Running with the Dark Side

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I've learned that one of the greatest feeling you can experience in life, is accomplishing something you never thought you could do.  Accomplishing it twice, is even better. Growing up, because of my scoliosis & it's affect on my lung capacity, I've always felt that I just wasn't made for running.

Inspired by Chris Guillibeau's book, The Happiness of Pursuit (best read of my life), last year I decided to wield my own happiness through traveling & physically challenging myself. Through consistent & gradual training, I was able to run my first half marathon

Last month, I flew back to Florida, for the purpose of running my second ever Disney half marathon. Below is some of my pre-run swag I picked up from the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I generally don't like printed t-shirts, but I love these! They're something to be proud about.

With this being my second experience with Run Disney, I felt a lot more confident in what I was doing & how I approached the half marathon. I decided to stay at a Disney World resort for the first time, as suggested by my friend Colleen, to streamline my morning transportation to the run (5am start). It also allowed me to have access to an extremely convenient wristband that was the key to my room, my park tickets, fast pass, photo pass & credit card in the parks, all-in-one. I would highly recommend this to any Disney World goer. Everything in the world should run this way!

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As for the run, while I didn't train as much as did for my first half marathon (whoops), somehow it was easier. 

With any challenge you face in life, I would like to emphasize that how you approach it mentally, will be the biggest factor in your success. Your mentality can become your greatest obstacle, or your best catalyst. 

It was knowing that I once thought I couldn't, but I did. It wasn't thinking about how I had 13 miles to run, but thinking about just doing one mile at the time. The only person I was competing with, was myself. When there was music, I ran to the music. When there were characters I ran a little faster. When I needed to slow down, I did. It's not how fast, but did you finish? 

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Thanks again so much for reading! May the force be with you! - JEN

How will you challenge yourself?

My First Half Marathon

Hey everyone. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I've finally graduated from my Radiologic Technology program, passed my boards, and that I just got back from a weekend at Disneyland California. As if two years of studying wasn't enough, I'm proud to say that I've just completed my first half marathon!

It's been a long time of planning and training to get to this moment. I first learned about Disney Runs, from my friend Paul, when he did his first Disney half marathon back in 2012. It seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me! Then when I learned more about the runs from some of the x-ray techs I met during my program, I finally made the leap to spend the money, sign-up, and booked a flight.

Keep in mind though, that I'm not a runner. In fact, since my graduation from high school in 2007, I didn't even start working out again until 2013. This year though, in my pursuit to find happiness, I wanted to push myself mentally and physical, which explains the sudden influx of hiking/running posts. Not only am I small framed, because of the way my ribs are positioned from scoliosis, I always thought that my lungs were condemned to a smaller lung capacity. I was wrong. When I did start working out, running, which seemed so hard for me before, slowly got easier and easier. Every mile I was able to add on would make my day. There's just something extremely satisfying about accomplishing something that you didn't think you could ever do before. And of course, it doesn't hurt to see a few Disney characters along the way. 

The run itself began in increments from 5:30am. From the get-go though, it was kind of empowering just to see how many people were there with you (I think they said 18,000), trying to accomplish the same 13.1 miles, first-time or not. The course brought us through California adventures and Disneyland California, where I saw a bunch of Disney characters, and eventually out of the parks towards Angels Stadium and back.

I don't know if it was the excitement of all the characters or the motivation from everyone around me, but 13.1 miles didn't feel as bad as I was expecting. To me, it wasn't about speed, but simply just finishing the run. I kept a slow steady pace and only slowed down when I came across a character I wanted pictures with, and at every hydration station, plus one bathroom break midway. And what really helped mentally, was that I never thought about the whole 13.1 miles. I only thought about what mile I was one, and focused on getting to the next one.

Thank you all so much for reading & sharing this special post with me. :) I already can't wait to sign up for my next one! Hopefully over my past few months, I've inspired you to try out at least a 5K (3.1 miles), like the Color Run or Electric Run, or even a Disney Run. Accomplishing even the smallest goals can feel amazing! Until next time, love & peace. - JEN