Every Sunday for the past two years I’ve had a ritual – I play tennis with two close friends for two hours early in the morning. I absolutely love this time and, even though I’ve been training for the Disney Half Marathon for the past year, I have never given this up.
As we were walking off the court today, I said, “Well, guys, this time next week I’ll either be in the hospital or I’ll have my medal.” We all laughed, but I thought to myself, “I’ll be fine. I WILL have my medal from Disney.”
Friday marked the last of my long runs, a ten-mile run at my local Y (weather here has not been cooperative, so I had to make do with the indoor track). I will probably do one more 2-3 mile run this week, but my coaches tell me that I need to scale back and allow my body to rest and prepare for the race.
I can’t believe that I’m done”¦during the past several months I’ve spent hours and hours running, thinking about running, thinking about what gear works for me. I’ve had aches and pains, I’ve noticed my body getting stronger and my stamina building. I’ve had hours of conversations about training, diet, strategy, and I’ve seen the race map and even got a tour of the race route when I was at MouseFest (after running in New Hampshire, it looked blissfully flat!).
I’ve had the support of my family, who had to lose me to yet another activity. I’ve had two terrific coaches, who have checked with me daily, offering advice about how to get around various obstacles such as weather, minor injuries, and working around a busy schedule. I’ve also had the support of my wonderful friends who have been there with an encouraging word and I’ve even had the support of many All Ears readers, whose emails have meant the world to me.
So”¦when I was leaving that tennis court today, I came to the realization that I’ve put in the hard work and I’m ready to tackle my 13.1 miles. I do so with a bit of trepidation, but lots of enthusiasm and confidence. I know the hard work all these months will pay off.
What’s left to think about? Well, when I was at MouseFest, I had the pleasure of meeting Melanie, her sister Julie, and their very nice mom. These Colorado ladies were kind enough to share their Disney running experiences (and their hopes to run more Disney races).
This family was so special and full of enthusiasm, they really touched me”¦ and yesterday I was fortunate enough to find a note from Melanie in my email box.
She reminded me about something that I’d forgotten that I need to do”¦.She said, -¦for a few minutes (or maybe even a few hours) try to be a little selfish. Try to soak in your accomplishment. Be proud, you have worked hard for this and you deserve the elation you will feel when you cross the finish line. It is the most amazing feeling in the world. I have said repeatedly that I wish I could bottle my feelings at the end of the race because you will feel like you can accomplish anything (and you just did)!“
Thanks, Melanie. I will be sure to take that time to soak it all in. I am proud”¦of this journey”¦that I didn’t give up, and that I’m ready to go. Mostly, though, this experience has reminded me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful support network in my life.
Good luck to all of my follow runners! Looking forward to seeing you there at the finish line!
The Not-So Reluctant Runner