Recap: runDisney’s Princess Weekend 2016 Enchanted 10k

Well, a late recap is slightly better than never, right? Things are finally slowing down enough in life for me to write up the amazing weekend I had at Walt Disney World back in February.

A year before this, I ran my first 10k at the 2015 Princess weekend, and Aaron’s anniversary gift to me while on that trip was the promise that in 2016 I’d complete the Glass Slipper Challenge at Princess weekend. The Glass Slipper Challenge involves running the 10k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday – sounds a little crazy, and it really kinda is.

I was also traveling to this race by myself, since three of us are coming back in less than two weeks for the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge. I booked a room at Disney’s Pop Century resort, found a roommate in a race group to help cover the expenses, and was ready to run these two races. Well…mostly. I’ll admit I was under-trained due to winter, and other commitments, and mostly being lazy. But I was still determined to finish both races.

Before the race, though, is the expo. I didn’t arrive until Friday morning, so I missed some of the craziness I’d heard reports of the day before, which mostly involved long lines and people fighting over official race merchandise. Friday’s version of the expo was still crowded, but more relaxed. I picked up my race bib and shirts, browsed the expo for any good deals, and then dropped everything off at my room before spending the late afternoon at Magic Kingdom.

Princess expoSee? No long lines on Friday!

The primary reason I was going to Magic Kingdom that evening was to carb load at my favorite WDW pasta spot: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. I met up with an Ohio friend for dinner and stuffed myself with shrimp scampi before going back to my room to get a few hours of sleep before the 10k the next morning.

3am is never an easy time to wake up. Nothing about 3am feels natural or comfortable. And yet 3am is when I had to be awake to get dressed for the race, get out to the bus stop, and take the bus over to the race corrals for the 5:30am start time. Thankfully, race day adrenaline kept me upright, but I was also more excited to be meeting up with friends Jana, Megan, and Megan’s husband Al in corral D. This was Megan’s first 10k, and she looked awesome in her Ursula running costume, with her husband dressed as King Neptune.

Pre-race photoPre-race selfie!

As for me, I never miss a chance at a running costume for a runDisney race. My outfit was Vanellope from Wreck-it Ralph. My only regret on my costume was that I wore my visor so it wasn’t easy to see the candy charms in my hair.

Vanellope Enchanted 10kVanellope is a princess.

The weather was much warmer than 2015, but still cool and comfortable for the start. Just like the 10k a year before, it was a great countdown and race start.

 

I stuck with Megan for the first two miles, trying my best to provide motivation and support. She was probably sick of my thumbs up and motivational pep talks before the first mile. I’m not sure when I became “that cheery runner” but I can promise that I am not that cheery by mile four or so.

At her urging, I went ahead of her after mile two, and as I ran solo I quickly found myself remembering the route from the previous year and felt a surge of joy to be doing this race again. The skies were just beginning to brighten as we turned off the freeway and onto the off-ramp towards the back of Epcot.

One of the most awesome parts of running the Enchanted 10k is being able to run through the World Showcase section of Epcot. I’m slow enough that the sun is just coming up when I reach this area, and there’s a hazy glow to everything. It’s beautiful, and provides for more ideal selfie locations than you can imagine. Runners were pulling off to the side all along this area to get photos, and yes, I was one of them.

Epcot selfie

As we crossed the bridge from the France pavilion to the United Kingdom pavilion, we turned towards the exit to the Boardwalk. There’s a short area just outside of Epcot where a rope divides the path in two, with those exiting Epcot starting their loop around the Boardwalk area on one side, and those returning from that loop on the other side. This is such a high energy area as runners going in opposite directions high five each other across the rope and cheer on their fellow runners. It’s a great mental boost for mile four, when legs and lungs are starting to complain.

The second most awesome part of running the Enchanted 10k is the crowd that gathers around the Boardwalk resort. Lots of spectators are here, some with funny signs, some offering pretzels or Twizzlers (THANK YOU!), and all providing a lot of cheering and positive energy. Also? More beautiful views.

