Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Countown to the Dopey Challenge 2016!

With less than one week to go until we depart it has just occurred to me that I have barely talked about our (my, Eric and Andy's) upcoming Dopey Challenge adventure.

This has been years in the works, and this is no exaggeration! On our second date Eric and I were both about to take on major athletic challenges. He has his first Ironman a few weeks later and I was basically on the eve of my first marathon. I asked him what would be next for him. After all, an Ironman was basically the most outrageous athletic achievement that I could think of! What on earth would one do next?
It was then that he mentioned taking on the Dopey Challenge (for those of you who don't know, because I did not, the Dopey Challenge is 4 races at Disney on 4 consecutive days. A 5k, 10k, 13.1 and 26.2)
My reaction to this wasn't the most positive. First, having never done a marathon I could not see the wisdom in running a bunch or races beforehand (I still see the issue here.) Furthermore, I could not comprehend why someone would travel to Orlando, get up at 2AM every day to race, hardly be able to stay awake to enjoy the parks and ALSO pay about a gazzilion dollars to do so. I also spewed some stuff about feeding the corporate giant blah, blah. (at this point I feel like I do a bit of everything, big corporate giant and tiny homegrown. it's all ok)

As it so often happens as the years passed I began to get on board with this insane idea.
When Eric and I were in Orlando in 2015 we concluded that 2016 would be the year that we would take a crack at it. This may have been fueled by the fact that is was about 48 degrees while we were in Florida, so basically perfect running weather. We also might have had some wine. It's hard to say.

And THEN Eric and Andy turned 40 this year and that's a perfect excuse. Bucket list race! Spend all the coin! (which we did.)

So here we are TODAY. One week until the 3 of us hop on a plane to claim our destiny, or some such bullshit! It really should be a blast, I do enjoy a good Disney trip. Thus far, "RunDisney" has not exactly met the high standards that I expect from a Disney experience but I plan to head into this adventure with an open mind. If nothing else, we are going to be spending 5 days in Florida away from the dumb cold weather and that sounds excellent.

Here is what has happened to this point:
-Sometime last MAY the 3 of us waited with bated breath to drop about $550 each the second the race registration opened. For me, registration was chaos. Everything that you don't want to have happen did (the site would not load, it booted me out half way thru my registration, and THEN after completing the form AGAIN after I put in my credit card it took so long to try to process that it timed out and I had to do the whole damn thing AGAIN.) I know traffic was high and it happens but it was frustrating to me. I was ready to put in my race finishing times to improve my corral placement and there was no obvious or easy way to do this (runDisney- there must be a better way!) And you all know what happened then. I dropped the ball on figuring out what to do/who to email and am now enjoying life in corral P. Totally my mistake but big game changer. But it's cool- it's gonna be about 90 so no need to hustle!

-I literally bought plane tickets the day they went on sale. That was easy. Smart. It's just easier to fly out of Portland and flights sell out so damn fast (lesson learned on previous trips.)

-There was hemming and hawing about where to stay. I did an embarrassing amount of research on onsite vs offsite, the costs involved, transportation, getting to the parks easily. No stone was left unturned.  I should probably consider a career change and be a travel agent, jeesh.
In the end, we decided to stay onsite. Yes, you certainly can get somewhat more spacious accommodations offsite but within the budget we were working with the most logical and time saving conclusion was to stay in a Disney resort and use their transportation.

-I have been to Disney enough to know that if you want to sit down and eat, you get a damn reservation and you get it early. While I wasn't as on the ball as some, we are guaranteed a place to eat each and every night. Done.

-There has been some other behind the scenes crap. Typical stuff like making sure we are in the BEST building (haha I have a preference. Close to the pub. And the extra restrooms since there are 3 of us in a room.) Customizing magic bands (important) Locking down the Fast Pass (CRITICAL) Again, why am I not working in the travel industry? So confusing. 

And that's about it. There are some other details that will make for another amusing pre adventure blog (if I have time!)

I can't speak for Eric and Andy but I'm really looking forward to heading south for a few days. Doing a race like this is certainly something you only do once and I'm planning to slow down a bit (not that I have a choice, corral x for the win) and enjoy the sights!


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