Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dreaming of Disney!

I have loved reading everyone's Princess 1/2 re-caps over the past few weeks! They are so inspiring and remind me of why I love running: for the pure joy and fun of it!!

I have been so inspired by all of your race re-caps, but I have to admit that at times I have been more than a little jealous!! The race re-caps have truly brought back so much excitement, and given me nothing but motivation to step up my training (in a safe way!!) and make another Run Disney experience happen for me again in 2014!!

The very first time I ever heard about Run Disney was on December 31, 2010. I was a very, very new runner, with just a couple of months of running experience under my belt and no race experience.

I can remember this date very accurately, because discovering Run Disney was a day that changed the rest of my life!

While I had been motivated to start running by watching my boyfriend's dad run the very first Mankato Marathon, and made it very clear that I was just running for fitness, and that never in my life would I want to, or would I ever run a marathon or 1/2 marathon!! I had no plans other than to just run a few miles a few days each week.

Flipping through my very first Runner's World magazine, I stumbled upon an advertisement for the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I was in awe!! The very first thought I had was "I have to do this!!" and thus my life was changed....forever!!

I jumped on the internet and started doing research! I found great blogs about the race, and as I scanned the Run Disney site, I found myself completely committing to the race!! I was going to run a 1/2 marathon! Was I crazy?

I called my sister right away to see if she was up for the challenge, and she said she was in!! The ball was rolling, and I was overly excited! I also got my cousin, Missy, to commit to the trip (and running the Royal Family 5k).

Long story short, my sister decided to bail on us, and so after over a year of planning, multiple races (including actually running the Mankato 1/2 Marathon, just one year after I said I would never run it) I ran my dream race at Disney World!!

Mankato 1/2 Marathon Finisher
Even though I ran the races (I ran the 5k with my cousin!) doped up on steroids due to a hip/lower back injury, and finished almost an hour slower than I did during my first 1/2, I was very happy to accomplish something so big, and accomplish a year-long goal! Here is my race-recap:

Royal Family 5k
Through the journey, I met so many amazing people and received amazing motivation along the way!! Reading all of the Facebook and blog posts got me through the long training miles, and motivated me to continue running through the Minnesota winter (which is awfully hard to train in!!).

I feel like I have come full circle now, I am back to where I started. I completely quite running after the Princess 1/2 due to my hip and lower back. I was depressed, and upset with myself that I allowed myself to be injured! And I was madder than hell, because I knew there was no way I would be able to run the Princess in '13 (if ever again!!).

I continued searching out Run Disney blog posts, and sending motivation to those of you on Facebook, who ran in '13.

Princess 1/2 Marathon
I started running again in September, and have been very slowly adding miles to my (now very strict) training program. Returning to running was hard, and so frustrating. I admit there were days that it was just easier to give up than to struggle running a route I had run so easily just a year before. I didn't give up, and I re-committed to just taking it slow, and building my strength back up. I like to count the miles, but I am much more focused on form than speed. I know speed will come, someday! Now, I am focused on being healthy and keeping my hips and lower back stretched out and limber.

 I am up to 6 miles for my long runs now, which may not seem like much to some of you, but I am very proud to be back there. It is a BIG accomplishment for me, and I am very proud of myself for continuing, even when I only wanted to quit.

Running is not easy, it has never been easy for me, but it was "easier" at one time. It has been so difficult to not get angry with myself. I remember when running 6-miles was a short run, but now it is long and difficult! It is so hard to re-enter this sport, our minds play so many tricks on us!!

I fought myself, and I feel like I won!! I am now on-board to complete the Princess 1/2 Marathon in 2014, and to again run my hometown Mankato 1/2 Marathon in October.

I am dreaming of returning to the Princess 1/2 course and showing it how brave I have been and how far I have come since we last saw each other!!

I am looking forward to meeting up with all the amazing people I have met online!

I am also dreaming of getting my Coast-to-Coast medal by not only running the Princess but also the Tinkerbell!

I am back! And I am so excited to be here!!


Laurel said...

Awesome story! I've only been running for a year. My next RunDisney event is WDW Marathon Weekend 2014!

Kristine Barnes said...

Are you going to be running the 1/2, the full or Goofy??