I wanted to post this last week once my family and I returned from our trip to Disneyland, but I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to share my first Run Disney experience. It got me thinking how running somehow brings out so much emotion in me. I am not sure if it is because I see so many individuals accomplish goals they have set for themselves by crossing a finish line, witness the culture of runners supporting one another along a course, cheering and pulling for complete strangers, or the fundraising and running done in honor of someone special to them. Something about running, especially races (no matter then distance) gets me teary EVERY TIME. I find myself shedding tears of strength, tears of gratitude, tears of excitement, and sometimes even tears of the unknown. There is surely something about running that gives me “all the feels.” This time was even more emotional than usual and kept me more motivated and pushing harder than ever.
I am a runner. I compete with myself. I don’t always like running. In fact, I probably struggle through more of my runs than the ones I really enjoy. However, there is something about running that just gets me motivated, clears my head, makes me reflect on what’s important, and that keeps me going. I don’t have the same thoughts when doing other workouts as I do running.
Back in February, right after my youngest little one arrived, I registered for the Disney Dumbo Double Dare (it’s a 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday) race with my sister-in-law. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, a bucket-list item. I was one week post-partum and figured this would help motivate me to get back on track. I also wanted to run a Disney race and do another race with my sister-in-law. Let’s just say our first race together was not the most organized one. When we tried to run another one together, I had to drop out due to a family emergency. So this was going to be our next shot at doing it together. Well things did not go as planned and she was unable to make it. She was pregnant with my nephew and ended up going into labor early when on vacation. My little nephew, Cooper, arrived at 25 weeks when they were on vacation on August 20, 2016. He is a trooper, he is a fighter, he is Super Cooper. He is now 3.5 weeks old and making great strides forward, and day-by-day is getting stronger, but still has a long way to go.
Still focused on running this race, I started thinking about what I should wear. Disney races (like some others) are big on costumes, dressing up, and just having a blast. I could not figure out what character I wanted to honor in my running outfits. Then one day I was thinking about it and it came to mind, “why don’t I run for Cooper and make him the hero I run for.” So I made two shirts, one for each race. It was a way I could have my sister-in-law, nephew, and brother-in-law present with me and honor my strong little nephew. It was their family I could think of every mile as I ran with purpose and not for myself. It was sweet Cooper I thought of every mile and when I wanted to give up. It was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their amazing relationship and strength that kept me going. So while they could not be there in person or participate in the event, they were more present than they realize. I was able to share with strangers about Cooper and his strength when people would ask me about my shirt and what it represented. I was and continue to be a proud aunt.
This will not be my last Run Disney experience. In fact I am already thinking of when I can do my next one and will make sure my sister-in-law and I can do it together, with Cooper there to greet us at the finish line. Disney races will continually hold so much more meaning for me than ‘just a race.’ So as I said before, running brings out “all the feels” for me, and this one was no exception. This time I ran for support. I ran for strength. I ran for Cooper.
Hi! I am Lisa Downer, married mother of 3 girls and a 20+ year resident of NOCO! I was introduced to HITC in January 2018 and fell in love with the concept of not only networking with local women in business but promoting/sharing them and what they do!
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