It’s hard to believe that 6 months ago I started training for the 2020 Dopey Challenge. It’s even harder to believe that I started thinking about doing this challenge over 2 years ago. In just a few days, it all comes together and the races begin. I wanted to stop, breathe and take a few minutes to pull together my Dopey training reflection thoughts for this race training season and all that it has brought me. Training for this challenge has been unlike any other race I’ve trained for before!
If you’re wondering what on earth the Dopey Challenge is, take a look at my first Dopey post giving all the details about the challenge!
Dopey Training Reflection
July – September
Our first scheduled run for Dopey was July 1st. It was hot and unbearably humid in Houston. I usually take the summers off from running because the heat is so intense. Luckily I had my treadmill for shorter runs and my will power for the longer runs I that I chose to tackle outside. August and September were no different except possibly hotter and more humid. In those early days, the end goal seemed so far away, and there were moments I wondered why I was running in this heat!
The photo below was one of my first longer runs in summer training. Since my running partner, Rachael, was training for a September half marathon, I started training according to her distances so that we would be on the same plan. That mean a few longer runs in July and August then our training plan called for, but in the end, I believe that it made us stronger and gave us the tools we needed to run smart in the heat!
Side note: Our race day weather does not look ideal. Overnight lows for the half and full marathon are around 70 degrees with high humidity, so it looks like our summer training will be to our advantage!
Related Post: 10 Fitness Essentials for Summer
When October rolled in, so did one of the busiest seasons of my life. Not only was I dedicated to getting 3-4 runs a week done with one weekend run lasting for hours, I also had a lot going on with my family and travel. We were going to College Station for Aggie football games, I took Chloe on a mommy and me Disney trip, I went on a cruise for my SIL’s bachelorette party and that was all before the holidays began!
Alas, I still persevered. It wasn’t always easy to get up and run, especially on a cruise, but I made it happen. Many week day runs were done with my trusty jogging stroller – or double jogger!
November came and so did the cooler weather! Praise Jesus! Good thing because it also brought on the longer runs. We ran the Cypress Half Marathon as a training run simply because we may as well get a medal and snacks at the finish if we’re going to run that far regardless!
This is the month I believe that our mental strength shifted. As the runs got longer and the temperatures got cooler, we realized that we more to give. I personally started remembering my old marathon training days and how much mental strength plays into finishing a marathon. After running our 18 miles together, part of us knew that we could really do this. I mean just look at those confident smiles below at the end of our run!
This is when it all came together. Every weekend included double digit running distances and a lot of those were on our own. Since Rachael and I live an hour away from each other, we planned one long run a month together – occasionally two. The goal was to get our farthest distances done together. We needed each other for motivation, support and distractions!
This month we had at run 19 miles solo. 19 miles is no small feat. Luckily, JP came and joined me with the double jogger to finish my final 3 miles of this run. If that doesn’t show you just how supportive he’s been during this training season, I don’t know what does. While having Rachael’s support during this as a running partner was key, JP’s support was mandatory. Most weekends I was up and out on my run before the kids got up. He never batted an eye or said anything about me being gone for hours in the last couple of months. Instead he lifted up up and encouraged me. He would text me during my runs to help keep me going.
The weekend before Christmas was Rachael and my Dopey Simulator weekend. This is when we ran 4 days in a row with similar distances to Dopey. We did 4, 5, 11 and 21.5 miles Thursday to Sunday. After this simulator, our confidence was there and we knew we could finish.
We’re not going into this race looking for a PR or any sort of finish time. Our goal is to have fun, take lots of pictures and cross the finish line FOUR TIMES! I also have a personal goal of riding Expedition Everest when we run through Animal Kingdom. We’ll have to see how that goes when the time comes!
This training experience has taught me a lot about myself. It helped me to find my love for running again and showed me that I am capable of so much. I used to believe that I wasn’t as strong after having my two babies, but in fact, I am MUCH stronger. I am capable, strong, and I have some intense will power.
Now the next step is to get on a plane and head to Disney. Tomorrow is the day and I couldn’t be more excited! I plan to recap all my races and our experiences here when I return, but won’t be posting while I’m gone. To keep up to date with my running, Disney and cruise adventures, follow along on my Instagram @amysbalancingact!
Thank you for reading my Dopey training reflection and following along on this journey with me!