In April – as you may know – I accidently signed up for a half marathon. After hyperventilating a bit – I began training. I went from no running at all to short 30 minute runs and speed drills.
I was stopped by an injury that introduced to my piriformis muscles and the benefits of taking care of it. When I was cleared to run again I joined a couch to 5K program to get back at it and graduated by finishing a 10K (which I had signed up for before I got injured).
Since then I worked steadily building some speed and a good deal of distance, with my max distance 15 miles. By the way after my 15 mile run I tend to walk a bit funny for a few days.
I kept on training during the holidays and I was ready to be tested at the Disney Marathon weekend in the 1/2 Marathon race. I pick up my bib and race packet on Wednesday – geeking out at my commemorative items and getting photos in front of the 1/2 Marathon signs. On Friday night I am trying to force myself to go to sleep at 7 because 2:30am is an early wake-up, I get a text from my friend with condolences on the cancellation on my race. Sure enough a few minutes later I got the e-mail.
I sat there for a few minutes in shock before I went and found my husband in the living room and cried. In some ways I actually felt like one of my pets died – which the rational part of me understood was ridiculous but that’s how I felt.
My husband got me some Chinese comfort food and I ate in stunned disbelief wiping tears away every now and then.
The next day I woke up all despondent and my brain kept reminding me things like, it’s 8am you’d be running right now, probably already made it through the Magic Kingdom. Eventually my husband and I drove to the ESPN Sports complex to get refund in the form of a Disney gift card (there were other options but I already have an annual pass to Disney World and I preferred to register for the next race sooner than later and I was not ready for 26.2 miles).
My first lightness from my gloom happened while driving to the Sports complex. I seen the other runners running – they were obviously the 1/2 Marathoners who didn’t get to Marathon so they were getting it on – after all it was a running day.
We pick up my medal and Disney gift card refund (while standing in some sudden cold rain) and it was all anticlimactic. Yes, I wanted my 1/2 Marathon medal but I wanted to earn it not just get it for showing up. It ate at me but on Sunday morning I knew what I had to do – I had to go get my 13.1 miles in at Disney World, my normal running trail would just not do.
I studied the Disney area maps to find friendly travel paths (I was not in a hurry because the full Marathon was being ran and I didn’t want to interfere in their run) and decided I could go so far in certain places but in the end I would have to stop and ride transportation to get in all my miles.
I started out with my outfit. It was cold out – especially by Florida standards – so I wore my running leggings and covered them with my only yoga pants. Then over my sports bra I wore the top that matched the legging with my yellow Disney 1/2 Marathon shirt and over that my Darkwing Duck shirt my husband bought me for Christmas. Then I brought my pink running jacket. I had my IDs and card, my Magic Band, fitbit and my Scott Carter charity bag that I earned by raising $500 through my friends and family for the race. I also wore two pins – my 1/2 Marathon Pin and an Ariel pin that I was willing to trade if I saw another pin that I would like.
I was off. I parked at Disney Springs and began my walk – you can look at it below.
When I was finished I felt like I at earned my medal a little. My run was limited due to crowds and traffic but I got in my 13.1 miles.
Here is what I took away from this experience:
Life Happens – sometimes you can do your best but things still go wrong
Closure – if you can, finish it.
No one is laughing – I am a slow runner. I am improving but I still am slow. What comforted me about this was when I was on 13.1 mile make-up journey I did come along the tail end of the marathon race – literally the last runners as they made their way to EPCOT and I was so proud of them. They were tired and worn out but they were still going. I got to experience how a lot of people see me when I am bringing up the rear – they’re just happy to see you going.
Seeing what you missed is great. I enjoyed seeing the marathon runners – even watching them finish their race. It was nice to be briefly a part of their experience and cheer them on. I know if I finished my 1/2 Marathon I would not of been able to do that – on Sunday I would of been resting and working my legs out of their stiffness.
I hope that you’re doing something in your life that stretches you so you get to experience the joys of life – yes the joys come with heartache and disappointments sometimes but they usually also come with some pretty good consolation prizes.