I’ve always maintained that my only reasons to run are to run to something or from something. Picture a delectable smorgasbord and a man wielding a knife. Running to, running from — simple. Take away those motivators and you’re left with a person who prefers to get her exercise walking with earbuds blasting, lifting 40 pound bags of mulch, or hiking in the mountains. No running required.
Then I caught the runDisney fever.
Those of you reading this who have participated in a runDisney race are nodding vigorously right now. RunDisney events have ripped even the most stationary of couch potatoes from their seats and inspired them to lace up their sneakers and hit the pavement. From start to finish, each race is filled with magic, sprinkled with pixie dust. Three summers ago, I got the crazy idea that I wanted to run a 5K with my friend Ashley from Fiddle Dee Me. The race was on the morning of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Magic Kingdom, and I couldn’t say no to the idea of completing my first 5K, then going into the parks 40 years to the day after Walt Disney World officially opened its gates. I downloaded a running app to my phone, bought new sneakers, and began my journey to the starting line.
Somewhere along the way I realized that something wasn’t right. My body was simply not going along for the ride without a fight. A very uncomfortable and blunt visit with my doctor confirmed that injuries I sustained during the traumatic delivery of my second child were being aggravated by all of the pounding of the pavement I had been doing. I immediately shifted down a gear and focused on walking quickly, staying strong for the 5K. On October 1, 2011, I completed my first 5K and then hung up my running shoes indefinitely. I was a woman converted, a couch potato turned endorphin junkie, and suddenly it was over. My heart was broken.
It’s been three years since I, against my better judgment and anti-running snark, joined the running community. And while my body would likely prefer to remain seated, my spirit is telling me that I need to get back in the game. I’ve begun to run again, taking it slowly, starting back at the first day of that same app, listening to my body but pushing it to hang in there for just a little while longer. I feel strong. I feel ready. And I’ve got my eye set on the Princess Half Marathon next February.
There’s always been something about Disney that’s inspired me to want to be more, do more, achieve more. The Disney running community was no exception, and once I joined them, I felt as though I had left my old self behind and transformed into the kind of person who could fly to Florida with her family, run a race, then spend the day experiencing the magic with her proud children. I can’t help but want that back, and I’m ready to chase that desire.
Once you’ve had a taste of magic, it’s worth leaving it all on the track to feel it just one more time.More On