Archive for the ‘Walking’ Category

Let’s flash back, shall we?

When Supportive Partner Woman (lover of gelato!) and I were dating, I once promised I’d take her to Italy. I finally made good on that promise… We arrived in Rome on Thursday and will be touring our way up and across the boot.

So far, it’s been a lot of what I remember… beautiful art, awesome food, insane drivers…

It’s also a spot where Stubby and Wayne have decided to get ornery. It’s already cost me part of the Colosseum tour. I’m hoping they don’t cost me much more, because this place rocks.

There was some drama before we left. Somehow, my credit card number wound up in the hands of someone in Illinois. No offense to the fine Illini, but I’ve never been to Illinois, other than stopping at O’Hare to change planes. I’ve certainly never been to a Home Depot in Illinois. Anyway, the card company was suspicious, denied the charge, contacted me and said they would be issuing a new card and would send it overnight.

Sure enough, they shipped it, but they opted for Federal Express (who need to change their tagline to “The Postal Service for a New Millennium). That’s when the hijinks ensued.

According to the tracking data, the new card went from Chesapeake, Virginia to Norfolk, then to Memphis, TN. Then, for whatever reason, it went to Dubai. As in the United Arab Emirates. When I called FedEx about it, the customer rep said, “Uh, I’m not sure why it’s there.”

Wow. And Chris Christie wants to track illegal aliens like FedEx packages?

Anyway, they put it on a plane to Paris, then back to Memphis, then on to Harrisburg, then to Lancaster, where it finally arrived on Monday. It’s about 325 miles to drive from Chesapeake to Lancaster. My package travelled some 17,000 miles. Ahh, progress. All I wanted was the frequent flier miles, but alas, FedEx does not give them.

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon saw us arriving at the economy parking lot at Philadelphia International Airport. I opted for PHL, not because of its stellar reputation, but because it was cheaper. Plus, I didn’t relish the thought of driving to JFK. We finally found a parking spot (no mean feat) and were treated to the most horrendous, kidney-bruising ride you could ever ask for. We were in a bus, which probably hadn’t had a working suspension in years, careening through airport property, just hanging on for dear life.

We finally made it to the terminal, checked our bags with the fine folks from British Airways, and approached security. The line was insane. As we were queueing up, a young man (who looked so much like Pharrell I expected him to put on a bad hat and start singing “Happy”) pointed out that the wait for security at Terminal A East was about two minutes. We said, “Why not?” walked over and were through in no time.

We got to the gate, and started boarding our plane. I’m an aviation geek and this was my first ever flight on the Boeing 777. We had seats in the World Traveler Plus section, which was pretty darn nice. Food was tasty (a shock for airplane food), the seats had some space, and there was plenty of IFE to keep us going.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

747-400s at Heathrow with 777 taking off in the background.

Landed in Heathrow (which is kind of like O’Hare, except it’s British and polite – also I couldn’t detect the usual O’Hare odor of hopelessness and desperation) and was treated to a view you never get in Philly. A row of 747s just waiting at Terminal 5-B. I know the A380 is larger, but the 747 is still the Queen of the Skies.

Cleared UK security (memo to SPW… only one bag of liquids allowed) and headed off to Rome. Couldn’t see much from the air due to the distance of Fiumicino from the city, and also the direction of travel. We cleared passport control and were met by an Adventures by Disney representative who escorted us to baggage claim and waited as we reclaimed our bags. The rep escorted us to a parking structure and left us in the capable hands of a Mario Andretti wannabe. After three near-death experiences, we made it to the hotel.

It’s a beautiful hotel… rooms are a tad smaller than I am used to, but it’s Europe.

We did a city tour yesterday… I maintain it’s not the walking that kills the feet, but the standing. We did a lot of that because there was a biblical rainstorm as we got to the Colosseum. The tour was supposed to include access to the underground levels as well as the third level. Due to the storm, the Italian authorities (rightfully) opted to close the areas off. We finally got to the main levels, took some pictures, then they were about to whisk us off to the Forum. By this time, the feet were starting to protest and I had an inkling as to what to expect, so I opted to head back to the hotel.

