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Friday, July 2, 2010

Team Voice Member Of the Month July 2010

Team Voice!! Here is your Team Voice Member of the Month. Before you getting reading, I want to apologize that blogger will not let me upload the Team Voice member photo. I will try to edit it in later.

We have a mileage challenge for the Month of July. 150 miles this month. There is a catch.... I do not want you to count your cross training miles. Continue to count them for your Run to Disney mileage but for the challenge do not count them. I do have a prize for the person who can log the most mileage. I will announce what it is at a later date.

On to your Member of the Month.....

Hi Fellow Team Voice Members! I was honored to be asked to be the Team Voice Member of the Month for July 2010, so here’s a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) more about me.

I’m 36 years old, not married and a total Disney Fan. I was born and raised in Washington State, but I’ve lived in Arizona for the last 17 years (wow, how time flies) so I’ve almost spent equal amounts of time in each state. I have three dogs – Ralph a 17 year old Shih-Tzu/Terrier mix, Belle and Jasmine sisters that are lab mixes just over 4 years old and Howdy a 24 year old Quaker Parakeet. I love to read – I’ll read just about anything that catches my eye.

I’ve been going to Disneyland since I was six months old. One of my first rides was Pirates of the Caribbean and I was told that my heart was racing during those drops! My family used to visit Disneyland as often as we could and since money was always tight we drove from Washington State quite a few times during my childhood to save money. In 1991 I had my first opportunity to visit Walt Disney world with my brother and sister-in-law. We stayed off site in Kissimmee and it was a great trip – I fell in love with Epcot during this trip. My next trip to WDW wouldn’t happen again until 1998 – just a short five weeks after my brother passed away. My sister-in-law and I took her son, and our other nephew and niece and we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. This wasn’t the easiest trip to be on as we were all still grieving, but it was good to be in a place where my brother was so happy. My parents had never been to WDW, so in 2000 I took my parents, my youngest nephew and my niece and we stayed at the Polynesian. It truly was a magical trip – to get to return the magic that my parents had always given me was an awesome feeling. I was lucky enough to get to take my parents on one more trip to WDW with my youngest nephew in 2002. Three weeks after we returned my Dad passed away. In 2003 I was sent to the UK for work and I took my Mom with me and we spent two days at Disneyland Paris – it was a whirlwind trip and we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to, but we still had some great memories. Three weeks later my Mom passed away. We were planning a trip to WDW in 2004 that trip I cancelled as I wasn’t sure the Disney parks were ever going to be the same for me again. In 2005 I decided that I just couldn’t stay away from the Disney parks – I have so many good memories of these trips that I couldn’t let the joy of the parks go. This is when I planned my first solo trip to WDW – it was rough at times. There were a lot of good memories that can overtake you at times and then there are the new experiences that you don’t have your loved ones to share with you, but at the end of the trip, I realized that I had a great time and that there is still fun to be had at Disney Parks, even by yourself!

I was planning my next trip to WDW for 2007. Sometime at the end of 2007 I decided that I really wanted to go to WDW and I didn’t want to be overweight for a change. See, I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I had lost a lot of weight back when I was 21, but that only lasted a year or so before I gained it all back. I really wanted to lose weight, so January 2007 I started my next weight loss journey. I started off monitoring my food intake and slowly adding Pilates to my day. Then I started walking my two dogs (puppies at the time) – it was rough to start we barely went half a mile. I kept this up and before long we were walking a mile or two, the weight was finally starting to come off. By March, walking was becoming almost boring. I started adding short little running sections to our walks – the girls loved this and would want to keep running. You have to understand that I’ve never been a runner – I never took gym in school, I was on the track team (shot put and discus), but I never ran, not even the warm up laps. I was never athletic and I’ve never been coordinated, I was self conscious and failure was not something I took well. The fact that I was running even short little stretches was amazing to me. I bought a pedometer and before I knew it we were running a quarter of a mile, then half a mile, then a mile. I had no idea how fast I was running or how far I could really go, but the weight kept coming off and I was controlling my eating and I was feeling really good. I gained a new sense of self, a new confidence I’d never had before.

