Goals. And Reaching Them.

Goals. And Reaching Them.

It’s not a secret, if you’ve been around here for a bit, that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I had never been a runner until one random morning in June 2012 when I decided, “Hey, I should run.” Yes, just like Forrest Gump.

Short version of the story: I started Couch to 5k and a few days later was talked into signing up for the Princess Half Marathon, which would be run a short 8 months after I got my ass off my couch. It was with the team from the Ronald McDonald House in Macon.

I’ve been a part of the RMHC in Macon since before it even opened its doors to families. Since then, I’ve served as a monthly meal maker, a weekend manager, a weekly shift volunteer, as a member of the Board of Directors, and now as a three-time member of TeamRMHC. While we don’t live in Macon anymore, a piece of our heart is in The House.

You see, when Charlie died, we asked for donations to be made to The House. If I remember right, over $10,000 was donated in his memory… thus, the playroom was named for him.

CFA Playroom

 

So in 2013, as my fundraising goal, I wanted to raise $2500 in honor of Charlie’s 10th Birthday. That year, we raised $5045. I ran hard and finished with my dear friend singing “Jesus Loves Me” in my ear, just like my Aunt sang as Charlie was baptised an hour before his death.

2014 brought the Glass Slipper Challenge. 19.3 miles of insanity. My goal was $2000, because I couldn’t imagine people would donate like they did the year before. We hit $2567 last year. I was floored. And honored.

This year, being the competitive person I am (with myself), I decided that if we could raise $7612, why couldn’t we make it an even $10,000? I mean, can’t hurt to try, right?

So with all of you behind me, I laced up and trained. And I asked you to donate. And once again, you came through. So many of you. Some with $5, some with more… all with love in your hearts.

This morning, I was in Waffle House with the family and got an email ding. It was a donation for $70. I knew my math. I knew that was the amount I needed. Shaking, I went to my page and saw this:

10k

In my head, the reporter asked me, “You’ve reached your goal… what are you going to do now?”

To which I answered emphatically, “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

We did it, y’all! We did it! 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

The Dumbest, Most Amazing Thing I’ve Ever Done #GlassSlipperChallenge

The Dumbest, Most Amazing Thing I’ve Ever Done #GlassSlipperChallenge

There. I said it. Running the Glass Slipper Challenge was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

Yet it was also one of the most amazing.

Twenty-ish months ago, when I decided  to lace up some running shoes and give the whole running thing a shot, I had no clue I would end up running three half marathons in one calendar year. I certainly didn’t think I would be insane enough to sign up for a 10k and a half marathon in ONE WEEKEND. That much I can promise you.

Yet I did.

And (spoiler alert for those who live under a rock) I did it.

Last month, I wrote a quick post about leaving it all on the table and coming back from a race with a new sense of purpose. I can honestly say, having run 19.3 miles (and walked dozens of others) over the course of two days, I left it all on the table and I’m just thrilled to have come back from the race (with or without a new sense of purpose).

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The whole Princess Half weekend was amazing. I drove down alone. It was a great 6 hours in the car by myself. And when I joined up with the RMH van around Lake City and followed it all the way to Disney, I knew the weekend would be great.

RMH Van

Friday morning I went to Magic Kingdom with Kadye.

jana at magic kingdom

 

We rode a handful of rides, including Big Thunder Mountain — MY VERY FIRST TIME!

thundermountain

I spent one night by myself before my friend Melissa joined me on Friday. Our boys have been friends since kindergarten and we’ve really become friends in the last year or so. This was her first half marathon and she was a wee bit nervous. I can’t blame her. Even having run two others, I was nervous, too! After a few hours at the Magic Kingdom with Kadye, I met her and we hooked up with Amy at the Expo.

expo

With my Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge number in hand and her very first Half Marathon number in hand, we made our way through all the vendors and sponsors with Amy. Afterwards, Melissa and I hit Downtown Disney for an early dinner before hitting the bed for a VERY early wake up call!

That night before bed, though, the most amazing thing happened… The competitive me was proud! I passed the $2500 mark for the Ronald McDonald House!

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 12.57.00 PMI had told Melissa if she was up to a 3am wake up call, she would really enjoy seeing the 10k corrals and start and finish. Last year, we watched the 5k and it helped alleviate nerves about the next morning AND created HUGE excitement seeing people of all ages, sizes, and running abilities cross that finish line.

