Friday, January 6, 2012

A look back :0)

There was once a time in my life when I thought distance runners were crazy. I never realized that “anyone” could run a Half Marathon. In fact, I cowered at the distance. I ran cross country in high school and tried to keep up my running in college. Post college, when I “ran”, it was for a mile or two on the treadmill at a 6 mph pace and I thought I was awesome. I remember my brother asking me one time, “How fast are you running?!” I responded, “6”….. “Gaaaah! That’s fast!”

Boy have I learned a LOT in just a few short years!

The story begins with Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2009…..what a prime time for this blog post since it’s Marathon weekend once again, right? ;)

I met a girl named Heather back in 2006 when we were both planning our Disney World Honeymoons. (She was married in January and I was married in April.) We stayed friends and talked back and forth a lot in those three years.

Fast forward to 2009:


Our friends Crystal and Jen were running the Walt Disney World Marathon, so we decided to go along as cheerleaders and watch them run! We also met up with a group of Disney Bride friends, but that’s another story for another time.

Our chosen location to watch the Marathon? I call this “Inspiration Point”….mile 24 of the Marathon, as the marathoners run outside of Hollywood Studios.


It doesn’t look very inspiring but trust me, it was!

As I stood there watching runners pass me by, still smiling through the pain, I thought “They are at mile 24 and they aren’t dead yet! Maybe I CAN do this!!”  I was brought to tears by the determination of the runners and I was in awe of the crowd support!  What an amazing and life changing moment. It was there that I decided to “try” to run the Half Marathon the following year. I knew that a Full Marathon wasn’t in the cards for me. I would NEVER run a Full Marathon. Only hard core crazy people run those, right? ;)



I went home and began a training program that I found online at Runners World. It consisted of a walk/run program – run 1 min, walk 1 min repeat for 30 minutes. Each week added an extra minute to the running portion….run 2 mins, walk 1 min, etc.  I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when I was able to run 17 minutes without stopping. I felt as if I had broken the world record! Hah! Needless to say, I joined a running group and began a Half Marathon training program that helped me in my quest for 13.1 in Disney World!

So, fast forward to Walt Disney World Marathon weekend 2010. The year I like to call “the great freeze out”.


I convinced my best friend Kim to accompany me to Disney World for the race. She wasn’t running, just coming along as support!


This is a picture of the temps on my iPhone. A low of 26 degrees on Saturday……in ORLANDO?! Really??


To date, this has to be one of the coldest races I’ve ever run. I’m from the south, what can I say?!


I ran this race with my friend Laura and we had a fabulous time!! (We even ran Wine and Dine together that Fall!)


13.1! Couldn’t believe I did it!


Heather ran the Half, too!

After running the idea through my head over and over and over again, I decided that I – yes, me-Karen, the one who said she’d NEVER run a Full Marathon – decided to tackle 26.2 in the Disney World Marathon the following year. Of course, I would only run ONE Full Marathon, just to say that I did it. No more, just one. Yeah, right.

So I continued training with my running group and completed the Full Marathon training program with a few friends.

Onto Walt Disney World Marathon weekend 2011 – seriously one of the best times of my life!


Heather and I ran the Full together along with her husband Bobby!


My favorite picture! :0)


I met a few good friends along the way! :0)


Finally, the girl who thought distance runners were crazy and said she would NEVER run a Full Marathon did it. I completed a marathon. 26.2 miles of glorious fun! What a day we had!!!!


Now I am about to run my 2nd FULL marathon (remember, I was only going to run 1 just to say I did it) in Houston next weekend and I’m looking forward to Goofy’s Challenge in 2013. ;)

What an exciting journey my running career has taken me down, and I have Walt Disney World to thank for it!

Good luck to all the runners during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2012!!!! I hope you have the time of your life! See you in 2013!


  1. Great post! I am looking to run Goofy in 2013 too!!

  2. I know I already texted you about this but great minds! I already had all my pics picked out from my recaps that I am using or my post like this tomorrow! so so strange!

  3. Great post! And very inspiring. I look forward to hearing how your Goofy goes next year!

  4. Like I just told Heather -- I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! Watching a Disney races is SO inspirational - I caught the running itch on our honeymoon in Disney! I'm so excited for you and Heather to run the Goofy -- I'll join you two for the marathon portion ;) And I can't wait to meet you both in February for the Princess! :)

  5. i LOVE the picture of you running with the castle in the background. That has to be the best race picture ever!!

  6. Yeah, I totally was there myself. When I signed up for my first half marathon, 13 miles seemed untouchable and very scary. I was so amazed with my first 1/2 and started signing up for more! I haven't hit a marathon yet, but I can actually envision one in my future!

  7. Yeah, I was so totally there with my first half marathon. 13 miles seemed so untouchable and scary. After my first one, I signed up for many more! Haven't run a marathon yet, but it is certainly in my future!


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