Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hey Santa!


You've just finished delivering toys to all the children in the world. What are you going to do now?

I'm going to Disney World!!!


Its hard to believe that one week from today I will be back in "the World." There is so much to look forward to on this trip. This year my mom, who has not been to WDW in 17 years, will be traveling with me. It hard to tell which one of us is more excited. She has not been to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom was not open when she was last in Orlando. She calls almost every night informing me that the trip is getting closer.

For this trip we will be flying into Tampa and before driving up to Disney we plan on having dinner with a friend of mine from High School and his family. Our first night will be at Old Key West and then we will be moving over to my home resort at Bay Lake Tower for the rest of our stay. Can't wait to see inside the building and Main Street will be so close I bet you can smell the bakery. (and let's not forget a cool lapu lapu is only a short monorail ride away.)

Plans as they currently stand are.

Wed 1/6
Arrive in Tampa at 5:00
Dinner with my friend Bill, a former Iowan who now lives in Tampa with his family.
Drive up to Orlando and check into Old Key West.

Thurs 1/7
Animal Kingdom.
Lunch at Yak & Yeti 12:30
Visit Expo and pick up packet when park closes at 5pm.
Check in Bay Lake Tower
If Yeehaw Bob is performing we plan to arrive for his show over at Port Orleans Riverside in the River Roost lounge between 7:30-8:00 Otherwise we may hop over to another park.

Fri 1/8
Hollywood Studios.
Dinner at Mama Mel-Rose 4:55
Park closes at 7.

Sat 1/9
3:30AM Make my way sleepy eyed over to meet up with Lisa and Trace at The Contemporary and take the Monorail over to the pre race starting area at Epcot.
Enjoy running my second Disney Half Marathon.
Magic Kingdom & Dole Whip Meet 2:00
Epcot for dinner at Le Cellier 5:15

Sun 1/10
Head down to Main Street to watch Team Voice Marathoners coming in.
Hopefully be able to make our way around to other locations and continue cheering the team on.
Meet up with Team Voice in the reception area.
6:00 Polynesian Resort Lapu Lapu
6:40 Dinner Ohana
Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom till 11:00

Monday 1/11
7:55am Breakfast Kona
Park day undecided

Tue 1/12
Epcot
Lunch Coral Reef 12:35
Evening at Hollywood Studios if Fantasmic is showing.

Wed 1/13
Leave early for Tampa and our flight home.

A brief note on fitness for this run. I am not as prepared as I would like to be. However I do feel better physically than when I did DAM earlier this year. Right or wrong I feel that feeling better coupled with Disney Magic should get me through the run. I would really like to see a 2:30 finish but we'll just have to wait and see.
My training has been mostly on the elipitcal lately with very little treadmill and zero outdoor running over the past month due to ice covered sidewalks. I refuse to risk injury or to run in the street. I cringed the other day when I noticed two joggers running down a two lane highway in the early morning. Both were dressed in black cold weather running gear with nothing reflective anywhere.

In the days ahead I will keep hitting the gym trying to lose any extra pounds I can before race day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just in time for your Holiday gift giving!

How does one spend his time during a snow bound two week vacation complete with school closings? Why by creating and posting videos on "youtube" and then removing them because of threatening copyright infringement emails. Grrrrrrrr.

But fear not my friends, creativity is not dead yet. Being locked away here at home has allowed me to finish a project which I began a few months ago after getting permission from Doc Terminus himself. So over the past few days I have been channeling my inner Len Testa in order to post...

(Click Image to View Online Guide)

The brief review I received from Glenn simply read "It makes sense out of Chaos"

What I have done is to create an index of sorts with links to all of the content you'll find over on Glenn's blog. Plus I've added a few descriptions and photos of my own. I hope you enjoy your tour.

Training, what's that? All I have managed recently is a one hour mall walk. I have to get gym time in this week and in the days ahead. I feel better than I did going into DAM earlier this year and that's a good thing.

On another note my email provider really created a mess last week when they changed servers. At present emails are not arriving or they have been delayed for up to 3-4 days. I have an alternate email account set up just in case this does not get resolved. If you get something from wasowskijeff its me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magical Windows

The way we entertain ourselves has changed since I was kid. Television is just one such example.


I remember waking up to test patterns on each of the four channels we could get at the time. Around five or six am the test pattern would fade and a video of our national anthem would be played. Then Jack Lalanne would come on the air to offer words of motivation and then he would lead his viewers into some morning calisthenics.



Following Jack, programming here in Des Monies would be filled with original local shows until the national game shows came on. At noon each of the stations provided a 15-30 min news update. WHO only did a fifteen minute newscast followed by 15 minute airing of the local Floppy and Friends show. This was followed by an afternoon movie, and then Floppy and Duane would return around 3:00 for a live 30 minute show. (I was on the show twice.)




KCCI and WOI played Soap Operas in the afternoon but each of them had also original programming. KCCI had The Mary Brubaker Show and WOI had “The Magic Window”

The Magic Window (aka The House of The Magic Window) aired Monday through Friday and was hosted by Betty Lou Varnum. The show was produced in Ames Iowa and ran from 1951-1994. During the show Betty Lou would make crafts and interact with puppets Gregory Lion, Dusty the Unicorn, and Catrina Crocodile. Between steps in the craft making Betty Lou would have the puppets turn on the Magic Window. The magic window was a screen set up behind the puppets. Betty would say something “let’s check in with Felix the Cat or let’s see what’s happening on Tales of the Riverbank. The camera would turn to the screen, a puppet would say “tada!” and then an episode of Felix the Cat or Tales Of the Riverbank would come on.
(I’m not 100% certain but I seem to recall some vintage Astro Boy cartons as well.)
After the short we came back to see how Betty’s project was coming along. The one show that I recall is a Christmas episode in which Betty cut out paper snowflakes to decorate her tree.

I miss the days of original programming. The things we consider entertaining these days fall far short (or rather they have gone to far) in my opinion. And sadly today we have 150 channels of programming with nothing on, many morning hours are filled with nothing but infomercials or crooked TV evangelists who are trying to sell you a miracle handkerchief.

Thankfully in a world so full of chaos there is this growing thing we all love called Podcasting. The shows are original and they allow us as consumers to find the type of content we enjoy. I first discovered this world in March of 2007. I had no idea that this phenomenon would change parts of my life. Over the past few years I have meet many of the Disney podcasters and their fans. I have made friendships that stretch across the country. It’s simply amazing and everyone I have met so far has been wonderful to get to know.

The first podcast I ever downloaded was Paul Barrie’s “Window to the Magic.” I was immediately drawn in by Paul’s in park audio. I could finally take an Imagication (a term which was later to be defined by WTTM.) I enjoyed and still enjoy putting on my headphones and stepping out onto Mainstreet USA and mentally taking a trip to the Disney Parks. Through Paul’s show I can sit on my front steps, close my eyes and picture a horse drawn trolley passing by. It’s the next best thing to actually being in the parks.


“Window to the Magic” often steps out of the parks to cover other Disney related happenings. Recently on episode #213, Paul visited the Walt Disney Family Museum and took in a screening of one of my favorite Disney films “The Three Caballeros” The screening was introduced by author JB Kaufman and a discussion of the film and JB’s latest book “South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948”

Paul mixes the discussion with audio he recorded during the film. The sound clips provide a theater feel that I have yet to achieve at home.

