Friday, November 19, 2010

Thought of the day 11/19/10

Don't be a weeping Panda...

...put some sunshine in your life and go for a run!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trip Report: Wine & Dine

Before I begin let me say up front that this is a long post. I’m posting all at once because I have had a poor track record with consistent posting this year. So grab a bottle of water and a sandwich because if you’re really interested you’ll be here for awhile.

Thurs 9/30/10

I flew down to Orlando last Thursday afternoon, destination Walt Disney World for the inaugural Wine and Dine half marathon. The flight down took me through Memphis International where I discovered that Elvis is alive, well, and singing karaoke at the Sun City Café. My plane was already at the gate and with a fifty minute layover I tried to find a bite to eat. The place was packed and as I stood in the first queue line of the trip the minutes began ticking by and I had to leave to line without food in order to make my flight. (*note to self, next time get a Fast Pass for Neely’s BBQ)

I arrived on time (10:05pm) at MCO and headed downstairs to catch Magical Express for Saratoga Springs. I did not have to wait for a bus to arrive and after more passengers had boarded we took off. The ride to the resort was made enjoyable by the excitement of a family who were all very excited to be nearing the “World.” One of the kids even got fired up when he recognized one of the HESS service stations near Downtown Disney. Guess it was his “We’re here” moment. My moment has always been riding the monorail at the airport and hearing Jack Wagner say “please stand clear of the doors.”

Checked into Saratoga around 11:10 and asked if anything was still open for dinner on property. I was handed a list of pizza locations that delivered and told that a few restaurants were still open at Downtown Disney West Side. After dropping my baggage off in the room I lucked out and walked right onto a bus heading that way. I decided to try Ragland Road. The entertainment inside was really good and I managed to get an order in before the kitchen closed. Due to the late hour the full menu was not available so I had to order from the pub menu. I had a Fada Burger which is your basic burger but it has a slice of ham and some type of beans on it. I ordered an Absolute Bastard Ale to accompany my sandwich and found it extremely bitter. (yes the bartender warned me but I wanted to try something new) I ordered a Warsteiner to cleanse the hops from my taste buds. The meal was good but I would like to return and order off the full menu sometime. Back at the room and in Bed by 2am.

Fri 10/1/10

Woke up for a 6:00am jog and found the trails around Saratoga to be well lit. As I made my way past the Congress Park area of the resort I noticed that it connected to Downtown Disney and decided to go through there. This proved to be a somewhat poor idea as the place was crawling with maintenance workers replacing plants and spraying down buildings. It was so congested that I felt a bit unsafe and headed out before reaching Paradise Island. Returning to the resort I jogged around the main lake area and finished up with three miles. After showering I had breakfast at Artist Point and then I headed over to Magic Kingdom for rope drop. I picked up my passes and Table in Wonderland card at the Will Call window and made my way over in front of the train station. This was my first trip down during this time of year and I enjoyed seeing the Halloween decorations. Prior to opening I noticed Jonathan and Amber over at the Will Call window. Keeping them in site I made my way over to say hello after the Mayor of Main Street and Mickey had welcomed everyone. I spoke with Amber while Jon was still at the window. This was the first time I saw their daughter Elizabeth and what a cutie she is. (Smiles for miles) After a brief visit they were headed over to 1900 Park Fair for breakfast.

Rae, Eric and Natalie arrived shortly afterward and we began touring the park. The crowd level on Friday was very light and we walked right on the E ticket attractions. We heard some funny new jokes during the Jungle Cruise ride. Around 11:30 we boarded a bus at the Polynesian that took us over to the Expo for packet pickup.

Upon arriving at Wide World of Sport we were greeted by Amanda and shortly after we met back up with Jonathan. Jon was enjoying himself talking with some members of the Disney Moms panel. Soon we were joined by Princess Fee and we headed into the expo. For this event everything was in the building that housed all the vendors during marathon weekend in January. Packet pickup was on two levels; half marathoners on the main floor and 5K runners on the second floor. Usually I pick up t-shirt related to the event but this time nothing really grabbed me. In fact to be honest the tech shirt we received with our packet really did nothing for me either. I mean c’mon Disney why would you give out a grey tech shirt for a night time race? Boring, unsafe, and not something I’ll wear. On the other hand the orange 5K t-shirts were awesome. Before leaving the expo Matt caught up with us and we stood around chatting for a bit. After that we all split up and took our stuff back to our rooms before meeting back up at Animal Kingdom for Extra Magic hours.

Caught a ride with Amanda to AK and we began looking for a place to grab a late lunch. The Jammin Jungle Parade was about to begin and we fought our way around trying to decide what sounded good. Finally decided upon Flame Tree BBQ. After dinner we made it over to Expedition Everest for a couple rides and then made it over to Dinosaur. Rae’s family met back up with us and we rode Everest until I just couldn’t bring myself to ride anymore.

After the park closed I went over to do some shopping at Downtown Disney West Side. Trace collects the vinylmations and had asked if I could be on the lookout for the DVC member exclusive piece. I found it at DStreet and even received a discount for being an annual pass holder. On the way back to the resort buses I couldn’t resist stopping at the Earl of Sandwich for a late bite. I had the Italian sandwich and it was wonderful. Earl’s has been a regular stop over the past few visits. The day ended with one more surprise waiting for me. When I returned to my room I found a gift basket from Trace and Lisa wishing me good luck on Saturdays run. What can I say about these two other than what we have all come to feel about each other, Disney friends are simply the best.

Sat 10/2/10

Saturday morning I headed over to Hollywood Studios for early morning magic hours while the rest of the gang was running Mickey’s Halloween 5k. I grabbed a Fass Pass for Toy Story Mania and then was able to walk straight onto both Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror for a couple rides. The second ride on tower felt strange as I was the only one in my row. Exiting the ride I glanced at the ride photo and realized that although hitting the parks alone can be fun I would have really liked Emily to be there with me.

