The morning of our flight out of JFK Airport to Orlando, Florida, for the Disney Half Marathon did not start off promising. I was sick with a violent cough and my shins were still bothering me even after taking three weeks off from training. I got a text message from Marti DiPaola, my running partner that said she didn’t feel well and was going to the doctor.
About an hour later, I got a text from Marti saying that “it was really bad.” I went into panic mode. I couldn’t believe how many obstacles were against us. First, she got sick with bronchitis, and then I got sick with bronchitis. She had to have minor surgery, and I developed shin splints. I got sick and then she got sick.
“Maybe it’s a sign,” I said to my mother on the phone that morning.
“If it snows hard and your flight is canceled, don’t go,” she said.
It snowed, but our flight wasn’t canceled or delayed. Marti called me and said that she had to go for some tests but that she was willing and ready to go to Disney.
We got to the airport with no hassles and we both told each other that we would play it by ear. I kept coughing and could hardly breathe, and she was worried about the tests that she had to take.
On the plane, we met a man, Tom, who was also running the half marathon. “Hey, why don’t you guys catch a ride with my parents and me,” he said. “We’re going directly to the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney to pick up our numbers and t-shirts.”
Marti and I looked at each other and jumped in the back of his van. Tom and his parents were really nice people. They were very friendly and made us feel comfortable.
When we got to the sports complex, we took out our luggage and went our separate ways.
As Marti and I schlepped our luggage—and I totally over packed taking three pairs of sneakers with me—we both were getting very tired and worn out. We asked all the Disney folks to help see if there was a place to check the luggage so that we didn’t have to walk up and down the stairs and around the convention floor with them, but they all told us “NO.”