A runDisney Christmas Surprise

I am so excited to welcome Matt Norris to Running at Disney!  Matt is a RAD Dad of 4 kids who has recently started running with his daughter.  He will be a regular here sharing his training experience with her and how fun running with your kids can be.  He has a great sense of humor and I know your going to love his posts as much as I do!  Take it away Matt!

When a man looks in to the mirror and sees a 38 year old man staring back at him, he usually does a quick inventory of his life. This was me almost 2 years ago. One thing I didn’t like was the shape I was in. I also missed the competition of sports. At this point, my wife, Bethany, suggested we start running and that’s what we did. I’m not the fastest runner but I appreciate the art of competing against oneself. We ran several local 5Ks and the Tower of Terror 10 Miler twice. I can’t compete with my wife because she totally smokes me. My ego will allow this since I’m 8 years older than her. Yeah that’s the only reason.

Ready for Warrior Dash!
Ready for Warrior Dash!

Along the way our 4 children (Allie-14, Lindsay-10, Audrey-5, and Garrett-3.) have cheered us on. Allie is a wonderful child but athletics aren’t her thing. The two babies love cheering us on but are obviously too young to join us on our races. Lindsay, however, began showing interest in running a few months ago. She started coming with me on practice runs and asking me questions. Bethany is far too fast for me to run with daily. She would have to slow down too much or I would have to die. Tough choice.

For the past two years, I’ve been perfectly fine running on my own.  In a family of six, you learn to relish your moments of solitude.  Yet despite my enjoyment of solo running, I loved that Lindsay wanted to be out there with me. Running alone was fine but even better with your child. Lindsay has always been the one who wanted to do things just because I was doing it. First it was collecting Vinylmations. Then it was us working on puzzles together. Now it’s running. One day she said she wanted to run a 5K with me. We signed up for a local run and in her first 5K ever, she finished it in 30 minutes.A few minutes faster than me but hey, my ego is cool with it.


At the end of the run, I heard her make a comment to her mom that one day she wanted to run a Disney race with us. I made a mental note that I would be certain to make that happen.


Christmas time started approaching and when I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas, she had a hard time coming up with a list. That’s how she’s always been. I decided that I would get her things she asked for but also a little surprise just for the two of us.  Like I mentioned earlier,  we have 4 kids. Two toddlers (and one being Autistic) take up a lot of our time. They are amazing children. They don’t whine. They don’t talk back. They love their little brother and sister. They never get mad that Audrey and Garrett demand a lot of our attention. Because they are so sweet and helpful, My wife and I wanted to start a new tradition of doing “one on one” trips with our oldest daughters Allie and Lindsay. We would each take Allie and Lindsay on a solo trip while the rest of the family was back at home. My wife wanted to take Allie to St. Augustine again so they could go on a few ghost tours and soak up the history of the city. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with Lindsay.

So on Christmas Eve, my wife and I grabbed the calendars we had bought for Allie and Lindsay and inserted the two trips into each calendar. Bethany would be taking Allie to St. Augustine and Lindsay to the Great Smoky Mountains.  I would be taking Allie to Savannah, Georgia and Lindsay to Walt Disney World for the Expedition Everest Challenge in May. Both girls were so excited at the idea of going on trips by themselves. When Lindsay saw she was signed up to run a race at Disney, she immediately looked at me and said “We’re running tomorrow.”  That’s my girl.

We woke up the next day and it was cold and raining but that didn’t stop us. We put in a quick two mile run and  were happy with our 10 minute average. So nice of Lindsay to slow down a bit to stay with her Dad.


Over the next few months, I will be documenting our training here at Running at Disney for the Expedition Everest Challenge but more importantly sharing with you the sheer joy of setting a goal and training for it with your child. I hope you enjoy!

matt-norris-avatarMatt Norris is the owner of Vinylmation Kingdom and Pop Vinyls. Besides wasting far too much time on little toys, he enjoys trying to become a better runner despite his 40th birthday just a few months away.
Find Matt here:  Facebook   Twitter   Instagram



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