Walt Disney Worlds Goofy Experience

By David Drennan

Let the fun begin

Goofy ExperienceI am not sure where or how this adventure began or where the thought really came from.  The blame was partly put on Jeremy, but it is all a blur now.  I do believe the idea of doing the Goofy Race and a Half in Disney World in 2010 started with a simple conversation in late 2008 at the Memphis half marathon.  Just to be clear the Goofy Race and a Half consists of a half marathon on day 1 and a full marathon on day 2.  There were four of us: Amy Dolbeare, David Drennan, Nick Fogleman, and Jeremy “Many Names” Peck.  I remember talking about the race, but it was simply just talk. That changed, however, the day I received a text message from Jeremy “WTF” early in Jan of 09, and it read, “Goofy race is open and I am signed up.”  WTF!  Well we can’t let one friend go down in flames alone so I had to ask Amy and Nick “what are your thoughts on this, because it looks like mad man Jeremy already sign up.”  It wasn’t long after that all four of us were signed up for the race, which was going to take place Jan 9th and 10th of 2010.  We had a year to prepare, oh boy!  The year itself went on as normal with doing the local SRRC events and races.  It seemed that once Abe’s Amble and Shoreline were over, the reality of the event coming up started to sink in.  It was time to start focusing on the Goofy race and begin the training.  The first 3 or 4 weeks were put together with lower mile runs. Then, as we started increasing mileage, we put together a chart to keep us on track.  Looking back now, if I had to guess, I would say part of October and all of November and December we were never under 35-45 miles a week and 2 or 3 weeks with 50-60 miles a week.  For Amy and Nick, it was not only the Goofy Challenge, but also their first marathon.  The last few weeks before it was time to taper were the most important.  The first big weekend was the weekend of the Frostbite Festival. (I have to say a big thanks to Barry House and the Frost Toes or else there would have been some boring training days & non training days!!) The Saturday before was a 12-miler, then the day of the Frostbite we did a warm up of 10 miles, then the 10-mile race.  Everyone finished and faster than expected which was a good thing!  The next weekend had us down for a 14-mile run Saturday, and a 21-mile run Sunday.  Again everyone survived and felt pretty good.  After that, it was ice baths and lots of chocolate milk!!  We had hit our peak and now it was time to taper and rest up for FL.  The race was 3 weeks away and we all were confident we could at least finish.  Just to lead into the next section, I would like to mention that living in Springfield and training Sept-Jan, you deal with very different weather.  We ran in rain, snow, sleet, 70 degrees, 10 degrees and everything in between.  We experienced it all, but the majority was low 40s and 30s so we were a little concerned about what weather we will get in FL, will it be too HOT?! Hmmmm.

Race Time

Goofy ExperienceDuring the week leading up to leaving, we had been checking the weather and it looked like highs of 40s! YES! We wouldn’t get overly hot in the FL heat.  The day before we left, a snow storm was scheduled to hit the Springfield/Bloomington area and our flight was out of Bloomington.Your browser may not support display of this image. Nick and Amanda left the day before so they were there safe; Amy, Megan and I decided to go to Bloomington the night before the flight so we weren’t driving the next morning in crappy weather.  Jeremy “Waffle Time” decided to be a mad man again and drive the morning of the flight.  Bloomington ended up with about 5-7 inches of snow, but there were no flight delays and we all made it to the airport in plenty of time.  However, I was in vacation mode and packed my shoes and opted for sandals because it was supposed to be warm in FL and also it would be faster at the airport security.  Well, thanks to the garbage bags I put on my feet, I managed to keep them dry until I got to the airport.  However, having a rear wheel drive car doesn’t help and I got stuck in the parking lot of the airport, “beached up” on some snow, as Jeremy called it.  I made it halfway in the spot and called it good. “I AM ON VACATION.”  The cold front that swept through the Midwest would also follow us down to FL.  The forecast had changed and now, on the day of the half marathon, it was expected to sleet and snow and the highs while we were in FL were in the upper 30s low 40s!  The expo was pretty nice and once again sucked me in to buying things I really didn’t need. What I was trying to find was a coat because I was freezing along with everyone else.  We are in FL and we wish we brought our winter coat, which is not a fun thought!  While picking up our packets at the Goofy check-in, we would hear a bell ring every once in a while; when we asked what that was, the lady said it was for someone who had run the Goofy all 5 years (which is how many years the race had been going).  Very impressive for those people and the list was longer than I expected. Some people must love torture.  Friday night before the half marathon, we decided to relax by experiencing Epcot at night during the magical hours! Goofy Experience Probably not the best move since we had to be up at 3:30am to get on the bus to head to the race, but we were all nervous so I don’t think there was much sleeping anyway.  We made it up and got ready in our room only to step outside and feel the cold 30 degree FL weather!  Brrrrr!  Now off to the bus and race start. Once we checked our bags, we all headed to the Johnny on the Spot lines that took up an entire parking lot.  Even though our faces were numb, you could feel the sleet/snow mix hitting you.  Jeremy “Wild Man” found some trash bags we could wear to stay warm and dry until the race started at 5:40 am! They really didn’t help keep us warm, but mentally I think it did. Plus it had style!  While in the starting corral, we were picking up sweatshirts and blankets from people that were shedding them to stay warm until our wave went off.  Nick scored an amazing Bass Pro Shop sweatshirt!! Your browser may not support display of this image. Once we crossed the start line, it was game time. We started shedding our free clothes and trash bags and it was time to run! By mile 2 or 3, we started to warm up, but it was pitch black out.  The half marathon had about 17,000 people in it.  It was a mass of people most of the race and started getting light out about mile 9 or 10.  The half marathon was pretty boring, we were on highways up to magic kingdom, did a lap through there, and headed back to Epcot. The half went well for everyone, I pushed it a little too hard the last couple miles because the race mentality took over and I forgot we had a full marathon the next day. Whoops.  Finish times for the half were Amy Dolbeare –  2:13:58; Jeremy “Spice Rack” Peck – 2:14:02; Nick Fogelman – 2:14:01; David Drennan – 2:04:47.

