As I sit here trying to figure out how to write a conclusion to the Dopey Challenge, I find myself reflecting over the overall journey. I signed up for this challenge last April with a solid running base, including a dozen half marathons and a full marathon. I was running on average 4-5 days a week and hitting 100+ miles each month. However, I still felt slightly intimidated. 48.6 miles over 4 days with 4 very early mornings sounded very daunting.
I am a weird mix of a planner and go with the flow kind of guy. I think it depends on the circumstances. With running, I have a tendency to be more Type A. I like the structure of a weekly schedule, with mileage goals that build toward the overall goal. Now I definitely wasn’t trying to break any records during these races. I wanted to finish each race safely, have a good time and experience all that the Disney races have to offer. Plus, I was very excited to run with Rachel during her first marathon.
I will say the Dopey Challenge is not for everyone. It takes a lot of time, discipline and money. Disney races and challenges are not cheap. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! It was an amazing experience! Would I do it again? Probably not.
Now that’s not to say I won’t be running Disney races again. I love the Disney races! My first half marathon was in January 2013 at the WDW Marathon weekend. Rachel and I have been back every year. I think our hope is to run at least the half marathon each January. It holds a special place in our hearts. But I think I’m ready to move towards running full marathons with nothing else attached to them. While I will never say never…I would be surprised if I attempted the Dopey Challenge again.
If you haven’t had a chance to read Rachel’s recap of the marathon yesterday, I encourage you to do it. I thought it was a wonderfully honest look at the marathon. It is a tough distance. There is no way around it. No matter how much you train (and trust me, Rachel was very trained), 26.2 miles is a long way. You have to be mentally prepared for this distance. And Rachel was definitely physically and mentally prepared! It’s why I knew she was going to be ok during that race. She is a fighter. And I am so proud of her.
People keep asking me how my marathon was and I find myself saying it wasn’t the easiest race for me either. But honestly, I was so focused on Rachel that I didn’t pay as much attention to the fact I was running a marathon. That might sound strange, but it’s true. Now the weather was tough. It was very humid and warm from start to finish. I definitely struggled at times myself. But my priority the entire race was Rachel.
It was an amazing feeling to run across the finish line together. I watched my wife get her marathon finisher’s medal and I got very choked up. I’m not sure if she will ever want to run another one. She would tell you right now there is no way. I definitely won’t ever push her to do it again. That’s her call. No matter what, I am and always will be so proud of how hard she fought to finish this one!
(Tomorrow I will close out the WDW Marathon Weekend blog posts with the final few days of our trip. We spent 2 more days after the races hanging out at the parks and with our friends Nick and Ciara. Until then…)