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2015 Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Waking up on the third day of the Dopey Challenge for the half marathon is unquestionably the hardest thing to do. By the time the third day rolls around, burnout from the early mornings is starting to set in, especially since you really have to be up earlier than the previous two days because of the longer walk to the starting corrals.


The morning of the half had warmed up slightly from the previous two days, but at 4AM any chill just feels way colder than it actually is.

For the half, I had my wife coming with me as she was taking on her first Goofy Challenge. Before the race, we met up with some of our teammates from Ragnar Cape Cod, then made our way down the long trek to the starting line. The walk to the starting corrals sort of has that feeling of cattle being led to slaughter. 24,000 runners are all packed in to a pretty small space, huddling together for warmth while half asleep with each thinking to themselves, “Man, should I find a port-a-potty now, or just wait until the race starts?” (Just a tip, lines for the port-o-lets are usually shorter down by the starting line, and if you can, wait until the race starts and use the first set that is just about a mile in)


This was now my 4th year running the Disney World Half Marathon, and the start of the race never gets old. Donald, Mickey and Goofy all take the stage to count the runners off.


Then the fireworks blast off and send runners on their way. I was lucky enough to be in Corral B, so the two minute wait after the first set of runners left flew by.


This year, I opted to run the half wearing the hydration pack that I picked up for my ultra back in October. I didn’t have a chance to test it during a road race, only on the trails, so I wanted to see how it would feel at a faster pace since I planned on wearing it during the full. It also gave me the opportunity to play with a new GoPro that I picked up as I was able to secure it to my chest straps. Unfortunately it didn’t give the smoothest video, but I refuse to wear a headband, or worse, carry a self-stick!

video

The course was the exact same as previous years’ races, but the entertainment on the course helped the miles pass quickly. There were also some different characters out cheering runners on than previous years.

Running down Main Street USA coming into the Magic Kingdom is just simply something that can’t be beat. The castle is all lit up, the crowd is electric, it’s an unbeatable feeling. And when you couple that with being able to run through the completely finished New Fantasyland for the first time before booking through the castle, and it’s what makes running this half so worth it.

 
The rest of the race passed by pretty uneventfully. Having run this course so many times now, it makes me wish they’d change it up a bit. The second half of the race between Magic Kingdom and Epcot gets to be a really long stretch of nothing much to see.

Passing back into Epcot at the end is always a great feeling. The loop in and around Future World is such a great feeling because you know the end is near. As runners come to the Mile 13 marker, they’re greeted by a gospel choir, singing the praises of the runners through that last .1 mile.

I ended up finishing in 1:45 which gave me some time to head over and cheer on other runners as they finished.


With 3 races down, only 26.2 miles stood between me and my second Dopey Challenge medal.

2015 Disney World 10K Recap

Day #2 of the Dopey Challenge is one of my favorites. I absolutely love the 10K course at the Disney World Races. A lot of people aren’t fond of the first few miles that’s a lot of parking lot and empty roads, but the back half of the course to me totally makes up for that.

For the second day of running, the temperatures had not done much to improve from the day before. While it wasn’t as windy, it was still really cold considering this is Florida and 40-something degree temperatures were not on my list of things I wanted to encounter on vacation. 


The previous night had not set a great tone for the race for me. We had come back to the hotel from spending the day in the parks to find my 5K/10K Dopey bib had been tossed out by housekeeping. I always make sure to leave my bibs in the same spot each day, and we came back to find it missing. After literally tearing the room apart twice we had come up empty. Thankfully runDisney was easily accessible through Twitter and quickly helped me out.

After getting my bib situation fixed, I found my way to my corral to where I went to huddle and think warm thoughts while waiting to be walked up to the starting line. I’d love to say that I was nestled all warm and snug while visions of sugarplums danced in my head, but it was just too damn cold for that! Finally we made our way to the start and were counted down and sent on our way through Epcot.


I don’t know if it was just a cruel coincidence or if it was planned out, but the first characters we saw were Anna and Elsa from Frozen, hanging out on a bridge blowing snow down as runners passed by. Because we weren’t cold enough already!

Actually, the cool weather made for some ideal running conditions and I quickly warmed up and found a comfortable pace. As I passed through the first water stop, I heard someone yell “TrD!” and saw that it was Faith, the runDisney mom from the Disney Mom’s Panel!

The next mile was pretty dry as far as scenery goes until I finally hit the entrance into Epcot. There, runners are able to run through a good chunk of World Showcase before taking a turn out of the International Gateway and on to my favorite part of the course – the Boardwalk.

The 10Ks in Disney World are the only races that let you run the entire length of the Boardwalk. For some reason, I just love the feeling of running in front of the Boardwalk resort as it’s all lit up. People are down there at unbelievable hours of the morning to cheer runners on. It’s a great feeling.

The second half of the Boardwalk can be a little daunting if you’ve ever run the Disney World Marathon or Wine and Dine Half Marathon before running one of the 10Ks. It follows the exact same path, and with running Dopey, I knew the next time I’d see part of the course, I’d be 24 miles into my run.

