Sunday, November 23, 2014

St. Jude Give Thanks Day

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
-  Meister Eckhart

Raising children takes true grit; the challenges are many.  But parenting a child with cancer?  That seems to defie the laws of nature.

No baby should die in the dawn of life.  But they do.  Too often.  I thank God my children and family were spared this scourge.  At the Type-A Conference in September, I had the honor of meeting one of these warriors.  It is impossible not to be forever touched when looking into the eyes of one of these St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patients.  There but for the grace of God...

Reese will be celebrating her 3rd birthday next week.  God bless this family!
This is just one face and one reason I chose to support the 11th annual Thanks and Giving Campaign.  These families are never given a bill for treatment, housing or food, so raising awareness is crucial.  Won't you join me in championing St, Jude Children's Research Hospital this week?

Five Simple Ways to Support St. Jude's This Holiday:   (#StJudeGiveThanks)

.  Raise awareness on social media on Monday, November 24th.
      -  Follow St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on Facebook.  Post on their behalf:
         I'm supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this holiday season.  Share if you support            their mission of finding cures and saving children.  Learn more at
      -  Follow @StJude on Twitter.  Tweet your support:
          I'm supporting @StJude this holiday season. RT if you support their mission of finding cures               and saving children. #StJudeGiveThanks
2.  Look for gifts that give back.  Visit St. Jude Gift Shop for a selection of celebrity products,                  apparel, accessories and more.  100% of all proceeds go directly to the hospital!  Consider adding        these items to your holiday gift guides.
3.  Purchase your holiday cards from St. Jude this year.
4.  Shop with one of over 75 retail partners to support the lifesaving St. Jude mission.
5.  Consider running your next race with St. Jude Heroes.  "Do more with your race.  Be a hero, and run for the kids of St. Jude."  Find a race and register today.  (I'll save you some research- Star Wars Half Marathon, Disney Princess Half Marathon, and Tinker Bell Half Marathon are on the list!)


Be sure to tune in all week on NBC to see Marlo Thomas (her father Danny founded the hospital; she'll be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom today) and St. Jude patients on the Today Show.  Join me in following little Reese's progress on her Facebook page: Prayers for Reese.  Most of all, Give Thanks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November Roadtrip!

Guess who is packing their bags and looking forward to #SmashtheHalf on the Left Coast?  Mickey will be earning the inaugural  Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon AND another Coast to Coast Race Challenge medal.  November bling cha-ching!

Focused on the Magic disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Haunted Mansion | Walt Disney Is Your Ghost Host

Greetings from the 999 happy haunts.  During Walt Disney World's 40th Anniversary Celebrations, the Haunted Mansion was given its own party.  Room For 1 More gave full justice to this iconic attraction with a sit-down dinner in Disney's Contemporary Resort Fantasia Ballroom, entertainment by a spectral organist, singing graveyard musicians, and a one-of-a-kind presentation from Disney Imagineers ( Pete Carsillo, Eric Goodman, Jason Grandt and Jason Surrell) chronicling the development of the beloved dark ride.  Nothing during our 3-hour event was more impactful than this 1965 clip from the master ghost host himself, Walt Disney.

-  Contrary to common lore, the Disney Imagineers present felt the Haunted Mansion was Walt's last project, not Pirates of the Caribbean.
-   Before the opening of Disneyland, Walt began development of his own haunted house; one that would include an edge of comedy along with its "creaky doors and creaky floors."
-   Walt was unhappy when he saw early schematic drawings, saying that he didn't want anything decrepit-looking in Disneyland.  He said: "We'll take care of the outside; let the ghosts take care of the inside."
-   Haunted Mansion was built in 1963, but kept behind construction walls until 1969!!

-    Kurt Russell narrates a 1969 behind the scenes tour of  WED Enterprises and explores Haunted Mansion special effects and Audio-Animatronics.  He later takes some "pals" on a tour of the newly-opened Disneyland attraction.

-   Walt was intimately involved in the Haunted Mansion show elements.  (I do believe his footprints are all over it!)
-   Disney Imagineers began attraction development a full 10 years before its Disneyland opening.
-   Despite dramatic technological advances, "the original gags still work" and have not been changed.

Happy Halloween fellow ghoul-lovers.  Remember these Walt tidbits during your next Doom Buggy ride.

(And be sure to leave Ezra, Gus and Phineas behind!)

