Out of all 4 of the races I did during Dopey Challenge weekend, I think the half marathon was in many ways the most challenging. It came after two days of racing and getting up early, it was much warmer than the previous two mornings, and it was also a mental challenge.
I knew I wanted to take it easy, but it’s difficult for me not to push myself or want to do my very best. And it was also tough to get through a half knowing in the back of my mind there was still 26.2 more miles waiting for me the very next day.
I got up at 3am and was on the bus by 3:30am. I took the long walk to my corral and got there around 4:30. This meant there was about an hour before we started, so I just hung out and took it easy. I was in corral D, and started the race at 5:41am.
Jason and Mercedes were near the start line to cheer – I saw them about a quarter of a mile in but they couldn’t see me! They were across the street and with that many people it’s tough. Then I was surprised to see the first character stop at only half a mile into the race. The line was already extremely long, but it was Esmeralda and Clopin from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I knew I had to stop.
Especially since this was supposed to be my “time doesn’t matter” race, I was up for characters. It was funny though, because my first mile was like a 20 minute mile. However, even with a lot of walking and some running thrown in my pace went back down pretty quickly. It was interesting to watch.
We headed onto the roads to Magic Kingdom. By the time I hit the 5k mark I was at a 14 min/mile. And then we were entering Magic Kingdom! The most magical of all places. Plus Jason was there to cheer for me on Main Street before he headed back to Epcot to be at the finish line.
I ran through Magic Kingdom but a lot of the character lines were extremely long. On exiting the park there was Chicken Little with almost no wait – since I’d never seen him out as a character before, I figured why not?
I never got the alert or update when I crossed the 10k mat so I wasn’t sure what my official pace was, but I was trying to slow myself down a little because I knew I was probably pushing too hard considering what was still to come the next day. Sure enough, when I hit the 15k I was at a 12:35 min/mile – faster than I wanted to be.
I slowed myself down and this is when the mental games really started. It might have been “4 more miles,” but my brain kept saying, “yeah, and then 26 more tomorrow…” It was also getting hot at this point. I was ready to be done.
It was a relief to enter Epcot, where I stopped for another picture – Panchito was out in Mexico, and since I’d gotten Jose Carioca at the 5k I figured I had to try and get them both!
Then it was finally to the finish line, where I finished in 2:51:01 with a pace of 13:03 min/mile. I achieved my goal of running my worst half marathon ever! Seriously – that’s what I was aiming for because I didn’t want to go into the full feeling the way I do after running a “good” half marathon. I headed back for a rest and to relax my nerves as much as I could before the full marathon!
Characters at the Disney World half marathon:
Esmeralda and Clopin
Pirates of the Caribbean
Christmas reindeer and tin soldier
Queen of Hearts
Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater
Which character would you most want to meet on the Disney World half marathon course?
Jenn @ Fairest Run of All says
Haha, it was my worst ever half marathon too!
And I totally agree about the half marathon being the worst part of Dopey. When I did it in 2015 my morale was lowest then – with the 5K and 10K I could at least be like, well, this won’t take long. Then the marathon comes around it’s like, ugh, this is gonna take awhile AND I have to run a marathon the next day :/ :/ :/
Becky @ Disney in your Day says
Yes, that’s exactly what it is! The 5k and 10k feels quick but that half marathon dragged.
Jennifer Bateman says
I totally had my slowest half marathon too, I finished in 4:05. WAY slower than normal, but I was running ahead and waiting for my sister for the first 7.5 miles. I would never have allowed myself to enjoy the course as much as I did without her behind me. Once she decided to get on a parade bus at 7.5 I just decided to continue to stop for all the characters. I finished the race feeling great, knowing I had plenty of gas in my tank for the full marathon on Sunday.
Becky @ Disney in your Day says
I’m glad you got to enjoy the course and get some character pictures! It is a lot of fun!
Kelsey Schenk says
That is so fun! I ran my first half marathon a little over a year ago in Chicago but no one really dressed up…this would be such a fun and unique race to do!
Debbie Kolacki says
How is Chicken Little related to Disney?
That is so awesome! Training and running a marathon is so fun and brings so much purpose!!
cute & little
Monica Delmonico says
With all the early race times, I bet you were so tired after the race weekend! This kooks like such a fun race, and I adore your Orange Bird race outfit! SO CUTE!
Citytoast Southtea says
This is really cool I never knew they had Disney Marathons
It sounds like you enjoyed the experience! Your Orange Bird costume is just perfect. The Dopey challenge sounds exhausting to me.