Race Report: Disney World 2022

Sunday Runday, and just over a week after rolling through the finish line of three Florida Disney World races, I did a (socially distanced) ten klick run back with the crew through the icy streets of Edmonton.

Amazing. Crazy. Chaotic. Nostalgic. Insane.

What other words can one use to describe the first international mega race back after a multi-year break from the same.

Exactly eight years ago I was standing on the same set of start lines getting ready to run (that time) four races. Back then I’d signed up for the inaugural Dopey Challenge, four days of four races starting with a 5k, ending with a full marathon, and tucking a 10k and a half in the blurry middle of it all.

This year, I cautiously signed up to do the first three of that series.

So, on that Thursday about ten days ago, all three of us, my wife, my daughter and I, woke up at 3am, found our way to a shuttle bus stop, trotted through the security mayhem outside Epcot, and queued up to run the five kilometer loop through that parks winding walkways.

My wife and daughter are not runners, but they are not out of shape either. We followed the crowd and dashed along the route and crossed the finish line to applause and medals.

I repeated the next day, but solo. Bus. Security. Race corral. Ten kilometers looping through two parks instead of one, past our first hotel of the trip, and ending with a musical pre-dawn dash under the glowing blue orb of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth as we pushed to the finish line.

I wore a mask the whole run. I wore a mask for all the runs. There were crowds and people and more crowds and on top of it all there were even more crowds. I have not been around that many heavily breathing runners in years and I’m surprised I didn’t bring home a viral souvenir from the experience.

Did I mention crazy and insane?

On the third day I woke up at 3am one last time and made my way to an even bigger starting corral with an even bigger crowd. It would be fair to say that somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand people stood at that start line, and if more than ten or fifteen of them were wearing masks I would have been surprised.

I went out in the second wave, with another dozen or so behind me.

We ran up the dark highway to the sounds of Disney movie soundtracks blasting from speakers. The path brought us under the park gate and through the parking lots and past the Contemporary resort and between the turnstiles of the Magic Kingdom. I held my phone out in front of me recording video as I ran onto and up Main Street:

I paused at a few spots for photos.

I absorbed the moments.

I kept on running.

Did I mention amazing and nostalgic?

In a short kilometer or so we were out the back gates of the park, running past some utility buildings and behind Splash Mountain as we disappeared back onto another Florida highway.

The sun rose as the view of the castle faded into the distance behind me, and I plodded along to finish the race back at Epcot.

My time wasn’t so great. Running 20.5 of the 21.1 kilometers in a surgical mask didn’t do much for my endurance. Stopping for photos and dodging crowds and slowing down to video or record a bit of it here and there left my pace a little dodgy in the end. Neither the pace nor time was the point, anyhow. The point was the experience.

And then it was over, and we flew home, safe and negative, and a few days later I was plodding along once again through icy streets with friends pondering the next year and wondering if maybe it had all been some kind of dream.

Amazing. Crazy. Chaotic. Nostalgic. Insane.

Better

One word that sums up your theme for 2022

Better.

Just… better.

Better days.

Better minutes.

Better hopes.

Better self.

Better efforts.

Better me.

Better you.

Better world.

Better everything.

Better.

Happy New Year!

See you in 2022.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.

Groundhog

One of my favourite films stars Bill Murray as a weatherman who, while visiting a small town to report on the festivities taking place to celebrate groundhog day finds himself trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of reliving the same day over and over and over again. He wakes up on the second of February countless times, makes his way through the day working out the various consequences of his small choices, and no matter how that version of the day ends he wakes up once more on the same day to restart exactly where he began.

Groundhog Day, the day, has long been a kind of pseudoscientific celebration where we turn to nature (in the form of a large rodent’s reaction to it’s shadow) as a prediction of the remaining duration of winter weather.

Thanks to the film, Groundhog Day has become shorthand for being stuck in a time loop and being forced to relive what is seemingly the same day over and over and over again as if the universe is testing one’s resolve to find a way to escape and that escape can only come at the cost of self-actualization and some kind of genuine epiphany of the soul.

One word that sums up your
theme for 2021.

grownd - hahg

A groundhog, also known around the world as a woodchuck, is a large rodent who obliviously predicts each year with stunning fifty-fifty accuracy the fate of spring at the hands of fading winter.

I don’t yet know if 2022 will lead to an escape from the endless cycle of seemingly living the same day over and over and over again, but throughout the last three hundred and sixty-odd day, saying that it feels like groundhog day has become our go-to tongue-in-cheek analysis and recurring theme of our feelings of 2021.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.

Mask Up

One quote that sums up your 2021 is…

“Masks on at all indoor locations.”

everyone

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.