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Reports From the Back of the Pack- Balloon Ladies

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As y’all know, I am a middle to back of the pack runner.  So far I have eluded the runDisney Balloon Lady encounter (sheer luck or just because I refuse to look back!)

But I have chatted with them a few times and I happen to know how incredibly awesome they are.  I appreciate the fact that they are there for us runDisney folks as pacers.  I ran across a few folks in my running communities who happened to meet the Balloon Ladies on the course during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  They allowed me to share what they wrote about the Ladies.

Joseph:  I met these two women for the first time yesterday at the marathon. I’ve done Tower of Terror, Wine & Dine and, just this weekend, the WDW Half Marathon. But yesterday, at the marathon, was my first encounter. 

For anyone who’s ever had a fear of the balloon ladies, I can tell you now, from personal experience, they are the friendliest, most encouraging and supportive people I’ve ever met. Of course, I cringed when I saw them, but I couldn’t help but actually ENJOY my time spent with them because they pretty much acted as my personal cheerleaders for a few miles. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and they gave me the confidence to keep going a few more miles. 

I eventually ended up getting swept at Mile 9, but they turned a potentially negative experience into a positive one because they made me realize a valuable lesson (which I’ll get to by the end I promise LOL). 

 I signed up for the Goofy Challenge as my first marathon. I realize now I bit off more than I could chew. But, this past weekend, I completed my 5th half marathon in 5 months and completed a total of 22.1 miles. 18 months ago, I could barely walk around my neighborhood. Now I’m running out of room to hang all of my bibs and medals (5ks, 10ks and half marathons). 

I think sometimes we, as human beings, tend to be too hard on ourselves. We focus too much on what we DIDN’T accomplish than what we DID accomplish. So, I’m going to try and focus more on celebrating the goals I have achieved vs. the ones I haven’t. I’ll set smaller, more attainable goals, rather than one large monumental goal. 

It took me encountering the balloon ladies for this lesson to sink in, and I’m thankful for that.  

Picture courtesy of Joseph

Joy:  Patty, please tell your friend (Molly?) thank you for yelling at all of us at HS that we had 3 minutes to get to the next mile marker! 

All my aches and pains went away momentarily and dragged my hubby who was hurting and disoriented to get to the next mm! When we were at a safe place, she came past us and told us that we were safe! 

I’ve never been scared of nor thankful to see them at my third race at Disney!

Thanks once more to the lovely Balloon Ladies at Walt Disney World.  You ladies are certainly GEMS! 

ps… I know I’ve been scarce around here, but I promise I’ll be back soon!  It’s the move, it’s the Tinker Bell, it’s the crazy coordination of 4 children and 3 dogs and a houseful of stuff that needs to get to Arizona!  I’ll be back soon with an update from DISNEYLAND!

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Friday 17th of January 2014

My mom is walking the PHM and she is so nervous about being swept! I know it's not the people themselves but just the thought of not being able to finish the race. This is a GREAT lesson for everyone...I'm going to share this with her and hopefully it will give her a new perspective about the race. Thanks for sharing :)Karen @karenlovestorun


Friday 17th of January 2014

I hope it helps! Good luck to MOM! I bet she rocks it!

Jennifer K.

Friday 17th of January 2014

I'm always surprised at how many things people are freaked out about when it comes to these events. For some reason, and maybe it's social media, but the Disney races all seem to be shrouded in myth for some people. It's not a Harvard entrance exam or Olympic trials. It's just a fun run. No need for anyone to freak themselves out about it!


Friday 17th of January 2014

My first one, I was freaked. Mostly because I was brand new to distance running and people told me Disney was the only place that swept people (not true- but I didn't know better!) Worse case, you don't finish. After a few 4 hour races myself, I'm pretty sure that's NOT the worse thing to happen to you. lol

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