Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Weekend I Earned My Glass Slipper

This past weekend I had one of the most transformative and amazing experiences of my life. Last year I ran my first half marathon ever at the Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World, recap found here.

This year, I ran the same race in addition to the Enchanted 10k the day before the half to round out the Glass Slipper Challenge! This was over 19 miles in two days!

While this seemed like such a hard task, the fact that I was doing it for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital made the miles seem easier. What these children and families experience while at the hospital is harder than any race I will ever run, both physically and emotionally.

Because of the collective efforts and support from my family, friends, colleagues, teachers, sorority sisters, high school classmates, the Greek community, strangers, my parents friends, businesses and more, I was able to raise a total of....


This has been something beyond my dreams. I was able to surpass my goal of 2,000 dollars and what an incredible feeling that is. I never thought I was capable of fundraising this much money, but knowing that I was able to do it and do it for one of my favorite causes and knowing that the money will go directly to St. Jude is more than any medal or certificate I can ask for.
Every girl loves a little bling!
Because of the support received, we can continue to ensure families never pay a dime to enter St. Jude. 

This donation can cover:

  • Airfare for TWO families to get to the hospital
  • Meals for the families
  • Infant Care Supplies for babies and more!

While I reached my physical goals (something I never thought I could do), I realized that this race was not about me getting a personal record or receiving my best times, but about doing this for St. Jude. By remembering that, I was able to have a magical race and enjoy every single mile. 
These guys gave me a Glass Slipper!
I showed enthusiasm as I ran, high fiving other runners who needed encouragement, cheering for other's on the other side of the road, making friends on my route and even stopping for photo opportunities. I connected with so many amazing and strong people this weekend through St. Jude Heroes and by just being a race participant. By doing all of this, I was able to have the BEST race weekend of all time. Not to mention some of my closest friends were by my side!

What Princesses we are!
The last mile of the half marathon and the weekend the following three songs came on in sequential, totally random (I promise!) order:
  • "Brave"-Sara Bareilles
  • "I Can Go the Distance"-Hercules Soundtrack
  • "Roar"-Katy Perry
Needless to say that was the most empowering mile of my race and so appropriate. It summed up my training, my fundraising and my own personal strength. That whole last mile I teared up and could not stop smiling! I could not stop thinking about the amazing dinner we had the night before with St. Jude family members, the amount of support I had and all of the positive things in my life. 

This was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. While Cinderella gets her Glass Slipper from Prince Charming, I feel that mine came from the support of you all. Without that support I would not be here today! THANK YOU!

Team St. Jude Heroes! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


So as many of you know the last few months have been extremely stressful, trying and long. This past weekend I was supposed to be at my undergraduate institution as a trip to see my friends, reunite and more. However, due to crazy weather, maintenance issues and every other issue -- I was not able to get out on my original flight, or any flight for that matter.

Needless to say I was devastated and extremely upset -- and still am somewhat.

However, as with any thing in my life, I started to reflect. I put this situation into perspective.

If this is the "worst" thing that's happened to me in the past few months, then I do not have it too bad. If spilling coffee on myself on a Tuesday morning, my alarm not going off on a Friday, having a bad run during the week, etc. etc. makes my week "bad", then I need to change my lens. Many I think can relate to my sentiments.

While I do not think we should dismiss these frustrating feelings, I do believe it is important to really put everything into perspective in order to achieve full and total happiness. Me being able to even have the means to book a plane ticket to go somewhere is a privilege that I have and something that some people will never be able to do. Being able to get up and use my physical self to get exercise is another privilege that some people are not able to have.  Being able to have an iPhone that has an alarm clock is something I should be thankful for.

When I called my mother from the airport on the verge of tears from frustration yesterday, she said to me "No one is sick, no one has died, everything is okay." And that resonated with me. With a theatrical background and being a product of the millennial generation (as much to my advantage or disadvantage that is), it is easy to make things seem terrible, when they really are not.

So where do I go from here?

It is time to put thing into perspective. This afternoon I started watching a documentary on Netflix called "Happy". It opened up with a man in a part of India where there was much poverty. He operates a rickshaw everyday of his life to support his family and does it with no shoes on and little protection from the sun, monsoons, and other weather conditions. The documentary said this man has the same level of happiness as your average American. Wow. It was as if I had started watching something at the most appropriate time.

Now I hope to take a step back, breathe more, observe more and reflect more. While it is still okay to have feelings and to be upset, I need to look at the strategy of using perspective and seeing the bigger picture. It is easy to get caught up in moments and times with high emotion. I need to challenge myself and even challenge others when I observe these moments.

Hold me accountable friends, it is important to me as I strive to live a more empathetic, caring, gratitude filled life this next year.

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