I’m a little behind on my update, but just a little over 2 weeks ago team “D.W.A.R.F.F. Awareness” participated in the Expedition Everest Challenge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s an experience I would highly recommend to anyone interested in a night of fun.
*Sorry for the photo quality on these. The only cameras we had were the one’s on our phones.*
The challenge consists of a 5K race with a few obstacles sprinkled throughout it and then a scavenger hunt throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom at night. Once crossing the finish line you get to enjoy a few extra hours in the park to celebrate your accomplishment with fellow racers and a crazy cast of character friends.
Of all the races thus far this was by far the one that I was looking forward to the most (and not just because it was only 3.1 miles). It was a really exciting experience. Matt’s motivating pace managed to help me shave quite a bit of time off of my usual run times. We crossed the finish line for the 5K just a few seconds before the 36 minute mark and for me that is a HUGE accomplishment.
The medal was really cool. After running the Princess Half Marathon with me, I’m sure Matt was glad that this medal is a bit more manly. It has a fully functioning compass incorporated into it. He was like a boy scout playing with the medal while we waited in line to ride Expedition Everest. It seemed like the natural choice after conquering the challenge. I fully recommend this event to anyone just starting out with the Run Disney events. It’s fun, gives you a good taste of the atmosphere these events have, and you only have to make it through 3.1 miles.
Next up for us will be the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in September. Right now I’m adjusting to running in Florida in the summer. When I started training last year it was already starting to cool down, so running in the thicker humidity and higher temperatures has been a big adjustment. I’m bound to not let it deter me. Now that Matt’s helped me to decrease my per mile time, I’m really looking forward to seeing how my time improves for the 10 miler. This is where I cross my fingers and hope for my knee to hold itself together while I take on another longer race. I know I’ll have Matt there by my side cheering me on, or holding me up, so I’m eager to get back out there and take on another challenge. I’m fighting like hell through my Fibromyalgia challenges and refusing to give up!
The photos are in just in time for us to prepare for the next challenge. Crossing the finish line at our first half marathon was an amazing experience, but now we’ve got a new challenge ahead of us. For my birthday my amazing boyfriend surprised me with entries for us to run in the Expedition Everest Challenge in May and the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in September. It looks as if 2012 might possibly be the start of new running traditions for us.
Since I had problems with my knee during the half marathon, and we think it may have been due to over training, I am preparing for the upcoming Challenge in May by only running a 5K three times a week. I’m really looking forward to this event since it combines a 5K with a scavenger hunt inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom after the close of the park. The Tower of Terror 10 Miler in September should be exciting as well…as long as no one makes me ride the Tower of Terror as part of it. Let’s just say that ride and myself have decided it would be best if we agree to disagree.
I digress. Back to the fun! I’m excited that the photos and videos finally arrived. Although my mom did a great job of capturing the action that she could, the person who decided to jump for joy in front of her kind of added to a reduced number of usable photos in the end. It was exciting to also get videos of us coming down the castle ramp and across the finish line. I hope you all enjoy getting to be a part of the journey!
Today was the day ladies and gentlemen. Oh yes, we got up at 4:15 AM and prepared for the trek that was ahead. “What trek?” you might be asking. Well, as I mentioned in a blog post late last year, Matt and I agreed to take on our first 5K together and this morning was an amazing experience. It was on my 25st birthday that I ran my very first 5K after losing a bet. I ran it alone and although it was an interesting first experience I wasn’t motivated to do another one any time soon. Until now!
We rolled out of bed at an unnatural hour, but managed to pull it together and get to Disney in time for the Family Fiesta 5K. It was barely 40 degrees, which isn’t exactly something that my Fibromyalgia agrees with, but we toughed it out with 7,998 other people who were waiting to step up to the starting line. The music was blasting, the DJ was cracking jokes and I was excited to get going. Team “D.W.A.R.F.F. Awareness” sure lived up to their name (Dancing, Walking and Running For Fibromyalgia Awareness).
When we first talked about the 5K I told Matt I wanted to beat my run time from 2008 of 42 minutes. He agreed it would be possible and has been training with me to ensure that it happened. This morning I managed to run each mile in about 13 minutes and did squash my last run time! When I proposed this idea it was to get my head back into the game and remind myself that I’m can still do things. My diagnosis of Fibro was one that made me smile as I finally knew what was going on, but being an active person it made me feel as if I was losing myself. This morning was a reminder that I’m still me deep down inside. Although the recovery time is a little longer now then it used to be, I still had it in me.
In purple from head to toe for my support of Fibro, Matt and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand smiling the whole way. It’s just 6 weeks from now that we’ll be facing the Disney Princess Half Marathon and this Sunday we start pushing our training so I’ll be able to get through that. I have no race time goal for the next run as just completing it is one of the biggest accomplishments in my world. The next six weeks will be tough, but I’m excited and ready for the challenge!
