It’s finally here! Tomorrow I will be flying to Orlando for my very first half marathon: the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
I could probably use this final blog post for a 2,000 word narrative on what this race means to me, or a summary of all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into the training process. I could also probably launch into a lengthy speech on how completely and utterly life-changing preparing to take on my first 13.1 has been — and how there’s a part of me that still can’t believe I’m doing this.
But I won’t. I’ll keep this short and sweet — mainly, because I’m not even close to done packing and I have about a million other things to do, but also because I feel as though I’ve already poured my heart and soul into my previous 50 or so blog posts that have revolved around this race.
I will say that no matter what happens this weekend — whether I shock myself with a sub-2 hour finish time (in my dreams) or fall flat on my face in mile 6 (literally or figuratively), I will never be the same person again.
This event is not just 13.1 miles through a theme park; to me, it is undeniable proof that the old me is gone forever. The 260+ pound girl who once avoided staircases for fear of becoming too winded will officially become a half marathoner.
That finisher’s medal will not be just a shiny piece of bling to mount on my wall; it will be a visual representation of exactly what I can accomplish when I allow myself to believe that I can. I’ve already proven to myself that I was never “destined” to be obese — I CAN lose weight, I CAN keep it off, and I CAN live life as a healthy, active person. And this race will prove, once and for all, that I am not “too fat” to run. I CAN run a half marathon, and I CAN take on absolutely anything else I want to accomplish in life.
This weekend, I become an athlete. The third-grader who came in last on the mile in gym class (every. single. year) is long gone, and so is the college student who broke down in humiliated tears after being unable to finish a mile run along with fellow classmates in the university-required “Personal Fitness” course.
And yes, part of that is because I am thinner and fitter now, and yes, I’ve been training for this race for an ungodly six months, putting in mile after mile, day after day.
But the other reason — the most important reason of all — is that I have finally learned to allow myself the opportunity to succeed. I couldn’t have successfully lost the weight or trained for a half marathon without finally accepting that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.
Running a half marathon requires physical strength…there’s no doubt about it. But any runner will tell you that the mental strength you need to tough it out through long distances — or to have the confidence to even register for a 13.1 or a 26.2 mile race in the first place — can prove far more important.
Little did I know that I had that strength inside of me all along. I just had to believe it.
And…if you are also participating in the Princess Half Marathon Weekend and happen to spot certain crazy Ariel-costumed runner this week, please be sure to say ‘hi’! 😀