2007 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Report: Janice Newton
|Bliz (Janice) here - part of Ken's Waterloo Team Disney. I've seen a few questions about doing the "Goofy" - 1/2 marathon on Saturday and full Marathon on Sunday. I would highly recommend it. Just run slow, stop for lots of pics and you will have a great time. I like to keep a diary after a long race and here's my Goofy Diary ... (i warn you now, it's very, very long)
Day 1 – January 7, 2006 (1/2 marathon)
My plan for the morning was ready: My alarm was set for 2:30am. This would give me time to get dressed, get my gear packed and hit the cafeteria when it opened at 3:00am to get my much needed coffee. I planned on getting the bus to the start line at 3:30. Unfortunately, the people in the room above me decided that 2:00 am was the time to get up and make a lot of noise. Outside it was cold: 3 degrees! I’m wondering if the shorts, long sleeve tshirt and mittens that I’m wearing under my “throw away” track suit is enough. Easily got on a bus at 3:30. I thought that there would be a line-up but I guess that all 15,000 runners are spread out at different hotels.
The trip to the start area was long. The bus driver was given the wrong instructions drove around Epcot twice before we ended up in the right place. The Epcot parking lot had been transformed. There were tents for the finish a big stage with a band playing and the “jumbotron” screen showing “best wishes” pictures taken at the expo the day before. It was bitterly cold and windy – people were wearing garbage bags, mylar blankets, hotel blankets and sleeping bags. Decided to hit the “portolet” (pp) line now. Tons were available, but by 4am most were out of tp – reminder for tomorrow – tell everyone to bring their own! Moved into the crowd near the stage to stay warm. Everyone was dancing and singing to keep warm – the band was good! Met a couple of Canadians. Met a lot of people who had never run a ½ marathon before – actually a lot of people who had not done much running at all!
At 4:45 a voice describing himself as one of the army guys from Toy Story started barking orders - telling everyone that it was time to start walking to the corrals. He was very loud and extremely annoying. I thought that it was a taped message (will find out differently tomorrow). We started the slow walk to the start corrals. It took about 20 minutes to get to corral “C”. I felt sorry for the people in “H” – it was a very long way to the start line. The start area was great. Up at the start line was another “jumbotron” and speakers at each corral. They were playing music videos and showing interviews with various people running (like John “the penguin” Bingham). Everyone was dancing to keep warm. I was chilled to the bone – note for tomorrow – wear way more layers of clothes! We waited here for one hour – I’m starting to think that I drank way too much water the day before and will need to stop early in the run! At 5:55am it was time to throw away the track pants.
Fireworks and flames shooting from the top of the start sign, started the race. It took about 4 minutes to get to the actual start line. I’ve got to keep reminding myself that I can’t run this any faster than 2:30 so that I can run again tomorrow. At this point getting up again at 2:30 to do it again is not lookin’ like such a great idea. There are so many people here running on a 2 lane road that it shouldn’t be hard to go slow. I was passing many people including walkers (how did they get in corral C - I found out later from some that they were putting in estimated mile times that were at least 1 minute faster than they actually could walk or run!) The first cheering squad (Disney had bussed in many cheering squads and bands along the roadways) was a bunch of older guys wearing hula skirts and fruit on their hats!
Right after mile 1 (great big mile markers with “inspirational” messages, music and cheering squads), we hit an on/off ramp. It was at a huge angle – biggest angle that I have ever run on and bothered my right leg. At 2k, I couldn’t wait and decided to line up at one of the pp’s at the side of the road. These were on such an angle that I had to hold onto the door with both hands to keep from falling backwards. Note to self – only use pp’s that are on flat ground!!!
The way to the Magic Kingdom is mostly on 1 and 2 lane roadways. Part of the way there were no lights and it was very dark. Spend most of my time weaving in and out of all of the slow people around me! Saw a few Canadians, but not too many. Keep trying to slow down, but it’s really hard. Water stations are a bit of a pain The roadway is narrow and they are on both sides. What I am finding is that this is a race of mostly “non-runners”. This was very noticeable at the water stations. I stayed in the middle of the road, but it was virtually impassable as most of the people getting water/powerade would either stop or walk in the middle of the road! I almost ran over a few of them.
It finally started to get light. At the 4 mile mark, I could see the Contemporary Hotel. At 4.5 mile mark threw the fleece hoodie – keeping the mittens though. Still seeing bands and cheerleaders along the way – they are very enthusiastic and cheering everyone! At mile 5 getting close to entering the Magic Kingdom. Cptn. Hook was at the water station in the parking lot of Magic Kingdom. Entering Magic Kingdom was our first “hill” – just a down & up under a roadway, but I would say that 90% of the people in front of me were walking. I found it easy to run up and got a bunch of cheers from people at the sidelines! I heard more than a few runners say this was a hilly route – they thought that the on-ramps were hills. Try running on Wilmot line – these on-ramps looked flat to me! Right side of my right knee and calf is starting to hurt – hopefully it will go away.
Entering Main Street. It is fantastic – tons of people cheering, lights on, characters around. Stopped and took a bunch of pictures. Each character has a “handler” to take your picture. Got mine taken with “Stitch” from Lilo and Stitch. Ran through Cinderella’s castle. They have the rides going even though nobody is on them. As we were leaving the Magic Kingdom, we got to run in the back lot where they keep the floats that go in the parade every night. Food stop here – bananas and chocolate – nice! I’m getting close to where my running mates will be cheering me on. Hit the ½ way mats at my planned time of 1:15. It’s hard not to run at the speed that my legs really want to, but I’ve got to keep remembering that I’ve got an even longer run tomorrow.
Mile 7 – by the Grand Floridian Hotel. I’m really looking forward to seeing the girls in the next few minutes. Nice and sunny. Probably cold, but I’m feeling warm in my shorts and long sleeve T. See the group at the side of the road. Stopped for pics & hugs! Fantastic boost of energy that I get from these guys. It will be great to run with them tomorrow.
On a narrow one lane roadway here – it’s still so crowded and I’m having to constantly pass people – I didn’t think that I would have to do this the entire race. Leg is getting worse. I’m having to stretch at each walk break. Not happy with this – the area of pain is something that I’ve never had before. My usual left foot problem is not even showing up at all. Finally ditched the mitts. Just ran past a bunch of women dressed as “mice brides” and their grooms! There was about 50 of them! Wow.
Aside from my right leg pain, this ended up being a really easy run. We are now again on the long boring part of the route – except that we are on the three lane roadway for a while. Picked up some Clif Shots. People have spilled them on the roadway and my shoes are sticking!
Moving towards Epcot. On the last on ramp and can see the crowd of runners behind me. It’s amazing – thousands of people crowded on a 3 lane road. I’ve never seen so many people behind me in a race before and I’m not even going fast – more like a nice Sunday jog. Feeling great, but leg is not happy at all! I’m starting to worry about tomorrow.
Running in Epcot was great – lights on, tons of cheering, some of the “Countries” where there with flags and people dressed up. Turned the corner to the finish line and the stands. Runners around me were fading fast - I felt great. The announcer announces my name, that I’m from Kitchener, Canada and that I will be running the marathon tomorrow – the crowd cheers! Wow – what a great feeling. Finished in a chip time of around 2:27 – close to what I wanted! (found out later that I was in the top 25% of my age group – where would I have been if I had tried run fast?)
Got my medal, Goofy wristband and stopped for pics. Busy finish area, food not great, but ok. Met Ken who had my warmup gear. I really needed this, it was freezing out – I think that it was only about 5 or 6 degrees at this point. Time to chill out – figure out how to fix the leg and mentally get ready to do it all again tomorrow.
Bottom line on this race – fun, but do not expect to run for time here. Most of the people here are not runners. I heard many of them say that they had not run more than 5 miles before. It’s very crowded the entire race and you need patience. They have great support and cheering squads and running through the Magic Kingdom was great. Go for the fun of it, not to “race”.
