Friday, February 8, 2013

Magical Miles : Mom's First Half Marathon

Mom announced that she would like to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Ok! Cool! Great! However, my mom is not a runner. I repeat, NOT a runner. That being said, my mom is incredibly fit for her age and maintains good physical health. She has done Bloomsday, a local 12km foot race numerous times and has done well and enjoyed it. However, the half marathon seemed like a bit of a wild hair. Yet, she persisted, she wanted to run this race! A Disney race! A long Disney race! She was by no means going to be talked into the 5k, no ma'am, half marathon or bust. So, we decided to go for it.
We scheduled a trip.
We paid our admission fee.
We were committed to this race.
Training began.

Training was rough at times because I work nights. Mom was not thrilled about running on her own and really, it was something that we needed to do together. At one point I was really stressed out and told Mom that I felt like I was letting her down by not running with her often enough due to my wacky schedule. She calmly said, "We are doing our best." She was not about to get stressed the way I was stressed. She was working hard and she knew that in the end it would be enough.

We landed in Orlando having prepared to run/walk this race. We had a few days to get acclimated to the weather before we were going to have to run in it. Of course, these days were spend walking our tootsies off at the parks! Duh! The race has a 15 minute/mile pace requirement. You have to be able to meet that speed or you risk being picked up and vaned back to the finish line. Mom and I were not sure how far in front of that mark we would be as we trained for a walk/run pace of near 15 minute miles. Mom proudly announced that if she spotted the sweeper van at any point during the race she would proceed to sprint in front of it so they could not catch her. !!!

Two days before race day we picked up our packets and it felt real, it was real. This was going to happen. Like it or not, ready or not, we were going to be at the starting line of the Walt Disney World 20th Anniversary Half Marathon. And then bam. Sick. Laid out. Like body-aches-all-over kind of sick. Like I-really-just-want-my-own-bed sick. So I took the day before and I slept. At this point, I was scared to death. Images of Mom having to out sprint the doomed pick-up van, and me, who was supposed to be encouraging her, dragging behind, had me intimidated.

Not Mom though! She just said, "There's no turning back now! I haven't done this distance so I really don't know what to be nervous for!" I asked lots of girlfriends to pray that I could scrape the energy together to get through this race. (Thank you ladies! You girls rock and your encouragement meant so, so much!!!) I was so worried that I would let Mom down. She had worked so hard and I wanted to do this together!

So morning of, we woke up to a 2:45 am alarm and left the condo by 3:30. We were off and I was alive! I felt so much better compared to the day before! I was so thankful! And now...Now, I was pumped!!!

Our goal was to run the race in under 4 hours give or take. Fireworks kicked the race off and we ran. Mom ran farther than I thought she would, she just kept going! I was so proud! We walked and we ran out of Epcot, down World Drive, under the Seven Seas Lagoon and all through the Magic Kingdom. The race ends where it began at Epcot. The temperature was a record high for the area, fabulous. We were drenched. It's so humid and hot and then you're running your booty off, man! I would tell Mom "Ok, we will run until X point," and off she'd go. By the end she was getting feisty with me. She wouldn't start to run to a point until I could prove that I could actually see it...luckily, Orlando is a pretty flat place and you can see a long way ;)

We ended up finishing the race in 3 hours and 1 minute and I could not have been more proud of Mom at that moment! It was such an amazing feeling to have finished it, and to have done it together! Do not sell yourself short! If there is something you are wishing you could accomplish but think you can't, now is your time! Finishing a half marathon is cool. But, finishing a half marathon when you always doubted that you could ever complete that distance brings a well-earned pride. And a metal to boot!

Race Day! 3:30 am.

Seeing Dad and Andrew watching us was so exciting! It was so fun to be looking for them at different places on the course. 
No the most flattering picture but this was Main Street, my favorite part of the race.

Isn't Mom beautiful? Even at mile 5! 

So that is the story of Mom's First Half-Marathon. Hope it inspires you to get out and try something you never thought you could do!

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