Goofy Challenge Race Report, Part I

Preface

I’m sure everyone has heard by now that Florida has been experiencing temperatures significantly below normal. It hovered around the freezing mark for most of our week at Disney, often dipping well below 0C/32F overnight and rising just a few degrees when the sun was out in full-force.

Given that we are from the Great White North, we should have been prepared for this weather. As it turns out, we packed as though we would be arriving to Florida’s usual temperatures, having neglected to take the weather forecast seriously. Oops!

We had enough jeans and sweaters to get us through our days in the parks, but I hadn’t packed any cold-weather running gear: no pants, no long sleeves/jackets, no hats/head bands. Major fail!

We had hoped to pick up some warmer gear at the Expo, but there were very slim pickings in terms of warm gear. I did find a 2010 Goofy Bondi Band, which would at least protect my ears. Fortunately the race shirts were long-sleeve, and we all ended up wearing one or more of them each day.

Saturday: Half Marathon

I ended up wearing capri pants with Recovery Socks to keep my calves warm, both the half and full marathon long-sleeve race shirts (big no-no, but I was desperate!) and a short sleeve on top in addition to my new Bondi Band. I added a throw-away hoodie and aluminum blanket, which stayed on for a good 20 minutes into the race.

Based on the 5:50AM half marathon start and the instructions provided for transportation, we were out the door shortly after 3AM and dropped off in the starting area around 3:30. Biting winds and an interesting mixture of rain/snow/sleet made for extremely uncomfortable conditions. We used everything we could find to shelter ourselves and stay somewhat warm. We were then advised that bag check would be closing at 4:30AM, which meant we would have to shed the majority of our warm layers more than one hour before the start. Hubs and I created a shelter of sorts using aluminum blankets from previous races, but it did little to protect us from the elements. We were freezing.

Around 5:00 we decided to make our way over to the start line, which was quite a long hike. Once we got there and buried ourselves in the crowd, we were more protected from the cold wind and it wasn’t so bad. The countdown was on as we prepared to kick off the Goofy Challenge!

The four of us agreed to stick together for the half. Our only game plan was to have fun, enjoy the experience and take it easy. Hubs, U and P are all much stronger runners than I am, so they let me set the pace and ensured that I didn’t push myself.

The first wave started with a bang (fireworks) at 5:40AM and we had just 10 minutes left to kill before our start. Before long, we had crawled forward to the starting line, the fireworks went off again and we were off!

A lengthy stretch of the beginning of the race took us along highways where there wasn’t much to look at (especially in the dark), but we were just excited to be running. The crowds were pretty intense and there were already tons of spectators out in the wee hours of the morning.

Quick portrait at one of many pitstops. Yes, I am stylish.

I will never forget entering the Magic Kingdom while it was still dark. It was lit up absolutely beautifully and I could hardly believe my eyes as we ran down Main Street U.S.A..

Another memorable view, approaching the Cinderella Castle.

We ran through the castle from the rear, which was definitely a highlight of the experience.

(Don’t mind the blurry pics.)

After running all over Magic Kingdom, we were back out on the roads on the way to Epcot.

We were chatting, laughing and even singing as the miles ticked by. I barely glanced at my watch the entire time and didn’t have a care in the world. We were all so supportive of one another, truly enjoying each other’s company the entire time.

Patricia and I celebrating 10 miles.

Hubs ran ahead to snap this photo of Ueli, myself and Patricia:

Pretty soon we could see the giant Epcot globe and knew we were just about done. I remember thinking, ‘I am going to be so glad to see this thing tomorrow!’

We rounded the final bend toward the finish:

The four of us held hands, raised our arms in the air and crossed that line together. (To be illustrated by official race photos soon!) Best 13.1 miles ever.

DONE!

Clock – 2:31:42
Chip: 2:20:42
Place – 5768/17102
Females – 2286/9676
F25-29 – 326/1255

Looking back, I had expected this race to feel much harder. After three weeks of extreme tapering with minimal running, four days of non-stop walking all over Disney World, not paying much attention to what I was eating and having a drink or two every evening leading up to the weekend (essentially breaking all the rules of race preparation!), I had serious doubts that a half marathon at any pace could feel easy. But it did!

The finish area was pretty chaotic and we had a bit of a hard time getting our bags. There simply weren’t enough volunteers and runners started to storm the bag storage area. It got a little crazy, but we eventually got our stuff and made our way to the buses. Unfortunately we were stuck waiting in the cold rain for almost 45 minutes, which was not fun. We were so cold and wet that we could hardly speak or move. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to get on a bus before.

Eventually we made it back to our hotel. On the way there, hubs was excitedly telling us that we was going to buy pizza at the food court before going back to our room…. and then we all realized it was only 9AM! It’s amazing what a 2:45 wake-up call will do to your perception of time. We ended up having a (hot!) late breakfast before crashing for a nice, long nap.

Next up: The Marathon…

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54 thoughts on “Goofy Challenge Race Report, Part I

  1. Awesome race report! I saw Ueli last night at the store, he was telling me all about it — what an amazing experience! Love the pic with the fireworks to start out the race πŸ™‚ Pizza at 9am would have been well deserved anyway πŸ˜‰

  2. Awesome report! Despite the unreal temps sounds like fun! Too funny about the pizza comment. Friends always ask how I can drink beer post race when it's whatever am time… being up early and running distorts the body time.

