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Goofy Challenge Training…And Where I’ve Been

Goofy Challenge Training…And Where I’ve Been

Okay, so, I suck. I haven’t posted in awhile. And while I’ve been reading blogs, I haven’t done a lot of commenting…so, in the blogosphere, that pretty much means I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth. Sorry, guys!

But I’m back now, and wanted to tell you all about my Goofy Challenge training…since the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is almost here!


First, I hope you all had an awesome holiday! Todd and I celebrate Christmas AND we sort of celebrate Hanukkah, since he’s technically Jewish. :)


I thought I’d start with a little update as to what the heck I’ve been doing since the New York City Marathon, and Todd’s last post on his adventures in running the Philadelphia Marathon.

As many of you know, I ran the Dopey Challenge as part of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend last January. It was my first full marathon, and I trained HARD for those races. I followed Hal Higdon’s Dopey Challenge plan almost EXACTLY, and when I crossed that final finish line, I felt strong. I won’t say it was easy — it was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done — but I felt my body was more than prepared to tackle the physical toll of 48.6 miles over the course of four days.


In two weeks, I’m headed back to my happy place to tackle the Goofy Challenge — which, of course, I’ve technically already done as part of Dopey. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s running both the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the Walt Disney World Marathon, for a total of 39.3 miles over the course of two days.

It’s two fewer days of running than Dopey (which includes the 5K and 10K), and the marathon will already be my fourth 26.2 — which sounds INSANE to even think about!

But here’s the thing. After running the New York City Marathon, which was a HUGE, MAJOR, IMPORTANT race for me, and training hard and basically crashing hard by the 16th mile, my confidence has been shaken. I adapted my NYCM training plan (also courtesy of Hal Higdon) to fit my schedule, and I definitely skipped some mid-week runs (or swapped them for extra karate classes), but I took on ALL of the long runs and didn’t have any major issues along the way.

So, even though the race was AMAZING and I loved it and I would run it again in a heartbeat…I struggled a lot more than I could have ever imagined.


And now I can’t help but worry about just how well I’ll fare in my next marathon. Plus, as soon as I collected that glorious NYCM medal, I fell into my usual post-marathon phase of not wanting to run. AT ALL.


For some reason, I seem to recover just fine after a marathon, physically speaking. But mentally is another story. No matter how I performed or how much I enjoyed the race, I completely crash. I want NOTHING to do with running.

Long story short, I pretty much took off the entire month of November. Even knowing that I had the WDW Marathon looming over me.

I just couldn’t bring myself to lace up those sneakers. I squeezed in some short 3- or 4-mile runs here and there, and took a couple of Taekwondo and Muay Thai classes, but for the most part, I essentially sat on my butt for three weeks. I couldn’t stand the thought of running, and the idea of training gave me nothing but anxiety.

And then when I finally felt ready to get back to SOME sort of regimented training plan, I came down with a cold/sinus thing that made it impossible for me to breathe or function regularly for several days. I felt like crap. So I ended up taking THAT week off, too.

Then, with about 6 weeks left until WDW Marathon Weekend, I knew it was time for me to pick up the pieces and get back to training. I know that Disney is generous with their pace requirements, and I am — OF COURSE — not running this race for time.

But I want to EARN that Goofy medal.

Photo credit: runDisney

Photo credit: runDisney

So, I started at the end of November with a schedule of 2-3 weekday runs ranging from 3- to 6-miles, and my back-to-back long runs on the weekends have proceeded as follows:

5 and 10

6.5 and 13

7.5 and 15

9 and 18

This coming weekend, I will put in another 5 and 10 as part of my taper…and that, my friends, will be that.


Yes..I DID run 15 miles dressed like this, haha

I will not be making it to 20 miles this time around. I feel as though trying to cram in a 10- and 20-mile back-to-back run will cause more harm than good since the marathon is now less than two weeks away (gulp). I finished my 18 miles feeling strong with the exception of an annoying pain in my left knee which I can only assume is an overuse injury, so I think it’s probably best to give it a little bit of a rest in preparation for the big day.


After the final 18-miler

Plus, I’ve officially run out of time.

Am I scared? In a word…YES. Is it smart to cram a marathon training plan into 6 weeks? In a word…NO.

I know I didn’t train for Goofy the way I should have. But, at the same time, I feel proud of myself for running NYCM in November, giving both my body and my mind a chance to recover, and then throwing myself right back into another marathon training plan.

The bottom line is that I will be at Disney World. And I know myself enough to know that the sheer joy of running through my most favorite place on the planet will be enough to carry me through those final miles.


Plus, Todd will be there this time around, and we’ve already made a pact that we’ll pull each other across that finish line. No matter what. :)


There is NOTHING like the WDW Marathon, and I can’t wait to run it together. I’m nervous about taking on the Goofy Challenge somewhat under-trained, but there’s not a single doubt in my mind that this is going to be an INCREDIBLE experience.

I can’t wait! :)

Have you ever felt under-trained for a race?




