Flashback to October of 2018
Me: hey – what do you think about me doing the Disney Princess AHlf Marathon Weekend fairytale Challenge?
Steve: um – What?
Me: I mean it – I want to train and go. Some of my friends will be running, and I want to do it.
Steve: Are you going to train for it?
Me: duh – of course I will! (I hope)
Steve: you know what sure – Happy Anniversary! (Buys plane ticket and race ticket)
Me: Thank you so much!!! I am so going to do all the things and make you proud!! Maybe even PR
Steve: you better train for this!
Me: of course!
Life: (snickering in the background…) Hold my beer
Well – that’s how it felt. I started training with a few walk/run/walk training sessions, and my back started spasming. BAD. And I couldn’t walk. So I started PT, and I was ready to start running, and then, our family had a tragedy – I am not going to share the details – they aren’t mine to share. I will say that our oldest got sick, and needed hospitalization for a time, and I could’t train through it. He is and will be ok. I just couldn’t train – and it showed.
Here I was two weeks out from the race – with maybe 15 total miles of training under my belt. BUT I had made some huge lifestyle changes. Sleeping better, drinking more water, eating a little bit healthier. Not anything earth-shattering, or unobtainable – just the subtle changes.
So race weekend comes.I stepped on a scale the day before I left – the HEAVIEST I HAVE EVER BEEN in my life – even with all the changes.
I walked up to the starting line of the 10K feeling like an imposter.
Was I pretending to be someone I wasn’t anymore? Could I really do this? What was I thinking?
Then – a video came on about the Children’s Miracle Network – the hospital charity that the Disney races work with. And the emotions of the past year came flooding in.
I was openly sobbing at the start line, and people were noticing. A woman who was near me put her hand on my shoulder, and said – you can do this – and you will. I was so afraid that I was letting others down – I forgot that the person I was running for was me.
The only person I would let down is myself.
I would do this.
I could do this.
And you know what?
When I flipped the script – I did.
The 10K was easier.
I really love the 10K distance. Long enough to feel like an accomplishment – but you don’t feel like your legs weigh a million pounds after.
I was able to run (jog)-walk- run(jog) the whole race. There was fun music, people cheering each other on, and the fun of running through the Epcot countries, and the Boardwalk/Yahtch/Beach walkway. The drum line at the end gave a good beat and helped me to want to move faster – be stronger. I was 8 minutes off of my PR Time, and grateful that I didn’t push too hard.
The half was a completely different story.
I was ready mentally – I thought, but- I knew physically it would be a battle.
I started really strong – probably way too fast – but strong. There was a pacer in front of me – and they were doing 30 seconds run – 30 seconds walk. I stayed with them for the first 2 plus miles – that is 28 minutes of pacing that helped me start the race and helped me to finish.
I stopped between mile 2 and 3 to help a woman who fell – and probably broke her ankle. we called for medics – got her off the course – and they eventually told me to go. so I started running again – without the pacer group – and just followed along as others were run/walk/running their way to the castle!
I was still smiling here because I was just shy of the 10k mark. After the 10K mark – we were on our way back to Epcot. It was a long road- with very little spectators, and it was getting hotter. I had my headphones – my new playlist – and I was just trying to run/walk/run as much as I could. I knew I was close to the 16 minute per mile mark, and I needed to just keep moving.
I started to taper off at mile 9. That was my wall. I got up the hill to mile 11 and just cried, I didn’t think my body would make it. I honestly almost quit. but then I remembered that at the other end was a group of women who pushed me to be here – who believed in me – and I could do 2 more miles. I cried through it – but – at 28 minutes longer than my first half marathon – I finished.
Running for me has always been about personal accomplishment. I ran these races for me – but I also ran these races for my dad – who gave me the running bug – my family who believed in me – and my athletes who I believe in. Also – for the women at the finish line. What do you do for you?