A Turtle’s Recommendations To Help Keep a Runner Focused


So my lack of focus and utter laziness over the past couple of weeks has resulted in a moment of clarity….I think.  I’d like to share with you a few recommendations that may help you stay focused as you work toward your first….second…..twenty-second…..one hundred and second running goal.  Quite frankly, I’m hoping that these work because I’m planning to actually heed my own advice!

1.  Run With Friends – This is my best advice.  It’s advice I’ve heard a hundred times. And….it works! When you run with friends, a group, or a team, you are motivated to keep going just when you begin to get tired.  You are motivated to get out of bed, get dressed, and get your butt to the meeting spot for a run.  Running with the team or a group also helps with structuring your running plan – usually, the group will have goals in mind that each of you will help one another achieve.  As you can tell….there are HUGE benefits when you run as part of a group.

 

2.  Keep a Log – It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Just get into a habit of planning out your week of running by writing down your goals and plans for specific workouts on specific days.  Write down your goals: mileage, pace, etc.  Committing things to paper infers commitment to what’s documented.  Share your plan with a friend – preferably one that knows that you are taking this training seriously, and if you slack off….he/she isn’t afraid to call you to the carpet on it!  Lastly, make sure you read your log quickly right before you go to bed.  If you read what your goal is the next morning right before you hit the sack, you’ll wake up more prepared to attack that goal.

3.  Lay Out Your Running Clothes The Night Before – The act of laying out running clothes the night before a run helps as a reminder when you wake up.  Put your stuff on a chair – someplace where you cannot miss it.  Then, if you wake up not exactly fired up to run in the morning, and if reading your log the night before didn’t help you visualize your morning goal, and if you were planning to run solo (well there goes recommendations 1 and 2, right down the ol’ gabinetto), you’ll have to walk right by your running stuff.  Ah, the power of guilt….Your Reeboks will sit there, looking at you with those sad-sack laces, as if to say “Aren’t you going to slip me on and take me out on the pavement?”  Your technical t-shirt will be lounging back on the chair, saying “I was planning to get sweaty today.  Don’t just let me sit here all day smelling like Lemon Fresh Tide!  I was made to get sweaty!  (the technical t-shirts are particularly emotional in the mornings…trust me)  Your running shorts will….well…you get the idea (yeah Joe – they get the idea: your clothes have a way of taking you a guilt trip….they have personalities….and you…are…nuts).

 

4.  Reward Yourself – Promise yourself something nice at the end of a full week of training where you stuck to your goals.  Maybe it’s a fantastic dinner.  Maybe it’s a movie.  Maybe it’s just some quiet time.  Whatever makes you happy – use it as a carrot, and go chase it all week long.

Well, there you go!  Those are some quick ideas for how to stay focused while training over time to achieve a goal.  Please feel free to offer up any additional helpful concepts that you may have!

The Aftermath


This will be a quick one…I promise to be a bit more creative during my next installment…

After I finished the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon I waddled very slowly back through Epcot, around the Boardwalk to my room at the Beach Club.  I was one gigantic ache.  Nothing – and I mean nothing – about me felt good physically.  There was one thing that offset the pain, and that was the mental victory I earned.  It wasn’t pretty, but I finished 26.2 miles with hardly any sleep, very little fuel in my tank and a complete lack of preparation.  I knew that my lack of careful planning was evidence of the clear fact that I have a ton to learn.

