I want to take a trip down memory lane and tell the story of how the WDW marathon weekend will forever hold a special place in my heart, because that’s where my running journey began.
Let’s rewind to January of 2009, shall we?
I had been a part of a message board for Disney brides and honeymooners for a few years. Several of us had gotten very close, and decided to have a “meet up” in WDW. A couple of the girls were running the marathon, so we thought it would be a great weekend to go. Karen and I had never met, but our plan was for her to drive to my parents house, fly to WDW with me, share a room with me, hang out for the weekend, then fly home. I must say, I was a bit nervous having never actually met the girl!
Our first picture together. Oh how there would be many, many more in the following years!
One of the most fun weekends of my life. These people are a blast.
The morning of the actual marathon, Karen and I staked out a spot in front of Hollywood studios to watch the race…no particular reason for this spot. Keep in mind I was NOT a runner at this point! We waited for our friends to pass. The place we were standing was around mile 24. We somehow missed Jen and Jeff, but managed to catch Crystal! As all of the people passed by, and as I watched everyone cheering them on, all of the sudden I got really really emotional. I thought of the hard work and dedication these people had put into their training for this race. I didn’t know them, but I was so proud of them as they all passed me by. I cheered my little heart out, and decided I COULD do this, I HAD to do this! Fortunately, Karen had the same thought as me, and we vowed we would be back to run.
Fast forward to January 2010.
Jen, Bobby, me, and my sister outside the race expo
Dinner at Narcoossees
We had trained for this race, our very first half. Our goal was to finish in one piece and to have fun. If you are familiar with marathon weekend, you know this was the year of the freeze and the sleet. Yes. It sleeting during the half, and neither Bobby or I had the proper cold weather gear. Thankfully Jen had a bit to spare for me!
We did make it in one piece, and it felt so good to cross that finish line! We did it, we were officially half marathoners!
But we had not yet reached our goal. What? That’s right. My goal was the Disney full marathon.
Fast Forward to January 2011.
It was a tough training cycle. I was struggling with an IT band injury, and Bobby and I were not even living together (he took a new job and I lived with my parents while our house was being built, and he lived in our new town with his employer.) It was tough training basically on my own, I was under a lot of emotional stress. But, we made it to Disney! Karen ran the full with Bobby and I, and it will forever be one of the best memories of my life. We had SO MUCH FUN with the race, stopping and taking pictures with every character, goofing off and enjoying the race.
I remember very distinctly when Karen and I ran by our inspiration curve outside of Hollywood studios. I got really choked up remembering where it all began two years prior. I could not believe I was about to accomplish my goal, and finish the race.
Crossing the finish line was amazing, we finally did it. Two years later, we accomplished what we had set out to do, and it felt wonderful.
Fast forward to January 2012.
Yup. sitting on my couch. I didn’t make it to marathon weekend this year, because Karen, myself, and my mom ran the Princess half in February! Oh, and I have my sights set on just ooonnneee more teeny tiny Disney goal.
Goofy 2013, I’m coming for you!*
*DONE! We ran Goofy’s race and a half challenge, and finished, with a marathon PR to boot!
In case this wasn’t enough fun for you and you want MORE, you can read the individual race recaps for the Disney half and full marathons that I ran, as well as this year’s Disney Wine and Dine race and Halloween 5k: