My running journey started late and is slow, but I really enjoy it. I started to believe that I can get better, so I am documenting the journey. I believe anyone can run if they start and don’t push unrealistic expectations on themselves. It really is a fun sport and challenge.
Even though no one reads this, I find updating my blog helpful for accountability. There are a lot of things I need to write for my training updates, but I haven’t prioritized a weekly update. Therefore, I have a lot of updates in my running routines, and I will do a high-level update here.
Customized Training Program with Chris Twiggs
On May 17 or 18, I started the Customized Training Program with Coach Twiggs, as part of the Galloway Training Program. I learned about this program on a podcast I’ve been listening to when Coach Twiggs was interviewed. When I first received the schedule, I panicked. It was so different than what I was planning using Hal Higdon Dopey plan. I was also overwhelmed because he had me running 26 miles in November with the race in January. The shock was a lot for me to take in.
Take it in I did, and I emailed him questions and comments. I also signed up for an extra 6 months (taking this program to 1 year) so I could see the full plan for Dopey. He has been really wonderful to work with and help with making changes. I think this Galloway program will be good for me to improve as a runner.
I’ve learned a lot about running from each of them, and highly recommend them. l enjoy listening to them on runs.
I’ve been really nerding out to running but don’t have anyone to talk to about it. One of the things I hear in the RunDisney community is meeting virtual friends. Even though I have to have a limited relationship with Facebook, I decided to join some Facebook groups for Dopey people. It is neat to see the updates others have and feed off their excitement.
Sunday was my second race in the Charlotte Six Pack Series – the Hit the Brixx 10K. Brixx is a local pizza chain based in Charlotte. I’ve run this race twice in the past in 2016 and 2017. This time it was held in South Charlotte, whereas it used to start Uptown. I think this probably helps with logistics, since we ran through a lot of neighborhoods, which probably help with road closures.
For some reason, the race organizers decided to start the 5K at 7:30 am and the 10K at 8:20 am. This is Charlotte, NC in May, when the likelihood of heat and humidity is very high. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t start the 10K at 7:30 am and the 5K at 8:00 am or even 7:45 am. By the time we started, it was really hot and humid.
There is a party at Brixx after the race where they give you free pizza and pasta. There are also several beer vendors giving out a can of their craft beer. It is a really fun end to a race.
The 10K course went through a series of neighborhoods that had a good number of hills. It was a very hot and humid day. What was most surprising to me was they only had 2 water stops. Several people brought their water packs – those were the smart people! I should have brought one because I was feel really dehydrated towards the end.
I had just started my new training program with Coach Twiggs, so I was supposed to do a run/walk at a 30/30 run/walk pace. It wasn’t easy to run/walk at the beginning because of the crowded course, so I ran the first mile. I also felt like that was a good warm up (in addition to the mile warm up I did to do the 7 miles on my training plan). I then transitioned into a 60/30 split, but I was down to more walking in the second half.
The first 5K was a loop back to the start line, and then we went (south?) to do another loop of a different neighborhood. There wasn’t a lot of fun things to look at, but there were neighbors out cheering which I find really nice.
I’m not sure why, but I cannot find my results. I’m not sure if my bib wasn’t entered into the computer or what, but I cannot find my bib anywhere! Strava estimated by finish to be 1:06:57, but I did a mile before, so I’m not sure where this started tracking. If Strava is right, then I was just 6 seconds off my PR and the conditions were way worse than ATC10K in 2021.
Overall, I felt okay about the race. It was definitely hot and I struggled towards the end, but I feel good about what I did. I was a little surprised by the inefficiencies of the organization since they usually think through some of these details. Despite that, I would do this again in the future.
What a week! With the beautiful weather, calmer allergies, and a successful Dopey registration, I was really motivated to get out there and be moving.
Monday was a lazy day because of travel. I did some stretching, but no real exercise.
Dopey registration day! I got in a 3-mile, easy run in the morning and wore my Dopey shirt to celebrate the date. I was really nervous about it, and it turns out I had every reason to be. It was a crazy day, but I was really lucky and secured one of the coveted spots. My run was nice and just what I needed to start the day.
Sometimes a walk is just what you need. I didn’t run in the morning, but I opted to enjoy the beautiful weather with a 2.69 mile walk and strength training.
2-mile speed run
10K run went really well. Just a steady run/walk and I felt great afterward.