So here are some quick takeaways for those of you that are planning to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in the future:

  • Time your sleep properly.  I know that sounds simple….but with this marathon, it’s not.  And here’s why: buses begin to run from the Disney resorts at 3am to bring runners to the starting line.  This means that alarm clocks are ringing all over on-property resorts beginning at around 2am.  Nope- that’s not a typo.  2…a….m.  That means, in order to get a decent account of sleep, you need to hit the hay by 7pm.  At the latest.  AT WALT DISNEY WORLD.  How hard it THAT???  I mean COME ON!!  Extra magic hours, Illuminations, fireworks, Fantasmic – tons of reasons to stay up late and stay on your feet.  Somehow, you have to resist the temptation to ride Space Mountain at 10pm.
  • Time your meals properly.  I know – another easy thing to do…or so it seems.  Trying to get to bed by 7pm on a Saturday evening at Walt Disney World is difficult enough.  But try eating dinner at 4-5pm the evening (or late afternoon?) before race day.  Oy.  But 4-5pm for dinner is about the right timing to follow in order to be able to get a good night’s sleep and ready to go at 3am.  Oy.  I called Dominos at 8pm…and the rest is history.

  • Have an actual game plan for race day.  Let me clarify: have an actual game plan that is more than just “make sure my Iphone is fully charged so that I can take pictures all morning”.  Tried that game plan, and it – for a lack of a better term – stunk.  Review the course map before race day and picture yourself running it.  Establish goals or targets in your head that you will run to.  Prepare yourself mentally for the 26.2 mile stress test.

Have a game plan.  Get to sleep on time.  Time your meals properly.  Three tiny recommendations to help you succeed during your attempt at the most magical 26.2 you’ll ever run.   Until next time!  Make sure you double-knot your shoe laces, get out there and get moving!

The 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon: 1 Down, 11 To Go


Well, it’s one down, only 11 more to go! Last weekend I completed my first marathon of my “12 in ’12 To Support the Dream Team Project”. And I began my year-long quest in a big way: running the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon on January 8th. Let me sum up the festivities in a single word: supercalafragalisticexpealodocious! (always wanted to see if Microsoft Word considers that Poppins-ism a true word…but alas, it does not…) That being said, let me provide a run-down of the weekend for all of you that are beginning to consider dipping your toe into a Disney race in the foreseeable future.

First off, let me say that Marathon Weekend in WDW offers something for absolutely everyone. There are kids races that go for distances of 200 meters to the Mickey Mile. Then there’s the Family Fiesta 5k on Friday morning. Then the Half Marathon is run on Saturday and the full Marathon is run on Sunday. Regardless of the distance you choose to run, you can count on really solid support on the course, unexpected surprises and an incredibly celebratory atmosphere that motivates over 50,000 athletes from start to finish.

The Family Fiesta 5k takes the runners through World Showcase and Futureworld within Epcot. The half marathon gives the runners a tour of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. And the full marathon allows the runners to experience all four parks….before lunch!

I ran the full marathon this year alongside over 30 members of the WDW Radio Running Team. The support and camaraderie that the team provides gives each runner a wonderful boost of motivation throughout the course. I have some pictures to share…but before I bust out the Polaroid’s, let me describe the marathon course – and my morning – to you.

My alarm went off at 2:30am. I was already half awake when my Iphone began playing “The Brain” from the Broadway musical Young Frankenstein. I hardly slept the night before, and I was hungry. (note to all future WDW marathoners: Dominos pizza is NOT the way to go for carbo-loading. That cheesy bread is not a runner’s friend). I knew I didn’t eat enough the night before, as my stomach grumbled as I came out of the shower. So – mistake number one was made: I did not fuel my body correctly. Mistake number two was in the books as well – I did not get the necessary rest. Mistake number three was also made clear as I prepared to leave the hotel for the 3am bus ride to the starting area: I didn’t drink enough water. The marathoner’s trifecta from hell.

I rode a 3am bus to the starting area, and proceeded to enjoy the company of my team prior to heading for the corrals at 4:30am. (note to Disney: it’s OK to actually give away some bagels at the starting area – I guarantee you that the company’s profit margin won’t be irreparably damaged).

The long wait in the dark was worth it, as fireworks were set off for each of the corrals, as they set out upon their 26.2 mile quest in 3-4 minute intervals. By the time I passed the starting line, I all of my mistakes made during preparation were long forgotten. Those haunting thoughts were replaced by the happiness that adrenaline pumps through your body.