You never know what new Disney insight you might learn from the world of Disney podcasting. In episode #213 I first heard about the Hidden Mickey and Pluto in “The Three Caballeros.” My attention was never focused on the lower corning of the screen to catch that detail but I found it.


“Window to the Magic” has remained in my top list of shows which I listen to on a regular basis. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul, Tairy and Patrick at Mousefest 2007.

My current podcast play list includes, All About the Mouse, Window to the Magic, WDW Radio, Those Darn Cats, The Disney Dudes, Trapped on Vacation, and NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. Occasionally I listen to WDW Today.

Who are you listening to and what do you miss about your younger days?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

10


Due to work this weekend I set out early Saturday morning for a planned ten mile jog. This time out I managed to keep a comfortable pace without over doing it. My thoughts were focused on the Disney half which is only two months away. As each mile past I pictured where I would be at on the Disney course. At two miles the Monorail line would be overhead. Approaching three would be the parking toll booths for Magic Kingdom. (remember to watch your step). Approaching four the Contemporary should be almost in view.

Back in my world the Contemporary would be near were I cross the local 2 lane highway which runs through town. As often happens I had to pause for a car here before proceeding. Shortly before mile five my mind drifted away from Disney and I began to notice and then dwell on a weak feeling I had in my left knee. This is one of those pesky things that plague me off and on. Today however, something clicked in my mind as I thought back to a conversation Justin and I had in Des Moines a few weeks ago. I had been telling him that I noticed running a faster pace felt more comfortable to me and that it bothered me not to have the endurance to maintain a quicker pace over long distances.

At 4.5 miles I broke into a faster pace, analyzing the differences in how my strides felt. As I slowed back down I had a light bulb moment. My left leg was doing most of the work. It was subtle but I could tell that my left was literally pushing me along and I was simply planting my right foot. It hit me that this is contributing to the Plantar Fasciitis.

I completed my ten miles as a wog/jog/run while experimenting with different paces. The conclusion is that if I can keep my pace below 12 my stride is more even. Near the end of my jog I managed a half mile run that according to my Garmin was a steady pace of 9. That really tired me out but it felt good. I finished the ten miles with an average of 12.55.


In the weeks ahead I am going to work on finding a balance of endurance and pace that will carry me through in January. I certainly need to step up my frequency of training. One area will be extended time on the elliptical. The machines at the YMCA are great and they have a stride that stretches my calf muscles really well. Here is what I’m thinking.

Mon 2 hours of elliptical or split with 1 hour biking
Tues 1 hour of elliptical or running
Wed 2 hours of elliptical or split with 1 hour biking
Thurs 1 hour of elliptical or running
Fri rest.
Sat long run,
Sun rest.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

The Wasowski Family Pumpkin Carvers proudly present:


Last year it was politicians, this year it's three of the fab five. Next year princesses? My daughter did Mickey and I did Donald and Goofy.


Hope all is going well with those of you that stop by here. I will post about training next time. I will say that I have been having a rotten time with leaving comments on blogs lately. I have attempted to leave comments on many posts these past couple of weeks but many are not loading. I was signed in today and left a message over on Byron's blog and it posted. I then tried to leave messages for Jonathan and Justin. The site allowed me to write my thoughts and then when I hit publish everything I wrote was gone. I have gone back and looked at older posts and discovered this has happened before. I am wondering if it might have something to do with using Firefox. Is anyone else having trouble leaving comments?

Well that's enough for now. It's nearing 1:00am and after staying up late and running my daughters friends home from a party she had here I'm tired.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Snow has fallen on the Tundra.



Woke up to an inch of white fluffy goodness Saturday morning. By noon it had all melted away. Can't remember the last time it snowed this early. Temps were back in the upper 40's today.

Exercise since last post.

10/4 4 mile walk with Zoe. She has proven to be the best of our three dogs to walk with. She always stays on my left side and after about the first 1/2 mile she falls right in step with me.

10/7 5.59 miles. .59 warm up followed by a steady 5 mile jog.

10/8 4 mile walk with Sophie.

10/11 8.59 miles. .59 warm up followed by a steady 8 mile jog. During the first three miles I felt sluggish but managed to push through. Following this run I am feeling very tired but am going to make a point of icing my feet down and stretching out. I had Sharky's to help fuel myself tonight but I was not carrying water. I have a belt that holds a bottle but it is bothersome when jogging. In the past I have considered buying one of those camel packs. Has anyone had much experience with those? I like the idea of the sipping straw that comes with these but am concerned that carrying a "backpack" of water might not be very comfortable.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something for the team red head

Could not resist posting this video for our favorite red head Matt. Enjoy buddy.

We wants the red head!!!


Wish I could harness some of this kids focus and energy.


Well I'm still hanging in there. Managed a 7.39 mile jog this morning with an averaged pace of 12:12. Take away the two times my jog was interrupted due to traffic at street crossings and I think I would have been below that 12 mark.

My foot continues to feel good and free from planter fasciitis pain. Still taking ibuprofen and icing after runs as a precaution. I however have two mildly bothersome things going on. First I still have one toe that goes numb during runs. Today it felt fine longer though, and did not act up until mile six.(yeah) The other issue is that my left knee is not feeling as strong as my right. The knee will improve as the miles grow and it would also be a fine idea to made it to the gym and put in a little strength training. The real struggle with these two concerns is mental and I do recognize that. When one of these things acts up they tend to become a distraction. Again, thankfully I recognize this and I do my best to push through.

My consistency is still not where it should be, since my last post I have only put in runs of 3 miles(cut short due to running too soon after dinner), 6 miles, 6 miles, and today's run. My work shift this week has me on the 8-5 shift and then into the weekend. So look me up this coming weekend and Skype me. My goals this week are at least two five mile jogs followed by an eight mile outing next Saturday.

Today's run did provide a nice change, our city has added a new trail that connects through to a newer housing development to the south. This will make for a nice improvement to my old long route. Could be spooky at night though because it follows along two sides of the local cemetery.

Hope all is well with you guys.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Steady 6



Things came together tonight for a nice steady 6 mile jog (12.5 pace) without walking breaks. Everything this evening just felt right. Temps here are in the low 50's which makes for great jogging weather. My new shoes are working out well. I can certainly tell the difference in the toe box with these 4E shoes. The only draw back is that I am still working on getting them tied just right. Otherwise I get some heel slippage. I have run the laces through the heel lock eyelets, but I have to watch that I do not over tighten the laces.

Earlier in the week I had every intention of trying to do early morning runs. I did good with going to bed by 10pm but instead of getting out of bed I just shut off the alarm and kept sleeping. I'm not going to complain about it because I think my body really needed the sleep. Having the windows open at night also helps with the deep sleep.

I am please with tonight's mileage and hopefully I can steadily build from here. I would really like to achieve 10 miles by the end of October. But right now its time for an ice pack and Ibuprofen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

That Which Inspires


From the mid 60's through the 70's Evel Knievel was considered the greatest stuntman alive. He is perhaps just as famous for his successful motorcycle jumps as he is his failed attempts. Over the course of his career he broke nearly every bone in his body. Amazingly he always returned to pursue his passion to jump further and set new records. Against all odds he kept moving forward time after time. Follow his 1967 jump at Caesars Palace he spent a month in a coma. As a child I always looked forward to ABC's Wide World of Sports, hoping that Evel might be on doing a jump. I hated to see him get hurt, but he was so cool to watch. Here is a clip from that infamous 1967 jump.



