A Few Thoughts After My First runDisney Dopey Challenge

We haven’t done a “5 Things Friday” in forever, but thought I’d pull it out this week because there were (approximately) five things I wanted to share about last week’s runDisney Dopey Challenge.

  1. You will be tired. I’m talking the kind of tired where you can hardly remember your name. I thought I was prepared for this part. I had done Ragnar events on little sleep, so I should be good, right? Wrong. Ragnar is two days, one night. This is four mornings of getting up somewhere between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. I am an off-and-on insomniac and have run races on 2-3 hours of sleep more times than I can count (never my best races, but I know I can pull them out on that.). This was totally different. I was so tired that at one point I took the car about a block away to Walgreens and then couldn’t remember how to start it (it is keyless, unlike my un-fancy old car)! If you are debating between Goofy and Dopey, I truly think this is the biggest difference for most experienced runners. If you are a veteran, and extra 5K and 10K is insignificant. The extra two nights of not getting sleep is important.

    You will not only be waking up in total darkness, you will be up, dressed, corralled and racing all before the sun comes up.  For four days in a row...

    You will not only be waking up in total darkness, you will be up, dressed, corralled and racing all before the sun comes up. For four days in a row…

  2. The challenge is better with a friend(s). I am not usually a social racer. I run most of my races alone and when I am in “race mode” this works well for me. But the Dopey Challenge is really not a race. It’s a crazy test of endurance with a (loosely enforced) time limit. I was fortunate enough to be running the 5K and 10K with my friend, Jascia. We helped each other to maintain our pre-agreed upon “easy run” pace and chatted away during both races. These races were pretty much early morning social runs. I ran the half and full with my husband (and Jascia joined us for parts of both as well). Having had this experience, I can’t imagine taking this on alone.IMG_9650
  3. Fueling is of utmost importance if you don’t want to hit the wall or crash. This will likely be a post in and of itself at some point, but if you are doing any multiple day race experience, it needs to be treated differently than a single race. I know many of us finish a single race and “treat” ourselves to a certain food, drink or meal. Dopey required a big effort to make sure I was fueling with nutrient dense foods and enough food. I actually tracked my calories in My Fitness Pal to make sure I was not running on a big deficit sure to set up a crash. This was especially challenging between the half and full. I tend to be really hungry the day after a long run. Despite my efforts I did find that I was starving by about mile 18-20 of the marathon, but I never felt that I crashed or hit a wall.
  4. The challenge is only as fun as you make it. I sometimes struggle with taking racing too seriously. While I think you can take a runDisney race seriously and PR (I have done so in the past), this is almost impossible to do when you are running all four races. By making it fun, I am not suggesting not to take training very seriously. This is a lot of miles. But once you show up as well-trained as possible, the experience will be more enjoyable if you can have fun. Look around while you run, joke around with friends and meet new people (and try not to get too annoyed at thepeople that stop right in front of you with no warning…). IfrunDisney does one thing well it is entertain you. Enjoy it!

    Taking a moment off the road to "have fun" during the half marathon.

    Taking a moment off the road to “have fun” during the half marathon.

  5. Don’t get your heart set on riding the rides. This is very random, but many people talk about riding some of the bigger coasters during the Disney marathon. We weren’t planning to take lots of breaks, but we were kind of hoping to ride Everest. Rumor was it would be running before the parks opened. Not true. When we arrived, it was around 8:40 a.m. and we were told we would have to wait 20 minutes to ride. We weren’t particularly running for a great time, but really who wants to stand around for 20 minutes in the middle of a marathon?? I don’t know if my legs would have started moving again. Needless to say, we skipped Everest (and every other ride).

At some point (likely when I get my picture CD!) I plan to write a “proper race recap” for the weekend, but for now these are a few of my initial thoughts after my first Dopey Challenge.

Have you run Dopey, Goofy or any other “multi-day challenge”? What would you add to my list?

2 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts After My First runDisney Dopey Challenge

  1. I ran Goofy this year, and (shhh) am now considering Dopey in the future. I so agree with you on the sleep factor…it’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to do it this year (along with taking that much time off of work).

Leave a Reply