I met up with Claudia and Angela in the corral. It seemed like there were 5000 people in the corrals and that they took forever to get to the start. But finally it started.

It was a great race… going through the World Showcase at Epcot, around the Boardwalk, and then back through Epcot to the finish. My goal for that race, knowing I would have to run another 13.1 miles the next day, was 1:45.

I finished it in 1:47:17. And that was with an 8-10 minute wait in line for the bathroom.

enchanted10k

Part 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge: DONE.

After the race, Melissa and I headed over to the McDonalds for the Team RMHC brunch. Little did I know it would be one of the best photo opps of the weekend!

RonaldShoes

The afternoon was spent at Epcot with Amy. We rode rides, hydrated, rode more rides, hydrated, hit every bathroom we passed… we got into the special Disney Visa cardholder spot and got super special lovin’ from Mickey and Goofy. We carbed up at Via Napoli in Italy for dinner. I loved spending time with her and getting to know her better. She’s hardly selfish at all (as her blog title insinuates she is)!

epcotwithamy

 

After an early bedtime and even EARLIER wake up call, it was time to rock the half marathon.

Melissa and I got dressed, had some bagels and yogurt and whatnot, and headed to meet the Team RMHC crew at the lobby. We got the bus with about 100 other dazed and confused and very excited princesses-to-be.

I had told Melissa I would start in her corral and run with her. My friend Amy ran with me last year and it made all the difference in the world when I wanted to quit or when I felt overwhelmed or when I was just bored. We hit the potties, made our way to the corrals, and waited. Finally around 6, it was time for us to go.

princess1

It’s a tough race in that most of the time, unless you start in a smaller, earlier corral, you can’t just RUN. There’s a lot of jogging and walking and what feels like running in place simply because of the number of people. There are around 30,000 who run this race. To say it gets congested is an understatement.

But we ran.

We ran down Main Street, USA in the fog. We ran through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and then out of the park.

castle

This was where I hit my wall. After 6.2 miles on Saturday, around mile 7, I realized what a stupid idea this was. I was in pain, it was hot (about 70), it was unbearably humid (like running through thunderstorm clouds but without actual rain), my feet didn’t want to work any longer, I could feel a blister forming under my toes, and did I mention it was hot as hell?

But there was a glorious INAUGURAL medal waiting for me. One that only a few (hundred, okay, maybe a few thousand) people were getting. I mean, my name was on a board and everything. I had to keep on.

IMG_8816

 

But there were so many miles left.

I kept checking on Melissa, trying to think about HER and not ME. I was getting texts saying “great job” and all that. But goodness knows, it wasn’t fun. I left the fun in the Magic Kingdom.

Now it was just tedious.

Mile 8. Mile 9. Mile 10.

Mile 11. Mile 12.

Only ONE MORE MILE (plus .1). We’ve got this. We were light years ahead of the feared “balloon ladies” and I was even able to help another runner settle down who was panicked about them coming after her. There were thousands of people behind us.

The finish line couldn’t come soon enough.

But in the blink of an eye (kidding – it took forEVER), there it was.

finish

WE DID IT!

(Official time: 3:38:38)

Melissa finished her first half marathon!

And I finished the dumbest, most amazing thing I’ve ever done — the Glass Slipper Challenge.

GSC Finish

The Day That Love Built

The Day That Love Built

 

Starting at midnight, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia will be sponsored by YOU.

charlieday

Well, technically, it says “by Jason and Jana Anthoine” but really, it was YOU.

So many of you donated to my half marathon fundraising earlier in the year to the tune of $5045.00. Our Charlie’s Angels team of three raised $10,384.30. All going to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia.

A few years ago, when I was actually serving on the Board of Directors, The House started a program called 365 Days of Caring.

It costs approximately $1000 per day to open the doors to serve the 13 families who can use The House nightly. Individuals or groups can support The House by sponsoring a day (or days).

After reaching the $2500 mark, we were given the opportunity to sponsor a day in the 365 Days of Caring program.

Obviously, I chose May 21.

So on Tuesday, May 21, The Ronald McDonald House will be run by all of you who helped support me in my goal to run 13.1 miles. It will be supported by all of you who knew Charlie, who never knew Charlie, who have met us in real life, who only know us online, who are friends and family and people who were met only a few hours before the race started.

May 21 is truly the Day That Love Built. 

And for that, and for you, I am thankful.

 

daythatlovebuilt

If you’re interested in 365 Days of Caring or supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Central GA, see their website.

