I had a Jurassic Park dream that started out ok (although I somehow was convinced to do the Dopey race challenge which will never happen) but when everything went to shit with the dinosaurs i had to watch all my friends get eaten in front of me
Dopey Challenge 2016 Recap: Day 6 - The Half Marathon
I’ll admit that I was feeling a tiny bit scared of the half marathon… because I was desperately telling myself to take it nice and slow and just enjoyyyyyy myself.. but it’s easier said then done! I had another 4am wake up, pumped myself up with tunes, put a bit too much foundation on and forced my mum to exit the warm bed to take my morning photo :)
I headed down to the hotel lobby with a cup of morning tea in hand and was a little bit shocked with how crazy the bus queues were in comparison to the other days… It makes sense of course, more people come just to run the ½ than will run the 10k/5k but it freaked me out how long the line was so I decided to head over to the Swan (sister hotel) where I assumed the line would be nicer and it was… marginally. Because of all the waiting around I was a little frustrated… but then we arrived at the bus stop at Epcot and all my fears came true.
THIS WAS THE QUEUE FOR PEOPLE WITH BAGS TO GET THROUGH SECURITY… the lights all the way in the back there is where the security people were… obviously there were loads more participants, but after having walked through the bag check the two previous days this was insane! It was very slow moving and I’d say it took about 30 - 35 minutes to get up to the front and to bag check (and I saw a lot of people trying to cheat the system and FAIL)
Obviously, with such a long line just to get into the race village, I was admittedly a little nervous, but I still had time and my plan of action was to arrive at the corrals at the last minute anyway because I was jumping into a corral infront. When I finally made it through I looked for somewhere dry to sit and wait (I even had a book with me!), I ended up in a bag check tent that wasnt being used, placed my bag on the floor and got my book out ready for about 45 minutes of waiting. But… this woman saw me from across the room and came and joined me, it was really sweet.. she was from Canada, mother of two and she was running her first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge (been there, done that) and had only run up to an hour as part of her training (eek.. and I thought i was undertrained!). We chatted for about 30 minutes before she took a selfie with me, said her goodbyes and headed off… it was a nice use of empty time!
Anyway… I then checked my bag in and headed off for the mile walk to the start line, ready for a fun race and to enjoy myself. I did exactly what I had done for the marathon in 2014, I hung around the portals by the corrals and knew the only way for me to get in there was once A - D had started moving/gone across the finish. Now, I appreciate this is really bad, and that I probably shouldn’t be blogging about it.. but I’ve run many Disney races and qualified to be in the A corral at almost every single one… i was under the impression you weren’t able to change your corral at the expo - but it turns out you could.. which would have saved this annoying naughty effort, but i really knew that I wasnt doing any harm by going into Corral E/F to anyone.
After about 15 minutes since the first racers left I was at the start line, feeling already pretty humid, but looking forward to the course I know best, and my favourite Running to the Castle. Within minutes, I was crossing the start line and was reminding myself to chill out and just enjoy the experience… which I definitely did. This was the first race where I have legitimately queued properly to take character photos and stop to take lots of selfies/snap chats I loved it!
When you get to the Magic Kingdom sign above I will admit you do get quite excited because you assume Magic Kingdom is right there… when it’s lies people.. you hit this at just around mile 2.8 and don’t actually hit the kingdom until just after mile 5… I appreciate it isn’t ages, but it does mean that you have to reign in the excitement so that you can run through the transportation centre, a couple of car parks and underground!
But when you do arrive… it’s like everything you could ever imagine and more. I will never get over the goosebumps of running down main street with a lit up castle, hundreds of people cheering… it literally gets me every time. I’m sure every person that has done one of the races would say the same - it’s just so exciting.
It was then all about the character photos :) However… what I will say is that the humidity was CRAZY and my slightly overzealous 4am attempt at putting a light bit of foundation had lead to me looking like I had some type of problem.. as I’m sure you will notice in all the photos, I had a nice orange V down the front of my white shirt… oops! (Nicely illustrated above!)
After you leave magic kingdom I will admit the race is a little boring.. there are a couple exciting things on the course to entertain you, but it feels like leaving takes forever… it’s really then just about getting back to Epcot and finishing. Due to the photo stops I was taking, I didnt really implement that many walking breaks, but was just trying to be really casual with my pace when I was running :)
Before I knew it I was FINALLY in epcot and on the home straight!
