Monday, January 13, 2014

Sharp's Final Thoughts on the Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Well folks, it's time. Most of us are either on our way home or sitting in the airport awaiting our flights...which is exactly what I am doing. As a side note before I get started...I scored power plugs for my phone and laptop! SCORE! So many of us participated in the runDisney Walt Disney World weekend (which again is really a week). This consists of the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. Many of us took on various challenges. I met a lot of people who did their own make-shift 'East Coast Dumbo Double Dare' by completing the 10K, followed by the half marathon. Others went Goofy, and some even went Dopey. I am officially Dopey! Horray! So what did I think and how do I feel?

Well, at this point I have VERY minimal discomfort. I kept my 5K, 10K, and half marathons very easy and utilized a consistent Galloway run/walk technique all weekend, adjusting my intervals as I needed to ensure comfort. So this made for muscles that were not overworked or strained. I survived with no injury thank goodness. I also did my best to enjoy all of the fine cuisine Walt Disney World has to offer, but did so responsibly knowing I had races in the morning. Not a whole lot of junk food this weekend.

So that brings me to what I personally thought was the hardest part of the weekend for me...the 5 early wake up calls. All from waking up early to make sure I got the newest New Balance runDisney shoes, to ensuring I made to to my start corral in enough time. I honestly think the 10K was my worst day. I was so pumped up and had ALL the adrenaline in my system during the marathon. I knocked out last night though. I am sure all runners thought it was an awesome treat to be able to sleep in past 4AM this morning haha!

This challenge is just as much of a mental challenge than it is physical. You need to be in the zone ALL weekend in order to make this a success. You have to be focused during all of your distances, you need to fuel properly, and you need to get as much rest as possible. Thank goodness for EnergyBits which gave me energy AND the vitamins I needed to keep from getting sick! I brought a whole bag with me and took two servings every day!

What didn't I like? I didn't like the early morning wake up calls at all. It was hard to know I absolutely had to be up and out the door. There is no grey area here, you don't want to miss your bus or miss your corral. I also thought the price for this challenge was steep. The medals were beautiful, the tech tees this year were much improved from last year, but is it just me or did it seem that the character stops were sparse? Had me scratching my head all weekend. I absolutely got an amazing value for all the entertainment and amazing course support that was present, but I still think this may have been a little on the steep side. Also, just as note to other not say the following phrases to someone 'Oh, you just ran the half?' or 'You just ran the marathon?' Just because someone didn't take on a challenge doesn't make their journey or their race any less important. I heard a lot of that this weekend. I am absolutely sure that no one had malicious intentions and I'm sure many of this was done in a joking manner so I don't want this to turn into a finger pointing session, but honestly, every distance should be respected. 26.2 and 13.1 is nothing to turn your nose up at. So, I say all this to say congratulate all of your fellow runners out there! No distance is too short! GO YOU as Cigna would say. Encourage one another!!!!!!!!!

What did I love? THE MEDALS! The medals are GORGEOUS! Personally, the Goofy is my favorite! The tech shirts were absolutely much improved from last year. The designs and the material were beautiful! Very happy. The course support at the aid stations and water stops was spot on! The volunteers as usual were amazing! The expo pretty much remained well stocked all weekend. I went back and only couldn't get one thing I forgot which was my Dopey hat. I loved the virtual queue line for the New Balance shoes. I know my perspective is a little different because I was first in line on Wednesday, but I thought that was a very efficient way to queue up people wanting to get their shoes. Now for those folks that bought ALL the shoes to sell them....I won't get into that.

Wrapping it up!

I know that each of you gave it your best effort out there! I know that many people learned a lot from their performance! I know there were some challenges. But I know that we all learned something. I love coming to Walt Disney World to run! It is honestly one of my favorite things. Not only do I get to see some amazing people, and reconnect with new folks, but I always have (no joke) a magical time. It's more than theme parks for me. It's about being in the moment and letting the spirit and magic remind you that you are alive. Being able to run around the world (as I call it) is such a blessing. Some people never get a chance to leave their home state, and I get to travel all over the country to run, smile, and write about it. It is a reminder that I am blessed enough to one run on my own strength and get stronger, and two that dreams can come true. If you ever have turned the corner of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom and seen Cinderella's castle for the first time, you know that it is such an experience. Running past it with spectators cheering for you gives me chills. I love the feeling, the spirit, the energy, and the magic that runDisney can create. If you choose to do this challenge I caution you of the early mornings, and not only encourage you...I am telling you you need to be TRAINED UP! This challenge will eat you up if you let it. 48.6 miles is a long way, and the distances get greater every day. The weather in central Florida is also quite unpredictable. We got it all! Rain, humidity, sunshine, overcast, puppies! Sunday however was such a blessing! Perfect running conditions! So, train for the distance! Make sure you get that long run in and cross-train so your whole body is strong and ready for the challenge. All in all, this was a great experience. I am on the fence if I would do it again next year as there are some other races I have my eye on, BUT I am not saying no. There is a chance I may be back for marathon weekend next year, but we will see what the year holds. I had a blast this weekend, and now Saturday and Sunday...the Tinker Bell 10K and Half Marathon await. Which means, Coast to Coast 2014 gets picked up on back-to-back race weekends! Let's see how this goes!

Thanks for joining me on this journey! There is so much more to experience, see, and run through! I hope you continue to join me on these amazing journeys! No two runs are ever the same and there is always something to learn! I have a long way to go, but I enjoy every step! Here's to the magic! See ya real soon!


  1. Sounds like such a blast and an amazing journey!

  2. Well said! I, too, feel pretty darn good, but I have to give it all to being really disciplined in training. Don't know if I'll ever do it again, but it was fun to do once!

  3. Way to go! Loved reading all of the recaps and that is some sweet bling! :)

  4. You did an awesome job homie, playing it safe and also being smart about your runs while having the utmost FUN!! I had a BLAST with you the WHOLE weekend! Love you miss you!

  5. Sounds like such an amazing experience! I loved reading all the feeds on the race and I am super excited for the Princess half next month. My first 1/2 and I will be very pregnant! Thanks for all the great race recaps! Congratulations on your accomplishments and your amazing medals too!

    1. Hi Becky! Thank you for reading and following along! Good luck on Princess! :)

  6. Congrats!! Loved reading your recaps!