Last year in May, I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland for the first time! It was something I had seen on a show, I think it was Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and thought… “Wow, that would be fun to do!” I love Tinker Bell, she’s my favorite Disney character, so that was one of the reasons I was so drawn to the race, but also the fact that I had recently started my own healthy living journey and was very interested in doing races.

Triumphant right after finishing the half marathon in 2016!

I didn’t think that I would be interested in running a half marathon at that time though. Then one of my friends on SparkPeople ran the Tinker Bell Half in 2015 and I was so motivated and inspired by her story, that I decided that I could totally do the race too. I had a lot of help from friends encouraging me and helping me make this happen, and I am so thankful for all they did for me because the half marathon there at Disneyland was one of the very best experiences in my life so far.

So, in May 2016 I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the first time and it was a big struggle. I had trained but not as well as I would have liked. Still, the training I did do allowed me to finish. If you don’t know about runDisney races, they will pull you out if you are too slow and fall too far behind. They require you to keep up a pace of 16 minutes per mile. I had a hard time with this the first half of the race, kept up with the pacers for a little bit, and then slowly started falling behind. I didn’t get pulled out though and was able to finish the race in 3 hours 43 minutes. I was so ecstatic and triumphant for being able to finish the race! It was an amazing feeling. I even didn’t have as much soreness or pain following the race and recovery went really smooth for me!

A picture from my longest training session before the race- 10 miles!

I finished the race feeling ready to tackle another half marathon in November, in my hometown here in California, but due to our moving across the country so close to the race, I wasn’t able to train at all for it. Over the summer though, when they opened registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for 2017, I signed up right away! I was so excited to be able to do the half marathon again!

With the half marathon in May, I needed to start training right around the New Year, but I didn’t. Then only a few weeks into the New Year, I got a puppy… totally unplanned, literally showed up at my door. She was pretty calm and allowed me to work and my parents could handle her when I needed them to take care of her. Just four days after she entered our lives, she was taken away by her previous owners who had said we could keep her and then changed their mind, telling our apartment managers that we wouldn’t give her back. A few hours after that whole debacle, they sent Jasper, my puppy to us as an apology.

Look how tiny Jasper was! My heart is melting!

Jasper was younger and they weren’t attached to him, plus I had some insurance against them making a claim against us like they had before. He was meant to be mine, but he is high energy and high maintenance, and I didn’t want to leave this little ball of energy in his cage too often to go training. I already had to put him in there a bit while I worked on writing and later health coaching. I thought things would improve, he would calm down a bit. He did, but not enough and by then I was hustling to make enough income to support him and both of us. Therefore my training kept being pushed back and eventually there was just no time to train. Not only that, but we experienced some car troubles and other financial hardships that left me without a way to pay for the traveling and hotel I would need.

Wearing my “I DID IT!” shirt after the 2016 race.

I was super disappointed that I wasn’t able to go do the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year. It was heartbreaking to me, seeing the emails from runDisney hitting my inbox, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to go in the final month before the race. Then they sent me a “thank you for participating” and “congratulations on your amazing accomplishment” email a couple days after the race. In my head I was thinking, “Oh how I wish I had done this amazing accomplishment again this year.” It made my heart sink. However, something that took the sting out of it was Jasper having his neuter surgery two days before the race, on May 12th. Taking care of him and all that entailed really kept my mind off of the fact that I was missing this race I had been looking forward to ever since I had done the first one.

There is next year though, and this time I will be training properly and finishing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the second time. The first time was such an amazing experience and a huge accomplishment for me, there is no way I’m going to miss the 2018 race!




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