This past fall, October 18, 2015 to be exact, I ran my first half marathon with my good friend Jill P. I was a sprinter/jumper in high school and college, so this whole distance thing was a bit foreign to me. If you asked me four years ago if I would ever run a half marathon, my answer would have been “hell no”. With the help and guidance from Jill’s boyfriend, Greg, we both trained hard with a goal half marathon time of under 2 hours (which is approximately a 9:09/mile pace). Long story short, I had the time of my life. It was a great day, sunny and not too hot, and I felt AMAZING up until mile 12. After that, I pretty much felt like I was dragging my left leg behind me as I ran the last 1.1 miles. I finished with an official time of 1:57:32.4 (average pace of 8:54/mile). Goal achieved! And what a great excuse to eat as many donuts as I wanted…which I ended up doing post-race.
But anyways, since I had such a good time with the training and the actual racing, I decided that I liked distance running and wanted to continue. So here’s the story: Just a few months before the half marathon, my boyfriend Mike and I went on vacation to Disneyland in California for the 60th anniversary celebration.I gotta say, I LOVE Disney. I’m such a child when it comes to Disney. When I visited Disney World in college with my family, I freaked out when I got to meet Peter Pan and caused some adults in line to snicker at my utter joy and enthusiasm. Side note: Peter Pan says there are no double-digit ages allowed in Neverland, so you just add your age together until you get a single digit. By this math, I am 6 years old. Yep, sounds right to me.
We had a great time, and on our way to the parks in the morning, we saw that there was a half marathon race going on! So once I found out that Disney had races (by the way, they have so many to choose from!) I needed to participate. And after having such a great time with my first half marathon, I knew that I would be ready to take on a Disney race. Now, these races are not cheap, so I wanted to make sure that the race distance would be adequate to justify spending the money on not only the entry fee, but also flights, hotels, park tickets, etc.
The next logical step after a half marathon, you’d think, would be a full marathon, right? Not if your name is Dri. As I began researching the Disney races, I discovered what is called: The Dopey Challenge. To break it down, the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend offers four different race distances: the 5k on day 1, the 10k on day 2, the half marathon on day 3, and the full marathon on day 4. What is the Dopey Challenge you ask? Well, naturally, you run each of the four Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races: the 5k, 10k, half, and full. All on back-to-back days.
I needed to do it. It was so crazy and awesome I was just drawn to it like flies to one of those bug zappers! I was going to sign up for this thing and train like crazy and FINISH! So I figured out when registration was and started doing a little research. First off, it is recommended that you register AS SOON AS registration opens because these races sell out FAST! So I did this. I waited with the registration page open at work, refreshing the page every two seconds until the clock struck 12 (noon) and registration was OPEN! I swear I hit that button at 12:00:00:00:00:00, but GUESS WHAT? Like everything else Disney, I had to wait in line. Yep, that’s right. I needed to wait in line for an ONLINE race registration. Ridiculous! But hey, I didn’t really care as long as I got my spot!
I watched with anticipation as the cute little stick figure walked across my screen, signaling approximately where I was in the registration line. It felt like forever, but in reality I think it was less than 5 minutes. Finally I was in! You have 15 whole minutes to complete your registration before your spot gets given up. I was so nervous and excited! I made sure to double, triple, and quadruple check everything to make sure I had all of my info right.
At last I clicked the “Register” button. Relief, and astonishment at what I had just actually signed myself up for, came rushing in. Did I really just sign up for the Dopey Challenge? Time to start training!
Happy Running, Happy Adventures, and Happy Life!