  3. Ah that's awesome! And I can't believe how cold it was there… that must have been such a shock, jeez.You've got me all excited about my half there in March :)Looking forward to your marathon recap!

  4. Ah that's awesome! And I can't believe how cold it was there… that must have been such a shock, jeez.You've got me all excited about my half there in March :)Looking forward to your marathon recap!

  5. The whole time Spike & I were running our 18 miler that morning I was thinking about you running the Half and wondering how ya'll were faring in that weather! We had HAIL on our side of Orlando and I was praying you weren't getting it over there. I'm so excited that despite the weather you had such a great run! I love it when a race just comes naturally and you have fun no matter what! Can't wait to read about the marathon and getting your Goofy status!!!

  6. How fun! I really want to do this now…and I haven't even heard about the marathon part yet. Sounds like a great time and I love all of your pictures. πŸ™‚ Glad you guys stayed warm…kind of.

  7. I was thinking of everyone at Disney that morning. It was SO cold here; I couldn't believe it!But it looks like you were still able to enjoy the race! Congrats on a great race!

  8. It is official… I am going to sign up for next year!! That just looks like such an amazing experience. Especially because my husband and I are true fanatics when it comes to Disney πŸ™‚

  9. The last two years I was there it was so warm…so I was honestly a little sad to not be there this year! But it just sounded brutal!!! Congratulations on the half and looking forward to the report on the full!

  10. Who would have ever dreamed you guys would be dealing with sleet at this race, that's just crazy. I love that you took pics along the course. It looks like a blast!

  11. How fun, I loved your attitude before the race, "extreme tapering, with minimal running, four days of non-stop walking and eating…" that makes this whole even worth it right there! Nice post, thanks!

  12. Crazy, crazy weather down there!! Still, it looks like you had a great time!! This is why you are my fav blogger…always upbeat and positive! Waiting on the marathon report!

  13. I think that weather is a shocker for everyone. But you still managed to look stylish!! Great race report. Love the medals and it sounds like it was so fun!! Can't wait to read about the marathon!

  14. That's wild! On the one hand your enthusiasm and joy comes through, yet onthe other hand I FEEL the cold and miserable conditions when I read the post. It's amazing that you were able to get through the hardship and view it as the best race ever.So was there pizza?!

  15. That's wild! On the one hand your enthusiasm and joy comes through, yet onthe other hand I FEEL the cold and miserable conditions when I read the post. It's amazing that you were able to get through the hardship and view it as the best race ever.So was there pizza?!

  16. A few drinks leading up to the race doesn't hurt! So I've learned, from *many* experiences. haha!! Just can't take it overboard, obviously πŸ˜‰ Loved this race report – I can tell how much fun you guys had, those are THE BEST races! easy, relaxed, and you still feel proud – even without a PR – because when should 13.1 feel EASY?! πŸ™‚ can't wait for round 2!!

  17. Why did the race start soooo early? hello EVIL Disney people…ugh!! I love that you all had a goal to have fun. the pictures are great, the sourse sounds amazing!You crack me up, did not follo any of the resting or eating rules, had the wrong gear and you ROCKED IT..Congrats to you and your team..

  18. You did great! It's great to hear that you had so much fun the days leading up to the half and still did amazing. Can't wait to read about the marathon!

  19. Eeks, I thought I commented on this earlier when I read it the first time but apparently, I had not. Sorry for my delay. You had such a great race and wow, a totally amazing exerience! I think I need to run this race now, all your garb is so very cool too! Congratulations. I hope you celebrated big!!

  20. Great job and I love all of the pictures. I just signed up for the Disney Half for next year and your post makes it all the more exciting. I can't wait to read the rest!

  21. the fab four!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!cold and wet… gah!!! i hear ya on just wanting to get inside– that was me at my marathon. and we were parked so far away… the waiting is the worst part after you've finished. sooooo coold :)so i couldn't find the link to click to comment for your marathon post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i feel silly. hahahaha . but i will comment here: WAY TO GO!!!!!!!! i love the buddy system approach to teh running. it was so dark at the start!!! i can't imagine being in such a crowd to run, too. the photos are awesome, and you really rocked it!!!!!!! i can't believe how good you felt.AND!!!! BANANA STATION= BRILLIANT. i wish there was one at every race. or two, or three…WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and recovery?! holy crapola! you are running already πŸ™‚ why am i not suprised… hehe

  22. Great report! Exciting to read about. And even despite the extreme weather conditions, you kept a positive and happy attitude throughout. Too bad you had to go home to get warm!

  23. How fun! Looks like you had a blast! You've got me so excited to do Disney's Princess Half Marathon in March. Going to read the next post …Winks & Smiles,Wifey

  24. So I'm way far behind, BUT i wanted to catch up on everything. Man, it looks SO cold there, better you than me there since you are more used to cold weather! πŸ™‚ Great pics of the race though and funny that you were excited about the epcot ball! ha ha

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