Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts on Dopey/ Goofy Challenges

Now that I've had a few days to digest what happened about two weeks ago at Walt Disney World, I thought I would do a quick little post of my thoughts on the overall Dopey (and Goofy) Challenges.

Me and my BLING from the weekend!

If you haven't read my recaps of the individual races yet, please check 'em out!

Walt Disney World 5K Race Recap
Walt Disney World 10K Race Recap
Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap
Walt Disney World Full Marathon Race Recap

And just in case you are unaware of what the challenges themselves include:

  • The Goofy Challenge is the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday morning and the Walt Disney World Full Marathon on Sunday morning.
  • The Dopey Challenge is the Walt Disney World 5K on Thursday morning, the Walt Disney World 10K on Friday morning, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday morning and the Walt Disney World Full Marathon on Sunday morning. (This means that essentially when you are completing the Dopey Challenge you also are completing the Goofy Challenge, plus the 2 shorter distance races the two days prior.)


So, now that we got the logistics out of the way:
Am I signing up for either of these challenges again?

Would I do it again? HECK-TO-THE-YES (this race "weekend" will be hard to top!)!

Will I do it again? Probably not (although I will never say never).

Mickey approves of my race medals, he told me!

Now obviously this takes some explaining, right? [And a word of warning, this will probably get pretty wordy, so feel free to skim through the post {I won't judge you} or save it to read on a rainy day when you are trying to decide whether or not one of these challenges has YOUR name on it.]

I had an ABSOLUTE BLAST during the Dopey Challenge! I didn't go into any of the races with a goal time in mind, my only objective was to have fun and finish with a smile (and if you are considering either of these challenges I would advise you to do the same)! Each race was completely different but I loved them all for their own reasons.

I did the 5K with my parents (although my dad wanted to run the whole time so left us in his dust). My mom and I did a little running and a little walking (running when she could breath and walking when she couldn't). Whenever you can make running a family affair, DO IT!

My best running friend and her hubby let me tag along with them for the 10K (Ryan was supposed to run this race with me, but when a work photo shoot came up, he had to miss the trip to Orlando. We ended up forfeiting his entry since we figured paying the deferral fee would be silly since we didn't think we would go back to Florida for "just" a 10K). This was the first race I had ever done Jeff Galloway's run/walk intervals {FYI - they are AWESOMESAUCE!}.

I ran the Half Marathon with a friend who I normally "virtually" run with on a weekly basis, but this was the first time actually running together in person. We kept an awesome pace and rocked that race! Going into this race without a plan and having your running partner set the tempo worked GREAT (not to mention we happened to be TWINNING with our Minnie and Mickey outfits without even planning it)!

The full marathon was run with two amazing running friends in a group costume (Huey, Dewey, and Louie). We decided to PR in FUN and definitely managed to do just that! Along with finishing with HUGE smiles on our faces, we made 18 character stops, ran an extra mile (I guess we aren't good at running tangents), and even had a few dance parties along the way! I still smile from ear to ear just thinking of the time spent with these ladies!

Like I have said before (and probably will continue saying), for me, races aren't about the medals or the time on the clock, but about the time you enjoy on the course (and especially the people you spend it with!)!! [Don't get me wrong, I love a PR as much as the next runner, but I want to be able to enjoy EVERY step while I am moving!]

Onto the nitty-gritty.

Early mornings. For me, this wasn't too crazy. Sure, the 5K starts at 6am and the 10K, Half and Full start at 5:30am, which means I was setting my alarm for anywhere from 2:45am (for the full) to 3:30am (for the 5K). Oh yeah, and don't forget that I was coming from the West Coast, which meant when you translate the times to PST I was up before people at home were even going to bed THE PREVIOUS DAY! But for me, I don't tend to sleep much/well anyway... My fibromyalgia doesn't really allow it. It was a little rough trying to lay down to go to bed at 8pm (which is 5pm PST), but you can make it work. If you are someone who needs 8 hours of sleep to function properly, you may want to really consider how the early mornings may effect your mood, running, and ability to enjoy the races.

Training. I am a Type A personality. If I have a list, I NEED to cross things off of it. I work much better off of a plan so I knew I needed a detailed calendar for my training. I decided to start working with a coach when I signed up for the Dopey Challenge. I didn't necessarily need someone to keep me accountable, but I did need someone to help lay out a schedule for me (including all of the other races already on my calendar at that point). Krissy has been AMAZING (by the way, she is now accepting new clients that want to work with her for the Disneyland Half/ Dumbo Double Dare - check out her post about it here). With that being said, it is still A LOT of training! You have to train with back-to-back runs. You will have to train over the holidays and during the winter (SoCal doesn't really have seasons, but it is something you should consider depending on where you live). These challenges are serious business and it is important (both physically and mentally) to make sure you take the time and put in the sweat equity to adequately prepare.

The cost. Alright, if you know me, you know I am cheap frugal. I have a hard time buying items from Target at full price (I mean, doesn't everything eventually go on sale anyway?!). The price tag associated with the races is HIGH, not to mention the travel arrangements, living expenses, etc. Thankfully my family decided that instead of us going back to Michigan for the holidays this year, we would actually meet in Orlando to celebrate Christmas - this meant our plane ticket was about a quarter of the amount we normally would have spent on a Christmas flight. Also, my parents have a timeshare, so we were able to stay in a condo for the first few days (but did have to move to a hotel for the last two nights due to the way the weeks are split up with their timeshare) which cut down on our cost. If you are coming from outside of the Orlando area, tallying up the costs for the races, room and board, etc and looking at it realistically compared to your budget is a MUST. (Being fiscally fit is important too!)