The first 2 ½ miles are spent waddling toward Epcot. By the 5k marker, I had entered Epcot and enjoyed the feeling of running past Spaceship Earth, entering World Showcase at Mexico and departing quickly through Norway. The next time I pass the statue of Grete the Great, I will be almost finished with the race.

Upon exiting through Norway, I began the long quiet waddle North, toward the Magic Kingdom. Approximately 5 miles of subdued plodding along various WDW roadways resulted in my arrival at the TTC. 9.5 miles in, I had passed the Contemporary Hotel, and I had Space Mountain in my line of sight. Half a mile more, just past mile 10, the army of runners ran down Main Street USA and into Tomorrowland. Then through Fantasyland, through the Castle, into Frontierland and finally out of the Magic Kingdom near Splash Mountain. Miles 10 through 11.5 were incredible. However, I had begun to feel the effects of my mistakes: I had become nauseous and the feeling was distracting.

Once we exited the Magic Kingdom, we passed the Grand Floridian and the Wedding Pavilion. This marked the half way point of the marathon. Four more long miles of quiet WDW roadways until I entered the Animal Kingdom near mile 17. Animal Kingdom is another amazing part of this race. Running by Everest, I noticed that some marathoners hopped on the train ride to give it a spin before continuing on their quest for 26.2! Not me – if I sat down at this point, I’d NEVER get up!

Past Everest, Finding Nemo – The Musical, Dinoland and The Tree of Life. Then out into the parking lot, past the front gate and 19 miles were in the books. At this point in the race, I hit The Wall. I had thrown up twice, I felt dizzy and weak. It was all I could do to place one foot in front of the other. Front here on, it became a mental game.

Another four miles of WDW roadways landed us at Hollywood Studios, entering near the Backlot Tour, spinning past New York Street, past the Sorcerer’s Hat and out of the park near mile 24. 2.2 miles to go.

Once we exited the front of Hollywood Studios, we ran along the concrete path that carried us to the Boardwalk. Past the Yacht & Beach Clubs, and finally arriving back at Epcot, entering near the U.K. Pavilion. It was amazing to see my WDW Radio Running teammates screaming and yelling here, as I had absolutely nothing left in the tank. I felt horrible. But their enthusiasm pulled me through – it was the perfect elixir.

Around the World Showcase – past France (I tried to buy a glass of wine and received a look of shock from the unsuspecting cast member), heading toward America. Next thing I knew, I passed the Italians….then the Germans….then the Chinese. There was hope. Less than a mile to go. Finally passing Norway (I made a quick detour to pay my respects to Grete’s statue – the Queen of marathoning) and Mexico. A right turn into Futureworld. Almost there.

Passing MouseGear and the Fountain. Less than half a mile to go. Now passing Spaceship Earth. It actually aches when I swing my arms.

Mile 25.9 is emotional: the gospel choir. It lifted my soul. No doubt I would finish now. My legs began to stretch out and I took off. Out into the parking lot, and across the finish line. Done. Finished. In the words of Dandy Don Merredith – “Turn out the lights – the party’s over”.

I got emotional as I had the medal draped over my neck. I always do. Call me a real sap, but every time I push my body beyond where I believe my limits dwell, I feel a potent mixture of accomplishment, relief, and empowerment. I remind myself that a person’s limits are dictated only by the parameters we set for ourselves. I leave the finisher’s area sore – yet proud. Weary – yet energized.

I take a picture of the medal and send it to my daughter. She immediately calls me to make sure I’m OK. I tell her not to worry – we’ve got a bunch more of these to get through!

Before I sign off, I want to remind everyone reading this that you can do whatever you set your mind to. My grandmother always said “whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re probably right”. Set a goal for yourself. Make it manageable. Let it involve something that you can be passionate about. And then shoot for it every single day until you achieve it. Enjoy the feeling of victory – but don’t rest on your laurels. Then set a slightly bigger goal and old on tight. For this is the essence of life: striving to improve, overcoming the bumps in the road, and dipping into our courage when we need to in order to see us through to our goals.

