The Bavineau Sisters Take Disney by Storm

| March 19, 2012

Judy Weisseg, Deb Wordingham and Jane Bavineau (newsletter 3/19/12)

The magic of Disney, it isn’t just for little kids!! Three sisters, 3 different cities, 3 different careers, nine years between the oldest and the youngest and for each of us our first half marathon!! What an adventure and here are our stories:

Deb’s Race:

My name is Deb Wordingham and I live in upstate NY. I am 57 years old, the oldest of the Bavineau sisters. I have been running for over 20 years with 2 breaks when I had our two sons. I am also, since arthroscopic hip surgery 4 years ago, a triathlete.

Although I have run for years it’s always been short races-5 or 10K’s. This was my first half marathon too.

The extra training brought me knee problems I never had and a reoccurrence of hip issues. The Princess had me worried about my knees holding up, whether I could run 13.1 miles (since I had not run much the 2 weeks before leaving for Florida) and how it would feel to run in the heat vs. our below freezing temperatures.

I am a racer. I love to run in races, usually check out the competition before going and get very “pumped up” to do them. This time it wasn’t about that, it was about sharing the fun I have doing these races and the feeling of accomplishment with my 2 sisters, my best friend and training buddy, Liz and another good friend. It was, as one of my friends put it, about “stopping to smell the roses” and that I did. As I look back at the pictures of myself, I am smiling from ear to ear. I can’t remember ever feeling that way during a race.

I hardly remember the running part of the race. The memories of it are the bands, the Disney photo ops and the gospel choir singing us into the last mile. It was about stopping to take pictures of my sister and friends and having my picture taken with a Jack Sparrow (from Pirates of the Caribbean) look alike. It was about celebrating our accomplishments.

I do remember having a little slow down about mile 8 and telling my running partner, Liz, to run on but she said that it was about finishing together and that alone (and some Honey Stinger Gels-I just love those things) reenergized me. After that each new Disney “show” helped me along. My feet were numb on the bottoms for the last 3 miles or so and I ended up with some pretty major blisters. I had to ice my knee after we finished but I felt great.

Judy, Liz and I all finished together hands held high. It was the best finish I can remember. Celebrating with Jane, who had started about an hour and a half after us, as she finished was the best. Her efforts are heroic in my book. She trained alone for this race and started with no base. What an inspiration!!

As women, we spend most of our lives working, taking care of the house and caring for our families-very little time is set aside for ourselves. So if you girls out there are even thinking about doing an event like this, do not wait!! The memories and accomplishments of the “sisters” that you share it with will inspire you more than you could ever imagine. As Jane says “Run on Crazy Sisters,” I say “you deserve it!!”

Jane’s Race:

I am 55 years old and live in Houston, Texas. Before preparing for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I had not run in at least 40 years, except once, and that was to chase my daughter’s baby stroller (she is now 16) as the wind blew it across a parking lot in a local shopping mall. I smoke, and my favorite foods are Oreo cookies and potato chips (preferably with dip). So when my crazy running sisters, Deb and Judy, asked me to join them in running this half marathon, I had one of the best laughs I’ve had in a very long time! But they are relentless those two, and on September 5, 2011, I went into training for this run – to see if I could do it, and because I wanted a tiara!!

Perhaps the best way to describe my Disney Half Marathon experience is to say that it was full of the “expected” and the “unexpected”. I had followed the Jeff Galloway walk/run program like a religion (well, except for the healthy eating and no smoking parts), so I expected to finish this race – I did. I expected to start at the back of the pack I did. I expected to be nervous – I was; and I expected to sweat – I definitely did that!

But I also expected to walk more than I ran – I didn’t. I expected to finish in the maximum allowed time of 3.5 hours – I didn’t (chip time was 2:56)! And, I expected to run an average pace of 15 minutes per mile – I didn’t (it was 13.29!)

I expected Disney to do this thing right, with lots of hype and costumed characters along the route – they did. I expected my sisters (and now adopted sisters Liz and Holly) to finish way before me – they did; and I expected to feel proud of myself for even trying to do this – and I surely was!

So here’s what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to have to wait 45 minutes after the race started in something called a “corral” before it was my turn to go – but I did. (I will spare you my editorial comments about the choice of the word “corral” – suffice it to say that princesses do NOT want to be put in a corral!). I didn’t expect to have to stop to use the port-a-can TWO times within the first three miles – but I did. I didn’t expect to run past a single person – but I did (hundreds of them in fact!) I didn’t expect my ipod to fail me – it did. And, I didn’t expect bleachers full of cheering people at the finish line – there were!

But despite all of these “expected” and “unexpected” aspects to Disney, there is another “set” that stands out as the true highlight of my experience – and it has to do with sisters, mine in particular. I expected us to have fun together at this race – and we did. But I didn’t expect to feel such complete awe and admiration for both of them – but I surely did. I didn’t expect this adventure to make me feel closer to them – but it did. And I didn’t expect to ever agree to run a half-marathon again – but if they asked me to do one again with them next year – I most definitely would!

Judy’s Race:

I am the youngest of us three and I am not a natural runner, nor had I actually run much at all before the last year and a half. I am also really used to running only after swimming and biking. So to JUST RUN in a race was a whole new experience for me (I think I’ll stick to the swimming and biking first!!) and to go into this half marathon with a cold and not having run more than 2 miles at a time in the 3 weeks prior, I wasn’t sure what would happen. And so my expectations for my first half marathon were to not set any paces, to not have a goal for my time, but only to enjoy the weekend with my sisters and run based solely on how I felt that Sunday (not an easy task for us Type A personalities!!)

3:00am, Sunday February 26th we are headed for the shuttle to take us to the “Race Retreat” tent at Epcot Center for our pre-race breakfast, stretching and “private” port-o-potties. It was worth the extra money!! 4:45 am like a herd of cattle we staring inching, I really do mean inching, our way to the start and our corrals. My sister Deb and I are together along with friends Liz and Holly. We say our goodbyes and good luck hugs to Jane and make it to our corral with about 5 minutes to spare. 5:50 and were off.

After about 2 miles in I realized why they put a time limit on this race. Runners are 20 deep waiting in line to get their picture taken with Disney characters. That’s when I knew time didn’t matter, just enjoy it!! We stopped for pictures 3 or 4 times, but only if there weren’t any lines. I think it is that Type A thing again!! Holly, Liz, Deb and I ran together on and off throughout most of the race, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind and sometimes all 4 of us together. I felt pretty good and so did my calf up until about mile 10. Then came those familiar first signs of dehydration – the chills when you are sweating. (Note to those running with a cold, decongestants help but ooh do they dry you out!!) Shortly after that came the tightening of my right hamstring. Do I stop and try to stretch it out? If I stop will it completely cramp up? What to do?!!

I decided to keep running just a little slower and by the last mile my sister Deb and Liz caught up to me and we finished the race together (2:14:20). Truly a magical moment!! I can’t count the number of times Deb has been there for me when I needed her and to be able to share this first together, well it was just awesome!! About an hour or so later Jane finished. I knew from the start she would do great and was underestimating what she could do. She surely did not disappoint, she was inspiring!!

I couldn’t have been prouder that morning to be a Bavineau Sister!! We never were able to visit Disney when we were growing up, too far away and too expensive for a family with five kids, but here we were in our late forties and fifties experiencing Disney together. It is funny where our paths take us some times and places we least expect. I am thrilled that our paths took us to be there on that day to share that race together!! It was a once in a lifetime experience. At least until we do it again someplace new next year!!

Category: 2012, Team Blog

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