View from the BoardwalkNo filters here, people. Just a beautiful scene with Spaceship Earth peeking out in the background.

Unlike the previous year, I’ve run more than a 10k, so the distance wasn’t as challenging for me this time. But even still, that last mile does start to feel rough. Thankfully, much of that mile is spent back inside Epcot, winding past The Land and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, around Spaceship Earth, and then making the final turn for the finish line.

Spaceship Earth - Enchanted 10kThe finish line is soooooo close!

The gospel choir was positioned right before the final turn, and I remember they were singing something with the lyrics, “Thank God, thank God, thank God…” as I was approaching them. As I passed, I chimed in, “Thank God I’m almost done!” with my hands up in the air, then reached out to high-five one of the choir members.

And then there it was – the finish. Before I knew it, I was across the line, had my medal, my Powerade, my mylar blanket, and my snackbox. I spread out the blanket to sit down and guzzled my Powerade, all while gazing at the pretty medal I had just earned.

Enchanted 10k medal

The Enchanted 10k is packed full of fun things to see in only 6.2 miles that go by very quickly. I didn’t even mention the character stops along the way. I’m a slow runner, so I usually don’t stop to get photos with the characters because I worry I’ll fall behind. But it’s still fun to see the characters as I run by.

Of course, this was only race #1. I still had to do more than double that distance the next morning, but not before getting some photos with my medal.

Showing off the medalKylo Ren didn’t seem all that impressed.

Part two coming soon!



Yet Another Update On My Shoulder

It’s flu shot season, which means that the traffic has started to pick up on my first post regarding the shoulder injury I suffered as a result of my flu shot in early 2014. I’m sorry to see so many comments from others that they’ve had similar experiences and to see the same question over and over: will this ever get better?

I guess I’m overdue for an update on my own experience with SIRVA. When I last discussed this over a year ago, I had received yet another steroid injection for my shoulder when the pain returned. That particular cortisone shot left me feeling that I was finally done with treatments as my shoulder felt fine for all of winter and much of the spring.

But then in April of this year, I was again aware of that nagging ache coming from my left shoulder. I tried to be gentle with that shoulder for a week or two, hoping it would go away, but like before it only intensified and I noticed my pain-free range of motion decreasing.

When I visited my ortho doc in May, he ordered new x-rays to check for any calcification in the joint that could be causing pain. The x-rays were uneventful, and the diagnosis remained as a reoccurring bursitis. He gave me another cortisone injection, and we both hoped that this would be the final shot needed. After all, if the previous one lasted for eight months, maybe this one would last even longer…like permanently?

It wasn’t meant to be.

My doctor and I reunited in September when I had agonizing shoulder pain that was making it difficult to even get dressed each day. The pain was sharp with certain motions, and otherwise a low-grade ache the remainder of the time. Ibuprofen did little to help.

At this point, all I wanted was another cortisone injection to stop the pain. Which meant I was ready to cry when my doctor declared that it was time to stop the shots.

But…WHY?

He said that over time the cortisone shots can begin to lose their effectiveness, and each injection can increase the risks of additional damage to the joint. Surgery was presented as the next step to clean out the shoulder joint and look for any scar tissue or damage to remove.

The bad news: my chances of having the pain resolved by surgery (and physical therapy after surgery, of course) was better than 50-50, but not by much. A high number of patients still have shoulder pain after surgery.

The bad news that related specifically to me: after surgery , there’s no exercise allowed at all for 1-2 weeks, and then no exercise involving the shoulder for another 2-3 weeks.

I was numb at this point. I quickly explained why surgery wasn’t an option for me at that time: I was registered for the Columbus Half Marathon on October 18, with two more half marathons in November. These were my first half marathons, and this was the start of race season; I couldn’t spend 1-2 weeks with no activity to risk or give up on races with a lot of time and money invested. But I also stressed that I couldn’t go on with the pain.

