Dopey Challenge: The Marathon

Okay, guys, the time has come for the ultimate Dopey Challenge recap…the day I became a marathoner. :)

Of course, if you missed my previous Dopey Challenge recaps, here they are: expo, 5K, 10K, half marathon.

This post was hard for me to write. (Please do allow me to apologize in advance for just how long it is!)

Unless you’re a runner, it’s hard to understand what conquering those 26.2 miles for the first time really means. And for me, it’s especially hard to describe the feeling I had when I crossed that finish line because it’s just not something I ever thought I would do.

Before I write my final Dopey Challenge recap, I have to be perfectly honest and admit that I didn’t initially sign up for this 48.6-mile weekend race challenge because I wanted to.

I did it because I felt I had to.

Photo credit: runDisney

Photo credit: runDisney

Don’t get me wrong, I knew ever since I crossed the finish line of my first race that, someday, I’d probably run a marathon. Of course, I also knew it was going to HAVE to be the Walt Disney World Marathon.

But when the Dopey Challenge was announced, I felt a need to blow right past the accomplishment of “just” running a marathon and take on something that was so inconceivable, so seemingly impossible, because I needed to prove to myself once and for all that the “old me” is gone.

I know many of you already know “my story.” Clearly, this used to be a weight loss blog, so even if you don’t, let’s just say I used to lead a very, very different lifestyle than the one I have now.

As someone who was obese her entire life, and who at my worst was pushing 275 pounds and miserable and hopeless and really had absolutely no good reason to get up in the morning…I never thought I would be writing the following post.

Growing up, as I cried and stuffed my face with junk food every night because the kids at school brutalized me for being fat, or as I made my way through college and started my career thinking that I wasn’t worthy of achieving my goals and I was simply destined to be overweight and unhappy for the rest of my life, I never in a million years could have fathomed that, someday, I would be able to call myself a marathoner.

Someday, I would use my body as something other than a way to hide my pain and my sadness, and instead rely on it to accomplish this ultimate physical challenge.

It’s still hard for me to believe I did what I did earlier this month. And so that is why this marathon was so much more than a race to me.

Okay, sob story over (for now, anyway). Let’s get to the recap! :)

The morning of the marathon, I shot out of bed around 3am for the fourth and final day with adrenaline running through me. This was it. This was the moment I had been waiting for.

I got dressed in my Dopey costume — because you KNOW I had to go as Dopey for this one, even though it wasn’t the most original idea in the world — and we were out the door before 4am. I was BEYOND THRILLED to open the door of our room and feel a chill in the air. I had been fretting for months over attempting to run my first marathon in the sweltering Florida heat or humidity, which is what I faced on the morning of the half marathon.Screen shot 2014-01-23 at 12.52.02 PM

I don’t do so well in the heat, so I thanked my lucky stars that it was going to be a cooler morning (temperatures only reached about 70 that day — not bad at all).

The race day guide warned of “SEVERE TRAFFIC DELAYS” on the morning of the marathon, so I was terrified we’d get stuck in traffic or roads would be closed or we’d have some other issue getting to Epcot that morning and I’d miss the start of the race and life as I knew it would be over.

Fortunately, I had been worried for nothing, because we made it to Epcot in under 20 minutes and I had plenty of time to munch on my usual pre-race fuel — a bagel with jelly, and my latest obsession, Belvita! — and take some pictures.

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As I sat there checking out all the costumes and watching the other runners stretching and gearing up for the marathon, I know Todd knew I was nervous. I was quiet and anxious and I’m sure my fear was written all over my face.

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What’s funny is that there was a part of me that was nervous about the 26.2-mile challenge ahead, sure…but I have to be perfectly honest and admit that I wasn’t nearly as scared as I thought I’d be. Somehow, that morning I had come to a place where I KNEW that I had this. I KNEW I was going to finish this marathon.

It was one of the first times in my life that I ever felt truly confident about something, and it really did throw me off guard a little bit. It’s not my usual M.O., by any means. I was really enjoying the feeling.

