Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kelli's Princess Half and Pi Day 5K race reports

Submitted by Kelli Shrewsberry @Connect2TLC

It’s funny. I’ve started to write a race report at least three times now. I’m not sure what’s holding me back—at first, I think it was race let down. I had just completed my first half at the Princess Half Marathon and was back in Ohio with the arctic cold blast. It could have also been the race reports written by other captains—inspiring, amazing stories—and I wanted to do mine justice!

So now, as I sit at my computer, I have that “energetic race day feeling” that will last me all year long…so, let me explain.

My First Half: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Thursday: Just Mom & I
If you haven’t eaten at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, get there next time! It was great to just spend some time with my mom before our other princesses arrived—and the atmosphere here is amazing! In fact, this is where my #Run3rd photo challenge began. I heard someone talking about Hidden Mickey’s, and I love this about Disney. So, I wondered how many “Hidden 3’s” I could find for #Run3rd around the parks while we were here. I wanted to keep reminding myself that while I was having a blast at Disney—I was here for something else too-something bigger than me. I had a lot of #Run3rd dedications to think about!

Here is the light at Sanaa above our table--it had a three (sometimes you have to look at things differently) and so the challenge began!
Friday: Expo time!
We hit the expo early-which we knew we had to do. We were traveling with a few fellow teachers, but they weren’t getting in until later and with the worry of travel delays, we knew we needed to stock up on “I Did It” shirts for all of us. My #Run3rd radar must have started going off when I saw the line at the RunDisney booth—Sean was there! I got a big smile and he was even willing to be a little “Goofy” and try the #Run3rd hand signal with me. Everyone is right, he is amazing. I felt like everyone in line was treated like a princess; he talked with everyone, and encouraged everyone, which is a message I took back with me!

While I wanted to find a “3” here, there was not enough time—we had shopping to do!

Saturday: Park Hopping
Yes, I admit it. I love Disney. So, when our group of 7 said they wanted the full Disney experience, I don’t think they knew what they were in for. We took it easy on Saturday with a little Animal Kingdom in the morning and a great early dinner at Coral Reef in EPCOT. I was looking for #Run3rd photo images, and they asked “So, what exactly is this #Run3rd idea you keep talking about?” I explained how I had read tweets during the Tink Half and was instantly hooked. I loved this idea of thinking about others by dedicating runs, and the tweets/RTs were exciting and empowering. As teachers, we all loved the idea behind dedicating a run. I had placed our #Run3rd door bling on all our doors and they were now hooked as well! This is where the #Run3rd photo challenge really took off. I love thinking outside the box. From then on, we looked all over the parks for images that looked like a “3”.

Use the link below to see images we found around the parks—and I encourage you to look for “3’s” if you are at a race or just out for a run. It’s a small reminder of sorts and I promise you will notice things that you would have not seen either-which is so much fun! When you find one, take a pic and submit it!

I’m used to being up at 3am, which is shocking because I totally missed the whole Princess Half Meetup post and had been stalking the site days before. I always check twitter at 3am (I have no idea why) and for some reason, that day I didn’t (maybe I was dreaming of Oz). So, an early morning for my first big race didn’t bother me at all—in fact, I loved it! There was definitely something in the air—Disney magic? Maybe. Humidity? Yes! But it was more than that…it was ENERGY! You can feel it on race day, and even for a few days after. Then, it seems to dwindle and we look at pictures and remember Mile 11…the dining plan….the girl time…and most importantly for me….time with my mom! She and I ran as a mother/daughter team, the Pi-Rate Princesses who #Run3rd for math & science education (and lots of other causes too). And I am happy to say that “We Did It!” Which is good-because we had already bought the shirts at the expo!

And when I say we had energy—we did! Although it took us much longer than we planned, we finished! We even had energy to celebrate in true Princess style: with a private fireworks cruise to view WISHES at Magic Kingdom. (Secretly, I really wanted a “3” to appear here too! Like I said, it became a challenge!)

And if you are wondering whether we found a “3” on race day-of course we did…at the FINISH LINE—gotta love the bling!

So my first half was an amazing experience. I love that feeling of accomplishment—crossing the finish line, trying to beat my best time, and hearing the cheers from complete strangers that keep me going to the finish line. That feeling lasts a couple of days, and then I seek out the next run and do it all again.

But when I said I have that “race day feeling” that will last me the whole year, I meant it.
So, here goes…

Pi Day 5K

My first official solo Team Captain race is a race we do for our nonprofit. Our focus is professional development in mathematics & science for teachers in grades preK-12. So this year, we coordinated our 2nd Annual Pi Day 5k. It’s a 3.14 mile run/walk to support TLC and programs for teachers and students.

This year, we gave all our participants a #Run3rd sticker and asked them to dedicate a run. I was amazed! Teachers were running for their students, students running for their favorite teacher, dedications for loved ones and causes close to people’s hearts. And I was super excited that Jodi Scott posted on the #Run3rd page that she was coming! It was great to meet a fellow #run3rd’er! It’s funny how #Run3rd brings people together—we were meeting for the first time, but I felt like I had known her for years! We laughed, smiled and shared our dedications (she shared others she had with her too), and said see you at the next one!

Amazingly, I don’t even run my own race. I’m busy with the hustle and bustle of teachers, students, and families picking up packets—taking pictures—and giving hugs to current and past participants of our programs who are supporting our mission.

So, how can I have a feeling that lasts an entire year? The finish line!
I stand there and I watch.
I watch the look on the faces of our runners and walkers as they cross the finish line.
I watch the kids who amaze me everyday with what they can do when they just try!
I watch people who are pushing themselves to the limits.
I listen to the cheers from their families and friends.
I see their smiles and I hear their “I Did It” shouts.
and I love every minute!

I don’t even have to run. I get so much energy from this moment. It’s a moment that makes me smile every time I think about our race—and it’s a moment that can last me the entire year.

Last year, we had a Cutie Pi crew that completed the 3.14 miles. Everyone kept saying that these girls kept them going. They were so excited about what they were doing and kept yelling “I’m doing it!” This year, they were back, excited as ever. And they are exactly what we should all do at the finish line. They crossed. They smiled. (They let me take a thousand pictures)…and then they turned around and cheered others on.

So, next time you finish and celebrate your accomplishment-hang around and celebrate others-it’s a feeling that lasts! To me, this is what #Run3rd is all about. It’s bigger than any of us-and has the potential to do so much more that I ever realized it could.

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