To kill a little extra time in the park while waiting for Rae’s family I decided to take the back lot tour. I knew that the run later that night would include some of this area so I figured it might be worth checking out. The back lot tour itself is no big deal and I would like to see Disney tear the whole thing out and put something else in there. At the very least they could reimagineer the whole thing. I’d like to see them showcase some of the classic Disney special effects and transform the water tank area into a set from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Think about it, all Disney has to do is change a few props. Heck they could even bring in the squid. Catastrophe Canyon could be reworked into an exploding Volcania. At the very least the Nautilus could return to a Disney park.

Next it was time to use my fast pass from earlier and I can confirm that Disney has updated the first two game areas of Mania.

For lunch I met up with Rae’s Family over at 50’s Prime Time for a 12:10 ADR. There was a misunderstanding when I checked in as the cast member thought we still had a couple people coming and they had not checked us in. After clearing that up we were seated around 1. I opted for the roast beef. We finished around 2 and I was back in my room by 3 trying to catch some rest before the evening’s race. I only managed a 30 minute nap from 3:30 to 4 but rather than getting up and doing something I just lay in bed and watched TV, taking it easy and giving my feet as much rest as possible.

This being a night race the logistics of the event have to be a nightmare for Disney and one of those logistics that effected participants, was how early everyone had to be in the staging area. Unlike Marathon weekend in January where the races begin and end at the same location, this event started at Wide World of Sports and finished behind the United Kingdom of Epcot’s World Showcase. Transportation was limited to/from select resorts (Saratoga not being one of those resorts) and shuttles were available from the Epcot parking lot. The only thing about the Epcot shuttle was you had to park your car no later than 7:30. I met Amanda at 6:30 and we made our way down to Epcot to catch a bus. Transportation was well organized and we quickly made our way through the line and onto a bus. Arriving at the Sports complex we found Eric right away and he directed us toward Rae. Soon after we had our whole group together and the long wait began. During this time I ate a small bag of dried fruit and nuts. Other than that all I’d had after lunch was a Power bar before leaving the resort.

As in January there was a DJ on stage providing entertainment and getting people fired up. Around 9:40 we headed toward our corrals. I was in corral D with Jonathan and Rae and once the gun went off it was twelve minutes before we crossed the start.


My plan going in was to repeat what I had done at home just a few weeks earlier. Fast walk the first six miles and then jog out the rest. Goal was three hours. Right off out of the gate we were walking around a 14:40 pace which was just where I wanted to be. The crowd had gotten between Rae, Jonathan and myself and after some side shuffling I caught up. Rae pulled out ahead of Jonathan and I kept pace with her wishing Jonathan a good run as I went by. I quickened my pace enough to catch up with Rae and we stayed together over the first couple miles. By now Rae was power walking a brisk pace that had to be under 13:00 and I had to go into a light jog to keep my chins from aching. My jogging took me out ahead of Rae for a little while. The course proved to have far more hills than I had imagined and the ramp that led into Animal Kingdom burned my hips just like that mile 10 clover leaf in January. As I approached the three mile mark I was looking forward to the water station. But found it was not there. Not sure why but it was a half mile further than expected. This was a bit of a drag because I had just eaten three cliff blocks and I needed that water. Outside of the park I had slowed back into a walk and Rae caught me up. It was really great being able to go through Animal Kingdom with Rae. We kept our conversation light and focused on the event. On the back half of the park the road was coned off into two lanes. One for half marathoners and the other for relay runners. This caused a lot of congestion but once we reached the parking lot our lane opened back up as the relay runners split off to tag those running the second leg.

With nearly half the course behind us I picked up my pace and began jogging as I turned back onto Osceola Parkway. Again more hills but I tried to focus some of my attention onto the live entertainment that was out there. Aside from volunteers the Entertainers were the only ones out along the course. Due to traffic limitations spectators were not allowed along the course. Although I’d like to know how Team In Training always seemed to have somebody yelling for them. My best guess for that is that some runners had been in the front corrals and they stopped in specified locations to cheer others on before jumping back in to finish their runs. Around seven miles into the run a Hollywood Studios entrance sign could be seen lit up just below the overpass and this gave the illusion that you were much closer that you actually were. Looking ahead you could see runners coming straight back toward you and this indicated a hair pin turn was ahead. As I approached the turn at mile 8 I spotted Amanda who had been in corral C and I picked up my speed just enough to catch up with her. Shortly after making the turn I saw Rae approaching and we gave each other a high five. Reaching Amanda I dropped back into a walk. My legs were getting sore and I was tired. As we turned onto Buena Vista we were greeted by NO streetlights. None nothing it was pitch black except for some patrol car lights blinking half a mile away marking the turn into the studios. Pitch darkness cut by red and blue strobe light really sucked. I can not imagine risking a full on run through there. I could hardly see anyone in front of me.

Upon enter the studios I wanted to be able to jog through the whole thing. The course snaked nearly a full three miles in this park and I found I could not keep a consistent jog. Somewhere around this time I noticed some tightness in my calves and by alternating walking and jogging I managed to not cramp up. It felt like we would never leave this park. The final section of the park course took you behind Indiana Jones and the 50’s Primetime. The smell of garbage was very unDinsey like and nearly nauseating. Less than 2 miles to go from this point. The rest of the course went by fairly quickly if only because I had to really focus on my surrounding as the pathway narrowed once more and runners felt the need to run three abreast. It amazes me that people who participate in these events can be so freaking inconsiderate.

I finished at 3:15 missing my goal. I think the difference between here and my run back at home mostly came down to temperature. During my home run it had been mid sixties with zero humidity. The evening temperature was not bad during this race but the humidity kicked my butt.

After receiving my medal I walked back down to see Amanda come in and after she received her medal we walked down and saw Rae and Richard come in.

