by Joseph Kolinsky
In my last couple of blog entries, I provided a very brief description of the Run Disney calendar, as well as a few notes from each of the races that Disney offers throughout the year.Â In this installment, I’d like to provide you with some simple tips on how to begin the journey toward earning your first Disney medal.Â I’ll gear this entry toward those who never ran an organized race before – but hopefully those of you that already have some running experience will also grab a interesting piece of information before we are done.
In my first couple of blog entries, I wrote about the wonderful, accepting atmosphere that the Run Disney series of races provides the new runner.Â For those of you who are reading this and thinking to yourself “maybe I’ll give this thing a shot, and earn myself some Disney bling” (…ok, I just read those words back silently to myself – and I apologize), I’d like to offer up some of the basics to help you get started:
1) Go to a running store and pick up a decent pair of running shoes.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, who mixes in jogging and walking.Â It doesn’t matter whether you are walking a half mile or running a 10k race.Â Hight….weight….age….it doesn’t matter.Â Good running shoes should be the el numero uno item on your running to-do list.Â Go to a running store, and talk to a representative.Â Let him / her help you pick just the right shoe for your training.Â Their expert input will hopefully result in resisting some of the normal annoyances that plague us friends of the asphalt.
Note to all of you: I picked up my first pair of running shoes simply because they were 70% off…..without trying them on first…..because I liked the cool colors.Â And yes – I agree – I need a checkup from the neck – up.
2) Look at the Run Disney calendar. Pick a race.Â Circle the calendar and BINGO!Â That’s your target.Â Now you have something to focus on.Â Something to aim for.Â A Mickey-shaped carrot to chase.
The act of selecting a race and entering it into your calendar makes the training you are about to begin worth the effort.Â It also gives you the motivation you need on those less-than-perfect days.Â And let’s face it: planning a visit to Uncle Walt’s Backyard is flat-out fun!
3) Pick a nice location – a park, a path alongside a quiet river, or anywhere else that is safe to run on or along – and just begin putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m fortunate.Â I live in New York City, so my back yard is Central Park.Â When I wake up in the morning, I lace up my shoes and hit the park, and the sights, smells and sounds of the early morning flood my senses and clear my mind.Â By the time I get home, I feel energized.Â Awake and alert.Â Ready to take on the day.Â In the evening, after work and the stress of the day has my nerves slightly frayed, I lace up my shoes and hit the park.Â There’s something about the connection between the body and the environment that washes away the stress while I jog along the park’s bridal path.Â The great thing about running is that you can really do it basically anywhere.Â Use running to explore – your neighborhood, or wherever your travels take you.Â If you’re spending time in Walt Disney World, running around the resort property is a WONDERFUL way to see little touches that the Imagineers have placed all over (more on that in a later blog entry).
That’s really all there is to it!Â 3 simple steps.Â Grab a proper pair of running shoes, select a Disney race to use as your motivation to stay focused, and just get out there and get moving.Â It really is that easy.
Some beginners get self-conscious.Â They feel like people will look at you walking / jogging / running and judge you.Â That feeling is pretty normal.Â Let’s face it: when I began, I ran like a penguin.Â Waddled around, flailing my arms like a 8 year old on Dinosaur!Â But I realized that the only person that made me feel this self-conscious was…….me.Â In actuality, no one was staring at me.Â No one teased me.Â No one looked at me as if I was some oddball.Â It was all in my head.Â Once I got over that feeling of self-consciousness, I hit the park every chance I got.Â Â still do.Â And the exercise has improved my outlook on life, made me look and feel healthier, and helped me realize that I can achieve any goal that I put in front of myself, as long as I put it on my calendar, plan for success, stay motivated and just keep trying.
I guess that’s the goal of my blog entries.Â I get a lot of joy out of my DisneyGeekdom (if that’s a word…).Â I also found tranquility in running.Â I found that combining these two things resulted in amazing experiences thus far, and many – MANY -more in the years to comes.Â There are MANY dates circled on my calendar that combine these two aspects of my life…and when each one of these days end, I feel a sense of accomplishment.Â My newest motivation is to share these with you all – fellow DisneyGeeks that “get it”.
Until next time, make sure to double-knot your shoe laces, get out there and get moving.Â If you have any comments / questions / suggestions / thoughts, please share them with me.Â Drop me a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A self-proclaimed Disney nerd, Joe Kolinsky also is a running enthusiast.Â He has completed over 10 marathonsÂ and runÂ 5 Disney races (including the 2009 Goofy Challenge).Â When he is not running or dreaming of his next Disney vacation, JoeÂ spends his spare time being a Dad and writing.Â (You can follow his writings in his blog, entitled â€œBuilt for Comfort, Not Speedâ€ at http://backofthepacker.wordpress.com/)