Dopey & WDW Marathon Weekend Lessons Learned

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

  1. disneygirlsng

    disneygirlsng Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Messages:
    148
    I don't remember whether he was announcing at the half or full or not. He was definitely there for the 5k/10k though. He was on the course cheering people on as you made that last turn towards the finish line at the full when I went through. Felt pretty great getting a high 5 from him!
     
    Waddle Girl and Disney at Heart like this.
  2. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    839
    My Garmin came in at 26.5 this year, Surprisingly, that is exactly what it came in the previous two times I have run the marathon. I did weave some the first few miles. After that I tried my best to hit the tangents when possible. It kept me focused, especially the last 6 miles when things started to get really hard.

    I'm fairly certain the bulk of the crowds were people still on holiday break. Both this year and last year were packed solid in the parks. Back in 2015 when the weekend was after the holiday break, my MIL decided she wanted to come to MK with us the night before. We were able to buy her ticket the night before AND schedule her FP+ at the same time as the ones we had. No way would that have happened this year.

    I agree with those that say W&D should be moved back to a night race. In 2012, that was our first Disney race and our first half marathon. It was just such a unique race, and being in EPCOT until 3am for the after party was a great time. Now it's really no different than any other half that RD runs.
     
    CDKG likes this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. Anisum

    Anisum DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,858
    I can only speak for me but I would say that be sure plan your park and dinner reservations around what you will feel comfortable with given the early morning wake up calls. For example we ran, went back to the hotel, took a nap, went to the park, and then headed for an early dinner every day. This worked well for us but none of us had kids that we felt obligated to ride a ton of rides with for their enjoyment. We hit the few rides and shows we really wanted to hit and then made it back to bed on the earlier side since we had to wake up and do it all again the next morning. Other people have different strategies that work for them. Some people do a lot more parks than I do and some do a lot less if at all.

    With regards to the race itself, I have to say pack for any weather because you may just get it. Make sure that you practice fueling either with the fuel they provide or your own because having my own fuel that I knew worked well for me was amazing. Run your own race and run based on how you feel. I thought I was going to run a certain pace for the half and the full but the morning of I could tell the park time and previous races combined with the early wake up calls had worn me down more than expected so I ran based on feel and felt good the whole race rather than crashing and burning from trying to maintain a goal.
     
    mrsg00fy and CDKG like this.
  5. BigEeyore

    BigEeyore DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    977
    My only complaints from marathon weekend was the fiasco at the expo on Wednesday - I've never seen expo lines like that, even at DL. I'm not sure if it was putting the race merch in a separate building or something else, but that was insane. Also move the 5K back to 6 am :rolleyes1

    The park crowds were a surprise for us too - I really thought most folks would go home after New Years, especially with the cold. I think it was just how the weekends fall in January this year - if they had moved race weekend to this weekend, it would be on MLK weekend and not sure Disney wants that either.

    I liked the course this year, ESPN wasn't as bad for me this year for some reason. They did have several good character stops in there, which helps. I loved running thru the MK entrance and under the train station. It would be great to have had more park time in AK and HS, but with the parks being open when we came through along with construction, I understand why we don't. And I had 26.5 on my Garmin - not bad considering a lot of weaving, potty stops and character photos!

    Overall it was a great race weekend - the medals are amazing, and the finisher ears were a really nice touch. If the expo hadn't of been a disaster on Wednesday it would have been perfect. Congrats everyone!
     
    sunshine girl, Mickey Momma and CDKG like this.
  6. GollyGadget

    GollyGadget Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Messages:
    431
    I definitely think having an early corral impacts the experience and that is why I mentioned it. It typically means less crowds and more experienced runners which makes it easier to run the tangents. I wouldn't consider myself a fast runner at most large races, but I do tend to fall in that group at Disney which has a more casual atmosphere.

    Thank you for sharing your full experience! It's important people understand exactly what they're getting into.

    It was my first Disney marathon so I can't say if it's gone downhill or not but I am sorry to hear that you think it is.
     
    Waddle Girl and mrsg00fy like this.
  7. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2003
    Messages:
    5,170
    Agree!!!! 2013 was also my Inaugural M&M McFlurry stop so Sunday's McFlurry stop made it 6 in a row, a PERFECT McFlurry Marathon. Will see my ortho doctor tomorrow for right knee replacement and maybe left at the same time.

    McFlurry John
     
  8. Mickey Momma

    Mickey Momma Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    370
    My key to surviving this weekend was sleep and staying off my feet as much as possible. I was in bed between seven and eight every night. I went to Epcot for a couple hours Thursday night and HS for an hour Friday where I basically sat on a stool and watched my husband drink a beer. Saturday I was in my hotel except for a late lunch at the Poly.

