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WDW Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna – 5K

28 Dec

Happy Tuesday!!

Next week, I’m heading to Florida for my second (and last?!) #DopeyChallenge at the WDW Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna. And, while I am a *bit* undertrained I am SUPER excited!

The first race of the weekend is the 5K – Bright and early Thursday morning I will join a few thousand of my best friends as we take a tour of EPCOT– a lot of backstage sights and a loop around the World Showcase (margaritas not included 😦 ) And let me tell you – the sight of Spaceship Earth lit up in the early (early!) morning hours and running through a World Showcase lit by the sunrise – is an awesome sight!

One of those thousands is the gentleman I’m going to introduce to you now!

Meet Mr. Mark Harsanye, 58 years old and resident of Henderson, Nev. (near Las Vegas)

Mark is a long-term disability customer with Cigna who is also a Cigna customer referral program participant with Achilles International. He will be running the 5K as part of Team Cigna and here’s his story!

Mark figures the injury occurred more than 35 years ago during basic training in the United States Air Force. He climbed a 30ft tower when the wind took him. Gravity and the ground did rest breaking his leg in two places.

“Over the years, normal wear and tear caught up with me,” said Mark. “In my 40s, my doctor warned me knee replacement surgery would be inevitable. I hoped that I could make it until 70, but the pain became unbearable. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

He researched the surgery, the recovery time, and talked with others about it. He felt fairly well prepared for the procedure and the journey back to health and to work in June 2017. Twelve weeks later, he grew impatient as his knee still had a lot of scar tissue. So, he opted for another surgery to remove scar tissue.

“Before the replacement, I thought hard work would get me back on my feet faster,” said Mark. “After surgery, it felt more like ‘what did I do?’ I’m competitive. When I saw others recovering faster, I wanted to become better. An in-home physical therapist helped, but the second surgery helped me improve the flexibility of my knee.”

Mark couldn’t wait to get back to work. Getting a call from his Cigna vocational coach, Alicia Troski,  he found a partner with the energy he needed to make even greater strides.

“He came ready to work,” said Alicia. “He didn’t want to be dependent on anyone. That mentality means a lot when overcoming a difficult recovery process. For some, it’s easy to quit and fall back into an easy chair. Not Mark. He remained focused on getting himself back.”

One of the resources Alicia offered, the Cigna customer referral program with Achilles International, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities participate in athletic events, encourages people like Mark to build up physical strength and stamina.

Cigna partners with organizations like Achilles International to help customers achieve their return to work goals by providing access to additional rehabilitation resources including ergonomic office equipment, software, education and accommodations to help customers stay safe and be productive at work, encouragement and support, resume review and job placement assistance.

“My employer has been supportive throughout my recovery process from accommodations to treatment,” said Mark. “If I needed a break to ice my knee, I could do it as I needed, when I needed. If I had to take off for therapy, I felt comfortable do so.”

As a result of his hard work and dedication to return to work, Cigna offered Mark the opportunity to participate in the Walt Disney World® 5K presented by Cigna on Thursday, January 4th as a member of Team Cigna.

“I have a plan – stretches, working my core, weight training,” said Mark. “If I did nothing, it would be like owning a sports car and letting it rot. I’m only going to get better by working at it.”

The Cigna Customer Referral Program with Achilles International demonstrates Cigna’s promise to partner with customers “Together, All the Way” along their unique health journey. When injury or illness occurs, Cigna helps them get back on track to achieve their goals.

“For Cigna customers, participating in a race represents a healthy milestone on the road to recovery, but also independence,” said Alicia. “As people gain physical strength, they also build confidence, which can positively affect all areas of your life.”

“I’ve come far, but I see it as just the beginning,” said Mark. “I’m back and work because of Bethany and none of this would have been possible without Cigna. So many resources came together to make things happen at my own pace.”

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!!!

23 Jul

First of all…you’re probably thinking “Hey! This is not in the correct order!” and you are absolutely correct.

Also, this is likely going to be a two-parter cause the timing is pretty expanded!! If you were there, you know!!

But first, take a trip with me back to January…and let’s go to Walt Disney World for Marathon weekend where I was all set to run a 5K and a half marathon and hang out with my awesome Disney Ohana.

This trip involved a couple of travel plan changes but eventually it was all straightened out and me and the Phred got to Orlando  Tuesday morning and after some confusion I found where I had to pick up my rental car and was on my way! Eventually I made it to Celebration and was able to relax. Or…get to work since I had work to do!

As we were running the 5K on Thursday – and I was volunteering on Friday –  we would have to brave the expo on Wednesday to pick up bibs and shirts and credentials. I drove in the red Kia that I had rented (it’s the one in the hamster/rat/gerbil commercial!) and we blasted …um Christmas music on our way to ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The Disney expos have been come a bit of a cluster in the last few years…seems like way too many people in one place at one time! Fortunately,  the building for picking up bibs was not too crowded and the 5K shirts were out in the stadium. Don’t even ask about picking up the other shirt – that building had a massive line to get in so we decided to pick up the Half Marathon shirt after the half on Saturday figuring the crowds would really have died down!

Then I had to hunt down where to pick up my volunteer credentials. After getting mis-directed SEVERAL times I finally found the door to go in and grabbed my things!

The plan for the 5K was to run as a group – we had gotten some awesome wigs and we had matching skirts (not my favorite Skirt Sports but we’ll call it Brand X). Angela and I had Fellow Flower tanks -“Progress Not Perfection” since this is something I need to remember!

As usual I was in a farther back corral than my friends. Happily, for me, Vanessa and Angela dropped back to start out with me. As we got into EPCOT we were joined by a couple of others and eventually, while waiting in line for a picture, we gathered our whole group for an amazing rainbow finish!!