Travel. Signing up for Disneyland races are a no brainer for us me. We live about 45 minutes away from DL, we have annual passes (so we can sign up earlier than the masses and avoid the mad rush before the race sells out), and normally we can be home to Oceanside and showered by about 10am after the half marathons (just one of the many perks of an early morning race). The logistics of a WDW race take a little more planning. runDisney recently changed their policy on bib pick-up. Now YOU have to be the one to pick up YOUR bib. This means for the Dopey Challenge, which begins Thursday morning, you need to be in Orlando by Wednesday to hit up the Expo (you also may want to arrive a day or two early to allow your body to adjust to the time difference {if you live in another time zone} as well as have some wiggle room for weather delays since it will be the beginning of January {particularly if you will be flying}). I learned my lesson after my first full marathon (we jumped in the car for 8 HOURS and drove home, which led to tight muscles and a sad Carlee), so this time we made sure to have at least one buffer day after the last race before making my way home - meaning staying until at least Monday. Thankfully my work is good about me taking time off (if I don't work, I don't get paid, so it is really whatever I can afford while taking care of my responsibilities), but this might be something to keep in mind if you have limited PTO/ vacation (remember these races are close to the holidays, so you may already be taking off time around then).

Packing. Okay, I know this may sound silly, but it was one of the most dreaded parts for me. Packing for a week in Orlando AND four races is a lot to wrap your head around. On top of that, I needed to pack for any type of weather on race day (thank goodness I packed my running tights that I thought I would NEVER need in Florida!) - so at least two race outfits (a warm weather and a cold weather) per day. I brought 3 pairs of running shoes with me (you never know how your feet will feel, if they will get wet or gross, and let's be honest, they had to match my outfits). I NEVER check luggage (I think the only time I have in my adult life was when I packed up two suitcases and moved out to San Diego from Michigan 4 days after graduating college), so imagine fitting all of the goodies I needed (including my fuel, electronics, foam rollers, chargers, life essentials, etc) into two carry-ons... STRESSFUL! A quick word of advice: Gallon Ziploc bags can be your BEST FRIENDS, but they won't do the packing for you :) But honestly, even if you do plan on checking some of your luggage, make sure to pack your race gear in your carry-on so in case the airlines misplaces any of your stuff you won't be in a bind for the races!

Racecation. If you are heading to Walt Disney World for the races, you may be tempted to also want to head to the parks to enjoy the Disney magic. If this is you, more power to you (but also make sure to add in those costs when tallying up your budget for the trip). Although I trained and trained, I still wasn't 100% sure how my body would feel after all of the mileage, so for me and my family, we took it easy while we were in Orlando. We didn't go to the parks (I know, GASP!). Since it was technically our Christmas together we wanted to make sure we got to spend as much time together as possible (I hadn't seen my dad since the previous Christmas and it had been about 6 months since I had seen my mom!). We laid low and enjoyed each other's company. If you are planning on living it up and park hoping while at WDW, make sure to take into account the time you will be spending on your feet during the races and make sure to rest up! You wouldn't want to be too tired to be able to enjoy the reason you are there in the first place - THE RACES!

I am sure there are MANY other things to take into account when deciding whether or not you will be signing up for the Dopey/ Goofy Challenges, but those were some of the main points I had to deal with. Like I said, I LOVED every minute of my Dopey adventure, but for me, once might be enough (I mean, there are so many other amazing races in the world that I would love to run, I don't know that I personally "need" to go back and do this set again, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't!).

The participant shirt and medal for the Goofy Challenge
(You also get the Half Marathon & Full Marathon medals while completing this challenge)

The 10 year anniversary medal had a spinning Goofy medallion 

The participant shirt and medal for the Dopey Challenge
(You also get the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon & Goofy
medals while completing this challenge)

48.6 miles of racing over 4 days deserves an extra medal, #AmIRightOrAmIRight?

And if you stuck through this post all the way until the end - YOU ROCK! No seriously, THANK YOU! Sorry I don't have some type of prize to give you, but hopefully the points I mentioned will at least get the wheels turning in your head when you are figuring out if YOU will be Dopey or Goofy in the future!

Have you ever done a back-to-back racing challenge before? Would you sign up for one?


SD Mom said...

Thanks to you and your experience, I don't feel like I need to ever do it. I feel like I lived it thru you! :-)

Kathryn said...

I also did the Dopey Challenge this year, and I agree 100% with everything here. If you train, and budget, and plan, it can be an incredible experience. I enjoyed every minute of mine!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! I was thinking about doing Dopey next year and really just wanted to enjoy it (not going for any specific time!!). I wasn't too sure about the early wake up time but I guess you can sleep after!

Patti said...

Great job on Dopey! I've done Goofy twice and still think the early mornings are the hard part! I do love Disney though!

ivieanne said...

These are great things to think about as AJ and I set up our budget for next year!

Suzlyfe said...

Thank you for this. I have a few people who want me to do dopey with them next year, so this is super helpful!

Juliana said...

great points and i agree 100% with you on them especially coming from California-there was so much added stress just on the traveling part alone.

I would definitely do it again but will wait a few years mainly beause Star Wars weekend was AMAZING and I want to focus next year on having a great time there (which i did this year with Rebel Challenge) versus being nervous about recovery

Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes said...

I still would love to do the Dopey Challenge, sounds like I only have one more chance though. I heard 2016 would be the last year!

Jennifer @ The Final Forty said...

This really, REALLY sums it all up! I ran Dopey as my first marathon last year, and then I "downgraded" (HA) to the Goofy this year. I had SO, SO much fun doing Dopey, but I honestly think it's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. It's really the training that's the hardest part, and then coupled with those early mornings and the stress you put on your body -- not to mention the MOOLAH it costs to take on this particular challenge -- well, it's just not something I could see doing every year! The Goofy, however, is a different story... ;)