Sorry that there’s no Virtual Disney blog post today. This has been on my mind to share. So, I decided to write this post instead. In a little more than a week, I’ll be fulfilling a dream by running the Los Angeles Marathon. This is a dream that has been many years in the making. If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you know that I’ve already run one full marathon. So, you may be wondering why I said that the Los Angeles Marathon is a dream that has been years in the making. That’s what this post is about.
It all began back in May 2006. On Cinco de Mayo of 2006, I met my wife for the first time. Right from that first date, I knew that this was a special one. Since I’ve thought I had met the girl I would marry a few times before, it took me a little while to completely convince myself. However, by the end of that summer, I knew that we would be getting married. The problem was that I was unemployed and my wife was a substitute teacher. Not exactly the kind of work situation to be planning a wedding. In September 2006, I got my first long-term temp position at Disney. Since my, then girlfriend, was a teacher, I knew that we would probably get married in the summer time. Well, as a temp, I knew that wasn’t going to happen in the summer of 2007. However, maybe it could happen by the summer of 2008.
So, in the summer of 2007, I joined Bally’s Fitness with the goal of loosing a lot of weight. I figured that if I gave myself a year (or a little more), I could find a way to lose the weight I wanted to in time for the wedding. My goal weight was 160 lbs. This isn’t my first Journey to 160. When I started up at the gym, I was completely intimidated by the treadmill. So, I steered clear of that machine. After a few months at the gym, I finally got the courage to try the treadmill and try to run.
I still remember how amazing it felt when I ran an entire mile without stopping! Eventually, I worked my way up to running 5K’s on the treadmill 3 times a week! Once I got to the 5K distance on the treadmill, I worked on getting faster. As I talked about my progress with a friend of mine, she asked if I ever thought about running a marathon. A marathon? It sounded crazy. She told me that famous statistic that only 1% of the population will finish a marathon. So, I thought about that. If I would run a marathon, it was going to the Los Angeles Marathon. After all, I lived in LA and grew up with this race. Back in 2007, it was the only marathon I knew about (except for the New York City Marathon). I wondered how long it would take to work my way up to a full marathon. I thought that maybe two years was enough time. So, the 2009 or 2010 Los Angeles Marathon would be the one. That was a pipe dream to me at the time. But, it was something to think about.
It didn’t quite work out for us to get married in the summer of 2008. So, the summer of 2009 was the plan. I started my first job with Disney in January 2008. So, that gave me more than a year of working there before I would get married. As the months went by, I gradually lost almost all the weight I wanted to lose. On May 2, 2008, I decided the time was right to propose to Brooke. I knew that I wanted propose at Disneyland and had help with some of our friends in pulling it off. The picture above was taken literally minutes before I proposed. On that date, I weighed 164 lbs. I was just 4 pounds away from my goal. What I didn’t know was how much of a whirlwind getting engaged was going to be. I fought as hard as I could. But, I would slowly lose conditioning and the weight gradually came back. I wasn’t working out consistently at all and dreams of a marathon went away completely.
Over the years from 2008 through 2011, I would have periods of being consistent at the gym and periods of completely ignoring the gym. Without all that consistency, I could never build up enough momentum to keep me interested. At the first D23 Expo in 2011, I saw an ad for the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend. There was mention of a 5K in the ad. I thought that might be fun. So, I signed up.
My training for the 2012 Neverland 5K was done entirely on a treadmill. I had no clue what I was doing in getting ready. I had a general couch to 5K program (which I didn’t get through). The race was at night after the parks closed. Since it was at night, I went out and purchased a long-sleeved running shirt to wear and the pants. I wore a Mickey Mouse watch for the race and, as you can see, no music. After all, runDisney said that they discouraged the use of music while running the races. I was so nervous. However, the race turned out to be so much fun! I had to do another! Once again, I started thinking of two races I wanted to eventually do…
First, I wanted to run the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. One thing was quite clear that weekend. The half marathon was the big dog race. I thought that I could work myself up to running a half marathon in a year. That seemed pretty doable…and it was. This is me finishing my very first half marathon.
The second was to run in the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon. Putting the marathon a little more than 2 years away was a safe distance in January 2012. Even thought I thought about the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon as a goal, I was a little more interested in the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. That seemed more realistic. I would spend 2012 working my way up in distances. A few 5K’s gave the courage to sign up for a 10K. The 10K’s lead to running the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Finishing that race is what got me hooked on running.
I signed up for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon and Disneyland 10K a couple of days after Tink. Since I got online to check out the registration after the 2013 Dumbo Double Dare sold out, I’d have to do an unofficial Dumbo Double Dare that year. Then, I thought I’d check out the web to see if there were other runDisney fans and where they hung out. I found the Team #runDisney Facebook group and a number of blogs along the way. Many of the bloggers were talking up the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. As I read, I grew inspiration. The dream of the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon dimmed and was overtaken with the thought of running the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon instead. I mean, you got to run through 4 theme parks along the way!
As you all probably know by now, the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon became my very first full marathon. It’s a race that will always hold a place in my heart because it was my first full marathon. I came back from Walt Disney World feeling pretty good about the marathon distance and looked into running the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon. Sadly, the race was sold out. Ugh!
I went to the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon Expo even though I wasn’t running. I went for inspiration and found it. I saw that the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon would be the 30th year! Score! It meant that I had to wait a year to finally run this race. But, I’d get to run my first Los Angeles Marathon on its 30th year!
It was so exciting when I signed up! I was going to run in the Los Angeles Marathon! Then, I came up with the training plan. There were hits and misses along the way.
It wasn’t until my 20 mile run that I finally felt ready to run a full marathon again. Just one week prior to this, I seriously thought about deferring. What a difference 1 run can make!
Then, the 23 mile run….
Now, here I am. A little more than a week from finally getting to run in this great race. I can hardly believe that it’s going to happen! It went from setting goals to run in the 2009 LA Marathon to the 2010 LA Marathon to the 2014 LA Marathon before finally landing at the 2015 LA Marathon. This is the first marathon I really knew about. It’s the race I’ve grown up with. The KTLA Morning News always spends the month of March highlighting the various charities involved with the LA Marathon. Each year I’d watch and wonder if I’d ever even attempt this race. One of the pastors at a church I used to attend would run the LA Marathon every year. I watched the LA Marathon on television last year and followed a few bloggers as they made their way from the Stadium to the Sea. In just over a week, it will finally be my turn! I will get to run 26.2 miles from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica.
The Walt Disney World Marathon will always be my first and it makes so much sense that I would do my first full marathon at Disney. After all, my first race was a 5K at Disneyland. My first half marathon was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland. So, why should my first full marathon not be the Walt Disney World Marathon? In spite of this, the Los Angeles Marathon has been on my mind for much longer. That’s why this race means so much to me. Los Angeles Marathon, you’ve been calling me for so long. I’m ready!