My next marathon is February 12th in Jacksonville Beach, FL. I hope you’ll continue to follow my antics!

I am running to raise awareness and funding for the Dream Team Project, which benefits the Make a Wish Foundation. This is a charity that truly means a lot to me, and any donation – regardless of the size – goes toward aiding children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. While I slog through these marathons all year, I think of some of the kids I’ve met over the years. How much they and their families go through, and the strength they have to never quit. Those thoughts remind me that the pain I feel along the course is NOTHING compared to what they all deal with on a daily basis. When I feel the pain come on late in the race, it serves as a not-so-subtle reminder: I’ll push through some pain in order to give some kids a break from their’s.

Here’s a link to the Dream Team Project, in case you are interested in learning more or would like to donate: The Dream Team Make-A-Wish Foundation

Happy New Year!


I went for a simple run on New Year’s Eve at around 11am today…and I wanted to fill you in on the rather interesting things I got to see.  It’s the kind of run that reminded me of how lucky I am to live in New York City.  It also reminded me just how whacky people can be!

I geared up and took off into Central Park, entering at 72nd Street and Central Park West – right near the Dakota Hotel and Strawberry Fields.  Go figure: blasting through my earphones was “I Am The Walrus”.

I waddled along the west side drive, and exited at Columbus Circle….

…hung a left at the statue….

…and headed down Broadway toward Times Square.  As I waited for a light to change at 57th Street, I came across a family of tourists encircling a rather large guidebook to New York City. They appeared to be confused – unsure as to where they were currently standing in comparison to where they wanted to be.  So in a moment of actual kindness (I get approximately 5 of these moments a year), I asked the gentleman holding the guidebook if I could be of assistance.  The following was the brief yet funny conversation:

“We are looking for Times Square.”

“No problem, Sir.  Just keep walking down this avenue – Broadway – until you hit the incredible mass of humanity packed shoulder to shoulder, surrounded by tons of billboards and flashing lights.”

“Oh.  We just came from there.  Was that not Occupy Wall Street?”

My gut instinct told me to tease this man mercilessly in front of the fruit of his loins – but in a very un-Joseph like moment of clear perspective I refrained and instead replied…”No Sir.  That’s Times Square.  NOT Occupy Wall Street.”

“……OOOOOH.  Thank you.  But where do all of those people go when they need the bathroom?”

“Sir….that is the $1 million dollar question.  It’s also the reason I will NEVER….EVER….spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square.”

He stood there with a blank stare on his face for a very long moment, before responding with a loud “EEEEEEEEEEWWW!”

“Exactly.  Happy New Year!”   And with that, I resumed my morning run.  As I approached 46th Street, the northernmost checkpoint for the gigantic New Year’s Eve extravaganza, I could not get over the sheer amount of humanity standing shoulder to shoulder 13 hours prior to the Ball dropping.

After snapping a cool picture of the Square 13 hours before 2012 commenced, I headed west to the West Side Highway…where I found a wonderful little apartment designed exactly to my specifications:

Ah yes.  My tastes are unique.

Again – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

T – Minus 10 and Counting…


So I made the decision to run a marathon a month in 2012 to raise awareness and funding for the Dream Team Project, and I went public with it on Lou Mongello’s podcast a couple of weeks ago…so there’s no backing out now!

My year of insanity begins a week from Sunday, down in Walt Disney World, where I am all set to run the marathon on January 8th.  This will be my 4th Walt Disney World Marathon, and it’s an event that I believe gets better each and every year.  Yes, my day will begin at 3am – and yes, a majority of the mileage I’ll log will be along WDW’s roadways with little overall ambiance – and yes, I’ll be really tired afterward…so much so that I’ll probably doze off while I ride Tower of Terror later on in the day.  HOWEVER, Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places to spend my time.  Being able to say that I visited – on foot – all four theme parks before lunchtime is a pretty cool statement! 