Training update:

Monday 6.1 mile wog. Averaged Pace 13.10 (Alternating .5 mile walks and 1 mile jogs)

Wednesday 6.5 mile wog. Averaged Pace 12.58 (.5 mile walk, 3 mile jog, .5 mile walk, 2 mile jog, .5 mile walk)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Haunted By the Ghost of Fitness Past



Have you heard the saying History repeats? Well it's true and on August 27th I was able to relive June of 2005 all over again. Back in 05 after prompting from my wife I had a physical and discovered I had a number of health risks. Which frankly did not surprise me. I was overweight(244lbs)with high cholesterol and even at risk of developing diabetes. Now I'm the kind of guy that hates the idea of taking medicine. My doctor made a deal with me back then. He gave me three months to lose some weight through exercise and a better diet. By October I had literally walked myself fit and lost 30lb. A few months later I was down to 200lbs.

Fitness wise this past year has been a bust on many levels. My problems started last October following the Des Moines half marathon. At 210lbs my weight was slightly up but otherwise I was in good shape and had been logging consistent miles going into the event. Earlier in the year I had completed the Dam to Dam 20K in 2:04 and I finish my first half marathon with a 2:22 finish. Things were looking good going into marathon weekend at WDW.

But something unexpected happened the day after the Des Moines half. I awoke with severe pain in my left foot. I had developed Plantar Fasciitis and suddenly I was worried about Disney. Here I was only a few short months away and I could barely stand up. I looked up some treatment ideas on the internet and decided to look into some inserts for my shoes. I ended up at Red Wing and bought some supports that are firm and really hug my foot well. I made certain that I put the supports in whatever shoes I was wearing and within 2 months I was feeling good enough to begin jogging.

The exercise I missed really showed itself at Disney. I recall purposely not weighing myself before the trip. I simply did not want that on my mind. (Post trip I weighed in at 235lbs. Wow that was a shocker.) The run was loads of fun but I had begun running out of steam around mile 8. From that point on it was a wog to a 2:49 finish. I had lost 30 minutes due to injury and limited training. With that realization in mind I accepted my time and did not allow it to bother me.

What followed Disney is inexcusable. I have a tendency to view these races as achievements that once completed its OK to kick back and take a break. In truth, I was missing the big picture without realizing it. I think it was February before I decided I needed a goal and registered for Dam 09. My training was not what it should have been and because I was familiar with the course I had a false sense of how this run should go. On race day I did something really dumb. I tried out a new insert for my shoes. I had only done short distances in them and felt they should do fine, I was wrong. I won't recap all the DAM details. You can go back to my report from earlier in the year to read that. All I will say here is that at mile 9 problems began in my calves and I finished just under 3 hours. I had given up nearly a full hour from my best ever long distance run only one year earlier. After the run I was sore but other wise I felt fine. It was when I returned home and stepped out of my car that I knew I was in trouble. This time it was my right foot and I was in pain. Once again it has taken two months to recover and even now I still have some discomfort after short runs. No pain, just inflammation.

Once more I was not exercising and I began gaining weigh again. I decided that after 4 years I needed to have another physical and I wanted to discuss my feet. The repeated history I mentioned earlier in the post comes in at this point. My weight was 245. One pound heavier that I was four years earlier. And after the blood work came back I have all the earlier health risks again. I have to say that in my mind I expected this, and that expectation almost kept me from making the appointment in the first place. So once more my doctor is giving me three months to turn myself around. There are some differences this time though. He knows that in the past I was able to make the changes I needed to and he wants to do all he can to make sure I get back on my feet regularly.

He ordered a series of xrays of my feet and it turns out that I have bone spurs on both heels. This was caused by the Plantar Fasciitis. I have no discomfort in my left foot and would not have that guessed anything was still wrong with it. He said I do not have to avoid using my foot. He told me to exercise to the point at which I can tolerate any discomfort but not to go beyond that. I am also taking Ibuprofen and icing my foot after exercising. Also I discussed the numbness I sometimes get in my outer toes. He suggested that after having looked at my feet I definitely need a bigger toe box on my shoe and should consider moving up to a 4E.

So I went out two days ago and purchased some new balance shoes. I have completed a 3 mile wog on the YMCA treadmill. This was the first time I used the new machines there and the running decks have far to much bounce to them. I am going out this morning and hitting the pavement with them.

Now that one history has repeated itself I need to repeat the second half of that history and get in shape. Looks like the sun is rising. Time to lace up...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Say it isn't so..

Rae forwarded this to me. Man I'm bummed out I was looking forward to doing these runs sometime in the future.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

July Trip Report #4

Perhaps I should wrap up this report huh? Life is just so busy. Oh well here we go.

Wednesday we headed out the door to Animal Kingdom. On this day the weather turned much warmer so after grabbing fast passes for Everest we decided to head straight to Kali River Rapids. This was another ride which I had not been on for 7 years. The line move fairly quickly and I was trying to take in all the details of the surrounding atmosphere. Once again I noticed that vandals had been carving names. This time in the trees along the queue line. Seeing this stuff just makes me ill. What the heck is with people? The ride itself was a lot of fun. Going up the first hill you can see the geyser spraying and your thinking "oh it will quit before we get to it." Wrong! Just as we approached the geyser sprayer high into the air drenching half the raft. From that point on we all got wetter and wetter. We hit every possible thing that could soak us. At first it felt refreshing but walking around in spongy socks is not fun. We talked about going right back to the room even though it was early. The only trouble was we had an early ADR at Rainforest Cafe. So we browsed around for a bit, took in a showing of Nemo, grabbed more fast passes for Everest, and made our way up front. As we approach the front of the park we noticed that Devine was out. This was the first time we had seen her in the park. She was really cool to watch.


Lunch was OK and I mean exactly that OK. Due to our wet clothes we froze in the A/C.
Afterward we went straight back to the room to change and dry our shoes. Arriving back at the park we found it quite busy. At some point a mass of Brazilian tourists groups had descended in upon the park. It was nuts. We made use of our fast passes and then waited an eternity to ride Kilamanjaro Safari. After the safari we felt hungry so we stopped in to Pizzafari. I did not expected this to be very good. To my surprise it was far better than the pizza over at Pinocchio Haus in the Magic Kingdom. Next stop was Festival of the Lion King. This is a great show and one we always try to make time for. During the last song the park suffered a power outage that affected all of Camp Minnie Mickey.


Next we took in Its Tough to be a Bug and Dinosaur. While waiting for Dinosaur we noticed the clouds were getting very dark. Upon exiting the ride Disney cast members began sending guests back into gift shops and into queue line due to the approaching storm. We were stranded for nearly an hour in Chester and Hester's Gift Shop. It became apparent that even though the park had extra magic hours that no rides would be running so we began hopping from gift shop to gift shop on the way out. Interestingly we found that although Disney was had been herding guests into buildings they were still running the parking lot trams. The storm had cut the day short but managed to get some extra sleep that night.

