Who Are You Calling Dopey

The alarm clock when off at some ridiculous time in the morning and I thought to myself really again. Then I realized it was Sunday otherwise known as Marathon Day. It would be the last day I would have to get up really early and go run (at least for a while).  With the practice we had we had the routine down pretty good and were soon heading out the door.  Leslie was not running, but she had plans to do lots of ChEaring so she had a backpack full of various supplies and 12 pounds of clementines. Of course I was dressed as Snow White (in honor of the Dopey) and had a backpack full of water, nut butter packets, nunn tablets (electrolyte replacement like Gatorade but without the sugars) and various other things I might need along the way.

2014 Dopey Full - Ready To Get Dopey

2014 Dopey Full – Ready To Get Dopey

We got over to EPCOT and met up with our friends. We managed to get a great group shot this morning before we started to wander off.

2014 Dopey Full - Group Picture Before the Race

2014 Dopey Full – Group Picture Before the Race

I went into the race retreat tent to use the facilities and also see what character was there. It was Mary Poppins, Bert and Penguins again.  Since I was different – I decided to get another picture. I think I confused Bert – he told me I had a nice bow tie.

2014 Dopey Full - A nice Bow Tie?

2014 Dopey Full – A nice Bow Tie?

Since we had some additional time to kill I got a picture taken with a Green Army Man also.

2014  Dopey Full - Snow White and Green Army Man

2014 Dopey Full – Snow White and Green Army Man

It was time to head to the corals and Niki, Steve, Nichole and I started the long walk together.  As we walked we chatted about a variety of things and were amazed as Niki found places to stash her food she was taking with her for the race. We got to the point where we split up going to our corals – we were all in separate ones and told each other to have a good race.

Now I was in the coral by myself – well not really by myself but not with anyone that I knew and it hit me.  I have completed 3 of the 4 days of the challenge or 75%, however I also knew that over the last 3 days I ran 22.4 miles and when cross the start line I would have complete 26.2 miles.  I knew that I could go the distance, but I was concerned about staying ahead of the balloon ladies if my knee should give me problems and make me walk. The time passed and started our slow walk up to the start line.  I must have really been more stressed out about the marathon than I thought – I do not have a picture of the start line. I know I started – I have lots of pictures from the race.

This section inserted later – I started this blog Friday and got a little past this point. Earlier in the week Leslie and I signed up with Team in Training for the Seattle Half Marathon in June. Saturday was our first team training run in Seattle for 40 minutes, however since I am doing a half later in February I really needed to run more than 40 minutes today. I went out in the afternoon to run another 7 miles and the fact that I did not get a picture of the start line was bugging me. I remember the fireworks – there were more fireworks for the Marathon than the halves I have done with Disney. I could not believe that I did not get a picture – then I thought to look at the pictures in my phone and sure enough – I took them with my phone and not the camera I was carrying.

2014 Dopey Full - Start Line

2014 Dopey Full – Start Line

Since I was concerned about my knee I knew I would need to make sure I started slow to get it warmed up, so my plan was to walk the first mile. I stopped to take a picture of the mile marker (and got all of them except for one), and then started with my intervals. To force myself to not go to too fast I changed my intervals to have a longer walk segment. As I could hear the fireworks and knew the corals behind me were starting – it was hard not to run or speed up, but I knew that I needed to pace myself.

Things were going well I got the turn and started down World Drive, and was disappointed. On both of the halves I ran at Walt Disney World, Captain Jack and the pirate ship are in this section of the run – and they were not there. I was planning on stopping for a photo.  Oh well it will allow me to continue on without stopping and get some more distance between me and the balloon ladies.

Continued down World Drive and went thru the gates to the Magic Kingdom parking area.  I am not really sure where – but somewhere either before or soon after this I caught up with Nichole.  Nichole was recovering from an injury and could not run much and was doing the Dopey walking. I knew that Leslie would be waiting at the Ticket and Transit Center and told Nichole I would walk with her until we got to Leslie. We had a good for about a mile and then saw the Castle – no not the Castle in the park – the one on Leslie’s head.   We said a brief hi to Leslie and continued on – this was a little before mile 4 – there were still a lot of miles to go.

2014 Dopey Full - Bill and Nichole Just Before Mile 4

2014 Dopey Full – Bill and Nichole Just Before Mile 4

I said goodbye to Nichole and started my intervals again. This time when I got near the Contemporary Hotel, I actually went off to the side and stopped to get the picture. I kind of thought for a moment about waiting and getting a monorail in the shot and figured I should just keep swimming.

2014 Dopey Full - Contemporary Hotel - Should have waited for the monorail

2014 Dopey Full – Contemporary Hotel – Should have waited for the monorail

The guy with the big Mickey hands was on the water bridge, but I don’t remember what he was saying this time – it was not as funny, but given we had not yet gotten to mile 5 and they were telling us we could go the distance was, well a bit like the people that yell out at mile 5 of 26 saying your almost there.  Sorry the picture is a bit blurred – I could not stop.

