2015 Dopey Challenge: the last 26.2 miles…

If you’re just tuning in, the Dopey Challenge is a 48.6 mile challenge in Walt Disney World consisting of 4 races on 4 consecutive days (a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon).

2015 Dopey Challenge posts:

The marathon:

The absolute best part about this marathon? There was ZERO stress involved. None! I have never run a marathon where I walked around the day before and completely forgot that I had to run a marathon the next day. I had absolutely zero worries that I had already run 22.4 miles or that I had walked close to 20,000 extra steps each day through the Disney parks.  It was completely liberating.

Since this whole “run a marathon” thing was so stress-free, I fell asleep fine and woke up with just enough time to get myself and Michael (his first marathon!) to the start line. I had my pre-marathon breakfast but didn’t worry about timing everything I ate/drank before the race since I didn’t care if I needed a restroom break during the run.

Michael's first 26.2!

Michael’s first 26.2!

I couldn’t hide my excitement as I entered my corral. This was it! In just 2 miles I would be halfway through the Dopey Challenge! And since there was no pressure, all I could think about was having the most fun one could possibly have while running 26.2 miles.

And fun was had, people, so much fun was had.

wdw marathon

I knew my family would be cheering in the Magic Kingdom so I essentially did a dance once we turned onto Main Street. It’s absolutely magical to run this strip of the Magic Kingdom and I was glad that my brother (who has successfully slept through 5 of my Disney races over the past 3 years) was finally out there to experience it all.

After passing the fam (with a quick pit stop to check how Michael was doing), I continued on and focused on just enjoying the sights, the weather, the crowds (omg the crowds!) and the amazing signs on the course.

wdw marathon

The whole race, I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt. Running through Animal Kingdom was pretty sweet (they even had some of the animals out on the course wearing marathon bibs!), I absolutely loved running around the speedway, and I knew once I hit Hollywood Studios that I was in the home stretch.

wdw marathon

My family was at Mile 24 near the Beach & Yacht Club and I couldn’t wait to get to them, to show them all how incredible I was feeling.

wdw marathon

Running through Epcot was bittersweet. I was almost done! But at the same time, this whole experience was almost over.

The crowds nearing the finish line in Epcot were absolutely insane. Us runners knew we were close, the fans knew we were close, the Disney cast members knew we were close. It was so loud and I found myself holding back tears the entire time. Just hold it in until the finish line, Ang!

2015 dopey challenge

You know I burst into tears probably 20 seconds after crossing that finish line!

I was draped with my 3 medals (one for the marathon, one for completing the Goofy, and one for completing the full Dopey challenge), grabbed my box of food, and sat down to stretch and wait for Michael who was only a few minutes behind me.

post wdw marathon selfie

Congrats, Michael, on your first marathon finish! I am so unbelievably proud of you!

The rest of the day was spent treating ourselves with great food and drinks and rocking our medals everywhere we went.

post dopey challenge

And Monday? Well, Monday was reserved for another love of mine, Harry Potter.

harry potter at universal studios

I barely felt like I had ran a marathon and then some. That has never happened before. Was it smart running? Was it Disney magic? Hogwarts magic? A mix of all three, perhaps?

When I signed up for this craziness, I said that the Dopey Challenge was a “one and done” … and now? Well, now I’m not so sure. Knowing how incredible this whole thing was, could I pass it up next year? I just don’t know.

My heart is full.

Thank you, Disney. It was magical.


Anyone want to join me next year for the Dopey Challenge? Or part of it? We have 3 months to decide…

Most fun you’ve ever had while running a marathon?


Filed under marathon, running, walt disney world marathon

2015 Dopey Challenge: the first 22.4 miles…

Previous 2015 Dopey Challenge posts:


After the 5k and 10k (and many extra magical steps through Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom), it was time to conquer the half-marathon. I’ve run the WDW Half-marathon twice before (2013 and 2014) so I was very familiar with the course and knew I was most looking forward to running through Magic Kingdom and that I wanted my family to be at the finish line. Other than that, I did little to no thinking about this race.

It ended up being a little chillier than Friday and as luck would have it, my bus to the start line got stuck in traffic and I made it to my corrals right as the wheelchair division was starting. Ummm… perfect timing! No waiting around in the cold FTW! I normally would have been extremely nervous about the traffic but having waited in the cold for so long on Thursday, I welcomed the extra bus time and knew I’d still cross the start with my corral.

Dopey Challenge half marathon

There is nothing quite as magical as entering the Magic Kingdom and running up Main Street in the dark. The crowds, the lights… it gives me chills just thinking about it.

I didn’t think it was possible after how much I enjoyed the 10k, but I enjoyed the half-marathon even more. Dare I say, I enjoyed the half-marathon this year more than any other year?

dopey challenge half

When I heard my parents (let’s be honest here, I heard my mother) at the finish line, I did a slow-mo dancing running-like movement because I just couldn’t hide how happy I was. Three-quarters of the days through and almost halfway through the miles!

We celebrated in Epcot’s sunshine the rest of the day, enjoying pizza in Italy, going on rides (my favorites are Test Track and Soarin’), and eventually moseyed our way to Downtown Disney to load up on some pre-marathon carbs at Fulton’s. Perfect day to celebrate 22.4 miles and anticipate the next 26.2!

Next up: The final 26.2 miles of the Dopey Challenge!


Best meal you’ve ever had in Disney? The pizza in Epcot’s Italy is incredible. I would eat it all day every day. The sangria too.

Favorite pre-race carb? Pasta! Or pizza. Hmm… both. Pasta with a side of pizza. Yes, that sounds better.


