Running through the Magic Kingdom…alright, I’ll admit it, it was pretty cool.
My first 1/2. I really don’t even know where to start. There was so much going on prior to our departure flight that at one point I didn’t even know if I would make it to the starting line. We had everything from a car that died, to family emergencies and situations, …and for me a short tumble down some stairs.
So as one would expect, these events were often times emotionally charged, serious, concerning, and at times sprinkled with drama and some much needed laughs.
During moments like these, for me, being present is my survival skill of choice. I wanted to filter through the fringe and hit the target like an arrow. I wanted to know what had to be done and do it, no messing around. (I am happy to report that health issues have turned around for those that were facing them, we received a lot of wonderful news during a hectic time, it was just the storm before the calm).
At times I found myself stressing, getting mentally sidetracked from my goal that I had set for myself. I was doing my best to balance it all without feeling selfish. To others I may have appeared detached or insensitive, but to me, I felt focused. I was doing my best to stay steady. My training plan had already been thrown out the window and I was holding on to what was left. I was so grateful for my mother-in-laws stationary bike, it was like finding a pot of gold.
Some may say, “it’s just a race”, and truly when push comes to shove, it is ‘just‘ a race. But it’s not, not really. With any goal we set, it ends up being a lot more than what we think it is. For me, it was about setting a goal, setting boundaries, giving myself the time to train and showing my children that there is a healthier way to be engaged with the world. I also enjoyed showing them that their mom was more than a dishwasher, band-aid dispenser and play coordinator.
The most important part of the journey was about raising awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, and that journey is not over. As I said to my donors, the only finish line I look forward to crossing is the one to a CURE.
So back to the nitty-gritty of the day before and the day of the race. I’m so glad that I didn’t really know what to expect, I showed up and did what I wanted to do. Of course, not as fast as I wanted to, but I did it.
We arrived on the grounds just in time to make our Character dinner reservations. It was the night before packet pick-up and I was feeling pretty good, not too tired after our flight and short drive to Orlando. Everyone was feeling pretty excited and the adrenaline was pumping. The kids were fired up to be at Disney while hanging out with family. For me, it still seemed a bit surreal that I was there to run 13.1 miles.
Friday mid-morning we headed to the ESPN expo. My first tip, go right away in the morning and consider taking the bus. We drove and the traffic was nuts. All in all it went quickly considering how much traffic there was, we’ve already decided that next time we’ll go earlier in the morning, maybe take the bus and plan on staying longer at the Expo.
There was a ton of vendors and some great speakers to enjoy but the kids were antsy, understandably, they were at Disney after all, so we just went in and out as quickly as we could manage.
The lines were long, but in Disney fashion, they were moving people pretty quickly. It was pretty tight inside the Expo, crowded, hard to navigate at times for someone like me that does not do well in crowds, nor does Logan, we both like a little breathing room. That being said, if I had been alone I would have braved it and stopped at vendors booths to pick up some swag along the way. (The photo’s to the left and above were taken in the first building where you go for the packet pick-up. Clearly not as crowded, well organized, easy to get your bib, etc. After that you are sent to another building to pick up your bags with your shirt and other race goodies. In regards to shirts, not sure if this is true for every year but the shirts ran big, I ordered a large and could have easily taken a medium, even considered a small, they were very roomy).
There were a lot of photo ops at the ESPN Expo, we didn’t hit them all, but you might plan for a longer stay if that is something you would enjoy. There is also a ton of music and food to keep your tummies full and body feeling groovy while you are waiting in line or taking a break. Most places took debit/credit cards. There were a few smaller vendors outside of the building that only took cash, specifically the temporary tattoo places and a lemonade cart. There is an ATM near the New Balance store at the entrance area. I imagine that there are more ATM’s throughout the expo area, but this was the first one that we spotted.
Fast forward to that night, I had vowed to eat properly and not stay up too late. Of course, I didn’t accomplish either of those things. I had a grilled chicken sandwich for dinner, and picked at some french fries. I couldn’t even think about eating, I didn’t feel hungry at all.I did manage to drink a lot of water to keep me hydrated, along with a diet coke to keep me awake.
Back at the hotel, I laid out all of my race day things and let my nerves settle a bit. The kids put their signs and buttons together, Cigna had a great sign making station inside the first building. I can’t even tell you how happy I was to see their fabuous signs at mile 12. They made some great ones, “You rock when you run”, “We love you when you run” and “Run to get done”.
Excited as I was, and not feeling too overwhelmed, I was still pretty nervous about my knee. Weeks before I was feeling a bit of IT pain on longer runs, my longest being 6 miles. Yes, I said 6 miles, with my IT issues my longest run was 6 miles prior to heading out to the 1/2.
At the peak of my training, life put some pressure on me, I vowed to keep moving towards my goal and to heed my body’s warning to slow it down, but I would not give up. Foam rollers, stretching and some cross training miles on a bike helped me out tremendously, but at the time I had no idea that my IT band was not going to enjoy the 13. 1 miles I had set out to do. It had been weeks since I had felt any significant pain but I was still nervous. I had taken an easy mile run when getting to FL and everything felt really good then, but I felt it lingering.
The suspense! I know y’all are just wanting to hear how it ended but the deal is I have not yet taken a shower, I’m still in my pj’s and I need to go pick up my kids! Stay tuned!
Coming up….3:00 a.m. shuttle rides, Zombie’s, running in the dark and one serious on-ramp.