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2016 WDW Half Marathon Race Recap – Dopey Challenge Day 3

2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

Our marathon recapping continues with Day 3 of the Dopey Challenge, the 2016 WDW Half Marathon, thank ya very much!

(Sorry. I’m having awesome Elvis flashbacks.)

Picking up where Jackey left off yesterday with her WDW 10k recap, Megan, Ginny, and I headed to Animal Kingdom after the race, (and much needed showers.) We thought it’d be a nice, relaxing park to visit without a ton of walking that would tire us for the half. Thanks to our Fastpasses and lots of shows to see, it ended up being a good strategy!

2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonNow, those beers Ginny and I had with Stephen? Yeah. Not sure if that was a good strategy. Can’t say I regret them, though.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

We left the park at around 5:00pm and headed back to Bay Lake Towers, where once again, I had a flatbread at the Contempo Café with chicken instead of beef. Seriously awesome. Considering how many times I ate that, I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture!

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonAfterwards, we were good, responsible runners who turned in early and I ended up getting a whooping three hours of sleep. Our alarms went crazy at 2:00am and unlike the 5k, I forced myself to eat a big breakfast of oatmeal and a full bagel with peanut butter.

*Sidenote: Not eating enough was my biggest mistake throughout our Dopey Challenge experience. Megan, too, something we talked about on Friday night.

IMG_5535After getting our traditional kitchen picture, we headed to the monorail this time instead of the bus stop–a MAJOR plus for staying at Bay Lake! We left a little later, thinking the monorail would save us time.

HUGE mistake.

Once we made it to Epcot, we discovered a massive line for the security bag check. None of us thought to get a picture of it–we were way too stressed. It took a super long time getting through, so we missed seeing our other friends, we didn’t get any pre-race character photos, or shake off our anxiety by dancing.

TIP: I’m telling you. LEAVE EARLY! Always, always, always!

But eh, lesson learned, we checked in our gEAR bags, gave each other hugs, and Ginny and I headed toward Corral F. At least we got to chat with our pals, Sage and Jennifer and get a cute stilt guys shot:

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Now. About our costumes. Normally, I don’t get all crazy with costumes and I share Edna’s policy when it comes to capes, but THIS WAS MY FAVORITE EVER! I love everything about Elvis … well, except for the drugs and all, so I was totally on board when Ginny found the glasses, scarves, and capes on Amazon.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Thank you very much!

It got a tad chilly while waiting in the corrals, but our capes kept us warm and there was no rain, thank goodness! Pretty soon, John, Rudy, and Carissa were sending us on our way!

(We love all the announces but John is our favorite. Just saying.)

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Now, about our race strategy. Since intervals are uncomfortable for us, Ginny and I decided to stick with a 8:30-9:00 pace, but we’d take the first mile easy at about 11:00.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Normally we talk nonstop while running, but somewhere around the Mile 1 marker, Ginny became very quiet. Paranoid over-thinker that I am, I started to worry that maybe I was getting on her nerves, (it’s possible, not gonna deny it,) but after asking what was wrong, she said she was just freaking out over the sheer amount of miles we would running for the half and full.

Ginny’s a beast, though, who does these crazy ultra trail runs, so I assured her that WE WILL rock every single one of those miles and her freak out soon passed.

(My freak out will come later.)

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Yeah, Ginny is rocking this.

2016-01-31 Half Blog2Before the race, we had also decided to forgo character stops for the first half, but when we saw there was hardly a line for Wreck It Ralph and Vaneliope, we had to jump in!

IMG_5588

The line for Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas was on the long side, but again … we had to get in! While waiting, we had our first request from someone who wanted to get a picture of us in our costumes.

Gotta say. That was seriously awesome.

Then this adorable British gal behind us said, “Excuse me, but are you Elvis?” which busted our bubble a tad since we thought it was obvious, but she was a total sweetie. And her accent was fantastic, making “Excuse me, but are you Elvis,” our slogan for the rest of the race.

IMG_5589

Pretty soon, Mile 4 was in sight! I always feel bad getting a picture here because there’s always spectators in front of it, but these folks were happy to smile with us. Love that!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

I always get crappy Mile 5 photos.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

And speaking of spectators, Ginny and I love to thank them for being there, clapping, hollering, and raising our hands, in hopes they know how appreciated they are! This never fails to rouse up the crowd and adds to the festive mood. Engaging with spectators during this race was especially awesome since we kept saying THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Elvis style!

We soon came upon the most magical part of the race … running down Main Street!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

We had to stop for a picture with this guy.

Sigh. Pure magic. I could NEVER tire of this part of the race. And running through Cinderella’s castle?

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Beyond magical.

After jumping in line for the mime from Tangled, he soon left (this happened to us a lot during the half,) but thankfully, he came right back!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Clarabelle? Yes, please! One of my favorite pictures.

