Sunday, January 13, 2013 — Wake up call came at 2:00am. I had made a decision the night before, to be calm. To move slow. There would be plenty of time. For everything today. Time didn’t exist today. Time was not the enemy today. Time was abundant, and the trick to surviving this day….was to make Time my friend.
Breakfast was Grape nuts Cereal and a banana. Dressing included my running skirt, sports bra, tank, water belt, bib, running shoes, and LOTs of sunscreen and Body Glide. It was already 64 degrees. It was going to be hOt. The challenge was set. I asked Peter to take my picture. What follows is a moment in time….a nervous snap of me, a combo of a 2am wake up and a ton of nerves resulting in an uncomfortable smile. apprehension. That’s what it was.
Peter travelled with me to the Start Line. We rode the monorail from the Poly to the Ticket and Transportation Center in silence at around 3am. The other runners were oddly quiet too. Something heavy hung over the morning. Transferring to the Epcot Monorail didn’t change much. We were marching to our start…but the excitement had been sucked up by fear.
Following the masses, we marched out to the Epcot parking lot, where Disney proved they were expert at organizing 25,000 people. Tents erected for each of the corral groups. Huge screens and speakers broadcasting the start line entertainment. Lights illuminating the 3am sky. My nervous bladder took me to the port-o-potty no less than 6 times. By 5am, I took my pre race gel, turned on my Garmin watch, kissed Peter goodbye and began to walk through the runners tunnel. All of a sudden, I was alone. Alone with thousands of others. But what came next was all up to me. I had to do this, or not. It was my choice. I tell you, even then….I wasn’t sure I was doing this. The urge to run away. To run back to my room was overwhelming.
She asked me if I had done this before, and her question was a welcome relief. I never caught her name, she was just a nice lady shuffling next to me as our E and F corrals slowly moved forward. We chit chat, laugh nervously, until she confesses that she really wanted to just go back to her room. I let out a sigh of relief, and from there…I felt, well…..Normal. The Same. The Same as everyone else around me. The nerves were OK. Their pressure was strong, but they would not crush me. I was Strong enough. I needed to remember that.
While we waited, a round of fireworks would go off to wish Bon voyage and speedy travel to each corral group. Corral A went off at 535am, with each subsequent leaving in 7 minute intervals thereafter. Corral F, my corral, set off on our journey around 610am.
I hit the button on my Garmin and stepped over the floor mat Starting Line. You can go back to your room Diane……we just have to do something first. Something amazing, that you worked diligently for over the course of 18 weeks. You can go back to your room Diane…but you are going back, deeply changed from the person you were when you left. Now shake it off girl…..Fight. For. Yourself.
And so I did….all the way to the Magic Kingdom. That was the first stop on today’s journey. And it only took a few minutes to find my pace. It felt familiar, and I started to settle in. On to my castle….to where a little girl named Diane, held her Daddy’s hand….and experienced magic for the first time. I’m on my way Daddy. I’m strong enough now. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.
Ciao for now….Diane