So one of the question I get from people is, how did you start running? Well, in actuality they tell me “I could never do that” and I then tell them it’s possible and give them the quick answer to that question, but you know.
So how did I start running? What motivated me at the beginning? What is my running origin story?
Let’s jump in.
The year is 2009, I just finished my sophomore year of college and I had my first “real” internship with GE. During the spring semester, I had started to run at the gym at Syracuse. I had also discovered podcasts and learned all about runDisney. I really wanted to run one of those races and get to go backstage and see the parks I love so much. When I started running, it was the worst. Working up to 3 miles was the worst but then it started getting better. Getting to the 3 mile mark is the worst but I kept it rolling into the summer.
Disney was definitely a HUGE motivator that sent me on this running journey. I have been obsessed with the Disney Parks and WDW for as long as I can remember. When I was 8 or 9 I remember doodling my first ride vehicle sketches for the Little Mermaid ride they had yet to build. I discovered wdwmagic.com in the 7th grade and was hooked. I was on that site ALL THE TIME. To this day I listen to too many Disney related podcasts and have shoved too many facts into my head.
During my internship I was near-ish a track and was able to do some speedwork using some workouts I remembered from my Middle School track season. I did a lot of research online to see what people recommended. Let me rephrase that I DID A LOT OF RESEARCH. I was obsessed with learning how to build up to longer distances. I got a little faster, I got fifth female at the GE 5k they hosted that summer and I felt good. Running was actually fun!
I got back to school, got busy and fell off the running bandwagon. I was still working out, but I found myself on the elliptical or bike more and wasn’t running. My dream of running at Disney World was still there but was taking a backseat to college. Junior year was hard and as the February rolled around I latched back on to that dream and started running again.
Okay back the origin story. I discovered podcasts and runDisney and decided I wanted to run a race at Disney. I also decided I wasn’t that excited about a Donald medal, so, go big or go home, I wanted to run the WDW Marathon.
I started running regularly, found Hal Higdon’s training schedules online and got focused. It was hard but fun. That summer I had an internship in NYC and really enjoyed running over the Brooklyn bridge, across on Canal St, to the Hudson greenway. This was the first time I fell in love with the Sunday long run.
At some point in mid-July, I finally got the funds and the courage and signed up for my first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon 2011. I was both thrilled and terrified.
The summer turned into fall and I continued running. I ran my first half marathon ever on 10/10/10, placed in my age group in a small YMCA sponsored race in Fulton, NY. That race was both the best and the worst and I kept going.
Long runs got longer, short runs felt more comfortable, and with the onset of winter I had to run all of my 20 mile long runs… on the treadmill. Syracuse = lots of ice and snow.
The holidays came and went and it was time to go to WDW! I have never been more nervous but crossing that first marathon line was life changing. Getting that first medal changed me. It was the worst and then it was the best.
Since that first race, I have been chasing that feeling of community, that feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of blissful exhaustion ever since. That’s how I became a runner.
Through starts and stops, I kept my eye on my goal, running at Walt Disney World. Keep a handle on your dreams and keep pushing though, it is worth it!