  1. I’ll be doing Dopey and it’ll be my first full marathon. Training went well until my final 4-day week of running came and went, and I was stuck in the house with major respiratory and sinus issues. I haven’t done any running in 2 weeks and am freaking out that I’ll still be coughing next week when the races come around. However, I plan on crossing those finish lines NO MATTER WHAT. I’m sure you’ll do great – even if you were a bit under-trained this time around. You’ve done the distance before, and even though it might be tough, you can do it again! Having Todd there will definitely help keep you going :) Hope to run into you while there!

    • That is SO exciting! Seriously. Running a marathon is AMAZING enough, but just wait until you do it as part of Dopey. There are just no words… :-D

      I hate it when sickness has to ruin everything. At this point, my thought is it’s best to let your body rest. Especially before taking on something as insane as Dopey! You WILL finish those races. Hope you feel better soon!

      Hope to see you in FL! :)

  2. I am doing Dopey and I have done most of my runs but I am still getting really nervous! Most of my worries are about tweaking old injuries (IT band, sciatica, shin splints) and then turning around and doing Rebel Challenge the next weekend! Overall, like you said, I will be running in my favorite place and the excitement will carry me through!

    • Ugh, believe me, I hear ya! But, for people like us (read: crazed Disney fans), we will ALWAYS have the benefit of Disney magic to carry us through those hard miles.

      You’ve got this — you’re going to LOVE Dopey! :) I hope to see you in Disney next week!

      Also, I’m super jealous that you’re doing the Rebel Challenge!

  3. Your training is much better than I did for the WDW half… I think I have run a total of 10 miles in the past month. And that’s pretty much it. It’s going to be a painful run!
    You are much faster than me but if I see you I will wave. I don’t even have a costume! :(

    • Training is hard. But running at Disney is easy. ;)

      Okay, maybe not easy…but I’m sure you’ll be fine! It’s all about soaking it in and having fun, and if you go in with that mindset, you just don’t feel as much of the physical agony. :)

      YES! Please do say “hi!” I’ll be revealing our costumes sometime this weekend or early next week. I’ll be keeping an eye out for you, too! :)

  4. I’m feeling super under-trained for Goofy too! I feel like I’m being a bit too nonchalant about it too, especially when I realized I was leaving NEXT week to run a half and full marathon. I did okay in November after NYCM with a few runs, even a half marathon, but then December hit and life got crazy. Only in the last week have I been getting in a couple runs, but they have to be short runs because at this point its just too close to risk hurting something, bah.

    • Hahaha, YES, this sounds exactly like me! After NYCM, I don’t know what happened…but I do know that I wasn’t doing any running!

      You’ll be fine! We’re NYCM runners, and compared to that course/those conditions, WDW should feel like a piece of cake. (Well, sort of…haha). There will DEFINITELY be plenty of distraction along the way, at least!

      Hoping to meet up with you in FL! :)

  5. Glad that you’re back! I know that you feel under trained for Goofy, but with the number of races that you’ve done this year, I have no doubt that you’ll successfully earn all three medals. Just keep that big smile on your face and remember that you’ll be running in the most magical place on earth. :)

    • Thanks, Kathryn! Ah, I know you’re right…definitely helps to think of it that way! And, yes, no matter what, I’ll be in Disney! :-D

  6. you will do great! You already know you can do it ,you rocked Dopey! I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I just feel like a complete failure for my marathon training this time around. My longest run has been 17 miles : / and now it’s taper time and I just feel so unprepared! I have the feeling there will be a lot of walking this time around…

    • YEP! Pretty much exactly how I feel. Honestly, I’ve mentally prepared myself for the worst (and there’s definitely nothing bad about some extra walking!).

      However, knowing that these races happen to take place in Disney, you know it will be an absolute blast. There’s something about being at The World that somehow helps me completely ignore my pain, haha. You’ll do great!

      Hope to see you there! :-D

  8. I’m doing the Goofy too and since it’s my first full marathon I feel COMPLETELY UNDERTRAINED! Like I’m having anxiety and panic attacks about it. I did an 18 miler and a 20 miler but they were horrible and included meltdowns and I just feel like I didn’t do enough and I am just SO SCARED. Sorry for my little panic rant. If you see me by the side of the road, feel free to drag me across the finish line please.

    • Kellie, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I went into Dopey this year absolutely friggin’ terrified that I’d never be able to finish these races, and all because my last several long runs had not gone the way I hoped. And, of course, it was my first full too…and so throwing that element of the “unknown” into the mix meant that I was a hot mess for MONTHS before the race!

      I am no stranger to having meltdowns during long runs — in fact, I’m always surprised when there AREN’T some sort of anxiety attack or tears along the way. HOWEVER…once you get there and “feel the magic,” I promise you, your worries will subside. You’ve got this! Training just freakin’ sucks sometimes, there’s no other way to say it. But running through the Disney parks — especially for Disney fanatics such as ourselves — will be NOTHING like those final long runs. I can pretty much guarantee it. You will LOVE completing Dopey, it’s absolutely amazing.

      Just try to relax, trust your training, and soak it all in. You’re going to be AWESOME!

      Would love to meet up with you while we’re there! :)

  9. The stuff you’ve done this year will get you through it. Plus if you need a pick me up, look for those Disney characters :)

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