Wednesday, July 11, 2012


“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you, something great will come of it.” – Benjamin Mee

The first time around it was more like a few hours at the bar. It was a hazy evening Saturday in August:
Me: I want to run around Disney World in a tutu surrounded by Disney princesses!
Maria: Me too!
Francesca: You're both insane.

That night I went home and registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. The next morning I wondered what I had done.

I had only completed my first 5K a few months before. It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K on Mother’s Day. I had tried to complete the Couch to 5K program a few times before the race, but never made it through the end of week five. I did that 5K in just under 40 minutes, and almost cried crossing the finish line. At this point, I could barely run a mile straight, but I was hooked. I was going to conquer the 5K.

By the time that August evening rolled around, I completed two more 5Ks. I certainly wasn’t a rock star but my times did improve. However, a half marathon seemed far, far away from the future. If it wasn’t for some inspiring running friends and liquid courage, it probably still wouldn’t have happened. Thank goodness Disney charges a hefty registration fee, because it was official: I was not backing out.

To ensure I trained properly (AKA didn’t go “it’s all the way in February!” every time I didn’t feel like running), I lined up a few run races along the way.

Rest in Peace 5K Run:

Run the Bridge 10K:


Hot Chocolate 15K (this race was such a disorganized mess that all I have is proof of our pre-race dinner of champions):
 Photo credit: Patty Guidetti

Finally, at the end of February, was the Disney Princess Half Marathon:

All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you, something great will come of it.

Registration for the Marine Corps Marathon opened a mere ten days after the Disney Princess Half Marathon. As I stared at my Disney Princess medal, I somehow convinced myself, and my boyfriend, that we needed to do this marathon. We need to do this for all the people that can’t.

Justin passed away two weeks later.

Justin’s courage remains inspirational, months after his passing. Not a run goes by where I don’t think of him, pray that he has found peace, and hope that he can grant peace to our family somehow. I think of the other children highlighted on Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s website, and pray that one day they all can run a marathon (if they want). I have been blessed with a healthy body, and because of Justin, I have learned to treasure it, instead of hating it for all its flaws.

It only took me a few minutes to register for the Marine Corps Marathon, but running in Justin's memory is more than something great. It's a privilege and an honor.

If you would like to help out children battling cancers like Justin’s, please go here to donate to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand page.

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