O/T: spectating for the disney princess 1/2 marathon

I had the most amazing weekend. I headed down to Disney World to cheer on Chrissi Lillard and the rest of the Running for Sophie and Madigan’s crew. It was one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever experienced. The energy, the tears, the cheers… Everything was so over the top amazing.

I got to Disney around 3am, and Chrissi picked me up (only after a few hurdles… Haha). By the time I was at her cabin at Fort Wilderness it was too late to sleep, so we stayed up until the 5k. Let me tell you, I am not a racer. Thankfully we had a blast. We photo bombed every character and it was just awesome. I had such a great time with Chrissi and Jen at the 5k. Stayed up the rest of the day, helped pass out tshirts to the runners. Hurt my foot some how bad enough that it impacted the rest of the weekend, but I sucked it up and went on. The pasta party on Friday night was a blast. We had a great time. Then sweet Tara pushed me around in a wheelchair so that I could enjoy a little fun at Epcot

Got up the next morning to watch Chrissi’s mom finish the 10k. Chrissi has amazing qualities, and many are from her mom. She helped runners on the course and they announced that at the end. It was a very touching moment. I cried. I don’t cry. But I cried.

Watching Morgan, Mya, Riddick, Sadie and sleepy Mason in the kids races was so fun! I was so proud of my kiddo Morgan. Her determination and spirit is amazing. And I think she scared Jen at least 10000 by sneaking up on her.

Handed out more tshirts, hung out with Lauren and family for lunch then headed to see Chrissi for dinner. Lots of talking. Got matching Madigan pins. Mickey silhouettes with pink hearts. Now I have to find one for Sophie :). Headed back in a 26 dollar can (ouch!). Went to sleep excited for the 1/2.

We met with with the group before the race. Giving hugs, taking pictures, crying of course. Then we headed to Epcot’s monorail. Cheering is a lot of walking and poor Tara and I were limping along as she hurt her leg and I hurt my foot but we pushed on. Once on the monorail you head to tickets and transportation, walk down and up ramps to get on the magic kingdom monorail. Once off there, you can find a spot along the course. I wanted to be near the castle but it was pretty filled up by the time we got there so we opted to sit by the bakery on Main Street.

Cheering for the half was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was awe inspiring. Mike was the first in the pink shirt. That was so cool. Seeing Jack pass by us was just amazing. His heart was in it for his beautiful girls and I was so proud to know my Mr Jack. As more and more pink shirts passed I was just so excited. Becky, Rachel, nick and their crew came through. So proud of them for finishing it together. Robyn and Marty in their awesome pink shirts. Tara and I cheered our hearts out, not only for our team, but for everyone. It was so fun to yell for the princesses and princes! Sadly we missed Debbie but we were so proud of her. I think we missed Rebecca in there some where too. Then Stephanie came up. It was amazing to see her. I’ve known Stephanie for a long time so seeing her meet this goal was just amazing. I tear up thinking about it.

Then came Regina, who looked like she had this thing in her pocket. She was made for this race!

My memory is fuzzy, but I think Kristin was next. She may be switched with Lauren and Jonathan but either way she texted and asked for a banana. We didn’t have any and I couldn’t find any so she got craisens instead. I’m certain those craisens made the difference. Haha.

I think Lauren and Jonathan were next. Lauren…. What can I say? I am so proud of her. She put her heart and soul into this race for the girls. When I look at all she’s accomplished I can’t help but tear up knowing how she struggled and fought for this race. She deserves to wear her medal every day. And Jonathan! Jonathan is a “real runner” but he stayed by Lauren’s side every step of the way. He is a huge part of the success. I’m so proud to know this power couple!

