2020 Walt Disney World Partly Goofy RR
Summary: Last week I ran part of the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge. The weekend was hot AF and the Marathon was red-flagged and the distance was shortened after 11am due to record breaking heat.
Disney's Marathon Weekend includes four races (a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday) and you can register for one, more, or all the races in different challenges. The Dopey Challenge is all the races, while the Goofy Challenge is the Half and the Marathon. I have done the Goofy Challenge around five times and the Dopey once. After two years without a Disney race, I decided to head back there to run Goofy.
At the time I registered and paid for the hotel, meal plan, park tickets, photo pass, and the works, I was living in Miami and not expecting to move any time soon. Since Orlando is around 3-4 hours from Miami, my plan was to drive there, enjoy the parks and run. I was also looking forward to seeing this group of bad ass ladies I have been friends with for around four years. It was the first time we would all be together at Disney at one time.
A month after I registered, the Indianapolis position with my agency opened up and the rest is history. We moved at the end of September, leaving the fucked up heat and humidity that is Miami, and enjoyed what normal people call seasons. So, for the first time ever, I had to fly to Disney.
After the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, my Coach started prepping me for Disney. However, we didn't have much time. We concentrated on getting me back up on the mileage a bit and doing some easy LRs. I couldn't get too many in because we only had around 6 weeks to train, but I did run an 18 miler, a 16 miler and two 15 milers (including one during the Santa Hustle). I also ran another 5K to test my speed (speed is still MIA, LOL).
With that, our initial plan was to race the Half Marathon on Saturday and take it easy on Sunday. I have not raced a Half Marathon in two years and we wanted to see where my speed was (not around, of course). However, two weeks prior to the race, the weather turned to shit. The whole weekend was forecasted to have 71-86F and 70 dewpoints. Our plan went from let's race the Half to can I still go to Houston and skip this one. Unfortunately by then, the flights to Houston were too expensive so I headed into Orlando with the idea of running the half marathon for fun and deciding on the marathon while I was there (meaning I could DNF or DNS depending on the weather).
Expo & Epcot (Friday)
I arrived on Friday afternoon and went straight to the expo. While picking my car at the rental place, the French Quarter hotel called to inform me there was an issue with my room and that they had to switch me to another hotel. Initially, I was not pleased as I love staying at the FQ and I get that hotel because it's close to the race and the bus ride is not long (meaning, more time to sleep). But when they told me they had moved me to the Yacht Club I fell better, ha. Talk about an upgrade!
After the expo, my girlfriends were out, some at Hollywood Studios riding the Star Wars rides, and some wanting to rest (they had been doing Dopey and not getting much sleep), so I headed to Epcot to drink around the world and have dinner in Germany.
Then I was miraculously in the room by 9pm and asleep by 9:30am (in my defense, my flight left Indy at 8:10am so I had to wake up super early. I can never rest before these races at all.
Disney Half Marathon (Saturday)
I woke up at 3am and got ready for the Half Marathon. The high for that day was to be 85F, so wore as little as I could and I wish I had wear less, lol. I headed to the entrance of the hotel to take the bus and was in the bus by 3:30am and in the athlete's village by 4am. I met my friend Deb and her husband Kari and hang out with them until the start. Unfortunately, I started the race without any food because my Krispy Kreme donuts fell to the floor of the potta potty and that was the end of that.
Contrary to Sunday, we started promptly at 5:30am. This year, I was in Corral E of H, Deb, Kari, and Kathy were in D, Beth was in E but starting behind me with a friend, and speedy Jenny was in C. The plan was for me to catch up them at one of the character stops and then run together. I caught up with Deb, Kari, and Kathy by Mile 1 and we hang out for the rest of the race. We stop at every character stop and mile marker and had fun. The weather didn't let us do otherwise.
We had so much fun, we were 2+ hours into the race and we weren't even halfway!
We had tons of fun and were saved by the clouds for most of the race. It was warm and humid, though; just not as bad as Sunday. We finished in 4:12:27, a PW but a PR for fun!
