Sunday morning I sat on my front porch with a hot cup of coffee and watched the runners in the Tupelo Marathon and Half Marathon run past our house. The course was a 13.1 mile loop, so those running the full marathon came past twice. We were at mile 8 and 16, providing a cool shower from the sprinkler John set up for the participants to run through and a little comic relief from Miles running around in his pajama top and underwear cheering on the runners.
I am in awe of marathoners, both mentally and physically. Watching the runners yesterday, some struggling and others looking like it was the easiest thing they had ever done, it made me think about the runners that I admire most. In training for the 19.3 miles that will make up the Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, I thought, what better time to gain inspiration for those long runs, than from those whose running prowess I hold in the highest esteem. Each of them has an important attribute that I hope to imitate on my road to running like a princess.
My dad is a marathoner. He finished the New York Marathon and many other 26.2 mile races. He is my model for work ethic, even though I will never be as hard a worker as I have seen him be over all of my years on this planet. He works harder than anyone else I know, and that’s why he is a wonderful example as a husband, father, pharmacist, runner, and so much more. You have to work hard to run distance races, even on the days where all you want to do is hide under the covers and not come out. When I ran my very first half marathon, I remember the amazing feeling of crossing that finish line, knowing that I had accomplished something great. The only thing that felt better than receiving that medal was hearing my dad tell me how proud he was of me for working hard to train and finish the race. When I don’t want to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, I will think about my dad to make sure that I put in the hard work necessary to run the 19.3 miles that lie ahead.
My Aunt Jennie is the definitive runner. She has been a runner as long as I can remember. She looks like a runner and is fast, as in, wins races fast. I can’t count the number of races she has run. She is a running role model because her dedication to being a runner is something I desperately want to imitate. I can remember being on vacation with her, or it being a holiday, and no matter what, she completed her run for the day. Her pace per mile is something I will only attain if I end up in an actual zombie apocalypse, but until then, I will strive to be as dedicated to the sport as my incredibly fabulous aunt.
Lisa Martin wasn’t always a runner, but one day she chose to become one. Not only did she decide to run, she decided to write about it. She was determined to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and shared every detail of her journey to the magical finish line through her blog “Born to Run…in a Princess Marathon.” I started reading the blog early into her training for the race and she was the very first person who made me think, “I can do that!” Her hysterical, brutally honest words helped me muster the courage to sign up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in 2012, and the rest is history. I will definitely continue to channel my inner-Lisa on this road to 19.3 that I am determined to conquer.
To run a distance race you have to be completely committed or you will not be prepared for the task at hand. I have never met anyone more committed to running than my husband, John. When he decides to do something he doesn’t just jump in with both feet, he cannonballs in making the biggest splash possible. He gets up most mornings before 5:00 a.m. to get the miles in he needs. I watched him train wholeheartedly for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, committed to running 26.2, all while fundraising for the kids of St. Jude. Unfortunately, his race was cancelled the day before due to an ice storm that hit Memphis, but had he been able to run, he was completely prepared because of his commitment to crossing the finish line.
I am both nervous and extremely excited about the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. My training is going well and I am so close to meeting my fundraising goal as a St. Jude Hero, and thanks to my running role models who have taught me hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment, I can already feel that medal around my neck, and it feels great!