My ortho doc is part of a sports medicine practice, so he understands the needs of athletes. (HA! First time ever that I’ve suggested I’m an athlete. Writing that made me laugh!)

My pleas sunk in. We compromised and agreed on a cortisone shot that day, but that’s the absolute last one. The next time the pain comes back – whether in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months – it’ll be surgery time. I’ll be mindful of this in planning races for 2016, knowing that if the pain comes back right before a big race, I might need to ditch the race or endure the pain until after the race.

Wine and Dine medalAnd I did run those races – more on that soon!

The latest relapse happened after only four months, and even though I wish it would go away, experience tells me it’ll be back. In fact, I’ve started to have a sore shoulder this week, and I keep hoping I slept on it wrong and it’ll go away soon. I’m scared at the thought of surgery and even more worried that I’ll endure the pain and expense of surgery and it won’t work.

My frustration has turned to anger. I’ve previously considered filing an injury report to the federal government and then seeking compensation through the vaccine injury courts, and I may be ready to do it now. In less than two years, I’ve endured a lot of unnecessary pain, I’ve spent a lot of time and money on trying to recover from SIRVA, and now I’m facing surgery, which also won’t be cheap. Had I decided to skip my flu shot in January 2014 or waited to get it at my doctor’s office, it’s likely this never would have happened.



My First Half Marathon: Columbus Half Marathon

Ever since I ran the Princess Enchanted 10k at Walt Disney World earlier this year, I knew I wanted to train for a half marathon. It seemed like a distance that would be a challenge for me to accomplish, but wasn’t so far out of reach that it would be near-impossible.

I had originally planned for the Emerald City Half Marathon in August to be my first half marathon. However, I quickly accepted that I am not a summertime runner, and realized I had not trained enough during the summer to be ready for the Emerald City Half. I don’t like heat and humidity, and this summer was not lacking in either.

In early August, Aaron and I ran the Scioto 10-Miler race to help me build mileage for my half. That race went very poorly for me. I started out great, but by seven miles in I was hurting and my tank was empty. The last two miles were an absolute struggle, and my finishing time was terrible. So after that race I made the decision to drop down to the quarter marathon for Emerald City, which did result in a PR for that 6.55 mile distance.

Emerald CityEmerald City Quarter Marathon

I still needed to get a half marathon in the books, though. So I signed up for the Columbus Half Marathon, which is run as a part of the Columbus Marathon in October. I figured I’d have plenty of time to train for this half in the cooler early-fall weather.

The Scioto 10-miler was as far as I’d get, though. For nearly all of September, I had some strange GI health issues that caused nausea, stomach pain, and left me fatigued most days. I did get some training runs in during that month, but they weren’t as long as I needed, and I was generally wiped out afterward.

In early October I was feeling a little better, and I participated in the Run Like A Girl 10k. I felt great in the cold weather, and while I didn’t have a PR for this race, I did finish strong and felt like I could have kept going. That gave me some hope that the Columbus Half might happen.

October 18 was the big day, and it was COLD. Aaron was running this race, too, but we agreed that he would run ahead of me at his own pace. I think the reason I burned out so badly on the Scioto 10-Miler was that I was trying to keep pace with him, and while he was only trying to help by encouraging me, the result was that I went too fast for me. For this race, we agreed to meet at the end and each run at our own pace.

cold morningThe morning of the race – the very cold morning.

They say you shouldn’t try anything new on race day, but I broke that rule. On long runs, the two greatest problems I have are hitting a wall with my energy around mile seven, and a persistent swelling in my hands until I can no longer bend my fingers.

For this race, I had found a pair of compression gloves for crafters, and decided they could help keep the swelling down in my hands, along with drinking only the Gatorade on the course and not the water. (The swelling comes from hyponatremia from sweating out too much salt.)