Thursday was our open day. We had not made plans on were to go. Our Son decided that he wanted to try out for the American Idol Experience so we decided to go back to the studios. This suited me just fine because Fantasmic was showing that night. We arrived and discovered that all of Brazil had decided upon the studios as well. This mornings experience over at midway mania was very different. The line for fast passes was a block long when we got back there. The return time changed by 40 minutes by the time we made it up to the machines. After grabbing the passes we made our way over to Idol where my son tried out and was selected as one out of 21 people that would take the stage that day. Being that he is only 17 I got to see the entire process. It began with a brief interview and him singing a song of his choice acapella. He sang "Purpose" from Avenue Q. They like his singing and he advanced to the coke a cola lounge where he was able to pick to songs. After making choices it was time for a second audition. His choices were "Your Song" and "You Really Got Me"
The producer also liked what he heard and invited my son to sing "You Really Got Me" at the 4 o'clock show.


We had to return to the stage door at 2:50. At this time we entered the Green Room and my son received some vocal and performance coaching and took his turn in hair and make up. Two other contestants were there and when everyone was ready they each got to rehearse one time on stage. During the show my wife and daughter had VIP seating and I watched backstage on a monitor. This was neat because it was like watching the show on TV. He did not move on to the finals at 7:00 but the experience was something he enjoyed and we are proud of how he did.

We made our way back to RNR Coaster to use some fast passes from earlier in the day. Getting those fast passes earlier in the day had been a trip. As we made it up the the machine I noticed that one machine had been roped off and two Brazilian men were busy feeding tickets into the machine. They had at least two stacked of tickets as thick as a deck of cards. As a family we even opted to try the single rider line. This was still a long line and when we finally got to the door I looked down and those same two guys were feeding more tickets into the machines. I think Disney could handle these groups much better. One idea would be that they give everyone on these tours the equivalent of a Dream Fast Past to go with the admission for which ever park they are in that day. There just has to be a better way.

Our meals for the day included the ABC commissary which was decent and pizza sounded good again so later on we stopped into Pizza Planet. This time the pizza was just like over at Pinocchio's and we were disappointed. Note to Disney, if you can consistently serve the same burger from park to park, where does the Pizza break down occur?

Late in the afternoon I received a text from Glenn asking where we were. Glenn met up with us and hung out to do TOT and Fantasmic. It was great to see and hang out with Glenn. Like myself Glenn grew up watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" on TV as a kid. Its nice to wax nostalgia over the old live action shows and share some common memories. I can't thank Glenn enough for take the time out of his day to come see us. Thanks Pal.

That wraps up the Disney trip itself. The next day we drove up to Sanford to catch our return flight on Allegiant Air. Our gate was changed 7 times and our flight was delayed by two hours. The delay was caused by a mechanical problem with another aircraft. Other passengers bound for North Carolina were given our plane and we had to wait while our flight crew was reassigned to another aircraft. Evidently Sanford is considered a hub for Allegiant so they had more planes. Once on board everything went fine.

Training:
I have to report that I really dragged my feet over the past few days but tonight I made it outside and put in 5 miles. 4 miles of that was jogging. My best pace hit about a 12.5 when I was warmed up. Consistency is going to be the key to success down the road and I simply must work on that. My foot has been pain free and is doing really good. As a precaution I did take some Ibuprofen post run and iced my foot.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

July Trip Report #3

Our plan for this trip was to hit the parks that had extra magic evening hours. So our stop on Monday was the Hollywood Studios. We arrived about 9:30 and headed straight back to Toy Story Midway Mania to grab some fast passes. We were all surprised to find no wait at either the fast pass machines or in the queue line. So we went right on in.


Next we took in the Great Movie Ride. Something was different for on the visit and maybe this is something that is just switched from time to time, but every time I rode this in the past the Cast Member was always replaced by a gangster. This time the change came in the Western portion of the ride when a cowboy took over our tour. Other than that it was the same old ride. Even though this attraction is a bit cheesy I do enjoy the feeling of nostalgia I get during the actual movie portions, both in the lobby area and at the end of the ride.

Lunch was planned for the Sci Fi drive in café. We took in Star Tours while waiting for our ADR and I also ran over to grab fast passes from Rock n Roller Coaster. Lunch here was surprisingly the most expensive meal we would have in the parks during this trip. Part of that was because my wife and kids each ordered a shake. I have to say though that $70 for burgers and shakes is far too expensive and that includes the tables in wonderland discount. The meal was also not all that great. Doubt we would go back.

We used our fast passes after lunch for both attractions and then checked the times schedule for Beauty and the Beast. While we waited for the show my wife and I enjoyed my favorite ride The Tower of Terror. By the time the stage show was over my kids began complaining about tired feet so we left the park.

After a short rest back in the room I suggested we stop by Downtown Disney before going back to the studios. Time managed to get away from us and we never made it back to the studios that night.


On Tuesday we visited Epcot.


Our first attraction was Soarin and again I was surprised by the lack of crowds here. I was surprised by something else here. Something that I was surprised Disney had not addressed. Guests of the local home carnival variety had carved their names all over the metal arm rails in the queue line. It’s disappointing that people will openly vandalize property like this. The damage was extensive and like I said I can not believe Disney has not repaired this and kept a closer watch.

The queue line was not all bad though. Did you know that guests can play video games n line? About halfway up the queue there are four panels which change images from time to time. At one point a message came on the screens telling us to get ready to play bounce the ball. The images on the panels changed and the screen images now had these white outlines on them. The outlines must have been generated by body heat because if you raised your arm a silhouette of you arm appeared on screen. Then beach balls and snow balls began dropping and we could knock them from one end to the other. It was pretty cool.


A second game involving flying began as we went around the corner. After a few other attractions, including “Journey into Imagination” (which sorely needs a renovation) we headed back to World Showcase for lunch at Chefs de France.


I had the Salmon and it was wonderful. Our meals here had only the slightest of seasonings allowing the food to itself speak for itself. I do recommend dining here. And yes we saw Remy!

Over at the American Adventure we enjoyed the Voices of Liberty. There was a familiar singer here that we met back in 2002, Kristin from Marengo, Iowa. It was nice to see she is still enjoying singing and being part of the Disney Magic for the past seven years.

After a mid day break we returned for another ride on Soarin’ and Illuminations.

Training:

Last Thursday I made it out for another 4.5 miles. This time I managed to include a steady 3 miles of jogging. My average pace for the whole trip out was 13.5.
My foot has held up ok. I did notice some inflamation on Friday morning. No real pain just some swelling. I am planning on getting back out there tonight. Weather permitting. Storms have been active all afternoon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

July Trip Report #2

After watching the sunrise over Cocoa beach we when back to the hotel, had breakfast and set off for Saratoga Springs. We had a nice drive over and found the resort with no problems. We checked in, grabbed our resort parking pass and found that our room was ready. This was our first DVC stay. We had a two bedroom unit with a full kitchen and laundry. Of course the room had a number of hidden Mickey’s. Some were obvious



but others were more subtle.



The rest of the morning was a little busy. We drove over to the TTC and purchased our park passes. I bought an annual pass because I will be coming back in January. Now that I had the AP we set off on the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom to pick up a “Tables in Wonderland” card at city hall. By now it was nearly time for lunch over at Whispering Canyon. We dashed back to Frontierland and grabbed some Splash Mountain fast passes before taking the boat over to the Wilderness lodge.


Whispering Canyon is always fun and has become the “must do” restaurant for us. Our waiter, Rafael, was a riot and the food was tasty as always. After lunch we finally had a chance to slow down and enjoy the day. Upon returning to the park we took in Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and the Hall of Presidents.


