Saturday, February 6, 2010

Walt Disney World Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge (+5K)

Disclaimer: I know the temperatures in this post are not that extreme. I'm currently reading all types of reports of hardcore runners out there in 5 degree or negative temps with 3 feet of snow. However, please remember this was FLORIDA, I am living in CALIFORNIA and I grew up in HAWAII. Thanks for humoring me...

Apologies for the long delay in getting these reports up!

I spent four wonderful yet hugely tiring days roaming the parks before the 5K gun went off on Friday morning. I was literally on my feet all day long, either standing in line or walking around the parks. If I wasn't sleeping, I was never off my feet for more than 30 minutes at a time those days. The first day I was okay, but my legs and especially feet were really tired and sore the last few days. I forced myself to take it a little easier Friday after the 5K and Saturday after the half (but still went to the parks for a few hours each of those days). The last two times I did this race I didn't do any theme parks for at least two days before the races. My poor feet were so tired every night and I couldn't help but think these would be very interesting races.

Orlando was having a cold snap the entire time I was there. The other two times I did the Disney Marathon it was 80 degrees. I knew before heading to Orlando it was going to be chilly, but I wasn't prepared for just how cold it actually was! Audrey flew into Orlando a few days after me so she was nice enough to bring up some old throwaway sweatshirts for me to wear pre-race. Thank you SO SO much!! I would surely be dead from hypothermia if not for her.

Here is a picture of the pool in front of my hotel building:

The lifeguards were wearing parkas, beanies, scarves and gloves! And yes, people were swimming! CRAZY!

Friday: Disney Pixar Up & Away Family Fun Run 5K
Temperature: Cool & Crisp (while still cold, it warmed up a bit Thursday and Friday); Probably in the low to mid 40's -- perfect running weather :)
Race start time: 7:00 am
Finish time: 34:16 (unofficial)
Character photo-ops: Nada, Empty set, Zilch, FAIL

This is going to be an ultra short race report to match an ultra short race! I signed up for this race so I could have Dopey (the unofficial name for adding the 5K onto the Goofy Challenge <-- which is running both the half marathon Saturday and the marathon Sunday) bragging rights, but was also really excited to be doing another Disney race. I love how fun they are and I love taking pictures with the characters. The "Up" characters were at the start to cheer us off. I snapped this photo as I ran by:

Yay! I LOVE Dug (the dog)

The race looped around Epcot and the backlot area of Epcot. I stopped to get a picture with the Epcot golfball and a Christmas tree. But there weren't any other Disney characters on the course :( So you mean to tell me, I shelled out $40 for an un-timed 5K through the most boring Disney park? Boo, Disney!

Since I generally only run half marathons and marathons in organized races, doing a 5K felt like a whole new experience for me. I don't race 5K's and 10K's (they're so short it hurts too bad to run that fast!) and I don't participate in them for fun since it seems ridiculous to pay to run 3 or 6 miles casually. So this was a real treat! Who knew you could STOP running at 3.1 miles! It was awesome. I was barely warmed up and it was already time to stop. No, "Where's the freakin' finish?" "We're only at mile what?!" "This is really starting to hurt!" Sweet serenity.

I figured the "Up" characters would be hanging out at the finish for photos but they weren't! So I had to take more photos with the blow-up house:

Saturday: Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Temperature: SNOW! SLEET! RAIN! Two clicks past cold. Low to mid-30's but wet!
Race start time: 5:40 am --> FAIL because it was still dark when running through Magic Kingdom :(
Finish time: 2:26:16
Character photo-ops: Buzz Lightyear, Alice in Wonderland Crew, Peter Pan Crew, Cinderella crew, Country Bears, Prince Naveen & Crocodile, Jack Sparrow, Golf Mickey & Donald, Chip & Dale, Daisy Duck, Pluto!

The forecast for Saturday was colder than Friday and also wet. There was a brief period of snow flurries (remember, this was FLORIDA) while waiting at the start, some sleet after that, and wet, freezing rain at the end. My race outfits weren't geared for the cold weather and I ended up buying a bunch of long sleeve shirts at the expo. Never try anything new on race day? Ha! I laugh in the face of danger. Muah Ha ha. I wore a tank with arm warmers and gloves at CIM in sub-freezing temps and was okay, but I was pushing hard that day. I was planning on lollygagging with the Disney characters and running at a comfortable pace. So tried to bundle up a little more.