Please note the guys top that finished before me.. LOL.
The good thing was I didnt feel super tired or stiff, I’d mostly just had a really enjoyable race! I finished in 2:27, which I was happy with given some of the queues I waited in for photos! I jumped straight onto a shuttle bus and headed back to my hotel for another bath and nap.
I had decided that the day before the Marathon was the day that I didnt want to do a park because I wanted somewhat fresh-er legs. So my mum and I really just chilled out in the afternoon… headed to Disney Springs for some shopping and a drink and then back to the hotel for dinner. On a side note, I really like the changes that have been made to Disney Springs, i’m sure as it develops and grows it will be a really fun place to go, with lots to do!
We tried to eat at four different restaurants when we got back to the hotel but they were all full up (of runners carbing up most likely!) so I ordered a dominos and ate half of it in bed before my first ICE BATH. (The reality really started to hit home)
Then it was back to bed… the TV and an extra early night trying not to freak out about the big race the next day.
My alarm clock went off at 4:30 am on Thursday morning, the race was a late 6am start and I was feeling pretty pumped. I popped my speaker on for some early morning pump up tunes, put some light makeup on (Hey if I’m not racing I’m ALL about the photos) and threw on Mrs Potato Head which i was SOOOO excited about - my FIRST RunDisney costume!
We headed down to the Race transportation (my first time staying at a hotel that did official RunDisney race transportation - I would highly suggest, it makes life SO much easier!). After a short wait, we were off to Epcot/The Corrals, the bus took about 5 minutes and then it was about a 10 minute walk to the security. This was the first RunDisney event I had done that included a security bag check to get into the venue, I understand why it’s necessary and it was fine because it was just the 5k and it’s got the lowest amount of people doing it.
I stood in line to take a fun photo!
After this, we grabbed a cup of tea, listened to them telling everyone to get into the Corrals (I ignored because I was in the last corral and knew even when the race started it would be a while until I was allowed to move!). At this point, I had half a banana and attempted to get in line for a photo with Dopey before security came and told me that they were told they weren’t allowed to let anyone in when the race had started (I think he was lying but he did scare me so I went over!).
Since I was in the second to last corral there was a fair amount of waiting around, I was getting pretty bored and so switched on my phone data for a social media browse for about a minute (it cost £60 and so I immediately TURNED IT OFF!) - after about 45 minutes I was FINALLY almost at the start! Since my mum was waiting for me, I felt a little guilty - as it’s pretty boring waiting around in the dark from 5am whilst your daughter runs a race…
So anyway, I finally started the race, and admittedly I was pretty excited to finally be running after a couple of rest days and after so much thinking about running… with all the people from the corrals before walking I was pretty frustrated and so for some reason was ducking and weaving massively to get some room - I knew it wasnt until the end of mile 1 that the fun stuff came… so I slightly raced the first mile… it’s boring through the back lot and so I just wanted to get to Epoct :) I did the first mile in 8:15 I think… given that the first .3 miles were pushing through people, the exertion level was high!
Once I’d hit Epcot I took a bit of a chill pill and it was all about the photos and the experience. However, because I’d run faster the first mile, I was pretty hot by the time I entered Epcot (not helped by the fact I was wearing a hand!). I enjoyed myself, stopped for a couple of character photos (that I ended up leaving the line for because I got annoyed at the queue!)
The rest of the race is pretty much through the park, I stopped for a picture with Marie though :)
After that I was just about running casually, taking selfies and snapchats and making it to the finish line (whilst posing for ALL the photographers!!)
So anyway, I was pretty hot from the humidity and costume but I was really excited that it was my first Disney park visit of the trip and I was almost done!
I crossed the finish line at forty something minutes and headed to find my Mother who had been like the GREATEST mother EVER and waiting the WHOLE time in the line for a picture with DOPEY so I could go straight to the front!
Major props to the mother!
Anyway, post race we headed back to the hotel for a small nap and we headed to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon! It’s been a really long time since we did Hollywood Studios properly… the weather was lovely, like the sun was legitimately out and it was a really casual, fun afternoon.