I took that trip to WDW in 2007 at my lowest weight and best shape I’d probably ever been in. I did a ton of new experiences and I discovered that “the world” is a different place when you’re not self conscious of your weight. It was a great trip and when I got home I knew I had to keep running – not because of my weight any more, but because I had discovered I loved it. I joined some friends at work to walk a couple of 5K cancer walks and I kept wondering if I would like running a 5K, if I could run a 5K…Finally, I signed up for and ran my very first 5K just a couple of weeks after I returned from that vacation and I was hooked! I didn’t run the full 5K, but I still finished in about 36 minutes and I felt so good to be a part of something like this. I met new people and was able to talk to them – I listened and learned and grew as a person because of this new experience.

I continued to do more and more 5K’s, and that’s when I came across Minnie’s Marathon Weekend and the 15K. I was scared to death to run 15K – that’s so far, I may not make it. I signed up anyway. I started training and I showed up for my first endurance event. I ran the entire race, I had a fabulous time and I wanted more. During this event they announced the first Princess Marathon and I signed up immediately – what have I done? When I got back home, I signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I started to struggle again with my weight, but I kept running…I ran that Disneyland Half Marathon and suffered pretty much the whole way, but getting that medal was worth every painful step. Yeah, it’s official – I’m nuts, a gluten for punishment and totally addicted to these races. The Princess Half Marathon was a better experience physically and I loved the entire experience again.

I found podcasts and I had been listening to AATM since the first show. I enjoyed the banter, the subjects, the guests, etc…Jonathan’s story inspired me and I knew where he was coming from as I’d been there myself. I was so proud of him when he finished that first half marathon. I’m a pretty shy person and it’s not easy for me to reach out, but I sent an email to Bryan and asked to become an AllAboutTheMouseketeer and mentioned the new blog I created. Rae left me a comment on my blog and I knew then that I wanted to become a Team Voice Member. I had never been a part of something like this before – I’ve done this on my own this whole time. I knew I could use some encouragement and hopefully, I could provide some encouragement to others. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten a lot more out of it than that!

It’s been a very interesting experience for me to be a Team Voice Member….I’ve followed everyone’s blogs and tried to get to know them through the internet. When the 2010 WDW Marathon Weekend came around I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wanted to meet my internet buddies and would just have to see how it went. I couldn’t have had a better time. This was a solo trip unlike any other I’ve taken. It was so great to hang out with people that got Disney and were there to participate in the same race I was. Jeff W. helped get me through the coldest, toughest half marathon I had ever participated in. We followed Rae and Eric as they finished their first full marathon – encouraging other runner’s out there doing the same thing. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to meet up with my teammates again!

There’s no point in denying that I’ve gained all my weight back and I struggle with it every day. I don’t like the mirror right now and I mentally beat myself up for not doing a better job on the diet, but through all this, one thing hasn’t changed – I’m still running. I still love running. I hope that never changes because it’s great to be able to travel to my favorite places on earth and be a part of a big group of people with the same loves!

Now what are you waiting for – go out and get some mileage in…You don’t have to be an uber athlete to do this, take it one step at a time!

I’ve gone full nuts and signed up for the Dopey Challenge and you can follow my progress on my blog at wdwalone.blogspot.com.


  1. Wow! That's really an amazing and inspirational Team Member story. Your story with your parents bring tears to my eyes, it's so good that you got to spend time with them before they each passed away. Congratulations on your successes now and in the future, I know you'll be just fine in January.

  2. Hmmmm...wonder who this TV-MOM (I laugh whenever I write it like that...easily amused!)? You've got to put your name in there AMANDA!!! :-) Although, I might have missed it...

    Anyhoo, great story and bolsters my own feelings about this group and Disney. Essentially wraps up the joys that we share in Disney along with the personal struggles for which we can all rely on each other for compassion/enthusiasm/mentorship/motivation all wrapped up in a thing called Team Voice.

    Don't stress about the weight, put that energy and focus into your workouts and meal planning! I think that's what it boils down to for all of us! Especially the meal planning on my part, OY! :-)

  3. Yeah, I suppose putting my name in there somewhere would have been a good thing huh?

  4. Oh my!!! I forgot to put your name in there too!!

    I love your story. So moving.These little things is what makes us who we are. =0)