Hey y’all! Today I wanted to do something a bit different. I normally write blog posts that incorporate products I’m loving, style I’m wearing, or places I’ve been recently. But today I wanted to take you back in time with me. I wanted to share my RunDisney story – how I started, what happened along the way, and what has kept me motivated throughout the years. Definitely a more “serious” post, but I hope this can inspire you in some way!

So I guess I’ll start back in probably… 2013? I was 15 years old at the time and living a “normal” teenage life. I went to school, participated in dance and musical theatre, nothing out of the ordinary. When I did have time at home I would do normal teen things: watch TV, listen to music, watch YouTube, etc. Through YouTube I discovered a women named Jennifer Ross, once known as MyHouseWifeLife/OrganizedLikeJen, who is now known as PrettyNeatLiving. Jen has a blog as well as YouTube and was the first person to introduce me to RunDisney. I would watch her vlogs religiously and remember binging her RunDisney travel vlogs for HOURS. It was from those days on that I was determined to cross that finish line one day. There was just one problem… I wasn’t legally old enough to run the race, or to have a job, and I wasn’t exactly in “running shape.” So, I kinda put that plan on the back burner, knowing one day I was going to do it. I just wasn’t sure when.

Fast forward a few years later to when I was 17 – the summer of 2015 was approaching. A girl in my class and I were talking about RunDisney and how we both wanted to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon that next year. We’ll call this girl Abby (her name isn’t Abby irl – you’ll want to remember her later). I knew my only choice to get the money to sign up was to get a job.

I managed to land a job at a local ball park for the late spring and summer. I was getting paid $8.50 a hour to serve nachos, set up catering, and schmooze with sponsors and players. Cherry on the cake? Tips and I got to pick my hours. I sat down and realized it was late April, and Princess Half sign ups were in mid-June. I HAD to earn enough money to pay the registration fees; everything else I would worry about later. So a month and some flew by, I easily managed to get the $195, and I logged on right when registration opened. You may be thinking, “Jayme, you were only 17. Shouldn’t you have had a parent’s permission?” You are correct. And I didn’t. I guess my parents were the “details” I was going to worry about later…?

Thankfully I have amazing, supportive parents. After some convincing they booked a hotel and flights for that upcoming February. I remembering being so excited to tell my boyfriend at the time about me signing up, as well as his family. They were all super athletic people, so I *thought* they’d be excited for me. I remember sitting at their kitchen island and his Dad said, “You’re running a half marathon? How are you gonna do that?” I replied, “I mean, I have to train…” He raised his eyebrows in disapproval, and it really did hurt my feelings. But I put my chin up, and started training anyway.

Fast forward through summer and fall of 2015. My training was going great! I was training on the treadmill because #Pennsylvania, but I was building endurance and speed. I truly felt great, and I had lost some weight in the process. My friends at school were supportive and would always ask me how training was going, how many miles I had run the night before, etc. They were all so excited for me! Except Abby.

Now let’s make this clear, Abby and I weren’t really “friends,” more acquaintances. My high school only had 50 kids per graduating class, so you can’t really not be at least acquaintances with someone you have half of your classes with. And up until now, Abby was always nice to me. She was always outgoing, bubbly, and sweet, but I just never was interested in being a friend. I switched schools my junior year of high school so I was very out of place and proceeded with caution when it came to making friends. I’m not a person who likes drama or to have big friend groups. Not saying people aren’t worth being friends with, it’s just too much for me. But I was always kind to everyone, I never excluded anyone, I just wasn’t there to braid hair and tell my biggest secrets. Ya feel?

As the race drew closer, December/January, Abby became very hostile toward me. I truly didn’t know why. I was excited we were both doing this race! What are the odds that someone my age that I personally know what also doing this race? Not to mention we lived 1,500 miles away from Disney. The odds aren’t very high lol. Any time someone would ask me about training or I would bring the race up Abby would glare daggers at me. She would talk about me right in front of me. She said I was stupid for “not running the race for time.” Y’all. Around 25,000+ people run this race every year. I promise not everyone is doing it for time. Abby was a much more serious runner than me. She was built more like a runner than me. She was clearly faster than me. I had no problem with that, you do you girl. And what happened to 9 months ago when Abby was excited for this race? I’m confused.

Day after day I would sit there at school, feeling her stare at me. After school I would see her SUBTWEETS about me, that’s how y’all know this was in high school lol. “But she can’t do this race. Running is MY THING.” Oh bless your heart, girl. I just couldn’t believe the words I would physically hear coming out of her mouth about me. Not ONCE during this whole situation did I ever say a bad thing about her. I never reacted, I shrugged and moved on. Everyone knew she was talking about me for no reason, thankfully everyone was backing me up and ignoring the pettiness. Finally, about a week before the race I had had enough. I wish I was kidding, but I tweeted at this girl lol. Don’t worry, I wasn’t trashy, I was kind but assertive. I explained to her that I had no clue why she was hating on me for doing this race. I said how tens of thousands of people do this race every year, and the vast majority don’t do it for time. Who cares either way? You do you. Long story short, she never replied and about 50 kids from my school liked and retweeted it lol.

But the day finally came, and I ran that race as fast and as hard as I could. I didn’t even take a walking break until mile 10 (wish I could say that about my 2 other half marathons lol). I crossed that finish line. And I cried. I didn’t come in first that day, OBVIOUSLY, but I most certainly didn’t come in last. Over the course of my first RunDisney journey I had been through a lot. I had people doubting me, I had my first true heartbreak when my boyfriend dumped me, I had a girl at school harassing me for no reason, and other trials that weren’t even worth remembering. I could’ve given up a long time ago because others told me to. But I didn’t. The second I crossed that finish line, all of my work, pain, and suffering poured out of me. I couldn’t believe what I had just achieved. What I had just achieved ALONE. ME. BY MYSELF. Every day I drove myself to that gym, I worked to pay every cent of those registration fees, and I took every step to complete those 13.1 miles. Abby and I both crossed that finish line that day, 11 minutes apart. Both on our own journey. One of us had to tear the other down in order to feel satisfied crossing that finish line.  The other helped herself cross that finish line.

If there’s any piece of advice I want you to take away from this story it’s “do something for yourself despite what others say.” Do it. Pick something, and do it. Do the impossible. Whether it’s learning a new language, going back to school, something as simple as taking a bubble bath, or training for a half marathon like I did. Ignore what others have to say. Enrich your life, enrich your being. Do something for yourself, because you are worth it. No matter what anyone or anything wants you to believe. You are worth more than gold.

In anything you do in life there are going to be other people completing that same journey. Don’t mess up someone else’s journey because you’re upset with yours. Help someone on the way if you can. If you’re upset with your journey, change it. Help yourself cross that finish line.

Thanks for reading,

xoxo
Jayme

Ephesians 2:19-22

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