Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Dopey Experience, my final thoughts

It's been a couple of weeks now since Dopey and I've had some time to sort through the race.  It's been hard to really put into words, but I am going to try and do a post on my thoughts on the Dopey experience.

This was only my second multi-day challenge (Dumbo Double Dare being the first).  I knew this would be a challenge.  4 days, including a marathon?  What was I thinking?!?

Ahhhh - what was I thinking!
I knew this was not something to be taken lightly.  My training for the Dumbo Double Dare was actually a perfect lead in to Dopey training.  It gave me a strong base with some back to back practice.  I decided to go with the Hal Higdon Dopey schedule as I felt it would work best for me.

Physical training is not the only aspect.  I do feel that mental training is one of the most important aspects of this race.  Pushing yourself when you are tired/sore is tough and if you can work through that, then you are ahead of the game.

I felt truly prepared heading into the race weekend with the Hal Higdon plan.  I had only missed 2 runs and knew that I had done everything I could do be prepared.  My strategy of taking the first 3 races easy and having lots of energy for the marathon worked best for me, but from reading other blogs, it looks like most Goofy/Dopey'ers seem to do it the other way (race the half, take it easy in the full).

But for me, taking the first 3 races easy was key.  Something else that help was trying to limit time on my feet Friday and Saturday.  Saturday Pam and I literally did nothing but have lunch at Downtown Disney and dinner in Hollywood Studios.  By the time marathon morning rolled around, my legs were not feeling tired.

I wouldn't say my legs were feeling 100% fresh, but they weren't completely tired.  It allowed me to be able to have the race I wanted on Sunday.

I think the main question is, would I do Dopey again?  Honestly, I don't think so.  I'm sure some of you are thinking, wait, really?

Don't get me wrong - I loved the race and it was a great experience and I am so glad I did it, but there were some definite downsides to it.

First, let's talk about money.  The registration price tag is not a joke ($495 in 2014, but I anticipate it will go up in 2015).  Plus, you also have to factor in plane tickets, hotel/tickets, merchandise purchases, plus the sheer expenses that go into training (sneakers, nutrition, etc).

Another issue is the time commitment.  I gave up a lot of time (and personal life) to train for this.  Many hours in the park, lots of weekends were I did nothing but run.  When you run long on both Saturday and Sunday, you can't really do anything on Saturday.  Speaking of time, let's not forget about needing to take a week of vacation the 2nd week of January.

And of course, my favorite - sleep deprivation.  Getting up that early for 4 mornings in a row is no joke.  By Friday night, I was becoming slightly delirious.  By Sunday, it took all my effort to get going when the alarm went off.

I think at some point, I would be open to doing Goofy again (many, many years in the future though!), but no Dopey again.  Never say never, but at this point, I feel this way.

Did anyone else do Dopey?  Would you do it again?

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