I had not seen the Hall of Presidents since 2002 and I must say I was very pleased with the refurbishment. The video portions of the attraction looked great and the presentation kept a more focused look at the Presidency. The only thing I might have changed is during the introduction of the Presidents they would very briefly shine a spotlight on each of them. Because the Presidents were not in historical order it was sometimes hard to follow. Brighter lighting might have helped. When visiting this attraction be sure to look closely at the portrait on the right side of the theater entrance for a hidden Mickey on Washington's sword.

Later in the afternoon we rode Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters. Exiting the ride we found it was raining pretty hard so we dashed over to the Carousel of Progress, an attraction that I have not seen since ’76. The rain had not let up and we found Tomorrowland flooded with 4 inches of water. When the rain did not let up we took off our shoes and walked toward main street. The water remained over our ankles all the way to the Terrace Noodle Station. Clearly there is a drainage problem here. After some shopping we left the park in search of a grocery store in order to stock up the kitchen. Mike Fess had tipped me off to Publix grocery and we drove straight to it with any problem.

Back at the room we cooked a green bean casserole for dinner before returning to the Magic Kingdom for extra magic hours. We arrived just in time to view the Spectro Magic Parade from the raised train station platform. We took in Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and Buzz Lightyear before watching wishes. Next we worked our way counter clockwise back through the park. Grand Prix Raceway, Tea Cups, Philharmagic, Snow White, Pirates. After Pirates I was looking forward to an evening ride on the Jungle Cruise but we found they had closed in down for the night. In fact by now it was near closing. On the way out I stopped at Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip float.

Training Update:

I have begun hitting the pavement again. I went wogging with my daughter on Aug 1st and 3rd for 4.5 miles each time. I am pleased that I can put two solid miles of running together. My current jogging pace is between 12 and 13. My foot remains a bit sore, so after the wogs I am icing it down and taking ibuprophen. The plan is to wog every other day this week and over the next couple weeks begin increasing the frequency and distance of these workouts. I feels good to be out there again. As long as I keep steady and do not over do it I think I will be fine. I also have some added motivation, I have scheduled a physical for late this month.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to the Grind

Trip report ahead but first some brief housekeeping.

Today life returns to normalcy. Two weeks ago my family enjoyed a Florida vacation which was followed by me spending a week of job training in Cedar Rapids. I return to my late week shift of 1-10pm with the exception of Wednesday which I will start early due to an AM meeting. The plan is to get over to the YMCA this morning and get on the elliptical. I have had a couple good days with my foot but I am seriously thinking about scheduling a visit with my doctor. I have so far to go between today and January. Most likely once I am running again I will just stick to training and skip the Des Moines half in October. More on all this as things develop. Lets get to the post trip report.

We traveled to Florida on the 10th for a full week in the fun and sun. For this trip we flew on Allegiant Air Allegiant does not fly into MCO. It flies into Orlando/Sanford or St Peter/Clearwater on alternating days. We booked this airline because it was so much cheaper than the big carriers. How much cheaper? Well carriers such as Northwest and Delta wanted $400 pp round trip for just the flight. We booked Allegiant for $247 pp(tax included) round trip and that included a full size rental car and the baggage fees.


Our flight down left on time and went well. We landed shortly after 10pm and walked over to Alamo to pick up our car. We still had about an hours drive down to Cocoa Beach. Upon check in we were given a free room upgrade. We think this was because the other building were filled with softball teams that were in town for a tournament. The upgrade provided us a full kitchen and our building was the one that the free breakfast was served at.


Our building set back from the beach but it was only a short walk to the beach. (Much shorter than it appears in this picture.) A shuttle launched was scheduled for Saturday. We had hoped to watch it from the beach. Unfortunately it did not actually lift off until Wednesday.

We spent most of Saturday morning swimming in the ocean. Mid day we drove uptown and stopped at a Subway for lunch. Next we drove up north past Port Canaveral to see the ships moored there. Behind the Carnival ship was one of the Disney ships. I was surprised at the size of these boats. We began discussing the fact that we need to do a cruise sometime.


On the way back we came across Manatee Park. Although we could not get any good photos, we did see at least three manatees. They came within forty feet of the shore. All you could see was their heads lifting up now and then.


During spring break you often hear about Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. Evidently the party scene must gather in Cocoa Beach too. There were adult clubs all over the place. They were well maintained buildings but the shear number of them did not exactly say family friendly community. This sign, located next door to a souvenir shop is thanking Lisa for five years of service. Thanks Lisa.


On Sunday morning my daughter and I woke up to watch the sun rise. The beach had a number of these little fellas popping up here and there.


The sunrise was beautiful. There were about a dozen other folks down on the beach watching it. Ah the life of a tourist.


After breakfast we hit the road for Orlando and Saratoga Springs.

To be cont...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip Report Coming Soon.

Made it back from Florida last Friday and have been to busy to post. This evening I leave for a week of training in Cedar Rapids. Hopefully the hotel has free internet and I can get something up soon. I was happy to see a good number during todays weigh in. Vacation along with DVC made it very easy to watch food intake. I have updated my weight. Mike's numbers are a few weeks old and once I hear from him I will update.

Enjoy your week everyone. I'll try getting something up shortly.

Friday, July 10, 2009

They know something is up.


"Can't I go too?"


Dogs are funny animals. I find it interesting that when ever we prepare for a trip they sense that something is up. This is especially true when I dig out the suit cases and travel bags. Sophie was really working those puppy dog eyes on us last night. We used to board our dogs but for the past few trips we have been able to have a house sitter stay here with them. Much less stress on them. Back in 2002 when we visited Florida on a 9 day trip, Jake our oldest dog (now 8) became so worked up at the boarders that he developed stomach problems and had to be medicated because of the stress. Jake is very much a lap dog and is spoiled with attention. Sophie is very much the same way. Our other dog Zoe could care less either way. She is a loving dog but would rather be doing her own thing. Usually that means staying outside no matter what the weather is doing. It could be pouring rain and she will go roll around the grass happy as a clam.

But hey enough about our dogs. We leave for Florida in just a few hours. The excitement has been building all week. We will be flying Allegiant air for the very first time. They do not fly into MCO. We had a choice of either Tampa or Sanford. We are scheduled to land at Sanford around 10:10 EST this evening. Then we are driving down to Cocoa beach for two nights. By not flying into MCO we are saving over $600 and that includes the car rental.

Nasa has a shuttle launch scheduled for 7:39pm Saturday. Due to the launch the space center is closed that day unless you have a launch ticket. We figure we can just go out onto the beach and see it.

Sunday we travel to WDW. Looking at the online calenders I noticed that the parks have added an extra hour since I created my Disney trip planning spreadsheet. I have everything on the sheet. Park times with extra magic hours and confirmation numbers for ADRS, hotels, flights and the rental car.

Our touring plan for this trip is for me to get an AP and the Tables in Wonderland card. Getting the AP because I am returning within six months. Everyone else is gettng a standard four day ticket. The plan is to hit the parks that have the evening extra magic hours. We also have a day left on unexpired hoppper tickets from 2002. This will let us to pick one day to park jump. We may use that to see Fantasmic once we see a schedule for that show. It used to be on the HS calander but it has been removed.

So the plan without knowing Fantasmic's schedule is MK,HS,EP,AK,Park Hop.

