Tag Archives: Goofy Challenge

The Goofy Challenge: What I did well, What I didn’t do so well

30 Jan

This will be my last post about the Goofy Challenge, I promise. Since this was the longest distance and most intense training that I think I’ve ever done for a race, I wanted to give it it’s due diligence and appropriately reflect on what I did well and what I could have done better. I hope it doesn’t bore you too much. 🙂

What I did well

Training – there’s a full post about how I trained here. Running a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon back to back is never going to be easy. And I was definitely hurting by the end of the Full. That being said, most of my pain was on the bottom of my feet. My leg muscles felt pretty good. So I’d say that I trained pretty well for this given the fact that I had a tiny set back when I got injured.

Fueling – I stuck to my tried and true method of a Gu every 45 minutes for the Half and ever 45 minutes to an hr for the Full. There were a few times during the Full where the taste of the Gu made me want to throw up, but I choked them down and I really think this helped me keep going. I also took 2 cups of water at every water stop which worked out really well given the high temperatures. When we got back to the hotel I actually had to go to the bathroom, which told me that I was still properly hydrated and didn’t sweat everything out.WDWFull08

Clothing choice – I packed for a ton of weather contingencies, knowing that Florida’s weather can be all over the place. I also ran in my “costume” (without the ears) before the race so that I was sure I would be comfortable. I also Body Glided it up. I had a little bit of chafing on my lower back from my SPIBelt, but that was about it. Also sunscreen was SO key. I am so glad I remembered that and covered my arms, shoulders and cheeks and nose in it.



ICE BATH – I really think my post-half marathon ice bath was key to my legs feeling fresh the next morning.

Overall race “strategy” – The goal for the half was to take it easy and have fun. The goal for the full was to run as much as possible and bank time in the early miles before the sun came up. We were pretty successful in both of these things. I felt pretty successful using a Galloway run/walk method for both races and really feel that it was the right decision for me.

What I could have improved

Quicker pace at the end of both races – It got so hard to keep running towards the end of both races – especially the full. And the sun certainly didn’t help – it as hot! But in hindsight I sort of wish I had pushed myself a little more.

Taken more pictures – During the full specifically. Disney races area all about the photos! But I felt so much pressure to finish and not get sweeped that I didn’t give myself much flexibility here. I sort of wish I did now. Though not if that meant getting sweeped! We got some good Professional photos but none with characters.

So there we have it. Overall I’m am very proud of myself and feel I was pretty successful with a lot of things. There’s always things to improve upon though, so I guess that’s why running is so great. You can always push yourself more!

The Goofy Challenge: How I Trained

29 Jan

I thought it may be helpful to post about how I trained for the Goofy Challenge, so that anyone who is interested in taking this on would have some idea what it could consist of. I also didn’t post about it much while it was happening (in order to keep myself as pressure-less as possible) so I figured now that it’s over (and I did it!!) it may be worth sharing.

I do my best training when I have a plan that I can map out over my calendar. For this I used the Goofy Challenge Training Program provided by runDisney, designed by Jeff Galloway.GoofyTrainingProgram(sorry, the screen shot is from 2012, but you get the idea.)

Jeff Galloway is a big proponent of a run/walk strategy to racing. While I don’t tend to always race this way (I usually just walk the water stops), I thought his plan might be a good baseline for me, so that I didn’t overtrain for a distance I had never done.

The training program is 29 weeks long. This means I started “training” back in July. Keep in mind I had already done six half marathons when I started this plan (the most recent being at the end of May – Cleveland). So I had a decent base built up.

The program recommends 3 days of running a week. Two 30-45 minute easy runs, and one longer run. About half way through, you also add a long walk the day before your long run to get your body used to being on your feet on two back to back days.

Knowing myself and my schedule, I did alter this a little bit. I did 3 3-mile runs a week, plus the longer run and longer walk. I knew I needed to be on my feet for 3 miles per run at least, which amounts to about 40 minutes give-or-take on an easy run day. I also cross trained with Zumba once a week and Kickboxing once a week. I wish I had incorporated more yoga, but it didn’t really pan out.