The After(math) Party

None of us had checked bags so we headed straight out into World Showcase. What a nightmare, wall to wall people and you couldn’t move without shoving into someone. Standing in a crowd was not where I wanted to be plus I needed a bathroom. The bathrooms at United Kingdom were backed up so we opted to head toward Morocco only to find that for some undisclosed reason the men’s room was closed. So off we headed toward the American Pavilion. There was a short line inside the men’s room and it was not moving at all. Up until this point I had been feeling perfectly fine but as I stood there waiting I began to feel lightheaded to the point where I knew I had to get out into open air. I stumbled out of the restroom only to hear my team mates ask if I was ok as I sank down to a sitting position on the ground. Whatever was happening to me came on very quickly and although I was aware of my surroundings I felt like I was in a dream like state. Eric was next to me on the left and another runner crouched to my right asking if I had eaten anything post race. I mumbled something about the uneaten granola bar in my bag and he placed and banana in my hand and told me to get drinking some water. Shortly after nibbling on the banana I began to come around to a Disney Cast Member asking me how I was. They brought out a wheel chair and took me out into the fresh breeze. By now I was fully coherent and complaining (while I took a bite) about how I detested bananas. When I was wheeled out I was surprised to learn that another team mate had also collapsed. Like me he came around very quickly and soon we heard that a third person inside the pavilion had collapsed too. A Disney employee handed me another water and Rae and Eric had ice packs in their back packs and that help us cool down. After about 20-30 of rest we felt good enough to walk out of the park as if nothing had happened. It felt very strange to collapse like that and I don’t really have any idea of the cause. Part of me thinks it is because I never really had dinner but it could be as simple as hydration. During the course I had plenty of electrolytes because I ate three cliff blocks every thirty minutes. Although I took water at every stop most of the cups were only half full so it’s possible I didn’t stay hydrated enough for the humidity. There is a part of me that wonders if I had kept moving and not stood still for so long would this have still happened? It’s a big unknown. After we left Amanda dropped me off at my building and after a shower I was in bed around 4am.

Sunday 10/3/10

Five hours of sleep and I was up, feeling good and ready to go. After breakfast I briefly visited Downtown Disney before heading over to Magic Kingdom. Once in the Kingdom I made straight to Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip. Afterward I walked through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House and rode Pirates. At 1:30 I met Rae’s family, Matt, De Dee, and Amanda at the boat dock for the ferry to Wilderness Lodge and our lunch ADR at Whispering Canyon. Richard met us there. Lunch was a blast and we all had a great time with our server and also while watching the antics of the other servers around us. Richard was the first to finish his iced tea and of course his refill came in the tall mason jar to which he began to dump every packet of splenda at our table into. Seeing this, our waitress brought out a box of Splenda packets and told Richard he had to refill the container. Then she started bringing sugar containers over from all the nearby tables for him to fill. It was very funny to watch Richard as he first continued to pour more Splenda into his tea. (I think the final count was eighteen packets) Evidently we were a hit with our server Pippi because she sat down with us after the meal and just kept chatting away.

After lunch Rae’s Family, Amanda and I went over to Epcot for a ride on Soarin’, The Land and then we caught Captain EO before Rae’s family took off to dress for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Amanda and I took the Monorail back over to Magic Kingdom. Before long Rae, Eric and Natalie arrived and we watched the Headless Horseman come out for the first of two parades. (Very Cool) We opted to watch the second parade and headed over to Tomorrowland. By now Richard had caught up with us and while Rae’s crew went off to trick or treat, Amanda, Richard and I rode Space Mountain. Exiting the ride we met back up and found a spot in front of the castle to view HalloWishes. This was a great fireworks show and the castle looked great bathed in green, blue and purple lights. At one point the castle went completely black with a shower of white fireworks behind it. It was almost creepy. The gathered crowed applauded the show and then we split ways again to catch some more rides while Rae when trick or treating again.

(Dressed for Trick or Treat Success)

After a ride or two we made it back to our earlier parade viewing area and waited for the Horseman to once again appear. He came out and then it seems like we waited forever for the parade to catch up. The parade was enjoyable the Hitch Hiking Ghost were neat to see but the flash picture I took ruined the effect. After the parade we made our way over to the Haunted Mansion where sitting on the Mansions front lawn we met Renatta who claimed to be Master Gracy’s niece who had died at the age of seventeen. Renatta was a riot who improved some great lines. She looked very ghostly in blue and purple lighting. After that it was a Peter Pan before closing the night out with Mickey’s Philharmagic.


Not much to report here. Early travel day, took Magic Express at 8:00am and then a long flight to Minneapolis before connecting to my Des Moines flight. All went fine without any delays.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stay Tuned

Trip report is coming once I get can figure out why I can't retrieve the pictures from my phone. In the mean time I'd like to pose this question.

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dole Whip

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Dole Whip.

Phineas, Ezra, and Gus would travel across dimensions to get their hands on one.

Rap on a table, its time to respond, send us a Dole Whip from somewhere beyond.

Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize at Aloha Isle

Prevents scurvy in salty ol’ Pirates.

Can be used to bribe the keys from the Jailhouse Dog.

Goes great with rum. (just ask Craig Wheeler)

Capt. Jack Sparrow agrees with Craig Wheeler.

Getting whipped never felt so good.

Aloha Isle is my Laughing Place.

Ole! Ole! It's Dole Whip time!

Buzz Lightyear enjoys his freeze dried.

There’s a great big beautiful Dole Whip waiting for you each and every day

It’s a Small World; Dole Whip is available at the Iowa State Fair.

Makes a great post Disney Marathon reward.

Orange you glad for Pineapple?

It’s the wildest treat in the wilderness!

Preferred over Earl Grey by Jungle Cruise Captains along the Congo and Amazon.

May cause Elephants to fly in circles.

An “E” ticket treat.

Enough of this chit chat, yick yack, and flim, flam it’s time for a Dole Whip.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Update 7/17/10

Here’s wants been going on with me this week.

