Those within the runDisney community have no doubt already heard the news. In January, 2014 runDisney will be offering a new race and a new challenge. Joining the Family Fun 5k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon will now be a 10k race. And in addition to the Goofy Challenge – Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday – there will be a new Dopey Challenge which is 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday, and Full Marathon on Sunday. The 10k medal will be a Minnie Mouse medal. The Half and Full will remain Donald and Mickey respectively. Those who complete the Dopey Challenge will receive 6 medals for completing 4 races: 5k medal (which changes to match the theme of that year’s race but is often the Fab 5), Minnie Medal, Donald Medal, Mickey Medal, Goofy Medal, and Dopey Medal. The link to official runDisney announcement is here:

As someone who went from Couch to Half Marathon to Full Marathon to Goofy Race and a Half Challenge over a 3 year period, I am not know for avoiding running challenges. And so I have already been asked, repeatedly, if I plan to take on the Dopey Challenge in 2014. At this point my answer is…..I’m not sure but probably not. Which isn’t to say I’m not tempted. Two inaugural medals and a chance to run 4 races in 4 days. That’s 6 medals and 5 tech shirts + 1 t-shirt. I’m not running the Tower of Terror race this year due to other travel plans this fall (both work and personal). This may be the rare opportunity to start a running streak (not the naked kind) and be perfectly Dopey.
So why not?
As someone who started running later in life (at age 38), I find that body doesn’t like running 2 days in a row. I learned this the hard way training for the Goofy Challenge. Every weekend with back to back long runs resulted in minor aches and pains or even more major injuries. How would I possibly train to run 4 races in 4 days without suffering injuries? The counter-argument to that is the fact that I would have almost 9 months to slowly get my weekly mileage up to a higher amount and the recent addition of strength training should help protect against injury. If finding the time to train for the Goofy was difficult, imagine the time needed to train for this!
The second problem is the timing. And this is a problem for several reasons. This past January I spent the weekend after Marathon Weekend teaching a review course in Phoenix. It was an honor to be invited to teach and a good career opportunity. Assuming I’m invited back (which is likely), I would be away from work and family 2 weekends in a row. In fact I had been floating around the idea of skipping Marathon Weekend 2014. My most recent idea had been to “just” run the Full Marathon on Sunday so I could fly down late Friday, pick up my race packet on Saturday, run on Sunday, and fly home either late Sunday night or early Monday morning. I wouldn’t really miss any work that way and could fly out to the review course on Thursday in time for the orientation dinner on Thursday night. In order to do the Dopey Challenge, I would have to fly out either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning to attend packet pick-up on Wednesday. I would miss work on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then again the following Thursday and Friday. Not to mention all the time away from my precious children. (There’s no way I would bring my children with me to Disney if I ran the Dopey Challenge. I would probably be in bed by 7pm every night and spend my afternoons lazing around the pools. Not to mention that it’s their first week back to school after the Christmas Break.)
So what’s a Dopey wanna-be runner to do? I’m still not sure but I know that I only have a few weeks to decide. There is no doubt that the 10k will sell out quickly and I imagine the Dopey Challenge will, too. At this point I’m thinking about doing the 10k with my husband on Friday. I think he’s agreed to this plan. Or he will before registration opens. And then I’ll run the Full Marathon on Sunday. It’s still a 32.4 mile weekend but with a day off between races to rest. I’d still be getting the inaugural Minnie Medal for the 10k. I’d still miss work Thursday and Friday two weeks in a row or I could have Tom fly down early and pick up my race packet on Thursday and fly down after work Thursday night…. Or something.
I still need to let these ideas marinate over the next few weeks before registration opens. I must realistically assess what my body is capable and how much time I can reasonably spend away from home during the month of January. And then I’ll let everyone know my plans!