It all feels a little surreal still. I told myself 70 pounds ago that I could do it, that one day I would be healthy enough to run a half marathon. That if I set my mind to it I could do anything so with passion in my heart I signed up for the first Disneyland half marathon I could as soon as we got to California.
We started first by hitting the expo, getting to Disneyland Resort on Friday. The Disney Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon was on Sunday so I left plenty enough time to shop the expo hall and familiarize myself with where I was to be going. We checked into the expo and picked up my bib and some extra gear I would need for my journey to smash the half.
I felt really prepared though even my nails screamed they were ready to runDisney!
In the morning of the race I made my way towards the start line. On my way I met Kathy and Nancey, lifelong friends who both made their way to the half marathon to race. Nancey and I never seemed to part ways, because her friend Kathy was in a corral ahead of us and lets just say security made sure there was no one moving corrals so we chatted while we waited for the start.
If you have never run a Disney race it’s something else. There’s just a sense of excitement and everyone is so supportive. We made our way into the parks running our first mile around Disneyland California Adventure.
There are no shortage of characters at Disneyland so right away I stopped for my first selfie.
Then stopped again for my Iron(wo)man pose before heading into Disneyland.
We made our way into Disneyland and they were testing rides and while we were moving incredibly fast I still got to enjoy that time in the parks. In fact I turned around and there was Nancey we were still at the same pace so we said lets do this! We’re in it together!
Snow White even smiled for my selfie!
The winds picked up after we left the park. Santa Ana winds in California can be brutal but add running a half marathon into the mix and lets just say things were dusty and those miles might have been our toughest.
One pack of GU later and at Mile 10 we made our way into Angel Stadium.
There is no doubt we left that stadium beaming with excitement as we made our way to the finish line. There were so many people cheering, cast members, volunteers, and others who came out to cheer us on. There was just something so electrifying about those moments, when you really struggle. When you fight with yourself beyond all odds to move forward and yet you do.
That last mile I cried the whole way towards the finish line. I had finally done what I had set out to do so many years ago. I had taken every step, I had broken a sweat and hurt and wanted it more than anything. It was just that overwhelming feeling of YES I CAN!
So if you have a dream reach for it. I have to say a huge thank you to Nancey who shared her jelly beans and told me I could do it every step of the way. Together we finished having met at the starting line yet somehow it feels like I had known her for so long. I don’t know when I will see Nancey again but I have no doubt I will see her again.
The entire weekend I was overcome with such joy. The entire weekend my family made it feel like it was all about me, they told me I could do it, they told me to never give up. They supported me on my bad days and my good days.
I hope to be the example to my daughters to never give up on your dreams. No matter how hard or how long you have to work to get there. Always move forward with purpose and poise. My hope for them is that they feel the same love for life that I feel. That they find purpose and stand tall in their beliefs.
So my first half marathon is dedicated to never giving up on your dreams. As I move on towards my second I hope to take that perseverance and persistence with me as I continue to move forward in my journey.