I also realized that part of my energy problem was that I don’t have the metabolism of the average person. Most recommendations are to fuel up during the race with simple carbs (sugar) that can be quickly absorbed for energy and won’t upset the stomach. But the more I ate/drank, the faster I ran out of energy. I have hypoglycemia, which means my body overproduces insulin when it detects a sugar surge. This can leave me feeling weak and shaky. So for this race, I packed my usual sport gummies for energy, but I also included a baggie of nuts to eat along the route. The nuts provided fat and protein to slow the sugar absorption, and also gave me a little extra salt to help with the swelling.

We were wrapped up in layers and mylar blankets before the race, trying to stay warm as we waiting in our corral in the 28 degree weather. But then it was finally our time to run.

pre-half marathonWrapped up but ready to go.

I ditched my throwaway jacket before I reached the end of the first mile, finding that I was already warming up quickly. The hardest part at the start of the race was reminding myself to SLOW DOWN. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and run faster, but sticking with the intervals and pace I trained with was going to get me to the end.

I’m a Galloway interval runner, so I alternate timed running and walking intervals. I’ve learned that skipping walk intervals early on will only lead to skipping running intervals later in the race, so I forced myself to comply with each walk interval even though I wanted to run more during that first mile.

As we progressed out of downtown and into the Bexley area, I fell into a good rhythm while listening to my music. I could feel my fingers starting to swell and pushing against the compression gloves, but the gloves were keeping them from going any further. The gloves were working!

I also felt great along the course thanks to messages of support from friends and family. I recently learned about the Motigo app from my local chapter of Moms Run This Town, and asked everyone to please record some voice messages of support for me along the course. I can’t fully express how encouraging it was to hear voices of friends and family suddenly pop into my earbuds at certain points along the route, making me laugh and reminding me that I could do this. It’s a free app I highly recommend for other runners to use. (That recommendation is not sponsored in any way. I simply love the app.)

As expected, I reached the start of mile eight and started to feel some fatigue setting in. The nuts were doing their job and keeping me from hitting the wall, but not getting in enough training before this race was starting to have an effect on me. I wasn’t hurting, but I was slowing down a little and my brain felt a little foggy. We reached the Clif Shot Station (packets of energy gel), and I took one just to give it a try. Well…I can now say that eating something with a taste and texture you don’t like will snap your mind back into action quickly! It had the texture of frosting and wasn’t a taste I appreciated. I shuddered as I tossed the remainder away, my mind now fully alert thanks to my disgust.

At this point I accepted the slower pace that kept me comfortable and settled in for the next two miles through German Village. I did stop at the mile 10 flag to grab a quick photo and Instagram it, trying to humor myself with the caption of, “10 mile warmup complete. Time to crush this 5k!” I know, I’m hilarious when I’m half-delirious from fatigue.

Mile 10

Mile 11 was my slowest mile, but it wasn’t until I was in my final mile that everything started to hurt. My right foot began throbbing with each step, my right hip had pain shooting down it for each stride, and each step forward was made by pure willpower. I was back in the downtown area, and the crowds were growing larger the closer I got to the finish.

I had nothing left when I made the final turn. I walked part of it, but when the finish line was in view, I forced myself to run…or shuffle slowly in as much of a run as I could muster. Crossing that finish line, after traveling 13.1 miles, was amazing. Yes, I was sore, and yes, I was stumbling as I moved to the recovery area. But having that medal placed around my neck made me feel like I could do anything. I earned that.

Finisher medals

Everything came together that day to give me that moment of triumph at the end. The weather was good, the gloves controlled my swelling, the food kept me energized, the virtual cheers from friends and family kept my spirits up, and my feet carried me through to the finish. My first half marathon was a success.

Oh, how I hurt that afternoon. And the next day. But you know the crazy part? Not even 24 hours later, I thought to myself, “Let’s do that again.”



Runs in the Family

Part of my motivation to run more was the hope that I’d inspire the kids to want to join in on the activity. When we registered for the Princess Half Marathon weekend races, we signed Cordy and Mira up for the one mile race for kids. We expected to see Cordy cross the finish line first, with Mira further behind. But we were shocked when Mira was the first one sprinting across the finish line in under eleven and a half minutes, with Cordy following about a minute later. Mira quickly recovered from the dash and declared she wanted to try longer distances.

