Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

Good news!

I’m finally cleared to exercise again.

Yeah, I can go and hit the elliptical starting today. Still need to stay off the treadmill, but I’ll take what I can get. First thing I did was call Ryan and Cory, since I still have a few weeks left with them. Hard to believe I’ll be a year post-op at the end of this month.

I also started the Back on Track program at LGH. It’s for folks who are struggling a little. Dr. Collins, the bariatric psychologist, leads an eight-week session focused on getting you refocused and rededicated before the wheels completely fall off. It’s a small group, six people, and Dr. Collins has a whole program set up. I think being able to get back to regular exercise will help me… I had gotten so used to working out that it really took a toll on me when I couldn’t. Dare I say some depression set in, and I’m someone who tends to eat when depressed. Ergo, not a good combination.

To help, I did buy a resistance band at my local Target. It has helped me at least get some strength training in while I was sidelined. I would usually change things up by using the bands. The fact that you get a constant force working against you seems to make sense.

The feet are feeling good in the new kicks. They are a little flashier than I’m used to, but I can’t argue with the comfort. I was able to rehab my old Beasts by putting a spare set of orthotic insoles in and they feel pretty much brand new.

So, I’m actually thinking that the WDW 10K in January might be the last runDisney event for me. Not because I don’t think I could do it again, but because of the price. RunDisney is getting a little out of hand. The prices for the 2015 weekend are going up like a rocket ship and that’s not cool.

The prices for 2015 are as follows:

Dopey Challenge: $530 (this is the 5K, 10K, ½, full, extra medals for the Dopey and for the Goofy, and a load of shirts)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge: $360 (1/2 and full, plus extra medal and required shirts)

1/2 or full marathon: $170

10K: $105

5K: $60

Add to that price the need for airfare, lodging, meals, park admission (granted, not required, but you’re in Disney, you should probably get to a park), getting up at 2:30 AM on race day, and you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. Supportive Partner Woman and I will be doing it, as we are hoping our niece joins us as she will be done with graduate school at that point and could probably use a vacation. If it wasn’t for that, well, I’d consider not even participating. But, it’s all about the profit and 55,000 folks participating brings in a lot of scratch.

On that happy note, I’m going to get myself moving and over to the gym. I have two months to catch up on.

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It’s been a long stretch of little sleep, standing on the side of the road yelling at complete strangers, and it’s not much of a vacation.

But it ranks as one of the most amazing weekends of my life.

“But why?” you might ask.

Simple. It comes down to the most amazing group of people I’ve even been associated with. These are people from all walks of life… bankers, lawyers, professors, nerds, and even a singular typesetter. These are people I am proud to call inspirations and proud to be associated with.

I saw pretty much everything, most good, some things that I wish I could unsee (Speedo guy). I saw the full range of human emotion, ranging from people in tears as their minds and bodies began to give up to people who were all smiles, enjoying the fact that they were doing something that not many others will ever even attempt.

I’ll start with the good…

I wasn't kidding... he did 39.3, playing every mile.

I wasn’t kidding… he did 39.3, playing at every mile.

Seeing the joy in my teammates faces as they came by, all the while enjoying that we were out and supporting them. Seeing the pride in which people wore their medals around the parks. Seeing my teammates and other friends complete their first race, or first marathon. Seeing my new friend Sam grind his way through 48.6 challenging miles, never giving up and claiming his medals. Seeing some random dude do a half marathon and full marathon, all the while carrying and playing a sousaphone.

I kid you not.

The incomparable Joe Weeks with the AllEars cheering section

The incomparable Joe Weeks with the AllEars cheering section

There was a juggler and a guy dribbling two basketballs. There was a guy dressed as Buddy the Elf, complete with snowballs (Yes, that was Bryan). There were men in kilts, men in skirts, men in tutus, and one of the most genuine people I’ve even met wearing a Team AllEars shirt (Talking about YOU, Joe Weeks). There was a woman doing the half and full in full firefighter gear, including an oxygen bottle on her back.

Jamison and Deb reveal the year's fundraising total

Jamison and Deb reveal the year’s fundraising total

I mentioned that Saturday was the big reveal of the year’s fundraising total. This was a huge deal because it is the last year of Team AllEars. So we gathered in Ballroom 6 of the Walt Disney World Swan and reminisced. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of applause and a lot of tears. Good tears, because we managed to obliterate last year’s total and come up with almost $105,000, all to fight cancer. So, thank you to everyone who contributed to my personal page.