Vicki, Jen and Chrissi came next. When I saw them I knew that it had been a hard 5 miles. But the tears and the smiles and the cheers came stronger.
Vicki is a “real runner” in that she runs a crazy fast mile but as she passes she held tight to Chrissi’s hand. Vicki is a big part of why I could be there. She let many of us stay in her room. Thank you! I still owe you a drink. Jen, my dear chicken, who was the first friend I made in Maryland. Can you believe it chicken?! YOU DID IT ! Remember when we used to try to work out in the apartment gym?! You freaking completed a 1/2 marathon!!!!!! Chrissi, my darling friend of so many years. My words fail me when I try to articulate how proud I am. You could have given up, and no one would have blamed you for a second. But you pushed on. You went for it. You did it for your girls!!!!!!!! You. Did. It. Wow. I could feel the girls cheering you on with me. So proud of their mama for never letting them be forgotten. They will live on in each person that ran. Each person that asked what Sophie and Madigan’s Playground is. Each person that read the #runningforsophieandmadigan sign. Each person who saw our neon pink shirts. You and Jack did it!!! And we are so proud.

Tara and I then got on the monorail to Tickets and transportation then onto the monorail back to Epcot. We ran into Stephanie’s parents. We tracked that we walked about 6 miles for this race, hey maybe I can do a 1/2 marathon ;). Once back to Epcot you walk to the trees and back to the spectator area. There are a ton of bleachers but you kind of have to push through to get a seat. It wasnt too bad though. I had gotten the platinum ch’ear squad but I opted to sit with Tara in the free seats until it was time for Chrissi to come through. We cheered for each of our friends as they crossed that finish line. It was such a surreal experience. After Vicki, Regina, Lauren and Jonathan finished we started to get a little nervous. See, you can be swept in this race. They can take you off the course and I was scared that Jen, Chrissi and Kristin had been swept.

I went to sit with Jack. We were nervous together. You could tell they were starting to wrap things up. Emptying trash cans and such. But then I got a text from Jen!! They were almost there!! When I saw them I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it. There was my amazing Chrissi. She had done it!!!!! The announcer then announced why they were running, for Chrissi’s beautiful girls, Sophie and Madigan. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were there, hugging and kissing and cheering them on as they crossed over the finish line! Confetti cannons and cheers! It was amazing.

Jack and I hugged and sobbed and hugged and sobbed. Then Jack and I ran to greet them (okay, not gonna lie… I ran while jack quickly walked… Because we all know if jack were running I wouldn’t be able to keep up hahah). It was like out of a movie. Jack grabbed Chrissi and hugged her and we all cried.

This weekend was amazing. It was hard. It was sad. It was happy. It was laughter and tears. It was old friends meeting up to support our beautiful friend and each other. It was literally life changing.

Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to Jen and Kristin for crossing that finish line with Chrissi. For bringing her through highs and lows. You are my heroes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.












Sponsor me as I ch’ear’lead for Sophie and Madigan’s Playground!

If you know me, you know of a charity that is incredibly dear to my heart: Sophie and Madigan’s Playground. This charity is raising money to build a destination playground in Frederick, MD. The reason this playground is being built, is to honor the beautiful lives of Sophie and Madigan. Soph and Maggie Moo are an important part of our family. When I met their family, Sophie was a tiny babe. I remember getting the call when Madigan was born. Our little turkey :). We’ve had countless sleepovers, big adventures, and play dates. These girls (and their sisters Sadie, Morgan and new brother Mason) were and are a huge part of my heart. My boys considered them sisters. When they passed it left a hole in our hearts. We are working to raise money to help keep their spirit alive. The girls loved to be outside and playing. . We would have play dates where all the kids would be outside all day (even when my boys would whine ;). This playground will be a place where those kind of memories will be made.

Now to the ch’ear’ing part! Disney has always been a big part of the Lillard family’s lives, and now subsequently ours. Our last big adventure before we lost the girls was a big trip to Disney World. To say it was magical would be an understatement. Both our families had an amazing time. We even surprised the kids. We didn’t tell them that we were meeting. It was so fun when they saw each other at the carousel at Magic Kingdom.

They, as well as a lot of our friends, are running in the Princess Half Marathon for the girls, and I’ll be ch’ear’ing for them! As part of the ch’ear’ squad I am raising money for the playground. My goal is 3000! If I make it to my goal I will shave a Mohawk into my hair and dye it pink and blue. PLEASE HELP GET ME TO MY GOAL! 😀 Every little bit counts!

You can click here to donate. Thank you!