This post is dedicated to the women who inspired me, the women who persevered with me, and the women who will finish this race in the future and share the Disney magic.
Well, the big weekend has come and gone. If you’ve been following my previous posts about running Disney, you know that the 2013 Princess Half Marathon was the race that started it all for me; that big sparkly tiara medal was my motivation to get off the couch. When I first started this series on getting to the PHM, I thought that my blog entries would be all about the how-to of getting motivated toward, training for, and completing a Disney race. As we’ve discussed before, I’m a planner/researcher and I like to have all my detail ducks in a row. But as I trained and wrote and read posts by others to stay motivated, my perspective on this race and what it meant to me evolved. I told you last time that you can do this. Now I’m going to tell you why you should.
I’ve never been much of a joiner when it comes to group activities. I played individual sports in high school and college and we’ll just say I never had a sleeping bag rolled up in the corner ready for all the slumber parties I was expecting invites to. So when a group of women from the Facebook community I run grouped up to share a two-bedroom suite at Kidani for race weekend, I was a little wary. I didn’t think thirty-something-year-old women were into freezing underwear anymore, but I couldn’t be sure. Just in case, I jumped into group chats with these ladies and made sure to scout any possible pitfalls or personality deviations as the race got closer. There wasn’t any mention of the hand-in-the-warm-water-to-make-you-pee trick, but I was on the lookout.
I went into race weekend with gift bags and door signs and high hopes that no one would end up with hurt feelings or bald spots (come on, we all know how groups of women can be) and I could not have been more surprised at what happened. Beginning with laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts shenanigans on the expo bus and ending with talk of future trips where we could all be together again, I came to know some of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. They were moms and sisters and daughters and best friends, wives and teachers and military officers, all these great things in this small group of fantastic women who convened at World to run a little more than 13 miles. Most incredibly, they were women who, with the motivation and love of their friends and families, came together to support each other in new and rediscovered victories.
We ate way too much food and drank way too much coffee. We bought tiaras and laughed like idiots. We tried new Disney experiences and honored old traditions. We ran a race in crazy conditions and celebrated when it was finished. We hobbled around Epcot and raised our medals together at every photo opportunity. And somewhere in the middle of it all, we cemented friendships that to me are so much more valuable than even the sense accomplishment I thought I would get from finishing this race. We shared tears and hugs and laughs and band-aids. We celebrated racing milestones and these women shared with me their families and the love and encouragement they’d brought with them from home. We experienced “magical” on a whole new level.
There are so many reasons to run the Princess Half Marathon next year. You’ll get healthier, you’ll find confidence in yourself you didn’t know you could have, you’ll have a great time at Walt Disney World. But if you can, as I did, join in the friendships that preparing for, worrying about, and finally running this race can create, you’ll be making a kind of Disney magic that has value beyond any bling you can buy. So join the Facebook groups, tweet the hashtags, read and respond to the blogs, and start this journey for yourself. The medal is just the beginning.
Morgan Crutchfield is the host and founder of DVC Central on Facebook and tweets under the handle @DVCMorgan. She is incredibly fortunate to have taken this journey to the PHM and can’t wait to run Disney again. Check out her posts on the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge starting soon on OutrunningtheMonorail.wordpress.com