Now, sure, I've run half-marathons before...but this one is THROUGH DISNEY!!! Did I point out that I got to run a race through Disney?! Yes...Magic Kingdom and Epcot...We're talking through Cinderella's Castle and past the giant futuristic ball thingy.
First, we get on a bus at 3:30 (yes...in the MORNING), sit in traffic, just to walk 20 minutes to set up in a corral like cattle. In a perfect world, a 3:30 AM wake up call would've meant a giant cup of coffee...but, who wants the coffee to start percolating while you're running a race through the Happiest Place on Earth? I sure as heck didn't.
And Mel was there for a very important milestone. I got rid of my Fat Kid thermal. You may remember it from previous races, such as the Long Branch 2009 Half-Marathon.
So, photographic proof of my catharsis -
And since all clothes are donated to charity, I can only hope that my shirt will be able to keep a family of 15 warm or be used as a sail on some African boat that ships food to disadvantaged kids.
So, the greatest thing about Disney races is that they have opportunities for you to take pictures with characters. And as I reached Mile 3...and ran past the line for Darkwing Duck, I told myself I was going to run for time.
Let's review my attempts at picture taking and running -
This is Mile Marker 2 -
This is the entrance to The Magic Kingdom -
So, yeah...the whole running and picture taking thing wasn't working. And I also knew that if I stopped long enough, my butt wasn't gonna start going...
So as much as I'd love a picture with one of the Incest Bears (Mel had never seen the Country Bear Jamboree...so you can understand her confusion why people were taking a picture with a creepy bear with buck teeth)...I was here to run. And run I did...
...and with all that running, I finished the race at 2:19:24...and got a medal that could be used as a weapon. Seriously, this thing is HEAVY -
And I cried. Every.single.time I cross a finish line. I cry.
I just get overcome by the fact that I achieved another milestone in my life. If you had asked Fat Eric if he ever thought he would ever run a Half-Marathon, he would've said "No way...pass me some cookie dough!"
Now, here I am, being able to say I ran my second best half-marathon.
WAIT...WHAT?!?! All you did this past week was post about Disney and you didn't even beat your best time?!?!
Yeah, I was pissed too. I was angry at myself for peeing a second time...I was angry at myself for taking a break to take a picture of Cinderella's castle and Epcot...and I was pissed that I hadn't run harder.
(However, I wasn't pissed that I ran into the girl who stopped in the middle of the course just to take a picture of the Mile 1 Marker...she had it coming.)
But, then I remembered that I had just run my fourth half-marathon...and it became a "Positive Self Talk" only zone. Honestly, it was about the fact that I used to say "I can't"...and here I was, proving that I could.
Whenever I accomplish something that I used to think impossible because of my weight (and my lack of self-confidence)...I'm amazed at my own ability to achieve the impossible. Mel kept saying "mind over matter", and she was right. I could've walked...I could've quit...I could've not signed up at all.
But there I was, at the finish line, in tears, because I had done something I never thought possible. So, to all my readers out there (the 5 of you...and Mom, you don't count, because you HAVE to read this. It's your motherly duty....), if you put your mind to something, you CAN DO IT. Get out of your head, stop making excuses and DO IT! The only thing holding you back is you!!!
In a perfect world, would I have beat my best time of 2:12 (yep, 2:12...I'm clearly more awesome than I gave myself credit for in the previous blog)...sure. Could I have pushed myself harder...absolutely. But, there's always next year...and who knows, maybe it will be time to finally run that Full Marathon everyone is pestering me about. I would get to run through all FOUR parks!!!
...but don't suggest the "Goofy Challenge" just yet. I may no longer be Fat Eric, but I'm still not crazy enough to run a half-marathon and a full marathon the day after. I enjoy the post-half celebrations (with alcohol) way too much....and it wouldn't be fair to the other racers if I stank of beer and/or vodka the next morning.
And I'm already excited to register for the Tower of Terror Ten-Miler in September. That one has villains...and in that one, I'm taking pictures with all of them!!!
Those sneaky Imagineers have hidden Mickeys throughout all their parks in the rides and attractions...and it's your mission to find them. I was going to post all of them, but I think it would be more fun if you look for them next time you journey to Walt Disney World...(or you can just look at my Facebook pictures and find me on Twitter...lazy.)
Okay, okay, okay - Here's one I found in Epcot -
And to Mel...thanks for being a great friend and for getting me to sign up to do this. I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world -
(Oh...and how did I miss that beauty in the green bandana on the course. RAWR!)