Running Goal – January Recap

January has come and gone. Usually January feels like it has 100 days, it seems to drag on and on forever. I think it’s the fact that the end of the year is always so busy, so filled with parties, events, holidays, get-togethers, you name it. Once you get past New Years Day, it’s a long slog through the rest of the month. This year, January went pretty quick. We still had some of the wife’s family here until 1/10, then we had a half marathon that weekend, then a friend came to visit on 2/1 so January felt pretty short.

So how did my running go in January? Not good, not bad. I managed 15 total runs for 65 miles, which puts me on track for my goal of 750 miles this year. There were four weekends in January, and I did a long run on three of them: 8 miles, 13.3 for the half marathon, and 7 the following. I still missed a weekend, for which I really have no excuse other than laziness (and one too many beers Friday night).

My January 2020 running calendar

I’d call the month a win, even with the caveats. Missing a long run can’t happen again (though it already has in February, and I’ve got a trip planned that’ll cause me to miss another) and I had an aborted run with some weirdness going on.

On to February!

My 2020 Running Goal: 750 Miles

I know, it seems strange. My goal for 2012-2018 was always to run 1000 miles. I came close in 2016 with a touch over 900. I did even better in 2017 with 968. In 2018, I nailed it: 1002 miles and some change. So why set a goal that’s less than what I’ve accomplished in previous years? Because I’m not in any sort of shape to do more. Even this is a stretch.

You see, I essentially took 2019 off from serious running. I ran 448 miles in total. I completed one half marathon (January – WDW Half Marathon). and one 5k (November – Wine & Dine weekend, and we walked it). That’s it. I did no speed work, I had no consistency, no strength. Whatever abilities I had after three solid years (for me) drifted away. I’m nowhere close to the shape I need to be to go for a more aggressive goal. 2020 is about resetting and rebuilding.

Because that’s what I have to do. Rebuild. I’m starting over from scratch, needing to build up my mileage, my speed, my mental stamina, my tolerance for the elements. I need new proofs of time for Disney races. I need to work towards my longer term running goals (sub-50 10k, sub-7 mile, sub-4 full). I also need to be better with consistency and build up true mileage. Looking at my decade of running, the most I ever averaged per week in a year was 18. That’s not gonna do me much good for my goals!

750 sounds like a decent goal. I can probably surpass it if I really keep to things. January is off to a pretty good start, and if I keep slowly building up I should be in good shape.

What’s your 2020 running goal?

Latest Updates

Oh man, have I really not updated this since right after Dopy? Yikes, my bad!

Post-Dopey, I slowly started running again, not wanting to lose too much endurance from my training. I ran a 10k in March (Winter Park 10k) where I somehow set a new PR (by 20 seconds, but still) on a pretty hilly course. I finished in 50:22. I think had I had a better starting position, or the course wasn’t as hilly, I had a shot at sub-50. Maybe next time. I honestly didn’t expect to run that well.

This month, I’ve done two races. First up was the IOA Corporate 5k, which is held after work in downtown Orlando. There’s so many runners, it’s basically impossible to really PR. I thought I was lined up well given the size, but I was incredibly wrong. After a ton of weaving, I finally found some open space…after 2.8 miles. Oops. I still managed a 25:02, good for my second fastest 5k ever. At least at sub-13.1 distances, I think I’ve finally found some speed.

The second race is one I’ll do a formal race recap for, but it was the Star Wars Dark Side half marathon at Walt Disney World. runDisney races are known for their fun atmosphere, not so much for PR attempts. I wasn’t really in shape to PR anyway, and it was very humid (they gave multiple warnings to not even try). It was still a very fun day, regardless of the weather at the start.

Overall, things are going fairly well running wise. I’ve missed a few days here and there, but I’ve mostly kept up with running. I’m ahead of pace for my overall goal of 1000 miles in 2018, which is awesome.

Until next time…

Disney Challenge Recap: Character Photos!

Note: If you’re just joining us, please check out my 5k and 10k recap, my half marathon recap and my full marathon recap.


I knew I couldn’t complete my Dopey Challenge recap without talking about the character stops! It’s one of the best parts! You see, throughout the races, Disney has characters out that you can take photos with. Everyone from Mickey to Genie to members of The Adventurer’s Club. Most of the stops have Disney Photopass photographers there to take your picture with the characters, which can be tied to your bib # for easy retrieval. If you don’t have Photopass, or don’t want to pay for it, the cast members there can also take a photo with your cell phone. It’s pretty awesome. As APs, we have Photopass and had planned to take full advantage of it.

It seems this is all we have between the 5k and 10k, but I know there were more. During the 5k we skipped Chip and Dale, Vacation Genie (he was actually out for all four races, in different places), and some of the guys from Move It! Shake It! We did stop for Clara Bell the cow outside of The Land during the 5k, as well, but that picture seems to have disappeared.

Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas

Sebastian from The Little Mermaid

Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean

Ro had to stop at a port-a-pottie, and as we did, I looked over and saw Jack Sparrow. I ran across the street and got in line, and she came out right as we only had one or two people in front of us. Perfect timing!

Assorted Fairies

We waited in this line because Tinkerbell was there. As we were the next one’s up, Tink and another fairy left, so we missed them but got these two.

Launchpad McQuack and Scrooge McDuck

Yes! One of the longest lines we waited in, outside of Jack and Sally.