I have already turned off my work cell which shall remain in Iowa. I am not taking a PC so I am not planning on blogging while gone. I may send a text pic or two out to some of you whose phone numbers I have. OK I need to wrap this up and finish packing.

And if anyone is wondering... My foot is doing much much better. The pain in my arch is nearly gone. What remains is some stiffness. If this keeps improving as it has over the past few days I hope to be back doing short jogs following this trip. I am sooooo tempted to jog the trails around the resort. I'll just play that by ear.

Stay focused out there everyone and Keep Moving Forward.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Iowa State Fair to let public vote on Michael Jackson butter sculpture

The following article appeared in the Des Moines Register on July 8, 2009

The Michael Jackson dairy debate continues: The Iowa State Fair today announced that it will let the public vote on whether the recently deceased King of Pop will be part of its 2009 array of butter sculptures, alongside the iconic butter cow.
"The Iowa State Fair appreciates the input of hundreds of people who have voiced their opinions, both positive and negative, on the issue of including Michael Jackson as a companion element in the 2009 moonwalk butter sculpture," the fair said in a statement.

"The ongoing discussion has created a lot of, well, 'churn,' " Gary Slater, the fair's manager and chief executive, added in his own statement.

OMG. Butter humor?

Lori Chappell, the fair's marketing director, said, "A lot of people are pretty passionate about the fair." While this year likely marks the height of fair butter sculpture controversy, she said, there was a minor flap over the role of religion in 1999 when former sculptor Duffy Lyon chose to carve "The Last Supper" for her 40th year at work in the refrigerated display case in the Agricultural Building.

The 2009 butter sculpture will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission and Neil Armstrong's walk on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. The sculpture will include an astronaut, an American flag, the surface of the moon and, depending on the public vote, Michael Jackson in recognition of his "moonwalk" dance step.

OMG again. Using the 'moonwalk' to create a tie in?

The online poll will be conducted at http://www.iowastatefair.org/ from July 9 through 3 p.m. July 16. Final results will be released July 17.

Each user will be allowed to vote only once and to that end will submit an e-mail address and ZIP code. The poll, however, will not be restricted to Iowa ZIP codes.

View local newscast video of this story "here". Besides searching for the poll at the state fair site KCCI has the poll up on their home page.

Please take the time to vote this thing down. The Michael Jackson love fest really needs to end. Yeah, sure he made music that people enjoyed. (Myself included) But enough already, so many people are capatalizing off of his death it makes me ill. I can only imagine that one year from now there could be another memorial concert to honor him again.

Much more respect has been given to other recent celebrity deaths. May they rest in peace.

KoKo Taylor 80
Ed McMahon 86
Farrah Fawcett 62
Billy Mays 50
Gayle Storm 87
David Carradine 72
Huey Long 105
Karl Malden 97 (Karl died? When was this reported?)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Satire: Remembering Hoagie



For those of you following the events of the past few weeks over in Passamaquoddy, today a memorial concert was held for Hoagie Cagg. I arrived early and claimed my "Bass Pass" Personally I thought the show would never end. I can't help but wonder how Hoagie would really feel about all of those who are trying to gain exposure and make a few bucks at his expense. It seems everyone is crawling out of the woodwork to get their own moment in the sun. Where were all these people during the past 20 years when the tabloids were calling him a freak? Who defended him? Did anyone?

To catch up on the latest ocean front news be sure to visit Doc Terminus and his blog. Click "here" to be magically transported to Passamaquoddy. The Hoagie plates are going fast so order yours today.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A little Disney humor. Place your order.

"Would you like some Mr. Po, ah I mean some potato salad to go with that?"

From Chris: Was Woody serving any "Hamm", was he?

"Sorry Chris, but it seems we ran out of the BBQ "Hamm". Could I interest you in a double Bullseye burger and and a side of Stinky Pete Beans?"

"Andy how long on that corn!?"

Last Friday we attended the Des Moines Art Festival. The event is held downtown and features local artists and live entertainment. Lots of creativity all around us. At the far end of Locust avenue I snapped a picture of Woody's Smoke Shack. I could not resist having a little photo shop fun with it.

We skipped all the quick service vendors and dined at "Centro" pronounced chen-tro. The restaurant is upscale with prices that run from 9.99 up to 49.99 a plate. We both enjoyed some Bruschetta. My wife had the Tuscan Grilled Chicken sandwich and I had the Shrimp and Scallops. Everything was excellence including the service. If you visit Des Moines on buisness or with a spouse I recommend dining here. Pizza is also on the menu.

As June concludes I fell pretty good about the month. Although my weight has not changed much (yet) I am pleased to view my June log and see that this month I have been more consistent. Over the past two days I have visited the YMCA. I think I am going to drop SNAP, at least until cold weather returns. I have found that I can work the Y into my goofy work schedule. I managed some swimming this past week and was surprised at how much it took out of me. Lots of room for improvement there.

The program I ran on the elliptical machine today had me alternating forward and backward strides. Although it felt awkward this really stretched out my calves and I felt great afterward.

My foot is getting better. Rolling the frozen pepsi bottle under it, mixed with some stretching is beginning to pay off. The goal I want to work toward (once I begin jogging again) is 8 mile outings by October. I may skip the Des Moines half later this year because I am concerned about further injury. I really want to make it to Disney healthy and hopefully take 30 minutes off last years time. I'm realistic though. I know I have plenty of ground to cover before then.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pre Disney Warm Up (updated)


Yes its that time of year again, its my company's annual Adventureland trip. Back to the land of Iowa's own hidden Mickey. (you can spot it in the photo above) This year things will be a little different because my wife has to work. So what do you do when your alone in the park with your kids who each brought a friend and want to go do their own thing? You exercise of course.

With less that two weeks until our WDW I am going to use today to test out my feet. I visited "map my run" today and plotted two courses that are just over a mile. My goal (if my feet can handle it) is to complete some non stop loops. How many will I complete? We'll find out.




Of course a ride on the Tornado is a must today.



And something for those who are a little more laid back.


Post park update: I managed to get in five dedicated miles in at the park earlier today. Two miles back to back in the morning and then three individual loops during the day. These miles were done without stopping for rides and shows. I'm sure I put in couple more miles during the day but I am only counting the walking loops. My right foot is a little sore this evening but not to bad. I think I can safely begin some walking miles during the week. I have great success in treating my foot by rolling a pepsi bottle filled with frozen water under my arch.

Will be working the late shift this week so I am planning on a couple more YMCA visits this week. For those of you that have me on Skype feel free to give me a shout this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Canoe



I hate to admit it, but I let an entire week go by without exercise. Taking last Wednesday off was on purpose, but then I just sorta let life get in the way again. Ugh!

Last Friday was a stressful 15 hours at work. Made even more so because of an indecisive supervisor. A member on my team offered the solution we needed earlier in the day but it took my super the extra seven hours to finally come full circle and agree. I'm sure the the fine folks over in (undisclosed city) Illinois really liked not having any TV during prime time on a Friday night. I took my frustrations out on a thin crust supreme pizza. The whole pizza. I know, I know, wrong move.

So the result of stress and lack of exercise equated to a 4.4lb gain on Monday.

OK that's enough of that. On to other more pleasant things.


Last night after work I asked my wife if she wanted to run up to the local YMCA. She is a member and I have a one week pass. (still not sure I want to give up the 24hr availability I have at SNAP) She said sure and then for some reason I asked if she would rather go canoeing.