As promised I did go out for an evening 5K wog following Tuesday’s Skype call.

I missed Wednesday’s early walk after deciding to sleep in and unfortunately I did not make it out later.

Thursday I went out early and got in 4 miles. Due to high humidity it was really tough going. I began walking and after the first 1.5 miles I started to jog but quickly faded as it felt like I was breathing through a sponge. Another jogging attempt shortly after ended the same way. At the 5k mark I decided to give jogging one more try and this time my breathing feel into place as I fell into an 11:40 pace which I managed to keep up for the last mile.

This morning I awoke an hour and a half later than planned for my morning run but managed to get out the door by 7:30. This gave me enough time to finish 6 miles before I had to get ready for my weekend shift. Setting out my goal was to keep my walking and jogging structured. I walked the first mile and once more managed a 1 mile jog around that same 11:40 pace. The following two miles were a mile walk and a half mile jog. As I came off the second jog I had a difficult time keeping a walking pace under 16. After walking to the 3.1 mile mark I began jogging again and once more completed a full mile. The remaining two miles were a mix of what ever felt right and most of what felt right was walking.

With two and a half months before Wine and Dine I’m really not sure if I’m on target or not. Mentally, I am more fired up than I was going into last January. Physically, if I do not stay consistent with training I fear that I will fall short of the finish. That’s not quite right. I believe I’ll finish but if I set one personal goal for this event it would be to finish stronger that I did in January. I’m not talking about speed, I simply mean better prepared and with a higher endurance level. I’ve wasted so many months and now I feel that I could finally be getting on track.

Over the past few weeks I have lost 7 pounds. Wish it was coming off faster but at least it has gone down a little each week. Here is the training schedule I want to maintain.

Saturday: Long Run, 6 miles
Sunday: Recovery
Monday: Run 3.1 Miles
Tuesday: Walk 3.1 Miles
Wednesday: Run 4 Miles
Thursday: Walk 3.1 Miles

Along with the miles I need to really work on stretching. I continue to have trouble with tight calves.

Below is map of the 6 mile course I have been doing. The long north/south section is rolling hills and when I make the turn back west there is a nice long gradual hill. Kronk might be proud.

(Click image to enlarge)

On the long hill this morning I was jogging on the left against traffic (no sidewalks)and there was another guy out there who was jogging straight up the middle of the road (literally on the yellow line) completely oblivious to everything. Yes he was wearing an ipod and yes cars came up behind him. One kept driving slow right behind him evidently afraid to pass. Then a truck came up and he just flew around this bozo. The guy didn’t even flinch. I think this guy lives a block over from me. If I see him out again I will be saying something to him.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Winds Of Change

(View from our deck during during a recent storm)

I've been making changes. Here's what I've been doing since my last post.

7/3 6 Miles Wog 01:21:20 13:33 Avg.

7/5 3.1 Mile Walk Joined by my wife. Not Timed.

7/7 3.53 Wog 00:53:20 15:07 Avg. Slower average due to having stayed up Monday night and going into work for a 2am maintenance. I was so tired when I got home that I really debated if I should jog. In the end I was more concerned that I would oversleep and not go out later in the evening.

7/9 2 Mile Walk Joined by my wife. Not Timed.

This past Saturday I awoke to a beautiful sunrise. After completing my run I asked Emily if she wanted to go out for a walk and she did. Its been really nice having both of us working on getting more fit. It

7/10 6 Miles Wog 01:21:53 13:37 Avg

7/10 3.1 Mile Walk Joined by my wife. Not Timed.

(Too bad the view will be spoiled once the remaining lots are sold)

In other news...

I will be attending the Wine & Dine Half Marathon! Airfare to Orlando is really low right now and that played a big part in the decision. I'll be arriving Thurs Sept 3oth and leaving the next Monday. Should prove to be a fast paced trip. So between now and then I'll be working on getting back to a consistent running pace and stretching out those miles. For this trip I'll be staying in a studio over at Saratoga Springs. Going to use Magical Express and skip the car rental so if anyone can help me out Friday with a lift over to packet pickup... I'd really like to avoid the whole bus thing. (That always seem like such a mess in January)

Well off to work now. Remember the Team Voice Skype call on the 13th at 8:00pm EST.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Training Week (well not that kind of training)

I spent last week at the Motorola Training center in Horsham, PA. The training was on the operation of some software upgrades my employer will be adding later this year. Travel out took me through Memphis were I met up with a coworker traveling from Springfield. Also on board our flight from Memphis to Philadelphia were the members of the band Great White. I had two Great White cassettes back in the 80's (cassette was the music format that was popular between vinyl and compact discs, and yes I'm dating myself. I still have about 300 tapes in my basement)

The first couple days were uneventful but Wednesday night brought some weird Disney-esqe things when we decided to dine at Otto's Brauhaus

I was relaxing in a German beer garden enjoying a Franiskaner Weiss and thinking of "World Showcase"

When out of the corner of my eye I spotted a store across the street that sold SEGWAYS. Of course my thoughts immediately turned to Bryan Ripper and episode nine of the AATM podcast. (I could almost picture Bryan zooming by as I enjoyed my beer) Dinner was quite good and afterward we decided to drive to the local mall.

and that's when I saw the HESS service station. So now I'm thinking to myself could this get any stranger. And yes it could, as we drove toward the mall there was a corner bistro called "The Contemporay Cafe" Sadly the picture I took did not turn out. By now I was feeling like I was in a Twilight Zone version of some disconnected Disney Park.

On Friday before driving to the airport we decided to visit a few of the sites in Philadelphia. As we walked up to Independence Hall I noticed that this was not the view commonly seen in History books.

Across the way a new Museum had been built to display the Liberty Bell. Next we inquired about tickets to tour Independence Hall (which are free) but we found out that no more tickets were going to be given out for that day.