Goofy Experience We soon learned that surviving the race was only half the battle, now that we were wet and cold, we had to brave bag check (which was almost an all out brawl and we were FREEZING.)  After that, we had to wait in another line just to get on a bus to get back to the resort. Once we all made it back, showered, and ate, it was nap time.  Also time to put on the recovery socks, drink the Endurox, and prepare for the big day tomorrow.  Which again would be starting at 3:30am with a 5:40am race start time, booo!

Day Two, Marathon Day!

Goofy Experience

Again we are up and at’em but it was 30 out and felt like 0.  Your browser may not support display of this image. We headed to the bus and this time Nick’s wife Amanda came with us to take our bags so we could avoid bag check!  Thank God for her braving the cold so we could avoid the bag check. It made things a lot easier.  With about 30 minutes until race start, we are again in the massive sea of people waiting to use the bathroom.  Actually as I recall, Amy, Nick, and I were huddled up waiting for Jeremy “Morning Coffee” to use the bathroom!  We headed to the race start with sore legs, freezing, and new-found blankets on the side of the road.  All is fair in the starting corral or at least the guy peeing on the side made it seem so.  We slowly made our way up to the start line, ditched our homeless gear and started the marathon!!  It’s now 26.2 miles until the finish and the completion of the Goofy challenge which was the plan over a year ago, not to mention a first marathon for Amy and Nick!  The marathon course wraps around Epcot, heads up to Magic Kingdom, wraps back around down into Animal Kingdom, over to Hollywood Studios, across Boardwalk and back into Epcot. There were a lot more sites to see along this course, not to mention all the Disney characters that came out to cheer us on!  The marathon had about 16,000 people in it. A lot of people were getting off the course to wait in a line to have their pics taken with the characters, which is crazy, I would have cramped up!  This was not a race to PR; this was a race to have fun, and minus the weather and suffering, we did just that!  At mile three, we were headed out of Epcot.Your browser may not support display of this image. Then we headed into Magic Kingdom around the halfway point and it was nice to actually see things in the light! Your browser may not support display of this image. Once we made it down into Animal Kingdom, it was a relief knowing that we had only 9 miles left to go.  Nine miles seemed short compared to what we were doing in the overall picture, at least that is what I told myself.  The miles did not seem to fly by as fast as they did for the first half, but they were still moving.  It wasn’t until about mile 13 or 14 when we could actually get cups of water that weren’t frozen and most of the ice had melted. We all stayed together for the first half then Amy and I lost Nick and Jeremy about mile 14 at a water stop.

Goofy ExperienceAmy had leg pains setting in so we took it slow for a few miles, took in some water, GU, and a banana to recover. Around mile 17, Amy and I got split apart so I went to find Jeremy “GU Master” and Nick.  I finally found them by mile 20 thanks to the neon yellow shirts Jeremy ordered for us!  I did a fly by move on Jeremy “Banana Thief” while he was looking to grab a banana. We were down to the last 10k so it was time to give it your all and make it to the finish.  Once you made it through Hollywood Studios, it was 3 miles to go and the emotions started kicking in.  The last 3 miles looped around Boardwalk and around the back part of Epcot!  There is nothing sweeter than looking over and seeing the finish line!! Your browser may not support display of this image. YES!  WE MADE IT!!  WE HAVE NOT ONLY COMPLETED A MARATHON, but COMPLETED THE GOOFY CHALLENGE!! (woot woot)!  Finishing times were Amy Dolbeare – 4:54:46; Nick Fogelman 4:47:31; Jeremy “Rock Star” 4:47:30; and David Drennan 4:38:45.  There has been nothing like it and once you have all three medals, it is bitter sweet. (Even if you can’t walk right for 3 days after!)  It was a tough battle for everyone, but we all survived and everyone had a negative split for the marathon!!  After we all met up and grabbed a little food, we headed to the bus and back to the resort!  It was still freezing out!  Hello shower, recovery socks, nap, and food!!  I do have to throw in here that I usually have a nice cold beer after a hard race (recovery purposes), but it really didn’t sound good until about 2 or 3 days after!

Relax and Head Home

We all survived the race and it was a short but eventful trip!  The race was a blast, but the weather was not so much fun! We all had a good time together, but I think we had a little too much time on Disney buses.  The way home from any big race and vacation is always a bummer, but we had lots of memories, pics, and hardware to bring with us. Not to mention that Chick-fil-a at the ATL airport coming home was amazing!  Now I just have to figure out how to un “beach” my stuck car from the snow at the airport in Bloomington.

– David

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