Half Marathon start (Sorry, I have to learn to let the camera roll a little longer)

Waiting around at the start was pretty miserable (When I got off the bus, a Disney cast member who was directing crowd flow yelled, "Wecome to Disney Alaska!"), but once I got going it wasn't too bad. Sure I couldn't really feel my fingers, but other than that everything was okay. There were lots of characters out and I stopped to take a picture with every single one of them. In 2008, I believe the races started at 6:00 am. This year my wave was off at 5:40 am which meant that when we ran through Magic Kingdom it was still pitch black :( This made it impossible to get nice pictures of the Castle (which is pretty much my favorite part of the race).

Running up Main Street USA (you can see how dark it was when I hit the Magic Kingdom)

My goal was to run the half at a comfortable, easy pace. Not pushing but also not holding back. Somewhere around mile 10 things started to get a little tough and I was ready for the race to be over. I don't remember the half course being so dull in 2008. You don't hit the Magic Kingdom until about the halfway mark and the rest of the time you're on roads in between the parks until you hit Epcot right before the finish (which was pretty old by now since I'd already run the 5K). Since it was raining and freezing, the gospel choir which is normally at mile 13 was off drinking hot chocolate, no doubt. Bummer.

I crossed the finish line, felt pretty good for about 5 minutes, and then slowly started to freeze. I braved the elements to get a few more photos with characters, but quickly cried "Uncle!" and got on the shuttle back to the hotel.

My quads were a little sore Saturday night and I was a little worried about the full Sunday. I did a quick visit to the theme parks but forced myself to stay off my feet by watching "The Princess and the Frog" at the movie theatre. Word to the wise: Do NOT see a kids' movie at Disney World. Can you say, "Talking toddler and infants sitting on their parent's laps on BOTH sides of me!?" I was exhausted after getting up so early two days in a row (plus all that walking and running was catching up to me) and I was in bed by 7:30 pm!

Sunday: Walt Disney World Marathon
Temperature: Holy. Mother. Mid 20's wind chill factor.
Race start time: 5:40 am --> This waking up at 3:15 am is really getting old (though felt pretty easy after going to bed so early the night before)
Finish time: 4:41:26
Character photo-ops: Dumbo, Thumper & lady friend, Safari Donald & Daisy, Rafiki, Safari Minnie, Safari Mickey, Dug, Mike, Launchpad McQuack, Dopey, Pluto, Lilo & Stitch, Chip & Dale, Goofy's son

Sunday was supposed to be dry and sunny but C.O.L.D. I believe we were down in the mid to low 20's with the wind chill. Oh, and it was plenty windy out there, too!

I took this at the finish area, but it was windy the whole day. When it is 35 degrees out wind like that really cuts!

I ran holding a mylar blanket around my waist to keep my legs warm for the first 2 miles. I read that 30,000 pieces of clothing were collected at the start which amounted to 26,000 pounds! of throwaways!!

For the first time in the history of my running the Disney Marathon, I decided to carry my camera. I figured I wouldn't stop to take photos with any of the characters who had been out the day before (the vast majority of the half characters were also out for the full). I am really glad I did this because there were so many new characters to get photos with the second half of the course.

Main Street stretch when the sun is up

It was so cold out there the water was freezing on the ground at water stops (I saw one woman slip and fall). The water inside the cups was also turning slushy. Once again, I had some issues with my hands getting numb, but overall it wasn't too terrible once I was moving. However, for the first time EVER at this race, I was glad to see the sun come up.

The most amazing thing about the full marathon is that I felt SO good. Maybe they were just frozen solid, but my legs felt great. Every time I run the Disney Marathon I'm screaming in my head, "I LOVE this race!" It is just so much fun to see all the runners lining up to take photos with the characters and I feel like a kid again. I felt tons better the day of the full than I did during the half marathon.

Cinderella's Castle

Towards mile 20 realized I could probably run a sub 4:40 race if I pushed a little (which would have been WAY faster than my anticipated finish time). But I realized I was going to be really close and I figured if I ran by a character I really wanted a photograph with, I'd hate to have to decide if the time was more important or the photo. So I continued to keep up a comfortable pace instead of pushing for time. I knew I was on track to set a course PR and was amazed about that.

Right before the finish I spied Goofy giving high-fives to the left so veered on over to get mine before crossing the finish. You can't tell much from the video but it's me running by Goofy for my high-five, and yelling, "Hey, Goofy!" right before smacking his white glove:

I went to get my Mickey & Goofy medal and yet again braved the elements to get pictures with the characters in the finish area.

Lots of bling to hand out.

