The Road to Dopey

My road to Dopey started just over a year ago, strangely enough right where it would cumulate – at Marathon Weekend in Walt Disney World. Last year we spent the winter in the Orlando area. Last year’s Marathon Weekend included three races, a 5K, a half marathon and the full marathon. In addition there is also something called the Goofy Race and Half Challenge. For that you run the half on Saturday and then the full on Sunday – you do this and not only do you get the medals for the half and full, but you also get a special Goofy medal. Since we had some friends running races, we decided to sign up for the Family Fun Run 5K and spent a few days at Disney hanging out with them and cheering them on.

Melissa and Niki after the Half

Melissa and Niki after the Half

The week before the 5K I had a 10 mile training run to get ready for my first half marathon – the Princess at the end of February. At mile 9 my knee started hurting a lot and by mile 9.5 I had to stop and was concerned that I might not be able to make it thru the Princess.

We arrived at the expo to pick up our bibs for the 5K and look at all the stuff for sale. RunDisney has a booth where they display the medals for all the races they run throughout the year.  Last year was the 20th Disney World Marathon and the medal was really incredible.  It was at the expo that I learned that 2015 would be the 10th anniversary of the Goofy and knew they would make a cool special medal for that.  I admit it I love the medals – but there is no way I could do a half and then a full.

Of course Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian that prompts the run, walk, run method and is a training consultant to RunDisney was also in the booth. After you spend a few minutes talking to Jeff you really do believe you can do anything. And so I thought that maybe with two years to train I could do the Goofy and bought a running shirt that said Goofy in Training.

Goofy with Goofy

Goofy with Goofy


It was in that shirt that I ran the 5K on Friday and had my best time ever in a 5K, a 15:40 minute per mile pace (which lots of runners would consider slow – but it is better than the 16 minute per mile pace that is needed at the Disney races).

Bill in Epcot

Family 5K – Bill in Epcot

We watched the races and cheered for our friends. I talked about doing the Goofy in 2015, while in the back of my mind I was wondering if I would be able to complete the half in February and realized that I was just crazy. Our friend Melissa completed her Goofy and I got caught up in the excitement and said I would going to do the Goofy in 2015 and Melissa said she would run it with me.  Now I was in trouble and kind of committed.  I quickly formulated a plan in my mind – take a year to train and do the full marathon in 2014. Then I would have another year to train to do a half followed by the full.

It is interesting that I wrote a blog back on January 14th of 2014 about becoming a runner and ended it with “I guess I am becoming a runner – a few months ago I ‘knew’ I could never complete a half marathon in the time allowed, now I believe that with the right training I can run 39.3 miles in 2 days. That is just Goofy (or should I say Dopey).”  What a strange phrase to use – 2 months before they would announce the Dopey.

Back in the middle of December 2012, RunDisney announced the Dumbo Double Dare which would be held Labor Day weekend in Disneyland.  Sign up for that race started on January 24th – a month before I would run my first half. We went back and forth and decided to give it a try – but it sold out very quickly and we could not get in.  We found a travel agent that had race packages still available and so Leslie and I signed up for our second half marathon (with a 10K the day before it)  before we ran our first half. What were we thinking?

It was finally time for the Princess, Leslie was injured and had to walk it, and I walked most of it with her. I ended up running my second half marathon 3 weeks after the Princess on March 17th. I completed the half but had to walk the last part of it because I was totally worn out.

My plan was to follow the Galloway Dumbo training, run the Dumbo and then continue in with the Galloway Full Marathon training to be ready for the Disney World Full Marathon in January. Given my experience with my second half I had questions about being ready – but decided to trust Jeff Galloway.  It was a good plan – and then on March 22nd, just 5 days after my second half, RunDisney had to go and complicate my plans – they announced the Dopey.  Run a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half on Saturday and a full on Sunday for a total of 48.6 miles.

I had two weeks to think about it before I would have to decide. I went back and forth a number of times. There is no way I could do that.  However I also knew that Jeff Galloway would come up with a training plan and if I could follow it – I could be ready. It would be an inaugural medal. What to do? What to do?

Well the day arrived and I had to make a decision, there would be only one inaugural Dopey. I mean really I was already planning on doing 26.2 miles so 48.6 is not that much more? Right? OK new plan combine the Dumbo training plan with the Dopey plan.   I took the Galloway training plan for the Dumbo and combined it with the Dopey training plan.

Overall the training had its ups and downs. The Dumbo training was not too bad, but once I moved into the Dopey training there were weeks when I had to do 4 days in a row, which was not too bad until the millage went up.  It took good bit of time and as the millage went up I had problems with my IT band which caused knee issues. Basically on all of my really long runs I would have knee problems that made we walk the last number of miles. .  I also started to have some blister problems with the long walks followed by the long runs – which does slow one down a bit. This was not much of an issue on the training runs – but it made me worry about my ability to complete the Disney World Marathon without getting swept.

Since the Galloway training had a 26 mile run and I really wanted to do either the Space Coast half or full marathon  (there is a series of really cool space shuttle medals that started this year)– I signed up for the full marathon which would run on December 1st.  I don’t really know what mile the blisters started, but my knee started to bother me around mile 18.5 and by 20 I had to walk – but I finished and in a time that would just keep me in front of the sweepers. However I would not much time for pictures during the Disney World Marathon, but that would be fine as long as I finished.

2013 Space Coast

2013 Space Coast

The Space Coast is run along the Indian River that separates Merritt Island (where the Kennedy Space Center is) from the mainland.  The picture in the top right is taken along the path of the run looking at the river. Yes the picture in the upper left is me eating bacon during the marathon as part of the 3 pigs challenge (

Three weeks before the actual race was my last big training series that included a 2 mile walk, followed by a 5 mile walk, followed by a 10 mile walk, and then a 20 mile run.  Even though I got blisters it went well and I did not have knee problems.  I guess I was as ready as I could be.

The year before I did the 5K and my longest run was supposed to be 10 miles which I had to cut short at 9.5 and I was going to attempt 4 days, for a total of 48.6 miles.  Yeah it sure does sound Dopey.

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