Walt Disney World Half Marathon: Cam Keener
WOW! Where to start? Certainly not in a cold EPCOT parking lot at 3:45 a.m. on 1/7/06. The journey started about 50 weeks before that and while I'd love to tell you all in great detail just how much the year meant to me, I'll condense it to say I would not have made it through this year without all of you.
I had thought that your support and advice would bring me to the START and it would be up to me to get myself to the finish. But the reality was so greatly different from that. You were all with me for what my Garmin said was 13.24 miles, in my heart and in my head. I thought of your advice and the joy I'd get to share with you when I finished without being swept. And you were right there on the course with me -- Honeibee was tracking my results and I could imagine her smile. Seeing Lily and her son on the course for the last several miles, enjoying the journey, taking pictures at mile markers and being just so wonderfully upbeat and joyous. . . Seeing many other WISHers in their green shirts, including baloou and others. Most of all, I had the unbelievable pleasure of sharing the day with akasleepingbeauty (Rhonda). What a sweetheart! We had so much fun -- I can't begin to tell you. But you should see our grins in the pictures!
There were so many highlights to the weekend that I can't think of where to begin -- we met John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield as they left the Expo Hall on Friday. With Howard's help, I had the courage to catch up with them to just say thanks for "MfM" -- I said I'd had heart surgery a year before and the 1/2 was my celebration and they hugged me and congratulated me and autographed my stuffed penguin. When they heard what Howard was going through they were so wonderfully supportive and encouraging. They autographed our MfM book, too, and we all shared hugs and (my) tears before they went on their way.
Meeting the WISHers at TE was so exciting! It would have been great if we could have all grouped our tables together but as Lisa mentioned I think the management barely tolerated our presence.
Another amazing moment in the weekend was when Craig (Calcio) spotted us in front of Beach Club and doubled back to give hugs and congratulations! Seriously, it was amazing to be congratulated by someone who was doing the Goofy. Kind of like hugging Lily on Sunday morning at breakfast.
I was so excited to be there Sunday cheering on all of the marathoners. The people around us came and went, but we were having such a great time and we stayed in place for almost 2 hours and 45 minutes. Howard called out names as he read them on the bibs, so that we could cheer for friends and strangers alike. I am so glad that Craig spotted us because I almost missed him! I never had any doubt you'd make it, Craig, but I was so relieved as I saw each of our WISHers go past. I am soooo impressed by all of our WISHers who set out to accomplish whatever their personal goal was and went out and did it.
As for me? Here are my results:
Start time 6:14:29 a.m. (yes, it took us nearly 15 minutes to get to the START line)
10 mile – 2:44:28 (we spent so much time weaving in and out of walkers!)
Finish – 3:21:59 (way ahead of the sweepers!)
Pace 15:24 (looking forward to some serious improvement this year!)
I am so glad we all shared this experience -- Special thanks to Judy and Liz --you guys are just awesome and I can't wait to share this experience in person in 2007!
There is so much more to tell, including the pure joy of walking around the parks with a Donald medal on and being congratulated by CMs, people with no medals, Donald's, Mickey's and Goofy's. Do you know how surreal it is to be congratulated by someone wearing a Mickey or Goofy? Just that bit of acknowledgment by someone who went even further (not to say anything of the Donald's who likely went faster) was like a happy pill. I felt like I was lit up from inside. Words do not suffice.
So, today I am back to my regular life, sitting at a desk, WISHing I could surround myself with the likes of you who all understand what it was like and what it is like now. My Donald is sitting next to my phone at my right elbow. I look at him every once in a while and I imagine there is a big, random grin that just appears suddenly on my face. I am still basking in the pleasure of the moments. And looking forward to 2007.
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