2014 Dopey Full - Just Keep Swimming (part 2)

2014 Dopey Full – Just Keep Swimming (part 2)

Right as we rounded the turn off World Drive onto the road that would take us backstage at the Magic Kingdom I stopped to get a picture of the mile 5 marker. It was also a great place to get a shot of Space Mountain.

2014 Dopey Full - Space Mountain in the Morning Light

2014 Dopey Full – Space Mountain in the Morning Light

Then thru the backstage area and onto Main Street.  Even though I was just running thru the Magic Kingdom 24 hours earlier, it was still so very cool to run thru the park. Perhaps someday I will tire of it – but it will take a lot of runs thru the park before I can imagine it.

2014 Dopey Full - Main Street USA and the Castle

2014 Dopey Full – Main Street USA and the Castle

Like the day before it was on to Tomorrowland – but today I got pictures.

2014 Dopey Full - Heading into TommorowLand

2014 Dopey Full – Heading into TommorowLand

As I crossed into Tommorowland I was on the far right hand side of the path. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cast member on the left with pins.  I stopped and had to wait a moment and then dodge back and forth across the runners to get the other side of the road. When asked why Bill crosses the path – clearly it is for a pin trade.  I traded for a villains bowling pin and was on my way to the line for pictures with Buzz.

2014 Dopey Full - Snow White and Buzz Lightyear

Everyone gets there picture taken in front of the castle, however there were a group of maintenance men hanging out cheering on the runners – They got a kick out of my costume, so I asked if they could snap my picture. I started to concern me when guy got down low to take a picture (good thing there are shorts under the sparkle skirts).   I also decided to get a picture of the back of the castle, since I knew the pictures of the front would be on my MarathonPhoto disk.

2014 Dopey Full - Ninth Wonder of the World - The Backside of the Castle

2014 Dopey Full – Ninth Wonder of the World – The Backside of the Castle

On to Liberty Square. Louis from the Princess and the Frog was there again. I know Leslie really wanted a picture with him, so I did not stop when we did the half. I decided to stop and get the picture during the Marathon.  And of course I had to stop and get another picture with the train – being careful not to get any grease on my hand this time.

2014 Dopey Full - Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Tracks

2014 Dopey Full – Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Tracks

Rapunzel and Flynn were out at the float behind stage and I was tempted – but the line was long.  As I got to mile 7 I saw that Golfer Donald was out, or course Royal Mickey and Minnie were by the castle.

2014 Dopey Full - Golfer Donald (he does not get his own cart)

2014 Dopey Full – Golfer Donald (he does not get his own cart)

The course for the first 8 or so miles of the marathon is the same as half, actually both halves I ran there.  Shortly after mile 8 the course differs – instead of running past the Speedway – we run into it.

Dopey 2014 Full - The Course

Dopey 2014 Full – The Course

Our friend Mellisa ran the Goofy last year and said the ramp down under the track and then back up was murder on her knees.  I could see why – there is no other way of putting it – it sucked.  I have to admit I was kind of disappointed with the inside of the Speedway. I believe last year they had Lightning there – he was not there this year. They did have a mini car show – but it really paled in comparison to the miles of cars at the Disneyland half

2014 Dopey Full - Speedway

2014 Dopey Full – Speedway

Most people that read this know that we have spent a few winters hanging out in the Orlando area and of course spent a lot of time at Disney. Our GPS always showed what appeared to be a Mickey head shaped lake in the middle of the track, and it also shows up on Google maps.  I was really disappointed that I did not see it, perhaps if I climbed to the top of the track I might have – but that seemed like a lot of work and since mile 9 was in the track – I still had 17 to go and did not want to expend the energy that would have been required.

We headed out of the track and instead of going back up World Drive towards EPCOT, we went off on Bear Island Road – one that I have never been on before (even driving around the parks).  Between mile 9 and 10 there was a photo stop with Millicent and the Shadow Man. I was feeling pretty good about stopping and being able to maintain a good pace – but I did not stop.

It was obvious that this was not a road within Disney World that is not one that guests would travel, the landscaping was nothing like the guest areas of the complex.  I am now somewhere between mile 10 and 11 and off to the side of the road ahead I see a large alligator. For a moment this concerned me, but I realized it did not move and the runners nearer to it were not at all concerned.  In the picture below you will see a road going off to the right – down the road was a gate and fences – that had a sign that said high security area – I wonder if that is the area where they relocate the alligators to.

2014 Dopey Full - Incentive to Run Faster

2014 Dopey Full – Incentive to Run Faster

There were little signs along the side of the road asking “Are your Dogs Barking Yet?” – I did not get a picture, but then it became clear. There were 3 famous Disney Dogs available for pictures, Pluto, Bolt and Doug. Since Doug was there I had to stop for a picture.

2014 Dopey Full - Dogs a Barking

2014 Dopey Full – Dogs a Barking

As I approached mile 11 I knew this area was not on the normal tour. There was a sign to the Recycle Transfer Station and the parking area for the garbage trucks – they could have painted them a bit nicer.

