I was a little chubby as a child.

And not that one necessarily tied in with the other (or maybe it did) but I also wasn’t what anyone would call “athletic”. I was the president of the drama club, the pre-teen who stayed in Girl Scouts long after it was cool, and I was a card carrying member of both the FFA and Mock Trial. I tried a few sports on for size, things like AYSO because everybody plays or that awkward year I somehow made it onto my high school tennis team.

I was never more than mediocre at any sport and honestly, I didn’t really mind. I told myself that being athletic was for other people. People who were more motivated, people who were in better shape, people who were “wired differently”.

When I was thirty I became pregnant with my third son, and in my third trimester his dad trained for a half marathon. I was super inspired by what he was doing but since I hadn’t run at all before my pregnancy, I definitely couldn’t start running in week 29. I think the fact that I couldn’t train too was the best motivator ever. As soon as the doctor gave me the all clear, I began my own journey to run my first half marathon and this is the story I wrote in 2013 about the experience. I hope it inspires you to try your own race. 

——- 2013 ——-

I got stronger and better one quarter-mile at a time and it turns out, I’m actually a really good long distance runner. I’ve got short little legs so most people are going to beat me in a sprint all day long. But very few people (and I can say this confidently) can mind-over-matter themselves as well as I can. That means when mile six hits and someone else wants to quit and start walking, I fly right past them, tortoise and the hare style.

So Sunday was my official race day in Anaheim for The Disney Half Marathon. First of all, please please please, do yourself a favor and make it a life goal to run in a Disney race!!! They have 5k’s, 10k’s, Half Marathons etc and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something so uplifting and fun.

The races take place inside and around the parks so you’re running by rides and princesses and floats and half the other runners are dressed as Disney characters and stopping for photos along the way… and it’s just JOYFUL.

Secondly, I’ve never run in another half-marathon so I don’t know if this goes for all races but there is something incredibly touching about thousands upon thousands of people coming together to run towards a goal. There were people in wheelchairs, or those who were at the very start of their fitness journey, there were people who were 85 years old… everywhere you looked was someone who’d challenged themselves and it was a beauty to behold. In my first half marathon we were one giant sweaty mass of hope. The Little Engine That Could made up of people from all walks of life who’d dreamed this dream and found themselves on the road together.

When my queue was called up they start playing A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella and while I know it sounds cheesy in the retelling, I was BAWLING by the time it was my turn. I kept thinking… this is a wish my heart made! And for once I didn’t cry off or get lazy or stop trying… I did it!

Beyond the power of coming together in a group was the power of the cheering section. So many people lined the streets of Anaheim on Sunday to cheer for total strangers. Car clubs and Mariachi Bands, Cheerleading Squads and Jr High Bands… hundreds of homemade sparkly signs that made me laugh with lines like “Run Like Maleficent is Chasing You!” or “You’re Still Prettier Than a Disney Princess Even After 8 Miles” and ones that found me at the exact moment I was feeling tired or discouraged with notes like “If This Was Easy We’d All Be Doing It, Keep Going!” or “Don’t Stop Now, You’re Almost There!!” Honestly, if you ever need your faith restored in humanity go watch the volunteers on race day, it’s an overabundance of goodness.


Running 13 miles in my first half marathon is really tough (I can’t even imagine how actual marathoners do it!) but there are moments when it feels especially difficult. Sometimes I’d see a mile marker and take a picture of myself leaping across to show how great I was feeling. Sometimes it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other. It was during mile 11 that I was struggling and I kept scrolling for through my iPod to try and find a song that would fire me up. I landed on I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler. I love me some 80’s music and this one gets me going every time. I was feeling good and picking up my pace and I started to sing along with Bonnie.

I need a hero…

He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast…

The whole song is about her looking for a man, a Hero a “streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds” and there I was singing along at the end of mile 11 and I thought, I don’t need to find anyone, right now, in this moment, I’m my own hero. Maybe that sounds a little cheesy to you, just like crying over a song from Cinderella, but it was a profound moment in my life. A moment when I had pushed myself to do something I never thought I was capable of and it lit a fire in my own soul. I hope, pray, wish, cross my fingers and my toes that even if you’re not interested in a race, or even any sort of physical goal that you find your half marathon. I encourage you to look around and choose a wish your heart makes so that you too will have the opportunity to be your own hero. Every girl, even the princesses, should feel that kind of pride.

My Instagram Photo from Race Day 👇🏼

My Instagram From Race Day