I completed The Goofy Challenge over a week ago and it’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts on the whole experience. Partly because it was a lot to take in and partly because real life came back quickly. In any event here is my race recap.
First up was the Run Disney race expo, I picked up my race bib, my finishers shirts and hit up the different vendors. There was everything from head bands, running shoes, shirts, socks and everything in between. It was a runners dream, everything you could have wanted/needed all in one spot. I honestly didn’t buy all that much, mostly because that meant I had to get it home and there was only so much extra space in my suitcase. I also felt that I packed everything I needed to get through both races.
When I checked into the hotel I immediately hid all of my finisher shirts and what I bought at the expo. Everything that references you finished the races before they even begin needs to be away from me until after I am done with the actual event. Call me crazy, but I think it’s bad juju.
Next up was the half marathon. The start and end was at Epcot and you run through the Magic Kingdom and then through Epcot to the finish line. I caught up with two friends just inside the Magic Kingdom around mile 4. I was very happy to see them and run with them. We all stuck together until mile 10. One had an injury that was bothering her so she needed to walk a lot. The finish of the race was great, I felt strong and was glad that first race was over.
Next was the full marathon. It started and ended at Epcot as well. In fact the first 6 or 7 miles are the exact same in both races. The marathon course takes you through all the Walt Disney World parks, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Hollywood Studios and then Epcot (in that order). We also run on The Boardwalk, which is really fun. There are some boring parts like running through the recycling and water treatment areas. Inhaling was fun for a little bit during this part. And in all honesty the ESPN section is not my favorite, but it was neat to see the fields and the players only sections.
I don’t care how old I get, Cinderella’s castle is just beautiful. I got to run through it two days in a row and running through it just after sunrise and while it’s all decorated for Christmas will always be my favorite running memory. I have been lucky enough to do it 4 times and it never gets old, never gets boring and is always magical. Always.
The best part for both races was Cinderella’s castle, hands down. But the second best is the crowd support. Inside the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and on The Boardwalk there were so many people cheering for all the runners. It’s just a very cool thing to experience, all these strangers cheering for you. Saying “looking good”, “you got this”, “way to go”, and “run Janel Run” (names were printed on our race bibs). Not to mention the countless signs and cow bells ringing. The support just gives you a boost, a feeling like you can do this. And it happened for both races.
There were water stations every mile or so. Only one station during the half marathon had fuel and it was GU. Two of the marathon stations had bananas and let me tell you, after running 12 miles, knowing you have 14 more, that banana never tasted so darn good. My absolute favorite water stop was at mile 22.5 of the marathon, they were giving out Hershey miniature chocolates. The Special Dark is my favorite!! It tasted so good. I was even able to grab a few pieces for later 😃.
There were also medical tents along the course, just in case you needed anything. Around mile 20 I stopped for some Tylenol. My feet hurt and I wanted some relief. And I really didn’t get much, but I was hopeful.
For some reason I was not all that nervous for either of these races. I have done a dozen or so half marathons and this was my second marathon. Maybe it’s because I have done them before, maybe it’s because I trained well. I am really not sure why. But going into the races not very nervous was a great thing.
The night of the marathon, my family and I had reservations at Chef Mickeys inside the Contemporary resort. Not only did we eat a pretty good meal, we got the meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. I earned the Donald medal for completing the half marathon, the Mickey medal for completing the full marathon and the Goofy medal for doing them both. I brought all 3 medals and a sharpie. I had the characters sign their respective medals. So not only do I have three new super awesome medals, I have them autographed as well.
People have asked me if I would do it again. My answer is always “of course”.