Filed under disney, half-marathon, running, walt disney world marathon

2015 Dopey Challenge: the first 9.3 miles.

It is now just over a full week since I completed the 2015 Dopey Challenge and honestly, I just want to do it all over again. The post-Dopey blues are definitely worse than the post-marathon blues… and I have absolutely no idea why this is so surprising to me.

Alright, let’s talk the first 9.3 miles out of those gloriously magical 48.6…

The 5k:

I planned to wear my Olaf costume for the 5k because it’s a short enough distance that if the tutu bugged me or the hat was too warm, it wouldn’t be such a huge deal. It all worked out perfectly since Thursday morning was SO COLD! All the runners were penguining (definitely a real word) at the start line to try and stay warm.

I was in Corral B, however, mama DErunnerNIAL was in Corral F so I jumped back to start with her. If it had been comfortable out, this wouldn’t have been such an issue… buuuuut, of course, it was freezing, and starting 40 minutes after I was scheduled to start was pretty painful.

Since this was really my mom’s race, I let her set the pace and I would run up ahead to get pictures of her (and also to stay warm) as she was running.

dopey challenge 5k

After the race, it warmed up enough that it was comfortable outside and we spent the rest of the day having a blast at Animal Kingdom :-)

The 10k:

I wanted to wear my Maleficent ears for one of the races but wasn’t sure if they would bother me during a longer distance so I figured the 10k was a safe bet. It was much warmer at the start than Thursday so the morning was much less miserable. I stayed in a tent and “napped” on my foil blanket until it was time to get into the start corrals. Also, starting in Corral B > starting in Corral F.

dopey challenge 10k

I had such an amazing time running the 10k. Little known fact (or well-known? I don’t know), I hate the 10k distance. It’s short enough that you should be speedy but also long enough that you have to be mindful of pacing. Luckily, I wasn’t racing this 10k and I spent the entire 10k trotting through Epcot and taking photos.

I celebrated being halfway done in days and 19% done in miles at Magic Kingdom until close… because the Wishes fireworks are the best… and I love Magic Kingdom’s “goodnight kiss” … and who cares if you have a 3:15 am alarm to run a half-marathon in the morning?

wdw marathon weekend at magic kingdom

Next up: The last 39.3 miles of the 2015 Dopey Challenge :-)


What is your favorite Disney Park? I love the rides in Epcot but Magic Kingdom makes me fall in love with everything.


Filed under 10k, 5k, disney, running, walt disney world marathon

Dopey Challenge by the numbers.

So if you’ve been following me on Twitter or Instagram, this isn’t news to you, but..

I'm a Dopey Challenge finisher!

I am a Dopey Challenge finisher!

These miles (yes, all 48.6 of them) were incredible. I will definitely be back to recap highlights from each race and post lots of photos but first I want to talk about my strategy for each race and how I finished all 48.6 miles and woke up the next day with very little physical evidence of having run a marathon and then some.

As a side note, in addition to running the Dopey Challenge, I spent the first 3 days of the challenge walking around the Disney Parks. Note: this is NOT what you do before a marathon… unless you’re in Disney… then, by all means… OR just do as I say and not as I do and make sure you rest before running a marathon.

dopey challenge

Thursday’s 5k:

  • This was my mother’s first attempt to run a 5k so I stuck with her. She ran the whole thing! She wasn’t sore the next day so next time I’m gonna need her to run faster. Congrats mama DErunnerNIAL on your first real 5k!

Friday’s 10k:

  • The goal was to keep the pace at whatever felt easy – I ended up hovering around a 10 minute pace.
  • Finish time of 1:27:11 with about 25 minutes worth of photos on the course.

Saturday’s Half-Marathon:

  • The goal was to keep the pace super slow and possibly do a run/walk – I ended up running the first 10 miles slightly under a 10 minute pace (whoops) and then slowed it down to slightly above a 10 minute pace for the last 3 miles.
  • Finish time of 2:34:08 with about 20-25 minutes worth of photos.

Sunday’s Marathon:

  • The goal was to keep it very easy and comfortable and possibly begin a run/walk after the first hour of running – I ended up running the entire thing around a 10:30 pace.
  • Finish time of 5:02:28 with about 25 minutes worth of photos.

I kept my running pace nice and easy throughout the challenge and never felt like I was “pushing it.” The slower pace definitely helped me to always feel my best and ready for the next day’s race.  I always stopped and waited on line when I saw a character I wanted a photo with, I walked through every aid station, and used the restroom when I needed (I worried less about timing out my morning nutrition and water than usual since I wasn’t concerned with having to stop during the run).

After the marathon, I was treated like a princess at the Wilderness Lodge with an amazing massage and an incredible meal at the Whispering Canyon Cafe. I ordered a margarita and “lots of water” – and my waiter did not disappoint.

Post-Dopey Challenge hydration done right

Post-Dopey Challenge hydration done right

By Monday, I felt as if I hadn’t run a marathon the day before (seriously, the only time I felt anything was when I was walking down stairs). This worked out perfectly since I had big plans to hang out with Harry Potter on Monday.

My top goal was to finish these races with a smile on my face:

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

Seeing as though I felt so great during and after the challenge, I feel like I truly ran smart races. Or maybe it’s just the Disney magic…



Any other Dopey Challenge finishers? How are you feeling?

Ever run a RunDisney race? Thoughts?

Am I absolutely crazy that I’m already thinking of doing this again next year?!


Filed under 10k, 5k, half-marathon, marathon, marathon tips, walt disney world marathon