Training has been lackluster lately, to say the least.  A combination of travel for work and my usual bout with utter laziness has resulted in me feeling not quite 100% for the upcoming challenge.  Bottom line: I’m nervous.  I want to kick this year-long marathon of marathons with a really solid performance…I just hope that the work I’ve done up to this point is enough to get me through.

I’m planning to put in some serious work over the weekend.  Of course, this is supposed to be the time where I tone down my workouts in preparation for the big day.  However, I am…..well…..not-very-smart.  I am looking at this weekend as me cramming for a final exam in high school.  (Crap – I was a solid D- student…so you can see just how well cramming worked out for me in the past…)

I feel the need to “cram” for this “running exam” because lately I’ve felt like The Tool has returned, and has perched himself once more on my left shoulder whispering sweet stupidity into my ear as I slog around the Central Park outer loop.  For those of you who don’t know who I am referring to when I mention “The Tool”, I’ll re-post my earlier writing later on today to provide the necessary detail.  Here’s the Crib Notes version: The Tool is the imaginary 3” tall little annoying, distracting, negative schmuck that reminds me of my weaknesses and lack of talent.  He’s the virtual embodiment of my self-doubt.  Only this time, he appears to have come out of hibernation stronger and more effective since my last encounter with the tiny turd.  It’s almost as if he visited Balco and started juicing negativity steroids.  (Oh yeah – I just made a Balco reference – never thought I’d get to do that….I feel somewhat cooler now…).  I think I’ll call this tiny putz “Tool 2.0”.

Something tells me this is going to be a loooooong 12 months……

A Back-of-the-Packer’s Attempt at “12 in ’12” to Benefit The Dream Team Project


The Dream Team Project, through its founder, Lou Mongello, and countless volunteers, is working to help make a child’s wish come true. With your help, we can send a seriously ill child and their family to Walt Disney World with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Today I would like to formally announce my 2012 goal of raising money for WDW Radio’s Dream Team Project by running one marathon per month throughout the upcoming year. My first marathon of the year will be the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 8th 2012.

Then, from February through December of 2012, I’ll run a marathon each month in order to raise money for The Dream Team. I’m calling this “A Back-of-the-Packer’s Attempt at 12 in ‘12”.

OK – right about now you might be thinking that attempting something like this is a pretty goofy thing to do. Well, Goofy is my all-time favorite Disney character, so I guess this fits for me. But now that I’ve put my goal out there and I cannot rescind it (insert large gulp! here), let me take a few moments to explain why this rather goofy idea makes so much sense.

When I became a dad in 1998, I realized how much happiness a child can bring into a person’s life. I became motivated to help causes that benefited children in my area (New York City). For a bit of time, I was a docent a few weekends per month at the Bronx Zoo, where I tried my best to teach kids simple things about the wildlife that was present. I enjoyed the experience….but I wasn’t able to stick with it. Life got in the way. Then I volunteered as a Wish Granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation in New York City. This experience opened my eyes to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses within less-than-affluent areas of the five boroughs. This experience was deeply moving…but again I was not able to stick with it. Again, life got in the way. Then along came 2005…

2005 was a very rough year for both myself and my daughter. Fortunately for us, we found two things to bond over – two things to make us smile whenever things really took a turn for the ugly: Disney and running.

My daughter and I would spend hours together flipping through the travel guides and websites, planning out our next long weekend in WDW, and then circle the date on the calendar. Knowing that our trip was only 105…..81….54….30 days away helped us deal with the rocky road we were both traveling on. We would both be so pumped up about our trip that we would hardly sleep the night before our flight. Once we got on the plane, our smiles were ear to ear…and they’d stay that way until we boarded our flight back to New York City. Then the planning would begin for our next trip the moment the flight attendant closed the plane’s hatch. Some of my favorite moments with my daughter have been in WDW.