I have to say that my training in hilly Fishers has paid off. I ran all the overpasses like they were flat. My HR didn't even notice!
After the race, these bad ass ladies met for lunch and to celebrate two birthdays. We have been friends for close to four years and been there for each other, from birthdays to promotions, from jobs to life changes. It was great to be all together in one place:
After lunch, some of us headed to Magic Kingdom and later to Epcot for some additional hydration (ahem, drinking around the world again, in part):
After dinner with Kathy in Italy, I was in the hotel room by 9pm and asleep by 9:30am again. But this time, the wake up was to be at 2:30am. FFS.
Disney Marathon DNF (Sunday)
The weather for Sunday was even worse than Saturday. The night before I debated whether to wake up or sleep in and spectate. My gut feeling was to not run the race as it was going to be 71F to 86F and 69-71 dewpoint during the race and I didn't want to run in that shit. On top of that, the race was supposed to start at 5am but in reality, they started closer to 5:30am so they could wait for a bus that got lost. Me thinks that someone famous was in that bus because I doubt they would hold starting a race for little old me if I was in it.
In the end, I needed some miles and if I had not done the race, I wouldn't have run at all that day due to the heat. So, I put my big girl panties and woke up for the race. But in reality, deep down I knew I would DNF or the race would be black flagged before I did. I was fine with either choice.
Our plan was, again, for me to catch up with the girls at some point in the race, but being that it was hot AF, I started slow enough to never see Deb and Kari, but was able to see Jenny this time around and ran with her for part of the course. I didn't stop for pictures until Mile 7, first because I wanted to get to the castle, if possible, before the sun was out, and also because of the heat. Unfortunately, I didn't read the course well because the castle was now at Mile 10ish and had I known that I would've known getting there before light was impossible.
In any event, the first 8 miles of the race were boring and the course was meh this time around. I mean, who likes to pass by parking lots for the first 2-3 miles, then head inside Epcot for a second, and then back to the start after more parking lot? Anyone? There were also no character pictures from Mile 4 to 7 which is rare for Disney. When Deb texted me Stitch was ahead I was relieved.
I stopped for every character that was between Miles 7 and 17, see some here:
Although I felt OK, it was hot and super humid. I frankly was making all efforts to have the balloon ladies pass me and I would be swept, ending my misery, lol. I even taunted them on my IG hashtags all through the race.
Just before Magic Kingdom, I met Jenny and ran/walked with her and her friend until Mile 15-16 (before Animal Kingdom). I would've continued with her but I just couldn't push the pace they were doing any more. Just before Animal Kingdom, and around 17 miles into the course, I've had enough. It was hot, humid, people were walking like crazy and dropping in the medical tents like flies. They had to use a defibrillator on a runner on the course it was getting that bad. I was still having fun but the balloon ladies were around 1/2 mile behind me so it was time to make a decision. I was inside a park with Kathy spectating so I could meet with her and stop, or I could continue and either get passed by the balloon ladies in the next 1-2 miles in the middle of nowhere or be swept by Mile 20, at Blizzard Beach, where it was rumored Disney would cut the course and/or stop it. So, I stopped close to 18 miles into the course and inside the park. Ten minutes later, Disney announced the race was red flagged and they cut the course at Mile 20, skipping the Blizzard Beach section and cutting between 1.50-4 miles of the course. I was happy to have stopped when I did because I have no wish to finish a short marathon and waste time recovering for a non-marathon marathon and get a marathon and a Goofy medal I didn't complete. Best DNF ever!
After stopping, I spent the afternoon at Animal Kingdom with Kathy and the first thing I did was ride Everest all sweaty and stuff. I flew back that same night.
The weekend was awesome as only Disney can provide. However, not sure if I'm going to register for another Disney any time soon. There is a reason we moved from Miami. It's too damn hot!
Good start to 2020 nonetheless. Stay tuned for what's next!