Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Dopey Challenge: 5K Day

Part two of our Dopey Challenge Experience. The one with an actual 5K race.

I lied in my last post, we did not have to wake up at 3AM on Thursday for the 5K, we had to wake up at 3:30 since the race didn't start until the leisurely hour of 6:00. This meant we had to be on a bus by 4:00 (for last call) instead of 3:45. PHEW!!
It might have made a big difference but we were all awake anyway so up we got.

This was when the suitcase of food began to come in handy. We all made PB&J, grabbed a granola bar or two, choked down some crappy Disney coffee (brewed in the room) and headed out.
Into the freezing cold, wind and drizzle.

Checking out the bus schedule
We were not sure what the bus schedule would be like and had been told that we could expect as much as 20 minutes between buses. This wasn't the case, a bus was there and we hopped right on for a short ride to the start line. There was a bus behind that bus so, no 20 minute wait.

In a very, very cold bus!
Eric and I had flip belts so we went thru the bag check line. Despite the fact that we got on a bus almost as late as we could, the line was very short. Maybe 3 people ahead of us. From here we took a quick look around (pretty typical parking lot staging area, an area with a small-ish crowd and a DJ, a few water stations and then corrals A-F.)

We were in corral F and since we were the last to start not too many people had gathered by the time we wandered in. It was quite chilly, and staying warm was a real challenge! (it was in the low 50's with a brisk wind and light mist that stopped around 5:30 or so.) We met some other runners who, like us had forgotten to submit their times and we exchanged some slightly grouchy stories of dealing with runDisney to that point. (no runDisney, you are not perfect! get a new website to start!!)

For the 5K there was a 5 minute hold in between corrals which honestly felt like forever! The corral were huge with about 2,000 starters in each, so the 5 minutes did make perfect sense in the traffic control department. By the time we made our way to the start we the winners were back at their resorts and showered but we were glad to finally get moving! By the time corral A had taken off our corral was fully packed, standing room only. While it was crowded we finally began to get warm since we were snuggling with 2K other people. #cozy

A terrible pic of the start! OMG. But that is it.
After the initial crush of the start the 3 of us found ourselves together again and we began to make some good headway UNTIL, we hit the back end of the corral in front of us. Using some teamwork we made our way through some congestion but never had any open area to run in.

Andy is there too, I promise! And it's dark, really dark!
We turned the race into more of an adventure run, dodging people who stopped short to take selfies, winding carefully around the droves of runners and walkers and kids; jumping, weaving through and going over cones, barriers and occasionally other runners. It was fun running together and we picked up a few friends along the way which made for quite the entertaining pace line.

Finishing in a blaze of glory!!
 It was dark for most of this race which made it feel all the more like an adventure obstacle run. We finished in about 28:00 which is a solid PW for all of us but, to be honest, better than we had hoped with a corral F start.

Victorious! And finally warm...
From there we walked directly onto a bus back to POFQ. This is what has sold me on Disney races, you finish, you walk to a bus, and you go home!
During this bus ride we met a Dopey challenge veteran who, in ominous tones, told us about how the corral hold for the marathon was a full 10 minutes. We were a bit shocked, being in Corral P and all but decided that being warned was the best thing that could happen to us and that we would be prepared. (stay tuned to see how this turned out.)

After we had showered, organized our nasty laundry and rehashed the experience we all felt like lunch.
Unfortunately, it was only 8:30.

Eric and Andy decided to try to get an hour of sleep and after a little bit I went back to the expo to try to pick up the things that the crowds prevented me from getting on the first attempt.
I had great luck! The crowd level was maybe 25% what it was the day before and I was able to find what I wanted and score a few good deals.
I timed the whole trip perfectly because as I left there were busloads of people arriving for one of the kids races. Smart.

From there we headed to Epcot for the afternoon.

YAY! Post race beer!
We enjoyed a beer in Canada as we always do and took advantage of the very light crowd level. We wandered around the World Showcase for a couple of hours before hitting some slower rides (like Nemo) to nap on as we had all hit the wall.

When I made our dining reservations I thought that a 4:30 dinner time would be really hard to deal with, and too early to be any good.
I could not have been more wrong...

We dined, 3/4 asleep at Via Napoli. This was ok because despite the rave reviews it gets, it, (like most Disney dining) is "Meh" at best. Being half passed out made paying $24 for a mediocre personal pizza seem less offensive. We are always prepared for "blah" food going into any culinary adventures at Disney so we aren't disappointed, just underwhelmed. (and I know that any die hard Disney fans are going to scream and yell about me slamming the beloved Via Napoli but whatever, I can get better pizza in my podunk hometown.) For me, the surprise at Disney is really GOOD food so when it is mediocre it's just part of the day.

Closing the park! Or, leaving at 6:00....
We hightailed it out of the park at 6:00 and Eric and Andy were passed out cold at 6:45. SMART.
We actually DID have a 3AM wake up call the next day so hitting the sack early was unavoidable. I proceeded to deal with a splitting headache and NO SLEEP again (which was getting old) but luckily, this was the last night of unsuccessfully counting sheep.

And since this IS an actual competition (between us anyway)
Today's results:
Andy: 28:29
Eric: 28:35
Sara: 28:35



  1. I can only imagine the frustration of starting in the last corral, as speedy as you guys are. I'm a middle of the packer and that would make me ragey. Okay, on to the 10k recap!

    1. There was a tiny bit of rage. :-) I totally take responsibility for my sucky corral placement though, I dropped the ball on submitting my time so I am the only one to blame! We made the best of it and made some great new friends who were in the same boat.

  2. I'm not much of a disney/cartoon person so (1) this race doesn't appeal to me for that reason, but (2) stupid o'clock wake up times is a definite NO!

    1. I had zero interest in the character photo ops. It was actually pretty easy to avoid that (especially as the races got longer and the roads opened up a bit more.) I know it seems silly to run Disney races if you don't want all the princess pics but the allure of the umpteen medals was strong!