Back in 2011 my Husband and I were in Disney World (My favorite place, my mothership if you will). While there we were shopping in Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs. I was standing in front of a clothing rack in the Disney sports store and was admiring all the tech shirts they had. It was now November and nearly all the Disney races were completed for the year. The shirts I was staring at were from the races of that year.
They had pictures of different characters, depending on the race shirt. So Mickey Mouse was the full marathon, Donald was the half, Goofy was both, and Pluto was the 5km. They said things like, I just completed my first Disney Marathon, or Half Marathon 2011.
I so desperately wanted one of those shirts, I ached to have one. Hubby approached me as I was coveting these beauties and plainly stated “if you want one, buy one.”
It was a simple statement and it couldn’t have been easier for me to just pull it off the rack and buy it. Nobody would know whether I ran one of those races or not. I thought about it for a brief two seconds and said, “no, I want to earn it.”
It’s important to state that I was not a fit girl back then. Shoot, I’m still not a fit girl. My workouts were sporadic, but still steady enough that I wasn’t 100% couch potato. I planned and researched and planned some more, I had the perfect couch to marathon training schedule. 2012 was going to be my training year and I was going to run my first half marathon in January of 2013!
Turned out that planning was way easier than actually executing. I followed some of the schedule, but when the harder and longer runs were scheduled I would find an excuse not to do it. The year went by extremely fast and I was nowhere near ready to run 21kms! But the trip was bought and paid for; my spot in the race was bought and paid for so I was going to go.
I was only able to do 6km before they pulled me off the course. You see all Disney races have a time limit; you must keep a 16 minute mile in order to stay in the race. There is a person called the pace bunny they are the absolute last person to cross the starting line. Once they cross the starting line, the timer is started. Well that pace bunny passed me around 5kms. Race officials gave me time to try and catch up until it was impossible.
Myself and about eight others were pulled from the course. I couldn’t have been more disappointed in myself. I failed so miserably and it was something that I could have easily succeeded at. I wallowed for a short time and when we got home I decided that not only was I going to do the half marathon but I was going to do the full marathon AND the inaugural 10km race!
So the remainder of 2013 I ran/walked several 5km’s and one 10km race but nothing more. We returned to Disney in 2014 and I was pulled from every single race. But this time instead of wallowing in self-pity I saw it for what it was. I was again ill prepared, I didn’t take my training seriously and that’s why I failed. I made the choice to not sign up for anything that I was not already currently training for.
One: because racing is expensive, especially Disney races. Yes I did get my full and half marathon medals as well as the 10km one. But it’s handed to you as you get off the bus, not placed around your neck for crossing the finish line. Two: because even though I got better at not wallowing, it was still soul crushing.
So for 2015 I ran a 5km race at least once a month. Half way through the year Hubby informed me that Disney Land had changed their 5km medals from the rubber material to the same solid material used for the other races. Now call me vain but the only reason I never ran the 5km Disney races was because their medals were rubber.
He showed me the race medal for the Captain America 5km that was during the Super Heroes race weekend. I coveted that bling from afar, I wanted it but my fear of not keeping pace was high. I didn’t want to be pulled from another Disney race, I couldn’t stand the heartbreak. I wasn’t running any of my current races I was walking them all and it would take me an hour to do it.
It was nearly six months away when I agreed. November 2016 I would do my first 5km Disney race.
Well my fear was high, my doubts in my ability to finish was even higher. I had not done any running and was likely not able to keep the pace.
To say that I was emotional would be an understatement. At the finish line they played loud music, you can hear the crowd cheering and the announcer shouting his congratulations to those finishing the race. But until you hit the straight away of the finish line you can’t see the finish line. You have to come around a corner to see it.
I was at least half a km away and I started to hear the thump... thump... thump... from the base in the music.
At first I wasn’t sure if I was hearing things, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was on the track, I missed the last marker and had no idea how much farther I had to go.
Then I heard the announcer, couldn’t make out the words over the thump... thump... thump... but I knew it was someone on a loud speaker. That’s when it hit me, when I realized where I was. I couldn’t make my legs move faster, I didn’t have it in me. But with each step the music got louder, I could hear the cheers of the crowd and I could finally see the fence that leads into the finish line straight way.
I couldn’t help the tears, the realization that a near five year dream was about to be accomplished. I rounded the corner and saw the large sign saying “FINISH”!
For the very first time my medal was placed around my neck, I earned it. I earned the tech shirt and ball cap that I bought. And I cried and didn’t care who saw me.
The moral of this story, life is hard, we fail, fall down, and sometimes we want to give up. I wanted to give up on my dream of finishing a Disney race. But I’m so glad that I kept getting up and trying.
Whatever it is that you are trying to do in life, no matter what it is. Physical or mental maybe both, just keep trying. If you have to, start smaller and work your way up to the bigger things. Because it will happen!