2014 Dopey Full - This is Not on the Nornal Tour

2014 Dopey Full – This is Not on the Nornal Tour

As we continued on we passed Captain Hook and Smee  on the side of the road and down the road a little is the horticulture area. I did not see any topiaries, just lots of green houses and shrubs.

2014 Dopey Full - Where are the Topiaries

2014 Dopey Full – Where are the Topiaries

A little before the mile 12 marker, we enter the back stage area of Animal Kingdom. I did spot a cast member with pins, but decided to wait until I got in the park (mistake – I did not get a trade done in the park). However there was a resting area for the cast members that walk on the stilts.

014 Dopey Full - Seating for Really Tall People

014 Dopey Full – Seating for Really Tall People

And I got my picture taken with a bird – I need to send this our friends Char and Forest to identify the bird for me. And Dottie with her Marathon bib – I don’t think she ran the whole thing.

2014 Dopey Full - WIldlife in Animal Kingdom

2014 Dopey Full – WIldlife in Animal Kingdom

After mile 12 we got into the actual guest area of the park and I stopped for a picture with Jiminy Cricket and also Minnie and Daisy.  Although I did not stop with Baloo.

2014 Dopey Full - Picture Stops in Animal Kingdom

2014 Dopey Full – Picture Stops in Animal Kingdom

When I went by Expedition Everest – I was tempted.   I was pleased with the pace I was keeping given how many stops I was making for mile marker sign and standing in lines for characters, but the area was a mess with a couple of tour groups, so I just carried on.

2014 Dopey Full - Expedition Everest

2014 Dopey Full – Expedition Everest

Mile 13 was in a back stage area of Animal Kingdom and the cast members and volunteers in the area making a big deal about being half way done.  I yelled back at them that us Dopeys hit our half way point around mile 2 and we are now way beyond half. This got great responses from the other Dopeys in the area.   I was surprised to see Mickey and his safari trucks in the parking lot of Animal Kingdom, but realized that the Magic Kingdom was open, so Royal Mickey and Minnie no longer needed to be by the Castle.

2014 Dopey Full - Safari Mickey

2014 Dopey Full – Safari Mickey

I knew there were going to be a few miles of road again until we got to ESPN.

2014 Dopey Full - More Miles To Go (And Leslie Wonders Why I Walk in the Road)

2014 Dopey Full – More Miles To Go (And Leslie Wonders Why I Walk in the Road)

It is good that they got some of the grave diggers working overtime to get rid of the bodies of the runners that could not go on and were scattered along the sides of the road.

2014 Dopey Full - I Can Not Go On

2014 Dopey Full – I Can Not Go On

When I got to the marker for mile 16 I had to stop and get a picture – Snow White was on the marker. As I was standing there taking my picture a woman ran up to me and asked if she could get my picture by the sign, and also offered to get a picture of me with the marker with my camera for me

2014 Dopey Full - Snow White and Snow White

2014 Dopey Full – Snow White and Snow White

Around mile 16.5 or so we turn off of Osceola Parkway and onto S. Victory Way by the ESPN sign. There are miles and miles of running within ESPN – but I also knew that Leslie was waiting for me with a clementine in Champions Stadium.

2014 Dopey Full - Made it to ESPN Wide World of Sports

2014 Dopey Full – Made it to ESPN Wide World of Sports

There is a lot of running in the ESPN complex – close to 3 miles. Each time it looked like we were running to the Stadium we would turn and run away from it again. It was nice running on the track – they should really make a whole separate 26 mile long path made of that cushy stuff for the marathon.

014 Dopey Full - Miles to go Inside ESPN

014 Dopey Full – Miles to go Inside ESPN

At various times during the race my confidence of finishing got stronger. When I made it thru the Magic Kingdom with a good average pace that was increasing my lead on the balloon ladies even though I walked a good bit and stopped for lots of pictures it made me feel good. When I got to Animal Kingdom and was still maintaining a good pace and felt great I really started to believe that even if my knee gave me problems I would be able to finish.  Well by the time I got to Champions Stadium, which is right before mile 20 and I was not feeling like I have gone 20 miles and I was convinced that I would complete the run without my knee hurting.

I entered the stadium and went over to the side to take a picture, and then I started to run the course around keeping my eyes open for the castle hat.

2014 Dopey Full - Inside Champions Stadium

2014 Dopey Full – Inside Champions Stadium

I found Leslie and collected my clementine. Leslie purchased a Dopey hat from Disneyland Paris and was going to surprise me with it after I earned my Dopey. I ruined her surprise when I found the hat about a week before we left. She had the hat and swapped out my Dumbo hat with the bow for the Dopey hat for the last 6 miles of the run. I stood and ate my clementine, changed my hat and chatted with Leslie for a couple of minutes before continuing the run.

2014 Dopey Full - Champions Stadium Time for a Hat Change

2014 Dopey Full – Champions Stadium Time for a Hat Change

After leaving stadium we had a little more running to do in the ESPN center before we went back on the roads heading to Hollywood Studios. As I was running on Osceola Parkway towards ESPN there was a steady stream of running going the other direction, but by the time I got back on the Parkway they were cleaning up the other direction.  In the 20th mile were some signs with Disney quotes on them.   I started to tear up a bit when thought to myself a year ago I dreamed of doing the Goofy and today was doing the Dopey.

2014 Dopey Full - A Few Words from Walt

2014 Dopey Full – A Few Words from Walt

Somewhere in the 21st mile I managed to get a pebble in my shoe, sometimes it will work itself into a place where you can just ignore it, but that was not the case. I went the side and sat on a guard rail and took my shoe off – as soon as I did this other runners would ask if I was OK. It was not long before a medic on a bicycle rode by and also checked on me.  Pebble out of shoe and I continued on to get my second picture with a Green Army Man today.

2014 Dopey Full - Second Green Army Man of the Day

2014 Dopey Full – Second Green Army Man of the Day

As I started to climb the overpass  that goes over the entrance to Hollywood Studios Parking  I thought that I was soon going to enter the park – I did not realize that we were headed another mile down World Drive and would enter the Park at the other end.

2014 Dopey Full - Getting Near Hollywood Studios

2014 Dopey Full – Getting Near Hollywood Studios

The 22nd mile was fun – we entered the Hollywood Studios backstage area near The Hollywood Tower of Terror.  I then spotted Wreck-It-Ralph and got a quick picture with him before following the path along where the backstage tour travels. We actually ran thru the tunnel area where the tour shows the costuming area.

2014 Dopey Full - Hollywood Studios Back Lot Tour

2014 Dopey Full – Hollywood Studios Back Lot Tour

I must have really gotten into absorbing the experience of running thru Hollywood Studios – I did not get a picture of the Mile 23 sign.  I think this was the only sign I missed on all 4 runs.  As I ran down New York Street in the Studios – I saw a cast member with pins on.  I ran over and at first he looked a little confused. I scored a “Wanna Trade?” pin as my second trade of the race.

2014 Dopey Full - In Hollywood Studios

2014 Dopey Full – In Hollywood Studios

We then exited the park and I had to stop to take a picture of Sorcerer Mickey and the Brooms at the front of the park.  I asked a woman who was watching the runners go by if she would take a picture for me.

2014 Dopey Full - Leaving Hollywood Studios

2014 Dopey Full – Leaving Hollywood Studios

There is a path that goes from the entrance of Hollywood Studios along the waterway to the Boardwalk area and then to the International Gate of EPCOT.  I know this well back in October we went to Orlando for a conference and spent a day and half at Disney before we flew back to Seattle. We stayed in the Boardwalk and since I had to do a 10K training run – I ran the path back and forth a number of times to get my 6.2 miles. I think I was starting to annoy a number of the others on the path. I was continuing to do my intervals and I could see there were people in pain just walking.

2014 Dopey Full - Boradwalk

2014 Dopey Full – Boradwalk

I approached the International Gate and did not realize that we were going to go to the right and backstage for a bit before entering the World Showcase.  However the man, or should I say Dwarf of the hour was there to great his fellow Dopeys. Of course I stopped for a picture.

2014 Dopey Full - Dopey with Snow Dopey

2014 Dopey Full – Dopey with Snow Dopey

We went backstage and entered the World Showcase on the side of the UK. Of course we had to get the entrance by the long route around – but after almost 25 miles what is a couple of more steps. I was on top of the world as I started my walk around the world. I got a few pictures here and there along the way.

2014 Dopey Full - The World Showcase

2014 Dopey Full – The World Showcase

And then I got to Germany. On the side of Germany is a spot with Snow White hangs out and greets guests.  As I got near I saw there was a line and then I saw she was there. I also noted the cast member standing at the end of the line and my heart sank. I left the course and ran over to the cast member who told me the line was closed and that Snow would be back in about 40 minutes.   I begged but of course she could not let me in the line.  I actually considered waiting – I mean how often do you run a marathon thru EPCOT dressed as Snow White with a Dopey Hat on and can get a picture with the real Snow White?  I have heard that once you get into Hollywood Studios if you are still moving they will let you finish no matter how long it takes.  If I am standing in line for a character picture – but pacing back and forth does that count as moving?

I thought about it all and figured it was just not too be and was slowly making my way back to the course, when a woman with a couple of small kids yelled over that I could take her spot.  I asked her if she was really sure and she said they were going to be in the park all day and still at Disney for a number of day and I could really take her spot.  I wish I got her name and information – so I could send her a thank you card.  I had a great little chat with Snow and then continued on my way towards the finish line.

2014 Dopey Full - Snow White and Dopey Snow

2014 Dopey Full – Snow White and Dopey Snow

I continued on and got my last character picture with Mushu.

2014 Dopey Full - Last Character of the Race - Mushu

2014 Dopey Full – Last Character of the Race – Mushu

As I passed Mexico – I really thought about stopping and getting a Margarita until I realized I had no form of payment on me.  I will have to rectify that for my next Walt Disney World Marathon.  As I started up the path in Future World towards the EPCOT ball, I remember looking at the ball from the other side 4 mornings earlier and could not believe I was almost done.  There was a guy that was not a cast member that was taking pictures for some of the runners – so I asked him for one also.

