Monday, March 5, 2012

I Can Do Hard Things

So it all started last year with a dare, basically. In January 2011 my father in law challenged himself & his kids & their spouses to run a half-marathon that year - a specific one, the Disneyland Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend in September. My husband is from Southern California & they spent lots of time at Disneyland growing up, and then after Marc & I got married we had Disneyland passes for years, and spent even more time there. Disneyland is one of our favorite places, and to be able to have special access to run a race through the park? Sounded amazing!

Just one little problem - I hated running. Not I wasn't good at running or I didn't have time to run - I despised, loathed, hated running with every fiber of my being. I implicitally remember running around and around the track in 9th or 10th grade vowing to myself that if I could just get to the end of these laps I wouldn't make myself run ever again. And I didn't - I took ballet and dance and aerobics as my PE classes throughout the rest of high school & college and literally never ran again.

So when he issued us that challenge my first thought was "OH! THAT WOULD BE SO FUN!" followed immediately by "Oh. My. Freaking. 13.1 miles. Crap."

At the staging area. It's early.
My sister in law & I in our fun striped socks at about 5am the morning of the race.

Let me stop here for a second and just tell you right now that this isn't going to be one of those "Oh, and now I love running and I see beautiful rainbows every time I run and I fly like the wind and it's all peachy and amazing on every run." No way. I finally, now, a year later, after working HARD and CONSISTENTLY at becoming a runner, am finally, just faintly, starting to see why people always say running is addicting & they love it so much. I'm not there yet.

But. I did it. I ran 13.1 miles without walking (very much). Around mile 11 I thought I was going to die. Or pass out. Or my legs might fall off. But I just kept plugging along. One foot in front of the other in front of the other in front of the other.

All official & stuff. #runDisney
My first half marathon race bib!

Let me stop and say that the Disneyland Half Marathon was the PERFECT race for my first half. Disney does know how to do it right - everywhere you looked there was a Character cheering you along or a marching band or a cheerleading group or a dance team or just hundreds & hundreds of supporters lining the streets of Anaheim. I actually ended up taking one of my ear buds out for most of the time because it was so fun to listen to the crowds & get pumped up by all the excitement. Sure, it was crowded, and I don't think that anyone is going to be getting a PR on this race because of all the crowds, but I can't imagine another race having the same level of excitement & fun!

So what's the point of all this? It's to remind you that if I can run a half marathon without barely even training for it you can do whatever it is that YOU want to do. I can do hard things.



Sometimes it's going to suck and sometimes you're going to want to quit & sometimes you'll wonder exactly why you're sacrificing all this to be reaching for a really high goal. But - stick with it & the payoff will be amazing.

You might even get some really gaudy & crazy looking bling that you can look at every day & remember how hard it was & how much it sucks & how much you wanted to quit - but that you did it.

Another thing I bought today - Disney kept bugging me to purchase race photos from September. #janphotoaday Don't mind tired, sweaty me. Last dress rehearsal before the half marathon! #runDisney

My medal! Finished the Disneyland half slow but consistent & I HATE TO RUN!
tired, sweaty, me. the legs that carried me 13.1 miles. my crazy gold medal!


And I may have run a bunch of races since then, too. And I may be signed up for even more for this year already. Maybe this running thing is addicting, after all! ;]


  1. Congrats!! This is the first time I've read your blog, the title got me. I have to say I FELT THE EXACT SAME WAY IN HIGH SCHOOL, I HATED RUNNING, AND I WOULD DO ANYTHING BUT RUN!!!! I just had the conversation with my husband last night about how I see people running and I don't understand the "JOY" in it, but it's been making me think. Should I give it a try again? Now this, hmmm maybe I might think about it. : )

  2. Congratulations! I just started the couch to 5k program this year, and restarted...and restarted. LOL But I am determined to at least keep it up. Even if I restart every month, I'm exercising so that's okay.

  3. Keep going!! I'm only walking 5K's -- but each time I improve my 'personal best' as my hubby calls it! Some day I'll racewalk/run a HALF....Way to go!! :-)

  4. Thank is awesome! Congrats. My sister is a runner. Me, not so much. Maybe one day :)

  5. Congratulations! I can totally relate to your feelings about running. I ran my first half marathon last year, and yeah, mile 11 almost killed me! LOL! It can be addictive though...

  6. I have been running for a while but no Disney races so far. YOU made me want to add one to my bucket list.

  7. Congratulations! I think i would take up running if i could get to see Disneyland, but Australia to the USA is a long way. My husband (53yrs) & our son (23yrs old) run a half marathon here in Melbourne a few months ago, such wonderful memories for them to have completed the run together.

  8. Woohoo, congrats! Somehow Disneyland seems a rather nicer place to run that the streets of Glasgow, where I did my 3. I didn't get addicted though, and my doctor banned me from running anyway after the 3rd one (I wasn't actually that devastated!) Now I leave my running to a sprint for the train in the evening :oD

  9. congrats!!! and THANK YOU. i've been a "runner" on and off and now that i'm engaged (eek!) and getting married in 14 months, i want not only to look my best but to start this new phase of my life as healthy as possible. my fiance and i are starting back on a running plan (this past fall we were up to about 4 miles) after a hiatus since november (aka cold weather and heavy work loads). so again, THANKS, for letting me know that it takes a loooong time but it can happen: i can actually become a runner (minus the quotes, heehee). :-)

  10. I have been constantly amazed by just how much my body is capable of as I've gone through this past year+ of weight loss and becoming a runner. And as someone who used to say I would NEVER run, I'm with you! But I think I was pretty much hooked on it from the beginning. I'll definitely be thinking of you when I run my first half in September!

  11. GOOD JOB!!! I just did my second half--the Princess Half in Disney World. Like you, I was terrrrrrified. I may or may not have run the whole way and then walked/cried with a half mile left. And then the gospel choir with a quarter mile left just did me in. Terrible. You're right--Disney sure does do it well. I just had my one year anniversary of running and I really like it, but am not sure I am all cupcakes and butterflies just yet...

  12. GREAT JOB! I am very impressed. :) I am trying to work my way up to just six miles, and I'm struggling all the way there.

  13. Your post was very inspiring. Thank you for the kick in the butt and a bit of a wake up call.

  14. Great job on your race! I'm glad you are finding enjoyment in running. I never thought I would, either, but I'm training for my first half. The race is at the end of the month, and I'm starting to get nervous.

    Where did you get those fabulous socks?!?

  15. I really wanted to do that Disney half...but I just couldn't make it out there. I live in NJ, but all my family and friends are in Southern California. I decided that instead of waiting another year...I wanted to dive head first and do a marathon. I'm 3 weeks away and I'm totally nervous...but if I finish then I'll be so glad to run a fun half like the Disneyland one!

  16. Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment and I'm doing the Snoopy Dance for you. I'm a wannabe runner, but I'm still at the trotting and panting stage. :) Thank you for sharing your story. It has motivated me to keep chipping away.

  17. That is awesome! I love to run, but have had to take a break due to a knee injury and surgery to fix it. I can't wait to get back out running. I have a goal of doing the Disney half when I am able to run again.



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