My Incredibly DOPEY Decision

So yesterday I did something crazy. Like, real crazy. WAY crazier than my decision to register for the Dumbo Double Dare, which I thought was just pure MADNESS at the time (and now just doesn’t seem so scary after all).

disneyprincesshalfmarathon1Yesterday, I got completely swept up in the excitement of Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend. If you follow runDisney fanatics on Twitter or Facebook — especially as many as I do — you just can’t help it. I had been casually entertaining the idea of attempting a full marathon ever since I crossed the finish line of the Princess Half in February and proved to myself that I could make it through 13.1 miles without dropping dead.

Running a marathon, a FULL marathon, has always been one of those pie-in-the-sky, maybe someday, “you never know” type dreams for me. Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things, I’m still a running newbie, and I figured that someday, SOMEDAY, I’d probably go ahead attempt a full marathon.

But there was one thing I did know for sure. I knew that if I WAS going to take on 26.2 miles, it was going to be at Walt Disney World. It just had to be. So I figured maybe I’d consider registering for the 2015 marathon…or 2016. Or, hell, 2017 — what was the rush?

Truth be told, when I read accounts of runners training for their first marathons on their blogs, I’d physically cringe. 20 mile training runs? Who has the time? Or the energy?

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Photo credit:

When I read countless recaps of this year’s “Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge” — running the half marathon followed by the full marathon in the same weekend — I shook my head. What the hell were these people thinking? Were they TRYING to get themselves injured? Or killed?

But yet I couldn’t help but admit to myself that I was so incredibly, amazingly in awe of these runners. I wanted to do it, too. I wanted to be a marathoner.

I knew there would be one minor road block standing in my way. I was absolutely, unequivocally terrified of the idea of running 26.2 miles. Who did I think I was even CONSIDERING the idea? A year ago I was struggling to finish 5ks, and I really only have a handful of distance races (10 miles+) under my belt…and now I’m sitting here fantasizing about running a marathon?

When I was in Disney World in February for the Princess Half Marathon, cast members were constantly asking me if they’d “see me next January” for the marathon. I would then proceed to laugh hysterically. “I’m not quite there yet,” I told them. In fact, I believe one of my first tweets upon hearing the news of the Dopey Challenge was something along the lines of, “good luck to everyone doing the Dopey Challenge, it ain’t gonna be me!”

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it. Even just a little bit.

Yesterday, my mindset shifted. Big time. I wrestled with a giant knot in my stomach all morning, watching the clock for the 12pm registration time for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Should I register for 2014? Is it too soon for me? Will I be able to do it? Am I ready? Will I EVER be ready?

The answer? Who knows. Is there EVER a good time to train for a marathon? Will I EVER be “ready?”

There will always be work and family and responsibilities, and I couldn’t help but think that if I WAS going to do this, now is probably as good a time as any. I have a fairly steady client base of both editors and piano students, so while I will never get rich doing what I do, I manage to live quite frugally (I still drive the beat-up old car I bought in college; it has 170,000 miles on it for crying out loud) and also have some money saved up from spending the majority of my 20′s working and living at home with my parents. I don’t have children or pets or a mortgage, and I make my own work hours.

Are YOU Dopey? Photo credit:

Are YOU Dopey? Photo credit:

Most importantly? I’m 27 years old, and in the best shape of my life…no physical ailments or health issues of any kind (knock on wood), other than the occasional minor running-related injury, of course.

So yesterday I had to ask myself the question: Why not ME? Why not NOW?

I’m sure you can probably guess what comes next.

I whipped out my Disney Visa (my poor, sad, TIRED Disney Visa), and registered for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.

But, wait, there’s MORE.

In this moment of insanity, I couldn’t help but be seduced by the Dopey Challenge. In its inaugural year, it’s a challenge to run not only the marathon, but also the weekend’s 5K, brand-new 10K, AND half marathon.

That’s a total of 48.6 miles. In 4 days. The thought still sends chills down my spine. And not the good kind!

Was it it a good idea for my health? My sanity? Maybe, maybe not. But…runners who complete all four races receive not only a medal for each race, but also the coveted Goofy Challenge medal AND the brand spankin’ new Dopey Challenge medal. SIX MEDALS. Can we say BLING?!

So I thought for a moment. If I was going to put my body through months and months of marathon training…why not go ahead and celebrate my hard work with the ULTIMATE weekend of running?