I’m not going to overload you with everything in one post… that would be too much, and it’s still pretty damn emotional to me (typed as tears are welling up again)

I will write more soon, and even have a video of me lumbering across the finish line with me “entourage” in tow. But, before I go, I want to take a moment to acknowledge every member of the team…

Thanks to Deb, Mike, Michelle, Melanie, Brad, Barb, Chris, Amanda, the amazing Ellie (more on her later), Debbie, Heather, Matt, Stephanie, Molly, my awesome mentor Rich, Laura, Laura, Jessica, Dominic, Tom, Julie, Eddie, Heather, Stan, Kim, Jamison, Phill, Steven, Holly, Sara, the amazing Ed, Tabitha, Tammi, Lesley, Dave, Jill, Eve, Dave, David, Mike, Julie, Christina, De’Dee, Bryan, Linda, Tim, Michael, Alex, Ashley, Mike, Robert, Evelyn, Daniel, Lee, Charlie, Laura, Judy, Sara, Beth, Susan, Christine, Brad, Beth, Joe, Erwin, April, Karen, Tracy, Terry, April, Helen, MaryJean, Debra, Suzanne, Joan, Phil, Ana, Christine, Sandie, Pam, Amy, Dan, Julia, Rhonda, Jason, Cindy, Penny, JT, Ethan, Pamela, Kerry, Kirsten, Jason, Wesley and Jeremy. You all are the best! I also want to thank the Nerds… their support has been invaluable throughout and I look forward to their 2014 Virtual Race Series.

More soon!

The morning, I completed my first ever 5K.

I know… it’s hard to believe.

Mr. “I only run if chased” actually did it and even ran a bit of it.

I’ve been wanting to do this and working toward it for so long that I didn’t think I could get too emotional afterward. Then I reached that point where I just overfilled with emotion and starting crying. Tears of pain, relief, and joy. What a combo.

See, in a surprise move, the dastardly tag team of Wayne and Stubby have been acting up.  I mean, why wouldn’t they? I’m in my supposed happy place and I would have no desire to not have to wrap my toes like an Egyptian mummy, right? So, as late as Tuesday night, I was thinking about bailing on the whole thing. Then it really struck me just how much it meant for me to do it. Then yesterday, we hit the expo. Things really started to click at that point. We met up with our friends from Colorado at the expo and braved the chaos. I never saw anything quite like that. Just a sea of people milling around the Wide World of Sports complex. It was pretty freakin cool. I also met some other folks from the team and to have strangers telling me how proud they were that I was doing this started pushing me toward the happy scale.

I didn’t want to let my teammates down.

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K.
Photo courtesy of Tom Troost

So, at 5:30 this morning, Supportive Partner Woman (5K finisher!) and I were at the team photo.

See? Lots of people

See? Lots of people

Then the waiting begins, because, as it turns out, there are a LOT of people doing this race. We were, of course, in corral E, which was the last one. Thankfully, a lot of my teammates stayed with us and walked along. I wasn’t planning on running, you see, due to my issues with Wayne and Stubby.

As we plodded along, the rains came. Not a heavy rain, but one that was starting to dampen my spirits. My inner Debbie Downer started to gnaw at me and I fumed to myself, thinking, “Well isn’t THIS just ^@$## perfect?”

I kept a smile, but that voice kept yelling at me, “What were you THINKING, you dumbass?”

Still we plodded along.

Then something magical happened. We came across a single team member standing by the International Gateway and she was just screaming for me. That’s what started my inner bitch-slapping of my inner Debbie Downer. (Big thanks to Laura Ozo!)

I realized I only had another mile to go. My pace started to pick up… the heavy feeling in my legs started to dissipate… We came around Spaceship Earth and hit the three mile mark. I saw a group of teammates and I started to hear them cheering for me. Just then, that huge lump of self-doubt flew out of me. I looked at Mike and Brad and said, “I got this.”

Then I ran.

Lumbered, really, but is that really a bad thing?

Getting a medla and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

Getting a medal and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

I crossed that finish line in stride to be greeted by a dear friend who was volunteering with a big hug and my first-ever medal.

See, they may say that running events are a solo thing. Maybe they are, but in my case, my team made me able to run.

