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Monday, January 4, 2010

January Team Member of the Month: Jonathan Dichter

Hey everyone. You all know me - or rather - you SHOULD. Jonathan "The Voice" here. I guess you could say I inspired "Team Voice" - and was one of the founding members.

I'm honored that Rae wants to feature me as you all go out to run in the WDW Marathon weekend in just a little bit here.

But I also want to use my space here to comment on where I've been personally, what I've accomplished, and where we're ALL going in 2010 and beyond.

You see - for me - this journey started just about THREE years ago. Right around December 2006, Lou Mongello announced on MouseTunes that he would be training for and running in the January 2008 WDW Half Marathon. I'd never heard of such a thing. But I've been a lifelong Disney fan. So I investigated. At this point, I'd re-found my Disney passion, even so far as taking my wife on our honeymoon to WDW.

Sure enough - I found out you got to run through the theme parks! It sounded amazing.

One problem.

I was just shy of 380 pounds.

I was on high blood pressure meeds.

I could barely walk a flight of stairs without being winded.

So what did I do? I decided to try it. I trained. I figured 2009 was a good goal. So I trained. Hard.

I bought a treadmill.

I went outside.

I got good shoes.

I got a trainer.

I lost weight.

I got off blood pressure meeds.

I started my blog: http://voiceofmousetunes.blogspot.com.

I met friends through Team Voice.

I raised money for charity.

And I got e-mail after e-mail telling me I'd inspired folks.

And in November 2008, I was down to around 290 - having lost about 85 pounds at one point.

In January I went to WDW and completed my first half-marathon: 3:27:51. What an amazing feeling. It's hard to believe, as I sit here, that it was only one year ago.

2009 has been an incredibly busy year for me - one with amazing personal joy - and equally personal stress and sorrow.

Let's start with the good things:

Finishing the WDW Half - January 09.
Finding out we were Pregnant - March 09.
Finding out it was a girl - June 09.
Finishing the Seattle RnR Half Marathon - July 09.
Opening my own Law Firm - August 09.
Finishing the DLR Half Marathon - September 09.
The Birth of Elizabeth Noelle - October 18, 2009.

And now the less than good things:

My father getting seriously ill in Oklahoma - started in October 08 and continued through April 09. I flew back and forth several times. It was decided that he should retire from the practice of medicine and move to Seattle into assisted living with my mother and grandmother in tow. We planned it for July. Work stress was mounting as the summer hit, and in July, the day I arrived in Oklahoma to wrap up the sale of my parents house, I received an e-mail letting me know I'd been laid off and to clear out my things upon my return. Without any money, we sought out loans, being turned down by every single bank. We were lucky enough to obtain a family loan to start the business in August.

Needless to say, through all of this, my training lacked, and my eating slacked. My drive diminished. My blogging started to falter. I'd announced that I'd be running in the 2011 WDW Full Marathon, and that dream seemed all but hopeless. I'd managed to stress eat myself back into the 340 range. No meds, but feeling like crud. And unsure how to bust out of this rut.

And then in October, Elizabeth was born.

And Rae asked me to write this and be featured.

And I got a few e-mails telling me people were inspired.

And I realized that I couldn't go back. I just couldn't.

So I started planning. And plotting. And scheming.

How to take it off - keep it off - and keep my passion and energy alive.

And now I'm ready to reveal my plans and plots. :)

First of all - I've decided that for me - the joy in these competitions isn't about the competition - nor is it about "personal bests". It's about INSPIRING others. It's about the MAGIC. The JOY. And my charity work. It's about being healthy and having fun. It's about being around for a long time for my daughter. And before you start nay-saying - which I know SOME of you are - yes - I've backslid, and yes, I've made commitments before - but I've also SUCCEEDED. And I CAN AND WILL SUCCEED AGAIN. What I need from you is BELIEF. LOVE. SUPPORT.

What that means is this. At least for now - I will compete only in HALF MARATHONS. And ONLY IN DISNEY PARKS. The most wonderfully motivating magical place to race in the world. That's what it's all about!

Why? Because this is where most of our teammates started - what sparked their interest - their passion. Where the "newcomers" will start. And yes - there WILL be newcomers. Who? YOU - you the one who's reading this. The one who says "No way can I do a half-marathon! I can barely walk a city block!" You the one who says "I need to lose weight, and can't quite get motivated to do so!"



