Archive for the ‘Team AllEars’ Category

I know… Latin. I’m trying to be all highbrow and intellectual.

But in this case, Pax refers to the winter storm. Seriously, though, who the hell started naming every winter storm? Is it a marketing thing? Maybe like the Nolan Ryan Express? Somehow, I don’t see NOAA marketing a line of t-shirts celebrating shitty weather, but it IS the federal government, so maybe that’s the reason.

Anyway, I’ve had a few crappy days. Really started yesterday with my attempt to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show. I say “attempt” since I never got on the train. Seems that the train station at Lancaster has limited parking and several rich assholes decided they needed two spaces to contain their precious German luxury cars. In all fairness, maybe they aren’t assholes. Maybe they are just misunderstood.

Naaah, they’re probably just assholes.

I still kept my vacation day, which wound up causing me some issues. See, the company decided to get rooms at the local hotel. They did not, however, inform me, so I had to trek to the office today, in the ice and snow, all to do a job obviously much more vitally important than healthcare or government. Of course, my wonderful homeowner’s association didn’t get around to clearing the walks and driveways on my street, so I had to move the entire driveway full of heavy, wet snow. I guess that counts toward my cardio for the day. I might add that another email was sent out informing us that the snow removal contractor has suffered a “mechanical breakdown” and would not be able to remove snow today. My thought is that Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA, is probably pocketing what would be paid to the contractor. I have no evidence of this, just instinct, but she seems the type that would do this.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

My week hasn’t been all terrible. I managed to register for the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy. This year’s themes are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games. I’m not totally into the whole Hunger Games thing, but the medal looks pretty cool. If you are interested in getting active and helping a worthy cause, check this out.

The start and finish will be at the Troeg's Brewery

The start and finish will be at the Troeg’s Brewery

I registered to run in the inaugural Troeg’s Hop Dash 5K in Hershey in October. I also registered Supportive Partner Woman (lover of craft beers!). It’ll be our first time participating in an inaugural event, and many of our TAE/Nerd Herd people will be there as well. Should be a great time!

 

So, to all you readers trapped by Pax, I wish you safe travels. If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. If you do, drive safely and watch out for the idiots. Sadly, there are a lot of those and they seem to be drawn to driving in bad weather like a moth is to a flame.

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.

 

It’s been a long time since I wrote about the trials of my personal journey, leaving many of you to assume it’s going perfectly.

It’s not.

Truth of the matter is that due to all sorts of external stressors, I’ve been fighting a losing battle on the food front.

Oh, it starts innocently enough… the thought that having a rough day somehow entitles me to eat a Tastykake or ice cream or something like that. Then it becomes less of a treat and more of a constant. Next thing you know, the scale starts creeping the other way.

This ain’t a good thing, y’all.

During my last visit with the surgeon, I mentioned the troubles I’ve been having and he put me in touch with the psychologist that the practice is affiliated with. It took awhile, but I finally got an appointment to see Dr. Collins and it was eye-opening, to say the least.

See, the sky is not falling.

The train has not wrecked.

Dr. Collins thinks that I’ve gone a little off track, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. As such, I’ll be starting a “Back on Track” program next month that will reinforce the stuff I’ve sort of forgotten and hopefully get me motivated again.

While we were chatting, I realized that what problems I’ve had with my feet are so minuscule compared to what I saw over the weekend. Seeing cancer patients like Kim Markey (who did her last chemo the week before the Dopey Challenge), or the folks on full prosthetic limbs… they have problems. I have inconveniences. Big difference.

Regardless, this program gives me another chance to get it right. To learn to stop the mindless eating and the stress eating.

One other thing Dr. Collins told me as we were wrapping up. She said, “Those people you finished that race with? They support you and love you and they know you can do it. That’s a big part of your support structure and if they did that race with you, they will be there for this race, too. Don’t throw all that support away by thinking you have to do it alone.”

Once again, Team AllEars FTW.

More soon.

 

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, 2014 has arrived. In just four days, I’ll be in Walt Disney World to participate in my first 5K.

It’s a big deal.

After all the time I’ve spent in the gym and on the trail, me and 20,000 others will invade Epcot early Thursday morning.

How did I get here?

Well, if you’ve been following this blog at all, 2013 was a busy year.

As it is a new year, though, many changes are afoot. I’ve been following the Penn State coaching search pretty closely, especially since Supportive Partner Woman (Sports editor extraordinaire!) has had to stay on top of it. One of the best tweets I’ve seen in regards to coaching searches is this one:

At any rate, I’m also pleased to report that my team has made its fundraising goal for the Avon Walk. If you’ve thought about contributing, please go to the main team page and look for someone with under $500. This will help them reach their goal as you have helped me. There are so many wonderful, supportive people on the team that I’m just thrilled to get the chance to meet them and compete with them. I hope that you can find a way to help.

Speaking of competing, co-captain Mike has informed me that the likelihood of actually running any of the 5K is probably not good, given the amount of people registered and the narrow course. That being said, I intend on at least running across the finish line, somehow. I also am looking forward to meeting other listeners of the Mickey Miles podcast… should be fun!

Other new things that are being tried this trip include flying out of Wilmington, Delaware aboard Frontier Airlines. I’ve never flown them, although I love the commercials, and I didn’t even know Wilmington HAD commercial air service.

At any rate, I hope to report back on a successful debut in the next week.

Wishing you all the best for 2014!