Colosseum

Colosseum

Big mistake… the folks who remained were able to run back to the Colosseum and get to tour the underground portion. Granted the run back would’ve probably killed me, but the chance to see that is rare.

rigatoniI’d also like to add that the food has been amazing so far. The first dish I had was a rigatoni in a light tomato sauce with very tasty bacon. Seriously smack your grandma good. The bad thing (or good thing) is that I’ll never want to eat Olive Garden again.

So, today we will be touring the Vatican. Maybe I should pray for less foot problems. Either way, it’s going to be awesome and I already have a foot doctor appointment for when we get back.

Ciao!

I’ve noticed something over the four years I’ve been doing this blog… whenever I let the blogging lapse, the weight creeps back on. Curious cause and effect, but it bears looking into.

I had a visit with Dr. McPhee today. He challenged me to avoid all processed carbs for a month and see what happens. I was expressing my discontent at the fact I’m pretty much sedentary due to the foot issues and he says he has patients that have found success with this approach. It’ll be  a challenge, since I do like my pasta and crunchy snacks. He managed to ease the blow by saying I could have some corn and potatoes. Not tons, but it’s a start.

I immediately enlisted Supportive Partner Woman (fellow lover of carby goodness!) who agreed to go in, just not right away, because we have a LOT of that stuff in the house and it seems a shame to throw it away. I can respect that… food is expensive, after all. I did start today and made a very yummy lunch… cedar plank roasted Copper River salmon with an ear of fresh, quasi-local sweet corn and some steamed broccoli. I was amazed at just how much protein is in the salmon… MyFitnessPal calculated 26.2 grams in a portion slightly less than 4 oz. That’s some serious protein.

I added something to the kitchen arsenal this week, as well. I finally got a food grinder attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. This thing is AWESOME! I took a nice sirloin, ran it through the grinder and made some caramelized sweet onion burgers for the grill. The meat was probably a little too lean for the purpose, as the burgers were a little dry, but the taste was spot-on. I’m looking forward to grinding my own turkey, since the stuff you get at the store is kind of nasty. I think it will make for excellent turkey meatloaf and turkey burgers, not to mention it can be cheaper to buy the whole piece and grind it yourself. Woot!

Other than that, there’s not too much going on. I find myself getting sad when I drive by the trailheads because on some of these lovely days we’ve been having, it would be nice to go out and take a walk/run/wog. Alas, thanks to Wayne being obstinate, no dice.

This pretty much sums up my feelings on soccer

This pretty much sums up my feelings on soccer.

In other news, many folks around the world are watching the World Cup. I realize I’ll take some heat for saying this, but I just don’t get it. I mean I respect the athleticism and skill, and I respect the fact that a lot of people love the game, but, on the whole, I’d rather watch hockey or baseball. I know, you people are saying, “You like baseball and you’re bored by soccer?” My usual response is to say that there aren’t many other sports where you can fail 70% of the time and be considered one of the greats.

At any rate, that’s going to do it for this post. Expect to see more in the coming weeks as I rededicate myself. I’ll also let you know how things go with the no processed carbs challenge.

Now where can I find some meat?

I’m pleased to report that the six day period of hell has come to a close.

This started last Saturday when we buried my cousin Bill, who had passed away a few weeks beforehand. I had written about the sense of loss I felt at that time, but we finally got his ashes to their final resting place. We followed up with a family brunch at the Exeter Family Restaurant , which was underwhelming to say the least, then Supportive Partner Woman and I made tracks back to cow country. The following day, my mom came up so I could do her taxes. We then took her for her first ever visit to Wegman’s.

She was a bit overwhelmed.

She called when she got home to let us know she was safe, then a few minutes later, the phone rang again to let us know that Aunt Marie had passed away on Saturday night.

(thump)

The other shoe had dropped.

That funeral was this past Friday… bookending a six day stretch that was crappy, to say the least. This week was also filled with too many work obligations, not enough sleep, and not enough fresh air.

All it proves is that life is too damn short.