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Around 4:30, Todd and I parted ways and I made my slow death march to the corrals. The plan was for him to see me at the castle in the Magic Kingdom, and then again at the finish line, since he’s a newb to The World and I feared that he would get lost or trapped in another park and miss my triumphant finish if he tried to spot me at other points along the course.

As I sat in corral G and waited for the race to start, I felt my nerves starting to kick in again. Although my sister couldn’t make it for this trip, I received the following text at 5:27am (edited slightly for clarity, haha). I didn’t ask her permission to share, but hopefully she won’t mind. :)

“You’re gonna do great, I have no doubt you’ll finish. Love you and so proud of you. Take it all in…remember how this time a year ago you were terrified thinking you couldn’t do a half….look at what you’ve accomplished in only a year…”

And that really took me back for a second. She was right. It really was less than a year ago that I took on the Princess Half Marathon, and here I was about to run a marathon. And after already successfully completing a 5K, 10K, and half marathon!

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It helped give me the boost I needed, and before I knew it, they were letting the corrals go. One by one, until it was time for my fireworks, for the start of my race, and the start of this final leg of my journey.

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My plan was to start out slow and steady. I had no time goals whatsoever, and that wasn’t only because this was a Disney race and you know I planned to stop for photos! My goal was to cross that finish line in an upright position with a smile on my face (and maybe even have enough energy afterwards to play in the Disney parks afterwards!). I knew the best way to do that was the conserve my energy as best I could.

That being said, I really never walk in races. The only time I’ll allow myself to walk is when I’m going through a water stop, which is when I typically take my fuel. And, of course, if I MUST use a bathroom, then of course I will stop for a call of nature. I decided I was going to apply that same race strategy here, and force myself to walk — even if I didn’t want or need to walk — any time I came to a water station.

Oh, and my other plan was to stop for a.) any characters that I really, really like and b.) skip any characters that Todd and I had already seen the previous day.

I started the first few miles with a slow, steady pace — no faster than a 10:30/11-minute mile. I felt pretty good. My legs and feet were only slightly sore from the previous days’ races (and park walking).

I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t feeling a whole lot of emotion in those first several miles. I couldn’t believe I was really doing this, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how far I’ve come or everything it took to get me to that starting line.

I passed up a couple of characters on the way to Magic Kingdom because they were pretty much the same as the half marathon and I really wasn’t all that interested in them.

(Am I the only one in the world who has no idea who Launchpad McQuack is, BTW?)

As always, I was thrilled to see the gates of the Magic Kingdom, and I knew I’d be seeing Todd soon. But, first, a quick stop at the TTC bathrooms, since I try to “save it,” if you will, for “real” bathrooms instead of relying on yucky port-a-potties.

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Before I knew it, we were on Main Street again, and the castle was all lit up and it was amazing.

Amazing.

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I ran down Main Street with the dopiest (see what I did there?) grin on my face, and through the park, stopping for a couple of pictures along the way.Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 12.51.54 PM

Including, of course, what is always the LONGEST LINE EVER — Mickey and Minnie. :)

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And soon it was time for my favorite moment, yet again — it was time to run through the castle!

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There really are no words to describe how I felt at this moment.

I spotted Todd pretty quickly — as a ChEAR Squad member, he was privy to a spot right in front of the castle, so we had our few seconds of smoochy and snuggly time and he took a few pictures and I was on my way again.

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I knew Magic Kingdom was going to be a highlight of the race for me, so I did worry a bit about how I was going to keep myself entertained for the next 20 miles!

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Here’s some entertainment for YOU, though — somewhere in mile 7, I looked down and realized that my belt had fallen off my costume! It was secured with velcro, and after fiddling with it through the early miles of the race because it kept spinning around backwards, I secured it extra tight for Magic Kingdom so it would be in the right place for photos. Unfortunately, that meant that the velcro came unattached, and, yes, this CRAZY PSYCHO decided to run BACKWARDS IN A MARATHON to go and find it! There was no way I was finishing the marathon without my costume intact. Shows you where my priorities were that morning… :)

Fortunately, it had fallen off less than a quarter-mile back, and some volunteers had moved it to the side of the course — so when they saw me running backwards, they shouted and pointed out where the belt was. Not wanting another such episode, I took a pin from my race bib and stuck it right through the middle of the belt — you know, kind of what I should have done in the first place. It didn’t budge for the rest of the race.