In between trips down to WDW, I trained myself to run a marathon during the summer of 2005. Even though I made every rookie mistake in the book, I still enjoyed every moment since my daughter acted as my “coach”. She’d motivate me to get out there and run – don’t skip a workout. She was 6 year-old female version of Lombardi. The moment I crossed the finish line and draped that medal around my daughter’s neck was the moment that things began to change for the positive in both our lives.

As we both maintained our upward, positive momentum, I found Team for Kids (“TFK”). This charity running team raises money to fight childhood obesity in New York City schools by providing running programs. On November 6th 2011, 1,500 TFK runners completed the ING New York City Marathon and raised over $4 million for this fantastic cause. I’ve seen the programs they provide. Every penny is put to good use, and the values the kids learn – to work hard, stay focused, try to be healthy, and exercise regularly – stays with them for a lifetime.

So as I sat on a bench in Central Park one Saturday morning a month or so ago, I began to think of an idea that would allow me to incorporate many of the things that mean a lot to me. The result was this “12 in ‘12” concept. Personally, this year-long effort allows me to use something I love – distance running – to help children suffering from life-threatening illnesses through a charity that is wrapped around a passion for all things Disney. I’m also hoping that this effort will show people that you can do anything that you set your mind to, regardless of the difficulty. All you need to do is pick a goal, work toward it, and don’t ever give up.

As the New Year approaches, I will finalize my race schedule. As of right now, the preliminary list includes:
• January 2012: Walt Disney World Marathon (FL)
• February 2012: Surf City Marathon (CA)
• March 2012: Ocean Drive Marathon (NJ)
• April 2012: Gettysburg North-South Marathon (PA)
• May 2012: New Jersey Marathon (NJ)
• June 2012: Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon (WA)
• July 2012: San Francisco Marathon (CA)
• August 2012: Self-Transcendence Marathon (NY)
• September 2012: Disneyland Half Marathon (I’ll run 13.1 miles before the start of the race)
• October 2012: ING Hartford Marathon (CT)
• November 2012: Philadelphia Marathon (PA)
• December 2012: Las Vegas Marathon (NV)

This list may need to be altered at some point, for logistical purposes – but let’s hope not.

I plan to provide weekly updates on the “12 in ‘12” progress on the WDW Radio blog. In addition, you will be able to follow my tri-weekly updates on my own personal blog,  The Back of the Packer. Subscribe so you don’t miss a moment of the adventure! I promise that these updates will provide you with plenty of opportunities to laugh with me and at me! Since I’m not a professional runner by any stretch of the imagination (I love Diet Coke, pizza and Oreos waaaaay too much to be confused with some elite runner), comments and feedback from all of you would really help keep me motivated!!!

Any donation to The Dream Team Project, regardless of the monetary value, will make a difference in a child’s life….and I cannot think of a better way to spend a dollar.

Until next time, make sure you double-know your shoe laces, pick a goal and stay focused!

WDW Radio Running Blog Entry #7: Time to be Thankful!


I love this time of year. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays (mainly because the turkey gives me an excuse to be lazy…..kidding!) – the air is crisp, the park is a rainbow of color, and people just seem to be in a great mood within the city. It’s a day where you simply get to spend time with family and friends, and thoroughly enjoy their company. The only present given or received is time.

As Thursday quickly approaches, I begin something that I call my own personal Annual Assessment Process. I take stock of the things I wanted to accomplish this year (usually a long list) and the corresponding number of things that I actually got done (not surprisingly a much SHORTER list). Then I literally sit down, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and list out my goals for the upcoming new year. Sounds oddly thorough, I know – but that’s the way my brain works. I then use the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas to finalize my Top Ten list for the upcoming year. The week between Christmas and new Year’s is spent bracing myself for the drastic changes that I normally enforce on January 1st…and disappear from memory by Superbowl Sunday.

So what does this have to do with Disney and running? Bare with me, because it takes me a while to get to the point…and I’m as sharp as a bowling ball….

