let it go and just have fun….done at Disney.

12571_10200309095834513_972261395_n“Wings” on my feet, in honor of Jack B., Gracie F. and John S., keeping me light on my feet from above, with Logan and Reagan keeping me grounded every mile and reminding me that every step is a step closer to a cure…or an ice pack 😉

So…I finally crossed the starting line, it’s dark, really dark once I get past the explosion of lights and loud music. I keep thinking, go slow, go slow, go slow, don’t get caught up in the adrenaline.

A big thank you to my friend Mary Pierce for helping me out with that, she gave me a great tip one day during a casual lunch conversation. She simply said “Give yourself a number, a pace to stay at and stay at it until you want to speed up“. Sounds simple, right? But all of the suggestions I had received earlier were more about thinking and visualizing a slow start but what I needed was a number, so this was a brilliant concept to me. It all clicked and it felt great.

I stayed to the right side of the road and soon found myself frustrated trying to keep my pace as I navigated through people, the toughest being when there were groups of 4 or 5 together. I was taking the shoulder but the ground was uneven, a little slippery in places and I didn’t want to misstep in a hole unseen. I tried to stay on the pavement as much as possible.

At first I was more like Mary Poppins, singing my way through the groups of runners, chirping, “On your left, thanks!” though I am sure that by the end of the race I sounded a bit more like Cruella de Vil, “ON YOUR LEFT!”

Disney pirate shipWe came to, what I think, was the first character station. It was  a pirate ship and the line was about 20 people deep and all I could think was “Unless it’s Johnny Depp I’m not stopping“, even then I probably wouldn’t have stopped because unlike the people in line, who had learned and surrendered to having fun from the beginning, I was there to run a specific time. Ha! Proud of myself, I kept going.

I really don’t remember much of the first 5 miles aside from it being dark and that my Garmin stopped at mile 4. I thought I had charged it. Rookie.

By the time we reached the Magic Kingdom I had no pain and felt good, just a little frustrated with my lack of experience on how to navigate through the people and not get stuck in too fast of a pace or too slow of a pace. Luckily I remembered what my friend Caolan MacMahon, (http://www.chronicrunner.com/p/whats-it-all-about.html),  said to me weeks earlier, she said, “…every race is a learning experience“. Even though I wasn’t being the best student at the time, remembering this did help me get through some tough mental spots during the race. So instead of getting mad at myself I took mental notes.

Even though I proclaimed that 3:30 a.m. was way to early for my family to rally, I was grateful that my husband, my 7 and 9 year old and my mother thought otherwise. They all hopped on the shuttle before they stopped service at 4 a.m. so they could try and meet me at the Castle.

My husband and I had exchanged a few texts at the beginning and I was sure that I would see them at the Castle. I was also hoping to catch him so he could hand off some extra KT Tape,  http://www.kttape.com/, which was brilliant by the way (note to self, add KT Tape to my next give way). I was also wishing I would have asked him to bring some extra luggage for Aunt Flo, but I thought to myself, “No worries, it’s all good“*.

Cue the trumpeters, we made it to the castle. I quickly scanned the crowd, I didn’t see my family and figured they were on the other side. We funneled through the castle and sadly came to a complete stop for what seemed like forever but may have only been minutes.

It wasn’t anybody’s fault, it was just the natural solution to that many people trying to get through that space at one time. People started to yell “Don’t stop!!!! Keep moving!!“. I wanted to yell, “Keep your ears on, geez, their trying to move the best they can“. But I didn’t.

I never did see my family, they were there but somehow we missed each other in that nano-second. So I kept running and as I turned a corner my IT band yelled at me and demanded my attention. It was a fierce, stabbing pain. I was so ticked off that I was feeling so good, but my knee was feeling angry.

I was relieved when I saw the medical tent, I slipped into it and asked if they could tape for my IT band. They were awfully sweet and kind but when they said they couldn’t tape for my IT Band I wanted to scream “Youtube” ladies, I just saw it on Youtube at about midnight last night, check it out”.