Okay, now about the mile markers. I started a tradition during my first runDisney race, (2013’s Princess Half Marathon,) to get a photo of every single mile marker. Seeing as how I’ve done 21 runDisney races, that’s a lotta pictures, so Ginny and I always mix our poses up by mimicking the characters. Here’s our Bambi/Thumper attempt:

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

I love how the CM’s at the train are always willing to pose.

After leaving the train and heading down the hill, I GASPED when I saw Peter Pan and the whole crew set up where princesses are usually at for the Princess Half Marathon! The line was INSANELY long, but again … we had to wait.

(I think I might have actually begged Ginny.)

To our dismay, Hook and Smee left just when it was our turn, so we asked to wait until they returned, creating a separate line. I think this annoyed the CM a tad … especially when many runners behind us followed suit, but thankfully, Hook and Smee soon returned to much applause!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

We had to give this guys some attention, too.

We also had to stop for a selfie with the DJ’s who kept things festive at Cone Alley!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Mile 7, already?

The line for Mary Poppins was way too crazy, even for us, but we did get a selfie with this little cutie.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

And WE LOVED the sign this gal was holding up! Why, thank YOU very much!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Up next was OUR FAVORITE character stop of the entire race, Stitch! Why? Because they had Elvis music blaring! And we had our second request for a photo from someone who liked our costumes. We felt so famous!

It was here where we also learned that Elvis’s birthday was the day before, a fact that made our costume choice feel even more special.

We might have to make this an annual thing. 😉

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonGinny looks much cooler than me. 😉

The line for Golf Goofy was surprisingly short, so we jumped on in, seeing as how we were also doing the Goofy Challenge (the half and full,) as well as Dopey.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Love this picture!

These guys were a blast. They couldn’t move in any closer for the photo, though, because of their microphones.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

I so want to work at Disney.

Our traditional Snow White pose. Yes, it’s awkward. And hard to not laugh while taking. Which is why we love it!

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonWe pulled of Anna and Else rather nicely, though.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Mile 10, already??? This race was going way, way too fast.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Serge kept us in line while nearing the Mile 12 mark.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Okay, so remember how Ginny had her momentary freak out near mile one?

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonWell. After passing Mile 12, it was my turn to freak out when it suddenly hit me that not only would we have to run another half marathon the next day … but 13.1 miles more!

I had done a great job with my training. I certainly felt fit enough for this challenge.

But at the moment, the thought of running a full marathon the next day scared the crud out of me, making it Ginny’s turn to talk me off the ledge. (She’s really good at that.)

So with #suckitupbuttercup in mind, we headed toward Epcot, stopping when we saw our awesome runner friends and #BestCheerCrewEver hanging out just outside of the park!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

(They were also there for the full and absolutely made our day by giving out sodas and snacks.)

Coming into Epcot, our spirits soared when we saw the many awesome spectators there to cheer us on! And Scrooge McDuck! I’ve never seen him out before! He had to go on break just when we arrived, though, so Ginny and I decided to follow suit by making a quick bathroom run. (We both hate having to pee right after the finish line. Plus, I wanted to freshen up a tad and put on lipstick. Yeah, I’m vain like that.)

Our timing was perfect because we were first in line for this photo!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

With less than a mile to go, the gospel choir was there to cheer us on!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Then we saw this glorious sight!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Followed by an even glorious-er one!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

We like to believe that John and Rudy are talking to us here.

They’re probably not.

But still, a gal can dream.2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonWe did it! We finished the 2016 WDW Half Marathon and Day 3 of the Dopey Challenge! It was time to celebrate … with more beer. We love beer. It has carbs, right?

2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonWhile waiting for more friends to arrive, Ginny and I got a character shot with our gal, Daisy, who was quite in awe of our medals.

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

One thing about us … we don’t like leaving right after a race, no matter how badly in need of a shower we are. Instead, we love to hang out, get pictures, and dance–which is a fantastic way to battle muscle soreness since it knocks out lactic acid!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon

Love these ladies!

2016 runDisney WDW Half Marathon2016 runDisney WDW Half MarathonWe did have to eventually leave and head back to the resort. And this time, we really were good, responsible runners by taking showers and then spending the entire day resting instead of park hopping.

It did kind of kill us to see all the messages from others in our group, out having fun, riding rides, and meeting for drinks. The one about them all getting cupcakes especially hurt … but our great pal James hooked us up with some cupcakes of our own.

Man, they were awesome.

Later on, we wandered down to The Wave for a huge group dinner. That is my favorite place to eat the night before the marathon because they have a runners special of pasta and chicken that is AMAZING!

Then it was off to bed early with outfits laid out and alarms set for the big one … the 2016 WDW Full Marathon, which Megan will be covering next!

Until then, here’s our full video Half Marathon recap from our Joyful Miles YouTube Channel in case you want to check it out. Enjoy!

And if you missed our two previous recaps, here they are:

Thanks for reading and please subscribe if you’d like to be informed of new posts! We still are in the growing phases of our blog, so we appreciate you being here.

Have a joyful day!

About the author: Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.

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