Monday, January 10, 2011

Believe in the Power of Dreams

If anyone had told me when I started track just five short years ago that I would ever have a chance to compete professionally in the sport, I would have told them they're absolutely nuts.

And that is exactly why it's so important to BELIEVE in the power of hard work, the power of setting goals, and the power of having those all pay off to make a dream become reality.

It's been an incredibly, almost indescribably exciting start to 2011 for me. I headed down to Disney just after I officially signed my contract on 1/1 with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project (based out of Rochester, MI!). I have been to Disney World every year since I was born basically -- so yes, I've been there over 20 times! We've gone at this time for the past 3 years but I've never taken the step up to the half marathon since I've normally been preparing for 3K's and 5K's on an indoor track and my Coach would've probably killed me for running that long of a distance. Well, this year was obviously different and what made it even more exciting was that Hansons have sent team members down there for the past 3-4 years, so I'd have the opportunity to run the race I've been eagerly anticipating running--as my first professional race in a Hansons-Brooks uniform!

I didn't fully realize just how much extra walking you do through the parks at Disney. My Mom wore a pedometer and it generally added up to be about 5 miles a day, sometimes more! By about Wednesday I got very nervous as my legs started to feel like bricks. I decided--with help from Mario Fraioli (competitor.com running expert!), who was kind enough to help me prepare for the 1/2 by giving me workouts from about December 10th to the day of the race-- to cut my runs a little short on both Thursday and Friday and to go extra slow. Luckily, by keeping in mind this "if a little is good, a lot is NOT better" mentality, it paid off come early Saturday morning. My legs were back under me for the most part.

Getting to the starting line was an adventure in and of itself. Luckily, we had a sort of "shortcut" to get to the front which enabled us to get in plenty of strides before the race began. A record 27,000 people laced up their shoes for the race. AND there was a simultaneous half marathon run in Baghdad-- the husband and dad of two of the runners at Disney signed up for the half but ended up being deployed to Iraq, so Disney decided to have cameras ready so he and many other soldiers could run the half at the same time as us halfway across the world! So, with a little extra inspiration, and a special countdown to the race by the one and only Mickey Mouse, we were on our way in the darkness that is 5:40 a.m. Race time temps were around 50 degrees - cold for Floridians, perfect for us Midwesterners!

I started out running about 5:50's for the first few miles, and then I kind of just ran by feel, I'll be honest! There were about 2-3 women ahead of me for the first half of the race, and then, at around mile 6.5, which just happens to be when you run through Cinderella's Castle, is right about the point where I took the lead for good. I felt very smooth the entire race-- only hitch came as my racing flat came untied with about 4 miles to go... but I never stopped to tie it and ended up no worse for the wear, finishing in 1:17:05! I accomplished my goal of sub-1:18 and won my debut as a professional! Best yet, I had an absolute blast. Who would've thought a race in complete darkness could be quite so much fun?!


Finishing...and I gained a fan... Minnie Mouse! :)

It's so great to have a half under my belt-- there is definitely much to be learned from my experience! I know I still have SO much work to do-- but don't worry, I did indeed take time to soak in the thrill of victory! :) I got a hug from both Mickey and Donald Duck at the awards ceremony, and then I had an entire day at the parks after the race with my family! Doesn't get much better than that!

The win at the Happiest Place on Earth reminded me just how blessed I am, and how much faith has guided me throughout this amazing journey I'm on! I logged a couple of 90+ mile weeks in the past month and have worked harder than ever before. Lucky enough for me, I can now say that hard work has rewarded me as I am truly living a dream. Next week, as I make the move to Michigan, I will be given the opportunity to wake up every day and run... for a living. I am one lucky gal.

Thanks once again to my INCREDIBLE support system--my parents, brothers, grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, my boyfriend Steve, my former teammates at SNC, my Twitter friends, and now the Hansons and my Hanson-Brooks teammates-- who continue to post well wishes and notes of congratulations all over the place :) I am filled with more excitement than nervousness as I look towards the future, and a lot of that is thanks to all of you. I know I'll be able to get through whatever comes my way as I make this transition because of you and your support!

I can't wait to start training with such a talented group of women... can't wait to continue to work hard and set big goals... because "NOTHING is impossible to a willing mind."

You've got to Believe in the Power of Dreams.

After all, fittingly coming from Walt Disney himself, "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." :)


With my Dad after the race :)

I hope you'll continue to join me as I take this step in to the professional running ranks. I'll continue to tweet furiously as @knightrunner22 and will try to update this blog as often as my schedule allows! Speaking of schedule, I'll be setting my racing schedule for 2011 very soon so I'll keep you all updated on that as well.

Couple of fun links on my Disney debut on Saturday...

Thanks again for ALL your support!

Till next time... Remember, It All Started With a Mouse! :)

Sending you smiles and a week, month, even year of good health & great running...courtesy of warm, sunny Disney World!
-Jenny (forever KnightRunner!)

11 comments:

  1. This is a very nice post Jenny. I'm so happy for you and you are such an inspiring runner to me. Knowing that we both took up distance running around the same time and to see how far you have come and how bright your future is has made me realize that I have only scratched the surface of my abilities as a runner. Congrats on an awesome victory!!! With you following in the footsteps of Kara Goucher & Shalane Flanagan (both experienced wins in their 1/2 marathon debuts) I think we'll be hearing about you for years to come!! Keep dreaming, believeing, and moving forward!! :-]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi My name is "Goyal Abhishek" I was married for 9years with Keshika and we had a kid together. Things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me. She moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when my friend introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who has helped him and his wife solve their infertility problem... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers for me... Within 2 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, she moved back to the house and we continue to live happily. what a wonderful miracle Dr. Ken did for me and my family. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... I strongly believe someone out there need's his help (supersolutionhome1@gmail.com or supersolutionhom@yahoo.com)so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. call him +2348074433380 His website: supersolutionhome.webs.com MY BLOG IS: http://goyalabhishek585.skyrock.com



      Hi My name is "Goyal Abhishek" I was married for 9years with Keshika and we had a kid together. Things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me. She moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when my friend introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who has helped him and his wife solve their infertility problem... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers for me... Within 2 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, she moved back to the house and we continue to live happily. what a wonderful miracle Dr. Ken did for me and my family. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... I strongly believe someone out there need's his help (supersolutionhome1@gmail.com or supersolutionhom@yahoo.com)so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. call him +2348074433380 His website: supersolutionhome.webs.com MY BLOG IS: http://goyalabhishek585.skyrock.com

      Delete
  2. Much love and congratulations! You're an inspiration! Maybe I will get a decent job someday...

    Your sort-of-a-cousin,

    Underemployed

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome job, girlie! Congratulations, and killer race! Best wishes with HBP. They are a great group. The owner of my local running shop is a former runner for them!

    ReplyDelete
  4. two thumbs way, way up :)

    congrats again, girl. you are most certainly inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome debut. Thanks for the posting on your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice blog. Your intro at the top of it is motivational. Mario knows his stuff. We went to the same college and have raced together (he was always ahead of me).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello,
    My first visit, will visit you agine. Seriously, I thoroughly Enjoy your website. Congrats for your work.
    Your Site is a great Site.Your topic is my most choice.Take my cordial love.I am very impressed to watch your valuable work.
    Take care & Thanks....
    Government Jobs, IT Jobs

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dick and Lenay . I am a cancer survivor and a domestic abuse survivor. I have three sons, two of whom have juvenile diabetes. I have worked in the healthcare industry in some capacity for the past 30 years and as an entrepreneur. I am now combining my passion for both fields in this blog with a goal to provide helpful information on weight loss. My bigger goal is to help fund a cure for juvenile diabetes. - See more at: About Us
    Natural Weight Loss
    Lose Weight
    Weight Loss
    Diet
    Weight Management

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi My name is "Goyal Abhishek" I was married for 9years with Keshika and we had a kid together. Things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me. She moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when my friend introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who has helped him and his wife solve their infertility problem... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers for me... Within 2 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, she moved back to the house and we continue to live happily. what a wonderful miracle Dr. Ken did for me and my family. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... I strongly believe someone out there need's his help (supersolutionhome1@gmail.com or supersolutionhom@yahoo.com)so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. call him +2348074433380 His website: supersolutionhome.webs.com MY BLOG IS: http://goyalabhishek585.skyrock.com

    ReplyDelete