My family and I returned from Walt Disney World about a week ago and the first thing I did was get sick. I’m pretty sure it was partly germ related, partly seasonal allergy related, and mostly exhaustion related, but I wouldn’t trade the experience we had for anything. We were among a fortunate group of people who were treated to amazing events and a whole lot of Disney magic as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. There is so much I want to share about the incredible time we had, but today I will begin with something I did, without my family, at the crack of dawn on second day in Orlando. First, let me back up a little bit. About a month before we left for the Celebration, I received an email from the event coordinators inviting me to sign up for an optional event that was for attendees-only. The event was a RunDisney Fun Run to be held on the grounds of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. I didn’t even need to read the entire email before I knew this was something I simply had to do, regardless of the fact I had to get up while it was still dark outside and that there was a pace requirement. I was much more concerned about getting up at that crazy hour than the pace, but this was too amazing an opportunity to pass up, especially since I had never been to the complex before and that I had recently set the goal for myself to run in an official RunDisney race sometime soon, hopefully in 2014.
Here’s the thing. I was a runner up until I entered high school. More specifically, I was a sprinter until I injured my knee and couldn’t compete anymore. Running long distances was something I hated, but often did at the urging of my track coach. As I’ve gotten older I have a stronger desire to run those longer distances because I truly love the challenge and the sense of accomplishment when I’ve finished. So after I registered, like immediately after, I hopped on my treadmill and ran the 2-mile requirement. I was simply overflowing with excitement and energy for this new fitness goal and actually ran the 2 miles at a faster pace than the guidelines stated, but I paid for it the next day. My ankle was not at all happy. This has been happening for a while now. The more I run, the more my ankle aches. It’s very frustrating, especially when I feel otherwise ready and able to run longer distances, but my body is not cooperating. I’m not very patient, so forcing myself to rest the ankle is more painful than the injury itself, I allowed it to rest and ran very little before leaving for Orlando.
I had to make a tough decision on the day of Fun Run, but I know it was the best one for me. When the other participants and I arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex we were told there would be two groups, depending on our comfort level. One group would be made up of those who wanted to run the entire two miles and the other would be a group of those who would preferred to follow Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk Method. The second group would basically alternate between walking and running in 1-minute intervals. I knew I could run the whole way, but I was concerned that I might pay for it the following day, which I was going to be spending walking (rather briskly) throughout Walt Disney World theme parks, or be left behind by my Disney-loving family. I quickly got over the fact that I was somehow a failure for not choosing to run the whole way and thoroughly enjoyed the experience with the others in my group, the run/walk group. We talked and laughed and took in the sights of the incredibly vast and gorgeous facility and the many sports’ fields that make up the complex. We watched as darkness turned to light and we ran across the finish line together, most of us wearing RunDisney shirts that we received as gifts for participating in the event, a gift I will treasure and continue to wear with pride and as motivation to keep running to reach my goal of doing an official RunDisney Race at Walt Disney World.
Photo Credit: RunDisney
Disclosure: As an attendee of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference I received deeply reduced registration and fees for myself and my family. I was not asked to write this post or any others that I may share in the future. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.