Some think …26.2 miles… My God, the monotony! Well, not at Disney, where every mile is different….with a surprise around every corner.
The first 5-6 miles are about the Magic Kingdom. Something extra special about running there in the dark. Watching the castle emerge with wisps of sunrise around it. I’m not a fast runner, so my 12 minute mile pace got me there with breaking dawn. Our collective excitement, from the pack so to speak, was palpable. We were a roaming party on our way to the Mouse Kingdom, to get our picture taken in front of the Castle. This was the one line I would wait in.
Waiting in line? oh yay! The Disney Marathon offers craziness, zanyness, character meet-n-greets at every mile. You can get your picture taken with Mickey, Minnie, or a Johnny Depp pirate lookalike, or even be mock-buried by Haunted Mansion grave diggers. They’ve got something for everyone.
For me, well, I was focused on Finishing, with some spare time for potty breaks. And since the heat decided to become a factor….I knew my pace would drop in the second half why the sun was high in the sky, so….I had to move. Relentless pursuit of forward momentum! Oh, I’d take it in, every zany mile, but foto-ops were not my thing. WDW had a photo company taking our pics as we ran. We’ll get a chance to buy those afterwards. So, I got in line at the Castle, and took my snap. My heart-felt wonderful.
I had a tear in my eyes as I came through the castle and saw the Cinderella story, told in gorgeous mosaic tile. Whispering, “Hello Daddy”‘, all my childhood memories came flooding back in an instant. Losing my Dad to cancer when I was 13, means he is frozen in time in my childhood. My heart always visits him inside the Castle, where I can still feel his hand wrapped around my tiny child sized hand, as we transport from the real world into Fantasyland, via Cinderella, her prince, and a single magic slipper — all done in tile. AMAZING!
I’ve always felt that my Daddy was looking down on my life, and it’s been satisfying knowing that he would be proud of me. Proud of the person I had become. Proud of my daughters and the mother I grew to be. Proud of my choice in Peter, proud of the Life I live and how he lives on through me. Daddy, you are always here, and it was good to “feel” you with me in the Castle. You being there, wasn’t a surprise….but how much I still miss you all these years later…still does.
Coming out of the Magic Kingdom, we ran past the MK resorts….on the same road Peter and I drove past during the Half Marathon race. See, here you are girl. Patience paid off. It’s YOUR turn now. You are doing it! Wonderful people lined the road. They were cheering, and whistling, and clanging cow bells. My eyes just soaked them in. Watching the faces, absorbing the smiles and good wishes. Tucking them into my fuel belt for later…when I would be tired…and would need them ALOT! Just then, Magic happened. I saw them. Sunday morning, around 730am, and there they were on the side of the road outside the Polynesian ….my girls, my daughters. I saw Erin first. Her gorgeous brunette hair was catching the first light of morning. Her smile, cheers and waving gave flight to my pace. When Caitlin’s eyes caught me, her face exploded with excitement. “There ‘s Mom..There’s Mom!” Tears are running down my cheeks as I remember that moment. You do and say a lot of things with your children as you work to raise them…..but I think that morning is one of my favorite as a Mom. In there faces, I felt I could see an understanding. An understanding that Hard Work Pays Off, and that They could accomplish anything, if they want it badly enough to work for it.
Later that night, Erin told me — she would like to run the Marathon some day. Magic indeed lives in that 6 mile stretch……it was the best 6 miles I have EVER run!
Erin and Cait – Thank you for being there for me. You two have been the light of my life all along…..but that day, you carried your Old and Grody Mom to the Animal Kingdom!
Ciao for now…….Diane