Once the long walks were incorporated, I did them on Saturday and my long run on Sunday. I’m not gonna lie, the long walks were hard for me. I just felt like I could be moving so much faster. Sometimes I ended up cutting them short. But I did hit a 10 mile walk with the company of friends (which was awesome), and downloaded podcasts and the I Heart Radio app to my phone to help me through the other walks. I hit most of my long runs as well, until I got injured at least.

Knowing all this, I used a link via the runDisney website to import all of the training plan runs into my Google Calendar. Then I was able to delete them as I did them (I love checking things off), and move them around if needed. This worked out really well for me.

My weeks tended to look like this:
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles + Zumba
Wednesday: Kickboxing
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest or Long Walk
Sunday: Long Run

I liked this schedule because didn’t “take over my life” as I’ve heard marathon training can do. I was able to get in my runs in the morning before work, and the weekends when I had more time were saved for longer runs.

I also incorporated a few races in the plan. For example, the Bird In Hand Half Marathon was right around the time when I was supposed to do a 13-mile training run, so it worked out pretty perfectly. The training plan also incorporates cut backs weeks which I followed whenever possible. But I didn’t follow it to a T. I definitely shuffled the long runs around as needed to fit my schedule.

Galloway’s program prescribes going up to a 13 mile walk followed by a 26 mile run 3 miles before race weekend. I have to say I was not a fan of this. My plan was to go up to 10/23 about 4 weeks before and taper from there. Unfortunately I got injured which sort of messed up my plan. I did get in a 7/20 weekend and two weeks later got in 10/13. This was the longest I got of back to back time on my feet. Such is life I guess.

One thing I really liked about this program was the cut back weeks. I alluded to this before a little bit. The program has you only doing long-long runs (8+ miles) every other week. This gives you some flexibility with scheduling and I think also made the build up to the high mileage a lot less daunting. I think it also kept me from getting burnt out as well.

Race weekend: After running the Half Marathon, I took an ice bath. On the day of the Marathon, though the bottoms of my feet were super sore, my legs and hips (my hips are where I usually start to feel discomfort) felt great. So I’d say though I didn’t hit the highest weekend mileage I had hoped for, it still worked out pretty well with this program. Hey, I finished!

The Goofy Challenge: Why I decided to do it (as my first marathon)

28 Jan

As I was training for The Goofy Challenge, I was told many times “You are nuts! Just do the Half Marathon, or the Marathon! Not Both!”

Maybe it was a little crazy to do the Goofy Challenge as my first marathon, but it worked out.


This picture will never get old.

Honestly, the idea wasn’t even mine. I give all the credit to my husband. One day he just sort of mentioned that he wanted to do it. And he sounded pretty convinced. Not being one to back down from a little competition with him, I told him that if he was going to do it, I was too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because when we told my dad about our idea, he jumped right in as well.


I had always said I never wanted to run a marathon. I guess I thought running 26.2 on any old race course would be boring. I also thought that training would be hell and take over my life. So when the idea came up, I sort of thought “go big or go home!” If it’s the only marathon I ever do, what better place to do it than Disney and why not go all the way and do Goofy.

I also thought about how I had run a 5k and half marathon on back to back days, and actually felt pretty good during the half marathon, maybe in part due to a nice warm up the day before. Obviously 13.1/26.2 is not the same as 3.1/13.1, but the idea of a warm up (of a distance I had run many times) before a marathon didn’t seem to shabby.

I also think that focusing on thinking of “The Goofy Challenge” during training as opposed to OMGZ MARATHON, seemed a little less daunting. I’m not exactly sure why – I’m sure to some it would seem more daunting. But the idea of a marathon just sort of freaked me out. I never thought I could be a “marathoner.” The Goofy Challenge allowed me to focus on something beyond a marathon I guess.

A training plan was also key. And I lucked out to find a great training program that I think prepared me pretty well for Disney Marathon Weekend. I’ll have another post about how I trained coming up tomorrow.

Walt Disney World Marathon (Goofy Challenge Part 2)

22 Jan

When we last left off, we had grabbed dinner at Portobello’s in Downtown Disney the evening after the Half Marathon and headed straight to bed. The bottoms of my feet were tired but I knew that after I put my feet up for the night I would probably feel much better.

