The complete title of this post should be “Why I am NOT running the Dopey even though part of me wants to do it.” Because even though I’m not going to run the Dopey, I am a little bit jealous of those who are receiving 2 inaugural medals in one weekend.
To most sane people the question wouldn’t be “Why shouldn’t I run the Dopey?” but rather “Why on Earth would anybody choose to run 48.6 miles over a 4 day period?” I mean it is pretty crazy. Then again, I’m obviously not completely sane because I ran the Goofy just a few months ago – a half marathon on Saturday with a full marathon on Sunday. If I can finish 39.3 miles in 2 days, what’s an extra 5k + 10k? (Yes, I know, it’s 9.3 additional miles.) I almost feel that by offering a more challenging event for Marathon Weekend, runDisney has somehow diminished my accomplishment of finishing the Goofy. And if I’m being honest with myself, that’s part of the appeal of the Dopey (did I mention 2 inaugural medals with a grand total of 6 medals for the weekend?).
After finishing this year’s Goofy, I thought that I would probably sit out the 2014 Marathon Weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Marathon Weekend. It’s one of those rare times when you can go to Disney World and the parks are filled with athletes. Everywhere you go there are people wearing running shirts or showing off their hard-earned medals. There’s an incredible sense of camaraderie around the parks. And in an era where obesity is a growing epidemic, especially among children, how refreshing is it to see Disney World taken over by runners. What a fabulous example this sets! (And please trust me that runners come in ALL shapes and sizes which is even more inspiring!) For me, personally, Marathon Weekend is the anniversary of my very first race.
But life being what it is I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it in 2014. Last year I was invited to teach at a medical review course for my specialty. And the course is held Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend every year. Which happens to be the weekend after Marathon Weekend. Traditionally the course has been held in Phoenix (although I’ve heard early rumors that it might change to Miami). This means that if I run Marathon Weekend, I’m away 2 weekends in a row. Which is tough for work and, more importantly, super hard on my family. I had started to consider running Rock n Roll Phoenix which happens to take place the day after the course ends. Until runDisney announced their new races which included a 10k and the Dopey.
My first objection to the Dopey is the time commitment. First there’s the training. I knew that even if I went for Marathon Weekend in 2014, I wouldn’t run the Goofy. Not that I can’t but I found the back-to-back long runs to be really hard to schedule. The bigger issue is that I’d have to get to Orlando no later than mid-day on Wednesday to pick up my race packet. Which means missing 3 days of work (Wed, Thurs, Fri) and 5 days away from home. And then there’s the race start times. To do the Goofy meant waking up at 2:30am two days in a row. The Dopey would mean waking up at 4:30am for the 5k, and then probably 2:30am for the next 3 days (not sure what time the 10k starts so maybe that would be another 4:30am day). That’s a vacation???? There would be no time for enjoying Disney if I had to get up in the middle of the night and run long distances.
The next issue is cost. Registration for the Dopey is $500. If you do Race Retreat, it goes up to $700+ (I think I read it was $720). Yes it’s 4 races and 6 medals but is that worth $500??? I’m not sure. Then you have to add the extra hotel stay into the picture. And the missed day(s) at work. Pretty pricey!
Let’s talk about injuries. Training for the Goofy wasn’t easy for me. Every time I did a weekend back-to-back long run, I had an injury. Some were more minor and some were more long-lasting. The metatarsal injury that I had sustained in early December (possible stress fracture), still nags me. It’s not painful so much as I’m aware of it sometimes when I run. So I don’t know that it’s in my best interest to sign up for more miles right now.
The final – and most important – reason that I’m not running the Dopey has to do with performance. I’m pretty certain that barring injury or race-day mishap I could finish the Dopey. But I don’t think I could finish the Dopey with respectable finish times. For anyone who read my pre-Princess dissertation on running for time vs. running for fun, you know that I care about how I do. I don’t care if I place 1st or last. I care that I performed to the best of my ability. And before the Dopey was announced I had already decided that I wanted to run the full marathon for time. When I finally sat down and thought through the implications of the Dopey, I realized that I care more about improving my marathon time than about having the most medals. I feel that I’ve underperformed on the full marathon – due in part to warm weather 2 years in a row but also because I did the half marathon one day before the full this year. My half marathon PR predicts a marathon finish in the low 5 hour range and yet my best marathon time is closer to 6 hours than to 5 hours. I want to see what I can do when the marathon is the focus of my training.
My neighbor is a fast runner. He’s in the 60-65 age group and often places, or even wins, his age group division. He’s a super friendly runner and loves talking to me about running. I told him about the Dopey and his response helped me form my answer. He said, “I don’t think I would enjoy that at all. I like to run my best and I would hate to have to sacrifice my performance in either the half or the full.” I found that talking to him really helped me focus on what matters for me and I think for Marathon Weekend 2014 I’d like to run my best.
For the record… I will still get an inaugural medal as I am hoping to pace my husband across the finish line for his first 10k. And then – 2 days later – I hope to PR the Mickey Marathon.
I won’t lie. As social media and discussion boards filled with people reporting that they were going Dopey, I had some pangs on uncertainty. But I really think that I want to improve my running before I try to become Dopey.