Saturday, January 19, 2013

Goofy Challenge 2013- Arriving and 1/2 Marathon

When I told people I was going to do a challenge involving a half marathon one day and a full marathon the very next day, "Goofy" was not usually the word used to describe the race.  "Insane," "ridiculous," and "psycho" were just a few.  Nevertheless, I travelled to Orlando last weekend with several families to participate in the "Goofy Challenge" at Disney World!

On the first day, the Johnsons and I arrived in the afternoon, checked into our hotel, and headed directly to the Magic Kingdom to meet the Sanders and Mims for the afternoon!    It sure was nice to enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures after rain and 40 degree weather!  The highs were in the 80's each day!  Nice!

Our first roller coaster for the day was Thunder Mountain Railroad... Roan and I both screamed as much as the kids!  In the early evening, we found the Mims and Sanders... After riding a few rides (including Space Mountain... which involved much more screaming than Thunder Mtn) we headed back to the hotel for pizza and a good night's sleep.

The next day Jimmy, Roan, Lynn, Esther and I were on the first bus over to the expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 
It was a good thing we arrived early- the lines were crazy long by the time we were leaving.  EVERYTHING from the expo to the race to the post-race stuff was incredibly organized, well-run, and big!  Just being there was exciting!

After getting our packets, we had a little fun at the Cigna booth- they had a green screen where you could make fun pictures.  (This is not actually at the race!)  We also got race souvenirs and enjoyed looking at all of the things the vendors had to offer.  

On the way out, Jimmy, Esther, and I put on our Goofy shirts and got a picture in front of the race poster.  Packets picked up... only 39.3 miles to run and we would be done!

After putting stuff back in the hotel room, we joined the rest of the group for a fun day at Hollywood Studios.  We caught the Pixar parade and took several group photos... Below is the Johnson family

Esther and her 7 girls in their cool Disney shirts... you can't even tell which one is the mama!  (Esther is 2nd from the right)

I didn't get one of just the Mims, but here they are with us all in the group photo.

As we were walking around the parks and running the races, I would send photos home to Scott and the kids.  I sent the picture below during the Pixar parade with the caption, "Hey look, Scott, you were at Disney world after all!")  

I also got my picture taken with Mickey to tell the kids, "Mickey says hello!"

About 7:00 I was ready for my PJ's, so I caught the bus to our resort and got some supper from the restaurant.  

Here is the first and goofiest part of the Disney races:  you have to catch the bus at 3:00am.  

2:45am came very early that next morning.  Esther, Jimmy, and I were on the first bus departing at 3:00.  AM.  Sheesh.  When we arrived, we funneled along with a million other people to this giant holding area.  There were jumbo trons, music blaring, photo opportunity places... and there were more porta potties than this Mississippi girl has ever seen in one place.  ever.  

So many porta pots, in fact, that Esther got on Jimmy's shoulders and took a video so that we could show the folks at home.  Here are the three of us goofy runners in front of the photo stage...  

About the TuTus- we figured since we were doing a 39.3 mile race for fun (not even considering time or PR), we might as well dress up and have some fun with it... 

We went from one holding area to another, then from the second holding area down a road to the starting corrals.  (Of course, passing many more porta pots on the way!)  At the starting area, there were even more jumbo trons, music, MC guys telling jokes, etc... it was all so fun and entertaining, and the air was electric!  And humid!

When Disney does something, they do it right.  Each corral started with a firework display, and I'm not talking sparklers and bottle rockets!  What a beginning!  After the race I told Scott that the WDW marathon made the St. Jude Marathon seem like the Tupelo marathon in comparison... just to give you an idea of the thing.  (Nothing against the Tupelo marathon- it is a very very cool race in a different way!)

At about the first mile, we passed this giant pirate ship booming loud pirate-y music.  We ran past several other fun things, like giant kites, a huge billboard with blaring Star Wars music, the entrance to the Speedway...
And finally we entered the Magic Kingdom!  This is Jimmy with his two cousins, Stacee and Leanna right outside the Magic Kingdom entrance.  We had a good time getting to know them a little better during the race!

Here are Jimmy, Esther, and I.  "Caution Runners:  Speed Bumps Ahead."  We actually just THOUGHT we were going into the Magic Kingdom.  Really, it was a joke.  It was the parking lot, and you had to run at least a mile before really entering the Magic Kingdom on Main Street, USA.

But it was worth the wait.  So worth it that I have about 50 pictures of the castle... all different combinations of angles and people... And my photos can not even come close to conveying the atmosphere of the pre-dawn morning.  Excitement, adrenaline, awe... it was such a "magical moment!" (Or several moments... like 15 minutes!)  

After running around the castle and then through it, we were heading out of the park.  The Disney train even came out to cheer on the runners!  It just seemed like the thing to do when I laid down on the tracks and acted like I was tied up...

After leaving the Magic Kingdom we took some back roads that led us past our resort.  The crew was there to say good morning, take our glow necklaces (it was now daylight), and have a photo shoot... 

After we passed our resort, we snaked around some more back roads (where we MIGHT have taken a few walk breaks)

And we saw Phineas and Ferb... my favorites and worth waiting in a short line for!  

Finally, we entered EPCOT!  Woohoo!!  Almost done, but we had to stop for more pictures... 

We circled through EPCOT, ran around the big golf ball, and back out in the parking lot to the finish!  Here we are with our first finisher medals!

After the race I saw these guys on "Team Don't Die," and I had to get a picture... too funny!  13.1 down and 26.2 to go!  

After the race we showered and made our way over to EPCOT.  I had a delicious lunch at the Seasons grill, and then I made my way over to the World Showcase.  I saw the Sanders, Johnsons, and Mims off and on throughout the day, but I mostly enjoyed piddling around and shopping for souvenirs for my kids!  

When I saw Donald in Mexico, I HAD to stop and say !hola!  

In France I enjoyed some mousse au chocolat.  I spoke in french to the lady when I ordered, and the lady understood me!  She laughed at me, but she understood!  (And that was a little dish of YUM right there.  My mouth is watering.)

I ate and shopped my way around the world and then headed back to the hotel to ice my feet and get ready to do it all again the next morning... times 2!  

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