We hit Rockin Roller Coaster first (single rider queue!) and then we just walked around the park and enjoyed seeing areas we had never paid much attention to before.
After a shitty fast food lunch (I had the healthiest veggie sandwich I could find!) we treated ourselves to a cocktail and headed to Singalong Frozen… Can I just say, we were literally the only people in the auditorium without children but we were literally the people singing along the most. I absolutely LOVED it… in a cheesy pantomine/cringe way!
After a fun experience with the babes Chip n’ dale we headed back to the water ferry to our hotel :)
That night we hit the Japanese restaurant at the Swan (opposite our hotel the Dolphin) and another early night in bed with TLC… definitely the opposite of a party holiday!
Today kicks off the start of what has been the best weekends of the year for me the past two years - RunDisney’s Marathon Weekend! And for the first time in three years, I’m not a part of it! Womp womp.
I’m not gonna lie…I miss it more than I expected to this year. But that’s ok - I’m just going to channel that energy into positive energy for the runners this year! (And maybe plan on going back for the marathon next year. Maybe.) Wish I could be there to cheer you all on!
Extra light and love goes out to one of my very best friends, Dave, as he tackles his VERY FIRST marathon this Sunday!!
Back during Dave’s first half marathon! My guy is growing up! Sniff sniff!
I had so much fun last year. It was the best way possible to kick off 2014, a MAJOR milestone running year for me!
Hey tumblr! I’m still here. I’ve been busy, but I’m getting back into blogging by posting a 2014 recap. I’m gonna go month by month, so it’ll be awhile, its probably more for me than you, but maybe you’ll think its kind of cool. So here we go…
I was really really sick. I had been sick since early December, and it was not a good time to be sick. I was pretending like I wasn’t, but I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor…infections in both ears. It was also the crazy polar vortex in Chicago, wind chills of -40. It was no joke. I auditioned for my dream job at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, I had been practicing my tail off for a long time. I played really well, and didn’t advance past the first round. Big disappointment.
I boarded a plane the next day for Orlando to run the Dopey Challenge. 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. I was still sick. I was in a daze for the first two races, but they were short and it was fine. The half marathon was for real…it was (hopefully will forever be) my slowest half marathon. So humid, and I was coughing and it was awful. But I got it done, and I killed the marathon the next day. Dopey Challenge COMPLETE.
I also raised a whole bunch of money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I finished as the top fundraiser at the Disney Marathon Weekend. It was really fun, and I want to do it again.
Flew back to Little Rock to get back to work. I started putting together a duo recital with my friend Er-Gene who lives in Fayetteville, AR. We picked all the hardest music. And then I had a giant solo in our orchestra concert, the Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto. It was a rare opportunity that many don’t ever get to play in concert. I also got a rave review calling my performance “gorgeous."
And then a few days after that I did a concert featuring the hardest string quartet I’ve ever played (Berg: Lyric Suite) and two other big pieces. It was a TON of music in 3 days. Definitely one of the hardest weeks of work I have ever done in my life.
And thats January…from huge disappointment to huge accomplishments in just a few weeks. And it was only the beginning of the year.
I know I haven’t put much personal things up lately but I’m feeling sentimental.
The reason my face is all scrunched is because his nose poked me in the eye just before the picture!
I got engaged on January 10th while I was in Florida for the Dopey Challenge. Now, it wasn’t really a surprise to me that Drew was going to propose. I heard him talking about it last summer and I can tell you the EXACT date that he bought my engagement ring. He’s pretty bad with secrets and controlling his emotions. He was so excited and lovie once he got home with my ring. :)
So, Drew proposed at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. We were talking about possible date for the wedding and I said September 3, 2014 would be a suitable date to keep the Harry Potter theme going. He could not figure out how that made sense. I said 9.3.14 and he still didn’t get it so I literally wrote 9 ¾, 9.3.14 and he says “What does 9-3-14 have to do with Harry Potter”. I almost lost it! “HELLO, Platform nine and three quarters…That is HOW you get to Hogwarts. This is the only year for the next 1000 years that it will work”. Sadly, 9.3.14 is on a Wednesday this year and with all the teachers in my family it is just not possible to get everyone here AND that is very short notice to plan the wedding.
Therefore, we have picked the date August 8, 2015.