exercise_motivationToday was a good day.  I am very happy to be able to type that sentence, because I have had several days that were not good days, in a row.  I have just had one of those weeks.  And just when I thought the lousy week was over, I had another couple of bad days.  In the past 10 or so days, I have had gastrointestinal difficulties not once but two different days, my lovely Aunt Flo came to visit with a vengeance, I tweaked my knee, I have had nutrition challenges, and the ever present stress of life.  I work a job where I have a set schedule, but it is a two week rotation, so there is no real normalcy, and no easy routine to settle in to.  When I work, it could be 8am to 5pm or it could be (usually is) 8am to 8pm.  Not being able to establish a routine is really a huge obstacle to my fitness and running journey.

Despite having had a few (several) bad days, I went to the gym tonight and I completed my workout as intended.  I did my running intervals (all of them) and I did them at the predetermined difficulty (I detest incline) and I felt good.  My heart rate went up and down as it was supposed to do, so my trainer will likely be happy.  All of this is because of motivation.

11891544_1242849052407721_5579783377800638301_oI was online at 11am central, and I was able to register for the Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World in April 2016.  I also was able to register for the 5K and register my husband for the 5K.  This is convenient, because I already made my hotel reservations and had been essentially planning on doing this race.  I am super excited at the prospect of getting to do an inaugural race and continue doing it annually.  That brings me to what runDisney means to my running game.  Motivation.  I am currently registered to run three runDisney races, starting with the Disney Princess weekend, followed by the Star Wars – Dark Side weekend, and the Tinkerbell weekend.  I also plan to sign up for the Disneyland Half weekend and the Wine and Dine Half, as well as the lofty goal of the Disney World Marathon weekend in January 2017.  I am officially signed up for (paid a ton of money for) the three aforementioned races, and we have already made our hotel reservations (which includes deposits) and have the airline tickets for the first race.  I also have purchased an annual pass for Walt Disney World.  This all adds up to a significant chunk of change.  Now, this may sound like a bit of a complaint, but really, it is money very well spent.  You see, I am committed.  I have spent money, I have my vacation time approved through work.  My husband has taken vacation time at his work.  I have told people, my husband has told people, I started this blog.  I need to follow through.  When I have a bad day, or a string of bad days, I cannot just quit.  I cannot just go back to the way I used to eat and not exercise, because I have things to do!  I have races to run.  I have life to live.

I know there are a lot of people who think it is crazy to spend the amount of money I have spent and will be spending on running races.  I have already heard it one hundred times.  You know what though?  I am 43 years old, and if spending this money makes me more accountable and motivated to myself to accomplish my ultimate goal of living a healthier (hopefully longer) life, it is quite a bargain.  There is no price to be put upon being able to play with my grandchildren.  There is no way to quantify the improvement of quality of life with my husband.  There is no monetary value that can be assigned to the increased strength I feel physically and mentally from continuing to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on making progress.  No matter how slow it is, progress is infinitely better than apathy.  I saw a photo recently that was captioned, “No matter how long it takes you to run the race, you are still lapping everyone on the couch” or something to that effect.  I love it.  It is true.  I might not be the fastest runner, I might be as slow as a turtle wading through quicksand, but I am better than I was sitting and wasting my life and health away.  We only get one life to live, and I am going to live mine.

This past weekend, the Disneyland Half Marathon was held at Disneyland/in Anaheim, CA.  I was pouring over the various runner’s blogs I like to read, anxious for any race recaps or photos I could get my virtual hands on.  It was during this weekend I realized I am done.  There is no hope for me, I am addicted to runDisney.

All of this really started back in July when my husband and I agreed we wanted to lose weight, get healthy and be more physically fit.  We are both in our 40’s, and we want to be able to enjoy the second half of our lives to the best of our ability.  I am nearly six years out from a serious breast cancer diagnosis (stage IIIb), graduated from a master’s program and transitioned from a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner a year ago.  I have raised three young men and helped raise a young lady into adulthood.  We started going to the gym and I started thinking I would really like to be a runner.  It was time.

As a teenager, I wanted to be a runner.  I used to watch some of my friends and classmates run effortlessly, and I was jealous.  You see, I was blessed (really?) with very large breasts.  Running was a painful endeavor, and not something I enjoyed, and that was primarily due to my anatomy.  There really weren’t enough sports bras in Upstate New York to hold those puppies down!  Fast forward 30ish years, and now I do not have that particular issue.  When you deal with a life-threatening illness like breast cancer, and you have to have a double mastectomy, you deal with that how you can.  I like to look on the bright side of things, and voila! Bright side!  I could theoretically become a runner now!

I started slowly (who am I kidding, I am still moving slowly) and followed the Couch to 5K app on my phone for a few weeks.  I have a trainer at the gym and did some metabolic testing, and she tweaked my running intervals some, and on I ran.  Now, I am running 3 days per week using run-walk-run-walk intervals, and walking another 3 days per week.  I am becoming a runner!

So, I am the kind of person who needs goals.  I have to be working towards something that is significant enough to help me overcome obstacles and days when I just feel like lying in bed watching Netflix and seeing how infrequently I can get up to use the bathroom.  This is no easy task for anyone, but I had made the commitment to myself.  I started browsing running stuff on the internet, and I ended up on the runDisney website.  I LOVE all things Disney, as does my husband.  Disney World was where I had my second date with my husband.  The Magic Kingdom opened the year I was born, and I am pretty sure for the first 18 years of my life, I went at least once a year.  I thought to myself, A half marathon though?  Aren’t you getting a little carried away?  Well, of course I was, but no, that was not good enough.  In true Julie style (jumping in head first) I decided to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon Glass Slipper Challenge.  This means I will run the Disney Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday.  Yeah, you haven’t met me, but if you had, you wouldn’t be surprised.

Now on to the reason I have started this blog.  As I will discuss in coming weeks, I am committed to participating in runDisney events, more than just a one and done approach.  Currently I am also signed up to run the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in May 2016, and I am going to sign up for the Rebel Challenge at the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side in April 2016.  I am obsessed with running Disney!  In order to fuel my obsession, I scour the internet looking for blogs written by people who have run or are planning to run at Disney events.  I have come across some really good ones, and I feel inspired to track my own journey with a blog, and maybe even give someone else some inspiration along the way!

Plentyofpixiedust.com was born today, and the name was chosen because I love when Peter Pan tells Wendy and the other children all they need to fly is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust.  All things considered, I figure when you are an overweight, middle-aged breast cancer survivor, you might need plenty of pixie dust!  I plan to write about my running progress, races, Disney, and my weight loss.  No doubt for me, the highlights will be runDisney events.  I am eagerly counting down the days (163) until I am living the magic and I will be able to blog about my own experiences.  Come fly with me!