My Journey

Just Me & My Running Shoes - My Journey to Running

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!

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:
A few of our friends 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!

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 – would 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!!!!


After also completing Goofy's Challenge in 2013 and Dopey's Challenge in 2018, I have a total of six full marathons and numerous half marathons under my belt! 

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

Remember, "If you can dream it, you CAN do it!"--Walt Disney

In June of 2012, I was chosen as
Claim Your Journey's Runner of the Week!


  1. I just found your blog, and I was so excited to see that you are kind of near me. (No one ever lives anywhere remotely hear me.) I live north of Houston!

  2. So happy that Tabitha said something about your blog. I have slowly started reading it. It is totally awesome. The story of Hurricane Rita brought back memories of our trip to Lake Bistineau outside of Shreveport. The Sisters of Charity had a house up there. Melissa, my mother (who was scheduled for a hip replacement in Nov.) Sr. Celeste 90 year old mother, her brother, and I made the 13 hour trip up with 3 dogs, a cat and a parrot. What a trip to remember!!!!!

    I have just started reading the blog about your adventures at Disney which you know I thoroughly enjoy. Keep on writing Karen. Your second career can be as a journalist....

  3. Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for. bereavement support


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