I was soon back in Epcot, making my final turns through Future World and down the last stretch of the course. I crossed the finish just shy of 48 minutes, my fastest Disney 10K time to date and 8 minutes faster than my time from the previous year. 


I headed back to the car and checked in on the runner tracking to see how my parents were making out since they were running the race and I was surprised to see they were nearly finished, coming in just over an hour. They had done awesome!

The race itself was a lot of fun – nothing overly spectacular, but a great morning run and an awesome way to work up an appetite for breakfast with the star of the 10K herself:





runDisney Kids' Races Recap



After we thawed out from running the morning’s 5K, we headed over to the kids’ races at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports where my daughter and youngest son would be tackling the 100M dash and the Mickey Mile.

The kids races tend to be a crazy event, especially when you’re making a mad dash from one race to them. For some reason Disney holds them at WWoS during Marathon Weekend, rather than right at Epcot like they do for Princess Half Weekend. I’ve done both weekends with my kids, and having the kids races at Epcot makes things so much easier. 

 
But we got to Wide World of Sports just as the 100M dashes were kicking off. Thankfully they have the kids run in waves, rather than just one big sea of childhood humanity. This gave us a little extra time to get our youngest where he needed to be and let the rest of the family get a spot at the finish line to watch him come down the track.


The kids’ races have a 100M dash, 200M dash and 400M dash before getting to the Mickey Mile. After the 100M dash, people started heading over for the Mickey Mile, so we followed along thinking that the races were being pushed a bit faster due to the colder temperatures. Unfortunately we found that we just ended up waiting for over an hour in the holding area for the race to start.


Finally it was time for the Mickey Mile to start. Like the other kids’ races, the Mickey Mile was broken down into three waves. My daughter was right up in the front, waiting for the magic words to come through so she could start her mile with her grandma through Wide World of Sports.



The kids all took off like a shot. We hurried over after my daughter passed to the finish line area where Mickey Mouse was waiting for the finishers to come through.


In under 7 minutes, the first kids crossed the finish line. Man, could they move! I could barely think about running a mile without getting winded when I was their age, let alone finish one that fast!
 


At about the 12-minute mark, I saw my daughter moving with all the might her little legs could muster around the track. As she made her way down the last stretch, she had a great big smile on her face right before giving Mickey a celebratory high-five.


It was so great to see all three kids with their new medals on in the parks following the races. It’s so awesome to be able to share this with them, especially since now they have their own medal rack that they’re quickly filling up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Waking up on the third day of the Dopey Challenge for the half marathon is unquestionably the hardest thing to do. By the time the third day rolls around, burnout from the early mornings is starting to set in, especially since you really have to be up earlier than the previous two days because of the longer walk to the starting corrals.


The morning of the half had warmed up slightly from the previous two days, but at 4AM any chill just feels way colder than it actually is.

For the half, I had my wife coming with me as she was taking on her first Goofy Challenge. Before the race, we met up with some of our teammates from Ragnar Cape Cod, then made our way down the long trek to the starting line. The walk to the starting corrals sort of has that feeling of cattle being led to slaughter. 24,000 runners are all packed in to a pretty small space, huddling together for warmth while half asleep with each thinking to themselves, “Man, should I find a port-a-potty now, or just wait until the race starts?” (Just a tip, lines for the port-o-lets are usually shorter down by the starting line, and if you can, wait until the race starts and use the first set that is just about a mile in)


This was now my 4th year running the Disney World Half Marathon, and the start of the race never gets old. Donald, Mickey and Goofy all take the stage to count the runners off.


Then the fireworks blast off and send runners on their way. I was lucky enough to be in Corral B, so the two minute wait after the first set of runners left flew by.


This year, I opted to run the half wearing the hydration pack that I picked up for my ultra back in October. I didn’t have a chance to test it during a road race, only on the trails, so I wanted to see how it would feel at a faster pace since I planned on wearing it during the full. It also gave me the opportunity to play with a new GoPro that I picked up as I was able to secure it to my chest straps. Unfortunately it didn’t give the smoothest video, but I refuse to wear a headband, or worse, carry a self-stick!

video

The course was the exact same as previous years’ races, but the entertainment on the course helped the miles pass quickly. There were also some different characters out cheering runners on than previous years.

Running down Main Street USA coming into the Magic Kingdom is just simply something that can’t be beat. The castle is all lit up, the crowd is electric, it’s an unbeatable feeling. And when you couple that with being able to run through the completely finished New Fantasyland for the first time before booking through the castle, and it’s what makes running this half so worth it.

 
The rest of the race passed by pretty uneventfully. Having run this course so many times now, it makes me wish they’d change it up a bit. The second half of the race between Magic Kingdom and Epcot gets to be a really long stretch of nothing much to see.

Passing back into Epcot at the end is always a great feeling. The loop in and around Future World is such a great feeling because you know the end is near. As runners come to the Mile 13 marker, they’re greeted by a gospel choir, singing the praises of the runners through that last .1 mile.