Day 2 – January 8, 2006 (marathon)
Alarm goes off at 2:20. Not feeling like going outside in the cold again. It’s the same temp 3 degrees, but at least it’s supposed to warm up as we go along. My leg is very sore – got up from a nap yesterday afternoon and couldn’t even straighten my leg without a lot of pain. Was lucky enough to sit beside a massage therapist on the bus to Downtown Disney yesterday afternoon. She told me of some stretches to do and gave me a leg massage on the bus. I think that I will end up walking a lot of this run and unfortunately will need to bring the Ibuprofen. Hopefully, I won’t let the team down. If I’ve got to walk, I will send them on ahead without me. I’ve got 7 hours to finish and can hopefully walk that fast.
Ok, today we are smarter. Wearing: shorts, tights, trackpants, sleeveless tshirt, long sleeve tshirt, fleece hoodie, running jacket, mittens, and mylar blanket from yesterday. Bringing full 2.1ltr camelback, 6 gels, ibuprofen, and tp. Team Disney (Ken, Patsy, Debbie, Susan, Jannine and myself) got on the 3:30 bus without a problem. A bit busier today. Bus driver took some weird long route to Epcot – probably a bunch of the roads were closed.
Start area was the same as yesterday, but I was a lot warmer. It’s also not windy today. They seemed to have heard some complaints and all of the pp’s had tp today. The band was playing but the sergeant was barking orders as soon as we got there. There seem to be way more people here today – not sure why since both races had 15,000 people. I was just telling Debbie that the sergeant was a taped message when I almost walked right into him! He scared the crap out of me. A guy in army gear painted all green (face & everything) shouting orders and I think that he would have interviewed us, but we made a quick right turn to get away from him!
It took a bit longer to get to the corrals this time. There were two starting lines for the marathon at a different location than yesterday’s start. This was nice as we were closer to the start line. Again, no pps at the start. Jannine ran behind a truck that was parked beside the corral J Again, music, jumbotron, etc. At 5:55am, big group hug, threw the mylar and track pants away. More fireworks this morning at the start. It only took 2 minutes today to start. We could see the elites running in the next roadway – was kinda neat – they were all in shorts! Started at a good slow pace, a lot of weaving. It might be hard to keep all 6 of us together.
At 1K, my leg is bad. I don’t know how far I can run. Trying to ignore it for now – playing the mental game. Very grateful that we are running slow. Seeing lots of Canadians in the group and Canadians cheering. Around the 5k mark we are in Epcot. Epcot is all lit up again – very nice. We run partway around the countries, and meet up with the other group of marathoners. Threw mitts.
Same long route to Magic Kingdom, but today we get to use the two/three lane road instead of the one/two lane road. Had to run the angled off ramp again – that really hurts the right leg. Look back and see a ton of runners behind us. Passed by the part of the route where they gave out Clif shots yesterday – it’s still very sticky. It’s very foggy today. Can’t see anything ahead of us. Can’t see the Contemporary hotel at all. Hands getting cold, wish that I hadn’t thrown my mitts. Borrowed Patsy’s spare pair. P break – gonna be a lot of these along they way – we are not in any hurry so that’s ok. It’s easy to pick up the pace here and luckily we slow down a bit when we get too fast. Threw the hoodie.
At the Magic Kingdom parking lot we saw the fast runners leaving the Magic Kingdom. They are about an hour ahead of us. Fun, slow time through the Magic Kingdom. Stopped for individual pics in front of the caste. Stopped for pics with every character. Stopped to get a pic of Patsy running through the castle again. Stopped for pic with Goofy since I’m doing the goofy race. Goofy gave me a huge bear hug and wouldn’t let go!
