Five perfect races

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Last year Jim and I flew down to Orlando so I could run my fifth and final Princess Marathon. For a few days we escaped the bitter cold of New England and lived like royalty in the 3-bedroom Grand Villa at Bay Lake Towers.  The weekend was bittersweet because I knew once I crossed that finish line I would no longer be able to call myself a perfect princess.

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We lived large enjoying the parks, watching Wishes from the top of the Bay Lake, and running both the 5k and the half marathon. It was a great way to finish .

 

The first race was so small. I even got a bib for Corral A. My friend Trish (who thankfully convinced me to run the Princess) and I wandered all the way up to the start line. We stood a few feet away from the elite racers. Once the gun went off it felt like we were passed by everyone.

 

I was wearing my ears and mouseketeer costume, a stark contrast from all the people dressed up like princesses. Having my name across my chest was great because people all along the course yelled “Darcy”. But it wasn’t until mile 12 when I came up to the fairies that one of them yelled “A mousketeer!” That made my race.

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Every year we dressed up, but I never went as a princess. Year 2 the Evil Queen, year 3 the Frog Prince (Jim was the princess), year 4 the Queen of Hearts, and last year Dory (Jim was Marlin). While we never did run into Nemo, we did reach our goal of running the first 5 races.

 

This is the first year where I am sitting out of this race. My friends Meghan and Faye are down in Orlando for race weekend. Faye is doing the inaugural 10k and Meghan is running her third princess marathon. Last night as I read their posts on Facebook about this weekend’s run I got teary. This race was such a big part of my life for so many years. But it was time to say goodbye.

 

Thank you for 5 amazing races.

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Because I Can

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One of the emails I got in preparation for the Disney Princess Marathon asked a question, why do I run? Without much thought, I clicked the link and started writing an answer. After a few minutes it occurred to me, I really don’t know why I run.

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I hear and read a lot of inspirational stories of why people run. Some run to honor a friend or loved one. Some run as part of a weight loss journey. Some run to accomplishing a goal. Some run because they overcame adversity.

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My story isn’t that compelling or inspiring. I wasn’t motivated to run to change my life. I don’t run to lose weight. There was no major life changing reason I started running. I guess the reason I started running is because I wanted to do something just for me, so without much thought I signed up for a half marathon.

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After 5 years of distance running, I’ve still haven’t come up with an answer to why I run. What is it about running that motivates me to lace up my shoes, hit the pavement, and put one foot in front of the other?

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The best answer I can come up with is I run because I can. I do it because my body allows me to run.

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One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Biggest Loser. When I watch the show I see people who are prisoners in their own bodies. Doing something like running is nearly impossible for the contestants because of the weight. My body is fully functioning; I have no excuses for not running, so I run.

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Though I haven’t worked closely with organizations like Homes for Our Troops, Wounded Warriors, Achilles International, and Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, I have worked to raise money and awareness for them. Being in the military it is nice to see organizations that help our wounded warriors when they return home or when they suffer illness or job related injury. Many of our wounded warriors come home and maintain active lifestyles, but because of injury or illness, some of these men and women cannot run. I do not have any wounds, injuries, or illnesses that stop me from running, so I run.

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Running is a gift. It is something that my body is built to do. I can either take advantage and run until my legs tell me they can’t take another step or I can pass on the opportunity, sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else do something I am capable of doing.

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This is the long answer to a short question. Why do I run? It’s not complicated or glamorous, I run because I can.

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(And I run because I love to be around my friends who run. Thanks to all who have joined me in this journey.)

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