to my friendship with Minnie, so alas we waited in line with everyone else to see her but it was TOTALLY worth the wait.

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Great race. I really did love every minute of it minus the few seconds that I was flat on my ass at the finish line letting everyone get a glance of my “under the skirt” attire. Thanks, Minnie. Thanks, Disney. Thanks, Dopey Rockstar pals!

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