Holy Moly, I'm a runner. How did that happen?

For the first (mumble) years of my life I avoided running like the dedicated couch potato I was. Even if pried myself out of my office chair to exercise, running was the last thing I would ever do. Then a couple of years ago my daughter voiced an outrageous, ridiculous, totally impossible idea:  “Let’s get a group of girls together and run in the Disney Princess half-marathon!” Yeah, right. I informed her that (1) she must have inherited that insanity gene from her father’s side of the family, and (2) if I ever lost my grip on reality enough to agree to such a thing, the effort would kill me. But the more I thought about it, the more appeal the idea gained. First, a trip with nothing but women sounded like a lot of fun. Second, the race is at Disney World, my all-time favorite place to be. Third, I’d get to spend time with my daughter. So I agreed—but only to the 5k, not the half-marathon.

You know what? It was a blast! Not just the trip, or the fellowship, or even Disney, but I enjoyed the running more than I ever dreamed. We did the Princess 5k, and then I did a couple of 5k’s to benefit breast cancer awareness.

And then my daughter had another crazy idea: “Let’s do the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disney Land in California. It’s on Mother’s Day.”

Me: “Do you realize a half marathon is thirteen miles?”

Daughter: “Thirteen point one. But once you get past mile seven it’s a breeze. C’mon, Mom. We can totally do this!”

The icing on the cake was when my daughter-in-law and 16-yr-old granddaughter decided to go with us. Okay, maybe the pain and agony of training would be worth spending Mother’s Day in Disney Land with three awesome women in my family.

Training began. We encouraged each other by sharing our run times and distances. We live in 2 different states, so most of our communication was on Facebook or texting, so we never trained together. Two weeks before the race I did run in a 10k (6.2 miles) with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter, and had serious doubts about the Tinkerbell. At least we didn’t come in dead last—we came in second-to-last.

The time for our trip arrived. We flew to California from three different locations, had a few days of fun with Mickey and friends. We went to the runner’s expo and bought all kinds of cool stuff, like jeweled charms for our shoes and Tinkerbell keychains and fluorescent green New Balance running shoes that have fairy wings on them. Then on Sunday morning we got out of bed at a ridiculously early hour, laced up our running shoes, and headed for the race.

IT WAS AWESOME! Never in my life have I experienced something as grueling, as challenging, and as satisfying as when we crossed the finish line! I’ve received awards and accolades, but I don’t think any of them come close to the intense feeling of accomplishment when I crossed that finish line and received my Tinkerbell medal. I ran a half-marathon!!!

Will I do it again? Uh, heck no! I’ve discovered that I’m a 5k or 10k kind of runner. But I will keep running. After all, my shoes have wings!