My alarm went off at 3am (for the second morning in a row..ugh). I didn’t wake up as easily as I did the morning before but I got myself out of bed ate my cereal + almond milk breakfast and got dressed. I felt nervous from the minute I woke up. We caught the busses a little later this morning, but still had no issue with lines or anything like that. We got dropped off by the buses and made our way to the corrals. Things were much less congested this morning. I guess because there were few runners doing the Marathon.

As our corral was making our way to the start line, we heard the announcer say “and Goofy folks – you’re 1/3rd of the way through!!” This made me feel a lot better. I have no idea why, but it seemed less daunting than thinking that I had 26.2 miles to go.

We crossed the start around 6:15am.


My husband was feeling sore from the previous day, so his strategy was to briskly walk the whole thing. He can walk pretty quickly thanks to his super long legs. My dad and I planned to do 2/1 run/walk intervals as long as possible, and bank as much time as we could before the sun came up. Then we would run/walk/crawl/do whatever we had to do to get across the finish. A lot of the Goofy runners around us had the same strategy which gave me some comfort.

I felt really good for the first 4 miles. Better than I had during the Half the previous day. Running down Main Street gave me a surge and I was feeling good. I was actually surprised at how good I felt.WDWFull02

We were able to run through the castle this time which was great. The previous day it had been too crowded and we had to walk through.

After Magic Kingdom, we looped through the Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Course around mile 8 which was pretty cool and a nice way to break up the monotony and sunniness of the highways. Around this time I made it my goal to stay in from of the 6:30 pace group as long as possible. I figured if I could make it half way through the race without them passing me, I was in a pretty good place.

Around mile 13 I had to switch up the run/walk intervals to 2 mins walk, 1 min run. My legs were starting to feel it. This is also when the 6:30 pace group caught up to us, and when we were passing through Animal Kingdom.

We actually stuck with the 6:30 pace group for a good while, because they were doing run/walk intervals as well. I figured I’d hang on as long as I could. The bottoms of my feet were on fire though. They were sore.

The stretch from Animal Kingdom to ESPN Wide World of Sports was rough. I finally had to let the pace group go. The sun was too bright, the temperature was too high and my feet were hurting so much that I had to walk in the grass at some points. It was also a tough point in the course since we were on pretty boring highway.

Eventually, mile 19 came and we were in ESPN Wide World of Sports.

It was pretty cool to run through the baseball field and through other areas of the complex there, but I was just really focused on keeping one foot in front of the other. It felt like we had a long way to go but I kept reminding myself that we had 30+ miles done.

We left WWoS and Mile 20 came and I was so happy to see the mile marker. Unfortunately more highway awaited us.

My husband really helped me here. He held my hand which really helped me to keep moving. I also didn’t stop for any photos or anything because I knew I had to keep on moving. I was looking forward to seeing the Hollywood Studios sign because I knew that meant we had about a 5k left. I could do anything for 5k. During this stretch I also got a few blisters which then popped. Yikes it stung. But I stuck to the grass when I could and kept on moving.

Finally, we entered Hollywood Studios. The hubby convinced me to stop for one photo – and I’m glad he did.

From there we made our way through the Boardwalk area and finally into Epcot.


The last 2 miles were so hard. so so hard. Like the hardest miles of my life. But I knew the finish line was right outside of Epcot. Around mile 25.5 the tears started. I knew I was going to finish this thing and I just couldn’t believe it.


I remembered how my first 5k in July 2009 had felt like the hardest thing ever. And here I was not only completing a Marathon but also the Goofy challenge. I also may have been the endorphins making me emotional. 😉

We turned the corner after the Epcot Ball, heard the Gospel Choir (cue more tears!) and managed to muster up enough energy to run across the finish.


Official Time: 7:07:23.


After we crossed the finish, we made a quick stop at the Med tent for ice for my husband and dad, grabbed our food and then got our GOOFY MEDALS! Oh man, that clank clank of the two medals was just amazing.


We made our way to the busses and sat down. I was still crying on and off. I was just in awe I guess. Lots of emotions.

We did have dinner reservations at Downtown Disney that night for a celebration dinner, but honestly, it was tough to walk to the bathroom, so we cancelled them. My husband picked up veggie burgers and fries from the food court, and wow, food had never tasted so good. I received a barrage of tweets and texts from my friends back home which made me feel so loved.




Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Goofy Challenge Part 1)

21 Jan

We flew out the Friday before race day to head to Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. We caught an 8am flight – and took off to a gorgeous sunrise.
WDWHalf01We left behind the cold Pennsylvania weather and snow. It was glorious!!

My dad picked the hubby and I up from the airport (he had arrived a few hours earlier) and after a quick lunch at Chipotle and a stop at Publix to stock up on Gatorade, we headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up our race packets.  The bib pickups were separate from the goody bag pickups which was a little bit annoying. I’m not a fan of having to carry my bib around without being able to put it in a bag or something. I always get nervous I’m going to misplace it. The bib pickup for Goofy folks was super short – no line.

The T-shirt/Goody bag line was super long at another building. The line stretched so long that it even went outside. It moved pretty quickly though and we didn’t mind being in the Florida sunshine. 🙂


We got three super awesome long-sleeved tech shirts for the Half, Full and Goofy, in Yellow, Blue and Orange respectively. They’re so nice I’m not sure I’m going to be running in them much. They’ll probably be used for lounging around/bragging more so. ha.

After we picked everything up and walked around the Expo a little (it was SUPER crowded) we checked into our hotel super quick and headed to Downtown Disney for dinner. We ate at the House of Blues and all of us got salads (I got Caesar – my pre-race tradition) and pasta with marinara sauce. It hit the spot. After dinner we headed straight back to the hotel to put our legs up and sleep.

My alarm went off at 3am the next morning and I woke up without an issue. I changed, ate my cereal + Almond Milk and we met up with my dad and made the walk to the busses. I think we were on a bus around 3:45ish. There was no line or anything.

WDWHalf03 I dressed up as Minnie for this race – I haven’t dressed up for a Disney race yet and though the Half would be a perfect opportunity. I found the red running skirt at TJ Maxx, the red tech shirt at Wal-Mart, the Minnie ears online and used white sticker dots from Staples. Most of them fell off over the course of the race though, as you will see in the photos. I found the gloves at Target for 50c, and basically just wore them for this photo. It was already in the 60s by the time we were waiting to walk to our corrals.

I also ran this race as part of the Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Half Marathon. I wore the bib on my back. Unfortunately I did sweat a lot so the bib ended up ripping off of my back but I tucked it in my SpiBelt so that I carried those kids with me for the 13.1 miles. I saw a lot of other people with these bibs too. It amazes me how the running community can come together to support a cause. It is a great thing.

WDWHalf04After walking to our Corrals and making out way to the start, we crossed the start line around 6am. We were on our way through a 39.3 mile journey! yikes!!


The first four miles went pretty quickly. Our strategy was to run as much as possible in the first few miles and then switch to 3/1 run/walk intervals once we felt we needed to. Around mile four I started to feel light headed. I attribute this to taking a cup of powerade at the first water station. After that I just took two cups of water at each one and felt a lot better. We ran down Main Street (such a rush!!) and snapped a picture in front of the castle.


The sun was starting to get hot though, and it was really sticky and humid. My husband was also starting to feel a little discouraged around mile 7. We told my dad to go ahead and I stuck back with him as we ran/walked our way to mile 10ish. I knew this wasn’t going to be a great half for me time-wish. Around mile 10 it was getting even hotter (I’m pretty sure it got into the low 80s while we were out there) and we were on highway which meant hot asphalt. It was tough. My husband was also getting discouraged, because it seemed like we had so far to go. I gave him as much positivity as I could.

It was awesome to see the Epcot ball and know we were close.


After going around the Ball, I knew (from the Princess Half a few years ago) that we didn’t have long to go.  We also found my dad who had stopped to wait for us so we could cross the finish together.


We crossed in 3:27:21 (chip time). Not a good finishing time for me by far, but I wanted to stick with my husband, and with the heat I knew it wouldn’t be smart to push it given we had 26.2 to cover the next morning.



Finishers photo!! I felt pretty good after the race. My feet were tired but that was about it. We made our way to the buses and got lunch at the hotel. I got a breakfast platter and drank a bottle of chocolate milk. It was perfect. I took an ice bath before we showered, hoping it would help my legs to feel as fresh as possible the next day.

We grabbed dinner that night at Portobellos in Downtown Disney, which was a great carb-infused meal for Marathon Eve. We went to bed early because we had a 3am wake up call again the next day and I slept like a log.