2014 Dopey Full - The Other Side of the EPCOT Ball

2014 Dopey Full – The Other Side of the EPCOT Ball

I stopped at the pin trading booth in EPCOT and made a trade for a Figment pin, and since I had a pin that did not get traded in Animal Kingdom I also traded for the Mickey thumbs up pin.

2014 Dopey Full - Bib with Pins

2014 Dopey Full – Bib with Pins

It was then onto the backstage area where the marker for mile 26 was.

2014 Dopey Full - Almost Done

2014 Dopey Full – Almost Done

And there is the finish line.  I ran over and got a high five from Goofy before crossing the finish line.

2014 Dopey Full - The Fnish Line with Goofy

2014 Dopey Full – The Fnish Line with Goofy

I got my marathon medal and then went towards the area for the special medals. They checked my wrist bands and put the Goofy Medal around my neck – the last medal to go around my neck was the Dopey.  I did it.

2014 Dopey Full - Mickey, Goofy, and of course Dopey

2014 Dopey Full – Mickey, Goofy, and of course Dopey

I went into the race retreat tent for some breakfast (or lunch?) and to re-connect with Leslie.   I then headed back to the resort to take an ice bath and change while Leslie hung out with some friends and then went into EPCOT.

When I got back to EPCOT – we took pictures with our medals, and in true Dopey fashion – I walked the World Showcase again since 26 plus miles in one day is just not enough (and dinner was in Japan at the other end of the Showcase).

I am proud to say that I am indeed Dopey.

Just a Little Dopey

The weekend part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend finally arrived – it was Saturday the day for the half marathon. Back when it started it was a weekend event, they only had a marathon. Four years later they added the half – so I assume that was weekend. Now the events start on Wednesday with the Expo and go thru Sunday with the running of the marathon. I guess Mickey’s weekends are 5 days long, I wish I were him.

Of course we had to get up very early to have breakfast, get ready and then head out to catch the bus to head over to EPCOT yet again. Unlike the small crowd of only 10,000 runners for the 5 and 10K there would be somewhere between 20 and 25 thousand people running and a good number of others going to chEar, so we knew we needed to get an early bus.

Each of the Disney races has a primary character – the half is Donald’s race.  The plan was to do the half together at Leslie’s pace, so of course we did a joint costume. I was Donald and Leslie was Daisy. The hats we wore were from Tokyo Disneyland (we decided we are going to have to visit Tokyo Disneyland to buy more hats in the future).

2014 Dopey Half - Donald and Daisy Ready for a Little Run

2014 Dopey Half – Donald and Daisy Ready for a Little Run

We got to EPCOT and met up with friends and chatted for a while we waited until it was time to head to the starting corals. Since I was doing the Dopey I also bought the race retreat which gave me access to a special tent that had breakfast (but nothing I could eat – mainly bagels), a separate set of porta potties , and special character opportunities.  (more about the race retreat after the race).  Here is my picture I got in the race retreat.

2014 Dopey Half - Mary Poppins

2014 Dopey Half – Mary Poppins

For the 5K there were lots of costumes, less on the 10K and even less on half. This Japanese couple made an impression on everyone.  Yes he did carry it for the whole race.

2014 Dopey Half - He is Committed to his Costume

2014 Dopey Half – He is Committed to his Costume

Unlike the 5 and 10K’s which had only 5 corals and started in the parking lot of EPCOT, the half (and full) had 17 corals which with the Start line are on Epcot Center Drive.  This time Leslie and I were in the same corral – L.  It was a long walk from the staging / finish area to our corral, and from what I figured on Google maps it was about a .4 miles from our corral to the start line.  Here is the map of the half course.  It started to rain a little before the start of the half, and Leslie and I sat under the Overpass Road overpass. You can see how far that is from the parking lots and the start line.

2014 Dopey Half Course Route

2014 Dopey Half Course Route

Well we had lots of time waiting. We had to be in our corral before the start of the race at 5:30 and our corral was not scheduled to start until 6:17. After a long wait and slowly inching forward we finally got close enough to get a picture of the start line

2014 Dopey Half - Start Line

2014 Dopey Half – Start Line

It was finally time for us to start and we were on our way. As we moved forward we listened and counted off the fireworks that stated the following corrals so we could estimate how much of lead we had on the balloon ladies at the end of the pack.  As we went I would stop and take pictures of the mile markers and then catch back up with Leslie.

Of course Disney has characters out in various locations along the race route, but they also have other decorations along the way. I really liked this banner that was hanging from a lighted balloon type thing. The wind made it difficult to get a good picture, but I stood there for a little and got one.

2014 Dopey Half - Race Decorations

2014 Dopey Half – Race Decorations

Somewhere between mile 2 and 3 we go thru the gates where cars stop to pay the parking fee.  The course for the half is the same course we did when we ran the Princess half back in February, but Leslie and I were not walking together so I got a picture of her in front of the gate (sorry it’s a little blurred).

