Dopey & WDW Marathon Weekend Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'runDisney' started by CDKG, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

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    Illness, injury, dehydration, and lack of sleep seemed to plague many of you last weekend. However, whether it be solid training or sheer determination, most of you made it through. Congratulations!!! As someone looking at registering for WDW Marathon Weekend 2019, I'm curious about your lessons learned. What would you do differently next time?
     
  2. hotblooded

    hotblooded Mouseketeer

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    Out of vanity, I brought a nice, new pair of black sneakers on a three-week trip to Japan and Taiwan in December. It became clear on day one that they didn’t quite feel right, but since they were an updated version of a Nike shoe line that I’ve been wearing since 2009, I assumed it would be fine. It wasn’t: I developed Achilles tendinitis within three days but still tried to do a training run anyhow.

    It was a big mistake, and I wound up hobbling around for the next two weeks. To make matters worse, I wear a US women’s 9, and many shoe stores in Asia didn’t have my size when I tried to buy a new pair. I eventually found a good pair of Asics, but this injury is still nagging at me. I had an amazing time at the half this weekend, but my time did not reflect the fitness I had built up pre-injury.

    Lesson learned: forget about trying not to look like a schlub when I’m traveling, and test new shoes before considering them ready for action.
     
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  4. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

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    Yes, I think it only takes one experience with foot problems to realize comfort is more important than looks when it comes to shoes. Unfortunately, foot problems are very slow to heal. Congrats on finishing your race and enjoying the journey!
     
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  5. disneygirlsng

    disneygirlsng Mouseketeer

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    If I do Dopey again, I will likely move my park days to after the races. I did the parks Monday-Thursday and my legs/feet were already tired before the races even began.
     
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  6. FlashAM7

    FlashAM7 Mouseketeer

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    I did very well and over exceeded my own expectations, but the one thing I might change would have been to have started carb loading 3 days prior instead of 2 days prior. Also, I should have eaten dinner earlier the night before the race. I don't think my stomach was done fully digesting it the next morning.
     
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  7. jaxonp

    jaxonp DIS Veteran

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    Yes- move marathon weekend another week after the New Years. Way too many people there to be enjoyable. Most attractions had 2+ hour waits. Dinosaur had 170 min wait, 2 hours for HM, Pirates, BtM, SM had a 3 hour wait, FOP HAD A 5 hour WAIT!!! You expect these things the week of Xmas and spring break but not the week after New Years. Disney needs more e-tickets now. Star Wars land is only going to bring more people in afraid and not enough capacity to offset the growth. One thing is clear, business is good at Disney.
     
  8. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

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    Out of curiosity, when did you have dinner the night before the full?
     
  9. hotblooded

    hotblooded Mouseketeer

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    Very true! We did our fastpasses at AK and then just hung out before park hopping. Other than MK, WDW parks feel incomplete because the attractions are spread out between them.
     
  10. Waddle Girl

    Waddle Girl Earning My Ears

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    Based on this year’s Disney Marathon, I would suggest not registering for next year’s marathon. I’ve run it four times in the past 12 years and praised Disney’s ability to host this event - until this year. Parts of the course have become so narrow that I felt ‘stuck’ in numerous times. I felt like I was in a mall the weekend before Christmas surrounded by meandering folks who weren’t quite sure where they were going. I ran outside of the cones or on grassy/dirt areas so many times to get past the current ‘herd’. But it just continued and there were meandering herds for miles and miles. I paid attention to the width and there were so many places that were no wider than eight feet. I was in coral f and am sure that Runner’s in the first couple of corrals didn’t encounter these problems. That said, I felt as though many, many people in my corral should have started in later corrals. During my previous three marathons, the course brought the runners through more park areas than they did this year. I don’t stop to take pictures so don’t know how many animals were available to view in Animal Kingdom but I only saw one. It may have been a Sloth. Before entering Animal Kingdom, I did see some birds in some trees - I think they were Vultures. Heck, as far as animals were concerned I got a bigger kick out of the squirrel that dared to cross the herd of runners in the Magic Kingdom! There were fewer characters on the course than I’ve seen in the past also. We had a long, narrow run - several miles of highway - before entering the Wide World of Sport. Once in the World of Sports, I never thought that we would get out. How many loops can you do on athletic fields? More than you can imagine! It was terrible, narrow and I had to briefly stop to get a pebble out of my shoe. Runners experienced a variety of surfaces in this park. As far as we were into the run, the herd persisted and as good as I felt, there was no where to go to pick up my pace. Water stops were fine and I assume that the aid stations were too. According to my Garmin the course was inaccurately measured by close to a mile. I spoke with other Runners afterwards and all agreed. The course was up to a half mile longer than it should have been. Who wants to run any extra when running 26.2 already? It was a terrible Disney Marathon experience after three great Disney Marathon experiences. I think that they are allowing too many runners register and narrowing the course at the same time. It simply doesn’t work. Really, the run itself was a bit of a disaster. Don’t even think about a PR while running this. Our check-in experience at the Pop Century was slow and our room was not ready although we arrived more than an hour after check-in time. There was no apology and little effort to get us a late check-out on Sunday. I cannot think that many people would be checking in on Sunday or Monday with schools just returning to classes. It’s a slow time for Disney - after race weekend. The expo was bordering on pathetic as compared with past years. There were, perhaps, a third of the number of vendors that I’ve seen there in the past. Usually it’s a great expo. BUT, they’ve broken the expo into two buildings and there is more Disney merchandise than ever before. Obviously, they want merchandise sales for themselves and are limiting the competition by not allowing other vendors in. We told friends that were with us that the expo was tremendous and they were also sadly disappointed and compared it with other expos that they’ve been too. We bragged about how well Disney does hosting runs and they, too, felt stuck in the herds. Personally, I think that Disney’s greed is really showing. Too many people on the course, a much narrower course, much less time in the parks....it was bad. Also, they are doing so much via email now. Printed information no longer exists. Who reads through pages and pages of an email that arrives several weeks prior to the event? I miss the old days is reading through the info packet once back at the hotel and prepping my gear for race day. I’ve always bragged about Disney Runs and I realize that I’m bashing them right now but I call ‘em as I see ‘em. Disney, get back on track please. Bigger is not necessarily better.
     
  11. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

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    I'm so sorry to hear you had a bad experience! Hopefully runDisney will learn from their mistakes and continue to improve (or go back to what worked).
     
  12. Ariel484

    Ariel484 DIS Veteran

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    @Waddle Girl they measure the course in such a way that the shortest possible route = 26.2 miles. If you weaved at all, didn’t perfectly run the tangents, made a bathroom stop, etc., that will add distance.
     
  13. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    DH brought his own dinner from home, some pasta meal he could heat up in the microwave. After 3 days of early mornings, he ate dinner around 5:00 Saturday night and went to bed VERY early. He said that the hardest part about the Dopey for him was those 4 consecutive early mornings.
     
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  14. camaker

    camaker Anything worth doing is worth overdoing

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    I’m sorry you had a bad time in this year’s marathon. Only you can decide if you want to give runDisney another chance.

    I did want to address your point on the course length, though. I don’t believe that it was set up incorrectly at all. The course is USATF certified using the tangents through the course. If you’re not able to run those tangents, the course will measure longer. Over the course of 26.2 miles it doesn’t take much deviation to add up.

    So any time you deviated from the tangent line, say to get some space on the wider highway sections at the beginning, ran outside the cones, wove in and out of other runners to move forward, stopped for a character or porta-potty, you were adding to the length of the course.

    I know I did most of those things starting from a less crowded position and ended up with a GPS course length of 26.64 miles which I would consider typical for a race with that kind of crowding.
     