Focused on the Magic

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Best Runner Eats at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

In my decade or so working with the NHL, I learned a thing or two about endurance training, fitness performance, and mostly importantly, sports nutrition.  DID YOU KNOW that the average aerobic mileage a professional hockey player traverses on the ice is the equivalent of running three half marathons per week?  At this elite level, diet plays such an integral role in performance that our team of physical therapists needed to integrate lifestyle, hydration, sports foods and pre-therapy meals into all rehab sessions.  My is that information coming in handy now...

While many runners begin their "gut training" months before a half marathon, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival can distract and tempt even the most disciplined.  By keeping these guidelines in mind, you may avoid the dreaded Porta-Potty shuffle.

1.  Avoid unfamiliar foods 
Most runners instinctively know this.  However, the 1.3 miles of World Showcase can prove to be the undoing of any 13.1 master.  In the three or four days prior to your race, you don't want to introduce new spices and cuisines into your routine; a runner's gastrointestinal tract tends to be quite unforgiving on race day.  Tacos and Chirashizushi might just be sensational post-race tastes.

2.   Watch excess fiber
How can you go wrong with fruits and vegetables??  In the 24 hours prior to your race, overloading on high fiber foods (including beans and most cruciferous vegetables) can not only lead to gaseous bloating, but too much roughage can actually be an irritant to your GI system.  If you have diarrhea on the course you will be very irritated!  Go easy on the salads and "healthy" options, such as the ones at Intermission Cafe.

3.   Sensible carbohydrate stocking
Adequate glycogen storage is essential for meeting the physical demands of a half marathon.  Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for distance events and provide the glycogens that are turned into energy during your race; of these, more complex carbs will provide additional nutritional value.  If tolerated, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes are good choices.  Of course, everything in moderation.  Best practice dictates increasing your carbohydrate loads three to four days before your race.  NEVER consume large quantities of anything- including pasta- the night before.  Think dead weight.  (See my Top PT Tip for carb loading.)

One of my personal carb favorites in the Belgium Marketplace.

4.   Protein
If you've seen the myriad of chocolate milk adds geared towards runners, you know that protein is crucial for post-run recovery; supplemental protein intake allows for muscle tissue repair and promotes immune function.  In the week before your half marathon, as you adjust your training intensity, you may wonder how imperative proteins are.  The answer is very, as long as your choice is the lean variety.  Proteins can slow down the digestive process and lead to sluggishness on race day.  Reasonable portions of fish, boneless skinless chicken or turkey breast, low-fat yogurt, eggs, almonds, low-fat milk are excellent choices.

Greek yogurt is a perfect protein choice!! (Alas, this is a 2013 selection.)
5.   Fats
Fats still get a bad rap, but that is a debate for another post.  During the days before your event, saturated  fats are certainly not your friend.  Butter, high-fat cheese and other animal products are not easily digested by the body and may slow.  You.  Down.  That nice juicy steak that you feel you are entitled to may linger in your colon for days or weeks!  Avoid beef and deep-fried foods until after your run, or your body may be forced to shunt to your stomach to aid in their digestion at the sake of your pumping leg muscles.

That leads me to my personal picks for 2014:

Best Runner Eats at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

-   Belgium waffle with berry compote (omit the whipped cream)
-   Mocequa de pescado- Regal Springs premium tilapia with cocunut lime sauce and steamed rice (gluten free)
-   Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and L8 Harvest, Minus 8 Vinaigrette (gluten free)  Leave off the bacon if you can!
-   Spicy hand roll- Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce  (On the side, of course!)
-   Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri (gluten free)
Puerto Rico
-   Ensalada de carrucho- Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro (gluten free)
-   Fresh potato pancake with smoked Scottish salmon and herb sour cream  (On the side!) (gluten free)
-   Seared mahi mahi with jasmine rice and "Singa" sauce

You may have noticed that I omitted options from Terra- the International Marketplace vegetarian option.  I wanted to love their protein-rich soy-based offerings.  I really did.  Unfortunately, both the Blackened Chick'n Breast, farro wheat and spicy gumbo sauce and "CraB'less CraB Cake" with pepper slaw and Cajun remoulade were spicy and heavily-sauced.  (Omit the sauce and they are not appetizing at all.)

When all else fails, Tangierine Cafe is the perfect default dining location in Epcot for runners looking to follow the above guidelines 1 through 5.  Of course, come November 9th, all guidelines are suspended!!  Bon appetit.

Please whet your Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend appetite with these other scrumptuous posts.

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory