How did it all start?
It was a dark and stormy night…I had taken a creative writing class.. No really, it was at least dark and I don’t recall it being stormy… Anyhoo, I was in my basement listening to some new Disney podcast I had found on iTunes and there was a group of people talking about running? I double checked the title to make sure I downloaded the right show, yep, “All About the Mouse” that’s the one (episode 41 2008 Marathon recap with Lou and Scopa)… So I listened a bit more to figure out what the heck these guys were talking about. There were a couple of guys talking about how great and life changing this experience was. Hmm, caught my attention a little more… Okay, so I figured it out, they had run the Disney ½ marathon in January of 2008 and were recapping the experience, ooooooh, now I get it. No, wait, they have a marathon through the parks? WhaHUh? How cool would THAT be! Now I’m intently listening to the details, how do I do this? What the heck IS a ½ marathon? Do I need to run? Of course, I figured out the details by the end of the show and was excited and intrigued at the same time. They also mentioned something called “Team Voice” and that anyone can join. I thought to myself, self, I’m “anyone”, I’ve got a voice, I totally can join this group! With a quick e-mail to Jonathan and Bryan, I was a AllAboutTheMouseketeer and a new member of Team Voice.
So what now? My wife and I talked about it and decided that we were going to both train for and run the ½ marathon in 2010, two years of training ought to do it. Well, as I started to train and chat with the other Team Voice folks my appetite for a Disney race grew. By March we decided that I would run in 2009 and then both of us would go back for 2010. As Rae would say..”Holy Cats”, now I’ve got to actually get training. While I did have a background in various sports I had never run more than a mile or two at once as when I did my lungs would burn and send myinto a tizzy. So my plan was to start running slowly and try to build up to longer mileage. Taking a look back at my first blog posts I was running around a 12 minute mile and worked up to 2-3 miles a session. I was pretty darn excited by that considering the lung thing. Fast forward to and I decided to tackle a to see how ready I was. If you have ever read a race description you’ll know they all say “Flat and Fast scenic course”. Yeah, right, this one was the definition of hilly and felt like running through a forest (which I suppose is scenic for people who live in the desert). However, I ran the whole thing even though I wanted to drop flat on my face by mile 10…. Ran the full thing in under 2 hrs, holy cats again, I couldn’t believe how far I had come from Feb to June. Fast forward again to October and the ING Hartford ½ marathon and ran the same exact time (minus a couple of seconds) as the ½ in June. Okay, but I was starting to level out a bit. Team Voice to the rescue! If it weren’t for the support on the blogs and boards I might have gave up prior to reaching my Disney goal in January. January 09 was an amazing experience, meeting up with all the folks that I had chatted and trained with over the year, getting to run through the castle and slap 5’s with what seemed like thousands of people. Not to mention spending some time with a good friend of mine who had also run the ½ just back from a tour in Iraq. I tell ya, I’ll admit I was a little nervous meeting up with all the Team Voice folks, wondering what they would really be like.
Honestly, I found a family in this group that I became more and more comfortable with over the past couple of years. If it weren’t for this group, I’m not sure I would have ever attempted running 26.2 as I did in October 2009. I thought about the group every step of that race and through the first 20 miles, it was triumph as I was moving pretty fast (finish line for me, someone who had really encouraged my crazy goals for the years leading up to it (not to mention having to corral two young kids for hours waiting for me to finish!!! J). Anyhoo, I pushed the heck out of myself and dragged myself for 10k and did it! So now I’m a marathoner? Dude….I finally had to give up the “not bad for a guy with asthma” to “yeah, I’ve got asthma, so what?” LOL’s on average I think), but it was when my IT band locked up 10k out from the finish that the team meant even more. There was no option of failing in this race, no way I could face my blog and write that I just gave up knowing that y’all would be out there (ya know, cause you couldn’t get text updates for free, so you had to read the blog, LOL). Not to mention that my wife (Lorraine) was waiting there at the
If you’re still with this post, good for you! I would have dropped it like two paragraphs ago! J Hmmm, it is a tad long…so let me wrap it up with the stuff that I probably should have been writing! Did I even mention who I am? Uh, okay, sooo, I’m Chris Cullen and I’m a run-a-holic. I’ve got two kids, one crazy red-head (5) who I need to get to the track and burn off that crazy attitude, uh, err, crazy “energy”. And a 2 year old son who tells me “I go on Goofy roller coaster?!?!” like every day. Considering that after we go in July the 5 year old will have been 5 times and the 2 year old will have gone 3 times….I say it’s par for the course. My wife is also a runner and ran her first ½ marathon with me down in Disney this year (sorry honey! Picked a fine year for your first race….we now call Orlando “Connecticut South”). I think she’s addicted to this thing like I am now. We plan to get back down together in 2012 again, but it would be too much to leave the kids again next year, so I’m going Goofy alone (some would argue I’m already there..). I’m psyched about the challenge of 39.3 miles, and a little nervous quite frankly, but knowing that the team will be there just gives me the confidence to train and get this done in style. I love the fact that our team is growing and hope to help out in any way that I can. I’m also hoping to get some more folks challenging me and keeping me honest as the only way to success here is hard work.
Okay, so checklist time….Team Voice is awesome, I run, kids, Disney something or other…..what’s next? Well, Goofy obviously and hopefully another marathon or so along the way. After that, well, Rae has inspired me to try and live a dream that we share and perhaps one day compete in the Ironman Kona. Of course, she’s making this a reality for herself, but I hope start building my own case at some point this year or the next. How awesome would that be! If you haven’t already gone over to Rae’s blog to cheer her on through the training, well, what are you waiting for? J I think I could go on an on (yeah, even more than I already have…), but will stop here.
New folks, get out there, do your work, hold all of us accountable for ours, and let’s celebrate at a Disney Race soon!!! Regular folks, there is no time like the present to continue the journey. Be the best dang you that you can be, I’m here for you, send a note or call or whatever (just don’t text my old phone as I don’t have a text plan!!!).