Next to Independence Hall is the "Old Court House" which served as the Home of the First Supreme Court between 1791 to 1800

Half a block down the street you can enter a court yard and see the other side of Independence Hall. Now there's the view I was expecting.

After lunch (I had a Philly Cheese Steak) we had one more stop to make. A short drive over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a quick run up the steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone as "Rocky". I thought I would feel silly running the steps but as I took them two at a time it felt sorta cool.

At the top of the stairs I found many people standing in this spot pumping their fists in the air and posing for pictures.

The view from Rocky's Shoes

The Rocky statue that was seen in the films stands on the side walk level just off to one side of the steps.

Right after taking this picture I turned and saw an entire bus of teenagers unload and run up the steps together.

The whole Rocky thing was very inspiring and since I have not watched it in a couple years I plan to watch the film some time this week.

Now that I'm home and "training" is over, its time to really get training if you know what I mean.

Friday, May 28, 2010


It's no secret to followers of this blog that over the past few months I have been MIA to the world of fitness. We have had a lot going on here. We moved to a new house in April, Connor graduated, and work... well I'm not going to rant about that.

Bottom line is that "I have allowed" all of the above to stress me out and I have not dealt well with it. Everything has felt like a hurtle, something that must be overcome before I could work on me. To me it seems that the hurtles just keep coming, but...

Last Sunday I did take time for a nice WOG around the new neighborhood. 3.2 miles in 43 minutes. Not too bad when you consider its been three months. Monday my legs were sore but my feet felt good. Wednesday Kaylin joined me for another WOG, and this time with a little modification we ended up at the house right at 3.1 miles in 42 minutes.

We are planning to jog again on Saturday. My current goal is simply to focus on that 5K distance and to rebuild a consistent running base within that.

Next weekend (June 5th) is DAM to DAM. If I would have begun training earlier I might have done the DAM 5K but since I have waited so long to register, that short run would cost me $45. The next week (June 12th) our home town is having a local 5k which Kaylin and I will be running in. My daily commute takes me past a couple sections of the DAM race and honestly it gnaws on me that I have been such a couch potato. I will be out to watch the race for some inspiration and to cheer on Justin and Krystal.

Our friends Deb and Stacy are coming over for dinner tonight. Stacy is going to help us with some landscaping ideas and I'm sure at some point the conversation will turn to Disney's Marathon Weekend. Deb will be running with me next year and we need to decide on either the half or full. Currently she is planning to do Octobers Des Moines full. She and our friend Marilyn have fast walked it together twice now.

I may have missed the mark for this years DAM to DAM, but I think setting a goal for this years Des Moines event is a good call.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Asparagas Country?

I’m in Springfield Missouri. Why? Well because my supervisor has required that I attend a 1 hour networking meeting with a vendor that is coming into town. Never mind that I know nothing about networking or the fact that it’s a six and a half hour drive away from home. I simply should not be here. I tried to get out of it but got the sense that I shouldn’t push the issue so I backed off. We do have a networking guy on our team, I’m still trying to figure out why he is in Des Moines and I’m here.

Top 10 things on my mind at 4:00am. (In no particular order)

1. Last nights dining. Table for 1. (Besides being lonely, it just felt wrong, but hey work pays for meals so might as well go to a restaurant)

2. Monday evening TV programming is awful. I took a pass on “Dancing with the Stars” and ended up watching “You Don’t Know Jack” on HBO. An original film starring Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian.

3. Who the @*%$ woke me up with a text at 12:30am?

4. TV programming at 4:30am. Infomercials, Weather, Religion, and Home Shopping on every channel. (and I work for cable)

5. Wondering if I’d get in trouble for fertilizing my crops in Farmville via my company issued laptop. (Better Not)

6. I am unable to sleep because I’m wondering if Andy Sorenson has a Farmville site and how funny it would be to do an “All About the Corn” intro in which Mike and I discuss Andy’s Farm.

7. Should I be blogging from my company PC?

8. Do they really farm Asparagas in this state?.

9. Only 30 minutes until a wonderful Hampton Inn continental breakfast. (Breakfast update 6:30am. As one who does not travel often for work I found it funny that between myself and eight others having breakfast we each had on a company logo'd polo. All different colors and companies)

10. Happy 19th Emily. Wish I wasn’t here. Be home as soon as I can.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Toboggans are way faster than DSL eh.

This post is for my friend Wayne who lives out in Virgina Beach. Wayne was one of my best friends throughout high school. For a time we even worked at Stuart Anderson's Cattle company together. It was a fun place to work at even though we sometimes made fun of the place. We once changed the lyrics of Elton John's "I guess that's why we all get the blues" to "I guess that's why we all work at Stu's" It was all about the wait staff and being a bus boy. The company had this really blocky bull icon. Wayne named him Everett. I don't remember why.

For awhile Wayne's grandmother lived with them and he got to enjoy her cooking. Well... he may have enjoyed some of it, but there is one dish that she made that really stood out. Often referred to as doorstops "Pasties" were to Wayne what Lutefisk is to Jennifer. Click on the image below to enlarge and read a pasty recipe. Keep in mind that to be true to old world cooking shortening would be replaced by lard.

Wayne's family left the snowy tundra of Iowa for Virgina sometime around 1984 and we lost touch with each other. Happily after 24+ years the power of the internet has allowed us to get back in touch. I'll close this post with a clip I found of a reunion show featuring Bob and Doug MacKenzie. Wayne and I were huge fans of SCTV and often quoted Bob & Doug. Say here's to you hoser if you found my blog. It's good to be back in touch.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On the shelf for now.

I am officially placing DAM to DAM 2010 on the shelf. At this time I do not see it happening. The first month after WDW I was on track and doing well with mileage at the gym. Since Superbowl Sunday however... I have only worked out four times. I could put the blame on many things but I am going to refrain from doing that. For nearly two years I have grumbled about how far I have slipped since my best DAM run in 2008. A 20K in 2:04 seems like such a dream to me now, but only short time ago I lived it.

