When I initially received the invitation to attend the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I was overwhelmed with (and excited by) all the details and happenings. From morning to night we would be busy with lots of magical Disney activities and learning. Just a few short weeks before the celebration, a change was made to the itinerary that would change my life.
When I saw the addition of a Fun Run to the itinerary, I panicked. In my world, those two words shouldn’t go together ever. Who in their right mind would get up before dawn to run???!?!? And call it fun on top of that?? Unless it was a once in a lifetime experience or sale, there wasn’t a lot of running happening for me. My friend Shelley (from On the Go in MCO – you should go check out her blog!!) encouraged me to participate and even offered to walk it with me despite her being an actual *real* runner. How do you say no to that?? If you’re me, you don’t. You cave in to the peer pressure despite every fiber of you screaming “NO! You cannot do this!”.
First I headed to Old Navy for something to wear while I walked and made an attempt at running before the actual fun run. It was truly a sign that I meant participate – I walked in to the store and saw a shirt that said “Believe in Yourself” and capris both in my size. Here’s the thing: I’m a complete “worst case scenario” kind of person. I imagined myself being the last person to finish the fun run and completely missing the breakfast scheduled for the morning because I’d be far too embarrassed to show my face as the last person to finish (or even worse – the person who couldn’t finish). Before I had kids, I spent a solid 90 minutes in the gym every. single. day. I was far from super model but closer than I was after having three babies and not being in a gym for over ten years. With just a couple short weeks between my current inactive state and the fun run, I was in a huge panic.
Day after day I added an afternoon walk to my daily routine despite the crazy heat and humidity we get here in the South, even in early May. I texted updates to Shelley who did a fabulous job of encouraging me to keep going and telling me stop worrying about being last. She assured me that it wouldn’t happen and even if it did, she’d be last right there with me. There were certainly worse places I could be so last place in a fun run didn’t seem quite as terrible the more I thought about it. Some of the other participants and attendees also shared their concern about their lack of athletic ability and I found it encouraging so many others were planning to walk the morning of the fun run too.
Finally the day came and I woke well before dawn to do something I never in a million years thought I’d do – run! Shelley and I came up with cute and simple costumes that we wore during the run. Desiree from StressFreeBaby (moms – you totally need to check out her blog!!) tackled the fun run with us and her encouragement and enthusiasm was a welcome addition to the morning.
Starting at the Yacht Club, we headed off into the darkness towards Epcot in search of a medal (because really you should totally get a medal for getting up early, let alone running!). Being able to see the park not only empty but having the ability to watch the sun rise over the park was something I won’t forget any time soon. We made the best of the fun run and mixed up walking and running along with a bit of chatting and giggling along the way.
I was trying to balance enjoying the moment with the stress I was feeling about finishing or my place in the crowd of participants. Before I knew it, we were at the butterfly habitat aka the end of the fun run!! Not only was a medal and GoGoSqueez waiting for us but Leanne from Disney Parks was there too to congratulate everyone for finishing the run. Between fangirling because I got to see Leanne and the overwhelming feelings of finishing in any place other than last, it was an emotional morning.
Thankful I survived (and wasn’t last!!!), and we headed back to our resorts to get ready for breakfast. Walking back and watching the sun continue to rise over the empty park was a wonderful way to begin Mother’s Day at Walt Disney World. I took my medal back to my room and showed it off to the kiddos who were very impressed.
It didn’t take long for my dear friend Maria of The Disney Drive Life (Disney lovers – check out her site to meet new people who love all things Disney and find lots of ways to bring the magic of Disney into your every day) to tell me that I need to tackle a runDisney 5k now that I had the fun run under my belt. A whole new level of stress took over – how would I ever be able to do that? There wasn’t a lot of time to think – before I knew it, I was on line registering for the Princess 5k for the following February.
Summer came, right along with all of the normal craziness associated with it and running wasn’t a priority (plus it was about a million degrees with three hundred percent humidity). Once the weather cooled off, I got back on track with my walking to prep for my next adventure. When it was too cold, I made myself visit our local amenities center to use the elliptical machine to try and increase my endurance. The fear of not finishing and not knowing what to expect was in full force leading up to the event.
Before long I was running longer and longer bursts and found myself able to do a lot of things I couldn’t do before (or ever!). News of the inaugural Star Wars runDisney event surfaced and I found myself registered for that 5k as well. Two 5ks in two months. Me. What was I thinking??
Without friends and the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration team, I would never ever have even considered running and just a year later I run (and still walk some too!) 2.5 miles several times a week and have two runDisney 5ks under my belt. Because of this opportunity I’ve lost 25ish pounds since December, have had to buy new clothes, and have gotten lots of compliments and words of encouragement from friends, family, and co-workers. It’s not always easy for me to see the changes and differences in myself but others are quick to point them out. (The above picture shows before pictures on the left and current pictures on the right.)
I was lucky enough to be invited to this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and there’s another fun run on the itinerary. It’s still bright and early (well before sunshine…) and I’m going to be tackling it with one of the most special people in the world to me. There’s no better way to celebrate a year of changes than in one of the most magical places on the planet at the event that motivated me to move in the first place with the person who’s encouraged me to continue making changes.
What have you done that was completely out of your comfort zone? As hard as it is to try something new or take a leap, it can be a life changing for the better moment.