My Mom's Disney Race Report!

After all the love and support I heard from you guys about my mom finishing her race, I thought you might enjoy hearing her side of the story. Enjoy!

I DID IT!  Although I constantly questioned my ability and sought reassurance from my kids, I am now a ½ Marathoner, having recently completed the Disney Half Marathon.  This is my story of how I got here, a feat I never would have thought possible.  

In just 2 ½ years, I lost my brother, dad, and mom.  My parents lived until their late 80’s, but 3 ½ years ago, my brother Russ dropped dead of a massive heart attack.  The paramedics said he never knew what hit him, and was gone before he hit the ground.  He was classified as morbidly obese, had high blood pressure and cholesterol.  He was only 56 years old, and had just moved back from Pennsylvania with his wife to help care for our elderly parents.  I vowed not to let that happen to me.  Unfortunately, working full time and being the primary caregiver for my parents took its toll on me both physically and emotionally. 
My Mom pinned this to the back of her shirt race day

After I finally got over the passing of my mom last January and realized that I was now the age my brother was when he passed away, I asked Stephanie to help me make a plan to get more physically active.  She and my son had been talking about the Disney Marathon for a while, and they suggested I train for the Half Marathon.  I thought it was a bit ambitious.  Actually I thought they were crazy.

In September, I joined the gym Stephanie belongs to and hired a trainer.  I began following Jeff Galloway’s program from Run Disney, and was at the gym 6-7 days a week.  I pushed myself to ensure I would finish the race in the time allotted, and trained with a walk/run method.  I registered in October, and there was no turning back.  I kept wondering if I could really do it.  When I finally achieved 12.5 miles in my training I knew I could probably do it.

Then the cold came, leading to a sinus infection.  But I still completed my 14 mile last big walk/run.  The doctor said that’s what did it.  Bronchitis/upper respiratory infection set in and I was floored.  Out of work and in bed for 5 days.  No strength or energy to do anything including my training.  I began to panic.  Stephanie and Jason assured me I’d be fine, but I wasn’t so sure.  I finally went back to the gym on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, feeling better but not 100%.  Guess I wasn’t being careful enough, because I popped my hamstring on the hamstring curl machine and nearly passed out.  After lying down and icing it, I hobbled out when the dizziness passed.  I called Stephanie and was hysterical because it was only 2 weeks until the race and I thought that was it.  I got home and Jason rushed for the ice packs and ibuprofen.  Stephanie checked it later because I was sure I tore my hamstring. So once again, no training as even walking was difficult.  My sports doctor said there wasn’t a tear and my chiropractor helped as much as possible.  Just as it started to feel better, I slipped and pulled it again.

I believe in the power of prayer and pray regularly, but now I really needed to believe it would get me through this.  My plan had been to dedicate this race to my brother’s memory and I was determined.  My niece said her dad would be the wind at my back.  I decided that maybe this was a test of my faith to be able to complete the race with such a bad hamstring injury.  I just had to believe that God and my brother would get me through it. I just wanted to finish, even if I was last.

The first 4 miles I walked with two really nice local women, and when they began to run I tried, but the pain was so intense.  I thought that was it.  I’d never make it and all my hard work would go down the drain.  Then there was Stephanie, Kevin and Annette cheering me on.  When Steph came out onto the course and hugged me, I cried.  I knew I had to push through the pain.  Several times I tried to run but just couldn’t.  By now my hips were misaligned and my right leg was shorter than my left.  I was a mess with another 8 miles to go.  I turned up my ipod (a gift from Steph) and tried to get my pace up with the beat of the music.  Although I couldn’t get to my usual pace, focusing on the music helped immensely.  Once in a while I looked back and saw that there were a lot of people behind me which was reassuring.  At one point, I would have sworn that my mom, dad, and brother were on the side of the road cheering me on.  Thinking about them looking down on me and how proud they must be really helped give me the strength to finish.

Meeting my mom at mile 4.5

Around the 11 mile marker was when I knew I could do it.  The two women I started out with came up from behind me, as they had stopped several times, and they reassured me that I was doing fine and I’d make it.  They were so happy to see me as they thought that maybe I had dropped out.  I wanted to run at least at the end, but by that time I was limping and just needed ice.  The only stops I made during the entire race was for biofreeze, to help a runner who fell, and to stretch a couple of times. 
I finished in 3:34:25, not the time I had originally hoped for, but all things considered, just happy I was able to finish.  Before I left, my chiropractor had told me to drop out if I had to.  I told him that wasn’t an option.   There were times I thought I might have to, but I’m so glad I pushed myself, even though walking around the parks for the next few days was excruciating.

Mile 12, almost done!

As a parent, over the years I’ve been able to brag about and be proud of my three children.  It was such an extraordinary feeling to have them be so proud of me.  I want to thank my children, Stephanie, Jason and Jessica for all of their love, support, patience, encouragement and reassurance.  I am one lucky mama.  Also, thanks to Kevin and Annette (the rest of my cheering section), to my brother Russ for watching over me, and for answered prayers.  I could never have done it without you all!! 

Hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I did.
Love you mom!


Jo @ said...

Wow your mom's story is so inspiring! I had tears in my eyes (and I'm not a crier!). Please congratulate her on such an awesome race and on making the changes to better care for her health. Thanks for sharing her story. Way to go mom!!!

Lisa said...

Yay, Mom! Way to make it happen. Awwwwww, a great story. :-)

Nicole said...

Yeah to your Mom! I loved reading this. I have been trying to get my mom to the gym or just out for a walk for several years now. I am going to have her read this.

Tricia said...

wow.thanks for sharing

Elle said...

Awesome... very inspirational as I train for my first half.

Thanks for sharing, Stepanie Anne's

Nicole said...

This made me cry! You have to be so very proud of yourself and Stephanie must be so proud of you too! You are inspiring, you made it through so much to complete the race and now you did it, you are a half-marathoner! I am going to share this post with my mom because she is on the road back to fitness and I think you would inspire her!

~* Jenn *~ said...

Congratulations, such an inspiring story!

Zaneta said...

That's Awesome! Congrats to your mom... LOVED reading her story! :)

Aimee said...

I'm crying too. I'm so proud of your Mom. She is such a wonderful example to so many women. She got out there and did it, injured and all. I hope she is feeling better and is on the mend.

Suzy said...

Congratulations to your mom!!

Wells L said...

I too, like other commenters, are crying - what an amazing accomplishment. You are a half marathoner!!! You.did.that! You did! Half marathons are hard and the amount of committment, effort, and tenacity it takes to train for and complete a race is incredible!!!! You're awesome and your life is definitely on a new and improved path! Congrats!!!! Thanks for sharing your story - simply incredible!

Kayla said...

Congrats to your mom!!! Way to go! You had some set backs at the end of training, but you pushed through and finished a half marathon!! AWESOME!! It is definitely something to be proud of!

Lisa said...

What an amazing story. Congratulations to your mom and please thank her for sharing it with us.

*~*~* Tracy said...

Way to hang in there and perservere through the pain. You are an inspiration!

Karen said...

What an amazing story!!! You have me in tears! That final picture is priceless!!!!

Karen said...

And CONGRATS on your race!!! :0)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

oh my gosh what a beautiful story!! thank you so much for sharing it with us.

everyone has different reasons for tackling the distance, but it brings us all together in many of the same ways.

major congratulations not only for finishing but for changing your life

Suz and Allan said...

Congratulations to your mom and what a wonderful story!