Running through the Walt Disney World Speedway — our next stop — wasn’t the biggest of thrills for me. I just don’t care about cars, sad to say.

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Also, I really, REALLY do not care for the ridiculous dip in the road as you make your way in — it could not be more dangerous for a race course!

There was another (boring) stretch of course as we made our way out of the speedway and towards Animal Kingdom. I did find a few characters along the way.

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And as always, I was excited to actually make it into the park — although I was disappointed by just how little time we actually spent in Animal Kingdom. I feel like we saw more of the parking lot than anything else.

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After leaving Animal Kingdom, I knew we would be headed into ESPN Wide World of Sports.

As we were headed towards Hollywood Studios on this relatively boring out-and-back section of the course, I also couldn’t help but stop for THIS photo opp! The chance to lie down for a second felt really good, not gonna lie.

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It was cool running around the track and through the baseball stadium at Wide World of Sports, but, still, not quite enough distraction for me, personally — I really only like running through the parks, in case you couldn’t tell. :)

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I want to pause for a moment and say that, honestly, I will still feeling pretty good. And I was having the time of my life. Really.

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The temperatures were warming up and now the sun was out and beating down on me, and that naturally slowed me down a bit. And, yes, my legs and feet were sore — but, honestly, even as I approached miles 15, 16, and 17, I was still feeling pretty strong.

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I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I think I did a pretty good job of fueling myself before and during this race. I had a plan for approximately when I would take my Clif Shot Bloks, and I also made sure to drink Powerade (I dilute it with water because I hate the taste and it sometimes bothers my stomach) at every water station.

Throughout the course, there were also two banana stops, which I gobbled down hungrily, and many spectators along the course were handing out goodies like Twizzlers, pretzels, and crackers — all of which I took and munched during a walk through my next water stop. Even if I wasn’t feeling especially hungry, I took whatever they were handing out — solid food tasted good, no matter what, and I wanted to avoid hitting that “wall” I often experienced during some of my long runs where my energy just gave out on me and every step became a struggle.

I was so excited to reach the 20-mile marker. After that, it was all virgin running territory. And, best of all, it was FROZEN — which I am obsessed with.

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Todd had texted me with some encouragement when I hit the halfway point, and it was during the last 10 miles or so that my sister continued to send me some personal notes of inspiration, like:

“Your pace is great, keep it up…you can do this.”

“Fight the pain…it’ll still hurt later, and you can worry about it then.”

And even some motivational quotes:

“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” — Hercules

And, my personal favorite…

Do or do not, there is no try.” — Yoda :)

Honestly, I don’t know if I could have done this without either of them. In all of the months that I poured my time and energy into the training process for Dopey, any time I said I couldn’t do it…they were always there to tell me that I could. So, Hopper and TL, if you’re reading this (which you BETTER BE!) — thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you. :)

It was within the last 10K that I really started to feel it. I was excited to run through Hollywood Studios, but, first, there was a whole lot of course that wasn’t really the most exciting in the world. I didn’t know if it was truly a physical thing, or if it was my mind taking over — 6 miles is SO CLOSE, and yet still SO FAR — but I felt myself starting to struggle. Suddenly, everything HURT, and I was basically going back and forth between being able to push myself to about a 10:30 pace for short periods of time, and then having to slow down to about a 12:30.

Also, my feel were on FIRE. I felt like every muscle in my legs was starting to tighten up. I continued to allow myself to walk only through the water stations, and the smiles and the encouragement from the volunteers (who often refer to you by name…or, in my case, as “Dopey”) helped keep my spirits up.

There was a stretch of road at one point after the 20-mile marker that had a whole bunch of signs with quotes…including my absolute favorite. A photographer for runDisney happened to be standing there, so he kindly took this picture for me — and it turned out to be one of my favorites from the entire race.

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Fortunately, making it into Hollywood Studios, and a much-anticipated candy stop in Mile 22, also helped perk me up a bit — they had mini chocolate bars and MONSTERS INC. FRUIT SNACKS! SCORE!

