Monday, May 24, 2010

It’s Disney…It’s Exercise…& It’s For a Good Cause! (or, To Run, or Not To Run – Revisited)

Well, back in March I posted about potentially subjecting myself to 13.1 miles of pain and suffering at Walt Disney World, despite my dislike for distance running (makes sense, doesn't it?). I went through the pros and cons, and I even ran a mile in late March to see if I was going to actually die right on the track, a mere 500 feet from my house.


Miraculously, I didn't die. I actually ran the mile in under the 16:00 pace (barely). Considering I hadn't run for at least 12.5 years and was around 260 lbs (only 50 or so lbs heavier than I was the last time I attempted to run), I considered that to be something of an achievement, and I thought to myself that this might be a possibility. I knew I wasn't going to set any records if I ran the Disney World half-marathon (except for perhaps most water sweated out in a race) - if I could crawl across the finish line, I would consider it a major success…a major sense of accomplishment.


I recall listening to an episode of the Running to Disney podcast (Episode 45…I wrote about it here) and hearing all of the inspiring stories of those running (yes, Gordon, I'm blaming you in-part for getting me to where I am now). A lot of them talked about "Team AllEars" in their recap of marathon weekend. Being a WDW Today listener and a frequent visitor to Deb Wills' site for Disney World news and planning assistance, I knew of Team AllEars and of its purpose. I never thought I'd consider being a part of the team, but I applauded the efforts of those members of the inaugural team who ran to raise money for Breast Cancer research.


In late March, I noticed a familiar name on Facebook that I hadn't friended up yet: Michelle Scribner-Maclean…I knew she had recently completed the WDW half and was also on WDW Today and AllEars. We started messaging each other after I noticed a posting about Team AllEars doing a live show on Mike Newell's Mouseworld Radio. I assumed that the team was already set and that they were announcing the members – I was going to follow the team to see what to expect when it comes to the training. Michelle informed me that they in fact were just getting started with this year's team (meaning: there's room for me to be on the team for this year if I wanted to sign up).





The pros and cons went through my head very rapidly over the next few days. The main cons were whittled down to:

  1. Will I have time to actually train for this thing?
  2. Will my dissertation-writing take a major hit?
  3. Will the $$ needed for another trip to WDW be too much?
  4. Will we be able to handle the logistics of that weekend with 2 kids in school?


I decided to listen to the live show and call in with a question about the time constraints.  I was about 75% convinced that things could come together so that I could take part in the half-marathon, but I still had concerns.  Before I could call in, however, I heard Deb talk about her battle against breast cancer and what she has done since. After hearing Deb, I decided that night that I wanted to be a part of this group – to help out in what little way I could to raise funds.


The following morning, my e-mail inbox had the registration confirmation for the 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon!!! I opened up the confirmation and stared at it for a minute or two, wondering if I jumped into this too quickly. Before buyer's remorse could start creeping into my mind, I finished up all the paperwork to join 2011 Team AllEars. Within a couple of days, I got the notification that I was officially a part of the team!


I can honestly say that I am beyond excited to be a part of this. But wait…there's more! Since the 6th of April, when I signed up, I've lost about 15 lbs and have been able to run 4.2 miles at one time. Well, I'm not really running…it's more like walking with short bursts of jogging interspersed between the walking segments. Still, if anybody would have told me that I'd be able to do 4 miles at one time and at a 14:19 pace (definitely under the 16:00 requirement), I would have laughed. As of this writing, I've run 37 miles, worked out around 9 hours, burned through the equivalent of 63 donuts, and, after only a few weeks, lowered both my resting heart rate as well as my blood pressure to levels that I have never seen.  The hopes are that I'll be able to continue the trend of losing weight (down to 245 now) and gaining distance.  I'm also signing up for my first 5K run in August and am contemplating trying to find a 10K race in September/October.



Keep in mind, though, that, while I am experiencing many benefits for myself in the training, taking part in this endeavor also has a fundraising aspect. While we members of the team are asked to raise $500 each for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, I hope to far surpass this, and I'll need your support to realize this goal. In an upcoming post, you will see how you can help by donating, whether it's a lump sum, an amount per mile, or whatever.



Boom Boom Pow!



The logo above is not mine – it comes from Deb's site.



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