Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Dreamers_LogoSmallRecently I had the honor of recording a new podcast started by my friend Joe. This podcast focuses on people who are living their dreams, or have a dream and have started on the road to making that dream a reality.

If you get a chance, give his podcast a listen… it’s a really good idea and one that has a huge opportunity for growth.

Here’s the link to my episode:

Other than that, not too much to report. I got some news from my wound care doctor… he seems to think Wayne will be all healed up in two-three weeks, then we can schedule a joint fusion surgery. That will mean six weeks in a surgical boot, but it will at least give me an endpoint so I can get back to being active and healthier. This forced inactivity is not fun at all. As it is, I only get two days a week of exercise, plus the work at home with a resistance band. I miss my daily trips to the gym… I felt so much better when I could do that. Also, with the warmer weather, I miss being out on the trail.

I’ve been having thoughts that maybe I should consider getting a bicycle. Anyone have any recommendations? I’m on a budget, so I was thinking of something used if I go that way. I’d be looking for something that doesn’t have a seat that would totally be crawling up my ass like my old Schwinn 10 speed used to do. Alternatively, would welding an office chair to the frame be a bad idea? It’s just a thought at this time, but it never hurts to start.

On that note, back to the salt mine. I’m working on another ramp for my in-laws. Want to make sure it fits before I get it all polyurethaned.

Hope you have a great day!

Currently Reading: Faceoff, edited by David Baldacci

Song of the Day: When You Close Your Eyes – Night Ranger (I know it’s 80s cheese, but I have a soft spot for that)

 

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.

 

Yes, I’m STILL coming down off the weekend’s good feelings, but I’m headed back to work soon, so I’m pretty sure it won’t last much more than three or four minutes once I get back.

Them’s the breaks.

I’m planning on doing a couple of upcoming posts on some of the inspiring people I met over the course of the weekend. Hoping I can make that happen, because these are stories that need to be told.

One of the best first-hand reports of the weekend’s experience has been put on the WDW Happy Place podcast. I recommend you give it a listen… Ashley and Sam do a great job and it’s inspiring to hear Sam talk about his personal journey.

I had also told you that there was video of my running across the finish line… without further ado.

With Bryan and Melanie after finishing the 5K and receiving our medals

With Bryan and Melanie after finishing the 5K and receiving our medals

It’s not much, but it’s way more than I could’ve done last year at this time. I just hope to keep improving as time moves on. Now if only my stupid big toes would cooperate.

I know I had previously stated a desire to compete in a half marathon by next January. Sad fact is that the evil toes will probably not allow that. Instead of setting my sights on a 5K and 10K back to back. The reasons are varied, not just my toes, but I saw the kind of grit and determination those folks show and I know I’m not there yet. Maybe by 2016? Who knows… maybe the feet will cooperate.

Speaking of feet, I think my trusty Beasts have given their last. I have put well over 300 miles on them in training, and that doesn’t count the times I’ve worn them for every day use. Soon I’ll be heading back over to Inside Track for another pair. I’ve become quite enamored of Brooks… they have pretty much surpassed New Balance as my footwear of choice.

Alas, I must return to my daily humdrum life. More in the coming days!

 

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.

So, today there was an announcement from Nerd Herd Running on the final results from the 2013 Trilogy. They set their first goal, annihilated it, set a second goal, went medieval on that one, and for good measure, obliterated the third goal as well.

Together, we managed to raise over $17,000 for Stupid Cancer.

$17 large.

Damn.

Happy!

Happy!

You can read the nuts and bolts here, but I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what an amazing group of people this is. These are people who embrace their nerddom and aren’t afraid to show it. Words fail me when I need to come up with superlatives to describe their efforts. For such a small group of people to achieve so much totally blows my mind. I’m proud to say they are amongst my inspirations. I look forward to finally meeting most of them in January. So, thanks again Sara, Julie, Jamison, Mike, Joelle, Christina, Brad, Erinn, Dan, Jeff, Christine and April. You guys set a high standard and I’m super proud to be associated with you.

This is not to take away from my own fundraising efforts for Team AllEars. So many of you have contributed and allowed me to raise my goal yet again. Help me get there by clicking here to donate a couple dollars. The link will take you to the Avon site and allow for secure donations. I would dearly love to hit $1,500. There’s still time and it is fully tax deductible.

Postings will be sparse the next few weeks. Between the upcoming holiday and the usual workload, Supportive Partner Woman (survivor of the MRI tube) and I are going to catch the 3-D theater presentation of Day of the Doctor and we also have a much-needed vacation on the books. I will check in while I can, but I wanted to wish you all a happy and joyous Thanksgiving, Chanukkah, or whatever other holidays you celebrate. Remember to stay active and love your families.

 

I’m proud to report that I completed the Nerd Herd Racing Series by finishing a virtual half marathon this week.

Yes, Captain Fattie did 13.1 (actually 14.17) in 3:39:26.

That’s not a typo.

I actually feel pretty proud of myself… I accomplished something I never thought I would do. Granted, it took me three days, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. There’s obviously some room for improvement, including actually pounding the pavement for 13 miles, or maybe doing it in the same day, but I’m on the road.

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I visited a new rail trail today. The Enola  Low Grade Rail Trail runs for 5.25 miles through southern Lancaster County. It parallels the Susquehanna River and also the existing Norfolk Southern rail line. It’s a very scenic trail, with a wonderful panorama of the broad Susquehanna and the wooded bluffs on the York County side of the river.

We didn’t see too much in the way of wildlife… there were raptors soaring over the updrafts and plenty of grasshoppers. The scenery, though was top notch. The township has placed numerous viewing platforms along the trail which allow you to see over the fence.

View of the Susquehanna Valley south of Columbia

View of the Susquehanna Valley south of Columbia

One of the wind turbines

One of the wind turbines

One of the other sights along the trail is at the northern trailhead. The local electric co-op has installed two large wind turbines. They are actually the tallest structures in Lancaster County. The power goes pretty much exclusively into the Turkey Hill Dairy and they provide a good part of the facility’s power needs.

1948 PRR caboose

1948 PRR caboose

One of the other nice touches that the township has provided is a large piece of railroad nostalgia. This 1948 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose was restored to its period appearance and is joined by some historical data concerning its history and its restoration.

waterfall

Waterfall

The final highlight are the rocky streams and waterfalls. They pass under the trail, then through a small aqueduct that carries the water over the Norfolk Southern line and falls into the river. It’s just an extra nice touch on a trail that has a lot of them.

The sole issue that we found is that there’s not a lot of shade, which would make a long walk in the dead of summer somewhat toasty. The saving grace is that the mile-wide river valley seems to funnel air through it, creating a steady, cool breeze. If you are folically-challenged, like myself, I would recommend a hat and some sunscreen, otherwise your melon might get a little crispy.

As an editorial note, I’m really thrilled with how well the rail trail program has taken hold in this area. There are three nice trails in the general vicinity and there are plans to connect them to a wider network of trails. It makes sense in Pennsylvania, seeing the sheer number of unused rail lines. It’s also nice to see the cross-section of people using the trails, whether it be for running, walking, or biking. I look forward to getting to the southern end of the trail so I can check out the dam.

Soon.

I’ve been neglecting my inspiration segment here of late. With that being said, today I’d like to give a shoutout to Joe. Joe is a reformed big guy who’s also a part of Team AllEars, I met him at the Harrisburg Half Marathon a few weeks ago and was really taken by how open and genuine he is, not only about his running, but where he’s been. It really inspired me to commit to the Disney races in 2015, so it’s really his fault.

Thanks, Joe. Looking forward to catching up at Hershey next month.