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And, of course, meeting a couple of characters and running through Hollywood Studios felt awesome — I loved every second of it.DSCF8473

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Running through Hollywood Studios was definitely a highlight of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for me, so I was excited to be back!

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As we made our way out of the park and towards our final destination — Epcot! — I remember texting Todd somewhere in those final miles that I was in quite a bit of discomfort now…but that I knew I was going to make it.

Shortly thereafter I spotted Dopey, and almost had a heart attack — this was the ONE character picture I really, really wanted, and he had hardly any line at all. I ran over to him like I was on fire, and this totally made my day! :)

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Heading into Epcot, I felt like I was taking my victory lap. My pain virtually disappeared once again, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

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I was doing this…the end was in sight…and in just moments, I would be a marathoner.

The park was already open for the day so, of course, there were tons of people everywhere, but there were plenty of spectators and even runners who had already finished cheering us on.

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And, perhaps even best of all, there were a bunch of characters out with absolute ZERO WAIT! I’m guessing nobody wants to stop in miles 24-26 of a marathon? Understandable…but…this person did. :)

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And, FINALLY, at long last…was the glorious 26 mile marker.

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This was it. After more than 5 hours and 45 minutes on the course, I had finally made it.

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I spotted Todd, waved like a maniac, and headed straight towards Mickey for a much-deserved high-five.

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And then it was over. I COMPLETED THE DOPEY CHALLENGE!

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And…then…I freakin’ lost it. Like, LOST. IT. So much so that a volunteer came over and hugged me for a solid 45+ seconds. I must have looked like such an giant idiot.

But I didn’t care. I had earned this moment. And some serious bling!

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I worked so, SO hard for this and it was an incredible feeling and I still to this day am having a hard time writing about it.

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This marathon changed my life. Setting this goal and putting in the training and proving to myself that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible has changed me forever. Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 3.39.35 PM

I will likely carry the memories of the person I used to be with me for the rest of my life. But I will always and forever remember my first marathon as the day when I finally let go of the “old me.”

And in her place is a freakin’ MARATHONER!

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I will, of course, subject you guys to just one or two more posts on the Dopey Challenge — including my overall thoughts and a final recap of the rest of our Disney trip — but until then…thanks again for all of your support and encouragement along the way! I really do appreciate it! :)

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hooray! You did it! I got goosebumps reading this recap.

  2. Congratulations!! You had me in tears! I grew up similarly and am just starting to try and let go of my former self. It gave me so much hope! What an amazing accomplishment and not just a marathoner, but an ULTRA with all those miles put in the three days before! I nearly fell out of my chair when you said you ran backwards?!?! LOL! You are an inspiration to us all.

    • Thanks so much, Karen. That’s really sweet of you to say.

      It’s a really hard thing to do, as I’m sure you know — I’ll always carry the memories of who I was before. But accomplishing something like this really forces you to step back and realize just how far you’ve come, and it’s hard not to look at yourself in a completely different way. It definitely CAN be done. :)

      Haha, I knew you guys would enjoy that. Who DOES that?! I really wanted my belt back, though! LOL

  3. Crying here. So proud of you!

    • Thank you, Kelly! For everything. I don’t know you “in real life,” so maybe it’s strange to say this, but you really have been such an awesome support system throughout it all…from encouraging me to sign up for my first 5K to sharing your advice to help get me through the training process for my first half marathon…and then my first full marathon. :) I’ve really appreciated it!

  4. Oh my goodness, I’m definitely tearing up over here. What an awesome post and such a great accomplishment. I’m so glad I found your blog last year right after the Princess Half and have been able to follow along on your journey. You are an inspiration for sure! Congrats!!

    • Thanks so much, Kristina. I’m glad you found me, too — I’m really enjoying sharing our running journeys! :)

  5. I’ve been following your blog since the Princess Half last year (which was also my first half). I just wanted to say what an amazing post this was! I cried when I read it. Good for you! Congratulations!

