Dopey Challenge Update: One Month to Go

I’ve been MIA. Sorry, guys. As I’ve mentioned here before, I teach piano lessons, and this past weekend was my annual recital, so I’ve been completely consumed with preparations and running around like a maniac and stressing myself out for the last week or two.

But I’m back now, and I can say I’ve also been having a bit of fun, too, since running the Chanukah Chalf!


Todd and I ran a local turkey trot the weekend after Thanksgiving: the Westfield Turkey Trot. It’s a 5-mile race that basically runs through a park and the back roads of town.

Thanks to someone who doesn’t like to wake up on time (not mentioning any names…HA), we were seriously LATE to the race. Also, the GPS on my phone decided not to work, and I couldn’t remember how to actually get to the park where the race was being held. And then we couldn’t find parking. And then we realized that since the race started already, they no longer had our bibs readily available. It was my first time missing the start of a race, and I can’t say I cared for it.

Long story short, we ended up starting at least 15 minutes late and running the race completely alone for about the first 3 miles, with only some nice volunteers to tell us which way to go! We ran against some of the front-runners who were already heading towards the finish line in our first mile, and caught up with the back-of-the-pack runners somewhere in mile 3. According to our Garmins, we crossed the finish line around 47 minutes — which given the fact that we’re both currently training for marathons and our legs are freakin’ TIRED and we weren’t exactly going all-out, I thought was pretty good — but our official time was over an hour since we started so late.

It really didn’t matter — this race was a “just for fun” race anyway, and we were wearing turkeys on our heads for crying out loud. :)


But now on to more important matters. I now have a month left until the official start of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and the Dopey Challenge.

And I have to be honest. I’m nervous. Really, really nervous.

As many of you know, I’ve been following Hal Higdon’s Dopey training plan. I’m proud to report that I’ve followed it pretty closely; I’ve had to miss or shorten a weekday run here and there, and I’ve definitely shifted the days of my long runs around to accommodate my schedule and other weekend plans, but I have been getting in most (if not all) of the mileage every single week. And I have successfully tackled all of the long runs — including the back-to-back long runs every other weekend — thus far.

I still can’t believe that last weekend I ran 18 miles. Or that I ran 8 miles the day before. This weekend, I took on 12 miles after my piano recital. In the dark. After I hadn’t really eaten a proper meal all day. And after a night of no sleep. I hated every minute of it…it really was torture.

Despite my ability to actually get the miles in, the way I feel in the latter half of some of these long runs is really starting to scare me a little bit. I felt great after the 15 miler, and the 16-miler wasn’t too bad…but then the 17-miler was brutal.

2013-11-17 14.22.39

I came home from the Wine and Dine Half Marathon a little sick, and the cold or whatever I was battling really kicked my ass. I struggled through every. single. mile, and I really, really, REALLY wanted to quit. Not that I’m running my long runs for time or anything, but it took WAY longer than it should have, and I spent the majority of the final miles asking Todd to let me walk for a few minutes. I felt dizzy and drained and tired and hungry and lethargic and I couldn’t breathe and I had a migraine and I was really, really NOT feeling it. But I didn’t give up, and in my book, that counts for something, right? Let’s just say this particular thumbs up picture is extremely fake, haha.

2013-11-17 14.24.23(2)

The 18-miler was okay. The whole running for three hours thing is starting to get kind of old, though, I must say.

2013-12-01 14.31.18

I’m fortunate enough to have someone with me for the majority of the later miles — Todd is training for his first marathon, the Rock N’ Roll USA in Washington, DC in March, which I foolishly decided to register for with him (more on that later) — so he runs however many miles his training plan calls for that weekend with me. And always in the second part of my run, when I need him the most!

 2013-12-01 14.33.25

Still, the fact that I rely on him and his support and the motivation of having someone else to keep up with when I start having meltdowns and feeling loopy in those last miles of a long run makes me fear what will happen when I’m completely on my own. For 26.2 miles.

He’ll be running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon with me, and I know it’s going to be a blast. But I also know how much I need him during these long training runs, and there’s definitely a part of me that’s afraid of what will happen when it’s up to me to cross the finish line of a marathon alone. 2013-12-01 14.32.02

I know this is something I CHOSE to do. I know this is something I HAVE to do. And, yes, this is still very much something I WANT to do.

Still, the enormity of running my first marathon as part of this 48.6 mile weekend challenge is really starting to sink in now. Combine that with my nervousness and the fact that I’m exhausted (and hungry!) all the time, and toss in just a little bit of self-doubt and the still very vivid memories of my obese, sedentary self and the person I used to be, and it’s no wonder why I’m starting to freak out.

This coming weekend, I’ll be taking on my 9- and 19-mile runs. Wish me luck? :)

Have you ever been late to a race?

How do you deal with pre-race jitters?

Have you trained for a race with someone else?




  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been late to a race, I would be so flustered if I was!

    So considering you are taking on your first round of marathon training as part of Dopey it sounds like your training is going really well. I had a lot of really frustrating long runs during my first round of marathon training (anything after 16 was TERRIBLE!) so I can imagine doing those distances for the first time with a run the day before! Keep up the good work and you’ll do great – come race day the adrenaline will help get you through and I’m sure you’ve heard this before but respect the marathon distance. 26.2 is VERY different than 13.1.

    • Flustered isn’t even the word for it! I freaked out a little bit. It ended up being a lot of fun, regardless, so it all worked out in the end…but I hate being late in general!

      I want you to know that I really, REALLY appreciate your advice as a seasoned marathoner. As a first-timer, it’s hard to know if I’m doing this “right”…I’m following the plan and all, but it’s good to know that even if my long runs aren’t always the best experiences for me, that they WILL help get me across that finish line next month. I’m taking it very seriously, believe me — I know what a huge deal 26.2 really is, and want to make sure I do everything in my power to prepare for it! Thanks again. :-D

      • Race day adrenaline goes A LONG WAY. My 18 & 20 mile runs before my first marathon were SO bad I almost canceled my trip and didn’t go. I was 100% convinced there was no way I was finishing. Glad I didn’t do that though because I finished fine and LOVED it!

  2. I was late the NJ Half Marathon by 16 minutes! I ran for over a mile before I saw anyone, luckily there were walkers! I passed *a lot* of people at that race! My friends all left before I even finished. I was so sad!
    I am starting to worry just a little about Dopey, but I know that I can do it, and I am super excited as well!

    • YES! I remember you writing about that! I can totally see how that happened, the parking situation was ridiculous that morning. No fun. :(

      We can totally do this. I’m excited/nervous/anxious/worried/a million other emotions right now. Can’t believe it’s so close!

  3. You are going to kick, butt, girl! no need to be nervous. I know you will kick it!

  4. You are amazing and such an inspiration to me. I have no doubt in my mind that you got this! I know it doesn’t feel like it from your position, but after reading your training and race recaps, I noticed that you are terribly hard on yourself and worried, but you ALWAYS get it done! You are putting in the training, you’re going to have a blast!

    • You couldn’t be more accurate…I have ALWAYS beaten myself up over everything. I’m something of a perfectionist, as I’m sure you can tell, haha. Thanks for your support, I appreciate it!

  5. I don’t want to put any added pressure on you, but I really have no doubt that you are GOING to do this. Self-doubt is hard and being towards the end of your training cycle is no doubt providing you with the toughest training you’re going to experience. Just remember you’re going to feel refreshed and ready to rock after your taper!

    Also, I kind of have a feeling that Todd is going to chase you around the course and be there to cheer you on from every cheer zone! Plus think of how awesome it will be to see him at the finish line waiting with open arms! ;)

    • Thanks, Kristina — I really appreciate that! I’m in the taper now, and while I’m loving the much-needed rest, I’m also getting antsy about GETTING THIS DONE. :) I know Todd is going to be an awesome spectator, too…he’s been the best support system, and I’m definitely looking forward to that moment at this finish line! :-D

  6. I’m always very careful to get to races early, but I was late to the NYRR 18 Miler Tune up last year (1st time every running that far as well!). They picked up the mats right after I started and when I finished, they picked up the mats right after me. Talk about a terrible race. I was in tears.

    Most of the time if I’m training with someone, I don’t usually run the race I’m training for with them. You’ll be fine- there will be 20,000 of your closest friends!

    • Oh, no! I’d be upset, too…sorry to hear that. :( All that counts is we finish, though, right?!

      That’s true…I know it’ll be a lot different running 20+ miles on Disney property than it has been running around my neighborhood!

  7. Welcome back to the blogging world :0) Sounds like you’ve been super busy lately! I have never been late to a race, but I would be so frustrated if I did. That is crazy awesome y’all still ran it after getting there late though.

    I haven’t ever trained with someone for a race, but I have had company on a couple runs here lately, and I love it. It helps keep me distracted!

    As for pre-race jitters, I usually give myself little tasks until race start… get ipod ready…use the restroom…make sure my Garmin is good to go… etc. It helps to make the time pass less slowly lol.

    I am excited to find out more about this other marathon you signed up for! I’ll be in DC next spring as well actually. Not for the same race, but b/c I got into the Nike Women’s Half!!

    Best of luck in your last few weeks of Dopey training; you’re doing GREAT!

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! Having company makes long runs go by so much faster, that’s for sure…and I do the same thing when getting ready for a race! I’ve found that keeping my mind busy with small tasks, one at a time, can distract me from any potential freak-outs, haha.

      That’s awesome! We’re running the Rock N’ Roll Marathon in DC in April — it’s part of the Rock N’ Roll series. Super exciting about the Women’s Half, I really want to do that one! Best of luck! :-D

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] had written in a previous post how nervous I was about tackling the marathon completely on my own, and now I was going to get a [...]

Leave a Comment