2014 Dopey Half - Entrance to the TTC

2014 Dopey Half – Entrance to the TTC

Between mile 3 and 4 there were some cars (from the driving experience) and Launchpad. Of course I had to stop and get a picture of Donald and Launchpad. I am guessing that he had not seen that hat before he made a big deal and we interacted for longer than normal during a race.

2014 Dopey Half - Donald and Launchpad

2014 Dopey Half – Donald and Launchpad

The marker for mile 4 is in the Ticket and Transportation Center near the building that has the bathrooms.  There was a band in the TTC and then we head back out onto World Drive towards the Contemporary.  I took what I thought was going to be a great picture of the Contemporary – but I guess I need to stop when I take the pictures so they are just a big blur (most likely I will forget in the excitement of my next race). Next up it was time to go under the water bridge that connects the Seven Seas Lagoon with Bay Lake.  The guy on the top of the bridge with the giant Mickey hands was a blast telling everyone to breathe normally even they we are going under water. It made me think of Dory and all I could  think was just keep running, just keep running.

2014 Dopey Half - Just Keep Swimming

2014 Dopey Half – Just Keep Swimming

The mile marker for Mile 5 is just before we enter the side backstage entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

2014 Dopey Half - Entrance to the Magic Kingdom

2014 Dopey Half – Entrance to the Magic Kingdom

Then there is Main Street – it is so much fun running or walking in a race down Main Street. There is always a group of people there to cheer you on.

2014 Dopey Half - Running on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom

2014 Dopey Half – Running on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom

Leslie and I stopped for a picture at the end of Main Street in front of the Castle.

2014 Dopey Half - Picture In Front of the Castle

2014 Dopey Half – Picture In Front of the Castle

From there we head into Tommorowland – where I managed to do my Magic Kingdom Half Marathon Pin trade. I don’t really care which pins I get during these trades – but I managed to get one that I did not have. From there we head into FantasyLand and thru the castle. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that there were not trumpeters on the castle as there were for the Princess.  Then it is thru Liberty Square  where Louis from the Princess and the Frog was hanging out and into FrontierLand where the marker for mile 6 is.

In the back side of FrontierLand you cross back into the backstage area of the park.  This area also has a Railroad crossing and they had one of the Steam Engines there with some conductor cast members. I decided to stop and get another photo. Well one of the people before me got down on the ground in front of the train making it look like the train hit them. Of course I had to do this also. The problem was that I held on to the front of the train and ended up with grease on my hand which then went onto my skirt.

2014 Dopey Half - Watch out for the Train

2014 Dopey Half – Watch out for the Train

In the backstage area they had the big float that the Prince and Princesses are on, with a Prince and Princess for pictures. If it was someone other than Aurora I might have stopped.  We then left the backstage area and went onto Floridian Way, where I stopped for a picture with a Cars like VW fire van, which was with the RCFD around the half-way point.

2014 Dopey Half - RCFD Van

2014 Dopey Half – RCFD Van

A big part of mile 7 is along the side of the Grand Floridian and the course gets really narrow during this area which is not fun.  There were some reindeer out for a picture, but for the life of me I could not really figure out what they had to do with Disney.

2014 Dopey Half - Reindeer

2014 Dopey Half – Reindeer

Things got interesting right before mile 8. I should have stopped for a picture with golfer Mickey and his fancy cart, but I figured I would do it during the full if I had the time, not realizing that Mickey could not be out golfing for his race.  I did like the trivia signs about Donald; I learned things I did not know.  It looks like I did not get the first sign which talked about his grandparents.

2014 Dopey Half - Golfer Mickey and Donald Trivia

2014 Dopey Half – Golfer Mickey and Donald Trivia

Then there is the long road back. There really is not all that much noteworthy for the next number of miles. Just a long road to the finish. Somewhere between mile 10 and 11 there were a group of cast members from the Disney Cruise Line with one of their busses. I would have been a lot more impressed if they had the Disney Dream on the side of the road.  There is also the dreaded ramp that goes from World Drive back onto Epcot Center Drive between 10 and 11.

Having run the course twice I think the area between getting back on Epcot Center Drive and actually getting back into EPCOT might be the worse section of the run. There is another overpasses  shortly after you get back on Epcot Center Drive.  There is no real entertainment and there is this annoying section where you go a bit past the turn and then have to go back before climbing yet another overpass to climb to go over Woodpecker Lane.

Shortly after that we are diverted into the parking lot and the emotion of having really done it starts to build.

2014 Dopey Half - The End is in Sight

2014 Dopey Half – The End is in Sight

We enter the park on the right side (assuming you are facing the EPCOT ball), run towards the World Showcase. We stopped for out only joint picture during the race right at the start of the World Showcase. From there we run back towards the EPCOT Ball and the pin trading booth. Ah the Pin Trading Booth.  The park is open so there are cast member working in the booth. During the Princess I ran up to the booth and asked to see their pins – the case member stood there for a moment looking at me realizing I was participating in the race and wanting to trade pins and was not sure what to say or do. So I did it again and I made a trade for a Fozzy Bear pin.

