Rae has invited me to be the Team Voice member of the month for June. So here is a little about me and how I came to be involved with this fun group of people.
It all started with the Ipod I received for my birthday three years ago. If my wife would have known that such a little thing would have fueled my Disney obsession well…
It did not take long for me to discover the Wonderful World of Disney podcasting and when I came across Paul Barrie’s Window to the Magic I was hooked. Here was a way I could take (as Paul would later describe) an Imagication and visit the Disney parks any time I wanted to. Paul’s audio has always been top notch and his binaural recording where fantastic to listen to when I would go out for walks. Soon I found myself looking for other shows, and there where many of them out there. At one point I was listening to about eight shows per week and I was always trying something new.
In 2005 I had a physical and learned that I had many risk factors. Rather than going on medications. I began exercising and six months later I was giving a clean bill of health from my doctor. Some friends encouraged me to run in the annual DAM to DAM 20k here in Des Moines . A funny thing happened after running in Dam to Dam 2006. I lost all interest in exercising and reverted back into a bad case of couch potatoitis. One day while listening to WDW Radio I learned of Jonathan’s goal of losing weight and his desire to raise money for Lou’s Dream Team. The Dream Team raises and donates money to the Make A Wish Foundation.
I began following Jonathan’s blog and I soon learned that he would be a guest on a brand new Disney podcast called All About the Mouse. He was to be a guest on Bryan Rippers third episode which would feature a round table discussion about preparing for the WDW marathon weekend. In 2008 Lou Mongello and Bryan would be doing the half marathon for the first time. Also on the program was Disney running veteran Mike Scopa. Jonathan discussed his plans to be in shape for the 2009 half.
Initially through Jonathan I found the inspiration to get back out there and start jogging again. I began to regularly following of his blog. Soon I was following a few other blogs and building friendships with people I had never met.
It was Rae who first encouraged me to start blogging as a way to help keep my focus on exercise and weight loss. Many of you can attest to the fact that Rae has been a great motivator. Often she has held my feet to the fire and encouraged me.
In 2007 my wife and I made the trip down to Mousefest. She did not know what to expect, I think she feared it would be something like a Star Trek convention with people in various character costumes imitating who knows what. The truth was that everyone we met was very friendly and not at all freaky. Disney people are good people and we made some good and lasting friendships.
As 2008 rolled around I decided to run in the 2009 Disney half. Along the way I ran DAM again and finished 15 minutes faster than I had in 2006. In October I also ran the Des Moines half marathon for the first time. That was a good experience except at some point shortly after that race I injured my left arch. I cut back drastically on my jogging in hopes that it would heal in time for the Disney Half. I did a little biking at the local fitness center to keep my endurance up and as my arch improved I did some treadmill work. By January my foot felt 100%.
During marathon weekend I was reunited with my Mousefest friends and I also made a number of new friends whom had been blogging along with us over the past year.
Some of us even dined together off property at FRIDAY’S one night.
Running the Disney Half was everything I imagined it would be. Most of us gathered together in the early morning and walked to the starting line together. The first two miles went by quickly and around that second mile I saw my first monorail. Coming off that first curve you could see the parking toll gate in the distance. It looked much closer than it actually was. Cast Members where at the booth to alert runners to be cautious of the speed bump there. I kept looking for the Contemporary and before long there it was. Soon we were in the Epcot. Something about the pitch of the road bothered my hips. Reaching Epcot was nearly as amazing as entering the Magic Kingdom . I finished quite a bit slower than I did in the Des Moines half but I expected that given my slow down in training.. It was fun to hear all the park sounds and to see the rides operating. Trumpeters’ herald us through the Castle. Coming through the castle you hit the six mile mark. Running into the back lot of Frontierland there was Captain Jack Sparrow, very cool. Beyond this area the course narrowed into more of a bike trail until it connected to a road leading to the Grand Floridian and the Raceway. Somewhere near mile eight you can see the Dolphin and Swan way off in the distance. I found the most uncomfortable part of the course to be jogging up the ramp that would take us back east toward
What I did not expect was how far I would let that slow down in training continue. After returning home I rarely went to the fitness center and jogging so far this year has been minimal. The result is I have fallen back into old habits and gained a considerable amount of weight. I changed the goal I set in 2008 for finishing this year’s DAM in less than two hours to simply finishing it. I met that goal but finished nearly an entire hour longer than in 2008.
Currently I am working through some discomfort in my right heel, but I am going to be getting back on track in preparation for Disney 2010. While my foot is healing I have discovered that biking does not bother it and I will begin working jogging back into a regular routine as my foot improves.
Team Voice means a great deal to me. There is always support to be found here. One of my favorite things is that we are not out to prove ourselves to be super athletes. Rather we have been able to support each other as we work toward our own individual goals.
I wish you all great training and good health in the months ahead. I look forward to once more seeing my Team Voice/Disney Friends this coming January and meeting yet even more of you.