I completed my longest ride yet – 9.3 miles! It went really well and is almost half of my Pelotonia distance. I’m going to be able to do this! Just need to keep training, and I’ll get ther!
Whew! I needed a night to recover because runDisney Marathon Weekend registration was an absolute nightmare! Registration was announced weeks ago that it would be on April 19 at 10:00 am ET. This year is celebrating the marathon’s 30th anniversary and Dopey’s 10th – aka, this isn’t their first time.
It has sold out in 2021 (turned virtual) and in 2022. I think my friends registered for the half several months after registration opened for 2020, and I believe I registered in August for the marathon in 2018. There was a lot of hype around this year’s themes because they are awesome, so I felt like the 5K and 10K were going to go fast, but I had no idea how fast everything else was going to go.
Prior to registration, lots of people will post tips on things to do to prep for registration. There is really helpful information about making an account, what information to have available, and generally what to expect. There is a lot of debate on whether you should get in the queue early or right on time. After today’s experience, I think getting in right on time is the way to go (with, of course, another device in early as backup!)
I started my day with a good 3-mile run in my 2020 Dopey shirt. I was ready for registration day!
All of my friends were prepped for 10 am registration. I was going to be at work so I was nervous about a customer coming in at that time, but I was all ready for a quick process. The Dopey queue opened, and I was in on my phone browser at 9:40. I was saving my computer browser for a 10 am entrance. Then 10 am came…and 10 am went. We were in the queue for a while before the screen changed to this
And this is what we saw for almost 2 hours!! I can’t understand what the issue was. They knew this date was coming; they knew there would be high traffic; this was not the first time they had registration. What exactly was the issue?
There were some great social media posts.
At least that was entertaining, but it was completely inconvenient. People had other things to do and a lot of people tried to make themselves available from 10 am to 11 am.
Is the End in Sight?
Eventually, runDisney updated the message at 12:15 pm stating that registration will now open 2.5 hours after it was scheduled. This message said not to refresh! At this point, my phone queue had stopped, and I stopped receiving updates sometime around 11 am. I also had a screen opened in Chrome.
At 12:30 pm, my Safari and Chrome browsers on my computer showed this, and I was so annoyed!
I had been on for 2.5 hours and got placed at the end of the queue?! Since I’m impatient, I opened a screen on my phone and got 20 minutes or something. This is why I am now on the side of the people who say to get in at registration time. The “Do not refresh the browser” message on the original screen is a lie! I heard from a friend the 5K and 10K were sold out before I got onto the registration page. She was lucky enough to get in.
The countdown started, and my phone won!
Shortly after I registered, another friend texted me to say Dopey was sold out. Then Goofy. Before I left work, everything was sold out!
I can’t imagine this was all of their spots. So many people waited since 10 am, stayed in the queue as instructed, and they didn’t get their spot! I feel so bad for them. I don’t know why it doesn’t put you in the queue in the order that you arrive – especially after a 2.5-hour delay. Hopefully, they will open up more spots!
Dopey Challenge 2023 has been on my goal list since I completed the challenge in 2020, and I have been looking forward to the event. Unfortunately, I have been struggling with the decision as of late (which I won’t go into now), but on Thursday night, runDisney released the 2023 marathon weekend themes, and WOW! They nailed it!
How exciting is this 90s theme to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the WDW Marathon! This is the Disney I remember from my childhood, and I was a big Disney kid. Dopey is completing all four races: 5K, 10K, half marathon, and half marathon during runDisney Marathon weekend. It’s difficult, but there is such energy that it makes it so much fun!
On top of it being an anniversary year for the marathon, it is the 10 year anniversary of the Dopey Challenge. My very first marathon was the 25th anniversary of the Disney Marathon. It’s hard to believe that was almost 5 years ago, but I remember how exciting it was. They gave us Mickey ears after the race to celebrate, and it was just so cool! I’m sure they will do something really cool this time, too!
I’m sure the weekend is going to be so much fun, and I decided that I am in for the challenge. There are several goals I want to complete to get ready for this, but Dopey 2023 is my motivation. Registration is on April 19, and I will be ready!
Training starts on September 5, so I have Pelotonia before then. It will be a great way to start 2023. Lots to accomplish before then, but it is just the motivation I need to make them happen!
