C25K@WDW (Or…Couch to 5K at Disney!)


I stood in the mile-long Earl of Sandwich line in the then-Downtown Disney/now-Disney Springs shopping area, eager to get my favorite Caprese sandwich with bread pudding for dessert.  (And if you have never experienced the Earl, I highly recommend it as one of the best food bargains in “the World.”)  The line was especially long that day and I wondered who had let all these people in on this best kept secret in Disney?!

At first I thought the people in line were all in some kind of tour group or team.  They talked with each other like old friends.  But as I tuned in a little more closely (going from people-watching to eavesdropping) I realized that these people weren’t old friends.  These story-swapping strangers were being drawn together as if by some invisible magnet.

And so they were.  But the magnets weren’t invisible at all.  They were actually large, Disney engraved medals worn around the necks of some of the folks in the line.

“No, I’ve never done it before.  This was my first time running a 5K.”“My daughter and I so this together.  We make the trip every year.  We started out with the 5K; this year we did the Half.”

“I’m running for Make-a Wish…You see, several years ago, my nephew…”

These were runDisney participants.  Or supporters of runDisney participants.  Or simply admirers of runDisney participants.

I was none of those things.  Nor did I have any desire to be.  I just wanted to get through the line, eat my lunch, and pull out a book while I waited for my family to finish shopping.  I’m not what you’d call a couch potato, but I’m the bookish sort, even in Disney.  Always have been.  As a kid my favorite spot was the barn loft with a good old Nancy Drew mystery.  I wasn’t opposed to physical activity but running gave me a stitch in my side.  As an adult I told myself that chasing after four children was exercise enough for any individual.  A more recent attempt at an exercise class was way too close to a Goofy cartoon short, with my uncoordinated self leaning on the wrong leg at the wrong angle as the rest of the class struck ballerina-like poses like some kind of synchronized swim team.

So…how did this 50-something uncoordinated bookworm, mother of the Mousewives and grandmother to a little Mouseketeer end up clamoring for a coveted spot in the Disney Princess 5K?

Here’s my story…

  1. I started feeling a little stiff in the mornings. Not pleasant.  So I started a little stretching routine to limber up my joints.  Nothing crazy, just 5 minutes or so.  And it helped a lot.
  2. My daughter invited me to a Spin class. Pretty much thought I’d die.  But I kept at it, mainly because I loved meeting Sarah and the other ladies every Tuesday morning.  It took about 2 months but I could finally get through the class and at the end be able to stand up without my legs turning to Jell-O and converse without gasping for air.  Then Sarah got a new job and couldn’t go anymore.  Wasn’t quite sure what to do.  I wasn’t exactly “in shape” at that point, but I was better off than I had been a few months earlier and didn’t want to lose that little bit of fitness progress, however pathetic it may have been.
  3. Saw an announcement for a C25K class. (That’s Couch to 5K for the uninitiated.)  My first thought was, “You mean you can really learn to run a 5K—even if you never did any running before and you are NOT a runner?!”  The ad assured me that that was the case.  My second thought—which followed the first thought very quickly was, “RunDisney!!!!  I want to do this class so I can runDisney!!!!  Where do I sign up?”

Now we should halt this story right here because this progression does not seem logical, even to me.  Especially to me.  I’m the one who had no interest in running.  No interest in runners.  No interest in being a runner.  Especially in being a runner.

But running at Disney, through the parks, with characters along the way and fellow Disney fans all around…that’s not just running.  That’s a reason to run!  It’s a Disney experience!

And so, I joined the C25K class with the goal of being able to participate in a runDisney event.  In fact, after my first week in the class, I decided I needed a major incentive.  I would register for the runDisney 5K and then I’d have to get myself in shape!

But it seems my challenges had just begun.

First, I actually had to do this running thing.

And then, I had to figure out how to actually get into a runDisney event.

“SOLD OUT” was written next to every 5K event on the webpage.

But by that time, I was determined. I was on my way from C25K@WDW.  Not only would I do this running thing, but I would figure out how to get myself into a runDisney 5K event!

So, follow along with my journey as I train to go from couch to castle and give tips and first hand experience along the way!

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