  6. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! Thanks so much for a truly inspiring post! And CONGRATULATIONS on deciding exactly what you wanted and who you wanted to be AND THEN DOING EXACTLY THAT. You’re a marathoner and you have so much to be proud of :)

    • THANK YOU! Appreciate it. I’m definitely proud — still can’t believe I pulled this thing off! It was the most incredible experience. :)

  7. CONGRATS, MARATHONER!! Welcome to the club :)

  8. Stop it! You are making me cry! What a fabulous post. I LOVE everything about it. You seriously rock, Jennifer!

  9. christi in ma says:

    Congratulations, Jennifer. I knew you could do it!! You are so determined and focused. You – and Todd and your family – must be so proud of yourself. I’m proud of you – and I only know you from reading your blog for the last year. You really are amazing. Congratulations!!!

    • Thanks so much! Really appreciate that. I’m definitely proud and still kind of amazed that I actually pulled it off! :)

  10. Awesome job. Well done. You are a marathoner. Isn’t it great. Fantastic costume and great write up. Hope to see you at another event one day.

    • Thank you! YES — it feels incredible. There was no feeling in the world like crossing that finish line. I’m thrilled to join you in the marathon club, haha. Hope to catch up with you at another race soon! :)

  11. Christine AKA "Hopper" says:

    I was SO upset that I couldn’t be there. I had set my alarm just so that I could wake up right before it started- and I woke up before my alarm. I jerked awake, looked at the clock and literally yelled YES!. I wanted you to know that I was there in spirit. And I know you’ve come to expect my cheesy “you can do it” pre-race texts. ;)

    I continued to plan times and things to text you- trying to space them out as to when you may need a little human contact lol. I watched the clock for hours and stalked your times on the internet. I hated myself for not being there but I could NOT have been any prouder.

    You continue to amaze me every day. I look at old photos of us and I don’t even remember you being overweight, which is crazy, but makes me SO happy. I see this person, this amazing, courageous person, and not only have you erased “old jen” from your mind, but you’ve erased her from mine as well. No matter what size you were I always wanted to be you. The courage and strength you have is something I hope that I’ll someday find.

    You give me hope everyday that I will.

    (As Jen has alluded, my grammar is crap-so bare with me haha)

    I KNEW you could do it. Not even a doubt in my mind.

    You are my best friend and role model, and no thanks are necessary. I just wish I could have been there!

    I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stop now so I can stop crying and go to sleep. lol

    “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

    Love you!
    Christine/Hopper/Hoppersita/Hopscotch/JGG
    ;)

    • Okay, okay, I’ll be honest — I DID sort of expect a pre-race text. It’s your M.O.! ;) But I did absolutely appreciate the human contact during the 6 freakin’ hours I spent running that morning, too, that’s for sure…even if I couldn’t respond to them all. Haha.

      You were there that day. Trust me. NOBODY understands me, or what this meant to me, better than you do. You were the one who was there to talk me down off the ledge every time I’ve ever said I couldn’t do something in my life, running-related or not. You’ve been my biggest cheerleader throughout this entire transformation, and every “kick in the teeth” I’ve ever experienced.

      And that’s how I know you have a whole lot of Meatloaf inside of you, whether you choose to admit it or not…it’s only a matter of time before you discover it for yourself. :)

      In the meantime, I’ll do whatever I can to help you realize just how strong you actually are, inside and out. Like making you sign up for random 10Ks at a moment’s notice… ;)

      <3

  12. AMAZING! congratulations! your dedication and hard work paid off; you are so strong! you really are inspiring to new runners like me.

    • Thank you! I appreciate that! Dedication and hard work are definitely the name of the game when it comes to training for something like this…but if I can do it, anyone can! Thanks again! :-D

  13. I am so proud of you, to do your first ever marathon during Dopey! You.are.a.rock.star. Your pictures are fabulous, I am totally jelly, because I was such a mess I didn’t stop for a single one, out of complete and total terror of being swept!

    • Thanks, Kim! It didn’t seem like a good idea at the time, but now I’m SO glad I did this. The important thing is that YOU DID IT, with or without pictures!

  14. Congratulations x’s a bagillion (that is totally a number, right? lol), Jennifer!! You are an inspiration! I am not going to even lie to you – I shed a few tears reading this post. As someone who is just a few weeks away from her first full marathon, this is everything I needed to read at this moment. Thank you for the amazing recap and the extra boost of motivation!