In the good news department, though, I did manage to construct a solidly-built ramp for my in-law’s home so my mother-in-law can get out to the family room. It was a chance to use power tools (which I’m always in favor of), and a chance to bitch about cheap Chinese-made wood screws. I might have something there… there’s NO reason an 18v cordless drill should be able to torque the head right off the screw. This happened twice. Not happy, but what can you do? I also opted to build a computer stand for the iMac, freeing up space underneath for the external hard drive and the Time Machine.

I also got some good exercise in. My group meeting took place with the exercise physiologist and he had us doing circuits. I was doing OK, but the mountain climbers really hurt on Saturday. The part that made me feel pretty good was the running in place… I was able to go 45 seconds without too much effort. This leads me to believe that I can do some intervals during the Troegtoberfest race and not be dead last. Woot!

I’ve also come to a conclusion that I’m going to go see a wound care specialist about Stubby and Wayne. These things are healing, but it seems the podiatrist doesn’t have a clue on how to make it more permanent (and faster). If I have to go back in the boot for awhile, so be it… if it really helps, I’m all for it.

So, I’m calling it a night. Hope that you all have a very happy Easter (Passover, etc.) and I’ll catch you in a few days.

Greetings, my friends.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written. There’s been a lot happening, but that’s no excuse. Fact is, I’ve been pretty darned tired and haven’t really felt like it.

So, the big news is that Wednesday was my one-year anniversary of my bypass. Hard to believe I was propped up in my bed moaning and begging for death. It was almost like having a hangover, except for the five holes in my abdomen. People have asked me if I had any regrets. I think my biggest regret (other than being in such a bad way that I needed the operation) was that I didn’t do it sooner. I could’ve maybe avoided the diabetes and not have the damage to my feet that will probably stick with me the rest of my days.

I had my one-year appointment with Dr. McPhee. He was concerned that I had gained 26 pounds back, but since starting in the Back on Track program, I had lost 11 of those 26. That’s been going great… I find that Dr. Collins has a way of hitting the root causes of why I eat like I do. She’s been able to get me refocused and nudge me in the right direction, which is a good thing. I was starting to really feel down about myself during the two months I was on the shelf. Between the group and the fact I can be back at the gym, well, it has made a world of difference.

What a coincidence... both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW's is the slate blue band.

What a coincidence… both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW’s is the slate blue band.

One of the other things I did was to get a FitBit Flex. It adds a bit of a game to my daily routine and I love those days when I hit my goal and my Flex will start buzzing at random. I guess I’m intrigued by the gamification of calorie counting and fitness tracking. The sleep tracking is a nice feature as well. I also got one for Supportive Partner Woman… I hope she likes it as much as I do. I must remember not to cheer or taunt too much because that can get to be annoying. It’s like when someone will comment on EVERY Facebook status you post. It’s irritating and the last thing we need is more irritation.

The actual process of getting these bands was kind of comical. I had swung by my local Best Buy with the intention of looking at the band. In a surprise move, no one was around to help when I could’ve actually USED the help (Usually, I get one creepy dude who keeps asking me what he can help me with… when I really don’t need any help), so I left there and swung by the Apple Store, on the off chance they had them. They did, although the associate there tried to talk me into the Nike+ Fuelband. I tried, but it’s too rigid and didn’t fit my wrist comfortably. I took it back the following day and so far, I’m very happy. Supportive Partner Woman wanted a different color than I got, but they only stocked pink and black. I had the black and, well, she’s so not a pink person. Luckily, the Apple website had the blue band available and was able to ship it to the store in a couple of days. Problem solved. The website said shipping it to our home would take a week, but I could pay an extra $10 and get it by Friday. Or, I could ship it to the store for free and I could have it Friday. That’s a basic no-brainer, so, yay me.

Speaking of Dr. McPhee, he recently published another cookbook for bariatric patients. It has many of the same recipes from the first edition, but there are plenty of new ones, along with portion guides and some nutrition information. Not to mention the fact that the stuff is tasty. So, if you are a bariatric patient or know someone who is, click over to lulu.com and check out the book. It’s only $4.99 for a digital download and well worth it.

That’s all I have for today.

Song of the Day: Colin Hay – Overkill
Currently Reading: The Chariot Builders – Steve Matchett

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.

20140311-233915.jpg

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!