Dopey Challenge Race 1: Family Fun Run 5k

Share the normal time you wake up for a race? I'll give you a moment to share your answer.

Don't mind me.

A little bit of Monica in my life. A little bit of Erica by my side. MAMBO  Number Fiiiivveee.

So everyone's answers in?

If you guessed 4am then you are spot on for my Family Fun Run 5k wake-up time!

Which you will find over this 4-part series of the Dopey Challenge was "sleeping in."

I was a little worried about getting up on time that I set my phone alarm, my wife's phone alarm AND called in a wake-up call from the hotel. But as soon as my alarm went off, I flew out of bed. I was ready to finally start the Dopey Challenge.

For the 5k, I went simple with the costume: Minnie Mouse.

Thanks to my wife for getting out of bed to snap the pre-race photo!

I'm not gonna lie. It was sort of sad heading to the race alone. To say goodbye to the wife until I returned back.

But I pulled up my Sparkle Athletic skirt and headed out the door.

The buses at Pop Century resort were ready and waiting. The Run Disney team is wicked organized when it comes to transportation for those staying on-site for the races. Now, I made sure to be on one of the first buses out of the resort. Why? Because I had heard horror stories of folks waiting til the last bus and cutting it close to getting to the Start Area. I can't handle that kind of added pressure on a race day so I make sure I am there ready to go for one of the first buses out.

I made it to the Start Area, felt excited checking out everyone's costumes and kept an eye out for any familiar faces. The Run Disney DJ/announcer teams were doing a great job pumping up the crowd and getting people to embarrass themselves doing things like the electric slide at 5am! ;) I've never seen so many Tinkerbells busting a move at the same time.

Being on site so early allowed for ample trips to the port-o-potties ... and there were plenty to hit up. I didn't find many lines, which was great.

The 5k was broken up into 5 corrals and had about 10,000 folks participating - 7,000 of those being Dopey Challengers. I made my way over to Corral A to stretch and try to dance without too many people noticing.

They started moving the Corrals just before 6. Since I was in Corral A, I was part of the first 2,000 to head over. It was great walking past the other 4 corrals and seeing everyone dancing, cheering and high-fiving.

After a couple of announcements from the Run Disney announcers, a Cigna (sponsor) representative and the National Anthem, we were off!

Now, I wore my Garmin to keep my pace under control and to really see how many extra miles I logged running from character to character or port-o-potties stops.

I saw the Mile 1 marker, looked down at my Garmin and saw a 8:20-ish pace. AAAAhhhhhh! I immediately told my body to slow it on down and remember I had 47.6 miles to go after this first mile.

The 5k course went through the EPCOT parking lot and through EPCOT itself.

And offered character stops - which we know I love.

As soon as I noticed Dopey, I had to stop. I would wait as long as I needed to for that picture opportunity. Plus I had no idea if he would be on any of the other race courses.

I knew that I would be running around EPCOT during all 4 races, but it didn't diminish the experience it at all. Every time would be different.

As I headed to the Mile 2 marker, Disney played Frozen's "Let It Go" and I started crying. Yes folks. I was about 1.5 miles into this Dopey Challenge and I was already crying like a baby. I was so excited that the moment was finally here. I was finally tackling a HUGE fitness challenge.

Since it was so early in the morning, it looks as if I was running through the park at night. Thankfully there was enough light in the park itself that I didn't worry about falling.

Plus how could I look down at the ground with such breathtaking sights!! :)

I actually got a little sad as we approached the EPCOT ball because I knew the race was almost over. I was having a blast.

Can you tell?

As soon as it started it was over.

(Note: I never thought I would utter a sentence like that about a 5k - 3.1 mile - run!)

Phase 1 of the Dopey Challenge - the Family Fun Run 5k - was complete in a time of 32:05.

What I love about that time is that I had to look it up to find out what it was. I paid ZERO attention to pace except to make sure I was going steady, not pushing it and enjoying the crap out of the race. :)

Minnie & Mickey :)

As I was waiting in line for this sweet pic...

I FINALLY got to meet Heather (from Through Heather's Looking Glass) IRL (in real life). We have been chatting online for years and were finally in the same place at the same time. :)

Just a couple of Minnies hanging out!

I can say that being in one of the first corrals made taking pictures with characters easier both during the run and in the Finish Area. Many of the folks in my corral weren't stopping either by choice or they were worrying about their finishing time.

Overall, it was a fun run and I would totally do it again.

After snapping some photos and checking out my post-run meal box from Run Disney, it was time for me to board the bus and head back to the hotel. This medal, my wife and I had a date with: Magic Kingdom, the #wdwracetweetup and Hollywood Studios.

Catch ya at the #wdwracetweetup recap!