For the past several years, I’ve placed some goals on my Top Ten List that have proven to be challenging, yet very fun. They’ve involved running some Disney races, including:
• The Expedition Everest Challenge (the medal you are awarded is extremely cool!)
• The Wine & Dine Half Marathon (do the mental math with me: 13.1 miles waddled + 2,000 calories burned + ending at Epcot’s World Showcase = absolutely NO GUILT while ordering funnel cake from the American pavilion, pizza from Via Napoli and nachos from La Hacienda de San Angel…in that exact order
• The Disneyland Half Marathon (Grand Californian – I looooooove that place!)
• The Walt Disney World Marathon (I can actually say that I was in all four parks in one day before 12pm, and I scored a picture with Abbey Mallard)

They’ve also included some easier, more relaxed goals, such as:
• Figure out whether there’s a jogging path from the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom (answer: not unless you also feel like swimming)
• Enjoy a jog from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian (I HIGHLY recommend this one to all my fellow Disney Geeks that are thinking of taking up jogging…)
• Run the paths around Saratoga Springs and the Port Orleans resorts (sooooooo enjoyable)

Why not find a quiet spot, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and begin thinking about your goals for the upcoming year, and put ideas to ink? For those of you thinking about trying jogging / running (or waddling like me!), pick a goal or two. Make one of these goals a really fun, shorter distance run – like a Disney race. Put the idea to paper. Do the research, grab your sneakers, get out there and enjoy in 2012!

Part of the fun is in the preparation – the journey is just as important as arriving at the destination. So look at this time of year as an opportunity to check your compass and see which way your winds will take you. In my next blog entry, I’ll share with you my own goals for the upcoming year, which shockingly include time spent waddling through the Disney parks and resorts, and WDW Radio Running Team! Until then, make sure to double-knot your shoe laces, get out there and get moving!

My original blog post Running Disney: Time to be Thankful! can be found hereon the WDW Radio Blog. Please check it out!!

My Fifth Post for WDW Radio Running Disney: Let’s Get it Started!


My original blog post Running Disney: Let’s Get It Started can be found here…please check it out!  I hope you like it!!!

In my last couple of blog entries, I provided a very brief description of the Run Disney calendar, as well as a few notes from each of the races that Disney offers throughout the year.  In this installment, I’d like to provide you with some simple tips on how to begin the journey toward earning your first Disney medal.  I’ll gear this entry toward those who never ran an organized race before – but hopefully those of you that already have some running experience will also grab a interesting piece of information before we are done.

In my first couple of blog entries, I wrote about the wonderful, accepting atmosphere that the Run Disney series of races provides the new runner.  For those of you who are reading this and thinking to yourself “maybe I’ll give this thing a shot, and earn myself some Disney bling” (…ok, I just read those words back silently to myself – and I apologize), I’d like to offer up some of the basics to help you get started:

1) Go to a running store and pick up a decent pair of running shoes.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, who mixes in jogging and walking.  It doesn’t matter whether you are walking a half mile or running a 10k race.  Hight….weight….age….it doesn’t matter.  Good running shoes should be the el numero uno item on your running to-do list.  Go to a running store, and talk to a representative.  Let him / her help you pick just the right shoe for your training.  Their expert input will hopefully result in resisting some of the normal annoyances that plague us friends of the asphalt.

Note to all of you: I picked up my first pair of running shoes simply because they were 70% off…..without trying them on first…..because I liked the cool colors.  And yes – I agree – I need a checkup from the neck – up.

2) Look at the Run Disney calendar. Pick a race.  Circle the calendar and BINGO!  That’s your target.  Now you have something to focus on.  Something to aim for.  A Mickey-shaped carrot to chase.

The act of selecting a race and entering it into your calendar makes the training you are about to begin worth the effort.  It also gives you the motivation you need on those less-than-perfect days.  And let’s face it: planning a visit to Uncle Walt’s Backyard is flat-out fun!

