Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's Official

We registered for the half marathon today. So we are officially in. Looks like the half is already at 55% capacity, and the Goofy Challenge is at 85%. It amazes me how fast these sell out.

Yesterday's run went very well. I did a non-stop two mile run again. This one went much smoother than on Saturday. Kristin put in 1.75 and hit some weights.

I am in a weight loss competition at work and it looks like I am about to win the whole thing. There were six of us in it from November 1 - January 31. A prize goes to the biggest loser each month, and a prize goes to the overall winnder. I won the month of November. I am down 10.5 lbs. overall as of today. Barring a tragic gain or someone else's huge loss in the next two days I should take the prize this year!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Voice

This blog could not be comlete without introducing you to Jonathan Dichter. Jonathan is a big part of why I wanted to run the race.

Jonathan came to a point in his life where he realized that he needed to take control of things -- to get healthy so that he could enjoy a longer, happier life with his friends and family.

Jonathan started his journey in January 2007. He weighed 370 lbs and decided that all he needed was some willpower and support from family and friends and he could make a difference in his life. Nothing was stopping him but himself. He set goals to be healthy enough to run the 2009 half marathon and to raise money for a good cause (the Dream Team) through his training efforts.

He started into a healthy diet and regular exercise and has come such a long way in the past year. The first picture below is Jonathan at 370 lbs (and apparently a bit confused). The second is Jonathan at just over 300 lbs taken about a month ago. Since then he has dropped into the 200's!

I've never met Jonathan in person (although we share The University of Akron as an alma mater - Go Zips!), but we have chatted through e-mail. But just seeing what he has done is an inspiration. He has shown that if someone puts their mind and body to the task, they can change their lifestyle into a healthy, active one. I admire Jonathan for the progress he has made and I can't wait to meet him at the race.

After seeing Jonathan's progress and chatting with him a bit, I realized that I, too, could start making healthier decisions and live a more active life. So I joined the cause with my wife in tow to work on a lifestyle change. The race seemed like a great goal. So here we are now.

Jonathan tracks his efforts on his blog voiceofmousetunes.blogspot.com.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two Workouts

Earlier in the week a friend's parents suffered a terrible loss. Their house caught fire while they were sleeping. Luckily no one was hurt, but the house suffered terribly. I was helping them today with cleaning up the mess. I don't have much to say about it other than it was humbling to see the amount of loss that they will have to overcome. I can't imagine that happening to me.

After helping with the cleanup, Kristin and I went to the rec center. Today was the first day that I was able to run two full miles without stopping for a walk break. The last half mile was particularly tough...but I set the goal when I started and I wasn't going to let up. Kristin ran for a mile and then did some workout on the weight machines.

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's a Small World After All

On our Disney World trip last September, we stopped in the Main Street Fire Station for a look around. After about 30 seconds of perusing the patches, I discovered this Jackson Township - Stark County patch. Jackson Township is just a few minute drive south of us. It was great to see some local heroes had been represented on Main Street.

We hit the rec center last night. I put in about 3 miles on the treadmill, 2.05 running. I also did some incline walking (not as extreme as last time) for about a half mile. Kristin put in one mile on the treadmill and a couple miles on a bike. Then we did some weight machines for the first time.

In addition to exercise, I have been in a "Shed the Pounds" weight loss competition with some people at work. The competition goes November through January. I started at 188 lbs. I lost six pounds in November (which was good for the monthly prize), gained half a pound in December, and so far I am down four pounds in January. I am in second place overall so far. I would need to beat the current leader by 1.5 lbs. in January in order to take the overall prize (assuming someone doesn't sneak up from behind us with a huge loss in January). The best part of this so far is that I am under 180 for the first time in about four years.

I love to eat, so this has been tough for me. But I have been making good decisions and keeping portion sizes down, especially in the past few weeks. I gained about 30 lbs. during my first 18 months working at Smucker's, and have stayed between 180 and 190 since then. Hopefully I can stick to it and get back to my pre-Smucker's weight of 155. Heck, I would even be happy with 165.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dave's Challenge

My coworker Dave started getting into endurance training last year. He did Team in Training to prepare for the Philadelphia Triathlon, and in the process raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His plans are to eventually run a marathon and complete a century ride.

Dave was willing to contribute to our fundraising, but he did so a bit differently than everyone else. He is linking his contribution amount to my minutes-per-mile pace in the half marathon. The faster I finish, the more he will contribute.

Pace (min/mile)Mph RequiredTime RequiredAmount
>= 11:003.753:30:00$0.025
10:59 - 10:005.462:23:52$0.04
9:59 - 9:006.012:10:46$0.05
8:59 - 8:006.681:57:40$0.075
7:59 - 7:007.521:44:34$0.20
6:59 - 6:008.591:31:28$0.50
5:59 - 5:0010.031:18:22$0.75
<= 4:5912.041:05:16$1.00

I have already put the 2.5 cents per mile in our fundraising totals. I really have no idea at this point what I can expect to be pacing next January. I will, however, keep this challenge in the back of my mind as I train throughout the year. I know the big dollar levels are most likely out of reach (the 5:00 pace was not achieved by the winner of this year's WDW half marathon). But it would be great if I could move him up a couple rungs.