Why not aim high? Why not take this chance? Why not believe in myself for once?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am nothing if not ambitious (and, also, just a little bit off my rocker). So…


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I think what really sealed the decision for me is that I have truly gone through my whole life putting things off and doubting my ability to do what I wanted. “Someday” I’d “try” to be a freelance writer. “Someday” I’d “try” to lose weight. Of course, there was even a time when I told myself that “someday” I’d “try” to run a 5K…how long ago that seems!

I am TIRED of doubting myself. I am TIRED of putting things off. I want to be the kind of person who has the confidence and the courage to set a goal and then make it happen. I don’t want to “try”…I just want to DO. And I’d say this is a step in the right direction!

Okay, so who else is doing “Dopey?” Is it anyone else’s first marathon?


  1. Girl, YOU ARE INSANE!!! LOL! But seriously, if anyone can do this, it’s you. You are very goal driven. You love running and love a challenge and apparently, you love all things Disney! All of these things will propel you forward each training day to make this happen. When I trained for my half marathons I was always amazed at the amount of time I needed to get all my miles in every week. Especially towards the end when my long runs would take hours. But, I also have kids and a husband and a 9-5 job so there is that. You are the perfect age in the best time of your life to take on this big challenge. Have you thought of hiring a running coach to get your on the best path to make this happen? I did a Jeff Galloway method to training for my half. I highly suggest looking into it to train for your full marathon. I bought his book and would religiously read it. It was very encouraging especially when I was weary. LOL! Well as much as I think you’re a tiny bit crazy, I’m very excited for you. You are going to make 2014 the best year ever!! BRAVO!

    • Thanks SOOO much, Kelly! I figured you’d enjoy this particular piece of news! ;-D

      Believe you me, I know this is absolutely and 100% insane, and I definitely have my work cut out for me! I know I am fortunate to be able to do this now…my hats off to you for making it happen even with a 9-5 and a family to consider, that is AMAZING.

      I was definitely thinking about looking into a running coach, if for nothing else than to provide the guidance I need to make sure I don’t kill myself in the process of training for this madness! Jeff Galloway has sort of become synonymous with RunDisney, so I’d say he’s probably my guy in terms of a training plan…will definitely check it out! I kid you not, I already have about a zillion running/marathon training books in my Amazon cart just waiting for purchase, haha.

      Thanks again for your support, as always!! :-D

  2. I applaud your courage. My first 1/2 was the PHM, and it was a great experience. I’ll be doing the DL 1/2 for the C2C, and I run the 5Ks, but I can’t imagine going all the way to Disney & doing the 4 races but not having the energy or the legs to enjoy the parks. I love the last paragraph …. you’re in a mental place I still struggle with, and I’m about 15 years older than you. Good luck.

    • Thanks so much for your support! I’m doing the same thing this year…PHM and DL 1/2 for that marvelous C2C medal! Maybe I’ll see you in DL. ;-D

      Believe me, that thought occurred to me! I’m going to hope for the best re: my legs and the ability to, you know, actually walk around the parks. But if I have to rent an ECV for the day or get pushed around in a wheelchair, that’s just what I’ll have to do! haha

  3. Ice baths are your new best friend and you may need to wave goodbye to the odd toenail, but hey they’re overrated anyway. Good on you, Train properly and you’ll have a blast.

    Just out of interest, does anyone organise a bloggers meet up at the Disney races? I’m going to DL all on my own – and away for 10 days – so by then I’ll be going stir crazy and looking for people to talk to. If there’s nothing organised I might start suggesting it and see what happens.

    • YES, who needs toenails?! haha. Thanks so much for your support!

      Other than the official runDisney meet-up (which I plan to DESPERATELY try to get into this time!), I’m not sure…I know there are meet-ups via Facebook groups for certain races, and the like. But if you hear anything, or decided to organize something, COUNT ME IN! :-D

  4. Bobby Donofrio says:

    Not only are you a proficient writer, but you also are a model for showing the world that dreams do come true :-)

  5. I am going Dopey as well, should be awesome-ly painful!

  6. Wow, Jen. Good for you! Although I will be honest — even I gasped when I read the details of the Dopey Challenge! That is crazy intense. Be sure to take good care of yourself and train smart and you’ll be fine! My best friend Caitlin is doing Disney again this year — I’ll have to connect you two. I’m sure she will love following your blog as much as I do. :)

  7. Hi, Emily! No, I completely understand…I am still trying to wrap my mind around the RIDICULOUSNESS of it all. One minute I am totally PUMPED about this decision, and the next I’m on the phone to Disney begging for my money back. I know this is crazy, but believe me, I fully intend to take this training VERY seriously. And, BTW, I’d be eternally grateful for any tips you might be willing to share along the way!