2014 Dopey Half - Dopey Bib with Pins

2014 Dopey Half – Dopey Bib with Pins

From Pin Trading Booth the course takes a right hand turn and goes back stage where the Hallelujah Choir performs to propel the runs forward thru the most important part of the entire race – the last one tenth of a mile.   We got our medals, and I went to get my third wrist and last wrist band (I got a different wrist band after each race which I would trade in for my Dopey Medal at the end of the marathon).  It was a lot of fun doing the race with Leslie and look forward to doing more races together. Since I had the race retreat and Leslie had the Chear Package, we headed into the tent to have some well-deserved breakfast of bacon and eggs.

Then it was back to the bus to return to the All Star Movies resort.

2014 Dopey Half - Job Well Done

2014 Dopey Half – Job Well Done

After we took our ice baths, showers and got into some clean clothes we decided to explore the All Start Movie Resort and get pictures. It turns out that Donald and Daisy spend a good amount of time hanging out at All Star Movies – so we got some pictures with them.

2014 Dopey Half - Visiting with Donald and Daisy

2014 Dopey Half – Visiting with Donald and Daisy

After our photo session we made our way over to the Wave for a wonderful dinner with our friends Niki, Steve, and Rebecca. It was a wonderful end to a really delightful day.   It was again time to head home and get to sleep, although Leslie had completed her running I still had one more little run to do to earn my Dopey. I really enjoyed running with Leslie and was a little sad that she would not be joining me for my run on Sunday.  Perhaps next year?

Starting to get Dopey or The Journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step

There is a saying that goes something like the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Well the running 48.6 miles begins with getting up way too early.  It was the day of the Family Fun Run 5K, the first hurdle in the Dopey Challenge.  There was a time not all that long ago – when the thought of running 3.1 miles was truly foreign to me, now it did not faze me. However getting up early enough to have something to eat, get ready and be in the starting corals for a 6:15 start did not sound good at all. Even though Leslie was not running in the 5K, she got up and helped me get ready and went to cheer all the runners.

Disney runs busses from the on property resorts to the start of the races, but for the 5K we decided to drive. One thing that is nice about the Disney races is the costumes that people wear.  On the walk between were we parked and the starting area we got to see a number of wonderful costumes. I am sorry to report that I did not get dressed in costume for the 5K.

2014 Dopey 5K - Costumes

2014 Dopey 5K – Costumes

We found our friend Niki before the race. We said goodbye to Leslie and I made my way to the start corals. For the 5K there were 5 (A-E) and I was in D, so I had a good amount of time to stand around. As I stood there and looked over at the EPCOT ball in the night sky and realized that I would be looking at it a lot over the next few days, and looking forward to seeing it Sunday afternoon near the end of the 48.6 miles instead of at the start of it as I saw it now.

2014 Dopey 5K - The EPCOT Ball

2014 Dopey 5K – The EPCOT Ball

More standing and then finally we moved into position.  My plan was to do my run / walk intervals during the 5K since I  was going to mainly walk the 10K with Leslie.

2014 Dopey 5K - Waiting to Start

2014 Dopey 5K – Waiting to Start

The course for the 5K takes us thru the parking lot (as you can see on the route below – except  there are race tents replacing the cars).  We stay in the parking area to some back roads and enter EPCOT behind Test Track. I did not take any pictures of the back of Test Track because I thought I had some from the 5K the year before – but could not find them.

2014 Dopey 5K - Route

2014 Dopey 5K – Route

We enter the World Showcase by the side of Mexico and it is really beautiful with the lights on all the buildings. I took a picture – but it did not turn out.  As I approach Norway I noticed there was a line for a character, so I moved over and joined the line thinking that it must be someone from the new movie Frozen.  After waiting in the line for a minute or so I found out that it was Norwegian Daisy. I like Daisy, but since Leslie and I were going to dress as Donald and Daisy for the half, I figured I did not need a picture.

In general the atmosphere while wandering around the World Showcase is fun – but when you are in a race and going thru the park it is really amazing. I continued my way around – - – and then I got to edge of Germany. Right on the edge of Germany is wishing well where many times during the day Snow White can be found.  However Snow must have been  asleep and sure enough Dopey was there.  That was it – I had to have a picture with Dopey.  I was not the only one – the 5K had 10,000 runners – of which 7,000 were registered for the Dopey. So I continued on looking for the end of the line, and continued and continued.  I finally found the end of the line on the other side of Germany.  Since my time did not matter – I just had to finish and I was pretty sure that they would not sweep. I waited.  From what I can tell from my Garmin it looks like I waited about 25 minutes – but it was worth it I got a blurry picture with Dopey (however there should be a good picture of me with Dopey on the disk from MarathonPhoto).

2014 Dopey 5K - Picture with Dopey

2014 Dopey 5K – Picture with Dopey

I continued around the World Showcase and saw that Remy and his brother were available for pictures. I should have stopped, but since I spent so much time waiting for Dopey I just continued on.