If you’re interested in doing something fun to remember Charlie, join us for #10ForCharlie this week.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

When I got off Exit 149 in Byron last Thursday, I was greeted by a sign I have passed thousands of times before. Only I never noticed it. It said, “FORT VALLEY – 12.

My reaction was an out-loud “OH SHIT” and a feeling of sheer panic flooding over my body.

I was going to have to run farther than from Byron to Fort Valley. Standing up. In a time limit. Without dying. With people waiting to hear how I did.

Less than a year ago, I would have laughed in your face and told you YOU were insane if you’d said I would ever run a half marathon. I had ankles that were the size of my knees from swelling and pain, I had an extra bazillion pounds on me and couldn’t run more than 30 seconds without feeling like I was dying.

I don’t make decisions easily, but for some reason, waking up one morning and signing up for Couch to 5k and about a week later deciding that I would run the Princess Half with the Ronald McDonald House were decisions that I made with hardly any second thoughts.

There are a million moments I want to share from the weekend, but they’ll have to come at different times. It’s too overwhelming to wrap it all into one neat post.

Last Sunday, we’ll call it Race Day, we were up at 2am. We had time to have a little coffee, fuel ourselves with bananas and banana bread (probably not the best choice, but it was delish), get our costumes on, wake up a little, and be at the bus around 3:15.

The buses were filled with an energy that was hard to describe. It was 50% excitement, 30% panic, and 20% OHMYGODIMGONNAVOMIT.

Once we got there, we walked. And walked. And walked some more. I swear we walked 5 miles just going from bus to tent village to the start line.

A pit stop at the RMHC tent got us another banana and a team picture.

team

Team Charlie’s Angels: Princess Leia, Elastigirl from The Incredibles, and Rapunzel

Here’s where it all got blurry… the long walk through what I assume was the back lots of Epcot.

These signs were all along the way. It was too late to turn around, though.

wrong way

 

Headed to the corral – E for EVERYBODY WHO IS AWESOME. I met up with a twitter friend Amy (@selfishmom). She was lovely and fun to hang with while we waited to run.

selfishmom

The excitement was escalating. The tempo of the music was increasing and the adrenaline was flowing freely now. There was nowhere to go but the finish line.  At 5:30am, they started releasing corrals. Our corral was set to start at 6:03 and in true Disney fashion, it was right on time.

With a Fairy Godmother giving the magic words, “Salagadoola mechicka boola,” she counted down 3-2-1 and the corral was sent off in a fanfare only Disney could provide. Fireworks in a parking lot at 6 in the morning with characters and fairy dust and magic. JUST MAGIC.

startline

The race itself was a blur. Amy and I ran together the whole time. I’d be lying if I said we ran most of the way. We walked a LOT. She was a trooper and stayed with me (her choice, I tried to get her to go get a better time). Karen took off and kicked butt! So proud of her.

I’ve found that I get dizzy during races. The bouncing up and down and moving side to side and flippy ponytails of people make me lose my center and get all discombobulated. With thousands of people in costume and music and noise and chatter all around, it was easily confusing.

collageprincesshalf

There was entertainment every mile. Everything from a marching band to characters to a gospel choir.

There were markers every mile. It’s awesome when you happen to miss a marker and wonder, “Where in the hell is mile 11?” and then you see mile marker 12 and realize you’re AL.MOST.DONE.

The pain was a blur, too. I know I hurt lots of the time, but it’s like childbirth and I don’t remember. (Full disclosure: I remember childbirth and would NOT do that again.)

As we turned the corner around mile 11.5, there was a girl with a microphone asking where people were from and what they were running for. I stopped and grabbed the mic and shouted out, “GO TEAM CHARLIE’S ANGELS!”

What a cool moment!

Right after that was the most vivid part of the race. Shooting pain in my left heel where a blister apparently burst. It was a horrible feeling. For a while I thought I surely would have a bone sticking out of my foot when I took off the shoe. But it was just a blister. On top of a blister. OUCH!!

With less than a half mile to go, there was a gospel choir singing and let me tell you… that’s when I knew I could finish. I was almost there.

Amy grabbed my hand and started singing “Jesus Loves Me,” the song that Aunt Diane started singing after Charlie was baptized in the hospital room. Amy sang it as we crossed the finish line and then, right then, I realized something.

medal

I can do anything I set my mind to.

I have done the hardest thing anybody can do, and I survived.

