It was July 12, 2016 when I signed up for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I had slacked off with my workouts and had gained weight again. I told myself that now that I was registered for my first half marathon I would get back to it and start training. I bought a running journal hoping that it would keep me encouraged. As the months went by I told myself I would sign up for another run, I would go to the gym and run some miles on the treadmill. I never did sign up for another run and while I did run on the treadmill, it wasn’t very often and not enough to be considered training. I did a mile sometimes around my block with my dog and I was glad to at least get some running done.
As the February race came closer I started to get nervous. I knew that Disney swept you if you didn’t keep their pace (thankfully I didn’t know about the Balloon Ladies then, it would have made me more nervous), so I started to look it up to see if they really did do that… yes they do. I started to search if it was possible to run a half marathon without proper training… everything I read didn’t make me feel better. I had gained all the weight I had lost plus a bit more. With the run barely 2 months away, I went to the gym more often and ran longer miles everyday I went. I never reached the 13.1 but I did go as far as 8 miles before the race inched closer.
2017 was the year that Disney cancelled their marathon due to weather conditions. I remember that well because I began to hope that they would cancel the Princess half marathon because I just didn’t feel confident. I truly believed I could not finish the race. I was so scared that I didn’t want to go, I was willing to lose the money I paid because I didn’t want to face the possibility of failure. I would have quit, I would have never attempted the half marathon if it weren’t for my older sister. I thank her immensely because it was her who pushed me to go anyway. If it weren’t for her encouraging me, going to Disney with me, staying up to 3AM to drive me to the race, I would not have gone and would never have experienced the run that changed my life. To this I really can’t thank her enough.
It brings me to tears when I think back on that day. It was February 26, 2017 a year after I had done my first run. A part of me still hoped that the run wouldn’t go on but my sister was there staying up all night so that she could drive me and kept on encouraging me. I was so nervous… not only was I about to attempt a half marathon I didn’t feel ready for I was going to do it alone. After she dropped me off I followed the crowd since I didn’t know where to go or what to do. It was cold that morning but I seriously didn’t know if I was shaking from the cold or from nerves. Once I got to my corral I couldn’t stop shaking. After waiting for about an hour it was finally my turn to start the half marathon.
That first step across that start line was the beginning of the moment that changed my life. I ran, not at a fast pace but at a steady pace for about the first 6 miles. I was so scared of getting swept I refused to walk (and take pictures) unless I really had to. It was about mile 6.5 that one of the entertainers on the course said that we were 45 minutes ahead of the buses. At that point I was so relieved that I started to walk. I kept a walk, run, walk, run pace until mile 9 when I felt I could no longer run. I was exhausted but just kept on going. People always ask me how I felt during my first half marathon. One thing I always say is that the final 5K felt like the longest 5K of my life. I remember one of the volunteers at the 10 mile water stop told us “just a 5K left!” and I thought “only a 5K?”. The second thing is that mile 12 is the longest mile ever! I remember wondering how much longer until I saw mile 13.
And then I saw it, mile 13 and I knew the finish line was right around the corner.
I ran to the finish line. As I crossed it I heard a man announce, “you all are now half marathoners!”. Yes, we were, yes I was… and I couldn’t believe it. I did it. I really did, I started and finished a half marathon. My mom, who was another of my supporters, messaged me as she got the text update and my sister sent me another grand text telling me that she knew I could do it… I was surprised she was even awake after staying up all night. My little sister had also gone to Orlando with me so I thank her too for being there for me and also supporting me, she kept telling me what an accomplishment it was to finish.
It really was an accomplishment and it was one that really changed my life. It was this run that inspired me. After finishing my first half marathon I now felt inspired to run more, I wanted to run more. I looked for more runs and signed up for them, I no longer cared if I had to go alone. I had run the entire half marathon alone and being alone no longer scared me. When I think back on the person I was then it really brings me to tears because I still can’t believe what I did and what I continued to do. I did it alone, not truly alone because I had the encouraging words from my family and friends and it was all that I needed. Over a year later I re-read that running journal I had bought back in summer 2016. In it there was a page where I wrote down my goals. One of the goals was to run a half marathon. The reason why I wanted to run the half marathon was to prove to myself that I could. I not only proved to myself that I could, I proved to myself that I was capable of so much more and that this was only the beginning.