014 Dopey 5K - Remy

014 Dopey 5K – Remy

The course took us over the bridge and then out of the International Gate entrance to the EPCOT where we ran thru some more backstage area before re-entering the park between the UK and Canada. From there it was the home stretch with less than a mile to go.

About 12 years ago Disney came up with yet another way to make money – by selling pins and giving lanyards of pins to cast members that contain pins that cannot be purchased for them to trade with guests.  Since Leslie and I are really into pin trading when we visit the parks I put pins on my Princess Half Marathon bib and traded during that race.  My goal was to trade once in each park I ran thru for each race, so I had some pins on my bib.  I had not seen cast member with pins, so once I got to France I started running up to the cast members and asking them if they had any.  I am sorry to report that I failed to trade a pin during the 5K. However I did achieve a personal record for the 5K – it was my slowest ever (but I did get a picture with Dopey and had fun).

After the 5K we went back to the room for me to shower and change and then it time to meet up with a group of our favorite people. We had breakfast with the Rudd family at Kouzzina and we all went over to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with the Pearson’s from the UK.  While we were in the park we also met up with our friend Nicole and her daughter. One of the things we love about doing Disney races is being able to see so many of our friends at one of our favorite places. As you can see a lot of people can ride Dumbo at the same time.

2014 Dopey 5K - MK with Friends

2014 Dopey 5K – MK with Friends

Long Days Before Dopey

The months of training had come to an end. I could no longer say – well the Dopey Challenge oh that’s a long way off – it was now only days away. It was Tuesday and we had to get up at 3am to finish some last minute packing and then head to the airport.

It is always a long day when we travel from Seattle to Orlando – but we had no idea how long this day would really become. To save some money we got some cheaper flights on Southwest and had to change planes in Milwaukee. The flight from Seattle to Milwaukee was full and took off a little late. Since we were scheduled for only a 30 minute layover we were a little concerned about making the next flight (little did we know we had nothing to worry about). Well we got into Milwaukee and there was conflicting information – the screens at the airport said the flight to Orlando was on time; however the Southwest website said it was delayed.  Turns out our 30 minute layover turned into something like 7 hours.  Needless to say we were not going to be able to make our dinner plans with friends from the UK. We did meet other runners including a couple that were getting married Wednesday at Disney and then running the Dopey together.  After a very long day that included going to the wrong Disney resort to check in (we went to All Star Music – but were staying in All Star Movies) we got into our room around 2:30am.

Going to bed that late would not have been that bad except for the fact that we had to get up early to head to the race expo on Wednesday. Every Disney Race has an expo associated with it. This is where you pick up your race shirts and bibs. Of course there are tons of merchants that have all kinds of stuff for runners – everything from clothes, to torture devices that are used after runs to roll the tired muscles. Of course RunDisney has their official race merchandise on sale and New Balance has a booth with the official RunDisney shoes (which currently can only be purchased at the RunDisney Expos).

The RunDisney booth has been known to run out of merchandise early, and Leslie wanted to get in the line for the New Balance shoes so we had to be at the expo before it opened and before the busses would start arriving – the plan was to get there prior to 8:45 am.  Unlike previous events where the line for the New Balance shoes wrapped up and down and around the expo hall, New Balance had a new process. You could register and they would text you when it was your time to try on and buy shoes. Leslie went to stand in that line and I went over to get my race packets. I also wanted to get there early because I was going to have to trade in my shirts for a different size (they only have a limited number of number shirts available for trade and then you have to wait until someone trades in the size you need).  When I registered back in April of 2013 I requested XL shirts – I traded them in at the expo for mediums.

Our trip to the expo was a success – we got our race packets. We got what we wanted from the RunDisney booth and a few other places (like MarathonPhoto). We had some lunch and we were trying to decide if I should head over to the Magic Kingdom by myself for a haircut when Leslie received the text telling us to go to the New Balance booth. We each got a pair of RunDisney shoes – Minnie Mouse for Leslie and Sorcerer Mickey for me.  Overall we think the expo was better than the previous one we were at for the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland.

2014 Walt DisneyWorld Marathon Expo Haul

2014 Walt DisneyWorld Marathon Expo Haul

Here is what is in the picture – Leslie got two race bibs and two race shirts, she also bought 3 shirts. She also signed up for the Chear Squad so she has another shirt, a blanket and a clapper. I got 2 race bibs, 6 race shirts and bought one shirt and the hat.  We got Dopey window cling, a Dopey magment and 5 runDisney distance magnets. Of  course our cool new shoes can also be seen in the picture.  It was a good expo, but we might need another suitcase for the trip home

After we finished at the expo we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for my haircut in the barber shop on Main Street followed by dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. After my haircut we wandered around the Magic Kingdom a little and started to fade quickly. The travel day before and only about 4 hours of sleep was taking its toll. Luckily we were able to get at least an hour early for our dinner. Dinner was wonderful and we headed straight back to the right resort to finish off the evening and get some sleep.

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 (https://www.facebook.com/RunDisneySoICanEatDisney).

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.