How Not to Attempt the Dopey Challenge

This is the first year that Disney is officially recognizing the Dopey Challenge. 
They’ve also upped the ante by adding a 10K to the mix.  It wasn’t that long ago that
runDisney runners would take on the unofficial Dopey Challenge. 
Prior to Disney’s announcement about the official challenge,
runners would register for both the 5K and the Goofy Challenge (the Half
marathon and the marathon). 
They would run all three races and get 4 medals at the end of the weekend. 
That alone sounds intimidating.  With the 2014 WDW Marathon Weekend, Disney moved the 5K to Thursday and added the 10K on Friday. 
Anyone who registers for the Dopey Challenge gets the medals for
the 4 races that they complete PLUS the Goofy medal AND the Dopey medal. 
Not too shabby.  It is a lot of hard work though and requires months of dedicated training. 
So I have a fun little story to share with you.
I registered for the unofficial Dopey challenge in 2012. 
I had every intention of completing the challenge.  I had friends that were doing the Goofy challenge and I figured what is another 5K the day before. 
Mind you, I made this decision after completing my first marathon
and my third Princess Half Marathon, so I thought I was set to go. 
Unfortunately, my body had other plans.
I started having problems running in the fall of 2011 shortly after I moved to Florida. 
I went for a run over Labor Day weekend and I was in immense pain by the time that I was 2 miles away from home.  I thought that I was just dehydrated and was just experiencing cramps, but when I got home and hydrated, the pain didn’t go away.  
Through out the fall, the pain didn’t go away.  It was mainly focused in my heels and my achilles area and I began to suspect that I knew what the problem was.  I tried to exercise and many times I was almost in tears.  A friend who is a doctor happened to be visiting in town and I had him examine my legs and he confirmed what I suspected.  I had achilles tendonitis.  I used KT Tape when I wasn’t working I got some braces that were designed for plantar faciitis to sleep in.  The braces kept my feet flexed while I slept and prevented my achilles from tightening up over night.
Unfortunately, though all of this, training for the Dopey challenge did not happen.  I did the Wine and Dine half marathon and the Reindeer Run at Sea World (a 5K), but that was it.  Not exactly a way to train for 42. miles, right?
When it came to race weekend, my plan was simple.  I knew I could still complete the 5K.  I got up and did the 5K on Friday.  On Saturday, my plan was to try to complete the half.  If I finished and could still walk, I would get up and start the full on Sunday.  And that’s exactly what happened.  I finished the half and it was my slowest half marathon ever.  
On Sunday morning, I got up and started the marathon.  I didn’t have high hopes for myself.  By mile 4 I knew that I was falling behind the pace.  I decided to have fun with the race and take pictures and see what happened from there.  After I left the Magic Kingdom, I was told that I was 5 minutes ahead of pace.  I was able to estimate when I would be swept from there.  Unfortunately, my estimate was correct.  I was picked up just around mile 16.

I think I did an amazing job without being able to train.  I also think that I allowed my self to become defeated.  I let myself play mind games and since I was on the course by myself, I didn’t have anyone out there to keep me focused on the task and stop me from talking myself out of finishing the race.
Would I attempt the race again?  Definitely.  Would I train?  Without a doubt.  Would I have someone out there to do it with me?  You betcha!
I’ve waited a long time to write this post, but I felt it was something that needed to be shared.  I have always struggled with training, but this was one time where I had many things working against me and I didn’t try to fight back and overcome.  I wish I had tried harder, but at the same time, I am also happy with the fact that I made it so far.
Have you ever had a DNF in a race?
This entry was posted in achilles tendonitis, DNF, Dopey Challenge, runDisney, training. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Not to Attempt the Dopey Challenge

  1. as your running buddy, I am always proud of you, you did much more than lots of other people who NEVER try. Now we need to train or we're going to die.


  2. Pingback: Dead Last Finish | Who me, run?

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