Short of notification that I’ve won $1,000,000,000 in an Liberian lottery, this is the best email I could have gotten today:
We are contacting you to let you know that because you have successfully completed all four of the previous Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathons, you are considered to be a Perfect Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Participant. Due to your Perfect status and in celebration of 5 Years Running, we have arranged for you to receive a couple of commemorative items this year.
When you visit the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo to pick up your race bib, please also stop by the “Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Perfects” registration counter, located in the HP Fieldhouse, to pick up your first commemorative item.
After you cross the finish line of the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, make sure to stop by the “Perfect Tent”, located on the right side of the finish chute after you receive your finisher’s medal and refreshments, to pick up your commemorative lanyard.
We look forward to seeing you soon for the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and wish you luck in keeping your Perfect streak intact!
I am beyond excited about this year’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon. This will be the 5th year the race has run and the 5th year that I’ve run it, making me a “perfect” or “legacy” runner. I just love this race. To explain why, I have to tell you my running story.
I did not grow up running. I was never terribly athletic. I took ballet from the age of 3 until 18, but I never played sports, was always chosen last for teams in PE class, got “out” first in every round of dodgeball and quit the swim team after being screamed at by the coach for hours on end. Running was never a thing I imagined I could do.
Then in early 2008, we began planning a Walt Disney World vacation with our four-year-old twins. We went when they were almost two, because, well, where else can you take two two-year-olds on vacation besides WDW and the beach? My opinion of the beach is that it’s a place where I do the same work or even more work than I do at home, only in closer proximity to the ocean. So, WDW it was. And then I heard about the Inaugural Expedition Everest Challenge. A 5K and a scavenger hunt in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? At night? Fun! A 5K is just what? like 3 miles? Surely I can do that. So we booked the Cub’s Den at the Wilderness Lodge for the boys to stay during the race and started on the Couch to 5K program.
I ran my first 5K that summer in something like 38 minutes. I came in 6th from the end and a man who was limping to the finish cursed at me because he was being passed by a “&^#$ing Fat Soccer Mom”. It didn’t matter. I finished!
We had a blast at the Expedition Everest Challenge. We ran the race together, which I believe I’d forgotten until just now. We finally figured out all the clues and got our medals, then enjoyed a few rides before leaving to get the kids to bed.
I ran a bit in 2009, here and there, never more than 4 or 5 miles. Then I decided I’d train for the Race for the Taste 10K. I have always loved Food & Wine Festival. My first time to attend was in 1998 during my College Program and the only years I’m missed it were 2003 when I was seventeen months pregnant with twins and in 2004 when we’d just moved from South Florida to Kentucky. A 10K seemed possible. Then the Race for the Taste was canceled and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was announced.
It took me a long time to decide to sign up. Thirteen miles just sounded like more than I could manage. That was a lot of running. I’m not fast. It was so far. How could I ever do it?
It was far. And I wasn’t fast. But I did it. I finished. And I’ve been back every year since. In 2010 I made the trip with two friends, another mom of twins & a mom of triplets. Moms of Multiples can do anything! In 2011, Paul came with me and ran. In 2012, I roped a group of 5 friends into running with me and paced a friend to her half-marathon PR. In 2013, I was alone for most of the trip, but met up with lots of friends found through internet running groups. I ran my second marathon just the week before and decided to run Wine & Dine entirely on feel. I surprised myself!
Next week, Paul and I will head to Florida to run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon for my fifth time, his second. We’ll only get to stay 3 nights since we’ll be back in January for the Dopey Challenge again. Both races are a celebration of how far we’ve come.
In 2003 I nearly died after giving birth to the twins we’d spent almost two years trying to conceive. I had an emergency c-section and stayed five days in the ICU. I was in the hospital ten days total and then spent the next year recovering. I didn’t get to hold my babies after they were born. I wasn’t even awake for it. I don’t remember the first 3 days of their life. Once I was coherent enough to talk with my doctors, I was terrified that I was going to die. I left the hospital limping along with a walker. I wasn’t allowed to carry a baby for over a month. I really didn’t feel well for most of their first year of life. My body let me down in every possible way for several years in a row. I couldn’t trust it and I definitely didn’t like it.
Disney, Running and RunDisney have changed my life. Disney has always made me happy and I loved working at Walt Disney World during my semester on the College Program. Running helped me learn to like & trust my own body again. I’ve never been able to lose weight or eat healthier (despite being a Registered Dietitian!) just because I “should”. But it’s easy to make better food choices and keep to a lower weight when I know it will help my running. Being there for the start of the RunDisney brand and especially the (now defunct) meetups has allowed me to meet people & make connections I never otherwise would have. I met Jeff Galloway and eventually came around to his way of doing things. I started a blog. I got on Twitter. I started working as a vacation planner with Mousekeplanner and put all my endless Disney knowledge to use, which has opened me to so many possibilities in our lives as I branch out to planning other vacation destinations. I’ve certainly found that putting in the 120 hour work weeks that organizing each Kentucky Kids Consignment Sale is much easier now that I am healthier. Paul has become an even stronger runner than I am and made many new friends and connections as well. Our boys are almost eleven years old now and they enjoy running and staying healthy. We’re all in a good place.
I just can’t wait to get to the start line for this race next week so I can celebrate five years of good place!