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Monday, November 14, 2011

Going the Distance.... In a Tutu

In 2008, I got a call from a good friend who said, "I am running the Disney Marathon. I think you should run it with me." At the time, I couldn't run from the front door to the mailbox without getting winded, so 26.2 miles was sounding a bit hefty, if you know what I mean.

This is Krista.

Krista, my crazy running friend, proceeds to tell me about the Couch-to-5K program and then Galloway's Marathon Training, blah, blah, blah. Well, ol' Krista is convincing. Maybe she should be in sales instead of a teacher. Maybe her real calling is convincing people that misery loves company. Or maybe, just maybe, she is just a really mean prankster. But either way, the next thing out of my mouth is, "I'm in."

Yep, you read that correctly, I said I was in. And I did more than that: I registered for the race — the whole enchilada, the full 26.2 DearGodIHopeIDon'tDie Marathon.

I started training and planned my family Disney trip to begin the weekend of the race. I even convinced my husband to run too. OK, so remember that I am the girl who can't make it to the mailbox without getting winded? Well, I started with my Couch-to-5K Program, and I am dedicated. I actually graduated the Couch-to-5K Program and started the Galloway Training. I am rocking along and feeling all accomplished, until the week comes when I have to run 17 miles on my long run.

ImageSeriously, 17 miles is miserable. I sucked wind the entire time, never got into a good rhythm, and lost all confidence that this was actually an obtainable goal. Maybe this was a bit hefty, so I decided to jump ship. I just couldn't wrap my mind around 26.2 miles. I know I could do 13.1. I'd done that before in training.

There was a large group of us going, some running and some cheering. There were other girls who were going to run the half marathon. I'm going to do that instead. So I registered for the 2009 Disney Half Marathon. I trained and I trained. You would have thought that training for this race was my job. I ran every morning and hardly missed a training run. Oh, and did I mention that somewhere in between signing up and training, Krista found out she was pregnant? And she still ran the full marathon. So, not only is she a really mean prankster, but she's also a mega rock star, too.

Because I had planned my trip around the full marathon, I wasn't due to check in at Disney until Saturday after the half marathon was over. I made a few phone calls and decided to drive down a day early to stay with my friend Liz (who had also signed up for both races because she was overzealous like me). Liz is wonderful and promised to run the entire half marathon by my side. Yay!

We had a great time at the Disney Health and Fitness Expo, buying all our marathon merchandise and hanging out with our friends who were either going to run or cheer.

It really was a super-fun time, until ... remember I said I trained? I was well trained. This race should have been a cake walk. It was not a cake walk. It was far from a cake walk. Somewhere along the line I let my mind tell my body that I can't do this. Luckily, my body won out, but just barely. I completed the half marathon with an official finish time (if only by mere seconds). I was miserable — completely, totally, utterly miserable — but I did it. I can say with all certainty that I managed to get through it because of Liz and all my friends who were there to cheer me on every step of the way. I was and still am eternally grateful for them.

The next day, my husband ran the full marathon next to my good friend, Deb. Krista ran the full marathon pregnant. And me? Well, my dear friend, Cee, and I cheered our hearts out for them. We knew how much it meant to hear someone say, "You've got this!" or "You're looking great," because it had meant so much to us the day before.

ImageThat fateful weekend sparked this bizarre love of endurance racing. As miserable as it was, I knew I had accomplished something most people never do. In fact, that year I ran three half marathons: the Disney Half Marathon in January, the Inaugural Princess Half Marathon in March, and the Disneyland Half Marathon in September.

This year, in January, I completed Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge at  Walt Disney World. Goofy's Challenge requires that you complete both the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. So, I have finally completed a full marathon. Go big or stay home, they always say.

The past almost four years (counting training time) has taught me the following:
  1. Endurance running is 95 percent mental. Knowing you can do it is worth more than I can tell you
  2. Running friends are lots of fun and persuasive and some of the best friends you could ever ask for (thank you, Krista, Liz, Renee, Kari, Cee, Deb, Leslie, Katie, Tonja, Lynn, Becky, and the host of others who have encouraged me).
  3.  I really like to collect medals.

Post submitted by Jill from The Mommies Network's Content Team

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