The music of the holiday season always puts me in such a cheerful mood with so many of the songs bringing back joyous memories of my life as a performer. Listening to Pandora while at my desk generally strikes an urge to want to jump up and dance, but I’ve done my best this holiday season to not let myself jump up and bust a move. Those at my current job know me as a dedicated professional and not one who used to wear ball gowns or pointe shoes. However, all it takes are a few notes of The Nutcracker to make me want to waltz and leap down the aisle of cubicles with all I can muster up from inside.
I’ve only had the pleasure of performing in the Nutcracker twice in my life. Once as a dancer who was just starting her journey and then later as one who was lucky enough to be featured. Both occasions left such a lasting impact and deeply etched memories into my mind. As other dancers know, each year you often have a yearly performance or recital and there are many of those that I have no memories of so it is a good thing my mom purchased the VHS. However, I’m sure that both Nutcracker experiences will remain with me for many years to come.
I was hoping to be able to see a staging of The Nutcracker this year while I was traveling in Washington D.C. for work, but there just wasn’t enough time around my conference schedule. Being in Florida has limited the Christmas shows that are on my “must see” list. When I lived in New York during my younger years my mom would take me to see the New York City Ballet’s staging of The Nutcracker or The Radio City Christmas Spectacular so that I could see my favorite high kicking ladies. It’s funny how even as a child I greatly appreciated clean choreography and precision. I guess in the back of my mind my future calling was there all along.
During one of my first holiday season’s back in Florida my mom and step-dad took me all the way to Miami so that I could see the Miami City Ballet present their version of The Nutcracker. Compared to the NYCB staging that I treasured as a child, Miami sure knows how to infuse the production with color and flair! I think this is a tradition I might need to put back on my calendar during the 2012 holiday season as I have slowly spent the last 2 years returning to the things that mean the most to me.
It’s almost time to write those New Year’s resolutions, so start brainstorming now. I’ve done quite well with my resolutions from 2011, so I think I’ll continue my trend of attainable and motivating resolutions for 2012. Time to strap on my running shoes and get in a few last half marathon training sessions before the holiday festivities take over. I’ve got a mere two weeks left until our 5K run and then the half marathon will be hot on my heels a handful of weeks later. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with glorious music, sumptuous sweets, and those that they love the most!
Did you ever play with string cheese as a child? The fun was pulling it apart and watching as the cheese tear into strips. The day I walked into my doctor’s office I used string cheese to describe what my muscles felt like every time I moved. My doctor has kids so I knew he would immediately get a mental image of what I was feeling. My joints were on fire, my muscles were paying me back for every dance step I had ever taken during my 2 decades of performing but felt like they were ripping apart every time I moved, the headaches were increasing, I was almost bordering on being narcoleptic due to how exhausted I was, suddenly I found myself having no memory at all, the increasing pain in my abdomen was just getting to be too much and it was starting to feel like breathing was too painful to be necessary; welcome to a day of living with Fibromyalgia.
Although I was happy to find out what I was up against, I was heartbroken to hear that there is currently no end to the pain and exhaustion as no one knows how to completely make it stop. However, I had a choice to make…sit on the sofa and let it take over my life or start the battle and refuse to give up. I chose the latter and the uphill battle has been challenging but very rewarding. Just recently I started to fall back into what I like to call a “fibro-funk” and slowly let the dark cloud try to pull me back in. It has taken me a few weeks to see through the fog, but I woke up today and realized that I need to remember why I chose to battle against this.
On the day of my 25th birthday I ran my very first 5K. I did it just to prove to myself that I could and told myself I would take on a farther run in the near future. Well here I am, three years down the road, and I never completed that challenge I gave myself. It’s time to shake off the fog and set my sites on a goal once again. I’ve decided that I am going to start training again so I can once again complete a 5K and now take on a half marathon this coming spring. I have no goal race time in mind as just completing the race in one piece is what I strive for. In my world, where there are challenges just trying to get up off the sofa to get something to drink, completing a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment. I hope this means that I’ll continue to push myself so that the year I turn 30 I can hopefully take on a full marathon or maybe a bicycle race.
I plan to raise money for Fibromyalgia research during my runs as they are still searching for what causes this and until they discover that the chances of finding a cure are slim and fleeting. There is so little they know about the cause, symptoms experienced and treatment. I know that October is the month that we all focus on “saving the ta-ta’s” since, as my mother pointed out in one of her blog entries, it has a much catchier slogan. However, I am a perfect example of how the awareness of Fibromyalgia is slim. It’s time for me to contribute to the answers I demand on an almost daily basis and this is how I have decided to do it. I’ll be donning my purple, the official color for Fibromyalgia awareness, both in my clothes and the color of my face by the time I finish these races but it will be worth it every step of the way. In January Matt and I will be taking on a 5K and debuting as team “D.W.A.R.F.F. Awareness” and then a half marathon in February. We’ll be “Dancing, Walking And Running For Fibromyalgia Awareness” in 2012 and I hope that you’ll chose to support us on our endeavors.