That's right folks... I did it. I RAN A HALF MARATHON!! If you would have told me a year ago that today I would be typing out this post, I would have told you that you are crazy! You see, I'm no runner. In fact, I really hate running with every fiber of my being.
So six months ago when my friend Amy brought up the idea of us running the Disney World Princess Half Marathon together, I'm sure I just scoffed at the idea. Days passed and I continued to mull over the possibilities. Six months was more than enough time to train, right? And I'd be running at the Happiest Place on Earth... with characters and entertainment along the way... so I thought, "what the heck!" and got started with my training.
I'm so proud of myself and all of the hard work that went into those six months. Training for this half-marathon has pushed me physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. There were days I didn't think I could go any further and I somehow willed my body to do so. I went from not being able to run a mile straight to jogging over 6 miles at a time, and loving it.
On the morning of our half we woke up at 2:30 a.m., got ready in our princess gear and made our way to Epcot where the start line was. It was very dark by the time Cinderella's Fairy Godmother announced it was time to start, around 6:30 a.m. for my corral, and the fireworks popped over the start line as we started our journey.
It was an EXTREMELY humid day and I'm not used to running in such conditions. Luckily there were water/Gatorade stations about every mile so I kept myself fueled. I'd say I ran about the first 5/6 miles until we hit Magic Kingdom and things got pretty congested. We all squeezed through the castle and I felt tears catch in my eyes. I couldn't imagine I was living out this goal, this dream, at my happy place!! The characters along the way kept me going as well. Although I didn't stop for pictures, I loved hearing the music and seeing them snap photos with other runners.
Around mile 9 I thought I was going to die. My body was aching and I was sweating beyond belief. I kept pushing myself to jog and jog and honestly my only real inspiration with thinking about eating a Mickey Mouse pretzel at the end!!
The last mile or so swung through Epcot which meant a lot to me. That was the first park I ever worked at, and I call it home. Thousands of cast members and guests cheered us on and there was even a choir at the end.
Then... I did it. I crossed the finish line like a princess. My time wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be but I didn't care at all. I had finished my first half-marathon like a princess and had a beautiful medal to show for it.
Even better, my "chEAR" squad was there waiting for me at the end (my mom and cousin) and that brought tears to my eyes. They had clappers and shirts and told me how proud they were of me and this huge accomplishment in my life. I'm so grateful for all of my family and friends who have supported me throughout this journey and who had faith in me, even when I didn't have much faith in myself. Now I get to start training for the Disneyland Half marathon to earn my Coast to Coast medal and hopefully shave a half hour off my time. Get ready to train!!
Real Princesses Run!
I seriously couldn't have done this without her!
Thank you to everyone for the kind words, inspiration and encouragement. I love you all!