This week is runDisney’s Dopey Challenge week and Goofy and the Marathon and everything in between. I’m very very sad that I won’t be joining the boys for the fun filled weekend (maybe I shouldn’t feel as bad as I’m still down sick). Instead, I am focusing this week’s post on tips to help through the week.
- Get to the expo early to avoid crowds. This one is a no brainer. This also gives you a good chance to pick up some cool merchandise. We were there at about 3pm, but already a lot of Dopey stuff was gone.
- Look through the event guide earlier and scout out the shopping you want to do. I knew that I only wanted official merchandise and a Sparkle Athletic skirt; and to stop at the Runner’s World booth. The boys wanted to visit the Stick people. So our path was -> race number, official photos with bibs (required by runDisney), TShirt and swag bag pickup (very disappointed in the swag bag – one clif bar and nothing else!), Stick, Runner’s World (for me), Sparkle Athletic and out! Even just that took us about 3 hours with all the socializing and looking around.
- Remember where you parked your car!! The last thing you want to do before the race is walk around trying to find the car. Yep, did that too!
- Carry some snacks or eat just before you get to the expo. You don’t want to sample all the food there on the day before your race. I had saved my sandwich from lunch (half soup and sandwich at Panera) and eating that just before we started the expo gave me a ton of energy.
- Carry a water bottle or two. I forgot to carry a bottle from the car and was quite dehydrated by the time we finished up. Good thing it was only the 5K the next day (Me saying “only a 5K” is not diminishing the accomplishment of a 5K distance. It is just me being glad that I was dehydrated the day before the shortest distance and not the longest distance.)
Sleep – While everyone acknowledges that the hardest part of the Dopey Challenge is waking up insanely early 4 days in a row (if you’ve put in the training time, that is), don’t underestimate how that lack of sleep will hit you. We didn’t stay up late any of the days, but by the 3rd day I could really feel it. Get to bed by 7:30-8:00pm, even if you can’t fall asleep quickly. Stretch and Recover – After each race, stretch for a few minutes. Carry $10 with you and use it to get a $1/minute massage after the half and full marathons. If you can, carry a small foam roller or a stick to use when you get back to your room. Use ice to aid recovery (in spare ziploc bags) Hydrate – There has been ONE recorded year of cold and everything else has been hot and humid. Carry a water bottle with electrolytes around and drink it! And keep it refilled. Skip the Parks – I know, I know! Go to Disney and not visit the parks!! Unthinkable, but it really adds a ton of miles to your feet. We went to the Harry Potter World on the 5k day; my reasoning was that my feet would recover from “just” the HP world (not the rest of the Universal Studios) and it was “only” a 10k the next day. Not a good idea! My feet were tired, and my hamstrings were hurting from so much walking!
Yes, this gets it’s own little section. After all, what would a runDisney event be if not for photo ops with characters you very rarely see in the parks?! Even if you are a turtle like me, if you’ve been training properly and if you have been able to keep a 16:00 minute/mile in TRAINING, you will be able to stop for photos plenty (if you want to, that is). You can either purchase the photo package (usually with a slight discount at the expo) or bring your own camera. I liked the photos from my own camera much better than the official ones, and the official ones are not there at every single character either. And you end up getting some super fun photos with a camera in hand!
If you are slow(er), you might want to be picky of the photo ops at the 5k and 10k. With it being the shorter distances, and the probability that you started in a later corral, and the characters aren’t that many, it is sometimes slightly risky. In fact, we got caught by the balloon ladies in the 10k while waiting in line and had to book it! There are some characters with super long lines like any Mickey and the Villains in the marathon. It was my biggest regret that I didn’t get that Villains photo, but it would’ve clearly taken up atleast 30-40 minutes to get through that line. The 30 minutes that unfortunately I didn’t have. Honestly, some of the best character photos are during the marathon and the half. Because more characters are out and also because people are honestly tired by the time they get to the later miles so there is hardly any line. Even the boys would give me the stink eye when I stopped for photos after mile 16 or so. Except, we HAD to stop for this incredible photo!
What other tips do you have to add to maximize your Dopey or Goofy or Marathon weekend fun?
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