Monday, September 12, 2011

A Dream is a Wish.....

I've been blogging on here for awhile now, and I suddenly realized that I haven't spent any time talking about the Disney portion of my life.  It's way past time to do just that!

I don't remember how my love for Disney got started.  I've heard the stories.  My aunt took me on my first trip back in 1979.  I was a year old.  We only lived an hour or so from Orlando, and I had siblings who were in their teens, so chances are good that we made a few trips before moving away from the Sunshine State in 1980.  But I don't remember anything about any trip prior to 1983.  That year, my parents took my younger brother and me to the newly opened EPCOT center.  I remember only one thing.  It looked like this:

My brother and I were fascinated.  "It's a giant golfball!"  Memory over.

The next few memories are also simple snapshots in my mind.  Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics sunscreen in a hotel room.  Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics sunscreen in the livingroom of my grandma's house in St. Pete, FL.  Slathering on Hawaiian Tropics....yes, to this day, that is the only sunscreen I will use.  The coconut smell will always be associated with Disney.
I remember going back to EPCOT with my parents, younger brother, and one of my older brothers.

Mama, Gerald, me, Leonard - Daddy must have been takiing the photo

That same trip, my older brother convinced our mom to ride Space Mountain with him.  I wish I had a picture of THAT event!
Other trips are more real in my mind, yet there are always those certain snapshots that stand out the most.  First trip to MGM.  First trip to Animal Kingdom.  The horrid birthday cake Cinderella Castle.  The even more horrid wand for the millenium at Epcot.  First (and only) trip to Disneyland, the year after I graduated high school, and almost breaking into tears at my first glimpse of the original Main Street.  Eating baklava in World Showcase.  Eating a napoleon in World Showcase.  Watching Brandon gobble down a turkey leg (with all the appropriate sound effects) in World Showcase.  Fighting with Gerald to see who could spot the monorail colors first.  Arguing with the monorail driver over which color monorail was approaching us as we sped along the track (he said coral, I said orange.  I won).  Sitting by the big picture window in Pinocchio's Village Haus, overlooking the interior of It's A Small World.  Seeing the original It's A Small World at Disneyland.  First time we stayed on property.  The first time I camped out at Fort Wilderness.  The summer of the horrible fires near Kissimmee, and walking out of the Art of Animation at MGM into a park completely overrun with smoke.  The first trip back after Daddy died, taking Mama to Animal Kingdom for her first time.  The first girl's trip with Mama and Carol, spending the day at Epcot, and dropping over $200 at Biergarten on my birthday.

Then there were the two guys with the awesome Mickey tattoos that we followed around World Showcase, until I got up the nerve to approach them and ask to get a closer look.  There was that first trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports, to watch my hometown boys in some Spring Training.  Can you get better than watching the Atlanta Braves play at Disney?!!?

Disney is, and has always been, a part of my life.  I worked as a Cast Member at the Disney Store one holiday season.  I wish I'd been able to stay on after the holiday season ended.  I wish there was still a Disney Store in the area; I'd go back into retail for a chance to work there again.

I have two trips to the World planned for this year.  The first week of November, I am taking my mom back to the Magic Kingdom.  It's been awhile since we've been back to that park.  We're highly looking forward to being kids again!  Then, over Thanksgiving, my younger brother and I are going Disney's WWOS to enjoy a 3-day college basketball tournament.  College basketball and Disney ranks right up there with the Atlanta Braves and Disney!

Next year's trips aren't planned out yet, but I truly hope that one of them includes a Disney 5K.

Another New (and Hopeful) Beginning

Exercising over the course of the last 9 months has been a lesson in futility.  It seems as if, no matter how much I want to do something, the world is out to stop me.  Between extra work at the office, photo shoots popping up out of nowhere, injuries and illness, and the crazy weather we've had here in GA, my exercise schedule has been nonexistent.

More than anything, the biggest detriment to my routine has been my feet.  More and more, I'm having intense pain in the arch and heel of my right foot anytime I do an excessive amount of walking/running/hiking/standing.  Years ago, I was diagnosed with plantar faschitis, but even during the most intense flairup, it didn't hurt anything like this!

