Never give up

Last weekend my son and his wife, Bill and Amanda, flew down to Disney World to run a half marathon. They trained hard and withstood many trials, but when the time came to board the plane and head to Florida, they took off.

I asked Amanda to share about the experience. Here's what she said...

I never thought I would be able to say it but I can now, “I finished my first half-marathon!” I completed this endeavor with my best friend and biggest cheerleader, (my husband Bill) by my side. We started the race hand in hand and crossed the finish line in the same way. Running a half-marathon had been on my bucket list for awhile and I decided last year that 2015 would be as good a time as any. I decided that if I was going to run a half marathon I wanted it to be in the happiest place on earth…Disney World of course!

I began training over the summer and faced many hurdles-not enough time (I have two small children), balancing time with my girls and husband and training became difficult. I also work part time at the Disney Store a morning or two a week. Also physical injuries-I dealt with shin splints, knee pain and my latest injury plantar fasciitis. I could have thrown in the towel or given up but I didn’t; I had made a commitment to Bill and to myself. I was doing pretty well until about three weeks before the race when I started having severe pain in my heel. My sister who is a runner herself (she completed the marathon at Disney in 2013) and an O.T. said that I probably had plantar fasciitis, and once I stopped running it should go away. Of course I wasn’t going to stop running! I had come so far! I began a regiment of rest, ice and a lot of prayer and the last few weeks were painful physically and emotionally. There were days that it was painful to bear weight on my foot, but the pain of disappointment was even heavier. I remember crying one morning on my way to work because I was so frustrated that this happened so close to my race. I felt like I was going to let Bill down because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to complete the race.

When we boarded the plane on Friday I was still unsure if I was going to be able to physically complete the race. I was still limping and in a lot of pain. Once we reached Disney World we checked into our hotel, threw our bags in our room and headed to the race expo to pick up our race bibs. As we were walking around the expo we came upon a booth that was selling K-tape (kinesiology tape). I told the girl my situation and told her I was desperate and needed something to just get me through the race. She told me that they were doing free tapings and that I might have to wait thirty minutes…I waited the thirty minutes. The K-tape helped out tremendously; it didn’t heal the pain in my foot, it just made It more manageable. After walking around the rest of the expo, Bill and I decided to head back to the hotel and find some dinner. Once we ate we decided that it was time to call it a night since we would have to get up at 3:00am the following morning to get ready for the race. I went to bed that night and prayed that God would allow me the physical and mental strength to endure the 13.1 miles.

3:00am came sooner than I wanted it to. I had trouble sleeping due to nerves and worrying about my gimpy foot. We got suited up for the race, and we were on the bus. It was chillier than we had anticipated but it made for nice running conditions. There were thousands of runners bundled up eager to start the race. The adrenaline began kicking in as we headed into our coral waiting for the gun to sound and see the fireworks explode as we started the race. I was nervous and excited to begin a challenge that I had spent months training hard for. The gun sounded, and we were off! Each mile brought fun sights and sounds from high school marching bands, to beloved Disney characters like Goofy, Mary Poppins and Cinderella. My favorite moment was running down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom giving high fives to the spectators cheering us on as we gazed upon the castle lit up in clear Christmas lights. As we finished each mile I had such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment; I was competing in my first half-marathon! As the sun began to rise we were more than halfway complete. Once I reached mile 11 I began to get tired, physically and mentally. This was the most I had ever run; I only made it to ten miles in my training and had to stop because of injury. As we started mile 12 I felt the pain setting in all over my body; at times I wanted to stop; my feet never hurt so bad in my life. I didn’t stop! Bill was such an encourager and I began praying for God to get me through the last mile and He did! I will tell you I have never been so happy to see the number 13 in all my life  as I crossed the finish line hand in hand with Bill I was overjoyed that it was over.

I remember thinking “I just ran 13.1 miles, something I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to complete the day before” and thanking God. I really consider it a miracle that I completed this race. I am so proud of myself for completing this obstacle, because at times that’s what it was. I wanted to be able to show my daughters that once you put your mind to something and train hard that anything is possible with God even when we may not think it is.
It has been a week since I completed the race and I am contemplating which half marathon to sign up for next!

Jackie here, like I said, I'm so proud of Amanda and Bill for running this race. Somehow Bill managed to run and snap pictures along the way, and I thought I'd share a few.

And one last picture. Congratulations Amanda and Bill!