I went looking for a 5k that would be friendly to kid runners, especially if she couldn’t do the distance and we needed to slow walk a part of it. Mira insisted it had to be a race with a medal – the kid takes after me in her love of runner bling. I found out about a new race called the MommyMile, which encouraged kids to run along with their moms, and decided it would be a good first 5k for her to do in late April. And it had a medal.

Thanks to some bad weather, we didn’t get in as much training as I would have liked for Mira. The day of the race was chilly, which made me worry that she’d decide she didn’t want to do it anymore. Getting up early on the weekend is bad enough, but getting up early to go out into the cold is even less exciting to a seven year old. Surprisingly, she was still ready to go and looking forward to the race.

Before Mira's first 5k

I had a deliberately slow plan for us: we’d do intervals of 30 seconds of running, followed by one minute of walking. I can run faster intervals than that, but I didn’t want to wear Mira out too quickly.

At the start line, Mira was bouncing with energy, so excited to get started. I reminded her that during our run intervals, she needed to not go at 100% or she’d run out of steam. She agreed that she would run slow and conserve her energy.

Crossing the start line, though, she shot ahead of me, weaving in and out of people with an enormous smile on her face as she glanced back to check where I was. I had to push myself to keep up with her. When my Garmin watch signaled it was time to walk, I called out to her and she slowed, waiting for me to catch up to her. I reminded her to pace herself, and she replied that she was running slow. We repeated this process for several sets of intervals.

But then right before the first mile marker, it caught up to her. She looked out of breath and she told me her side was hurting. “Let’s walk this next run interval and take some deep breaths,” I suggested. She was happy to comply. After she caught her breath, I again suggested running slower, and she finally agreed with me.

Now that she wasn’t huffing and puffing, though, she had enough air to complain:

“This second mile is taking forever!”

“Where is the water station?”

“OMG, we have to run uphill again?”

“I’m SO tired and my feet hurt!”

I can’t blame her – I have many of those same thoughts in the middle of a race, although I usually only say them in my head.

I remained her coach through the entire race, reminding her that she can do anything for 30 seconds, and that she was stronger than she thought she was. I reminded her about the medal at the end, too, and that she had to finish the race to earn the medal.

As we reached the last half mile, the smile returned to her face. “We’re almost there! I can see it!” She had renewed energy and started to run a little bit faster. Seeing people cheering for the runners at the end helped boost her spirits, too. She yelled thank you to those cheering us on as we passed them.

We made the final turn, and with the finish line in sight Mira sprinted towards it as she waved at Aaron and Cordy cheering for us. I could see how proud she was to finish the race and collect her medal. I was proud of her for sticking with it and not giving up.

And – like many runners – despite the complaining during the race, after she had a snack and some water and rested for a bit, Mira asked, “When can I do another 5k?”

Welcome to the club, kid.

Mira's first 5k medal



Race Recap – runDisney Princess Enchanted 10k (Part 2)

[Note: This is part 2. You can find the first half of my recap in Part 1.]

Race Recap: runDisney's Enchanted 10k

The Race

At 5:30am, the Fairy Godmother took the stage with the race announcers, and provided the countdown for the first corral. Fireworks burst into the sky as the first group took off running.

Enchanted 10k Fireworks The first corral’s fireworks signaling the start of the race.

I shivered and continued to wait as three more corrals moved past us to the start line and went through their own countdowns. Finally, it was our turn.

My mylar blanket fell off of me as the group was moved to the start line. I wasn’t going to need it much longer anyway. I tightened my shoelaces and then bounced on my toes to warm up my legs while waiting for our moment. And then the fireworks went off for us – it was time to run.

Enchanted 10k starting line Blurry picture, but there was a lot going on in that moment.