I decided to approach my normal go-to guy for advice (my chiropractor).  He is familiary with my history, and we've talked about the fact that many years ago, my orthopedic surgeon informed me that I really needed orthotics for my shoes.  Doc G agreed with the previous diagnosis, and made arrangements to do a fancy measurement of my feet.  The fancy machine agreed with both doctors.  Of the three main arches in each foot, one of them (the lateral arch) is collapsed in both of my feet, with the right foot being the worst.

Last week, I made an appointment with a podiatrist.  In two weeks, I go in to have him look at my feet, do some one his own tests and measurements, and most likely, will walk out of the office with a new set of orthotics.

My biggest hope is that my walking becomes less painful.  As the weather is getting cooler, I'm starting to make plans with people to hike on the weekends.  I also have plans to start back on the Couch-to-5K program.  To be successful with either of these programs, I need to be able to walk/run with feeling like I'm running barefoot over sharp, bruising rocks.

This time, my mother is not allowed to start the program with me.  The last time I started the C25K, my mom sprained her knee 2 laps in.  She is no longer allowed to run - a command given by both me and her doctor!

This time, I have a new phone to take with me, with a handy-dandy little app on it that will tell me when it's time to warm up/walk/run/walk/run/cool doown.  For me, this is a big deal.  I do much better when I am not watching the clock during any kind of routine.  I need to be able to just go, until someone/something tells me to stop.

So, overall, I think that things will start improving by the first week of October.  We'll see.  I'll keep you updated.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Riley Moore Falls

Two weeks ago, I ventured our for my first dose of athletic activity since the twisted ankle and torn back cartilage.  I made yet another trip to the mountains of upstate South Carolina, and went out on a hike to Riley Moore Falls.  Chris (my cousin) and I had been wanted to head up that way for awhile and do some geocaching down by the river.  The weather forecast looked perfect for a deep woods hike.

I didn't have a good map of the area, but I had a GPS with some geocaches stored as waypoints to give me some idea of where we were going.  Chris and I drove eleven miles into the mountains before turning onto the unpaved dirt road that took us closer to the trailhead.  We had to park at the start of an old logging road, as my Altima is NOT a working substitute for a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  The GPS said it was about half a mile from the start of the logging road to the river.

About 1/2 mile later, we reached the trailhead.  Another 10 minutes or so on the trail, and we reached the sign that said the falls were 0.6 miles away.  Now, I don't know about you, but my math tells me that by the time we reach the falls, we will have hiked around 1-1.5 miles.  Stupid GPS.  But we kept trudging along, enjoying the crisp winter air, the privacy of being the only two people on the trail, and the possibility of being the FTF on a new cache at the bottom of the valley.  And the we turned a corner....

.....the sound of the water reached our ears.  We manuevered some switchbacks, and then, there they were.

Aren't they beautiful?  The length of the hike stopped mattering.  We made our way the last 50ft or so, and stood together on the riverbank.

The next hour was spent searching for that elusive cache hidden somewhere at the falls.  You may have deduced that I'm not great at reading the maps on a GPS.  So you shouldn't be surprised that we didn't find anything except a gorgeous picnic and swimming spot.  But if that is the only things we EVER find down there, it will always be completely worth the hike.

As for the hike back UP the mountain, I will simply say that I have never been so happy to see this car.

So, what did this hiking equation add up to?  I've discovered that I absolutely LOVE hiking.  I think I've found a new athletic activity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's a Freaking Conspiracy

That stupid twisted ankle!  No, my ankle doesn't hurt at all.  It hasn't hurt since the day after I twisted it.  But my back?  My hip and pelvis?  It turns out that when I twisted the ankle, in the process of saving myself from falling, I tore my L5, and possibly the L4, facet.  Nothing horrible, nothing requiring surgery or anything like that.  But enough to cause excrutiating pain for about 3 days, followed by not-so-excrutiating pain for a day, followed by the last two days of moderate muscle soreness and stiffness.  I've had two days of treatment, which literally worked miracles.  In the midst of all the pain, I did managed to drive to South Carolina and visit my new 3-week-old cousin.  Holding him may have caused extra muscle soreness, but it was totally worth it!

So, to sum it all up, I'm still not exercising.  It's all I can do to walk from my office to my car every morning and evening (and that walk totals close to 3/4 of a mile, so I'm not really complaining).

Monday, January 24, 2011

It Never Fails....

After my horrible start to 2011, I was ready to start the week off by getting back on my elliptical for the first time since November.  I rested up over the weekend (still dealing with some residual congestion), set up plans to start my new exercise regiment after work tonight.