Recently my Father gave our family an Old Town Canoe. This would be our first time using it. So we backed out the van, lowered the canoe from its suspension in the garage and began loading. Its not very heavy but it is a little bit of an awkward thing to handle. Soon we had it up on the luggage rack and strapped down. Our destination "Big Creek Lake."

I bet its been over 35 years since I was on the water at Big Creek. When I was a kid we fished there nearly every weekend. We mostly caught Blue Gill and Bass. I always enjoyed when Dad carefully took the boat back into the inlets. They were cool because there were a lot of big trees growing straight up out of the water. You had to be cautious of submerged stumps and we often lost hooks due to snags. But it was great fun.

Last night we put in at the Williams Drive ramp and after a humorous start we were off. Neither of us had paddled a canoe in years but we soon got the hang of it. The lake was very calm and quiet. At one point I told my wife how nice it was to do something peaceful. We counted about seven other boats and three kayaks while we were there. We paddled down to the spillway that feeds Saylorville Lake and back. We came very near to a deer feeding on leaves along the bank in the spillway channel. As we floated by she never took her eyes off us. In all, our round trip was four miles in a little under two hours.



Oh and I nearly forgot, at one point my wife began singing "Just Around the River Bend." Disney is clearly on our minds. We leave in just two weeks!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quick Check In

Just a brief check in. Walked a couple miles yesterday and biked 25 in the afternoon. Feel pretty good this morning although my right arch feels tight. Going to give my legs a break today.

Hope your having a good week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Caption This

"Ride Like the wind, Wasowski!"

For my sisters in laws birthday celebration yesterday, we went on a photo scavenger hunt. I was the lucky team member who got to "sit on a childs attraction." I just smiled and thought hello Team Voice as the Picture was taken. There is also a photo of me in which I am suppose to be standing like a zebra. Not sharing that one. haha.

On the food front: I am going back to work today following a 4 day weekend. I made some good and bad choices over these days. Certainly room for improvement, some small tweaks here and there could have made a bigger impact on today's weigh in. I'm not grumbling, just stating a fact.

On the exercise front: This area continues to go well. Staying consistent here is what is paying off for me right now. Without in I would not have lost weight this past week. Saturday my daughter purchased a new bike she has been saving for. Last night I asked her to go for a ride with me. When we got near the house we were at 11 miles and she said she was not tired and wanted to bike some more. I thought "cool" so we made another 5 mile loop and finished with 16.17 miles.

Weight loss: Even though I could have made some better food choices I managed to lose 2 pounds. I was pleased to see that on the scale. Two weeks in and Mike and I seem to be staying pretty close in our efforts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More fun with the Simpsons. Updated 6/12

These pictures in no way go together but I was having so much fun with the Simpsonizer tonight that I could not resist trying this out on the Progressive Insurance Girl and Walt Disney himself. I think they turned out pretty good.
You can Simpsonize your own photos here. Simpsonize Me.





I am surprised that no one discovered my hidden Disney podcast reference in the last post. Mike noticed the Presto poster behind the window but did not connect its meaning. Presto is a magician and by placing him behind the window you get "Window to the Magic" Get it?

If you click the picture to enlarge it you can see the detail better.

Update: Made it out this afternoon. Took a trail that I have not been on in roughly 20 years. The North trail toward Saylorville Dam & Big Creek Lake is full of rolling hills. So far everything I have been doing has been flat. I forgot how far out this trail went, but I was determined to make it all the way out to the marina. Nine miles out it began to sprinkle, by mile ten it was a steady drizzle. I finally reached the marina just past sixteen miles. The uphills going back were longer and tougher. I changed gears between 3-7 all the way down to 1-1 more than once. Lots of blind turns mixed with the wet trail made for an interesting ride. The rain never let up and when I finally made it back I was just shy of 33 miles so I lapped the parking lot until I reached that. Hopefully I've got some Oxy clean to clean the white shirt I wore.

My foot is still improving and I plan to go out walking this weekend. Think I'm going to hold off just a little longer before reintroducing the impact of jogging again.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thinking Like an Imagineer


It seems like I am always tinkering around with the various audio and photo things I come up with. Once more I have made a room addition to All About the Corn/Intro Studio. This should not be too hard. Can you name the reference? Remember think like an imagineer.

Biked another 10.2 miles yesterday with plans to go biking after work today with Taarik, he is part of the Digital Video team I am on at work. So far I am pleased to have had a week of consistency. What is it they say? Three weeks makes a habit? Well here's to the next two weeks.

Cheers!

Update: Completed 25.4 miles with Taarik tonight. Woo Hoo!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Midwest Intro Guy Weightloss Update.

Well for some reason Monday is my weigh in day. Mostly because that's when I weighed in last week. Not sure if weighing in right after a weekend is such a hot idea. Regardless I am down 6.4 pounds. A nice start and although I did get three days of biking in last week I think it is mostly due to simply sticking to a few choices like only having two diet sodas last week instead of two a day. Better choices means results.

So OK Mike, its on brother. Hey besides the Aerosmith hidden Mickey is there anything else we need in the studio?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Improvements


"Dude, I got us a new rug. It really ties the room together!"


Got in another Bike ride tonight after work. My Daughter joined me for this one. We completed 10.8 miles before she was ready stop. She did really good especially for only having the one speed and having to deal with a few hills. I have a co-worker who wants to get some biking in next week also. My foot is still improving. A short jog down the hallway at work today told me to hold back a little longer though. If my foot continues to improve I will begin adding some walking back in next week. Hoping I will be jogging again soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Want One



OK maybe I would look a little silly riding one of these down the road, but it would sure be fun.

Went out and biked another 14.42 miles this morning. I explored some different trails from the other day. There seems to be no shortage of bike trails near by. The only trick is finding the ones that are not all chopped up with intersecting roadways.

My right heel is improving. Will most likely stick to the biking through the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend be sure to wish Justin and his family a nice Disney Vacation. I believe he told me they leave for Orlando this Sunday.

And let's also remember to wish Rae all the best on her Dualathon this weekend.Go Rae Go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Aftermath

Dam has come and gone and now it’s time to look ahead and come up with a plan that will carry me through WDW 2010 in the way I really want to run that race.

For too long now I have not been very active and that ends today. I knew going into this past weekends run that it might prove more challenging that I gave it credit. One thing it did was drive home in a powerful way how much I have given up in the past seven months.

A year ago when I ran Dam 2008 I was down to 200lbs. This year I weighed in at 248lbs. That’s an extra 372lbs of force in every heal strike. I have to tell you I feel every bit of it in my right foot. After the run on Saturday I was feeling good. My feet felt tired, but I knew that I had somehow avoided blisters. I felt perfectly fine up until I returned home and went to step out of my car. I was surprised to find I could hardly bear weight on my right foot. My left foot which gave me so much trouble last October was perfectly fine.

We were supposed to attend a graduation party that afternoon but I had to skip it. Yes I was stuck at home with a frozen bag of corn on my foot. After a nap it only felt worse. The pain was coming from right in front of the heel. I could feel some swelling and it felt like I was walking on a golf ball.

Each day it has gotten better but I am not ready to run on it yet. Besides healing my foot there are some other health concerns that only getting active and losing weigh will improve. A month ago I went to the blood center and donated double reds. I was surprised by high blood pressure and also caught off guard by the rise in my resting heart rate. When I was jogging 25+ miles a week my resting rate was in the mid 40’s. On this day it was in the upper 70’s.