    BUT. I left my kids at home and made my race weekend plan very clear to my husband. Not everybody has this luxury. (My kids knew that we are coming to WDW in May as a family.) If you have family coming with you, consider whether you can book something large enough where you can go to bed at a decent hour while they do their thing. Or maybe have them come down Saturday and then stay the week after to do park days. The crowds are usually better anyhow.
     
  9. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    839
    Even running Dopey, it is definitely possible to PR. I started at the front of D and took 14 minutes off my previous marathon time. My Garmin measured 26.5. To keep myself focused, I did try to run the tangents as much as possible. This was my third Disney marathon, and surprisingly each time my Garmin has come out to 26.5.

    As far as your expo complaints, I agree with those 100%. The expo on Wednesday was a disaster.
     
  10. madalex

    madalex DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,615
    This was my first rD experience as a runner (I attended the marathon in 2016 when my daughter ran) and I ran the half marathon (first half ever).

    I generally had a very enjoyable experience, but do agree that the many course bottlenecks are an annoyance

    My app came in at 13.5 for the race, but now I understand why that may be, as I was doing a lot of bobbing and weaving through the crowd.

    I did a good job executing my training plan before the race, so I was surprised how much I was dragging at the end of the race. I started in corral G and we didn't start running until 6:15, so I think standing and waiting for an hour before the start didn't help my legs at the end of the race.

    We went to the expo on Friday afternoon to get bibs and do some shopping. Crowds were not a problem and there were short lines at the merchandise tent.

    I like the suggestion of the bigger meal at lunch on the day before the race, with a lighter meal in the evening.
     
    Mickey Momma and CDKG like this.
  11. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    110
    Yes, the amount of time and energy spent waiting in your corral at runDisney races is a killer! Especially if it's cold. I have gotten to the point where I will sit in a curb (or the ground) as long as I can get away with it to save my hips and back.

    Congrats on your first half marathon!
     
  12. jmasgat

    jmasgat DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,072
    I'm not sure I have a lot to offer in the lessons learned department, but there was one specific logistical item---layout your race stuff somewhere next to a light! My daughter joined me at WDW on Friday, so while I was fine for 5k/10k, on Saturday I was fumbling around in the dark trying not to wake her up--and left the room without my bib, which fortunately I remembered walking down the hall. On Sunday, I learned my lesson and staged everything under the sinks--with the bib already pinned onto my shirt.

    Also, I keep forgetting about the characters at the finish and am pissed that I didn't get Dopey--he is not at the parks, which is where I usually go to get my obligatory medal pictures.

    My diet over the weekend wasn't that hot, but I did eat a good meal the night before the marathon (Sanaa) and adjusted my fueling at the race start (I was hungry at mile 2 and so took a gel and changed fuel intervals on the fly.) I think that was a good call--better to fuel early than bonk later.

    Keeping the heat blanket from race 'x' to use for race 'x+1' is helpful.
     
  13. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    839
    I'll also add that having a large lunch and lighter dinner before the marathon portion of things worked for us.

    After the half, I had a breakfast bounty platter at BC Marketplace. We then had a big lunch at Kona Cafe. After a few drinks during the afternoon, dinner was a slice of pizza and salad. I was plenty fueled up for the marathon the next morning.

    As has been said many times on this board, what works for one might not work for another. Use your training to figure out what works and don't try anything too crazy before the races.
     
    CDKG likes this.
  14. JeffW

    JeffW Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    328
    I think a lot of this will be a reiteration, but here are my keys after doing various combinations of Marathon, Goofy, and Dopey over the past 7 years.
    • Spending $10-15 on a sweatshirt and sweatpants from Walmart or Good Will can make your corral waiting time far more enjoyable, and is a drop in the bucket compared to the registration costs
    • Do everything you can to provide the best Proof of Time possible. I dropped back to G to start the half this year to run with a family member but started in B for the marathon. The difference was dramatic. I'm not saying you need to make it into the first or second corral, but every move forward helps.
    • Monorail transport to the races is predictable. Boarded the monorail at 4:05 for both the half and the full and had plenty of time for the walk to the corrals, bathroom stop, and in the corral with time to spare. Some of the bus stories on these boards scare me
    • Watch the tangents. Disney puts in some huge sweeping turns that are multiple car lanes wide. You can add a half a mile or more with ease if you don't pay attention
    • (For the marathon) Having family members at DHS to give me a boost is far better than having them at the finish line. DHS is about mile 23. That gives me a target to focus on when leaving WWoS at mile 20 and gives me a lift that propels me into Epcot.
     