This was followed up with congrats and pictures and a tasty brunch. Supportive Partner Woman went off to the parks, I came back to the room to write and to rest the toes.

This little bit of time has allowed me to reflect on what has happened to me today. Oh, and also to start thinking of how I’ll handle a back to back 5K and 10K next year. Because runDisney has its hooks into me now. I want that feeling again.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people who have really helped me. First off would be our team founder, Deb Wills, and our team captains, Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean. Also, my friends Melanie and Bryan for putting the bug in my ear and just generally being awesome. Brad Garfinkel for being a friend and pushing me to do better. Rich Gairing, for being a great mentor and just an all-around awesome human being. It also goes without saying that the rest of my team gets credit. They are all rock stars and it would take too long to list every one of them individually.

I also wanted to thank the Nerds for a great virtual series. These folks have been so supportive as well (and yes, there’s a lot of cross-pollination) .

A "We did it" selfie

A “We did it” selfie

The real rock, though, is Supportive Partner Woman. She thinks I deserve all this credit, but the fact is that it is due to her support and encouragement that I was there at all today. I was truly blessed to have her in my life.

So, the rest of the weekend will be taken up by cheering for my teammates as they finish the other races. I hope that I can give them the same lift that they gave me. There’s also the other event coming up… the big reveal of this year’s fundraising total. That becomes available on Saturday and I will be sure to keep you updated.

After that, well, there’s the brand new Mickey Milers team, an offshoot of the Mickey Miles podcast. This will help to fill the void of Team AllEars. I’m already signed up and I’m sure I’ll be begging for donations to help Give Kids the World before too long.

Until that time, keep on moving.

Supportive Partner Woman and I just returned from a visit to sunny Florida. We went to take part in Reunion 2013, a gathering of like-minded Disney fans who get together for four days of meets, hi-jinks and whatever else happens.

There are, of course, some folks who just don’t get it, and that’s OK. More fun for the rest of us!

With that little bit out of the way, I’d like to report that the entire event was a blast. The highlight of the event is catching up with the friends we’ve met over the years. SPW and I often speak of how different the guest list would be were we to get married now instead of nine years ago. I can tell you that list would certainly be larger.

One of the biggest moments for me was the taking of the picture. If you recall, someone took a picture of me last year that really showed how obese I had become. I was determined to take a picture of the newer me, in the same spot.

meIt was a success, to say the least. I’ve lost a few pounds, or so it looks. I still have some ways to go, but it’s that much more believable when you can see tangible proof.

I’m also pleased to report, other than yet another blister incident, I survived a lot of park touring and I’m really not in any pain. The past three or four years, every trip has required a few days of recovery time. This time, not so much.

The blister is pretty substantial, enough that the doc prescribed antibiotics, in case there’s an infection. He found a liquid one, which goes down a lot easier than trying to eat it in yogurt or pudding. I was lucky that the crappy weather actually allowed me to see my regular doctor, since he had a cancellation.

I’m also pleased to report that Disney can be accommodating with my bariatric surgery. Even our group meal at Ohana was accommodated. I was able to pay the child’s price, since my capacity was so diminished. For the most part, I ordered off the child’s menu or I shared with SPW. The one full-sized item we got was a very yummy margherita pizza with prosciutto at Via Napoli in Epcot. We were lucky that the crust is very thin, so I was able to enjoy a lot of the pizza.

Another of the highlights of any Reunion is the chance to see the IllumiNations holiday tag. This is a four minute extra segment that includes a stirring rendition of Let there be Peace on Earth as performed by the Boys Choir of Harlem with narration by Walter Cronkite. I managed to get video of the tag (a little shaky, but not bad overall), so that’s posted below:

There were other special events, and the chance to make some new friends. It was also nice to chat with some people I knew by name, but had never really met, and have them tell me that my journey has been inspiring to them. It’s very humbling when you hear that.

A rare treat was being able to relive my first sight of the Osborne Lights. This was better, as the fine folks at Mouse Fan Travel had arranged a private viewing of the lights after the park closed. One of our group had never experienced the lights and there is no better way to experience them. It proves that despite all the issues they may have, Disney still knows magic.

Lights!

Lights!

I think the picture says it all.