Are you listening?


It's a simple challenge.

Step one. DECIDE. Right now. To compete in the 2011 WDW HALF MARATHON. I will be there. With you. Supporting you. Every step. ALL OF US. If you'd prefer to try sooner - then how about the 2010 WINE AND DINE HALF MARATHON (A night race!!!) - I will LIKELY (money permitting) be there too.

Just decide to do it. MAKE THE CHOICE. You don't need a blog or a message board. Just DECIDE. And if you feel inclined, e-mail me - jonathan@allaboutthemouse.com

Step two. Take up the TEAM VOICE CLUB 8 challenge.

Wait - what?!?!? What the heck is Club 8? SO glad you asked.

You see - if I'm going to race in October (Wine and Dine) - I need to lose the weight I've put on, and THEN some more. About 2 pounds per week is healthy and reasonable. One month of that is EIGHT pounds. So commit to trying to lose EIGHT POUNDS per month. Eight pounds from January to October - is 80 pounds. From January to January - 120.

So - again - TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE. E-mail me. TELL ME YOU'RE DOING IT. And every month - tell me HOW it's going. And be prepared for me to challenge you further, as you will undoubtedly challenge me further. Let's do this TOGETHER.

Step Three. Make a wish.

And I mean it. MAKE THAT WISH for yourself. Wish upon that star. And then - think of making a wish for someone else. Help me by joining the Disney World Trivia Dream Team. http://www.firstgiving.com/dwtdreamteam - Every dollar goes to help make the life of a seriously ill child better by sending them to Walt Disney World. Make a commitment for yourself. And make sure Lou knows WHO it's coming from.

For instance.

I will donate ONE DOLLAR EVERY MONTH FOR EVERY POUND I LOSE. And every month, I'll tell Lou it's from Team Voice Club 8. If I do my job I should never donate less than $8 per month. If we ALL DO THAT. Think of how much money we can raise. How many dreams we can grant!!!!

Have you all seen Kate's poem? I'll reprint it here. FEEL IT. LET IT SINK INTO YOUR SOUL.

Kate and Rae and Jeff and Deb and Bryan and Paul and Lou and Lori and Fiona and Justin and Mike and Matt and ALL the Team Voicers are directly responsible for what I accomplished in 2009. And we're going to make them all responsible for what we will accomplish together in 2010.

I may have faltered, my friends, but I'm back!!! And this time - it's for keeps!!! I want to recruit NEW Teammates - and encourage you ALL to join the Club 8 challenge so much that I'll be dedicating some time on AATM to it on a regular basis. We will have a TEAM VOICE ARMY at the 2011 WDW Marathon weekend. And I'll bring up the rear to make sure we ALL FINISH.

Remember these three words. They've never been truer. Say them with me, my friends! LOUDLY AND PROUDLY!!!!


"Will You Run For Me?" by Kate

Will you run for me tomorrow? Will you run for me?

I am six years old now.
I love to dress like a princess.
Mommy says I’m too young to go to Disneyland.
She says we will go when I’m older.
I want to be older now.

Will you run for me tomorrow? Will you run for me?

I’m in Kindergarten now and learning to read and write.
I love to run and play with my friends.
It feels as if life will go on forever.

Will you run for me tomorrow? Will you run for me?

I don’t know it now, but when I am eight years old I will be diagnosed with leukemia.

Will you run for me?

The cancer treatments are terrible. I don’t feel well.
Mommy says the drugs are killing the bad cancer cells.

Will you run for me?

I just want the pain to stop.
I want to feel good and happy again.

Will you run for me?

My daddy said that you will run for me.
He said that you will raise money so that we can go to Disneyland.
Thank you. Thank you for caring about me.
Thank you for letting me be a princess again.
I love you.

A poem by Kate (GoofTroop3@disneyworldtrivia.com),inspired by Jonathan’s courageous journey to the 2009 Walt Disney World half-marathon.


  1. It's like deja vu all over again. :-)

  2. This looks familiar...Oh, and just so we're clear - I'm in :)!

  3. OK, I am in, too. Hopefully this will give me some extra incentive to focus on the weight loss goal.