Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Exact Moment I Decided to Become a Runner

How exactly did this running adventure of mine begin? I feel like certain memories (I guess ones that are important to me) are engraved in my mind like a home video. Sorry in advance if I bore you with all the details.

In the fall of 2011, I was over at my friend, Nita's house (you'll see me refer to her as roomie - we don't live together anymore, but we still refer to each other as such) for dinner. I had recently moved back to New York (State) from Pennsylvania, and it was nice to have such a great friend in the area to make my transition a little easier. After dinner, Nita was talking to her husband about flight plans for their trip to Disney in February. She was planning to run her first half marathon with her mother; the runDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon. This was the first I had heard of runDisney, I had no idea such a thing even existed. We got to talking about Disney and how I hadn't been since I was in the 3rd grade. Nita then asked me if I would be interested in going to Disney with her during the week before the race. It just so happened to fall on her February break from school, so she would be able to go for more than just the weekend of the race. Without hesitation, I said "Yes!"

I got home that night, and was curious what this runDisney business was all about, so I decided to explore their website. To my surprise, I noticed that they offered a 5K during the Princess 1/2 weekend. With registration still available for this race, I text Nita to see if she would be interested in running the 5K with me. I honestly thought it was a long shot, knowing she had to get up early the next morning for her half marathon. She agreed, and like that I was registered for my first 5K. I was so happy she agreed to do this with me, I'd have a friend to run with and keep me motivated during my first race. To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous. I had never run more than a mile in my life - and only when I was forced to. What was I thinking?!

The next day, I went to work and was telling my supervisor and co-workers about my plans to go to Disney in February with roomie and run my first 5K. I told my supervisor that it was going to be my present to myself after passing my boards (during the fall of 2011 I spent a lot of my free time studying to pass my Echocardiography boards - so this seemed to be the perfect treat/motivation for me to get through the exam).

Fast forward to February 2012. Nita and I flew down to Florida and hopped on the Magical Express to Disney World. We flew down the Tuesday before the race so we had plenty of park time. Friday night rolled around, the night before the 5K, and I could not sleep. I won't lie, I was terrified. After all, this was my first race, and I just didn't know what to expect. I didn't sleep well and before I knew it, it was morning. I met up with Nita before the start of the race (She was staying with her husband at this point), and before I knew it we were off and running. The 5K races at Disney were not timed at this point in time (I still don't think they are, other than for the Dopey participants). I had a great time running around the World Showcase in EPCOT with roomie! It was so nice to see the characters along the course - such a great distraction! Before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line together, and I had officially completed my first 5K.




It was such a great feeling to know I had completed my first 5K. It was a milestone for me, and I was proud of myself.

That night I couldn't help but wonder what Nita was going through, trying to sleep before her first half marathon. I couldn't imagine how restless she must be, just knowing how I was the previous night before the 5K.

I woke up somewhat early the next morning to get to EPCOT to meet up with Nita and her mom after their half. Just my luck, as I arrived to EPCOT at one of the spectator spots, I had JUST missed Nita running by. I felt bad about that, but something wonderful happened. I became so overwhelmed by all the runners, that I was fighting back tears. There were runners of every age, shape and size, serious runners and runners out there to have fun with their friends. I saw hundreds of Princesses (and a few Princes - in tutus no less) running into the last mile of their half marathon. Running towards a goal. A goal to finish? A goal to PR? Maybe another goal? Who knew, but it was during this time that I stood watching the runners that I realized something - I wanted to become a runner. It was just so inspiring!

I made it a new goal to return in one year to run the 2013 Princess 1/2 marathon as my first half (after I got approval from my Cardiologist, of course). Roomie and her mom ran the race again too, and once again, roomie was there for me as I had reached yet another running milestone. 


QOTD: What made you decide you wanted to run? What was the first race you ran? Do you get restless the night before a big race?

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