Journey to a Half Marathon

by Sandra Hall

I have never been a runner and I haven’t run since playing field hockey in high schoo some 50 years ago. I had read blogs on about the WDW Marathon Weekend and wondered about walking the half. After my son did “Goofy” in 2012, he told me that some people did walk the half-marathon at WDW. So I thought that perhaps I could do that, and in February, 2012 I began walking as fast as I could for varying distances.

I joined Team Allears – the best, most enthusiastic, encouraging, caring, inspiring group of fantastic people – raising money for breast cancer!

When checking out the runDisney website, I discovered Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method and decided to give it a try. Starting by running 5 seconds and walking 55 seconds (in jeans and heavy sneakers), I gradually progressed to 20/40 seconds and began to think that maybe I could do this for 13.1 miles! One day I was so excited to have run for a whole minute!!

More progressing, more playing with the run/walk ratios and I was almost having fun! Some days it was so hard to get out the door for my training run especially when the weather got colder, but once outside I was okay and never did I regret not staying in bed. Yes, usually my runs are early in the morning when it is so peaceful, and I can watch the sun rise over the fields or the trees and sometimes startle a squirrel or even a deer.

In spite of losing several weeks of training to a couple of injuries and the death of my mom – my biggest supporter – I made it to WDW Marathon Weekend 2013! I arrived at Disney with a horrible sinus infection including very clogged ears which the plane ride worsened. I was taking antibiotics, but recovery was very slow.

With meds in my system and a bad case of nerves, my stomach was churning on the morning of the race. My son walked with me to meet up with the team and my wonderful teammates took over.

I was so overwhelmed by everything and was way out of my comfort zone, but somehow, in spite of sinus pain, stuffed nose and ears, heat and humidity, and a gurgling tummy, I started my run/walk at a slower than normal pace. I thought I was prepared with GU packets, but my hands were so sweaty that I couldn’t open them, so I just depended on the water and Powerade along the course. I walked most of the last 3 miles, but I FINISHED A HALF-MARATHON!

Will I do it again? When asked that question the night after the race, I wasn’t too sure, but now the answer is a resounding “YES.” I’m already looking forward to next year and maybe even a half-marathon or two before then!

And in case you were trying to do some math back in the first paragraph, I was a newbie runner at 64, and I celebrated my 65th birthday by running 10 miles!

3 Replies to “Journey to a Half Marathon”

  1. What an inspirational blog post! Today was the first day of walking/running for me in preparation for my second annual Expedition Everest Challenge! I always think about participating in the 1/2 marathon, but find reasons not to every year. After reading this article, I am more inspired that ever! Thanks for that!

  2. Oh my goodness, Sandra! This was singularly one of the most inspiring blogs I have ever read! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I am 42 and lost about 40 lbs since June through calorie counting and WALKING miles and miles around a track! I just came back from Disney a few days ago, and on this trip I started to get that inkling- just like you- that maybe I could actually do a half marathon! I had never in my whole life considered such a thing- EVER! But now here I am reading your story and thinking that perhaps I really should give this a try. And I can’t think of a better team to be on than Allears. Hmmmmmm…. 🙂

  3. Wow, I am impressed!! I have been wanting to run the half for years and have had a few health problems that have stopped me. I am going to shoot for the 2015 (we are going on a Disney cruise in November and can’t do both). You are an inspiration!


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