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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goofy Challenge-Part 1

A very belated "Happy New Year" to you all!

2012 was off to a quiet start, mainly because for the first week, I was living in fear. Total fear of this guy:

Scary, right? You don't agree?

Well, Walt Disney World hosts a Marathon Weekend each January. The weekend consists of many activities, but mainly a half marathon on Saturday, a full marathon Sunday, and the Goofy Challenge. The Goofy Challenge is for all the crazy runners who decide they want to partake in all of the weekend fun and complete the half and full marathons. Guess who signed-up last year for the 2012 Goofy Challenge? This girl:


Um, yeah. The thought of three shirts and three medals proved too strong for me to resist, so my friend Erin and I decided to take on the challenge. Still not sure how she talked me into that one.

Well the months passed by, the Chicago Marathon came and went. And it was time to focus on Goofy. But the motivation didn't come, the wedding tasks needed to be tackled, and new activities were just more exciting then logging miles upon miles. My training for this event was way below par. As the Challenge approached, I doubted my ability to finish a full marathon, let alone one proceeded by a half marathon.

I talked myself down. I told myself that I could handle a half marathon. I would just run that and then enjoy my Disney vacation.

Friday morning, I left chilly Boston and headed toward sunny Orlando. Erin couldn't make it until later in the evening, so I arrived by myself. Luckily I knew my way around the Orlando airport from a visit last summer, and quickly found the "Magical Express" which would take me to my hotel, Disney's Pop Century Resort.

As I boarded the complimentary airport service, I started getting excited. Everything was so well organized! There was an on board video explaining Disney's hotel check-in process and how to book various tickets. About 30 minutes later, I checked in to the hotel.


1982 was a great year
The Pop Century Resort is one of Disney's value hotels, so I expected less than magical service. I could not have been more mistaken! The cute theme of the resort was well executed. There was a great cafeteria ready to feed me at almost any hour (I can attest to this as it was open when I left for the race at 4am the next morning!). The staff was friendly and helpful. They told me how to get to the expo, provided me with a race weekend schedule, and told me about race day transportation.

Buildings were themed by decade, and our room was in the 80's block. There was all sorts of cool pop culture references through out the resort like giant replicas of Foosball men, a huge Roger Rabbit, twister stations, and so much more! My only complaint was that our room was far away from the hotel center, so we did a lot of walking. Though great scenery on the way!









After I got settled at the hotel, I went to the Expo to pick-up my number. I'd never been to the Wide World of Sports complex, so it was neat to see. An entire building was dedicated to number pick-up, and the shirt pick-up and vendors were in another building. So many people were there for the various race events!

The expo was packed, so I didn't really do much exploring. Plus, I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and I needed fuel fast!

I went back to the hotel to drop-off our bags and numbers, then caught the shuttle to Downtown Disney. I explored the shops, grabbed a veggie burger, and walked around. Downtown Disney is such a cool and relaxed atmosphere. There were so many stores where you could find just about anything Disney related. I didn't stay out too late, as I knew a 4am wake-up was on tap for the following morning. I went back to the hotel and got my race gear ready as I waited for Erin's arrival.

More on the half to come!

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