WOW! To say that this weekend was memorable, it’s an understatement. From the Cigna blogger event, where we learned about nutrition and exercise in a fun way where we stacked cups, apples, did (fake) shot, played beer pong without the beer, oh yeah…we sang too.
Then it was time to check into my home away from home, Hilton Bonnet Creek. I was so ready to get there and cozy up in their warm comfortable beds. because yes, the temps were in the 30s to 50s here. Once I got checked in, which the staff is incredibly helpful, I went right to the runner’s concierge to sign up for the bus to the race because they take you to and from the race. I got my little welcome bag and headed straight to my room with the Hilton Bonnet Creek’s unmistakable view.
They had a delicious runner’s reception with flat bread of all kinds that I couldn’t stop eating. And salad and drinks, just everything was excellent! They have good chefs over there at La Luce. After stuffing my face, little man braved the cold temps and jumped into the 3 acre lazy river which was heated, but I wasn’t that brave, I was wrapped in towels LOL
Then it was time…to head to bed and prep for the 26.2 miles journey towards another finish line, another marathon. The buses were taking us to the race at 3 a.m. I had brought a sweater and gloves to throw away and I forgot the gloves in the room. But I knew that the resort has the most fantastic breakfast downstairs so I got a hot tea to drink and another to keep my hands warm because yes, the temps were 33 degrees at the start line. But each time a runner would enter the breakfast area the Hilton Bonnet Creek cheer squad was up and at ’em! with loud up beat music and they were dancing FULL of energy!
The wind and cold was more ridiculous than I thought. All I had was a thin sweater. Once I got to the race area, I sat behind a tent to shield me from the wind and cacooned myself into the sweater. Luckily my friend Billy walked by and spotted me and chatted for a bit. He had an extra pair of hand warmers and gave them to me. Umm life saver!!! My hands and toes were numb! I started walking to my corral with my best running friend Sarah, which is like a mile trek in itself, to continue to freeze. And there we stood waiting to start.
Once we were about to go, I said bye to her and I took off my sweater and people looked at me like I was crazy. Others where running with 2 and 3 layers of clothing while I had capris and a tank top. But I knew once I took off running, my body would warm up and it did.
I was running nice and strong, at my target pace and feeling good. Coming around to see my castle all lit up nice and pretty. Even though I’ve run so many races, you’d think you’d get tired of seeing the castle or running down mainstreet, it’s a been there done that type of thing…it’s not. It’s a feeling you get every time and a smile from ear to ear. Magical.
Once I made my way out of Magic Kingdom, I was still doing good. Next park was Animal Kingdom and I was ready for it. There is always this tiny little owl they have out but due to the stupid weather, he wasn’t there. Insert sad face here. Oh well. Lots of spectators everywhere too which is pretty helpful. This is where I hit the half way point and then suddenly, BAM!
My back locks up and it swells up where I had trouble turning my neck. WTF?!? Really?? Are you kidding me??? I took my first walk break to stretch it and massage it as best I could. But nothing. I’ve dealt with Scoliosis pretty much my whole life, I can handle pain, I got this. Then, The side that my mini stroke affected, my right side, started acting up! Now what the hell! Am I being punked? There is no way this is all happening at the same time! When my stroke side acts up, my leg buckles and my arm tightens and curls thus further affecting my back.
No, I wasn’t having it. I was getting frustrated and angry. Alpha was there and waiting for me at ESPN to switch my Vega hydration bottle for me and to check on me. But I told him what was happening. THEN, I couldn’t even open my bottle!!! So the frustration was too much tied with the pain which was beyond a level 10 mind you, I cried from about miles 15 to 19. I ended up having to walk more than I wanted but the walking hurt more than the running. I know makes no sense.
FINALLY saw Alpha and the little and I just broke down, I whispered in his ear how much pain I was in and that I could barely stand up if I stopped. He was literally holding me up, he said “turn around let me quickly massage you.” I hugged my little tight and he whispered in my ear “mami I believe in you, you got this, just keep running strong and I’ll see you at the finish line.” This is all coming from a little kid guys.
Running from the ESPN Wide World of Sports on out, has always been my area of what I call, the twilight zone. So my cheer squad is always in there somewhere. So I’m lucky my husband was there to lift me up and help me out real quick. He opened the bottle so it was easier for me to just drink from it.
I knew from here on out all I had to do was clear out of the streets and Hollywood Studios because I had the Boardwalk and Epcot in the bag. I was ready and I was already mentally running through there in my head. And even though I might have been running slower than I wanted to, in my mind I was knocking each mile out like they were nothing! And I am SUPER happy that I saw my BRF Sarah at the Boardwalk! I heard her scream my name and I turned back to get a hug from her. She gave me some quick words and I went on. She knew what I went through to get to the start line and what I was going through. She had to tap out at the half way point and I was texting her to check on her health status and her on mine.
And then, here I was turning into England. Finally made it into Epcot. I wanted to cry again but not because of pain but because in just a little less than a mile and a half I was going to be done. I was moving and nothing was going to stop me.
Making my way Country after Country, people cheering us on, I made my last turn to see the infamous sign that I’ve seen many times before….mile marker 26. All I needed to do now was bring it on home and run the last .2 and have marathon 4 under my belt. And here I go running with hundreds of people cheering so loud I couldn’t even hear myself think or focus. I was tired, in so much pain my hair was hurting, my right side was completely done and was done fighting with me and my marathon mind. And the picture below perfectly depicts it:
And then I did the thing I have never done before…I jumped at the finish line because I had fought like I had never fought before. I deserved a finish line moment that I would NEVER forget and I got it. And to top it off, it was caught on camera. When you really want something, you make it happen, you don’t sit back and wish it did.
I am a dreamer and a doer. And I will do whatever it takes and I am proof that I can do the impossible and so long as you believe in yourself and have a little faith, you can make it happen. Because even though I am told I can’t do these things, I obviously can, and I’ll do it again tomorrow and the next day, because “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” -Walt Disney