My friend Ingrid Harding never planned to run in an official race, let alone a half marathon.
But a mama’s love can motivate her to tackle even her biggest phobias, and when it came to running in honor of her daughter Sarah, who cannot walk or talk because of Rett Syndrome, Ingrid decided she was willing to take on the challenge. It also didn’t hurt that Ingrid met Jeff Galloway, an ultra-cool Olympic runner, now in his 70s. He is the mastermind behind a program that allows you to alternate running and walking as you train and participate in a half marathon — and you actually end up with a better running time than you would doing a nonstop run!
Above: Girl Power 2 Cure – Disney Princess Half-Marathon video from the 2012 event.
Ingrid is the founder and executive director of Girl Power 2 Cure, an Amelia Island-based nonprofit working to build awareness about Rett, support families affected by it and fund research to cure it. The 501c3 organization was the beneficiary of Mamamelia’s big Divas’ Day Out event in June, and we enjoyed working together so much that Ingrid asked me to help her organize her team for the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon.
I hadn’t run more than a mile without huffing and puffing in a long time, but I didn’t hesitate to join the team — both the planning part of the team, and the running part. What better way to fundraise for such an important cause than to run for the children who, someday, we hope can run with us? The race takes place Feb. 24, 2013, right at Disney World: participants run past some of the theme park’s most famous sites, and costumed characters line the way. How fun is that?
For mamas, it’s hard to find those precious minutes in our day to get a little “me time” and exercise, but it is so worth finding that time. To me, a workout is like therapy… it makes my whole day brighter because I finally get some time to just think during my workout, and because I feel like I’ve done something healthy for my own body. It’s good for me and for the little people I’m trying to set an example for.
Now that I’ve tried the Galloway Method, I am totally in love with it. You figure out the best pace for yourself and walk so often that you don’t reach that miserable stage where you’re so out of breath, cramped up and miserable, you never want to run again. Right now, I run for two minutes, walk for one minute, and repeat that cycle. Galloway, despite his advanced age, is still in incredible shape, and he runs marathons at a ratio of 30 seconds walking, 30 seconds running.
If you’d like to join me in the half marathon, you can learn all about what it takes to participate at www.girlpower2cure.org/disney. And don’t be intimidated by their $200 fundraising minimum – you can do something as simple as a bake sale or a Chili’s Give Back Night to reach your fundraising goal, and Girl Power 2 Cure and I will be there to walk you through it every step of the way. If you turn out to be good at fundraising, there are all kinds of incentives as you hit various goals, including reimbursements for your race entry fee and travel fees!
If you want to learn more about Galloway’s fantastic run-walk method, take a look at a sample half marathon walk-run training schedule he designed. It’s on his website at http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half_marathon.html. And if you’ve never even thought of running before, he has a conditioning program that literally will start you from couch potato mode on up. Galloway has running clubs that work out together all over the country — including one that just started up on Amelia Island!
If you just can’t participate, but you’d like to support our efforts, please consider making a small, tax-deductible donation by clicking on the “Donate Now” picture in this post.