Run Forest…errr…Amber, RunDisney!

Once upon a time, I was a runner and a pretty good one. I was the fastest on the soccer field, kicked butt in track and cross-country and ran up mountains for fun. Then I got old and my body started hurting so I stopped running more than a few miles at a time.

But deep within me, I’ve yearned to do a runDisney event. Several times a year, my Instagram feed is filled with fun friends decked out in darling running costumes at these endurance events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-miler. Tinker Bell Half Marathon.

Too bad I no longer do endurance, I just endure.

However, runDisney also does plenty of less extreme events such as children’s races and the 5K Expedition Everest Challenge obstacle course in Disney World. I was thrilled when the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration also offered an optional 2-mile fun run for the first 100 people to sign up. As a bonus, New Balance shoes was the sponsor and gave each runner our own pair of shoes.
Sadly, they weren’t these ultra-cool limited edition New Balance runDisney running shoes. But I wasn’t complaining about my new pair that I wore around Disneyland all weekend that took zero time to break-in.

My friend Kelly just completed the Boston Marathon and is an overachiever when it comes to dressing up for these runDisney events (you should totally check-out her company Sparkle Athletic‘s darling and comfy running skirts). But I’m domestically challenged and knew there was no way I could sew an outfit like her. So, I tapped into my goddess neighbor Meredith for some crafting inspiration and she was able to help me whip up a quick and easy Snow White costume.

I didn’t sweat my training too much. I can hike for miles and though I’m no longer fast, boot camp has made me strong. It was only 2 miles so what could go wrong?

Getting ill could go very, very wrong.

The night before the race, I started feeling really sick in the head (think: sinusitis, not mental illness). I debated canceling but decided to just wait and see how I was feeling the next day. And so I tossed and turned all night long fretting that I’d feel crummy in the morning so not only was I sick, I was exhausted.

But I went anyway.

Colorado girls representin’

“Elsa” Kelly on the right, with Julie a.k.a. “Anna”

We met in Downtown Disney at 5:30 a.m. for check-in and for a New Balance pep talk. They walked the moms (most of whom were not seasoned runners) through running form and basics. I fully expected them to do a group stretch but before I knew it, we were getting divided into two groups: those who wanted to run the entire time and the second group who would alternately walk and run.

I debated my fate. I was perfectly capable of running two miles straight so for me, the walk-run seemed like a cop-out. But would my body be able to handle it?

Snow White is nothing if not resilient (think: jealous queen and juggling 7 silly dwarfs) so I went for it.

I’m really glad I did. The running group kept a mild 9-minute-mile pace so I was easily able to keep up. And let me tell you, running through Disneyland and then California Adventure before the park’s opening was exhilarating and surreal.

Running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

I felt fairly strong through most of it, likely in part because running at sea level is exponentially easier than running at 5,280 feet (Denver’s elevation). Around the last 1/2-mile, my sick body started feeling it but was I fortunate to run beside three fabulous ladies “The Fab 4″ and we ecstatically crossed the finish line in Cars Land together. We finished closely behind the lead group and flush with excitement, we celebrated with our friends and families.

The conference organizers had closed off Cars Land until 9 a.m., giving us the unprecedented opportunity to ride the popular attractions over and over again.

Zero lines at the popular Radiator Springs Racers

Competitive much? Taking me out on Luigi’s Flying Tires

Cars Land Cuties

We had a fantastic morning and here’s the photograph to prove it. Kind of. Can’t spot me? It’s because I was in the bathroom when they shot it. You win some, you lose some.

Photo: Josh Hallett

Better luck (on many levels) next year.

Just tuning in? Be sure to read my introductory post Disney Social Media Moms Celebration: A Glimpse Behind Mickey’s Magic Curtain and also Disneyland: The Old, New, Tried and True Favorites and Elsa + Amber = BFFs “Frozen” in Time.

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The conference fee I paid included discounted lodging and park tickets for my family and sponsor swag. The runDisney fun run was included as a part of the conference and I was not required to blog about it or any sponsors.