Commit to training to have the endurance to run 48.6 miles in four days through Walt Disney World before I hit the big 4-0.
I grew up dancing ballet, so running on a treadmill will never be as much fun as dancing Waltz of the Flowers. It just won’t.
On most days, I eat like a truck driver and would much rather eat a bowl of strawberry ice cream than a Larabar.
I hate that my Apple Watch will judge me when I haven’t exercised to its satisfaction by 10:00am and that it continues to lower my Move Goal every week.
I am namas’cray about hot yoga, but haven’t been able to go since becoming pregnant.
If there is chocolate in the house, I will eat it.
The same thing goes for any ingredients that will create nachos.
I can very much relate to Crab and Goyle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I would absolutely eat a cupcake floating in the air without even thinking twice about how shady that actually is.
When it is more than 70-degrees outside, I am a drippy sweater.
When it is less than 30-degrees, I am perpetually in a Joey “Could-I-Be-Wearing-Anymore-Clothes?!” situation.
When there is any wind over 7-miles-per-hour, I feel like Kristoff trying to find Princess Anna on the frozen fjord.
When it’s raining, my dogs think they will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West (which is actually debatable if you’ve met Dizzy)
So, there are really very few opportunities that I find it pleasant to get active outside: my dogs know my serious skill at finding reasons why we shouldn’t go for walks.
In February of 2018, I completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon, seven weeks pregnant, totally unprepared, and it completely changed my life.
As I ran across the finish line, I broke into tears realizing I had completed something I had fully convinced myself would never happen.
It was a moment when I realized I was much stronger, braver, and resilient than I allowed myself to believe.
It was a moment when I realized I was capable of accomplishing much more than what I tell myself to strive for.
It was a moment when I realized life is only limited by the beliefs and restrictions we create for ourselves.
Two weeks after I crossed the finish line at Epcot, I was completely crushed when we found out the strong likelihood that I had lost our first pregnancy.
A pregnancy we had found out about just over one month ago, that had completely changed our world, and that had slipped through our fingers like sand. The idea of names and nurseries, hedgehog-patterned swaddle blankets and giant Pooh Bears had to be set aside for another patient day of peeing on a stick.
In our first ultrasound, fours days after the race, the what-was-to-be-baby measured ten days behind where we anticipated. I, naive and hopeful, thought nothing of it.
It was early, everything looked healthy, and the doctor wasn't worried; he scheduled us for an ultrasound one week later, where we were excited to see a tiny little peanut appear.
The second ultrasound, more thorough than the first, showed our not-likely-to-be-baby had not yet made its debut.
In fact, nothing had changed at all. It wasn't boding well. I hoped our doctor would reassure us that everything was still alright even though every fiber in my being was telling me it wasn't. He couldn't.
He recommended one last ultrasound one week later to give we're-just-hoping-to-be-fashionably-late-baby a chance to materialize.
Many tears, many bars of chocolate, and many wishes that I could drink a glass (or six) of champagne later, I became prepared for the news that 99.9% of me believed to be the truth already: I was no longer pregnant. Yet, I was not NOT pregnant because my body was still holding onto something that stopped growing nearly four weeks ago.
I had a D+C procedure, less than four hours after that final ultrasound, the one that finally confirmed what we had been expecting: I was having a miscarriage.
It was like waking up from one of those immensely vivid pregnancy dreams that used to horrify me in college - the ones that feel palpably real, but were just my brain's way of processing the fact that I was bloated from too much cheese bread.
I had woken up (from anesthesia), no longer pregnant, shoved to go right back to the "normal" life I had been leading for the last 32-years.
Was I OK?
Most of the time I was - shockingly so at times. I probably didn’t handle it in the way people think I should have - I had plenty of people who didn’t see my meltdowns in the shower or on the way home from my first Hot Yoga class post-D+C tell me, “You know it’s ok to not be ok” or make a concerned face when I would joke about being able to drink champagne again - but in my grown up years I have grown quite accustomed to doing things my way.
Through the process, I would return to my key beliefs that "everything happens for a reason" and "the universe works in mysterious, magical, and intentional ways".
When the (many) Facebook pregnancy announcements would pop up on my News Feed, I would mentally go through all of the incredible and amazing things to be grateful for in my life and understand is a normal occurrence for 25% of pregnancies in their first trimester.
I was placed at the beginning of a new path: one I wasn't intending.
And through the ups and downs, here I am almost an entire year from crossing the finish line of my first half marathon and my first pregnancy with a burning desire to turn those experiences into something even more life-changing.
These life experiences also taught me how much stronger we are than we give ourselves credit for: taking a chance and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones (and past all of the self-limiting thoughts we tell ourselves) brings us to a place where we can learn how capable we are and the amazing things that can happen on the other side of fear.
I am happy to be able to share I am now standing with a 30-week-old pregnancy of a healthy Baby Girl with two major life experiences under my belt that have taught me how quickly fleeting moments can go by: these tiny moments can turn into days, and months, and years and suddenly we are left wishing we had stayed a little more present, been a little more grateful, and taken a few more chances.
Running a half marathon is a very lonely experience. It's just you and the road. You, alone, have to push yourself to keep moving forward. No one can understand the exact mental and physical rollercoaster you are going through, even if they have been through it themselves.
Going through a miscarriage feels pretty much the exact same way … except that no one talks about it.
But through both experiences you learn similar things. You learn how much stronger you can be in the face of adversity. You learn how many people are rooting you on. You learn how to be patient and trust that, eventually, the end will present itself. You learn that you just have to tell yourself “You CAN do this” one more time than you say “You can’t”. You learn how glorious the celebration at the finish line can be.
That is the true inspiration and my goal to live healthy, live foolish, and live outside of my comfort zone - an idea that crossed my mind as I crossed the finish lane in the parking lot of Epcot, but seems even more important now.
Powered by an excess of decaf coffee and La Croix, a daily chocolate habit, two rambunctious dogs, a stack of personal development books, an unwaveringly supportive family, and a love of all things Disney, I invite you to follow along in my blister, self-doubt, and sore-muscle filled journey to go from couch to Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.
It will be a very slow process, especially at the start. My feet, back, and bladder are all in the process of falling apart while I act as the apartment for our soon-to-be-born daughter. At 28-weeks pregnant we found out our little peanut was much littler than she needed to be, so we began a new, watchful, journey with our new high-risk OB. While Lil’ D has continued to grow and stay on track, our doctor is keeping a close eye on her and has recommended that I focus on resting my body, so running is out of the question until she makes her grand debut. It’ll be walking, yoga, and horizontal running for the next ten weeks.
I know better than to think it’ll get easier once she’s born, but I also know that self-care and health-care will be even more important and I want to set a positive example for my daughter from the very start.
So we’ll start small, just like her.