So I have some goals to reach in the months ahead.

1. Lose the 48 lbs.
2. Exercise regularly to reduce my blood pressure and improve my resting heart rate.
3. Rebuild and reclaim my endurance.
4. Connect those wogging dots and get my average jogging pace back into the range of a 10:00 to 10:30 minute mile.
5. Achieve a new PR for a single mile run. My current best was 7:16 set back in 2006. My goal is a 7:03 mile. (The exact time it takes to listen to Junior Brown’s Surf Medley. It taunts me every time it comes on my Ipod. Damn surf music!)
6. Run a 5k in under 35 minutes
7. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes
8. Match or beat my personal best 5k of 24:36 (Yes I had a tail wind but it still counts)
9. Jog the entire WDW 2010 half without walking.
10. Return to DAM in 2010 and finish 1:54 and not 2:54
11. Eat right through better choices and planning.
12. Use the scale.
13. Use the scale.
14. No excuses
15. Did I mention use the scale?
16. Sleep. (hey it’s important, and besides I am bad about getting enough)
17. Don’t give up.

How am I going to achieve this? Well, I can only do this if I am consistent and I do have some new motivation. On Monday my wife’s family began a Biggest Loser competition. Its individuals not couples. Everyone is putting $20 dollars in the pot and the final weigh in is in December.

I also need to make a decision about the Gym I attend. Currently we have a family membership at SNAP Fitness which is only a few blocks from home and is open 24/7.
My wife’s work just announced that employees can join the YMCA for $50 a year and families can join for $20 per month. This would save us some money but I am concerned about the hours. The YMCA has limited hours. Ours is open 5am -11am and 3:30pm to 8:00pm. To me this could be a bust. I like to exercise in the evening. However the Y membership allows access to other YMCAs. Some have swimming pools and more interesting to me is the fact the three locations have indoor running tracks. I would really like an indoor track in the winter over the dag blasted dreadmill.

I did make a decision a couple of weeks ago to add biking into my workouts. I went to Walmart and picked up an inexpensive bike rack for my car. Today I finally hit the trails and put in just over 15 miles. My foot felt perfectly comfortable with the pedaling so I may stick with this in the short term.



I know this is a long post but as I told Mike recently my blog has been full of fluff lately. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Let’s all have a great week!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This Years Dam Chapter.

Well The 30th annual Dam To Dam 20K has come and gone. I am happy to say that I did meet my goal this year, which was simply to finish. With that said, I would never advise anyone to attempt such a distance without proper training. I paid the price for it yesterday afternoon and again today. I'll address that in another post but in keeping with the theme I began yesterday with "Unwritten" here is what yesterday says about my DAM run.

3:30 Awoke, ate breakfast, let it settle and then took a nice wake up shower before dressing and leaving for downtown Des Moines.

4:30 Heading downtown I found myself in a convoy of area school buses heading the same way to help transport runners to the DAM.

5:00 Parked my car and headed to the convention center. Ran into two friends here, Marilyn who walked the full Des Moines marathon last year. She was DAM volunteer. Also ran into an old pal whom I have not seen for a few years. John told me this would be his fourth DAM to Dam and that last year he had run a full marathon in Chicago in under four hours. Like Justin, John told me he likes to always be registered for an upcoming event to keep his motivation up.

5:20 Called Justin and left as message saying I was going to hop on a bus and hoped to meet up with him at some point.

6:00 Due to flooding last year that wiped out the road to the Dam's south side the buses dropped participants off at the Lakeview Boat Ramp. This meant a nice little uphill hike to the starting area. The view up the lake was nice and there were a few boats out already. Once up top I paced myself through drinking a few more cups of water and I even ate a bag of Sharky's.


6:45 Line up for the start. A few thoughts and well wishes for a good run where said to the runners, our national anthem was sung, and prayer was said.

7:00 The race begins and I am standing in the middle of the road. I was expecting that the run would start out like years past,a quick walk for the first mile across the DAM. Well I was wrong and I quickly found myself jogging at a 10:00 pace, last year this would not have been a problem, but with this years lack of training I found myself seeking a way out of the pack as I tried to reach the shoulder in order to slow my pace down. I found many runners passing on the shoulder and I could not get over without risking a catastrophe so I had to tough it out. Finally near the bend of the first mile I was able to get out of the pack. After catching my breath I quickly hopped back into the race.

Eventually I realized that to finish I would have to pace myself and alternate walking with jogging. By mile three I was in a good rhythm many others around me where taking the same approach. During this time I could not help but compare how different this run was going to be from my past two Dams. I was already vowing that I would not let this happen again. Deciding to stay positive I turned my thoughts toward all the support Team Voice has given me over the past couple years. Once more I thought about Byron and his 8 miles. I knew that mile 8 of Dam would place me into residential areas and that people would be out cheering the runners on.

At mile 7 the water stations where out of cups. I found this alarming as I was afraid of what that meant on the course ahead. Fortunately all the remaining stations had cups.

At mile 9 I was 2:04 into the run. This was my finish time for last year. Lack of training began to really sink in as I thought about how much I have sacrificed by losing the focus I had only a year ago. Not long after mile 9 my calves began to cramp up on me. I knew that if I pushed to hard I would be out of the race so I walked quite a ways before jogging again. This bothered me because this was a downhill portion of the course and I could have made up some time. The cramping came back shortly after every jogging attempt I made for the rest of the course.

Mile 11 brought a nice surprise.


I already knew about this from my drive the day before. It seems that the trail here had collapsed. The solution was a detour and this rather crude solution.


Thankfully they improved this by race day, but it was still nothing more than grass carpet duct taped and staked to the ground. I'm sure the elite runners where not too happy with this. At least they had a volunteer on site to warn runners to be cautious.

One mile out I took off my headphones to hear a string quartet that was playing. They were handing out champaign. I took a glass but found it to be a very odd thing to be drinking so I discarded it.

Suddenly I see runners coming toward me. I realize that they have started the 5K run while the 20K runners are still coming in. The 5K had a turn around just past our 11.4 mile mark. At first the runners coming my way stayed over in the opposite lane but as I got closer to the botanical center they where spreading across the entire road. Holy Cats this was dangerous and it affected the 5k runners who where already returning. Many of them jumped over the sidewalk to maintain pace.

As I rounded the corner toward the finish I could hear the drum corp at the YMCA. This always pumps me up. Once more I tried to break into a run and cramped up again.
My chip time was 2:59:30 nearly a full hour slower than last year. I had hoped to finish at 2:30 but at this point I was glad to simply be finished. I had met the main goal I set out to accomplish.

There were no medals at the finish. I was later told that they ran out and would be mailing them out to those who finished after a certain time. I checked my phone shortly after finishing and noticed Justin had called. After grabbing water and a Gatorade I called him and we met up. Justin and his wife had great finishes Justin came in at 1:56:50 and his wife Krystal 2:15:33. They are a very nice couple and it was wonderful to be able to spend some time with them. I wish I had known that fellow Iowans where not only fans of All About the Mouse but were also down at last years Disney half. It's nice to know I'm not the only one from the "Snowy Tundra." I look forward to seeing them both again next January and possibly again later this year in other Iowa events.


Be sure to stop by Just Keep Goofin' for Justin's report.

Coming soon. The race aftermath and much needed goals.