The injuries I suffered in October 08 and again following DAM 09 have healed. The struggle I am dealing with now is all mental. I want to be back in shape right now but I have to put the last 4 1/2 years into perspective to get there.

That 2:04 finish did not just happen, it was the result of nearly three years of walking and jogging.

Back in 2005 I began walking an hour each night for health reasons. Later in the year I was encouraged by a few people at my church to consider running DAM to DAM. I began turning my walks into runs and soon discovered that what I had been doing to simply to get fit was something I actually enjoyed. In 2006 I signed up for my first DAM race and came out with a nice 2:19 finish. Although I did not run DAM in 07 I was staying consistent with jogging and maintaining my weight loss. When Spring rolled around the following year I was ready to take on DAM again.

October 08 following the Des Moines half marathon(2:22)I had my first experience with plantar fasciitis. The pain kept me from training the way I would have liked going into that first WDW half back in 09 and that was reflected in a 2:49 finish.

Over the years I have noticed a pattern within myself that follows the accomplishments of finishing a race. Its like "oh well thats done. Now I can coast awhile and relax."

When DAM 09 came around I was not prepared. My heart was in it but I knew my finish would not be pretty. I expected a slower time but had kept telling myself that I really just wanted to finish. I was proud to have finished but it came at a cost. I made a horrible error in judgement when it came to my footwear. Rather than using the arch supports that had worked so well for me I had used a pair of Dr Scholls gel inserts. The support was not there and when I returned home and stepped out of my car I realized that I once again had plantar fasciitis.

The 09 DAM run was also unique in that in past years the first mile has been a fast walk and that worked good for me as a nice warmup. In 09 everyone started off at race pace and soon I was running faster that I had trained for just to keep from getting run over. It is with that first mile in mind that I have decided to not enter DAM this year. I simply do not see myself as being ready by June.

But don't worry I'm not hanging my running shoes up just yet. There's still WDW 2011 out there and possibly a mouse and not a duck waiting for me at the finish line.

My plan right now is to focus on weight loss and simply getting in an hour of exercise a day at least six days a week. As the year progresses I'll work on extending that hour and the miles.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Will the real El Guapo please stand up and take your pinata's home!

I believe it was "Lucky Day" who said "In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!"

While I may not be facing the actual El Guapo I can't help but come back to using him symbolicly. If stress was a pinata then I would say that I have been dealing with a plethera and I'm not handling it as best as I could.

Exercise would most likely be a good thing but for two weeks (gasp) I have done nothing. This quite frankly sucks and I need to man up and do something about that.

Can't fully decompress after work because we have other things going on. Such as selling our house. We are moving in April to a new home three miles away. This process began last September and I really thought once our house sold the stress would go down. That has not been the case it seems like we are more busy now with plans, specs and getting organized.

Work OMG work! If my supervisor tells the New York office yes to one more project!!! We are severly understaffed and the guy can't tell the home office no. Yes business has to go forward, but if he would just listen to the four guys working for him it could be so much smoother. I'll say no more as I get quite mad over it.

One other thing I have caught myself doing is having one or two drinks in the evening. Outside of the occasional bottle of premade Margaritas, alcohol is not something I generally do keep in the house. Don't worry I'm not turning into drunkard. But I do think stress is why I have been having those drinks. I came to that realization a couple nights ago and that ends now.

The winter blues have set in bad for me too.

Finally in a bit of did you know triva. Which of the men pictured above is unlikely to show you his badge?

In a film carrer that spanned 30 years, Alfonso Bedoya(D)in the role of "Gold Hat" first spoke the now famous and often repeated line "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges." in the 1948 film "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"

Friday, February 12, 2010


A trip to one of the local antique shops this afternoon was quite interesting. There was plenty of Mickey Mouse stuff to be found...

...but there were also quite a few Donald Duck items too. This lamp would be a bargin at $4.50 except two of the feet have been replaced with corks that were attached with hot glue. Otherwise the rest of it is very clean.

Here and there I spotted a few small random Doanlds.

This Magic Kingdom lunch box was a neat find. It even has the thermos.

Paper dolls. I never really understood paper dolls.

Hey look its an original Big Fig!

These last two items really caught my eye. This Donald puppet is in excellent shape and I very well may return on Saturday to pick him up. I like it because its such a different piece. Something you don't see much of.

Now this TV Tray is from 1961 and it is in very clean shape compared to others I have seen. I actually noticed this piece a couple months ago. It's really been calling to me. After work today I went on Ebay and found many of these items. The prices at the store fall right in line with what Ebay sellers are asking.

One thing you must always remember when visiting an antique store is...

So what would you pay for these Disney items? For the bear?

Has been non existent this week. My drive to get to the gym has been running low while I have been working the late shift. Rather than getting to the gym I have found myself sleeping in. Sure I need the sleep but c'mon already. Guess part of my problem is I am feeling the winter blues. I long for dry sidewalks. I was considering a daytime jog along neighborhood streets this week but scratched that idea when a co-worker slipped outside the office and broke his ankle.

My weight not coming off is bothering me too. With 90 miles post Disney I expected to see some results by now. It also does not help when vendors are in town buying lunch for the office everyday. I have made good and bad choices this week.

My immediate goal is to get back to 27 miles of exercise per week and then once warmer weather melts the frozen tundra, transistion my biking miles into jogging miles.

The October half in Disney is not looking likely at this point but... Our friend Deb who is joining us in January may be doing the Des Moines full again. Although parts of it are quite hilly I am giving it some honest thought. One thing I notice when I consider this though is fear. Fear because back in 08 when I did the Des Moines half I developed my first case of arch problems. This really messed me up prior to Disney 09. So even though I have good arch supports, injuries do haunt my thoughts. Just train, listen to my body and get through it right? Right, I know.