We woke up at 2 am on Friday, February 25 for the 2022 runDisney Princess Weekend 5K this was my first Princess Weekend, but it was my mom’s first 5K. RunDisney 5Ks are fun runs with no timing chip. They want you to do it with a 16-minute pace, but no one will remove you from the course.
My mom was nervous about it because she isn’t big into this kind of activity. I thought she could do it if she had the right mindset, and she did. This is a lot of participants’ first 5K, and that is especially true at Princess weekend. In addition to new runners, the costumes at the 5K were so elaborate! I’m sure some people plan to walk the whole way in them, but I don’t understand how they even do that!
We walked the whole race, which many people did. I tried to push my mom along because even though I knew there wasnt a time limit, I wanted to make sure we finished. I’m jealous of the people who don’t find finishing stressful.
The start was exciting with fireworks to set us off. I think my mom was really excited and impressed with it. RunDisney does a good job, so it’s hard not to be.
This 5K is one of the best courses that you can do a 5K it is almost entirely through Epcot, so you get to see around the world and finish by going past Spaceship Earth with its cool lights.
The 5k is a shorter close, but it has a very high concentration of characters, which is awesome! The downside is the lines are so long. Even this time we didn’t stop because I can’t imagine waiting for 15-20 minutes for a picture. People say they move fast, but I just can’t do it. I do take pictures as I go past, which works for me!
The characters were a lot of Disney Princesses and their prince, which I liked.
Watching my mom finish her first 5K was really exciting for me. I’m really glad she went out of her comfort zone to do this with me, and I think she was proud (and surprised) with herself. We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. Photo Pass photographers got some good ones.
We got our medals, a banana, water, and out box of Disney snacks before making our way out to the photo booths. We did it! Now it was time for a very long walk to the bus so we could shower and spend the day back in Epcot to eat yummy food in Italy and France.
But this was only the beginning for me. I would have another early morning to start the Fairy Tale Challenge with the Enchanted 10K.
This was my third weekend in a row with a race having just completed the Corporate Cup 5K. I was worried about this when I signed up, but I was doing it for fun, so I figured a race is always a fun way to get in miles. It was neat to run different areas of the city for mornings when I should have been getting in a run regardless!
The Shamrock 4 Miler is the first run in RunCharlotte’s 6-Pack series. I have participated in some of these races before, but I decided to sign up for the whole series this year since I am not really traveling and as a way to focus on getting faster on shorter distances. They also bribed us with an AWESOME RunCharlotte quarter-zip up, and that is what sealed the deal. I love this and know I will wear it often when it is cool outside.
The race was held on March 12 in South Charlotte which is an area where I haven’t run before. We started at a local restaurant, Famous Toastery, which is the sponsor for this run. I have about a 45-minute drive to this area, and it rained at home and the entire ride down. I almost didn’t go because I didn’t feel like going for a swim. But I am trying to be consistent, so I packed up my flip-flops, a towel, extra clothes, and a plastic bag so I could complete the first of my six races. It would be bad if I didn’t make it to the first! As luck would have it, the rain stopped when I got to the parking lot!
Of course, the event team was planning for rain, so many of the pre-race tables were canceled, but they had fun music playing and everyone was happy the rain had stopped. Despite the weather, there were still a lot of people there and a lot of people were picking up their cool zip-up, so many people look to be doing the entire series! That’s great for the organization.
It was a neat race. There were some hills as is typical in our area, but we ran through the commercial area of Blankney and some neighborhoods. I was still struggling with allergies, but I earned a PR of 44:16 because the only other 4-miler I did my tag fell off. It was still a decent time for me even though I didn’t feel well.
The rain held off for the whole race, and I avoided puddles…until I went to find our post-race snack. After the finish line, I stopped paying attention and my right foot went straight into a puddle! At least my flip-flops were waiting for me. Instead of medals, the race team is giving our medal finisher cups. I thought this was clever.
Famous Toastery hosted a delicious breakfast with quiche, fruit, and coffee which hit the spot after a run. Even though it was 9:30 am, Wicked Weed was there with beer that we could take home – classic Charlotte race move. While I was waiting in line for breakfast, a man saw my runDisney hat. We started chatting, and I felt like I was meeting a celebrity! He was perfect marathon, Dopey, and Princess! For those of you who don’t know about runDisney, that is crazy! 2023 is the 30th anniversary of the marathon – that means he has done every Disney marathon weekend for the last 29 years. He hasn’t missed one. On top of that, he has done all of the Dopeys (9) and Princess weekends (around 20?). That is such an awesome commitment. I told him I was planning on doing Dopey in 2023, so hopefully, I would see him around in the future. Kudos to him!
