Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dopey Challenge 2017 - Race Number Two: The 10K

We have to get on the bus by 4 am for the next three races so it's up at 2:45 AM for me. It's a nice day for running, cool but not cold, calm breezes, sunny skies. The 10k goes all around Epcot again plus out on the roads a bit more to get us to 6.2 miles. Paula and I use a run/walk ratio of 30 seconds running/90 seconds walking. This is really her first experience using run/walk and she thinks it might be okay! We have a lot of fun during this race, taking selfies, getting pictures with characters. We talk and laugh and can hardly believe it when we pass mile 5. This race just flew by! We finish in 1:39, which is again my slowest 10k ever, but that's not the point of these races as I have to keep reminding myself. We're getting to 48.6, slowly but surely.

Today we are meeting our friends in The Magic Kingdom for breakfast at the Crystal Palace. This is a breakfast buffet AND it's a character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and several of the other characters from The Hundred Acre Wood.

Now I’ve never cared much for the Disney version of the Pooh stories, but I absolutely love the books by AA. Milne. So I kind of surprised myself. When Pooh came up to our table to say hello I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him! I practically started crying! It was surprisingly emotional for me. I'm not exactly sure why, except that it felt like I was meeting a bit of my childhood right there.

After breakfast we followed Amy and Bill on our perfectly timed tour of the Magic Kingdom. We used our fast passes to bypass the very long lines, and made our way to The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain. Amy created today's tour just for me, as these rides were the highlights of our Disney visit 24 years ago. The Haunted Mansion was just as silly and charming as I remembered it. My favorite part is where they make some ghost appear to share the seat next to you briefly on the ride. From there we went to Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp and all. This ride showed its age a little, but it was still fun; the animatronics are just so well done. 

We had a little time to wait before it was time for our fastpass to Space Mountain, so we went into the Tiki bird show. At first I had no memory of this at all, but gradually it came back to me. All the different birds singing and moving, in a very Disney-like fashion. Cute! And we got to sit down for awhile too.

Hurtling Through Space Mountain With Paula and a Gross Bill

Space Mountain! 24 years ago, before fastpass, the kids and I conquered this ride. We went at a time of day when there were no lines, so we rode it over and over again, 5 times to be exact! This time, even the fastpass line was pretty long. Space Mountain is a roller coaster in the dark, and it was way scarier than I remembered. The coolest thing about this ride, however, was Amy C. She has some bad memories of Disney from coming here as a little kid, and probably being dragged on rides that were too overwhelming for a 5 year old. At first she said she wasn't going to go on rides at all, but Amy D and Bill took her on a few gentle ones, and she came on Pirates and the Haunted Mansion and enjoyed them. So much to everyone's surprise, maybe especially her own, Amy C said that she was going on Space Mountain! And she did! And she liked it! We were all so proud of her.

After Space Mountain it was time for our dinner reservations. Amy D and Bill had another Disney experience lined up for us: dinner and a show. We all had tickets for the Hoopdedoo Revue at Fort Wilderness. We took a boat from the Magic Kingdom to the fort. It was a beautiful evening. 

We got our pictures taken and then we're seated in a replica of an old fashioned music hall. The show itself was very cute and clever. The actors would come out and sing and dance a bit, make some jokes, and then we'd eat part of our meal. More dancing and singing, more eating. Everything was served family style, and there was lots of it too. The only thing was, with a half marathon to run the next day I didn't think it was a good idea to eat a lot of fried chicken and BBQ, so I ordered the vegetarian option. It was pasta with veggies, and very tasty, but it was a ridiculous amount of food. When I was full my plate looked like I had just nibbled on it. And there was strawberry shortcake for dessert too!

After dinner we had to make our way back to our resort, and it was a little complicated. We had to take a bus to the entrance to Fort Wilderness, and then catch an Uber from there. The free Disney transportation only goes from resort to park and back, not from resort to resort. So we could have taken a bus to one of the parks and then a bus to our resort, but that would have taken a long time and we were tired and wanted to get back to our rooms as soon as possible, so Uber was a good option.

Before too long Paula and I were settled in our rooms, expecting to be up around 3 am again. But suddenly Paula sent me a text. They've cancelled the half marathon for Saturday! What??? WHY??? A large storm was barreling down on Orlando, with strong winds, rain, falling temps, and lightning. It was the threat of lightening that made them cancel the race.

Well as you can imagine, we were distraught. All the work, the training, everything, down the drain. I sat in bed and just sobbed for awhile. It seemed like fate was just throwing one roadblock after another in the face of my struggle to run the Dopey. I called Lee and was abjectly complaining about my bad luck when a sudden thought struck me. Disney was already saying they would give everyone a medal anyway. And they were offering refunds in the form of a Disney gift card or a park pass. But there was no reason we couldn't run 13.1 miles around the resort tomorrow once the storm had passed. We could go out there and earn our Dopey anyway! I talked to Paula and she was game. And on Facebook all the half marathoners, Goofy, and Dopey Runners were having the same idea. The first ever Grumpy run was born!

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