I'm not getting down on myself and I am certainly not beaten. Just being honest about my feelings and concerns.

Besides, like Sting says "Tomorrow is a Brand New Day."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Trip Dining Reviews

Rather than providing a complete play by play of rest of this past January’s trip I am just going to write up a few highlights and reviews. Today I will focus on restaurants including one dining experience that had me frustrated but evening itself ended with a magical moment.

Yak & Yeti: 1st Visit

Dim Sum Basket - Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao, and pork sie mai steamed on a banana leaf, soy lime dipping sauce
Tempura Shrimp - chili plum sauce, coconut-ginger rice, stir fried vegetables.

Food: Excellent.

Service: Excellent.

Value: Compared to other Disney restaurants I would have to say this dining choice (which is owed by Rain Forest Café) is a bit over priced. Did not accept Tables in Wonderland but did give a 10% Annual Pass holder Discount.

Would return? Yes

Mama Melrose: 1st Visit

Oven Baked Chicken alla Parmesan over spaghetti

Food: Average

Service: Fair. Waitress gave the impression she was slightly hassled. Unwilling to divide bill into separate tickets on the Tables in Wonderland card. She simply said have others pay you back cash for their portion of the bill. This approach to billing flew in the face of last year’s experience when Rae used her Tables card at Chrystal Palace. At that dinner the waitress rang up our separate bills and then applied Rae’s Tables discount to each ticket. The impression I had at Mama’s was the waitress could have done the same but she did not want to mess with it.

Value: Good serving portion for the money paid.

Would return? Would try other studio offerings such as Brown Derby before a return visit.

LeCellier: 2nd Visit

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon - with wild mushroom risotto, white truffle and herb butter sauce

Food: Excellent

Service: Excellent

Value: A bit pricey at dinner but the simply put the steak and cheese soup cannot be beat. The same entrée at lunch runs $10 dollars cheaper.

Would Return? Yes, Yes and Yes.

Ohana’s: 2nd Visit

All you can eat dinner.

Food: Good

Service: We were seated at 8:00pm for a 6:40pm reservation. The restaurant staff was clearly overwhelmed on the night of our visit. Many patrons were delayed in being seated. The problem (which I did not yet realize) was that water damage from the roof had collapsed the ceiling over a good sized portion of the dining room.

How could Ohana’s have handled the delays better? Well for one thing they could have told guests of the damaged dining room when they checked in. This might have cooled some tempers. Another thing that Disney could have done (and this depends upon when the damage occurred) is to call the guests who had ADRS. I know that Disney had my cell number on file and it would not be much of a leap to believe that Disney could have done some type of automatic call to notify guests.

Around 7:40 we were paged to be seated but our party of ten was led to a table for five. Once again we had to wait. By now I had learned about the ceiling issues and we now had a hostess working to get us seated before “Wishes” started at 8:00. Seeing “Wishes” as an end of the marathon events had been a big deal to me. “Wishes” started right as we sat down. Ohana’s was slow to bring up the music and they did not dim the lights as I had expected them to do. But I have to admit that after all my concerns about being seated in time it really did not matter. Sitting down to dinner with friends and enjoying each other’s company was the true highlight of the evening.

The service itself was excellent. The head chef came out to visit with Rae to discuss her food allergies and they even prepared her a special dessert. This was very impressive.

We used the Tables card here but they handled it different. This time they presented us with two bills and applied our separate payments. The second billed was covered under Justin’s Tables card.

Value: The food never stops coming. My wife and I dined here in 2007 and for two people the food was far too much. This dining experience is better suited to a large group. We had 10 at our table and this worked out very well.

A Silver Lining to the evening:

I would be remiss if I did not give a special mention to Deb. Deb provided the calm voice of reason during the pre dinner mess. She has a wonderful positive attitude and I greatly appreciated it.

After dinner Justin and Krystal stayed back at Poly while the rest of us went to the Magic Kingdom for the remainder of that evening’s Extra Magic hours. About 40 minutes into the park Rae, Eric, and Aaron were ready to call an end to their very long day. We said our goodbyes, unsure if we would see Rae’s family the next day or not. Next Deb, Mike, Amanda, Mom and I walked over and rode Peter Pan and then we headed over to the Haunted Mansion.

Rae, if you have not heard about this yet I’m sorry to tell you that you missed a magical moment. As our group left the stretching room, the “Chamber Maid” called the five of us back for a private tour of the mansion. She quickly lead us out the side door and back in through the “servants’ quarters.” Once in the “servants’ quarters” she began to tells us various facts and showed us the mansion keys and the various bells used to summon the Maids and Butlers. Next she led us back into the fire place room to the portrait of Master Gracey. She explained that following the Haunted Mansion movie the portrait was no longer to be referred to as Master Gracey. The idea is they do not want to tie this mansion in with the film.

Next she took our group into the stretching room and she supplied some more trivia and even quizzed us. Did you know that there are several hidden references to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” We were told that you would have to have a flashlight to find them. Also there is only 1 official hidden Mickey. It’s in the grave yard just before you turn to see the hitch hiking ghosts. There is a ghost staring out from a crypt. In his lantern is the official hidden Mickey.

After the trivia we were asked to be very quiet in order to hear everything that the gargoyles said. This was really cool because you did not have a noisy group shuffling out the door. We were shown a hidden panel in the wall that the cast members access to control the door. Before we set of for our doom buggies there was one more surprise. We got to stay in the stretching room and watch the portraits shrink as the room reset. This was a nice magical moment and as we left the Mansion and were walking by the Castle Deb said “See if dinner had not been delayed we would have missed that. There’s always a silver lining” She was absolutely right.

We all stopped in City Hall in order for Mike to leave a compliment for our “Chamber Maid” on a job well done. I knew that sometimes people wrote in with compliments but I had never thought about going to guest services and leaving a compliment in person. The next day we were back in MK and I left a compliment for “James” over at The Hall of Presidents” James was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. He engaged each guest and asked where they were from and then he would speak at length about interesting and relevant facts.

