I had an incrediblefantasticawesome time in Florida--Disney and Universal Studios, more specifically--this past weekend. I saw Hogwarts, visited Cinderella's Castle, and I'm pretty sure I was more excited as a highschooler seeing Disney World than I was in elementary school or middle school. (For instance, when we went to see the Little Mermaid show with my 3 y/o cousin, I was the one bouncing up and down whispering, "LOOK AUDREY IT'S SEBASTIEN! AND--AND--FLOUNDER!") Also, I convinced my sister Brynna to try a roller coaster (or two) and she discovered her hidden love for g-forces. It was such a proud moment when she stepped off of Expedition Everest and said, "Can we go again?"
Not only did I have an amazing time visiting the parks, I also had a fantastic (EARLY) morning Saturday: when I ran the Disney World Half Marathon. I trained for months with my teammates, got up at 2 am to catch the bus, tied and retied my sneakers before the start-- and raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, to benefit blood cancer research and treatment.
Team in Training has been a part of my life for years, as my parents have been involved, and I finally got to fulfill my own (first) event. The Inspirational Dinner/Pasta Party beforehand was, yes, inspirational, and also emotional. I was in tears before I even took a bite of pasta. (John Bingham's speech had me laughing, though.) I saw my grandpa's picture on the huge slideshow with the words "In Honor Of" above it, and heard an incredible speech by a 12-year-old blood cancer survivor.
On race day, I was so happy to see my Aunt Mindy and my teammates Beth, Jeff, Erika and especially my friend, Allie (running in honor of...and with...her mom Beth), as she had been sick the night before and we weren't sure she'd be able to run. I cheered back at every TNT supporter who cheered for me. (I also got a picture with an entire marching band on the side of the course. My marchingbandgroupieness showed.) The best part was right before the finish line-- my friend Audrey and my sister Brynna were right up against the spectator-divider-thing, cheering. I blew them a kiss and ran across the finish line with my mom, smiling even bigger than I had been the whole course.
Thank you everyone who supported and donated to me! I had an amazing experience. It was a great way to start the new year.