    evenstar, mankle30, marn913 and 8 others like this.
  15. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    110
    Fantastic tips, thank you!!!
     
    jhoannam likes this.
  16. BikeFan

    BikeFan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    515
    Re the first-day expo issues, this was the first year I had to go to the expo on Wednesday, because I was doing Dopey. Previously, I'd gone on Friday, and had no issues. I'd heard the horror stories of past years, and waited until ~3:30 to head over to WWOS. While the area was crowded, Dopey bib pick-up was relatively smooth - I was in and out in about 15 minutes. The line for the merch was epic so I skipped that, but I did return on Thursday evening in the final hour to find no crowds and plenty of merch on the shelves. I think I waited all of one minute to check out. It was such a contrast from what I saw on Wednesday. So that's my tip - go later in the afternoon on Wednesday to get your bib, and save your shopping for Thursday or later in the week.

    Having done a fair number of races of all sizes, course crowding isn't unique to rD events. Plenty of people who have no business being at the front of a race will still line up there, walk 5 across, and do all sorts of annoying things. The promoter behind the Marine Corp Marathon has a number of events here in the DC area, and they have "self-assigned" corrals for everything, which is always a disaster. Many of the people worried about the course cut-offs line up at the front to give themselves more time, meaning you'll be stuck behind walkers for the first several miles. Sometimes, it's just part of the running experience, unfortunately.
     
    Ariel484, Barca33Runner and CDKG like this.
  17. jhoannam

    jhoannam DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    904
    Did you email them? I would for them to hear this.
     
  18. JClimacus

    JClimacus Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    Messages:
    480
    This isn't a lesson learned so much as a consideration to keep in mind. Since I like spending time in the parks in the days after the races rather than before (both so I won't have to worry about eating and the parks are less crowded), I've scheduled arrival time pretty much as late as possible before the races. In 2015 we flew down Saturday morning, went to the Expo that afternoon, and ran the marathon on Sunday. In 2016 we flew down on Friday and ran the half/Goofy on Saturday.

    This being New England, I always knew I was taking a bit of a chance with the weather. I knew I wasn't giving much buffer time in case something went wrong. Well, it happened this year. I was originally scheduled for a Friday flight, managed to get it changed to Thursday morning on Wednesday, but after several cancellations still couldn't get to Orlando in time for the half. That's the chance you take for coming in that soon before the races. Worked well prior years, got burned this year.

    The big lesson I learned here was to regularly monitor our flight status. We got a notification that our original flight on Thursday was cancelled. I assumed we would get a notification if the second one was cancelled, but we never did, and only found out after driving all the way up to Manchester NH for the flight. By that time, there was no longer time to make it to Orlando even if we drove (20 hours). If I had checked the flight status late Thursday night, we could have still made it for the half by driving.

    Random lesson from prior years: We find the best spot to view runners on the marathon is by the parking lot at HS. Just take the bus to HS, wait for your runner to run right by the bus stop, then ride the bus back to the hotel.
     
    sourire, Mickey Momma and CDKG like this.
  19. CDKG

    CDKG Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    110
    Such a heartbreaking story and an important lesson learned. I can only imagine how disappointed and frustrated you felt. Are you planning on participating next year?
     
  20. OldSlowGoofyGuy

    OldSlowGoofyGuy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Messages:
    813
    Package pickup on Friday afternoon (obviously not an option for Dopey) is painless. In and out in 10 minutes. Skipped the expo. Maybe the lesson is 'it's OK to skip the expo'.

    Getting on the bus by 3:30 is less stressful than trying to push it as late as possible. I was in corral B, so this may not be as good a plan for later corrals.

    Don't be in a hurry to get to the corral. It's a better plan to walk to the corral area and setup camp outside the corral, rather than inside. Less crowded and POPs available.

    Bring a cheap fleece blanket to sit on. This allows you to be off your feet and relatively comfortable while waiting.
     
    sourire and CDKG like this.
  21. kywyldcat03

    kywyldcat03 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Messages:
    145
    I agree that you can PR running Dopey. I cut 1 hour and 8 minutes off my previous marathon PR after running very respectable 5k, 10k, and half times. It is all about the training. I barely finished last year in the marathon and it was due to lack of training. I also started in the front of D. My only complaint for the entire weekend was that once you were in the corral, it appeared that you could not get out to use the restroom without running into the woods. So since I was stuck in the corral for an hour, I lost several minutes at the first portapotties since the lines were so long.
     
    marn913 and Ariel484 like this.

Share This Page