Day 2 of the 2019 Dopey Challenge and I had big goals for the WDW 10k this year!Read More
Day 4, here we go!
Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.
This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.
Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.
The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.
We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.
We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.
My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!
We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22. I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!
I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.
The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!
Cheers until next time runners!
I woke up ready to run! I was so ready to be unleased from the Epcot area routes from the previous 2 days and actually go somewhere. I felt like a bird that was ready to fly! Get me to the castle pronto!
My legs were starting to get a little tired but it was the 2 previous early mornings that were sucking most of my energy. Today’s plan was similar to the ay before. Enjoy the run and stop for pictures when we wanted to.
For anyone that hasn’t run the WDW Half Marathon or Full Marathon or the Princess Half Marathon, be aware there is a walk (~.3 miles) to the actual corrals. The path to get to the corrals can be pretty crowded too so it can be a slow pace. Give yourself time. Also, there are LOTS of port-o-potties once you get over to the corral area. That’s the one thing runDisney does really well. They have port-o-potties EVERYWHERE! It’s a runner’s dream.
Anyways, back to it. We walked over to the corrals made one potty stop and then headed into corral E. I had tried to figure out how quickly the early corrals would be released but couldn't really find the information so I figured maybe every 5 minutes. I was wrong, it was closer to 2. We were released about 10 minutes after corral A.
This course has become very familiar to me, you run around Epcot on the roads and then up to the Magic Kingdom, going through the parking toll booths, and then through the TTC parking lots. This is where the characters usually begin. (See below for a “complete as I can remember” list of characters)
Once you run through the TTC you run up the roads, under the water bridge that connect Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, pass the Contemporary, and enter the backstage areas of MK just after mile marker 5 (ps the largest building in the back of that area is where the outdoor ice cream carts get their ice cream, imagine all the Mickey Bars back there!). You enter the town square near Tony’s and then turn right up Main St. BAM! The castle in all its icicle/frost/frozen glory. So beautiful.
Once you run up Main St you take another right, over the bridge to Tomorrowland and then hang a left into Fantasyland. Through the castle and then another right into Liberty Square. Through Fronteirland and then backstage where there is usually a parade float (now an old parade float) and a water stop. You then head back out onto the roads passing the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian and then take those roads back to Epcot. A quick jaunt up to World Showplace and then back out to the parking lot (passing the gospel choir) for the finish!
Characters on the course:
- Jack Sparrow and Capt Barbossa – Pirate Ship set up as you run to the Magic Kingdom toll booth
- Vanellope and Wreck-It Ralph – Magic Kingdom parking lot (near race track)
- Jack Skellington and Sally – Magic Kingdom parking lot
- Queen of Hearts – MK near Tea Party
- Mime Thug (Tangled) – Near Winnie the Pooh
- Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff – On Castle balcony
- Louis (Princess and the Frog) – Liberty Square across from Hall of Presidents
- Woody – Frontierland Country Bear Jamboree entrance (I think)
- Mary Poppins, Bert, and Penguins – Grand Floridian
- “Bachelors” – Across from the wedding pavilion
- Golfing Goofy – Golf Course (I believe Mickey and Donald also made appearances)
- Genie, Abu, and the Carpet – Past hotels on the way back to Epcot where parking lot roads merge
- Army Men – Turn around point before coming into Epcot parking lot
- Phineas and Ferb – Epcot near Innoventions
We ran it in 2:18 and enjoyed every minute. The half marathon distance is nothing to sneeze at but we chatted and laughed and had a great time out there and that’s what it’s all about!
This was my first “real” day of running. Once again my dad and I arrived pretty early, we hopped on a bus just after 4am and it was cold but not as cold as the previous morning so people were a bit more lively in the pre-race area. My dad made a beeline for coffee as I went off to meet up with my friends for the race. I was running with my Australian friends, starting in corral A, so I wouldn’t have to wait around as long letting my legs get tired and cold as I did the day before. It also meant that were were dressed up as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf which was super fun and people seemed to really appreciate our outfits.
With the countdown from Rudy and some festive fireworks, we were off! We took the run at an easy pace and stopped for some fun characters. At the first stop a runDisney photographer came up and asked us to stay with the White Rabbit for a picture that would end up on Facebook, but then it never ended up there. Bummer.
We ran, chatted, got some pictures and had a really great time. We didn’t run into too many crowded areas (again we were in the first corral so our experience is different than others) and we finished in 1:09. The course is okay. Not great but just okay and it's very similar to the 5k course. The first 3 miles are pretty much all outside the park on the roads around Epcot.
Characters on the course included:
- Anna and Elsa - standing on an overpass
- White rabbit - Just before the bend on the highway outside Epcot
- Lilo and stitch - Just after the White Rabbit
- Mushu - China
- Genie - Moracco
- Mickey - Boardwalk EPSN Club
- Tweedles - International Gateway
- Chip and dale - Epcot West breezeway
- Large puppets - backstage before exiting Epcot to the finish line.