Jessie from Toy Story 2 and 3

Another stroke of bad timing, we waited in line for Woody and Jessie, but with just a few people in front of us Woody took his break. Oh well.

Rafiki and Timon from The Lion King

These guys went on break right before we got there, but we waited anyway. And kind of odd that it was Rafiki with Timon, and not Pumba.


Belle and Sleeping Beauty

In the athlete’s village area, several of the big name characters were out. Each of them would have insanely long lines during the day of their race (aka Pluto on Thursday, Donald on Saturday, Dopey on Sunday), so we opted to take them during other days.







All in all, the photos were great. We took a few with our cell phones as well, since a few of the stops didn’t have a Photopass photographer. If you’re debating getting Photopass for race weekend, do it! We love it.

And with that, my Dopey Challenge recap is complete. It was an incredible experience. The first question we get asked is, “Are you crazy?!” The second is usually “Would you do it again?” To that I say, maybe. Not every year, that’s for sure, as it’s very expensive and takes up a great deal of time. We have the privilege of living close by so we can visit the parks often. But for many people, race weekend is also vacation weekend. Trying to manage the races, family, having fun, etc. is just too much for me. Maybe we’ll do it again for the 10th anniversary, but for now there are other races and other goals to do first.

Until next time!

Dopey Challenge Recap: Full Marathon

Note: If you’re just joining us, please check out my 5k and 10k recap and my half marathon recap.


Sunday: The Full Marathon
Day four, and another pre-3AM wake-up call. Yeah, these were getting old, but last one! Woohoo! At this point a bit of delirium was setting in. We ate our typical pre-marathon meals, dressed for multiple weather scenarios, picked up our friends and drove to Epcot. I had heard that traffic could be a nightmare, so we left a tad earlier than Saturday but made it just fine. We had a solid hour in the (warm) car before heading to the corrals.

The weather would be very cold at the start (mid-30s) but would warm up into the high-50s/low-60s and sunny later on. We knew we would be out on the course for a long time, so we had to dress for both. I opted for shorts, a long-sleeve tech shirt, a short-sleeve tech shirt, hat, gloves, and a fleece throw-away top to keep me warm up in corral and for the first few miles. It was a solid plan, and I felt good throughout the run.

The first several miles were the exact same as the half the day before. We started on the highway, ran onto World Drive, through the auto plaza into the Magic Kingdom, around the parking lots (stopping for photos with Launchpad McQuack and Scrooge McDuck!) and through the TTC, towards the Contemporary and into the Magic Kingdom itself. We skipped all other photo stops until we got to Woody and Jessie, and even though the line was long we decided to stop. In a story that will repeat throughout the day, right before we got to the front of the line Woody took a break, so we just got Jessie.

Somewhere in the midst of taking a photo of the mile markers (which we managed to get all of them!), I lost a glove. Not both of them, just one. It was when I was ditching my throw-away top. So there I was, one glove, and it started getting a bit chilly again. Crap. We were only a few miles in, and there was a loooong way to go. Yikes.

Upon leaving MK, you head down Cone Alley by the Grand Floridian, and finally deviate from the half course. The WDW Marathon gets a well-deserved reputation for being a bit of a boring course, with a lot of long stretches on highways, lots of ramps, lots of dead space. You leave the MK at mile 6. You enter Animal Kingdom at 12.5, leave it at 14, and don’t enter another park until 23. The rest of that time is just plain, boring roads. In a repeat from our Woody/Jessie photo, we got in line for Timon and Rafiki (where’s Pumba?!) who promptly went on break. We decided to wait, and luckily it didn’t take long for them to come back, and we were back on the road.

Now, the time between AK and HS is miserable. You’re on boring roads again, until you hit the Wide World of Sports. This is just round and round you go, throughout the property. Even the DJs seemed pretty miserable. You’re there for a few miles, and as soon as you get out you feel relief. We opted against most photo stops there, since we had taken many with the characters at the start/finish village instead. Plus, I think Ro just needed to keep on moving. At this point we slowed our interval from 4/1 to 2/1. Eventually it would turn into run whenever we could.

With WWOS in the rearview, we were onto the last little bit: Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk, World Showcase and margaritas and beer! Wait, what? Yup! We opted to stop at the margarita stand and get some drinks to power us through the final half mile. I mean, everyone knows fueling and hydrating is the most important part of a marathon, right?

Ah, glorious!

We stopped at mile marker 26, listening to the gospel choir, and knew we would be finishing in just a few minutes.

We crossed the finish line in what was our slowest time, but also the most fun marathon we’ve ever done!

And with that, we were done. We had completed the Dopey Challenge, 48.6 miles of running in four days. A 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon. Unreal. We started celebrating as soon as we got our medals, heading right for the beer tent to wait for our friends to finish.

We headed back to our hotel where we cracked a bottle of champagne and put our feet in the cold pool water. Eventually Ro and I showered and hit up Disney Springs, where we munched on some sushi at Morimoto and a few cocktails at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar. We were beat, so we called it an early night to get some sleep. The next morning we hit up Epcot and MK for photos before a dinner at Citricos, and then drove back to our apartment to crash.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and we loved every minute of it – except the wake up calls. This isn’t something we would necessarily repeat anytime soon, maybe for anniversary years. Otherwise, we’ve got Dark Side half marathon coming up next – though we’re searching for another half prior to then.

Next up: a recap of our character photos!