Instead I bit my tongue and they put some tape on my knee as you would a child, gently, as if it were a 4 inch gash and they didn’t want me to see how bad it was. What I really wanted was something tight to hold it together, I’m not sure what ‘it’ was at the time but it just felt like I need something tighter, more pressure. I looked at the young woman as I rolled my capri’s down to cover the tape, she said “That should help“, I quickly replied, “Well, at least mentally” and then we busted out laughing, we both knew that the tape was a good as air at that point. (The tape never even stuck, probably a combination of low-end tape with junk adhesive and my skin being all sweaty. The only thing holding it against my skin was the band from the leg of my capri’s).

Oh well, what was I going to do, I went on my way, run-walking, and as I was running past the sign that posted our time I came to a complete mental halt. “You have gotta be kidding me“. I was 40 minutes behind the time I had projected. 40 freakin’ minutes.  I was not happy with myself. I didn’t give up, but I was pretty crabby about it.

I thought about what I would have told a friend if they had been thinking what I was thinking at that moment. I probably would have said something like “You have come so far, don’t get caught up in your time, keep moving forward, don’t you dare give up on yourself or look past your accomplishments. You trained, you showed up, you are doing it.“. A lot easier for me to cheer-lead others than myself, but I had to take in my own advice and keep moving, time or no time.

So I let it all go, 7 miles in. I had to remind myself to lighten up and think about what my dear,  and awesome running friend Julie P. would say when I told her,  “So, your knee took a crap”, I decided that there was nowhere to go but forward.

I went on to drag my butt up an insane on ramp that seemed obscenely slanted and cruel at mile 10-ish. I started to get fired up around mile 11. I stepped aside and tried to text with my husband to let them know where I was, and they were headed to mile 12. Finneas and PherbI came up to Phinneas and Ferb and I couldn’t resist, my kids would be so excited, I had to stop. Coolest. Mom. Ever.

I remember going past the 12 mile marker and looking for my family, not finding them at first. Oh please tell me I didn’t miss them again. Then I saw them. This is a photo that I would not typically share but for me it reminds me of how happy I was to see them and I love it.


I give them a few sweaty hugs, re-charge my spirit and finish the last 1.1 miles with a big smile on my face. We wind through the back streets of Disney. Image0660We head towards the finish line, we turn a corner, another corner, another corner and another corner before we were greeted by an amazing gospel choir that primed my goosebumps for the big finish.

As I reached the finish line my inner chatter revved up again, “Remember to “goal post”, put your hands up, not half-way, ALL the way and be victorious! and smile, oh, and suck it in, and pray that your head-lights aren’t on, and smile..and, and, and, oh just forget it and cross the finish line, you probably just lost two minutes reciting your ‘to-do’ list”. I quickly remembered a conversation that some friends were having at my house one night, early on, way before this 1/2 was even on my radar.

They were talking about race photo’s and how crappy they can be and then Dimity McDowell (Another Mother Runner, http://anothermotherrunner.com/#) gave this gem of a tip, she said “Just remember, goal post, and raise your arms straight up“. I laughed then but I was smiling when I saw my race proofs and noticed my “goal post” form.  (I should share with you that I was kind of nervous about it, I mean really, I didn’t want a crappy race photo for my first 1/2. So I practiced it on some of my training runs and had my husband take pictures. I know, but it was worth the laughs.)

So there. I did it. Disney is done and now I’m on to my next 1/2, the Colfax 1/2 in Denver, http://www.coloradocolfaxmarathon.org/TOUR2/HalfMarathon.aspx 

But before I go there, I want to share where it all started. So stay tuned, take a step back with me as I get ready to reveal, run and…..if I’m lucky, ride in 2013.

Thanks for stopping by and for hanging in there with me. There’s more to Disney, but really, it’s like looking at 500 vacation photo’s of people you don’t know.

A special thank you to my Boulder peeps that fielded my pre-race questions about packing, fueling and last minute tasks, you guys kept me focused on fun and I’m so grateful for your support.

Run, ride, walk, dream…whatever it is, aim with your heart!

*Aunt Flo was with me all the way, one relative that I wish would have stayed home. Ladies, those that are contemplating grey vs. black bottoms, I’d say black, though I’m sure you will all be better prepared than I was 🙂


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Rachel Eagleton


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