    • Aw, thanks so much, Lauren! I appreciate that, and it means a lot to me that I could help motivate you in these last couple of weeks before you first full. You’re going to ROCK it! I’m so excited for you! :-D

  15. Congratulations!!! What an amazing accomplishment. You’ve had an amazing journey. I hope you’re still basking in it. And, not to worry, you’re not the only person who’s broken down sobbing at the end of a marathon. I did it at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. I crossed the finish and just lost it. It was an emotional race for me. You’re not alone! And I can’t believe you ran back for your belt! So glad you found it. Congratulations agan!!

    • Thanks so much, Karla! I appreciate it! I’m suffering from a bit of Post-Disney Depression, that’s for sure, but I am definitely still enjoying the post-marathon glow. ;)

      Aw, good to know, it’s hard not to get emotional!

      Haha, as I’m sure you know, the running in costume thing is extra important at a Disney race. I just had to cross that finish line with my Dopey belt! ;)

  16. Jennifer, your journey has been AMAZING. Every time I come to your site and see your before and after pictures at the top of the page I’m just floored at how far you’ve come.

    I am SO excited to hear that your first marathon (especially as part of Dopey!) went well, such an incredible accomplishment! I can only imagine how overcome with emotion you were at the finish line.

    Your pictures are GREAT, you look so happy & excited in all of them! And P.S. I can not believe you ran backwards during the race to find your belt! You are too funny!

    • Thank you so much, Danielle! I appreciate that. It was an AMAZING experience — I’m so glad I did this! It was really emotional for me, obviously — and definitely a bit terrifying — but there are no words for how I felt when I crossed that finish line! :-D

      I was definitely happy…especially as we approached the finish line. Hahaha, I know, never a dull moment with me. What kind of nutcase runs backwards in a marathon? LOL

  17. Congrats, Marathoner! :) Such an awesome story and you killed that race!

  18. Congrats on not only completing the marathon but also finishing the Dopey Challenge! I don’t know how some of you did it – running 48.6 miles in four days – and to become a first time marathoner in the process…wow! I’m impressed! :)

    • Thanks so much! Believe me, the idea seemed downright INSANE to me, too…but I trained my butt off for months and made my one goal to HAVE FUN. And, you know, finish in an upright position, haha. :)

  19. 1) You are a phenomenal writer! Thank you so much for sharing your first marathon — and first DOPEY — with us!

    2) You are absolutely adorable! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a marathoner smile as much as you did — let alone someone who ran Dopey! Umm and I love that you ran backwards to get your belt haha.

    3) You are such an inspiration and prove that with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude that anything is possible! A huge congrats on everything you’ve accomplished, girl. I can only imagine how much those medals mean to you!

    • Aw, thanks so much, Jen! Really appreciate it! :-D

      Hahaha, thank you! I’m very motivated by Disney…I love this stuff so much, it’s hard not to smile! Even when, you know, I’m in a great deal of physical agony… ;)

      Thank you! Completing this challenge meant everything to me, and it’s always so awesome to think that I can help someone else in some way — if I can do this, anyone can! :)

  20. Congratulations!!! What a lovely blog post and even lovelier smile! I smiled at each and every one of your pictures. runDisney should use you in their marketing material, you look so happy! Best wishes to you as you continue your journey as a runner!

    • Aw, thank you! Appreciate it! Ah, how I would love to be included in their marketing materials (runDisney, if you’re reading this…call me)! ;)

  21. I was tearing up the whole time I was reading your recap. I am so proud of you! You’re a MARATHONER!

  22. This is an absolutely wonderful Marathon recap, congratulations on your first and on completing it as a part of Dopey’s Challenge!
    As for the race, first your sister had me in tears…then you had me giggling over your belt! I absolutely love that you went back for it and I’m so glad you found it! You made me miss the WDW Marathon and now I’m having withdrawals. Hope to see you at GSC!

    • Aw, thank you, Karen! Yeah, I thought you guys would enjoy that…I’m clearly out of my mind. Hahaha.