Since Disney races are early enough,  I had time to do a little work after my shower and before we headed over to the Grand Floridian for afternoon tea with the ladies!

I was volunteering the next morning, bright and early, at the start corrals for the 10K so we headed home fairly early…after all, a 2:00 am check-in comes REALLY early!! 🙂

I do love volunteering at Disney — it’s always easy to find the fun and the magic! For this race, I was one of the people leading the corral to the start line. While waiting I met an internet friend, possibly for the first time. Also, watching the faster corrals go past I noticed that not too many of them seemed to be in a very magical mood…More like a dwarves – lots of Grumpy faces! The further back in the race, the more Happy people we saw! Naturally all of them were pretty Sleepy!

Anyway….after getting my group to the start I decide to wait to see more of my friends off. One of the volunteers standing next to me said “wow, you sure know a lot of people!” And I do! Some pretty awesome people!

After all of the runners had left the corrals and were approaching the start, I headed to the meeting area for our group. As I was walking about 3 or 4 runners came speeding past to get into the lines to start – it was a close call for one of them!! We got released early, I headed home for a couple of conference calls and then decided to head over to the parks.

Now, it had been threatening to rain for our Half Marathon on Saturday but the race was “rain or shine”. It isn’t like we haven’t run in the rain before, right?! But…around 5 or so in the evening, people staying onsite started seeing signs go up in the hotel lobbies that the race was being delayed…Okay. But I bet we still need to be there at Dark O’clock. I continued my trip around the Magic Kingdom, texting and checking social media for updates.

And then it happened. Cancelled.

WHAT??!! What??

Seems that there were thunder and lightning expected around the times that volunteers would be setting up and runners arriving and this is no bueno.  Way too dangerous and no where to put 20,000 people if things got bad.

As I was leaving the park I met up with some friends over at the fancy Bay Lake Tower DVC club for a drink. Walking in I was passed by more than a few people who had put on the costumes they had planned for Saturday and were heading out to get their 13.1 in before the storms (this was a trend — the next morning there were makeshift half marathons being held all over Disney property and other guests came out to cheer and provide support!)

I actually did *not* do my half that day. I had gone to bed with a decent head cold so given the opportunity to NOT run in the rain…I took it. Of course, had the official race gone on I would’ve been out there making myself sicker!

I should add here — runDisney took the fairly unprecedented action and actually offered refunds in various forms to those running the half. Which. They did NOT have to do. Rarely does this happen. I’ve personally had 2 races cancelled (one at the very last minute like this one) and got nothing. So… ps – I took the cash – as you should know I would.

I did plan to run a half, completely separate from another registered race (no double-dipping for me!) And I did eventually get it done even if it took me a few months…

But first…there’s other stuff going on that I need to share 🙂

WDW Marathon Weekend – The Dopey Challenge: The 5K

16 Jan

So, like I said, I was REALLY looking forward to getting down to Florida to hang out in the sunshine and warm air…Well.  Yeah.

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Thursday morning we woke up to this 🙂 What you don’t see is that the “feels like” temp was somewhere in the 30’s. Which means that some of us were not as prepared as we should have been. 😉 Oh, I *brought* gloves with me, I just left them in the room! And with the 5K there would be very little time to actually warm up.

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I added a white jacket to this which helped a bit!

 

We were planning to meet up with my Facebook running friends way out in the open where the wind was sweeping cross the plains (or something like that!). It was VERY windy! A few of us made it!

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But then we went and hid behind a fence with a large group of warm bodies…I mean, people! Then right before we headed into the corrals we gathered up a few more or our friends for one last pre-race picture!

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I had been placed in the last corral. The. LAST. Corral. for the 5K and the 10K. Which, in the end turned out to not be too bad…once you got past the wheelchairs and people strolling along. We hung out with a couple hundred of our closest friends and listened to all the other corrals head out — but let me tell you, there’s a different excitement from the VERY back of the pack that I hadn’t noticed before!

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There’s the start line….

 

As we were taking off, the sun started coming up. This is always one of the best parts of these early morning races!!

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The earlier corrals…and then there were none.

 

I managed to grab one picture before my phone died. At mile TWO! (aside: Oh how I hate you iPhone!) but I hadn’t really planned many photo stops anyway!

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In honor of Vanessa…ps. they were empty.

 

As we were cruising through Future World a few of my friends caught up with me and it was nice to finish with them! There were even jumping pictures involved…though, upon further review, my feet do not appear to have left the ground!!

Since my phone died, I don’t have my splits but my overall pace was good and I was happy with the results! And I got to take home this baby!

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Possibly my most favoritest runDisney 5K “medal” of all!!! This makes me so happy!

 

After finishing and catching up with my friend Tracy, we hopped back on the bus to warm up. Initially we had thought we might try to get over to Harry Potter World at Universal, but the need to find warmer clothes took precedence 🙂 We headed back over to the expo – where I grabbed a Bondi Band and a runDisney sweatshirt

sweatshirt

Mine has maroon color instead of the blue…

 

We hung out at the ESPN grill for awhile – lunch and a beer or two – then back to the resort where…not much happened!! We took a walk around just to kind of get our bearings (and Tracy was NOT thrilled to hear that we’d be running right past here when we were at about mile 24 or so on Sunday!)

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I’d never stayed at the Beach Club Resort and it was nice. And VERY conveniently located. And really, in my case, reserved for VERY special occasions so…I’ll likely be back at POP Century before you know it!!

Once it was dark, it was time for a shower and bed! I managed to crash pretty quickly, though it wasn’t a very deep sleep since I knew the alarm would be going off soon!!

10K, coming up!!!

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