Friday, March 4, 2011

Disney Princess Half Marathon-Check!

When I go back to reread the post I wrote back in November about my decision to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I am surprised. Surprised not only by the fact that it still makes me tear up, but also by the realization that that was actually my experience: the pain of that miscarriage and our struggles to get pregnant seem like they belong to someone else's life memories, so far and faded is that pain now.

Last weekend I went back to run my third (and quite possibly last) half marathon in Disney, this one in celebration of Just Me and My Boys. As poignant and important as the event was, it did not feel at all heavy. The few times I got emotional, it was a giddy sort of joy--tears of relief mostly--that I got all I had wanted Then. I got my kids. I got to be a mom.

And it was fun. The weekend was filled with silliness (how could it not be when 90% of the runners--even men--were wearing everything from tiaras to tutus?!?) and fun and light. So rather than write another post about my emotional full circle and the meaning of this whole experience for me, I found it best to capture it with some photo ops...

We started out the Race Weekend with the kids' races. Ben ran the
200 meter and took off so fast that Daddy almost couldn't keep up alongside him. Aidan Kai earned his first-ever medal in the 100 meter dash. He was pretty darn proud of himself. (I did not miss the irony that this time around my half marathon weekend started out with me on the sidelines watching my children race...)

After the kids' races, we were off to the Expo which, in the past, had been quite an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours among vendors and other racers, but this time...good God!...standing in line for packet pick-up or to purchase one single "I Did It! 2011" t-shirt was surely more grueling than the race itself! However, the Big Moment of the expo came when my boys made their "Go Mama" signs to hold up on race day for me:

Back at the hotel room, Hubby and the boys gave me gifts: a pink sparkly cuff picked out by the boys, a pink flask picked out by Hubby (because, after all, what better way to celebrate the culmination of 3 months worth of hard physical training than with a little girly flask?), an amazingly inspiring card, and a picture drawn by Ben during his art center time in school depicting me running throughout the race all in pink and purple crayon (does my kid know me, or what?).

After getting everything ready, we tried to get in a good night's sleep, but I, at least, only managed one solid hour.

By 3:45 a.m., I was ready to run:

And by 4:45 a.m., the boys were ready to roll:

When Cinderella's fairy godmother counted down and the fireworks went off, I was more than eager to go. I was surprised to find that my first couple of miles didn't hurt as much as they usually do, and I settled into a steady pace right away. I was so excited about the whole thing, that I barely listened to any of my music (which is kind of ironic after all the drama about whether or not my personality allowed for me to just run with a random playlist on my shuffle). Every mile or so, Disney provided entertainment of some type: characters, djs, performers, and I was glad I had decided not to carry my camera after all, because I would not have been able to resist waiting in the really long lines to take pictures with some of them (particularly the Captain Jack Sparrow scene and Ben's favorite: Lilo and Stitch). By the time the course started winding towards the Magic Kingdom, I knew my boys would be along the sidelines cheering me on, and the running felt effortless. As we entered Mainstreet, I scanned the hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of spectators lined up cheering the racers, anxiously looking for the reason I was running. The minute I spotted them, I broke every runners' courtesy rule and weaved across the racers, practically tripping a few of them, to get to my family.

Seeing them there made every step worth it. I don't think I have ever been so elated in the middle of an event. I took several minutes to chat with my boys, give everyone kisses, and take a couple of pictures.

The next 4 miles were a piece of cake, since the route continued around and through the Magic Kingdom and I was still riding the high of seeing the kids and Hubby. It wasn't until mile 9 or so that my infamous knee issues started to kick in and I started to really look forward to finishing. Miles 10 and 11 were pretty exhausting, and my music playlist finally played a role in distracting me, but once I saw the sign for the final mile, I turned it off and just ran. This was it. I had done it all on my own and for all the right reasons, and had actually enjoyed myself. As I approached the finish line, I heard the air horn that signaled Hubby and the boys were nearby and did a little dancing-wave thing for them as I ran on, shouting "I love you guys!"

I got a tad choked up when the volunteer put the medal around my neck after crossing the finish, but didn't have time to dwell on the emotions since I had to walk for what seemed like another 13 miles just to get around the barricades separating the spectators and the racers.

As proud of myself as I am, I do have to say that the person who really deserved the medal this weekend was Hubby, who dealt with two little boys all weekend long, sprinting from viewpoint to viewpoint to ensure they'd be there for me, probably covering even more mileage than I did, and then tending to them for the next couple of days while I recovered, and the rest of the week, since I came home with a raging virus and have been in bed for almost the whole week. P...when I ran the first half, you were there, running by my side and believing in me when no one else did. When I ran the second one to try to get out of my depression, you were once again my rock, and you never let me hit bottom. And now, you were there to celebrate with me and our boys. You never doubt me. You never doubt us. Thank you (and I don't mean just for the flask).


  1. Congratulations!!! Your post makes me choke up. Bravo. xox

  2. Pretty spectacular, to come full circle, and in the embrace of such wonderful guys, no? So happy I was there to witness a brief moment of this memory. And for the record, I am SO proud of you!

  3. So proud of you! Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations! I just ran my first half marathon and could certainly relate to your post. Love the pink tutu!

  5. SO AWESOME! I am crying now! Congrats girl....I love the tutu!
    And what a beautiful family...

  6. Man, I'm laughing and crying and pumping my fists in the air for you. What an adventure! (And could those boys be any darn cuter??)

  7. Talk about tearing up! I'm getting a verklempt (and I'm sitting in the car dealership ... kinda embarrasing!). How precious are the "Go mama" signs?! Go YOU!

  8. Congrats to you and your hubby!! you really made it.. great pics!!

  9. u brought tears to my eyes... happy ones too! I am so proud of you, and you are so right- the hubby also deserves a medal! xoxoxo Kat


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