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

On Goal-Setting and A New Sense of Purpose

Last week, I was chatting with a friend. Our quick chats are usually pretty random, but that’s what makes them fun. Sometimes they take a serious turn and wisdom explodes from one of our brains. He was talking about doing something that would leave him, hopefully, refreshed and renewed and with a new sense of purpose. He called it a challenge and said that to him it was going to be like his version of running a half marathon and he wanted to see if he could actually do it.

It really made me think about how running a half marathon effects me.

I’ve always been a list-maker instead of a goal-maker. Being in the moment and doing “today” seems easier to me than looking towards the future with a big giant goal. Having small items to check off and not have lingering over me have truly been the backbone of my existence. Some may even say I fear failure because of not wanting to set long-term goals. Valid thought.

When I set the (seemingly) lofty goal to run a 5k, I thought surely I would never make it. Why? Because it wasn’t something I could put on a list and mark off after a single day or a single chore.

And then I signed up for a half. I swore it was my only one, but everybody else swore it was my “first.” After I finished, I realized what I loved about the goal-setting and goal-completing.

It wasn’t before or during. It wasn’t even the crossing of the finish line.

It was the BIG, GIANT, SWOOPING, CEREMONIAL marking off of the goal on the proverbial to-do list.

The feelings afterwards, after marking the goal off the list are strange. The feelings of elation and accomplishment are quickly followed by a sadness of sorts. Maybe it’s a desperation to quickly fill that marked-out space on the list with something else.

The empty hole that’s left is from my own doing. Running a long race causes your body to push further than it normally should. Even being a “slow runner” I leave it all on the table. Ten steps across the finish and I realize that I’ve left every emotion, every ounce of energy, every bit of mental distress, and every bit of me on the course. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m done. Spent. Empty.

After a few days, that emptiness fills again with new hope and new goals and new dreams for “what’s next.” I’m a new person – refreshed, renewed, and with a new sense of purpose.

Here’s to leaving it all on the two race courses next weekend and coming back ready to take on the world and set a new goal for myself.

This is probably a bad idea.

Remember a while back when I talked about making sure I was SO VERY prepared for the Wine & Dine half marathon?

Remember when I said I was going to lose 20 pounds before the race?

Remember when I made ALL THOSE PLANS?

Well, life happened.

I could make a million excuses about why I’m not ready, but the bottom line is that I’m not ready. Physically, I’m not trained at all. Sure, I’ve run. But nothing of any length or importance.

Mentally? I’m so ready I could run it tomorrow.

This is probably a bad idea. In one part of my mind, I feel like it’s going to be a complete disaster and I’ll get swept by the infamous “balloon ladies.” But in the other part of my mind – possibly the crazy part – I feel like I’ll finish faster than I did for the Princess Half.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve done it before? Maybe because I have a plan?

It’s probably because I have a new running skirt and think it’s really cute and sassy. Or it’s because in my heart I believe I can do it and I believe in the magic of Disney and that pixie dust really DOES work.

I promise to listen to my body and stop if I need to and I promise to have fun.

Those are the makings of a winning combination, I think!

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