  15. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    People are always checking in and out of Disney. Always. Not everyone has kids. Not everyone has the same school schedule. Not everyone is from the US.

    By that time half the info was too late. I loved the printed pamphlets but they’ve been gone for over a year now in my experience. And when I really thought about it, the info was needed before the weekend. So I read through what they send by email.

    I’ve never done a full nor will I, but I’ve had the crowding and narrowness on all the Halfs I’ve done at Disney since January half 2014. Has it really changed courses so much?
     
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  16. Waddle Girl

    Waddle Girl Earning My Ears

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  17. Waddle Girl

    Waddle Girl Earning My Ears

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    Yes, last time I ran Disney was 2013 I think. The course was much wider. Usually after the first couple of miles you were out of the herd and didn’t have to continually adjust your pace and weave in and out of people. The first couple of miles have always been chaotic but that is understandable. Beyond mile 20, I still had times where I had to weave outside of cones or go into grass. It’s really just too many people and on too narrow of a course. I’m nearly 60 so may be a bit old fashioned- good for you that you don’t mind all electronic information. I simple miss good old-fashioned printed documentation.
     
  18. GollyGadget

    GollyGadget Mouseketeer

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    I think you hit the nail on the head regarding distance. I finished at 26.5 which is pretty darn close to 26.2 accounting for the several photo stops and one potty break.

    The problem is exactly like you describe, the weaving and bobbing really adds up in these long races.

    Personally, I never had a major problem with crowding yesterday. There were a handful of times I opted to slow down a bit for a few steps instead of weaving around someone. Full disclosure, I did start at the front of B so I'm sure that made a difference.

    Disney attracts a lot of beginners and people who want to run in groups moreso than other races. I think that is why the later corrals always have reports of crowding. You just need to keep that in mind when deciding if it's a good race for you or not.
     
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  19. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

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    Main lesson we learned with doing Dopey this year was that we made the right choice leaving the kids at home. We were able to be in bed by 9pm each night and take a nap each afternoon to recharge.

    RunDisney must do something to improve the first day of the Expo. It was an absolute disaster this year. They know they have thousands of people who have to be there on day 1 to pick up Dopey bibs, and the other group that has to be there to pick up 5K bibs.

    It took us 30 minutes to get in the building to pick up our bib. What they did not bother to tell anyone was that you then had to exit the very building you were already in and get in another huge line to get back in to purchase RD merchandise. After an hour in that line, we finally get in only to have to wait 45 minutes to check out. This was our fourth marathon weekend, and this was the worst expo experience we have ever had. Pretty much everyone I met on these boards while down there had a similar experience and was not happy with it.

    I honestly think some of it has to do with the fact that the Expo does not open for everyone until noon. It use to be 9:30 or 10 before they started the early entry race retreat stuff. When it opened early, the crowds were spread out more throughout the day. Now it seems everyone shows up right after lunch, and it is a zoo from there.

    They have all that space out there. I am not sure why they can't set up a couple large tents to double their merchandise space. Even better would be to have more of the merchandise available for pre-order and then somewhere with easy access where it can be picked up. I am sure lots of people would take advantage if they knew they would not have to stand in line.

    Either way, I plan on writing to RD with all my concerns as soon as I have a chance to put some thoughts together.
     
  20. MilesMouse

    MilesMouse Earning My Ears

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    I like your idea for the pre-purchase. Seems like a win-win for both parties.

    Also, thanks for everyone replying to this thread. It's never too early for me to start learning some do/dont's and great tips going into 2019 Dopey.
     
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  21. Waddle Girl

    Waddle Girl Earning My Ears

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    I think that starting at the beginning of corral B is likely why you didn’t encounter the herds. You must be a pretty fast runner! Good for you. With one potty stop and no pic stops, I don’t know that my Garmin could be off by that much but who knows. All things considered and comparing with my previous Disney experiences I’m greatly disappointed.
     

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