This was my third running of the Disney Marathon which makes the Disney Marathon not only my most-run marathon, but my most run race, period! I have to say it is a totally different animal when experienced in the freezing cold vs. the sweltering heat. The first time I ran the race in 2005 I trained in 30 degree temps in New York, then flew down to Orlando and DIED in the heat and sunshine. Even in 2008, coming from San Francisco it was pretty warm. For some reason when you're not busy wiping little melty puddles of yourself off the pavement everything looks so different!

DJ at the finish area

The reason people love this race... The BLING:

Goofy medal (Goofy Challenge), Mickey medal (Marathon), Donald medal (Half Marathon), Up medal (5K)

Disney History Breakdown:
Disney 2005 (my first marathon): 5:16
Disney 2008 (Goofy Challenge): 4:55
Disney 2010 (Goofy Challenge+ 5K Fri + carried my camera & stopped for photos): 4:41

I ran the Goofy Challenge portion of the weekend about 24 minutes faster than I did in 2008, too, even with the 5K and all that park walking the week before.

I know that my time this year was better than usual due to the weather difference (I think 24 minutes over the half and full is a good fudge factor for the 50 degree difference) but I am still rather tickled how I keep adding extra races before the marathon and keep getting faster. I hardly did any running the three weeks before Disney 2010 yet ran better than when I did dedicated training (back-to-back long runs) in 2008. I guess you never know what is going to work. Or alternatively you can say, I guess we all know how badly warm weather affects me!

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all was how little I was sore after the races. After Goofy 2008 I was crippled. I could barely walk around at a very slow clip when I went to the airport the day after. I was sore the night of the marathon this year but spent the afternoon/evening walking around the parks. By Monday morning I was not experiencing half of the post-marathon soreness I usually have. I spent Monday in the parks as well which may have helped me keep things loose. By Tuesday I was pain free. I have another theory that the cold temps were like a continual ice bath :)

Those "highs" if they ever happened at all were for 5 min, in direct sunshine, on black asphalt @ 2:30 pm... VERY misleading!

The End

These aren't my videos (they belong to this guy), but I found them on youtube and they capture the days so well. This guy did an awesome job and the video quality is really, really good (I almost took my crappy videos down). More than sitting here and recapping the races, watching these makes me itch to go back and run these races again:

I am in for Goofy 2011!!


Southbaygirl said...

you are so cute!! You love Disney! I have to admit the medals are pretty damn cool!!! But woman-you are hard core! That is a lot of running in one weekend!! I bow down to you!!!

Hef's Mom said...

Ok so I skimmed the post and just looked at the Disney pictures because I'm here for the bunny stuff, but I am so jealous! I want to go to disney again!

Toffee said...

This is @petfxr from Twitter using my dog's blog account. I loved your post!! I laughed and cried - it truly brought back the most wonderful memories from that chilly weekend just over a month ago.

You really have me tempted to attempt Goofy in 2011!

I also really enjoyed ALL of the videos.

congrats on your most awesome times by the way.
Did you see my little video/photo montage?
You can view it on :
on the post titled: addendum

Rabbits' Guy said...

Why not just go do the Pikes Peak double later this year and get it ALL over with!!

Great report .. soundedand looked like such .... uuuh .... fun ..........

EndorphinBuzz said...

Was that disclaimer aimed at me? ;)

Thanks for the cool race report, pics & video... It must be totally awesome to high five goofy at the end of a run!

Runner Leana said...

Loved your race reports! You have really come so far as a runner. No doubt that with your growing experience running marathons it has translated into better Goofy times.

So excited that you are in for 2011 as well!!!! I will most likely be following in your footsteps by walking around the parks way too much the week before the race. Fingers crossed my results will be as good!

Alisa said...

I'll be there for 2011 too, it's official. The rental houses are booked.

I'm also doing "dopey" as I promised my sister in law I'd run the 5k with her. I'm trying to get another sister in law to do the half with me.

I hope these races don't kill me =).

Hopefully we'll get to see each other and get some photos too! Our trip is Thursday- Thursday. Let's hope for mild temps and sunshine (well, sunshine for me).

ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, although "cold" weather is tough to run in when you're not used to it, you do often run faster and finish feeling better than you would at a hot race.

Congrats on all those medals!!!

Marlene said...

Excellent report and congrats on your first "Dopey"!

I think how good you felt during the marathon and after is a true testament to how much stronger you are this year.

Sounds like we had a similar experience. I also expected it to hurt a lot more during and after based on all the walking around from Tuesday onwards, but... it didn't really hurt!

I'll be going back. Not in '11, but one day...