I’ve always been someone who loves fitness and exercise…with the exception of running. Give me a hardcore spin class, an elliptical machine, or a grueling cross training class any day. Running is for OTHER people. The non-top heavy who don’t run the risk of getting a black eye on the straightway (I’ll let you ponder that image for a moment…go ahead, I’ll wait).
But then one day, I saw the bait and bit. I blame a lot of people, but mostly Amy. Amy is the woman I walked 26.2 miles through the moonlight streets of Manhattan, dressed in a bra. During our 10 hour
walk of shame bonding session, we talked about a lot of things, including her runDisney experiences. It was then that I decided if I could finish the crazy walk, I could do a runDisney race. After all, there were shiny medals to be won!
Since this was my first race, well, ever, I wanted to take it slowly. I signed up to do the Enchanted 10K that was being held during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Amy was going to do the Glass Slipper Challenge, which involved running the Enchanted 10K on a Saturday, and a 1/2 marathon that very next day. I knew I wasn’t up to that, but running essentially 6 miles was.
The trip was originally going to be just me, but somehow the kids and my mom got added into the trip. Sarah didn’t want to run herself, but I signed Jordan up for one of the kids races. We ended up having a weekend we would never forget, and vowed to sign up for this year’s weekend. Why was it so amazing? Without much effort, here are five reasons.
1. runDisney races are magical affairs with liberal pixie dust all around. I will always remember when “Let It Go” came up on my iPod shuffle at the beginning of the race. I ran with a little bit more spring in my step, until I thought I heard the same song at a different point somewhere else. I pulled out my ear buds to find out, yes, it was playing off speakers. Speakers that were attached to a gigantic truck on the overpass, where Elsa was waving to all the runners, and sprinkling snow all over the course. I turned to a runner next to me and she looked as struck by it as I was. That was but one of the amazing moments I experienced during the race.
2. People dress in costumes – I decided to create a very simple tribute to my favorite rodent, Minnie Mouse. But during a runDisney race, people come to play. There were heroes and villains. Thousands of princesses. A few Olafs. And this costume, which I think was probably my favorite.
My friend Ashley has worn some amazing outfits. While I loved what she’s done, I wasn’t sure about running in costume, much less running period, so I kept it simple. For next time, I’m stepping it up and have a grand plan I can’t wait to share it with you!
3. runDisney is about inclusion – Jordan isn’t much of an athlete. He has hypotonia, which means he can’t run for long periods of time. So why did I sign him up for a race? I had a lot of questions very similar to that as we waited at the finish line.
Parents are allowed to run with the kids, so I went out there with him. When the starter pistol fired, he ran a little but very quickly announced he was tired. I tried to encourage him to RUN RUN RUN, which he did. And didn’t. He was moving rapidly towards the back of the pack. At the end when we could see the finish line, we saw Goofy waiting. When Goofy spied Jordan as the last runner, he ran out and got him and cheered him (silently) across the finish line. Jordan was disappointed that he finished last, but was thrilled that Goofy supported him. Of course, when he got his medal, that was all he could talk about.
It seemed to take a really long time for Jordan’s race to start. The time came and went, with no announcements other than “soon”. I texted Sarah who was waiting at the finish line to see if she knew anything. Then, coming from the finish line, I heard a huge cheer. Sarah texted back right after to say the race was now over because the last competitor finished while pushing her wheelchair across the finish line. Sarah said it was one of the most amazing things she had ever seen, and had mad respect for the girl who had pretty much won the hearts of everyone that day. Mad props to Sarah Kate who rightly was the most amazing kid in the world that day.
4. runDisney is about supporting others – when I was done running the back loop of the 10K going around the lake at the back of Epcot, the final runner was coming out of Epcot to begin that same loop. When I tell you that every single runner with me moved to the side to high five that runner and cheer her on, know that I am not exaggerating.
When I was finally done with the race, I could not walk. No, really, I couldn’t walk. My feet were killing me, and I was as sore as you can be. I started shuffling off to the front of Epcot to meet my family. I started to notice that someone was walking behind me and talking to me. It was a woman named Trish, and she was telling me about all the races she’s run. When I told her it was my first race EVAH, she insisted on buying me a latte to celebrate. Just a wonderful act of kindness from a fellow runner. Made me feel like I had entered some sort of special club.
5. THE SHINY MEDALS – when I tell you that I wore my medal around the whole day, I am not kidding.
Minnie was most impressed by my outfit.
So was the prince. This year, I’m doing the Glass Slipper Challenge and when I finish, I will be wearing all three medals around my neck everywhere. Let TSA try and pry them off me on the return trip home. Ain’t gonna happen.
Have you run a runDisney race? How was it? And if you haven’t, tell me what race would you want to run?