When I was 8 years old, I promised myself I’d never forget what it feels like to be a kid.
The inciting incident was simple enough: a grown-up yelled at me, essentially, for having fun—the kind of fun a kid has on warm spring days, doing cartwheels, playing, and running like a girl is apt to do. Maybe I accidentally cartwheeled into her, or maybe I was giggling too loudly. Whatever I’d done, it was completely innocent.
But her grumpy admonition, that I wasn’t being “lady like,” stung. As I sat sulking, staring at the grass stains on my pants, I promised myself I would never be that grumpy grown-up, that I would never forget the glee of childhood, that I would never forget the Barbie slogan of the era: “We girls can do anything.”
It was a solemn promise that I’ve held close to my heart. I run Disney races—dressed in costume as a parade of princesses who stir the child-within—because of that promise. In other words, I run like the girl I used to be and the child at heart I continue to nurture.
I ran the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon as a media guest of runDisney, with my sister by my side, and wrote about it for Shape.com.
It was my second go at the race. I’d run it in 2012 dressed as Cinderella with my real-life Prince Charming by my side, in costume too. Having my husband pace me to my then half-marathon PR is still one of my favorite running experiences ever.
But I found running a women’s race with one of the most important women in my life to be another running career highlight.
I make no bones about it: I really enjoy women-focused races. My first 10K was the Oakley New York Mini 10K, the original women’s road race. I’ve since sung the national anthem at that event and worked it as a race announcer, too. I’ve gone on to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland, and SHAPE Diva Dash in New York and Minnesota. I believe that races that focus on women still have a place in the fabric of our sport. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry →