I made it through 19.3 official miles at Disney (and about 100 more unofficial miles wandering the parks)!
One of my dearest friends set off on the adventure with me. Anna and I have known each other since we were kids. I won’t go into details about all of our past trips together–including a spring break trip to New Orleans in college–because we’re so much more mature now…). It was so amazing to have her there on this journey with me. Having one of those friends who has just always been a part of the big and little moments of your life is really incredible. The kind where you just slip back into the more carefree days. And the kind who will deal with you at 3am when you’re sick, cranky and a little pathetic. And do it cheerfully.
My training for the Glass Slipper Challenge really went off the rails in January. Bronchitis. Then another condition that sent me to the ER (I don’t even know how to spell it—but I’m fine. It just made training properly a challenge). And then when we arrived at Disney, I came down with another cold. Anna and I spent a few days exploring the parks, eating and picking up our race gear. We woke up really early on Saturday. Dressed in our best Lilo and Stich tutus and headed to the race. I definitely was not feeling the best. But she stuck with me. I tried running a bit, but it just wasn’t my day. I didn’t want to ruin Anna’s race—but as she kept saying in true Disney spirit—Ohana. Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. The 6.2 miles passed amazingly quickly considering I felt terrible. Having someone with a ridiculous amount of energy and spirit beside you helps pass the time! Anna completed her first 10k! I’m so proud of her. Ask our high school gym teacher about our time in gym class together. I’m sure she’s as shocked as we are that we ran through Disney! And I made it through Race 1.
I was not feeling good about the half. But we took the rest of the day and just hung out by the pool. Floated in the lazy river. And recovered. It was definitely what I needed. Sunday came (early again!) and I set off for the half. After a slight detour because of a lost bus, I made it to the start line and felt decent. I didn’t want to push it, though, so decided to mainly walk and reevaluate a few miles into the race. I wanted to finish. And I wanted to stay below 16 minute miles doing it. There’s something about turning onto Main Street in the Magic Kingdom with the streets lined with cheering spectators that gives you a boost of energy. The course heads you toward the castle, veers toward Tomorrowland and then loops through the castle. You run through the tunnel and out to the front. I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired of that section of the race. I felt reenergized and was able to pick up my pace a little bit. Anna met me at the Polynesian around mile 7. Seeing a friendly face gave me another boost. Miles 8-10 are pretty boring. You’re back on a highway. The sun has risen and is starting to beat down and you just want to be done. Finally you realize you’re close to Epcot, a little jaunt through the park and I crossed the finish line. 19.3 total miles in two days for my little princess. I once again carried with me the names of some of the children we’ve lost. Because this is for them.
I remember tearing up at the end of the race last year. Proud of my accomplishment and hoping Zoey would be proud of me too. But this year, I had many more moments where I felt like crying. I would think of all the moms—the ones in my club. The mommas of the names I carried with me. And there are too many. But they are amazing moms. And I wish I didn’t know them like this. But I’m so thankful for their friendship, love and support.
Hattie, Evey, Mackenzie, Caleb, David, Hope, Robert, Charlie, Allison, Baby Light, Ellis, Stan, Kaitlin, Colby, Teddy, Ezra, Baby Heinle, Caleb, Janet, Nicol, Marco, Jonah, Stevie, Dawson, Charlotte, Jackson, Kyrie, Todd Jr, Thomas, Natalie, Bell, Kuyper. Thank you for being with me. I felt you all.
I was acutely aware this year that things “should” be different. My daughter should be almost two. I should have been talking Joe into taking her to meet Mickey. Not running a race in her memory. It is not right. It is not fair. And I wish things were so much different. But they are not. And like all the other moms, I’m doing the best I can. Making the best of the life I have. Living this life and fighting through the pain. Continuing to love my daughter and do everything I can to make her proud.
Thank you again to all of you who supported Zoey’s Crew and who donated to Children’s Miracle Network. It’s amazing to be part of their team. I appreciate the opportunity to give back to the hospitals that helped Zoey on her journey. Thank you!!!
Oh, and the jewel in my half marathon medal fell out somewhere along the way back to the hotel. Seems a little fitting—this race didn’t go quite as I expected or wished. But there’s still a little magic left.