I really had fun at this event, and I can’t wait for the series’s next race in May – Hit the Brixx 10K, which I have done before.
The 2022 Truist Corporate Cup was held on March 5. The race includes a half marathon and 5K. My understanding is that it is advertised to many of the large corporations in Charlotte for their employees to do. I had never done it but decided to sign up when they partnered with the Around the Crown 10K, which I will do on Labor Day weekend.
There weren’t as many people there as I expected, and many of them were doing the 5K. The race started at Truist Stadium, which was nice because it was open to use the restrooms. There was also free parking at several of the parking garages Uptown for the race.
My allergies were awful that morning. Instead of racing, I told myself to take it easy and just get in the miles. I had run the Fairy Tale Challenge the previous weekend, too. If I wanted to walk a lot, then I could do that. Despite not being able to breathe, I did a lot better than I thought I would. I finished the Corporate Cup 5K in 33:32, which is just 47 seconds off my PR time.
The final day of the 2022 runDisney Princess Weekend Fairy Tale Challenge was Sunday, February 27. I woke again at 2:30 am for my final early wake-up call of my 3-day running adventure. I was definitely tired but still excited to complete the last day of the challenge which is the Princess Half Marathon. This was also the first time of my previous 9 runDisney races that I wore a “costume.” I would be a version of Minnie Mouse by wearing a black tank top and a red skirt with white polkadots.
I felt good after completing the Enchanted 10K the day before and spending the day in Animal Kingdom. I was able to get back to the room early and get a goodnight sleep.
My goal for the race was to have fun, feel strong, and get some good character pictures.
The course map for the 2022 Half Marathon was similar to all of the other runDisney Half Marathons I have done. I think the only time it differs is for Wine and Dine weekend, but I have never done that one. The half marathon course is my least favorite because there is so much boring highway running.
As they do with all races, the runDisney team sends you off in style with music and fireworks. I was in the 3 wave, and since I was by myself, was able to get into one of the first groups that went off. I like the new model, but it’s just less formal than the way they did it in 2020.
As I mentioned, my goal was to be steady, feel strong, and just have a good time. I did 60/30 run/walk increments. RunDisney is nice with this because many people do the Galloway method. The beginning is a lot of highway running with some characters on side of the highway. You can see picture of some of them below. Even though there is nothing super exciting about this part, it is worth it because it is SO EXCITING when you enter the Magic Kingdom, turn on to Main St. and see the castle in front of you.
The course goes into Tomorrowland and then you make your way into Fantasy Land. When I went past Ariel’s Grotto, I was hoping to see Sebastian (I got a picture with him during Dopey 2020), and I was thrilled to see him and Prince Eric.
After this, you make your way through the castle where you are given the opportunity to get a picture in front of the castle. They have several photographers and the lines go really quick, so I recommend everyone stop here. This year, I got my favorite castle picture to date. I think it was the Minnie Mouse look that did it!
After the castle, you wind though the Liberty area to Frontier Land and then leave the Magic Kingdom. You go past the hotels and get back on the highway for more running. At least here there are lot of characters, and they try to keep you entertained. I was feeling really strong and stopped to get pictures with a few characters, which I found really fun.
Making Friends with Donald Duck
Eventually, as the hot, grueling sun beats down on you, you eventually make it to the backstage of Epcot and you know the end is close. I was really excited to see a character stop with Mickey and Donald! I had to stop and get this picture even though I had to be half a mile from the end! As I was standing in line, Mickey had to leave. I was two people away, and the photographer motioned to the girl in front of me that it was her turn. She asked when Mickey would be back, and he said a few minutes. She told him she would wait, and well, if you know Donald, he was NOT happy. Poor Donald Duck! I said I would be happy to get a picture with him, and he was so happy! I felt good making Mr. Donald Duck happy since I know he always feels slighted by being second to Mickey.
The half marathon by nature is going to have more characters than the other courses, but there were definitely characters we had seen on other days. There were LOTS of princess (as there should be!) I wasn’t able to get pictures of everyone, but I tried. Some of my pictures didn’t turn out because it was just so busy at the beginning.
It was a hot day, so getting to the finish line was very exciting! They also had cold, wet towels to help you cool down. RunDisney always does a great job taking care of their participants.
I finished the half in 2:57:31 with a restroom stop and several character stops, so it was a complete win for me. My goal was accomplished since I had fun and felt really strong through the whole race. I didn’t train as well as I should have, so I was a bit worried about how I felt. Since completing Chicago, I hadn’t done a lot of running besides a few of the smaller races I signed up for in 2022. Completing a challenge is a big accomplishment for me, and it continues to amaze me that I can do 3 days of walking/running and still feel good.
After I got my Mulan medal at the finish line, I made my way to the challenge tent to get my Moana Fairy Tale Challenge medal. Then it was time for my celebratory picture at the photo booth. The sun was out in full force, so I didn’t really get a good picture, but it shows that I made it! Then it was time to get to the bus and make my way back to the Art of Animation for a shower and to get Mom to go to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. It was truly a magical trip. I just love runDisney events!
2:30 am on February 26, and I was excited to get going! The alarm went off, and I tried to be very quiet getting ready so I didn’t wake my mom. I decided just to wear my race shirt since I didn’t do a good job trying to put together a costume. It was a pretty purple shirt with Tiana on it, who was the focus for this Enchanted 10K.
The bus ride was very easy, and we got to see a beautiful Spaceship Earth as we walked to the corrals. The 10K is probably my favorite race distance. It’s long enough to be a challenge, yet it is doable for all people. It’s a distance I feel comfortable it trying to get faster, yet it isn’t taxing like a marathon.
It was a busy day again and so many fun costumes! I love seeing the designs people put together; they are so cleaver. It’s amazing how many people were there doing the challenge. The 5K is not included in the Fairy Tale Challenge, like it is in Dopey. Our bib was different today and had Moana on it. There were A LOT of Moana bibs. I assume that if you enjoy running and you just have to do one more early morning, why not do it and get the extra medal?
The race started at 5 am, which was earlier than in past years, but the time they tried to get the marathon to start in 2020. I’m not sure what they did in 2021, but I assume the earlier timing helps with 1. traffic in the parks and 2. getting people out of the heat sooner.
This course was really exciting for me! I couldn’t wait to do Hollywood Studios AND Epcot, plus getting to go around the Boardwalk. I remembered doing the 10K during Dopey, and it was my favorite course. Since there was another course, this had to be better!
Afterwards, I heard people say they don’t like this course because there is a lot of highway running. I kind of understand what they are saying, but I don’t know what the option is. I don’t know if the highway running here bothered me like it does during the half marathon. They had a lot more characters out in that space, and getting to go through 2 parks (even if it is for the last 2 miles or so), still makes the race a lot of fun in my opinion. I’m not sure what the construction situation will be for 2023 Marathon Weekend, but I hope they keep this multi-park course in the plan.
There were lots of characters out on the race course, which I found exciting. Many princesses were out like they were out the day before. I always try to take pictures of them, and I think I got all of them on the Enchanted 10K course. I was making good time, so I even stopped for a few of the later ones who had more manageable lines. The Frozen sisters, Tiana, and Aurora had INSANELY long lines. I always feel like I’ll get swept by the balloon ladies if I were to stop and wait for them.
The sun was coming out when I crossed the finish line for my first Enchanted 10K, and I felt great! I took the race easy because of the half tomorrow. The Disney photographer even got a great finish line picture for me!
I finished the 6.2 miles in 1:35:42, which I thought was pretty good given my restroom stop and my several character stops. My PR is around 1:08, but the goal at Disney is to have fun and not to PR.
We got a really beautiful medal – it has the EARadecent look like from the 2022 Marathon Weekend medals to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. The green and gold just looks so good together! I think this was most people’s favorite medal from the weekend, and I would have to agree. It was the most beautiful one.
After getting my medal and box of Disney race food, I stopped to get my celebratory picture at the photo booth. I was a sweaty mess (it was humid that day!), but I was excited! I had two medals in my position, and I was ready to accomplish the half tomorrow to get my final two. Before then, I had to get back to the room so Mom and I could tackle Animal Kingdom and get some pictures with our new bling!