Walking, walking, walking……I wanted to run. I just couldn’t find it in me. I had to dig down deep into my socks, and find the rest. One more slice to eat. Gotta do it. It all comes down to this. Here’s the Wall. Whatcha gonna do Diane? Break through?….Or just Die pasted to it?
There’s a shady pathway along the little harbor that connects the back entry of Hollywood Studios to the boardwalk by the EPCOT Resorts. All the years I have stayed at the Disney Vacation Club at the Beach Club Villas — I’ve never walked that path. It was nice. Maybe I hit it at the right time, but the sun gave me a reprieve and I caught some shade there. I was walking. Trying to psych myself up. There were only 2 miles left. But I was wrung dry. I let myself slow down and I took my last Power Gel and chased it down with gatorade and water. My knees were shot. Like bricks. They wouldn’t bend anymore. Any running from here was going to take EVERYTHING to lift those feet off the ground the necessary amount. Ohhh boy. Here we go.
Into EPCOT and a turn onto the International Gateway. Ahh yes. Nice and sunny and H.O.T. It was kinda like r.e.a.l.l.y. being in Morocco! Grrrrreat. I could see that I wasn’t alone in my pain. By the looks on the faces of the runners around me, it was a general feeling for the bunch of us. I met a nice woman from New York, and we spent a quarter-mile commiserating about how we suffered and survived all our training in the blustery winter…..only to end up here in Florida, melting in the 80 degree sun on the concrete in EPCOT. On a day like this, this place is H.O.T. even when you are leisurely strolling with a beer or a margarita in your hand. So, to explain how hot it felt right then, minus adult bev, running the last mile and 1/2 of a marathon, well….words just don’t do it justice.
My eyes were playing tricks on me. I had my sight fixed on the EPCOT ball. I K.N.E.W. the Finish Line lived just past there. About a quarter-mile past the EPCOT ball. But no matter how much I walked, or hobbled (my version of running at this point)…I couldn’t get closer to it. The EPCOT ball just kept moving further and further away. My brain was like mashed potatoes. But my emotions were still in check. I wasn’t getting upset. I wasn’t feeling like I would cry. This was important for me. Once I crack…I cry. I had to make sure THAT didn’t happen. As long as I was suffering….it was Ok. As long as I was fighting…it was Ok. As long as I was pissed off…..it was OK. As long as I didn’t crack….I would be OK. That was the deal I made with myself.
The end of the International Gateway f.i.n.a.l.l.y. came, and as I began to make the right turn toward the EPCOT ball — the exact thing I needed happened. Off to the right, there they were….my Mom and my sister Debbie — smiling and waving — wearing their yellow Team Diane T-shirts. A smile, as big as the Cheshire Cat, exploded on my face. Somewhere, the Universe lifted the weight off my shoulders, and I found the strength I needed to burst through that wall. I kicked a d@mn hole into that thing, and began to run.
I waved to Mom and Debbie as I went. Tears began to stream down my face. But it was OK. These were tears of Joy. I was almost there. During the next half mile, Joy returned. I was reborn. I was just steps away from becoming a Marathon-er. Nothing was going to stop me now. And NOTHING was going to stop me from enJoying it. THAT was equally important!
A word to my family. The a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e BEST thing you ever did — was break up, and spread out. Positioning yourselves at various spots along the course was genius! While it might have been Very Cool and Exciting to see you all in One Big Place……I dont think that one moment of overwhelming wonderful would have been nearly as important to me — as having one or two of you in many many places — filling my heart, cheering me up, reminding me that I could do this. I’m SOOOO Grateful for that Happy Accident. Nah…I don’t think there are any accidents in life. Everything plays out exactly as it was intended. And this day was intended to be A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
And it’s about to become a.m.a.z.i.n.g…….come on….I’ll show ya.
Ciao for now….Diane