So, what did I do yesterday morning?  Fell and twisted my ankle.  It's not too horrible.  I'm not on crutches, it's not sprained.  I can walk on it.  But doing anything more than a careful walk in painful.  Thirty minutes on the elliptical tonight?

I think not.

I guess I'll be taking it a day at a time this week.  I don't want to rush the ankle, but I'm ready to get active again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I think I can, I think I can

100 lbs.

I've said that's my goal. That's the amount of weight I want (need) to lose. I started swimming this past summer, usually about 1/4mile a day. I can get that done in just over 20 minutes. Not a competitive time, but not slow as a turtle, either. We'll say it's a respectable time, especially for someone 100 lbs overweight.

But I realize that I need to do more, especially in the "non-swimming" seasons. I want to start biking again, and I want to start running. Wait. I do NOT want to start running. I HATE running. And yet, I want to start running. I want to compete in adventure races. That requires running. I also want to compete in Disney races. Not because I want to run, but because I want to run in Disney parks. That requires running.

I used to run, in high school. Ok, I used to do everything possible to get out of running, but the thing is, I COULD run. I would do everything from a 1/2 mile to a 5k (let's hear it for the Kudzu run!). I know that I could do it once upon a time. All I need to do is start doing it again now. But that starting part.....that's a tough one.

I just read Jonathan's story. I got to "know" Jonathan when I was in a Disney withdrawal, and started searching for Disney podcasts. Jonathan, until very recently, was the cohost of the All About The Mouse Disney podcast. Every day while at work, I have been listening to the archives of the show, and an oft heard theme of the podcast was training for various Disney races. I won't tell all the details, but basically, this man started out at 380 lbs, training to run a half marathon!!! He's been going strong for about 3 years now, and he struggles sometimes. I have to be's kind of nice, seeing that he struggles. And that he's truthful about it. Weight control has never been easy for me, and it is hard to be surrounded by people who have never struggled with weight.

My weight gain has never been about extreme overeating, or doing nothing but sitting on a couch playing video games. When I was in high school, I was an athlete. Not a great one, but one, nonetheless. I played basketball (hey, my parents are from Indiana), was in marching band for two years, was on the track team for two years, I coached basketball with my dad, I did training runs with friends in the off season, I was in the water every change I got. I was a 185lb size 14. Not fat, not by any means. But I was never skinny. I have always had the body of a husky athlete. I kept that body for about 3 years after graduation. Then I started suffering from clinical depression and social anxiety, to the point that there were days, even weeks, where I barely got out of bed. I was out of work for 2 years, which only made the situation that much worse. What happens when you lay around all day, rarely venturing outside the house? You gain weight. I hit a consistent 235, and maintained that until 2003. Then, I get serious, and was down to 210, when I lost a cousin, my grandmother and an aunt, all in about 3 months. I gained that 25 lbs back. I kept that consistent 235 until 2005. On July 25, 2005, my father suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. Before I knew it, I hit 298.

I've never hit 300. I refuse to. Over the past two years, I've managed to not hit 300. But I've never truly tried to lose any major amount. I guess I've just gotten comfortable. I hate looking at myself in a mirror, but I don't hate myself enough to do anything.

And then I found Jonathan. Currently, Jonathan has his posted weight as 355. He's been running half-marathons for a few years now. I have to think that if Jonathan can run a half marathon, I can train to run a 5K.  And if you've been reading this blog from the beginning (not much to read, but I'm trying), you'll know that I was supposed to run the WDW 5K a couple of weeks.  That didn't happen.  There were many reasons for that.  Most of them were excuses.  I don't like excuses, but I can't lie and say that I didn't make them.  I made them.  I didn't stay serious about my weight loss.  I didn't keep my goals in front of me.  However, I was also very sick - twice!  And as it turns out, the weather here has been so crappy that it's a good thing I DIDN'T travel to FL, as I would not have been able to get back home for awhile.  We've been hit by snow the likes of which we haven't seen in many, many years.  It's being compared to SnowJam '82.  It was not cool.

So, I'm making new goals.  I want to shoot for one or two local races this year.  I want to run a Disney 5K by next year.  I want to go on atleast 2 scuba trips this year.  I want to lose 50lbs before Dec 31.  That's the ultimate plan, right there.  But let's break it down into slightly more manageable pieces.

Goal #1 for 2011: