#6 “Complete a Disney Princess Challenge… even if it is virtual.” (40 T.B. 40)

Honesty time: I hate running…. like, I’ve HATED running for as long as I can remember. Most of that hate came from needing to use my inhaler every time my P.E. class had to run the mile. (Yay asthma.)

Fast forward to February 2017…. and I saw the most beautiful race medal I’d ever seen while scrolling Facebook. (Still not sure how that algorithm got triggered to push such an irrelevant ad on my wall.) And as I thought about it, I figured it might not be so bad to walk or run to earn it. AND it turned out to be a virtual race! Which meant I could take as long as I wanted to finish it… and I could run, OR walk, OR BOTH if I wanted to! This also meant I could complete it on my treadmill… which satisfied a few personal exercise boundaries, like not running in any kind of heat… ever… or up large hills.

That was just the beginning of the rabbit hole…

I started really paying attention to other Facebook friends’ race posts… and seeing all of THEIR medals.

Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way now… I don’t walk/run for the personal goal setting, or the runner’s high (that I don’t think I’ve ever had), or even the health/fitness side of it.

I participate 100% because there is a medal at the end of it.

I knew Disney did in-person races because my sister had done an Avenger themed one at Disneyland. And my sister-in-law started running the Princess Half Marathon Weekend races… and those medals were BEAUTIFUL!!!! But Florida and California would never be cold enough. So I just had to hope that Disney would offer something virtual.

Eventually, they did start virtual summer races… but the themes were less than appealing medal-wise. (I think the first year was Pluto themed??)

And then, COVID happened.

For the first time EVER… Disney made the Princess Half Marathon weekend events VIRTUAL!!!!!!!!!!

I signed up immediately.

The 5k was Ariel themed, the 10k was Rapunzel themed, the half marathon was Belle themed, and if you signed up for the ‘Fairy Tale Challenge’ (completing both the half and the 10k) there was a Tiana themed challenge medal!

I’d never done a half before. And knowing how slow my mile is right now… the thought of being on my treadmill for more than 4 hours straight was daunting. Thankfully, I’ve done the Hot Chocolate 15k (in-person) and so I knew I could do 9.321 miles… a half is only 4 more miles than that. It would be a challenge… but I was optimistic about finishing!

If you’ve ever known anyone to run one of these Disney races… you’ll know… dressing up ‘on theme’ is a vital part of the experience! I don’t have many Disney clothes… so I got a bit creative.

For the Ariel 5k: I wore dragon scale leggings and red shoes. I dug out a tiara… that I had originally bought for a Big Bang Theory themed race (because Amy Farrah Fowler wears one for her wedding… and it was a whole ‘thing’ with the other ladies on my team… and really fun!) because tiara just seemed more ‘princess’ than my Minnie ears. I also found some large sparkly starfish-looking earrings.

For the Rapunzel 10k: I wore my pink and purple floral leggings, braided my hair, and added a pink flower along with the tiara.

And finally, for the Belle Half: I wore my Reading Rainbow t-shirt. (Because: 1. It was yellow. and 2. I figure Belle would be a big supporter of a children’s reading program.) I put my hair in a bun, added two different yellow flowers, and of course the tiara (which I almost didn’t wear… but did at the last minute, and I’m glad for it now!). I also found this preserved-in-resin red flower bracelet… which felt very red-rose-esque.

And I found my daughters’ princess figurines and used them to decorate my treadmill.

My race times will not win any records… But I am very proud that I stayed on the treadmill until I finished.

5k: Time: 00:57:01 Mile Pace: 18:21

10k: Time: 02:07:44 Mile Pace: 20:33

Half Marathon: Time 03:59:18 Mile Pace: 18:16

The only race I had any significant goals for was the Half. First, I wanted to finish! Then, I wanted to finish under 4 hours. I just BARELY squeaked by hitting that goal!!

This was a wonderful experience!! And I am so thankful I attempted it! I’m not sure if I will attempt it again. (Perhaps if the virtual race stay an option… or if I feel like my fitness level significantly improves.)

Side table prepped for the Half… the Haribo gummies weren’t eaten… but they were a fun decoration.

40 Before 40

So… I’m still 37… but 38 is right around the corner. I attempted a ’30 Before 30′ bucket list… and did mostly pretty well… until I got pregnant with my first child (which was actually on my list!) and was SO sick the entire pregnancy, that I didn’t finish. (My 29th birthday was in April and I was pregnant by the following September… so I only got 5 good months.)

If living through Covid has taught me nothing else (and OMgoodness… it has taught me so-many-things), it is to give myself extra time for long term goals. Because things happen, plans get canceled and need to be rescheduled… and… who the heck knows when we will actually get back to ‘normal’ life??

My list has been written! It brings me so much joy to imagine accomplishing each item on it! As it happens, I’ve already begun working on it! (But, more on that later.) There are some things that have been left vague on purpose. Sometimes the fun is getting creative with how it ends up being accomplished. (It also gives some flexibility, which I feel is paramount right now.) And I can totally double dip… one adventure may meet the criteria for more than one item on the list.

Without further ado… the list:

40 Things Before 40

  1. Take a road trip, by myself. (DONE: October 2021)
  2. See a Randolph HS football game. (DONE: October 22, 2021)
  3. Have a “yes” day with the girls.
  4. Finish ALL photo albums (1 Florida, 1 Cali, 1 New York, South Dakota-family trip, wedding, JapanX2, girl’s baby books, etc.)
  5. Read every unread book on my bookshelf.
  6. Complete the Disney Princess Challenge weekend (virtual). (DONE: 2/21/21)
  7. Go back to a place I used to live as a child. (DONE: October 20 & 21, 2021)
  8. Learn how to use my Nikon camera.
  9. Finally finish purging and organizing basement.
  10. Purge and organize my craft room.
  11. Take a painting class.
  12. Take a Bestie Trip… for any length of time.
  13. Pack a picnic and fly a kite at a park with the family.
  14. Visit a body of water. (DONE: March 2022- Pacific Ocean)
  15. Go stargazing.
  16. Submit something to get published.
  17. Go a solid week of absolutely NO social media.
  18. Reschedule that trip to Disneyland… and GO. (DONE: March 16, 2022)
  19. Complete one Japanese language workbook, cover to cover.
  20. Binge-watch an entire movie series in 24 hours.
  21. Spend a day at a museum.
  22. Write a blog post every day for one month. (Completed: June 2021)
  23. Laugh until I cry… or pee a little…. whichever happens first. (DONE: February 26, 2022- Nate Bargatze)
  24. Camp… somewhere. Even if it is in the living room or backyard.
  25. Write my story.
  26. Have an entire day dedicated to board and card games.
  27. Fly somewhere for the weekend with Jared.
  28. Go to a high tea at a restaurant.
  29. Take Mommy/Daughter trip with each child.
  30. Spa Day at a real Spa.
  31. See the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor in Vegas. (DONE: March 14, 2022)
  32. Make my own birthday cake, as beautifully as if it were for someone else.
  33. Get rid of 40 things I don’t need anymore. (DONE: Fall 2022)
  34. Finally finish reading through the entire Bible.
  35. Experience a weekend (48 hours) without electricity… (plan ahead for food storage and outside temps.)
  36. Try one new recipe a month… 24 total.
  37. Go see a movie by myself.
  38. Go on a solo writing weekend retreat.
  39. Earn every virtual race medal I currently have but haven’t completed yet.
  40. Bullet journal this list.


Last time, I wrote about how I chose my ‘Word of the Year’... and even gave one example of how I was making PROGRESS with my reading goals. I was surprised afterward, how writing about it gave me even more motivation to move forward in another area…

… purging and organizing the basement…

… again.

When you grow up as an Air Force BRAT, you can get used to the cycle of packing/unpacking every 2/3/4 years. ( I mean, maybe some people don’t, but I did.) It is a forced event that is built into that life. It definitely made it easier to go through my belongings… since I was able to see all-the-things, while I put them away in my new room. But, for me, there was a side effect to living that kind of nomadic existence. It began when I was a child and I continue to struggle with it as an adult…

I hate to get rid of things.

And, more specifically, I hate to get rid of things tied to memories. (I’ve joked with a few people that I’m a ‘Hoarder of Memories’ and it’s kinda true.)

I’ve talked with my best friend (also an Air Force BRAT) about this phenomenon before… how military members, dependents, or anyone who moves regularly can (though, not always) associate more attachment/feeling with their “things” because the “things” are what helped every new place feel like “home”. They were the constant when everything else changed.

Let me interject here and say… I’ve been “Marie Kondo-ing” my house since 2016, a couple of years after her first 2 books were translated into English (before the Netflix special came out). (Read about that here.) An over-simplified summary is that you surround yourself with things that bring you joy… and get rid of the rest. (This process has often been confused with the minimalism movement, but that is a topic for another day.) The trouble is… LOTS of things bring me joy. Too many things. Sometimes, it feels almost impossible to begin, because emotionally, I know it is going to be painful to let go. I’m not saying I can’t get rid of things… I have successfully de-cluttered/purged many, many, many times…. I just don’t look forward to navigating all of the emotions tied to the things. That is the draining part.

We have now lived in our current house for 13 years… (which, I STILL can’t believe is a sentence I actually get to write.) We have had our seasons of a clean and well organized basement… and other seasons that are the complete opposite of that. (The latter being the season we are currently in.) More Christmases and birthdays pass, the kids outgrow their clothes/books/toys… and the clutter sneaks up on you.

SO, yes, the things bring joy…but a clean and organized house ALSO brings me joy… and that ‘clean-house-joy’ outweighs the ‘stuff-joy’ EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (I can be resolute when I want to be.)

It still doesn’t make it any easier to start. The whole basement… (which has a playroom, storage room, my husband’s home office, my craft room, a tiny movie ‘theater’ room, the laundry room, our gym (another small room with our treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike), and overflow pantry) is a mess. It is an overwhelming project. I feel as prepared to go through it all, as I would be ready to hike Mt. Everest.

This week, despite so many things (like weather changes, kids being affected by the weather changes, other things that are TMI for this blog…) that drained more of my energy than normal… I took a deep breath, tightened my PROGRESS bracelet (more about that later), set a timer for 10 minutes, turned on some 80’s music, and with my husband’s encouragement and support, the whole family went downstairs to begin going through the playroom. We made it 20 minutes! The next night, we set the timer for 30 minutes… and made it an hour! After 2 more days of multiple 20 minute timers… the play room was done!! My best friend even celebrated with us by sending funny memes as a reward for completion (which I knew about beforehand, and were incredibly encouraging… P.S. get yourself a friend who will be your cheerleader, no matter what your goals are!!) That success motivated me to go through all of the kid books, which then motivated me to begin clearing out the storage room! It is like a snowball of motivation that keeps growing!

Two of my projects from this week aren’t completely finished (yet, but they will be soon!) and they definitely weren’t executed perfectly. Yet, the momentum I gained from the success of this week is encouraging me forward… Little by little… PROGRESS.