I had never done a race before my son was born.
I never ran.
When I found out my son had Down Syndrome, I saw so many “impossibilities” for his future. But the more I’ve been blessed to have glimpses into his world and into the world of people with special needs, I see more and more everyday that they have made the impossible possible.
After being the most unhealthy in my life and losing my smile after getting Bells Palsy, I was challenged by one thing. If I wanted my son to grow up to show the world he could do the impossible, I would have to do the same.
So I started running.
When Knightly turned one, we ran our first half marathon together. That same year, I pushed and we ran our first full marathon.
I am now in the process of training for a future Ironman…and I can honestly say I don’t know how I’m going to do this.
But I’m going to try.
Along the way of training for a future Ironman, it had been a dream of mine to run a Disney Coast to Coast Race Challenge with my son. The Disney coast to coast are for runners who run a half marathon at Disneyland and then a half or full marathon at Disneyworld.
With my loving wife’s support, we pushed for the goal to go.
And coincidentally, Disneyland’s inaugural Star Wars half marathon got scheduled one week right after Disneyworld’s full marathon. So within about one week, I got to run a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon.
But, seriously, there’s nothing quite like a marathon at Disneyworld – literally, it’s the best place to run 26.2 miles.
Together, our family ran a 5k. I got my wife to run her first 5k with me and she actually loved it.
…except for the freezing cold 30 degree wind chill.
It helps though that she and Knightly got to take a selfie with Patrick Dempsey.
It was cold and pouring rain by the time I got to complete the finish line at the marathon. But I was so incredibly relieved. I was incredibly nervous about running so much in so short a time span (and oh oops I also booked a few shoots and a wedding the day of some of these runs…haha) so this marathon felt much harder than the last one. It didn’t help that I had also been getting over some lovely food poisoning I got a few days prior (no more budget Chinese buffets for me).
But thank God I finished.
One coast to coast flight and a few days later, I found myself prepping for runDisney’s inaugural Star Wars half.
And, of course, we had to go all out.
Awesome Luke Skywalker toddler costume designed by Mighty Mavericks
The BEST part of running this – what seriously helped me get through this last long stretch was knowing we had so many friends joining us in the race. Having our DPARK family and several inspiring friends really helped me make it to the end.
I remember everything hurting and just telling myself – just wait ’til you can see Knightly. You’re almost there.
As I neared the finish line, I saw my father-in-law holding out my son for me to take with me. As usual, many people around were staring in surprise as I took Knightly on my shoulder.
But I looked back at the people staring and shared a truth:
“I never finish a race without my son.”
Read more about our little Knight in shining armor in our past blogs here.
This is the sweetest thing ever. <3 Congrats to all of you!
D. Park Photography says
You are such a sweetheart – thanks for the kind words, Christine!