      I LOVED the marathon, and wish I could do it every year! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for you at GSC! :-D

  23. I cannot believe you went back for the belt – that is dedication. Way to breeze past your first marathon and kill Dopey instead. Yikes!

    • Haha, dedication…insanity…same thing…? ;)

      Thank you! Yeah, it seemed just a tad crazy — and, believe me, it WAS — but I’m really glad I did it! :)

  24. I still have some ways to go in my journey. But reading your story and this recap really makes me want to go out and run right now! I crossed the finish line about an hour later than you and you are absolutely right. There is no way to describe the feeling. You are going straight to my blog roll. Congratulations on going Dopey.

    • Thanks so much, Frank! Congratulations, again, to you! You never know what you’re capable of until you do something like this! :)

  25. christi in ma says:

    Congratulations Jennifer!!!! You are so awesome. To finish your first marathon as part of Dopey is an amazing achievement!! And then you said you did tons of park touring too? You are Wonder Woman, lady!! Woo-hoo!!

    • Aw, thanks so much! It was definitely an exhausting weekend, but I had the time of my life! Yeah, since I’m such a Disney freak, there was nothing that was going to keep me out of those parks…including sore legs and achy feet! Haha. :-D

  26. Hi!
    I was directed to your blog from Grow Live Run. I need some advice on doing my first dopey challenge. I did the half marathon this January, it was my first race ever. I am debating on doing the dopey challege, but it would be my first, am i out of my league? I was told you did your first marathon via the dopey, i hope my information is correct. what are your thoughts?

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Crystal! Yep, that is true — Dopey was my first full. It’s absolutely doable, as long as you are committed and put in the training. If I can do it, anyone can! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have; feel free to comment here, or e-mail me at thefinalforty@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing from you! :)

      • Thank you for giving me the encouragement! I will do it. I have a week shy of 9 months to train, I will definitely be asking you questions! You are so inspiring!!

        • Jennifer says:

          YAY! It’s an absolutely amazing experience, and you definitely have plenty of time to train. Ask me anything — more than happy to help! Keep me posted on your training! :-D

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] Thanks so much, everyone, for your kind and supportive comments on my marathon recap! [...]

  2. [...] admit that while I was sitting on the bleachers, I got a little emotional thinking about what Jen was about to accomplish. She had worked so hard and was so eager to earn those medals. She’d sent me text messages [...]

  3. [...] There’s been something I’ve been wanting to share here, but I’ve been putting it off while I basked in the after-glow of the Dopey Challenge and completing my first marathon. [...]

  4. [...] But I couldn’t let myself quit. I had to finish. So we went out again for the final 6 miles, and that was when both of my legs pretty much decided to stop working. It felt like every muscle was seizing up and I just could not make them move forward. I’m not exaggerating at all when I tell you that my legs were starting to feel the way they felt in the last 10K of my marathon last month. [...]

  5. [...] I had my BIG MOMENT in January, and there is no feeling in the world that will ever compare to what I felt when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon and completed the Dopey Challenge. So I really wanted him to have that experience, and took it upon upon myself to make sure that he [...]

  6. [...] my future running-related plans…thus far, my life in 2014 has been completely absorbed in running my first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge, and then taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge, and then my drama-filled training for the Rock [...]

  7. [...] I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I knew that I HAD to someday run the NYCM. I just didn’t realize it would be this soon. [...]

  8. [...] I won’t get into all the details just yet, but I will say that I struggled more than I expected to in the second half of the race. This was, by far, my most difficult marathon to date — and, yes, that includes completing the Dopey Challenge! [...]

  9. wii points card…

    Dopey Challenge: The Marathon…

  10. [...] on fire. I don’t remember them EVER hurting this much, with the exception of right after I crossed the finish line of the WDW Marathon after completing the Dopey Challenge. It was so strange to go from feeling so great to feeling the death all over the span of just a [...]

  11. [...] of the things that frustrated me most about my performance was that I kept thinking about how I ran the Dopey Challenge without any major issues. I know it sounds crazy, but I fared SO much better in my first marathon, and that was after already [...]

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