3) Pick a nice location – a park, a path alongside a quiet river, or anywhere else that is safe to run on or along – and just begin putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m fortunate.  I live in New York City, so my back yard is Central Park.  When I wake up in the morning, I lace up my shoes and hit the park, and the sights, smells and sounds of the early morning flood my senses and clear my mind.  By the time I get home, I feel energized.  Awake and alert.  Ready to take on the day.  In the evening, after work and the stress of the day has my nerves slightly frayed, I lace up my shoes and hit the park.  There’s something about the connection between the body and the environment that washes away the stress while I jog along the park’s bridal path.  The great thing about running is that you can really do it basically anywhere.  Use running to explore – your neighborhood, or wherever your travels take you.  If you’re spending time in Walt Disney World, running around the resort property is a WONDERFUL way to see little touches that the Imagineers have placed all over (more on that in a later blog entry).

That’s really all there is to it!  3 simple steps.  Grab a proper pair of running shoes, select a Disney race to use as your motivation to stay focused, and just get out there and get moving.  It really is that easy.

Some beginners get self-conscious.  They feel like people will look at you walking / jogging / running and judge you.  That feeling is pretty normal.  Let’s face it: when I began, I ran like a penguin.  Waddled around, flailing my arms like a 8 year old on Dinosaur!  But I realized that the only person that made me feel this self-conscious was…….me.  In actuality, no one was staring at me.  No one teased me.  No one looked at me as if I was some oddball.  It was all in my head.  Once I got over that feeling of self-consciousness, I hit the park every chance I got.   still do.  And the exercise has improved my outlook on life, made me look and feel healthier, and helped me realize that I can achieve any goal that I put in front of myself, as long as I put it on my calendar, plan for success, stay motivated and just keep trying.

I guess that’s the goal of my blog entries.  I get a lot of joy out of my DisneyGeekdom (if that’s a word…).  I also found tranquility in running.  I found that combining these two things resulted in amazing experiences thus far, and many – MANY -more in the years to comes.  There are MANY dates circled on my calendar that combine these two aspects of my life…and when each one of these days end, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  My newest motivation is to share these with you all – fellow DisneyGeeks that “get it”.

 

Until next time, make sure to double-knot your shoe laces, get out there and get moving.  If you have any comments / questions / suggestions / thoughts, please share them with me.  Drop me a line any time at joseph_kolinsky@yahoo.com.

We’re Off And Running….


Well, my friends, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I am sorry, but life has been a bit curious as of late.  I’ve missed sharing my lunacy with you all – I’ve kept it all for myself over the past few months, and for this duration of silence, I do apologize.

That being said – things have begun to kick into high gear.

First up: 26.2 in Hartford, CT coming up on October 15th.  Fun, flat, and fast.  A good tune-up for my annual Superbowl, the ING New York City Marathon on November 6th.

That’s a good, quick segway into my 20 second pitch: I’m running for the 5th year in a row for the New York Road Runners’ Team for Kids.  Any donation, even $1, helps over 100,000 NYC children.  It’s a worthy cause – one that I’m willing to put myself through the hazard for.  Here’s the link, in case you are interested.

After NYC comes Philly on November 20th.  Flat, fast, and FUN!!!

I’ll rest from Thanksgiving through New Year’s…….AND THEN…..WELL……..

………..

…..I cannot give away the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT just yet.  But I’m planning something special to try to benefit the other charity that I strongly believe in, The Dream Team Project.  If you’ve never heard of it, please check out WDW Radio’s website.  The Dream Team Project is the host of WDW Radio’s – Lou Mongello – creation.  It’s a charity that rasises money for the Make a Wish Foundation.  Make a Wish is a charity that does amazing things on a daily basis to help children with life threatening illnesses.  How do I know?  Well…..when I had the time, I was a Make a Wish volunteer.  I was a Wish Granter.  I got to see these kids.  Their families.  Their stress and strain.  And their reaction of pure joy when Make a Wish does something incredible to make a sick child’s like just a little better.  I want to do something special for Make a Wish….and I’ll share the details soon.

We’ll talk soon, at greater legnth.  Until then, please consider helping the Team for Kids. THANKS!!!!!