Kona: 1st Visit

Tonga Toast

Food: Good

Service: Excellent. Our server handled the Tables card as expected and presented each of us with our own discounted bill.

Value: Good

Would return? Yes, but would probably order something other than Tonga Toast.

Coral Reef: 1st Visit

Creamy Lobster Soup.
Grilled Mahi Mahi - topped with a spicy pineapple chutney over cashew-jasmine rice finished with a coconut rum beurre blanc

Food: Excellent

Service: Excellent

Value: Very good.

Would return? Yes. A new food favorite right after LeCellier.

Bay Lake Tower, Top of the World Lounge: 1st Visit

Beef Tenderloin Flatbread - with goat cheese, aged balsamic, and onion jam
Habanero Margarita.

Food: Very good

Service: Excellent

Value: Good

Would return? Yes

La Cava: Visited Twice during this trip.

LaCava & Classic Margarita. Nachos with Salsa
Margarita Flight (five salted rimmed shot glass samples of Margaritas)

Food: The house salsa was both tasty and spicy. Only $3.50

Service: Very good

Value: Good

Would return? Absolutely, but would not order the flight again or any of the margs on it.(Cucumber, Jalapeño, Guacamole, A fruity one and one I can’t describe)LaCava is quite small. During our first evening visit we could not find a seat. Our second visit was in the mid afternoon and we had no trouble getting table.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Have fun on your run. Get Mashed.

For the longest time I have been looking for a way to add music to this blog and today I finally discovered how through the use of the Yahoo Media Player. Yay!

I have never been a fan of "sampling" which seems somewhat ironic when you consider that I do enjoy listening to Mash-Ups. There are a number of sites that you can find music at. One such site is the "Bootie Blog" Every month Adrian & the Mysterious D post a top ten list of their favorite mash-ups from a variety of DJs and they even posts their own work as well.

The reason I like mash-ups is that they can make for a fun distraction when exercising. Often the beat of many songs really helps to push me along.
Not every mash-up is fast paced there are a number of great slow mixes to be found as well. I have posted a few of my recent favorites at the top of this blog.

BTW: Booked BLT for 1/5/11 thru 1/11/11. We will be traveling with our friends Deb and Stacy. Deb is interested in doing one of the Disney races. She has completed the Des Moines marathon twice as a fast walker under the 16:00 pace required by Disney. Now I face a choice of which run to pick. I enjoy Donald but having that extra drive to grab a Mickey might be to quote Mickey "Just Swell!"

Goofy? I can not get my head around that idea at the moment. For now I am going to stay on track with my existing goals while keeping an eye on how fast the 2011 registrations fill up.

See you in January for sure. Still considering October.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

John Pinette on diet and exercise.

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brief Post

Promise another trip report is coming. Need to get to work so this will be short. Consistancy in exercise is still good (60 plus miles post Disney) but I continue to make poor food choices out of boredom and stress. I have decided to place a "Sabotage" list in the right hand column of this blog. Perhaps facing this and staying honest will help me stay on track.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trip Report Summary Part 1

There are many different reasons that made this year’s Disney Marathon trip a lot of fun.
First of all my mom accompanied me this year. I had never traveled with just her before and we had a great time together.

When planning this years trip I found that airfares into Orlando International where very high. The alternative I found was that we could fly into Tampa and even get a rental car for less that flying into MCO.

Being that we were flying into Tampa, I made plans to have dinner with Bill, a former classmate of mine. After a little confusion getting out of TPA we arrived over at Bill’s After a short visit with his family, he and his wife Julie treated us to dinner at Bonefish Grill. The food was great and Bill and Julie where great hosts during our brief visit.

After dinner we dropped my friends off and we headed off for Orlando. After a wrong turn that took us back into Tampa airport I finally got my bearings and we headed north. The drive was about an hour and a half long and we arrived at Old Key West resort at midnight. We immediately went to sleep. The next day we were up and heading to Animal Kingdom. I never really had time to explore OKW but I can say that unless I could be guaranteed a first floor room, being that they do not have elevators.

Right from the start mom was getting into the rides as we rode Expedition Everest. In the queue line I sent a text to Matt and discovered that he was right behind us. On this day we hung out with Matt, met up with Deb for awhile and after a great meal at Yak & Yeti met back up with Matt who was now accompanied by Mike F. The four of us rode Kilimanjaro Safari. On the trails after the safari Matt really enjoyed seeing the “Spicy Mice” (actually Spiny Mice but when he said spicy it was LOL funny)

Spiny Mouse Photo found on Google

We left AK around 4:30 to visit the Expo. That went very smooth and after that we drove over to Publix for some groceries. Next we drove over and checked into Bay Lake Tower.

We discovered that check in was over at the Contemporary. Check in was quick, thanks to online check in. We had a twelfth floor lake view studio. The chilly temps (30s) did not seem to bother the three people in the pool or the six people in the whirlpool.

Plans that night had been to see Yeeha Bob over at Port Orleans Riverside but when I noticed that Cinderella’s castle was still in Christmas lights we jumped on the Monorail and arrived at MK just as Wishes began. After that we walked back toward the resort and caught a bus for downtown Disney.

To be continued…

I think I am getting back in the swing of things when it comes to exercise. Food is just OK. Breakfast and lunch choices are generally good. I did have two mornings this week that found me rushing to work. This resulted in missing breakfast at home. This week I stopped twice to buy a fast food breakfast sandwich with orange juice. I skipped the hash browns. My reasoning (which may be flawed) was that it’s best to have something to eat rather than nothing. Evenings continue to be a challenge because some nights I have trouble fighting the urge to snack.

Still undecided as to if I will be back in October or January. If January I am now seriously thinking about Mickey over Donald. Goofy? No I don’t think so. Mentally (at least at this point) I just can’t see myself doing the two races back to back.