Running 13.1 miles was nothing compared to hearing the words, “time of death…”

I did it for Charlie. I did it for Henry and Jason. I did it for people who might’ve thought I couldn’t do it.

I did it for the families whose lives will be blessed because of the Ronald McDonald House.

I did it for you, because you supported me in all my (half) insanity.

But most of all, I did it for me.

And now, instead of saying, “Oh shit that’s a long way to run” when I see the sign from Byron to Fort Valley, I’ll say, “I could run that if I wanted to.

ps: Now I feel like I need a medal for finishing this post.

pps: Yes, I will do another one.

ppps: No I won’t do a full, but two halves make a whole, right? :)

 

Seven.

Seven.

Tomorrow will be exactly SEVEN months since I woke up and decided to try my hand at Couch to 5k. I had spent months fighting pain and swelling in my joints, especially my knees and ankles. At one point it was so bad, my rheumatologist gave me some super duper diuretics and I lost 9 pounds of fluid from my body, mostly my lower legs.

I was tired of being fat and winded and quite frankly, jealous of those people running down Peachtree as we drove down to eat a greasy breakfast on Saturday mornings.

The one goal I set at that moment was to go for a jog in Central Park during BlogHer. There seemed to be something magical about jogging around one of the most beautiful parks in the world, in the city that is my Happy Place.

A Twitter friend, Kelly, agreed to get up early on a kid-free morning to jog with a VERY slow me in Central Park. We ended up walking most of it because it was hot, I was swelling already, and it’s hard to talk and run at the same time!

photo

Somehow I got talked into running a half marathon. I think that can be defined as the moment I officially lost my mind.

I’m running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I’ll be running 13.1 miles in memory of my baby boy who would be ten this year. I’m running in memory of and in honor of the children and families who have made the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia their Home Away From Home. I’m running, as my friend Shoshana said, “for the life I am living, and for the life I am living for.”

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 5.08.37 PM

Couch to 5k took a lot longer than it should have. About 4 months, actually, when it should have taken like 10 weeks. Arthritis is a bitch, but I was destined to finish it and run my first 5k.

My first 5k was in October, and I was lucky enough to have Sharon, a mom of a kiddo in Henry’s Scout Den, offer to run with me. Bless her heart, she’s run like nine billion half marathons and can run like 9 minute miles and she ran slooooow and walked and finished a 5k in just under 50 minutes with me. Just so I didn’t have to do it alone.

I threw up after this race and thought I would surely die. I thought I was done and couldn’t foresee being able to do this again EVER.

rundunwoody2012

 

But then November brought the 5k celebrating the Ronald McDonald House’s tenth anniversary… I ran with friends, family, and now Teammates! It was a non-hilly course that was ULTRA hilly. Hurt, but I finished. And then the kid clocked a 9 minute mile in the fun run! Showoff!

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Me, Karen, Amy — Team Charlie’s Angels

I’m so glad to have these girls by my side. They’re faster than me, but they’re not letting me quit. They’re running the Disney Princess Half with me on Team Charlie’s Angels.

And I’m so grateful to have Sharon here locally who pushes me along… even when we’re donning jingle bells in Dunwoody for the Jingle Jog!

photo

 

I’m slow and I hate every single second of this process. But by God, I’m doing it.

Today, almost exactly 7 months after I started, I ran a whole SEVEN MILES*.

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That’s a little more than a 10k.

It’s a little less than the 15k I’ll run next Sunday.

It’s a little more than half of the half marathon I’ll run in 47 days.

I’m almost halfway to my fundraising goal of $2500 for the Ronald McDonald House in memory of my Charlie. When I run in February, I’ll be running for my sons, both living on Earth and living in Heaven. And I’ll be running for you. For all of you who have “liked” my statuses, who have said “way to go,” and who have pushed me along the way.

After February 24, I may never run again, but I can promise you one thing. I’ll cry when I cross that finish line, and not just because I met my goal dressed like Princess Leia but also because the next day I can start Vikki’s new program, Couch to Cappuccino*.

My legs don’t swell anymore, I’ve dropped 4 pants sizes, my arthritis still bothers me but the pain is managed, and the best part?

I feel amazing! 

So here’s to the rest of the training. And for all of you who have resolved to start Couch to 5k, I say go for it. Follow the plan and take your time. You’ll rock it!

 

* Full disclaimer – I run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute. I don’t run the whole time.

* Couch to Cappuccino needs to happen.

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