This was Cathy's idea back in May, I had just finished the Ice Age 50 1/2 Marathon, the very beginning of what turned out to be a year in lessons learned for me. It would be her first 1/2 I remember my first 1/2, and was happy to be part of her endeavor.
In the Fall I was on a Women's Running Club on Facebook and a woman posted that she had signed up for the Princess 1/2 in February and was diagnosed with Lung Cancer a few weeks after registering. Was she going to be able to participate? I told her I knew several people who run with lung cancer and other lung diseases, she should give it a go! I also got her in touch with the Lung Cancer Alliance she and Elizabeth immediately joined Team Lung Love!! Even her doctor supported her decision to try! Tammy was diagnosed after 6 months of tooing and frooing with the doctors about mysterious pains. How is it possible a 42 year old white female with no smoking history should ever consider she is a candidate for this disease? She was diagnosed with Stage IV Non Small Cell Lung Cancer as a result of a mutation in her genes (ALK fusion gene). This is a growing type of NSCLC, generally found in Asian women. We became friends through this diagnosis and my relationship with NSCLC. She and her friend Elizabeth would be going to FL. We were all very positive we would meet in February in Orlando.
Fast forward a few months, Tammy has mysterious pain in her back and it is not going away. Back pain and lung cancer is not a good combination. We were all relieved it was a a broken disc in her back not the cancer growing or mets. In fact she also received the news her cancer was shrinking the drug that targets the ALK fusion gene was working! With a broken disc there was no way she was going to even be able to travel to FL to cheer us on. With a heavy heart the reservations for what was also going to be a family vacation were cancelled. Elizabeth would be going solo and another NSCLC woman Tammy had become friends with (and as a result Elizabeth and I) would be meeting up with us. Karen only has 1/2 of her lungs and would be running the 5K on Friday. She also lives in FL and pre-cancer was a travel agent, a Disney specialist. Nice to have someone with some inside knowledge.
My Aunt accompanied Cathy on her trip down, any excuse to get out of the cold Midwest, sounds reasonable to me! After delayed flights we all met up in the airport at the same time and could take the Magical Express to Disney.
And in the small small world category, Karen grew up in the town neighboring mine, graduating from HS a few years before me. Elizabeth and Tammy live in a town quite near my Aunt and Cathy in IL.
It was fun seeing the expo through Cathy's eyes! They are kinda been there done that at this point to me.
|Entrance to the Expo Red Carpet and Prince Charming x 2!|
We all met up for dinner on Saturday night to meet each other in person. Karen wore her medal from the 5K on Friday, Elizabeth the 10K medal from the race that day. Sadly all Cathy and I had were tiaras, and it appears Cathy's is missing...
|Karen, me, Elizabeth, Cathy (and a dinosaur eek!!)|
We all met up at the beginning and went off to our designated corrals.
|me, Cathy (with tiara always the rebel), Elizabeth, Karen|
Cathy trained solo and wanted to run solo. Tammy wanted to run with me, ok. She was in the corral behind me, so we agreed to meet up at mile 2. I wasn't able to jump back a corral. I was kind of bummed about this and wondered if I should just wait?
The Wheelchair division went off at 5:30 a.m. Oh yes it was an EARLY a.m. Each corral was released by the Fairy God Mother and fireworks. That was pretty cool!
I crossed the start mat at 5:49 a.m. a fairly early corral, I was looking forward to less bobbing and weaving as there were 25,000 runners. The corrals were set up based on documented finishing times from a recent 10K or 1/2 marathon. This was awesome as truly the people I was running with were the same pace as me. No 4 across walkers 100 feet after the start mat!! It was dark and humid and foggy and kinda eerie. Mile 2 marker came up and I waited about 5 minutes for Elizabeth, we ran together the rest of the race. My Space Watch freaked out and froze at mile 3 so I had no idea on pacing or time and frankly I needed to remember this was for fun and to enjoy the brief times we did get to run through the parks and the castle. And for crying out loud enjoy a race for once!!!
Elizabeth was really fun to run with! She would fit in perfectly with all the gals I run with locally too! Water seeks out its own level!
Lots of places to step to the side and get your picture taken with many Disney Characters.
We tried to stop and get our pictures with Mickey and Minnie, we waited for a few minutes and neither of us could stand it. Sorry Mike.
A couple of selfies were all we managed. There is only so much fiddle farting around either of us could stand. So similar to my running buddies at home who were with me in spirit!
Most of the 13.1 miles were on access roads and a few with in the park, the few miles in the park were really nice. The race was fun lots of great princess costumes and a few princes! It was nice to see so many people embracing the fun factor, something I need to be reminded to do from time to time.
I shared quick good byes with Karen and Elizabeth after the race. Elizabeth had a flight to catch back to the cold north in the afternoon. Bummer. Texted my Aunt with my location and found a beer. My Aunt and I found each other and waited on Cathy's big finish. She ended up jacking up her ankle and accumulating more than her fair share of blisters, this stuff happens and she kept on smiling, even more when some ice was deposited on her ankle! It was very humid something none of us (with the exception of Karen) were used to or remembered to prepare for.
|Cathy and me - at the end, medals in hand|
|Nice medal and the bib says Princess Beth on the bottom! Perhaps I should be addressed as such?|
|I do believe this is the last run for these shoes. They went well with my tutu for sure!|
Beth, who has come to the conclusion she likes meeting up with new runners and prefers small races with reasonable start times!