In short, 2013 was one of the best Reunions I’ve attended. Special thanks go out to Beci & Annette from MEI/Mouse Fan Travel, Matt from Studios Central, Mike from Mouse World Radio, Mike from AllEars, and Len from touringplans.com. Might also mention that together, Mike, Len, Mike, Matt and Annette make up the WDW Today podcast team. These folks give up a lot of their time and energy to make sure everyone has a memorable experience and I know they don’t get thanked enough. I, for one, am honored to call each of them a friend.

I hope to have more photos and video up later in the week. Until then, stay warm!

So, fresh on the heels of completing my 5K yesterday, I thought I’d do it again.

Yeah… I’m getting the bug. I’ve been told it’s expensive.

Yikes.

Supportive Partner Woman and I hit the Rec today. We took adjacent treadmills and got started. I didn’t start the workout thinking 5K. I just set the timer for 45 minutes and thought I’d take it easy. Three minutes later, I’m clipping along at 3.8 mph and I’m not really winded. I added some 30 second running intervals to get the heart rate up, but as I got closer to the 45 minute mark, I opted to see if I could get 3 miles in 50 minutes. I managed to do that with 4 second left and finished my workout having done 3.06 miles in 51:15. That was a 16:44 pace, which is pretty much the best pace I’ve ever recorded (since doing 9 minute miles in high school).

This really gives me hope that I’ll be able to break 50 minutes at the WDW 5K. I still have four months until the race, so there’s still time.

The other good news was that Wayne & Stubby came through with no new injuries… no blisters, corns or whatever foot ailment you can think of.

I need to refocus on my diet, though. It’s not bad, but it’s slipping a bit. I just need to wrap my head around it, because what I was doing was working. My first step was to cut the amount of pasta I had with my meatballs. I’ve been using higher-fiber pasta for a while, but there’s still carbs and carbs are still the enemy. At least the meatballs have plenty of protein. I use 90% beef, plus cheese, eggs and spices. There’s also some bread crumbs, but they aren’t that big of an impact in terms of diet.

My hope is to knock the Happy Birthday Harry Potter 10K out this weekend. Then I can focus on the Banned Books race at the end of September. I’m thinking of that 13.1 miles as a goal. I know it won’t be fast, but I’m hoping to be able to at least walk it in one day without blisters.

It’s a goal… and I think it’s attainable.

One more blurb… if you would care to sponsor my 5K effort for the Avon Walk, please click here. They do amazing work and if you can spare $1 for every kilometer I’m going to finish, that would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great day!

Song of the Day: MLK – U2

Currently Reading: The First Counsel – Brad Meltzer

Today’s weight: 269 lbs – total loss of 111 pounds

That time I wrote about the best Internet radio station I know.

Enjoy!

Made it another day… was not an easy one, but I set a record for 2013 with over 47 minutes and 2.23 miles walked. I had to back off speed a bit, due to achy ankles, but I’m still proud of myself for getting that far. My average speed was 2.84 mph. The rest will come as the weight decreases.

I worry, though… I just feel that due to Stubby I can’t walk with the grace I used to walk. Surprised no one ever made a replacement toe bone. Maybe that could be my great contribution to science. Hmmm.

I’ve  been thinking long and hard, though, and I need to set a post-surgical goal. I realize that with my toe and other issues, I’ll never be physically able to run long distances, so a marathon is out.

I’m going to set my goal to participate in the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K.

There, I said it. I know it won’t be easy, especially for someone who would struggle to run the mile in high school (when I was in better shape), but I think it’s a reachable goal. Plus, I’ve gotten so much encouragement from the Disney fan community as I go through this process that I feel it’s a great way to pay it back and forward. To reward myself with a feeling of accomplishment and to pay back everyone who has supported me and encouraged me. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but they are my family as much as any blood relation. Logistics will be forthcoming, but I will keep you apprised and this will be the place to post the picture after I finish it.

twitterSo, yesterday was pretty cool, though. Not only did I find an error in a CNN.com story (yeah, not like they’re a reputable news source), I actually got to have a Twitter exchange with one of my favorite sportswriters. I just tweeted out that the CNN flunkie had gotten his name wrong (guess checking that fact would be a little too much effort) and sure enough, a reply. It was actually kind of cool. I’m not a huge Twitter fan, unlike SPW (lover of the hashtag!), but this might make me like it a little more.

At any rate, gotta go for day 9 in the morning. And I’m going to do it. Does that make me a probie gym rat?

Guess there are worse things.