I ran last night, but it was not the greatest affair. After I got started, I felt like I hadn't waited long enough after dinner to start running. I put in about 2.5 miles on the treadmill. 1.65 run and about a half mile of steep incline walking (10-15 degrees at 3 mph). The rest was warm-up/cool-down walking.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fundraising Update

We got several donation pledges in the last couple of days. So far our total is $51, plus 21.5 cents for each mile we run. Assuming we reach our 1,000 mile goal, this puts our projected donation total at $266. This is a good start. I am very pleased so far. We didn't set a real fundraising goal when we started, but I know I would love to get $1 per miles total pledges. We are almost a quarter of the way there. Thanks to everyone who has pledged so far.

Kristin and I both hit the rec center yesterday. She went in the morning after she got off work, I went in the afternoon. We both had the same feelings during our runs. At about the one mile mark we felt really good and thought we could do two miles. We both almost got there but had to take a walk break. After a bit of a walk, we both got back to a faster pace and hit the two mile mark.

I felt really good after my run yesterday. It was the first time I haven't had a really stiff left leg after finishing. But I did develop a decent blister on my foot. I've never had that happen before. My shoes are well broken in, but definitely not over-used. I would say they have between 50 and 75 run miles on them. I guess we'll see what happens on my next outing...which should be Monday or Tuesday.

Avenue Q

We went to see Avenue Q last night at the Palace Theater in Cleveland. It is a Broadway musical that is a sort of Sesame Street but with more adult themes, such as racism, homosexuality, and dealing with bad turns. It won the 2004 Tony award for Best New Musical.

This is absolutely the funniest show I have ever seen. The songs are very funny and often satiric and the dialogue is full of jokes. All but three of the characters are puppets, and the puppeteers are right on stage with their characters. It is interesting watching them act through their emotions while also projecting those same emotions through their puppets. You find yourself switching your gaze between the puppet and the puppeteer, but it is done so well that you really do believe the puppets as characters.

Several of the characters are loosely based on Sesame Street characters (though there is no affiliation between this show and the real Sesame Street). There are Rod and Nicky, who are modeled after Bert and Ernie, but Rod is a closeted homosexual who secretly has a crush on Nicky. Rod does come out by the end of the show and Nicky finds him a boyfriend, Ricky (who happens to look amazingly like Nicky). There is Trekkie Monster modeled after Cookie Monster. And there is the requisite cast of diverse humans...Brian, a Jew; Christmas Eve, Brian's Japanese wife; and Gary Coleman (played by a woman), who is an apartment superintedent on Avenue Q.

The main action revolves around Princeton and Kate Monster (yes, monster's are a race in the puppet world). Princeton has just graduated from college with a B.A. in English but feels his degeree is useless. He spends most of the show looking for his purpose (which he ultimately discovers is to make a Broadway show about what he's learned about life after college). Kate Monster is a kindergarten assistant who dreams of opening a school for monsters. Everything works out in the end, and we learn that everything in our lives, the good and the bad, is only for now. Bad times will get better; good times may get worse. But that is life.

We saw this in New York last March, I must say that the New York cast we saw was much better, but the performers last night were all very good. The next show we're going to is Wicked, the story of the witches of the Wizard of Oz. Wicked was expected to beat Avenue Q for Best New Musical in 2004, but lost in a bit of controversy. We've seen Wicked twice and I'm looking forward to seeing it again. Both of these shows are towards the top of my list of favorites.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back on Track

So the bug that Kristin was so kind to give me turned out to not be as bad as hers. I feel pretty good today. Not 100%, but still better than I expected.

We hit the rec center this evening. Kristin split her time between the track and the treadmill. She logged 1.4 miles. I was on the treadmill the whole time for a 1.6 mile run.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Halloween Party

We were at Disney World last September for an extended family vacation. We went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It was the first time we have been to a hard-ticket event.

It was a fun time. Special fireworks, special parade, a villains show, trick-or-treating, and lots of characters were out and about. I went as my normal, nerdy self. Kristin dressed up as Waldo (as in Where's Waldo). But since she's a girl, the question became "Where's Walda?"

We took some Where's Walda pictures throughout the park. I will post some of them in the coming days. See if you can find Walda in each picture.

Another Start

Today was Kristin's first day at the rec center. She put in about 1.3 miles on the track, running for 1 mile of it.

I decided to rest for one more day to try to get over my bug. I plan to get running again tomorrow!

I updated the map to reflect our 2.3 miles...but sadly it doesn't look any different unless you zoom in to the city level. I think the first real map excitement will come when the marker exits Ohio. Only 120 more miles to reach the border!

