Commit to training for the totally crazy, totally "impossible", totally dopey Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge
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, rules, and restrictions I was creating for myself.
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 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, 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 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.
Most of the time I am completely OK, yet at other times, it hits me like an unpredictable freight train and I let the disappointment wash over me until it doesn't and then I move on. I return to my key beliefs that "everything happens for a reason" and "the universe works in mysterious, magical, and intentional ways".
I mentally go through all of the incredible and amazing things I have to be grateful for in my life and understand is a normal occurrence for 25% of pregnancies in their first trimester.
Here I am, four months from the date I crossed that finish line, with endless words I could continue to say, but without enough ways to compile them together to describe this feeling. I was placed at the beginning of a new path, one I wasn't intending, but one I am choosing to see as my most important journey yet.
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 understands the exact mental and physical coaster you are riding, even if they have been through it themselves.
Going through a miscarriage feels pretty much the exact same way except that no one so openly shares about their experience.
That is the true inspiration and motivation behind this blog and my Dopey 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 coffee and La Croix, a daily chocolate habit, two rambunctious dogs, a stack of books to read and Bucket List items to do, 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 journey to go from couch to completing the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.
Don't get it twisted. Just because I was somehow able to run 13.1 miles back in February, running any distance today is completely dreadful.
I grew up dancing ballet, so running on a treadmill will never be as much fun as dancing Waltz of the Snowflakes. It just won't.
I used to be able to blame the Wyoming altitude for my inability to do cardio for three minutes without Big Bad Wolfing it; now I live in Wisconsin so I can't use that excuse anymore.
On most occasions, I eat like a truck driver.
So for my first day of training, I was not anticipating breaking any records. I decided to create my own training program for running Dopey because this is not something I even plan on accomplishing in the next three years: I want to take my time, allow my body to recover while getting stronger.
I also decided I want to cross-train in order to make sure I am getting stronger in all areas to help to prevent injury and saggy old lady arms. My first training program is a 60-day program, starting with 10-minute exercises each day. Couple that with short daily runs and there is really no reason why I shouldn't be able to get that done (though, I'm sure my brain could concoct 4,378 excuses).
If you are trying to get healthy as well and want an accountabili-buddy, let me know!! I'd love to connect with others who are trying to create new healthy (HARD!) habits.