Despite being cold and tired, I was going on pure adrenaline at this point. It was about half a minute before the crowd thinned out enough to actually run, but I burst across the starting line ready to fly with my Garmin watch signaling my intervals and my phone playing music from my running playlist.

I skipped my first walk interval because I was feeling so good. (Note to self: stop skipping your first walk interval. It only makes you slower later.) About half a mile down the road, I saw the first character appearance. Anna and Elsa were set up on a Frozen-themed overpass that we ran under. Disney, being a wise company, made sure there was no way to go meet Anna and Elsa or get a photo with them – the lines would have been unmanageable. But they had microphones and were waving and talking to the crowd as we ran below.

As I approached, I wanted them to notice me, since I was dressed as Elsa in her coronation outfit. I waved up to them, and caught Anna’s eye. She waved back and said, “Oh, Elsa, it must be corneration day! Uh, I mean, coronation day!” That recognition made my heart happy.

Skipping my first walk interval and parts of additional walk intervals caught up to me at the end of the first mile. I was suddenly tired, and about to turn the corner to climb a huge overpass. As I made the 180 degree turn, I worried I wasn’t going to be able to make it if I was this tired already. But I looked down at the road below, where I had been, and saw all of the people still behind me, some walking, some running. All shapes, all sizes. I wasn’t going to let my first moment of doubt bring me down.

And then, on that road below, I saw the balloon ladies. For those who don’t know, the balloon ladies are volunteers with large Disney balloons tied to them, who are the last to cross the start line, and keep the minimum 16 minute per mile pace. As long as you’re ahead of them, you won’t be swept from (pulled out of) the race. I’m told they’re a wonderfully supportive group of ladies who encourage all near them to keep going, but it’s also true that seeing them can make you very afraid. Yes, they were still nearly a quarter of a mile behind me, but that still felt too close for comfort. Seeing them gave me that extra push to make it to mile two faster than I made it to mile one.

There were a few characters along the route that you could stop and get photos with, but I didn’t stop out of fear of time. I passed by Alice and the card soldiers from the Queen of Hearts, then Tinkerbell and her fairy friends, and then we took an exit ramp that would lead us into the backstage area of Epcot. So far we had only been running on roads, but I was excited to run in the park itself. Greeting us at the backstage entrance were performers on stilts who waved and high-fived (or low-fived in their case) the runners who passed by.

We made another turn through a gate and I found myself in the World Showcase area of Epcot. The sun was up at this point, but still low, and everything had a beautiful glow to it. While I still wasn’t willing to stop and wait in lines to meet characters (Marie from Aristocats was in this area, as was Minnie Mouse in her princess dress), I did quickly run to the water’s edge for a selfie with Epcot’s Spaceship Earth in the background.

Selfie at EpcotOnly a little sweaty at this point, thanks to the chilly air.

After crossing the bridge from the France pavilion, we exited Epcot towards the Boardwalk resort. My second moment of doubt was hitting me as we ran up a hill to cross the bridge to the Boardwalk. I was tired, I was now starting to get sweaty, and I didn’t know how so many of the people around me looked so refreshed. Good acting? It was also while at the Boardwalk that I saw a woman walking the opposite direction with her 10k medal already around her neck. I had over two miles to go, while some were already DONE?

Luckily, this second moment of doubt was squashed by two excellently timed mood-boosters. First, there was a great crowd of spectators all along the Boardwalk, holding up signs of support and cheering us on. Knowing that they were still there cheering for those of us who were slower restored a lot of my confidence. If these strangers felt we could do it, then we could.

And the second was my running music playlist (on shuffle) serving up “Let It Go” into my headphones at just the right time. Yes, that song has been overplayed to death, but at the right moment, when you’re in the right emotional state, it’s like you’re hearing it for the first time and suddenly everything makes sense. Emotions are weird, and the timing of when they bubble up thoughts to the forefront of your mind is bizarre. There were tears in my eyes running through that area, but they were (mostly) tears of gratitude that I was at that race, and that I was doing it despite setbacks from the previous months.