Disney is selling the Champion Chip with race registration. This is the electronic tag you wear to record your race time. Cost is $39. Is this a required purchase? Will Disney loan you one if you don't it? Is it a good thing to have for other races? I think it would be a cool keepsake/reminder of the event, but I have a hard time adding another 40% to the cost of the race (I'm so cheap!). I'll need to do some research.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I got the bug!

...and not in the good way.

Kristin has been sick for about a week, and I started into it yesterday. It's such a disappointment to come down with this just as I am getting excited about running. My plans to hit the treadmill tonight are off. If I course through this bug at the same pace Kristin did, then tomorrow or Wednesday will probably be a really bad day. Hopefully I get a lighter version of it than she did.

Kristin is getting better, but still has her cough. She plans to hit the treadmill tomorrow for the first day of her yearlong journey. She said she is going hoping to get 1.5 miles in so that she is ahead of me on the mileage chart.

Registration for the big race started today. I didn't get a chance to sign up, but I will within the next couple days.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It Begins...

...but a little background first.

Kristin ran track in middle school and high school -- hurdles, relays, sprints, long jump. She ran for five years before tearing a muscle in her leg. She was sidelined during that fifth year, and did not run her senior year. College began. Laziness set in.

I've never really been a runner. Sometime in the 2000-2001 timeframe, I was going to the local YMCA two or three days a week, and typically did about 3 miles on the treadmill in 25 minutes each visit. It lasted nearly a year. That ended. Laziness set in.

In the summer of 2002 or 2003 (don't remember), Kristin and I began running two or three days a week, 2-3 miles per run. It lasted a couple months. That ended. Laziness set in.

Summer of 2007, Kristin and I began running about three days a week. We got up to about three miles per run. We did this for two or three months and ran in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure in Cleveland in September. I finished in about 26 minutes, Kristin in 32 minutes. But after the race, we lost motivation. There was no goal we were working toward. The running ended. Laziness set in.

Now here we are. On this Saturday next year, we will be running in the Walt Disney World half marathon. We've got a lot of work to do to get there, but there is plenty of motivation. We have this blog, which all of our family and friends will hopefully be reading. There is Team Voice who we will be running with at the race. There is the Dream Team Project. There is the thought of a great vacation further down this road.

So, yesterday Kristin went to the rec center at The University of Akron (our alma mater) and signed us up for six months. She had used the facility for some aerobic classes while she was in school, but I had never been in the building.

I went this morning to hit the treadmill for a run. It is really nice. Much better than the fitness area in the old UA natatorium.

But the pleasantry ended when I realized how much I've lost since we quit running. I put in about 25 minutes on the treadmill, for about 2.2 miles. I ran about 1.35 miles of that at 6.5 mph. And I am definitely sore. Just a few months ago I could nearly run a full 5k in that amount of time, now it hurts to run just a mile.

I need to figure out a routine moving forward. I would like to go three days a week. Saturdays will work well, but I'm not sure what days I'll go during the week. I'll probably be playing with my schedule over the next few weeks to see what works best.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Running to Disney

Kristin and I will be running in the Walt Disney World half marathon in January 2009. Since starting college, neither of us have maintained a very active lifestyle, and we want to make a change. To motivate ourselves toward a more active lifestyle we challenged ourselves with running the half marathon.

We plan on "Running to Disney" through the course of 2008. It is approximately 1,000 miles from our home to Walt Disney World. Our training goal is to run at least a combined 1,000 miles as we get in shape and prepare for the race.

Kristin and I have also decided that we wanted to do good for others while we are doing good for ourselves. So we are linking our training efforts with a fundraising effort to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Make-A-Wish grants wishes for seriously ill children. A common wish is for a family trip to Walt Disney World. The money we raise will go to the DisneyWorldTrivia.com Dream Team Project, which sponsors Walt Disney World wishes through Make-A-Wish.

This is where you come in. We are asking for your help in two ways.

First, we need your support as we work to meet our goals this year. Positive words, prayers, or helping us to our feet when we stumble will all be greatly appreciated.

Second, we are asking for contributions to our fundraising efforts. You can sponsor our run on a per-mile basis, or make a one-time donation. Each one-cent per mile contribution would equate to $10.00 if we meet our 1,000 mile goal exactly. Although we do hope to surpass that goal; the more we run the more we can raise for a good cause. This will be a great motivator for us. All of the money we receive will go directly to the Dream Team Project. If you'd like to contribute, send me an e-mail at cwheeler5@gmail.com

We will track our efforts throughout the year on this blog. Here we will detail our training efforts, maintain a current donation total, keep a map of our progress on the road from home to the Magic Kingdom, introduce you to our supporters and fellow runners, post general updates about our life, and make random posts about all things Disney.

We hope that this year will be the start of healthy lifestyle changes for us that last beyond the race. We want to thank everyone for supporting us in reaching our goals.