“Running is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It’s the focus of my daily routine, the source of everything. It gives my life a sense of rhythm. It’s not just a game or a sport, something outside of life; it’s a part of life. It’s an adjective that defines me.” – The Complete Book of Running; James F. Fixx
Happy Fourth of July! Started this day off with an awesome 4th of July 5K! I went to this same run last year with my sister. It was her third run that year and she was the one who found the 5K so we did it together! This is a trilogy so it includes the 4th of July, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day. When all three runs are completed the medals come together to form one big beautiful one! Last years was nice and this year I’m looking forward to see how all 3 look together!
It was a great 5K today and I was glad that my sister came again and this year so did my dad and mom. It really is amazing how I inspired my family to join me on these runs… I remember going to these runs by myself and am still so proud of myself that I did, because if I hadn’t pushed myself then we would not be where we are now. Before my family didn’t really understand me, paying to run, waking up super early… but they still did support me and it was this support that inspired me (more on this soon).
It all really means so much to me… I never thought I would inspire anyone but I’m happy that I did and I hope to inspire more people. This was excellent way to start the Fourth of July and I still have some shopping and family time later on! I hope everyone has a great fourth!
Last night I planned on waking up for early morning yoga. I set my alarm, paid for my class and left my clothes ready. But everything doesn’t always go as planned and I woke up a bit too late. It’s difficult to start something new but the point is to keep trying and eventually results will come… such has been my experience.
Usually when I tell the story of how I got into running I don’t mention the first run I ever did. The reason why I don’t is because I never thought of it as momentous and it was not the run that really got me into running. However, when I started to think about it I realized that it was a huge stepping stone in how my running life started. I wouldn’t say I was always overweight but I can say I always had a problem keeping my extra weight off. It was late 2013 when I finally really dedicated myself to a weight loss regimen, which for me was eating healthy and going to the gym. I was really over weight and knew it was time for a change. It took a lot of work but I was very dedicated and lost about 15 pounds (I promised myself I would never gain that weight back… unfortunately I did but more on that later). Then I hit a plateau… I thought that running would help me lose those stubborn pounds so I started going on the treadmill and reading up on running.
At this time I knew absolutely nothing about running… and I mean nothing from the shoes to the distances. I had done 5K walks with my mother for the Strides Against Breast Cancer so I at least had an idea of the 5K distance but that was it. With some reading and Facebook posts I learned about the runDisney events which immediately caught my attention because I love Disney and the themes looked amazing. During a 5K walk in 2014, my friend and I spoke about one day doing the Princess Run together, but it was just a thought and a someday goal.
It took about a year later until I finally signed up for my first official 5K run. I received an advertisement for a children’s hospital 5K and after some nervousness decided to sign up for it. My same friend worked for the hospital and she told me she was also going and that made me feel better. It was February 28th, 2016 when I did my first official 5K run (it would be this same weekend a year later when I would run again). I was with my friend and her friends so it was a good experience. I got the feeling of what the runs were like and my time was 40:05 which I found to be very good since I did not train a lot.
Unfortunately, after this 5K I didn’t run again. I did sign up for another 5K with my friend but when she couldn’t make it I was too afraid to go by myself. However, this run did get me to want to do what I had spoken about two years earlier, a Disney run. So when registration opened up that July I took a chance and signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon… it would be this run that changed my life. Of course I will write about my life changing run but writing about my first ever 5K makes me realize how everything came together. While I may not mention this first official run or even my 5K walks I see now how much of a role it played in my journey. We all have to start somewhere and I see now that this was my prequel.
“…For you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love. Into your hands will be placed the exact results of your own thoughts…” -James Allen
“Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés Ph.D.
It’s the first of July and what a month of beginnings it will be. Such a perfect way to start it with a quote from a book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, I’ve been meaning to read and I recently just ordered to do just that. It is also a book that seems to suit the type of person I am but I will see once I start reading it. So what else does this month bring? Well… towards the end of the month it will be about 18 weeks until my first marathon so I will officially begin my marathon training. I’m always training but now I will start adding more miles and following a training plan, which I will document here. I also plan on getting back into yoga, which I believe will help with my running. Early morning yoga classes before work is what I’m aiming for because I usually do my runs at night, but I do plan on getting some runs in before work . Also happening this July, my first tinctures will be ready before this month is over! I will write more about each tincture I made and what they’re good for very soon. Since this is a month of beginnings for me I will post about some of my first runs, what it meant to me and how it changed how I lived. Also throughout this month I will write about the first runs my sister and dad joined me for and how they have been such a big influence for me. I’m very excited to start this journey and thank you for reading!