Mile 12 – Floridian Hotel – meeting our pit crew. Nice to see the guys. Dropped the tights, and jacket. Now running in shorts, sleeveless t and light Disney long sleeve t. Refill on Gatorade in Camelbak. Lots of cheering and Canadians. Ran past a bunch of nice looking army guys. Gave a hi-5 to all. We are yelling back at everyone, singing to the songs and dancing as well. Hit the ½ way mark at about 3 hrs. This will give us a 6 hour marathon – pretty good considering all of the stops for pictures, etc.
Back on the long stretch. Turn towards Animal Kingdom. From here on it’s a new route for me. Food station – bananas and oranges. Ken picks up a chocolate donut from the cheering squad. Nice along here – lots of trees, Rolling Stones music, characters, puppets from Animal Kingdom. We stop and get pics with almost all of the characters. Leg is starting to hurt again. Nice and sunny now – getting a bit hot.
Stopped in the Animal Kingdom backlot area to drop the long sleeve t shirt . Jannine and Sue decide to leave us. It’s their last marathon ever and they want a better time. I’m sad to see them go, but am happy that they are going for a time that they want. We continue on and keep taking pictures. We get into the part of Animal Kingdom where all of the rides/ etc are. All of the staff cheers and there are people in the park now cheering. It’s twisty and rough walkways in here. Difficult to get around, but great to look around and take pictures. Run by the new mountain ride that they are building. On the way out of the park we see an airplane go by pulling a sign, cheering on two girls from Texas – nice! Lots of cheering as we run through the Animal Kingdom parking lot.
On a long roadway stretch to MGM. Patsy and Ken’s foot injuries are getting bad. We decide to slow down and dump water on ourselves at each water station. I’m finally feeling ok and want to run faster (so does Debbie), but we decided that we will all stay together and finish together! It’s a very good choice as I am sure that my leg would bother me too much if I ran faster. Great teamwork!!! Tons of cheering and we yell back, Debbie and I are singing out loud to the songs along the route. Not sure how we sound, but it’s fun – never sang out loud during a marathon before. I think that we are getting a bit delirious! I feel like I just got a shot of adrenaline! We are on an out and back between miles 20 and 21 and see Jannine and Sue. Picked up about 4 gels on route. Cola buzz is gross, but Raspberry is good. Get our pics taken by a woman from Windsor at the 7k to go mark.
Stop at the Aid station at 22 miles. Ken’s camelback is cutting into his shoulders and his foot is worse. He walks ahead to MGM and we meet up with him. Entering MGM is great – tons of cheering and we run along a red carpet! This is the place for pictures. We went through the backlot and main road, basically running from photo-op to photo-op. Did a lot of yelling, dancing, jumping around in here. Got some Canadians to take our picture in front of Mickey’s magic hat. I think that Ken has about 100 pictures on his digital camera at this point. Got a bunch more people cheering for me when seeing my Goofy bracelet. We also have our names on our bibs so people are yelling out your names. Keep seeing the same Canadian runners around us. We are all running about the same pace.
Running out of MGM to the Boardwalk area near the Swan hotel. Nice area but the boardwalk is very narrow. Again, I want to speed up but I know that it is not a good idea just yet. Getting kinda hyper now. Entering Epcot and running past ½ of the countries. With 1 km to go, Ken and Patsy want to do the last walk break, but Debbie and I cannot stop. She keeps repeating – “I can’t stop running” over and over again. As we turn the corner to the finish line, my name gets announced again and the crowd cheering is fantastic. Debbie and I cross the finish line holding hands – what a great feeling. I can’t believe that I finished both races! Ken and Patsy follow very close behind us. They look fantastic crossing the finish line.
I get my Mickey and Goofy medals and pose for pics. We do our team shot in front of a Disney bus as the lineup for official photos is too long. What a run! We ran at a slow comfortable pace, had a lot of fun (aside from some knee pain) and took a ton of pictures. It was the first race that I had ever done with other people (always by myself in other long races) and this is way better! The support of the group can get you through anything – and it’s so much more fun! How are we ever going to go back to running boring ½ and full marathons along regular roadways!
8 half marathons, 3 full marathons, one GOOFY!