Coming around the loop and back towards Epcot, sheer will was keeping me going past mile five. I had never run further than five miles before this, so the last 1.2 was all new territory. I was letting myself take more walk breaks through my run intervals because my legs felt heavy and sluggish.

I started to see the backstage area for Epcot again, and knew that once we were back inside the park it was a short distance around Spaceship Earth and out the gate to the finish line. It was serious effort to force myself to run at that point, and I would stumble a little each time a run interval ended – slowing to a walk was difficult when I could no longer feel my legs.

I made my way around Spaceship Earth, knowing the finish was just a little further. I even smiled and looked happy for the official photographers out on the course. Just as we entered the parking lot area for the final turn to the finish line, I heard Aaron yelling my name over my music. I turned to see him and the girls waving wildly at me and cheering. Seeing them was that last little boost I needed, and I pushed myself a little harder towards the big pink banner.

near the finishAaron’s photo as I just noticed them.

Crossing the finish line is such a rush. You’re exhausted, you want to collapse in a heap, but at the same time you’re victorious and want to take on the world. Or maybe you’re delirious – it’s hard to say. I was in a daze after finishing, stumbling forward towards the volunteers holding medals. I remember one of them putting a medal around my neck and congratulating me, and I smiled and gave a hoarse thank you back to her.

I then walked a little further, taking a water, a Powerade, and a snack box as I passed each table in the recovery area, and genuinely thanking each volunteer – they were handing me what I needed to recover, and I appreciated them for that. All of the volunteers I encountered were fantastic and helped make the event a positive experience with their enthusiasm and their encouragement.

Coincidentally, I reached the exit of the recovery area just as Aaron and the kids reached that same point from the other side. My hands were completely full, and I was starting to shiver and feel weak, so Aaron swiftly swept some of the items out of my hands so I could focus on getting the Powerade open. Once I had a little bit to eat and drink, it all sunk in. I did it. My first ever 10k distance, my first official runDisney race, and I did it.

I expected to cry at the finish line, but other than slightly watery eyes, it didn’t happen. Those tears were only during that emotional midway point at the Boardwalk, when my body started to protest going any further but my spirit said, “Nope! Not giving up today!” Maybe I was too happy to cry at the end? Maybe there was nothing to cry about? Maybe I was dehydrated? It didn’t matter – I was proud of my accomplishment, and happy to have run my first 10k at Disney.

Enchanted 10k Conquered And happy to have that bling around my neck!

Final Thoughts

The Princess Enchanted 10k was everything I expected and more. The course was great, the on-course entertainment kept my spirit up and made it fun, the other runners were friendly and encouraging, the volunteers were top notch, and you really can’t beat the experience of running through a Disney park.

Yes, it was a struggle to get through all 6.2 miles of it, and there were parts where I was dealing with aches and struggling. Despite those moments, though, it was fun. I can’t even believe I’m writing that running 6.2 miles was fun – the me from two years before this moment would totally roll her eyes at me. But it was fun. During the race, I wasn’t thinking about how many calories I was burning, or how running was going to get me into better shape. I was thinking about how cool it was to run at Disney, how running with a pack of people past Spaceship Earth was surreal, and how happy I was that my legs were strong enough to carry me through it all.

Showing off the medalYes, I wore that medal for the rest of our week at Disney.

A little over a week ago I ran a four mile St. Patrick’s Day race – my first race since the Enchanted 10k. During that run, I found myself wishing for Disney music and characters along the course. It wasn’t quite the same, running through neighborhoods and across a golf course without on-course entertainment and Minnie Mouse waiting at the finish line.

And like much of Disney, it’s easy to get addicted. I’m already planning my next runDisney event, and I’m going to push myself even further. I recently registered for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in November. A half marathon sounds impossible to me right now, but I have months to get myself ready. It wasn’t that long ago that a 10k seemed impossible. Now I have a new dream to chase.

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