    That would be awesome, I’d love to connect with Caitlin! I’m ALWAYS up for meeting a fellow Disney fan. ;-D

  8. So excited for you Jennifer….it will be a great weekend! Just be sure to start training early!

  9. Good luck. I remember the excitement/apprehension of signing up for my first marathon. I am sure you’ll do great. There are lots of resources out there for Disney runners. I look forward to hearing your progress.

  10. Ahhhh! That’s so exciting! First off, thank you for stopping by 13point1milestodisney this morning. It’s always great to “meet” my fellow WW/runDisney peeps. A year ago I thought anyone who purposely ran 26.2 miles was crazy, even after I decided I wanted to run the Princess Half. Then my mind started to change and I decided if I ever wanted to run a FULL marathon I’d just go ahead and do the Goofy. Now I’m going to just have to do the Dopey in a few years! I can’t wait to read all about your training. Good luck! You’re going to do great!

    • Hi Jodi! Same here, so glad we connected! :-D

      I know EXACTLY what you mean! It’s amazing how your mindset can completely change. I never in a million years would have thought that someday I’d complete a half marathon, or train for a full! You are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE the Princess Half, I could not have asked for a more amazing first half marathon experience. Do let me know if you have any questions or need tips along the way! I have full recaps of the Princess posted under “Races,” if you’re interested…I’m always obsessed with reading blog recaps of races I’m training for!

      I’m looking forward to following your training, too — best of luck with everything! :-D

  11. what better way then jumping right in! Disney was my first marathon (and race) and now Dopey in 2014 :) Can’t wait, you will have a blast and have stories to tell forever!

    • Thanks so much, I definitely needed to hear this! That is AWESOME, congrats! Maybe I’ll see you at Dopey. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I am SO excited to begin this journey! :-D

  12. Lisa Caputo says:

    Oh my gosh when I read this I thought SHE IS TOTALLY GOING TO ROCK THIS! Yea! Go for it! You are very inspirational and I Am going to follow in your footsteps even though I knew I’d prob be pre diabetic at some pt I just had a blood test to confirm it and I am do glad I did the Disney race and got started in this journey and finding your great blog! I will keep in touch have fun training!

    • Hi, Lisa! That’s so sweet of you to say, thank you! I really appreciate the vote of confidence…I definitely need it right now, haha.

      I’m so happy for you for taking on this journey…it’s not easy, but SO worth it — especially when your reward is running through Disney! Please do keep me posted on your progress! :-D

  13. It’s so crazy, it just might work!

    I went through the same (or similar) thought process. I ran the 2005 WDW Marathon and swore that I would never run another marathon in my life. I actually remember saying to myself during the race “Remember how this fees! Remember the pain!” I had just come back from the Princess when I heard about the Dopey. The fact that it was a first time event got my attention. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the end, I signed up through the Tourettes Syndrome Association’s Team TSA program – raising money for Tourettes Awareness (my 10 year old son has Tourettes and it kind of sucks). I ran a half here in Maine yesterday and ran into a woman who is running the Dopey! I think it is going to be a blast. A painful blast, but a blast!

    Good luck!

    • Hi, Justin! Thanks so much for reading. Congrats on the 2005 marathon, and I know what you mean…I’ll be running a half and questioning WHY ON EARTH I do this to myself, and the second it’s over, I’m already planning my next race. We’re all just downright crazy. I think it’s such a wonderful thing that you’re running in honor of your son! No matter what, Dopey is going to be an experience, that’s for sure! Best of luck to you in your training, and please do keep me posted on how you’re doing! I need all the motivation I can get! :-D

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] everyone had a fabulous weekend! The enormity of what I’ve gotten myself into — registering for the Dopey Challenge as my FIRST marathon — is really starting to sink in now, and I found myself at Barnes & Noble yesterday [...]

  2. [...] many of you know, I recently registered for my very first marathon. Granted, I will tackle this challenge in Walt Disney World, in costume, with lots of character [...]

  3. [...] then I took a good hard look at Dopey-running self — I mean, really, I should probably get used to running A WHOLE LOT OF MILES in a short [...]

  4. […] then I took a good hard look at my Dopey Challenge-running self — I mean, really, I should probably get used to running A WHOLE LOT OF MILES in a short […]

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