It is so funny what your children can come up with. And, If you listen and take time to reflect, most often than not, they actually have a point. My 3 turning 30 year old daughter commented after one particular evening run, “Mommy, you are a real runner now!” And I immediately asked, “What makes a real runner? Why is Mommy all of a sudden a real runner?” With her innocent big blue eyes, she smiled coyly as she replied, “…because you go out and get sweaty every day, silly!”

Well , she did have a point and ironically I had been struggling with the idea of being deemed a serious runner. I always was very active and participated in many varsity sports as well as being a competitive dancer. Like many woman, life got very busy when children came. I became more fluffy than fit. I knew that I was neglecting my own wellbeing, but seriously didn’t believe I could find the time to do something about it – I was exhausted. The wakeup call came in January 2012, after my father had quadruple bypass heart surgery as a result of lifestyle choices. I knew that I had to make my health a priority or else face the consequence of heart disease, diabetes or even death.

My inspiration!

One fateful night resulted in lofty aspirations which would lead to a journey of a lifetime; a string of texts and facebook messages lead to a phone call with a dear friend from University. Since then (Feb 2012), I have set life changing goals that include becoming a healthy , strong and fit woman. How was I going to achieve this? I was going to eat healthy and commit to 3 runs a week along with 2 dance/1 elliptical sessions. The culminating task was to run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in exactly 12 months. To keep me on course and stay accountable, I would check in via bbm daily with my sole mate as we live 1½ hours away from each other. I would enter races – REAL RACES. At first, my goal was to simply cross the finish line. Surprised at how quickly I achieved that, I soon set more challenging goals that involved speed, endurance and distance. After all, I realized that I was a runner all along – I ran a business, a classroom, and my busy home life. I could and would run.

At this point I think it is vital that I admit, at first, running at Disney became all about the costume. Does that make me any less of a REAL runner? I don’t think so. I absolutely adore this new world of funky arm sleeves, sparkle skirts and compression socks – pink please! Spandex can be very intimidating for a new runner! Today, there are so many options available for all body types and sizes to feel comfortable and confident while running. After all, the message I want my daughters to learn is that I am not running to become skinny – I am running to be a healthier and more balanced me! So, if you see a tutu adorned woman running at the “I just put the kids to bed time” – that just might be me racing to the Castle!

I’m tutu close to achieving my dream!

So, why was I still struggling with the concept of being a REAL runner? Then I realized that I may have let this Princess thing go to my head; I was competing with this unattainable fairy tale image of a runner. Along with the sleek lean spandex adorned look, I always believed that a REAL runner was able to do just that – RUN without stopping for a predetermined distance. I would beat myself up after running 3km, 5km or even 10km just because I took walk breaks instead of celebrating the fact that I just indeed achieved a goal that seemed impossible only months earlier. Then, I stumbled upon a book that would change my outlook on running forever: Jeff Galloway, Disney’s own running trainer. His walk/run approach has had a tremendous impact on my success and self confidence. I was able to complete my first 10 km race in under 1 hour 20 minutes. Most importantly, I have come to love running and sincerely enjoy pounding the pavement.

Jeff Galloway’s 3 tips on the Run/Walk Method

Jeff Galloway’s Blog


So am I a REAL runner? A fellow blogger commented, “The serious runner embraces the struggle; accepts pain as part of the deal; and knows the real achievement is the training, not the race itself.” So I have come to this conclusion. Your race pace, ability to walk/run, distance nor your body shape defines your seriousness as a runner. A REAL runner is committed to a training schedule that will achieve a set goal albeit a 5km or a 42 km. A REAL runner strives to push and test his/her own limits – whatever they are. A REAL runner can be adorned in skimpy spandex OR a flashy and fabulous running skirt with matching arm sleeves. I AM A REAL RUNNER and the proof , as my daughter put it, is in my sparkle at the end of every run! After all, a Princess doesn’t sweat; she SPARKLES!

Princess Alana

4 thoughts on “Am I a REAL RUNNER?

  1. I am also doing the Princess. Actually my sister is too. We are so excited. I started getting serious in March about running again…I try really hard not to second guess my ‘I’m a runner’ thoughts.. YOU ARE! Keep up the great work.

  2. You’re most definitely a real runner!!!! It has nothing to do w times, prs, distances etc. It’s all about heart, soul, passion, and dedication!!!! Thanks for such a personal share! So inspiring! SPALove!

  3. Jeff Galloway is my hero, he’s the reason I got up and tried to run for 30 seconds in the first place. I met him at the Princess Expo this past February and he’s the nicest guy…planning on talking with him this Friday for the Tower of Terror 10 miler expo and let him know how much of a runner I have become. Great post!!

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