I ended up finishing in 1:45 which gave me some time to head over and cheer on other runners as they finished.


With 3 races down, only 26.2 miles stood between me and my second Dopey Challenge medal.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Disney World 10K Recap

Day #2 of the Dopey Challenge is one of my favorites. I absolutely love the 10K course at the Disney World Races. A lot of people aren’t fond of the first few miles that’s a lot of parking lot and empty roads, but the back half of the course to me totally makes up for that.

For the second day of running, the temperatures had not done much to improve from the day before. While it wasn’t as windy, it was still really cold considering this is Florida and 40-something degree temperatures were not on my list of things I wanted to encounter on vacation. 


The previous night had not set a great tone for the race for me. We had come back to the hotel from spending the day in the parks to find my 5K/10K Dopey bib had been tossed out by housekeeping. I always make sure to leave my bibs in the same spot each day, and we came back to find it missing. After literally tearing the room apart twice we had come up empty. Thankfully runDisney was easily accessible through Twitter and quickly helped me out.

After getting my bib situation fixed, I found my way to my corral to where I went to huddle and think warm thoughts while waiting to be walked up to the starting line. I’d love to say that I was nestled all warm and snug while visions of sugarplums danced in my head, but it was just too damn cold for that! Finally we made our way to the start and were counted down and sent on our way through Epcot.


I don’t know if it was just a cruel coincidence or if it was planned out, but the first characters we saw were Anna and Elsa from Frozen, hanging out on a bridge blowing snow down as runners passed by. Because we weren’t cold enough already!

Actually, the cool weather made for some ideal running conditions and I quickly warmed up and found a comfortable pace. As I passed through the first water stop, I heard someone yell “TrD!” and saw that it was Faith, the runDisney mom from the Disney Mom’s Panel!

The next mile was pretty dry as far as scenery goes until I finally hit the entrance into Epcot. There, runners are able to run through a good chunk of World Showcase before taking a turn out of the International Gateway and on to my favorite part of the course – the Boardwalk.

The 10Ks in Disney World are the only races that let you run the entire length of the Boardwalk. For some reason, I just love the feeling of running in front of the Boardwalk resort as it’s all lit up. People are down there at unbelievable hours of the morning to cheer runners on. It’s a great feeling.

The second half of the Boardwalk can be a little daunting if you’ve ever run the Disney World Marathon or Wine and Dine Half Marathon before running one of the 10Ks. It follows the exact same path, and with running Dopey, I knew the next time I’d see part of the course, I’d be 24 miles into my run.

I was soon back in Epcot, making my final turns through Future World and down the last stretch of the course. I crossed the finish just shy of 48 minutes, my fastest Disney 10K time to date and 8 minutes faster than my time from the previous year. 


I headed back to the car and checked in on the runner tracking to see how my parents were making out since they were running the race and I was surprised to see they were nearly finished, coming in just over an hour. They had done awesome!

The race itself was a lot of fun – nothing overly spectacular, but a great morning run and an awesome way to work up an appetite for breakfast with the star of the 10K herself:





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

runDisney Kids' Races Recap



After we thawed out from running the morning’s 5K, we headed over to the kids’ races at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports where my daughter and youngest son would be tackling the 100M dash and the Mickey Mile.

The kids races tend to be a crazy event, especially when you’re making a mad dash from one race to them. For some reason Disney holds them at WWoS during Marathon Weekend, rather than right at Epcot like they do for Princess Half Weekend. I’ve done both weekends with my kids, and having the kids races at Epcot makes things so much easier. 

 
But we got to Wide World of Sports just as the 100M dashes were kicking off. Thankfully they have the kids run in waves, rather than just one big sea of childhood humanity. This gave us a little extra time to get our youngest where he needed to be and let the rest of the family get a spot at the finish line to watch him come down the track.


The kids’ races have a 100M dash, 200M dash and 400M dash before getting to the Mickey Mile. After the 100M dash, people started heading over for the Mickey Mile, so we followed along thinking that the races were being pushed a bit faster due to the colder temperatures. Unfortunately we found that we just ended up waiting for over an hour in the holding area for the race to start.


Finally it was time for the Mickey Mile to start. Like the other kids’ races, the Mickey Mile was broken down into three waves. My daughter was right up in the front, waiting for the magic words to come through so she could start her mile with her grandma through Wide World of Sports.



The kids all took off like a shot. We hurried over after my daughter passed to the finish line area where Mickey Mouse was waiting for the finishers to come through.


In under 7 minutes, the first kids crossed the finish line. Man, could they move! I could barely think about running a mile without getting winded when I was their age, let alone finish one that fast!
 


At about the 12-minute mark, I saw my daughter moving with all the might her little legs could muster around the track. As she made her way down the last stretch, she had a great big smile on her face right before giving Mickey a celebratory high-five.


It was so great to see all three kids with their new medals on in the parks following the races. It’s so awesome to be able to share this with them, especially since now they have their own medal rack that they’re quickly filling up.