We got our medals and then went to walk through the Dopey tent but nothing happened there. We just walked through. We weren’t really sure what was going on or how they were verifying the races. We grabbed our snacks and then headed back to our respective resorts to shower and nap.
So as you probably already know because you were either there or read on social media, the 5k was cold. Like really cold. For anyone who has visited WDW when it’s cold, 30 degrees feels waaay colder in WDW than anywhere else. There was wind. There was cold. There was darkness.
My dad and I got ready and headed to the bus around 4:30. We waited for a little bit and then hopped right on and were at the race in no time. We then followed the huddled masses to the main area where normally everyone is dancing, laughing, chatting, and taking pictures but not this time. It looked like a barren waste land in front of the DJ because everyone was huddled around buildings to keep warm.
My dad and I decided to brave the cold in search of coffee and came across the massage tent which they had opened up for people to keep warm in. This was amazing and thank you so much runDisney!!! We never did find that coffee though.
The start of the race was at 6:15 and my dad and I were starting in corral F, the very last corral. We waited until about 6 to go to our corral and then tried to huddle close to others but the wind just whipped into the group and we froze. This year they had changed where the start line was and honestly, I thought it was fine. Lining up there was fine. I don’t really see a large advantage but if runDisney thinks it works better than I’ll defer to their judgment since it didn’t really change my race experience.
Since we had to wait for all the other corrals we didn’t get to cross the start until just before 7 and so it was a very long and cold hour of just standing there. My legs were stiff and my feet completely numb by the time we started. I actually let my hair down to keep the back of my neck warm which is big for me!
When we got to the first mile marker, my feet were starting to thaw as we walked at a fairly fast clip. The best part of the 5k is the sunrise in Epcot. It is just beautiful looking over World Showcase lagoon and seeing the sun peaking up. Beautiful!
Characters on the course included:
- Princess Atta (It's a Bug's Life) - Before the cast parking lot
- Daisy Duck - Norway
- Pinocchio - Italy
- Chip and Dale - Japan
- Marie - France
- Donald Duck - Canada
We didn’t stop for characters, in hindsight I wish I had waited in line for Chip and Dale in Japan but I was just too cold! They changed the course slightly this year and I thought it was nice. No better or worse that the old course that looped us up to the very front of the park rather than through Future World West.
We crossed in 48:51 and then hurried over to our very long bus line. More waiting in the cold. But the bus team assembled and got more buses working on the Pop Century/Art of Animation loop and we never had a problem for another race. Kudos!
Here we go with Part 5 of our epic trip to WDW/Universal from October!
You can catch up on Part 4 here:
So Thursday was jam packed with fun and we were out late so I had planned for a lazy morning followed by Animal Kingdom and then heading over to Epcot for a little more fun and then the Epcot After Hours at the Rose and Crown!
We caught the bus and headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom around 10am, first stop Dinosaur! Here are our thoughts from our day at DAK:
- Dinosaur: When did they move the Carnotaurus to the other side? This attraction really needs some TLC in general. Still fun but could really be so much more.
- Everest: Wookie still talks about this attraction. Such a great ride!
- Festival of the Lion King: I love this show. So spectacular and the new theater and area is really beautiful.
- We went on some of the trails and the animals had already started going in for the evening which was a bit of a bummer. We also missed the safari because they closed earlier than I expected.
As always you can see all the pictures from our trip here: Universal/WDW Trip October 2014
- Food and Wine is the best time of year at WDW. It's just so fun/delicious and we really enjoyed getting our booklets stamped at each booth we went to! The merchandise was pretty awesome too!
- They didn't have Food and Wine beer glasses this year but they did have cute wine glasses, we saw them at the first booth we stopped and then discovered they were at every booth, ack! Let the search begin!
- Not a fan of the 6 oz beers. These were seriously annoying. I get that they are trying to curtail severe drunkeness, but these little dixie cups were annoying.
- Biergarten is the best! So much fun and great beer. I wanted to start off our trip by eating here because Wookie loves Germany. I also really enjoyed their Oktoberfest beer!
- Turtle Talk is so much fun. You need to take a minute to go check this out!
- Mission: Space - I hadn't been on this in a while and I forgot how fun this is. Great attraction!
- Lamented the closing of Maelstrom :(
- Illuminations - I still love this fireworks show. We had the perfect spot to view it from and no annoying people nearby to ruin it. It was magical and one of the highlights of the trip!
|This is my kind of dragon. (aka made of chocolate)|
|The only troll for me!|
Continue to Part 4 here: Part 4: Hollywood, Hoop Dee Doo, and Halloween!