Ten months…it was ten months ago that my craziest journey began. After hearing about all the experiences about the 2010 Disney World half-marathon, mostly from the Running to Disney, WDW Today, and Mousetimes podcasts, the idea of actually contemplating doing my own half-marathon crept into my mind. I won't rehash what I've already written; this entry takes me from my very first run on March 25th to today. I vividly recall thinking to myself as I was walking around the track that doing 13 miles at one time was going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Still, I remember the elation when I crossed the finish-line and noticed that I made that mile in under 16:00, which is the required pace to complete the half. April 6th was the day I took the big step and registered for the half, not having completed another run – my next run wasn't until a week after I registered, and it was a 2-miler. I walked 80% of it and still maintained a 15:39 pace.
With each successive week, I'd make a new discovery in the sport of running – things like: understanding what pronation was and that having the right shoes were a very importing thing to have; figuring out stride/gait/foot-plant/etc; and understanding that not every run will be the best one yet. The 2.5 mile threshold was crossed in late April, and my pace was its best yet (14:07). May 10th marked the first time I hit 3 miles, and the thought of doing that 4 times over in a mere 8 months was simply too much to ask. Just a few days later, I accidentally crossed the 4-mile mark. I skipped 5 miles and went directly to six in late June. Mid-July was meant for 7 miles, and early August for 8. The ninth month found me at nine miles – I liked it so much that I cleared 10 miles at the end of September. October 21st was what I consider the major milestone – 11 miles in just under 2:30. It wasn't so much the distance as it was the time. This was the first time I felt confident that I would actually be able to make the complete run in January and not be swept off the course. November 4th got me to 12 miles, and, finally, 13 miles was reached on November 23rd. It took over 7 months, but I'm just about there. Not only is the distance there, the time is, too. Using a run/walk ratio (thanks to Jeff Galloway for his training plans!), this 5'8", 250 lb sprinter completed 13 miles in just over 3 hours at a 14:04 pace – well below the 16:00 pace.
As I write this, we are a mere 4 weeks away from Marathon Weekend. I fear that I have peaked already and will regress before the run. I already feel it to a certain extent – I lost over 20 lbs from the time that I started; however, I've put back on about 10. With my schedule and the weather, I'm not able to get out as much, and I fear that I'll lose the endurance I've built up to. I'm going to try to get at least one more 13-mile run in before the race.
Am I thrilled with this? Undoubtedly. Never in my life would I ever have guessed I'd be doing what I'm doing now. As I look at my training log, I have run 275.51 miles, burned off over 24 lbs (around 455 donuts). Over 68 hours have been devoted to running, which, when you think about it, really isn't a lot over the ten-month period. I can definitely tell that it has helped me physically and emotionally; Before I started running, I would feel my pulse race to over 120 on occasion – even when sitting down. That doesn't happen now – my resting heart-rate has dropped to a more acceptable level, and I no longer get tired walking up flights of stairs. My blood pressure has also happily moved downward. Though my weight has moved back up a bit, I'm still down 10 lbs, and I can tell by the way the clothes are fitting that there's a definite difference. Mentally, I seem to be better able to focus on things, and (though some may argue), I feel I don't "explode/connipt" as fast I as used to (a definite win-win situation). In fact, if I don't run for a few days, I get antsy to get out there.
But there's something else that I have gained in the training – another circle of colleagues and friends. One of the main reasons I'm doing this is because of Team AllEars.
Who is Team AllEars?
Who are the members of Team AllEars? Below is a list of the people officially on the team (links to websites/blogs are included for those that I know):
|Dominic Abram||Tacey Atkinson|
|Holly Aulen||Debra Belloli|
|Eric Bouchet||Jessica Brach|
|Barrie Brewer||Trey Bush|
|Steve Cantafio||Jamie Curci|
|Jessica Cutler||Helen Dunn|
|Melanie Camphouse||Michelle Cunningham|
|Evelyn DeLuccia||Dave Dunkowski|
|John Eiler||Suzanne Farnan|
|Dan Fulk||Brad Garfinkel|
|Cailin Gidlewski||Josh Gidlewski|
|Laura Gilbreath||Byron Hall|
|Stan Harris||Gordon Harvey|
|Erika Heller||Jeffrey Heller|
|MaryJean Kancel||Jeanette Krause|
|Scott Lebeau||Kerry Lenny|
|Tommy Lewis||Heather Little|
|Julie Loiselle||Sharla Manglass|
|Erwin Mascardo||Julia Mascardo|
|Chris Mushrush (ME!)||Stephanie Mathias|
|Amanda McKittrick Gonzales||Shawn Moffett|
|Helen Norland||Julie Olson|
|Kristen Ostrega||Mike Paxton|
|Heather Przystas||Dan Rajnik|
|Andy Reiser||April Reynolds|
|Jamison Reynolds||Sara Rhodes|
|Julie Rogers||Tracy Sabotin|
|David Schaefer||Marc Schreiber|
|Rhonda Speer||Tim Tosten|
|Molly Troost||Tom Troost|
|Ashley Turner||Robert Wilhelm|
|Mike Scopa||Michelle Scribner-Maclean|
The Reason We're a Team:
We are 66-strong...of all ages, locations, income levels, occupations, and levels of fitness. And we have been working on preparing for our task; for some, our 3rd, 4th, even 5th race...and for many, our very first one. Some are running 5k. Some are preparing for 13.1. Others are gearing up for 26.2...and then there are the Goofy ones who are running the 13.1 on Saturday and the 26.2 on Sunday (the really Dopey ones are adding a 5K on Friday on top of that). This group has shared triumphs and tribulations. Many have fought injury in their training - some, unfortunately, have had to end their training because of it. We have asked each other about training, about fundraising, about what to expect and what to avoid. We have celebrated births...and we have consoled those losing loved ones.
In a few weeks, I'll be fortunate enough to meet nearly every one of these people for the first time. I have a sense, though, that we'll already know each other, and, when we meet up, it will seem like we're more like friends that simply haven't seen each other in a long time. We're all Disney freaks - that goes without saying. There's another bond that we share, though...we're in this to raise money - money that goes to more than just trying to find a cure. Much of this money goes towards awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; and support services...all in addition to scientific research.
If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so..even if it's a single dollar (imagine how much could be raised if all the online Disney freaks donated just $1). We broke the $25,000 level a couple of weeks ago, but we want to see that number keep on going up!!! If you want to donate online, go to the Avon Walk donation page and fill it out. All of us on Team AllEars has agreed to raise a minimum of $500 - to have your money count towards our goals, please add the following in the "Personalize your gift" line: (your name), Team AllEars (name of runner). Example for those who want to have your donation go towards my goal...you'd enter: John Smith, Team AllEars Chris Mushrush. You can make it anonymous - just leave out your name and put in "Team AllEars (runner's name)". If you do a donation online, please make sure the runner you're donating in the name of knows about what you've done.
If you would rather donate without doing it online (and want it to count for my goal), you can send me a check (payable to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer) to:
P.O. Box 55
Downs, IL 61736
Originally, I was shooting for a goal of $1,000, but I have since decided that, being new to fundraising, $500 should be the goal. I'm not quite there yet as I write this, but we're getting closer.
The excitement factor is starting to build. This won't be a typical Disney World trip for us - we fly down on a Thursday, going to bed early on Friday, running EARLY in the morning on Saturday, and will be back on Sunday. I hope to be able to provide pictures and updates of all that is going on in the short time we'll be down there. In the next couple of weeks, I'll post information on how you can follow me during the race (to see if I make it!). You'll be able to receive texts as I pass certain mile markers. Let's do this thing!!!