Let's start on Wednesday...
I flew in from Providence to Orlando in the morning and took the Magical Express shuttle to my hotel, Coronado Springs. After checking in I barely wasted a breath before hopping on a bus to the expo to pick up t-shirts and bib numbers for myself and the rest of my family. I spent a good few hours touring the expo at ESPN's Wide World of Sports, checking out new running clothes and gear and sampling healthy snacks. After heading back to the room, I caught up with my parents who flew down in the evening and we all headed to sleep to get ready for the 5k!
Early on Thursday morning, I headed to meet up with the 60 other Team in Training (TNT) participants doing the Dopey Challenge. They were all awesome - so spirited and excited even at 4:00 am! We made it to the TNT tent near the start, where I met up with my parents, and hung out until it was time to head to our corrals. The corrals separate runners and walkers by expected finish time so that walkers aren't jumbled in with elite runners, and so on.
We all ran across the finish line together, smiling and incredible proud of my dad for finishing his first 5k just one year after his bone marrow transplant! He's pretty amazing.
We relaxed, napped, tweaked costumes, and tried to stay out of the rain for the remainder of Wednesday until Andrew arrived for the 10k the next day!
On Friday, Andrew and I woke up before 3 am and headed to meet up with the TNT dopey-ers again, following the same routine as the day before. We saw Cesar in our corral again and chatted until we took off.
We make pretty awesome Rapunzel and Flynn Rider runners.
Andrew is the best running partner ever. We danced and cheered through the stretches with music blasting, flew through the road leading up to Epcot, and walked through the backstage areas so Andrew could soak in every detail. Everyone loved our costumes; we got so many compliments on the course (thanks mom for putting them together)!
I'm obsessed with all of these race pictures. So much bro & sis love!!!
After the 10k, we headed to the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian resort for an incredible Hawaiian themed brunch. You really can't beat fruit salad served in half a pineapple with coconut banana bread.
After more resting and relaxing for the day, we headed to the TNT Inspiration Dinner in the evening. It was, of course, an incredible inspiring night. We celebrated the successes of survivors, remembered those who lost their battles, and learned about the advances being made in blood cancer research. Have you seen the viral video about a young girl, Emma, whose leukemia was cured after being injected with a form of the HIV virus? She was there with her parents, who spoke about their journey and the miraculous recovery she's had. It was tear-jerking, without a doubt, and so encouraging for families and patients facing blood cancers.
I'll be back soon with a recap of the half and full marathon! If this sounds like an awesome time to you, head over to teamintraining.org and join a chapter in your area to meet some fun cancer-busting runners!