Dopey Challenge Race Recap Part 1: Expo and 5K

Originally on my race wish list was the Goofy Challenge. In November 2013, I ran my first Disney race (Wine and Dine Half Marathon) and I knew that 2015 was the year for Goofy (it was too late for 2014). But with the new Dopey Challenge in 2014, I decided if I planned on Goofy then why not go full on Dopey for 2015.

Walt Disney World Marathon weekend was over 10 months of planning. Registration occurs 9 months out from the event and Dopey sold out in less than an hour. Shortly after registering, I was on the phone with Disney Travel booking my “Magic Your Way Package.” After making the commitment, next was reading every blog on Dopey and Goofy I could find.

Before I knew it, we were heading south on the Friday before race weekend. I stopped in Atlanta for a GORUCK Light on Saturday, then it was Universal Orlando on Sunday. We stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and visited the parks and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for two full days on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday morning we checked out and headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Expo. The Expo was supposed to open at 10am. So I had planned to arrive early to beat the crowds and also get my hands on some runDisney merchandise that I knew wouldn’t last long. When we arrived around 9:30am, we realized the Expo had opened early. Checking the store at packet pick-up, we were directed to the Jostens Center for the items I had planned on purchasing. At 10:01am, I grabbed the last non-L/XL tank that I had wanted. There were very unhappy customers later as I browsed because some of the items they had wanted to purchase were already sold out. After that, it was off to Raw Threads for my final costume pieces and Sparkle Athletics. I am not artsy, and as much as I love the costumes people create themselves, I better stick to what I can purchase.

With our time at the Expo over, we headed to Caribbean Beach Resort to check-in. Thankfully, they were able to get us in a room right away. After settling in, we headed over to Downtown Disney for lunch. And eventually it was time for dinner at Contemporary Resort’s California Grill and the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. It was a bit too chilly to watch from the Observation Deck but we had a wonderful view from our table. We were back and in bed by 10pm.

Thursday morning came quickly. So did the cold weather. When we left on Friday, the projected weather for each race was 60 degrees. We did not pack or plan on a wind chill of 32 for the 5K, but thankfully we drove down from a colder climate and had extra layers. Soon I was grabbing a banana, my Nuun Energy, throwing on my sweatshirt and pants, and off to the bus. The bus ride was short and by 5am we were stuck outside waiting for the 6:15am start. Thankfully the gear check tents were great hiding places to protect us from the wind while we waited. Since I didn’t bring any throw-away clothes I shed my layers and check my gear, and by 5:45am we were being ushered to the starting corrals, which weren’t far. In Corral B, I made some friends thanks to my OSU headband. We were thankful the corral was so crowded because it protected us from the wind. I had decided to add on a long sleeve undershirt to my costume (Captain Hook) and wore longer Athleta Capris. Next we knew it was race time.

My race goal was to finish under 30, ideally at a 9 min pace, and I did coming in at 28 minutes even running negative splits. The course wasn’t too incredibly crowded. I started in Corral B and found myself near the front. I enjoyed seeing Epcot on this run, although sometimes the turns behind the scenes of the parks can be treacherous, but someone once said that you don’t run Disney for a PR. I really wanted to stop for the character pictures but the lines were longer than I would’ve liked and I didn’t really want to stop for that long so I kept moving forward.

After the finish, unfortunately there were no mylar blankets for warmth, so I was very thankful I didn’t rely on throw-away clothes like normal. I grabbed two powerades and two waters. They also had bananas and a snack box with tortilla chips, cheese, goldfish, shortbread cookies, and a protein bar. I only ended up eating the chips, banana, and half a powerade (diluted with water) when I got back to my room. This ended up being the same post-race breakfast that I ate everyday.

Thankfully, we had an easy day planned and I got an afternoon nap in before our Character Dining with Cinderella that evening. And we still got home in time for me crawl in bed at 7pm.

That’s all for the first day at Disney. Be on the lookout for Dopey Challenge Race Recap Part 2 where I’ll talk about Friday’s 10K!

Thank you for reading!

Jes

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