Since the Dopey Challenge ended last week and Lauren has already recapped the marathon, I’m going to not drag these recaps over the next two weeks, but instead give you the top 10 highlights of the Dopey Challenge for me!
1—Early mornings are no joke!
- With the 10k, Half and Full Marathon starting at 5:30 am, I had to be up at 2:45each day. The 5k started at 6:30, so I think I slept until 3:30 that day… woot woot! I’d get up early each morning, check the weather to make sure it hadn’t changed from the night before when I had previously checked, try to be quiet/not too disturbing for Lauren (of course 3 out of the 4 mornings, she took my picture or said goodbye to me… she was passed out the whole morning of the half). I was so nervous/anxious/excited… I never slept that well in Disney for fear I might miss the race or something! The early mornings were tough, but not as bad as I feared them to be (I was so excited to finally be racing in Disney!)
2—I think I was racing in Florida?
- I’ve had the Orlando weather on my phone since my last big race in October (I love putting the weather up for the next race I’m going to), so I figured the weather would be great for Florida. Well, the weather gods had a different plan for me. The morning of the 5k it was in the 30s, a bad wind and the feels like temperature was 17 for the race!! Are you kidding me?! I wish I could say the other days were a lot better, but not too much. The 10k started out at 47, Half Marathon was around 43 and the marathon was the warmest day around 50s in the start. My grand packing plan was thrown out the window. So much for wearing a different pair of shorts each race. I had to wear my pants that I brought the first two days and the capris that I brought the second two days of racing. I didn’t touch the 3 pairs of shorts I had brought! Oh well, since I live in Illinois I’m use to cold weather and I’d much prefer the weather we had to the awful humid temperatures of last year’s marathon weekend!
3—Learning to pace yourself
- I followed the Galloway method to run the Dopey Challenge. I knew that I could not “run/race” the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon like I’m used to doing. I started each race running just so I could spread out but then I walked a lot of these races. For the 5k and the 10k, my plan was to get some good pictures with the characters. I had to be ok with a 5k time of 55 minutes (yikes!! It is painful to type that out!!) and my 10k time was around 1:26. For the half marathon, I wanted to run a bit (I love half marathons!), but I stuck with what worked for me so I could conserve energy for the full the next morning (Walk 2 minutes, Run 30 seconds, Walk 1.5 minutes, Run 1 minute for the 5 minute cycle). I’m so happy that my paces were all fairly good for the races and my marathon pace was under 12 minutes… not too shabby when you’ve ran over 22 miles the 3 days prior!
4—Making new friends!
- Since Lauren was only doing the marathon (that sounds bad… but I don’t mean it to sound that way J), I was totally alone for the first 3 races. Well, I like meeting new people and I’ve been trying to become more active on social media… so I met up with “new twitter friends” each day before the races! The 5k day, I randomly ran into Heather and her family and the 10k, Half and Full Marathon days, I hung out with a great group from twitter whom I now follow more closely on social media and I’m excited to see them all at future races!
5—Getting to run with my “old” friends!
- Lauren and I don’t live near each other and she isn’t as crazy as me traveling for races, so we’ve tried to do one “racecation” together a year. Last year, we did the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington DC and this year it was the Disney Marathon. Even though Lauren is a much faster runner than me, I was able to see her on the course and she is always amazing! We’re trying to plot out 2016’s race destination… I want to do Grandma’s Marathon in MN (definitely still signing up even if she doesn’t want to do it) or perhaps a new state for me.
- My college friend Brandon ran the entire marathon with me. He is also a much faster runner than me but he wasn’t feeling well the weeks leading up to the marathon so he said he’d stick with me. I told him, I didn’t need him to get me thru the race (I’ve always been an independent person and he knows that) but he said he wanted to stick it out with me. I’d like to think I was a good running partner until about mile 22 or 23… that was when I started complaining and I told him I didn’t want to run such long periods anymore but to cut the intervals back. It was so much fun to run with him and I cannot wait until Mitra (his wife) and him move back to Illinois—so perhaps I could convince him to drive to a few close races with me 🙂
6—Running in Disney
- Looking at pictures and hearing stories of runDisney races do not do justice to the actual races themselves. I now understand why these races sell out so quickly and why they cost so much money. I cannot tell you how exciting it was to run into Cinderella’s Castle during the Half and the Full. I cannot tell you how exciting it was to be running and think… I wonder what character will be on the side of the road next. The entire experience from the fireworks at the beginning, characters, music along the course, sights of Epcot, running thru all 4 parks and backstage during the marathon… they will be in my memory forever.
7—Realizing I was going to finish the Marathon on Sunday January 11, 2015
- When I was making the turn off of the highway into Hollywood Studios during the marathon (this is around mile 21) and seeing the neverending line of runners from around mile 15 and not seeing the end (aka the balloon ladies)… it hit me that I was going to actually finish this marathon. There was never a question in my mind, but fully knowing that you got this… it’s unlike any feeling I can describe. Even if I walked the rest of the way (which I did not do!), I would be totally fine. I slowed down a bit but I never fully stopped and for that I was very happy and proud of myself.
8—Being “halfway” done at mile 2 of the marathon 🙂
- 48.6 miles is no joke. I was not halfway done with the mileage until mile 2 of the marathon on Sundaymorning. I screamed “halfway done!” and realized I still had 24.2 miles to go and quickly shut up J
9—Not getting overly emotional… maybe I was tired?
- I expected to be full on sobbing at the finish line of the marathon. Even though I was crying, it was not as emotional as I thought it was going to be. I really wanted it to be… I had put in so many long hours/months devoted to training but in the end, I was not a mess like I thought I would be. I think it was relief to be finally done and exhaustion to say the least. I had been racing over 10 hours and 30 minutes over 4 days… that is a lot of time on your feet and in races! Maybe marathon #2 will be different, but probably not… marathons are long, tiring and exhausting.
- It’s no joke to anyone that knows me that I’m all about the racing for the bling! If the Dopey Challenge just gave out certificates instead of medals, I’d never do it! Here is all the bling (BLING PICTURE!). I’m in the process of getting a special holder for this bling so it can properly be displayed in my condo 🙂 I’ll post pictures once it goes up.
And that folks is my Dopey Challenge recap. It’s time to start focusing on the future races. My next race is less than 25 days away and I’m currently on week 2 of my 16 week plan for my next marathon (it’s basically like a Goofy Challenge (half on Saturday and full on Sunday)). Am I crazy? Absolutely. As I’ve said before, I always need something to keep me motivated to keep going.