Eric Van De Vens Blog

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A1A Half Marathon wrap-up (day two)

Continuing from day one………………………………

“Never Trust a Fart”

That was a sign I saw while running the race. It had personal implications!

When I awoke at 12:00 midnight, I had severe cramps and an urgent desire to go to the bathroom.


This isn’t the exact sign, but runners will appreciate it!

Some may wish to skip the next paragraph or two as it is a bit graphic.

I ran to the bathroom where I experienced what is termed in the medical profession as, “explosive diarrhea”. The cause seems to have been those hot dogs mentioned in the day one recap as everything else I ate was gluten-free and fresh.

I continued running to the bathroom and returning to bed for the next 4 1/2 hours. A total of 26 trips in all…which has to be some sort of record!

The good news, when I returned home, I had lost 7 pounds over the weekend.

The bad news….the cause of an old nemesis reared its ugly head. 😦

The last words my wife said to me before I left for the race, “Remember to hydrate, as you are probably very dehydrated by now”. I hate it when she is right!

At approximately 4:55 am, I left the hotel and went to the VIP parking  lot located at the Bahia Mar hotel. Rarely do I have complaints about this race, but this time, I will make an exception.

In previous years, VIP parking for this event was located directly at the finish line. I would assume that the powers that be at the City of Fort Lauderdale no longer wanted the liability of cars parking where runners were finishing or wanted more money for the race promoters to use this area, or both.

In any event, the VIP parking was moved across the street to the Bahia Mar. Unfortunately, the staff at the Bahia Mar must not have been informed that a bunch of people would be using their parking lot at 4:30 in the morning. Eventually, I was able to find a parking spot at the very rear of the parking lot. That wasted about 15 minutes. Ever try to find a parking spot in a dimly to non-existent lit parking lot at 5 in the morning?

Now, it was time to walk to the bus pick up point. Which was probably further away from the VIP parking than our hotel! When I finally got to the bus pick up spot, the line was a lined up on a significant portion of the road running north on A1A. It took six buses to get the people in front of me loaded and on their way to the race. Finally, I got on the next bus and was on my way.

The ride to the start line was uneventful, unlike last year where we had to get off the bus on Broward Boulevard and run to the start line, but, I arrived, apparently, after the start of the race. It isn’t a big deal as your time doesn’t start until you cross the starting line, but still, I like to have some time just in case I had to use the bathroom….which at this time was my greatest fear!

I started the race and at my first interval, hear my pace of 15:40 and thought, “this is going to be fun”! My second interval announcement came 2 minutes later and was 12:52, so things were looking up.

Mile 1:    Time: 12:42      Pace: 12:42.

Mile 2:    Time: 25:21      Pace: 12:39

Mile 3:     Time: 38:13      Pace: 12:52

5K Time 39:10 A personal Best!!!


Making the turn up A1A the 5K mark.

I was running at a 12:45 pace and doing it quite easily!

Mile 4:     Time: 51:50     Pace:13:36

Mile 5:      Time: 1:05:26 Pace: 13:35

Mile 6:      Time: 1:18:56  Pace: 13:29

Mile 7:      Time: 1:33:08 Pace: 14:11

Remember that old nemesis I spoke of earlier? Well, here it is: Cramps!!  The cramps started out in my right calf. That continued for two miles, then, cramps in my left calf, then cramps in both calves…for the remainder of the race.

Mile 8:     Time:1:47:09      Pace: 14:00

Mile 9:      Time: 1:59:38     Pace: 12:28!!!

I had a brief respite from the cramps, or more accurately, this is after the cramps in the right calf stopped and before the cramps in the left leg started! This was also my fastest mile.

Mile 10:    Time: 2:14:24  Pace: 14:45 Ouch…here come the cramps in the left calf!

Mile 11:     Time: 2:28:10  Pace: 13:45

Mile 12:     Time: 2:43:08   Pace: 14:57

Ouch x 2 cramps in both calves. I had to stop and stretch. 😦

Mile 13:      Time: 2:57:08   Pace: 13:59

Mile .63 aka .1: Time: 3:05:46 Pace: 13:41

Final results:

Endomondo: Distance: 13.63 mi   Duration: 3:05:45 Pace:13:37

Official results: Distance: 13.1 mi Duration:  3:04:35  Pace:14:06

One issue was I ran an extra half a mile because some people still haven’t learned, that there are other people on the course, not just you! Dumbasses!!!!

The other issue was dehydration. And, boy, did I have that in spades! I barely sweat during this run, which even though the temperature was in the 60s, I sweat a lot and was pretty much dry at the end of the race.

I can’t be too upset with my performance as had I stayed on the pace of my first 3 miles, I would have had a pr and might have even broken the 2:30 barrier.


Here I am at the finish and note…”His hair was perfect”!  (WZ)

The aftermath: For the fourth race in a row, I am in little pain. Just a little soreness in my calves and that is about it. I have been to the gym twice this week and tomorrow will be a run day.

Bathroom issues: There were none to report during or after the race. The 4 Advil I took did the trick and I was “locked up” and didn’t have to use the restroom until I got back to the hotel! 🙂

We had lunch at the hotel, a drink or two, enjoyed the view and headed home.


A Mojito and a Cosmopolitan finish celebration drink!


The view from the pool deck…7 floors up!

Now that I have time to train, I can set my intervals to 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, up from the previous setting of 30/60.

This will help in the weight loss as well as endurance and eventually speed.

The next race on the calendar is the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in November…..unless something else comes up first!

Stay tuned……………………………………..


February 17, 2016 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A1A Half Marathon wrap-up (day one)

Time for a recap of my 9th half marathon! Wow…I never thought I would say those words!

There were high hopes for this run…..were being the operative word!

During the two weeks prior to this race, as race director for our cub scout packs Pinewood Derby, I was busy making preparations for the event. This entails organizing everything, designing trophies, arranging a place for the race, and a whole host of things that take up a bunch of time. The reason for that is, that it was my first time running the entire event, with little left from the people who ran the event previously.

This meant, that everything I designed, would have to be sustainable for years to come. Luckily, that turned out to be the case as all of the “backroom” work has already been done for next years race. And even if I weren’t there to do it next year, someone else could easily step in to run everything.

The downside to this is that it took a lot of time…and most of that was leading up to the race itself, which was Friday  night and Saturday morning prior to the A1A race! Our Derby will be scheduled a week earlier than the A1A race next year!!!!!!

Friday night we had “Test and Tune” which is where the Scouts register and tech in their cars. They also get to make time runs down the track and can modify their cars between runs. I tried to bring my drag racing experience to the event and by all accounts, it was a big hit.


Marshalls car

Marshall dl

Marshalls official Drivers License

time run cards

Time Trial Cards

During the week prior to the A1A race, I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night. Thursday, I decided to make some hot dogs for lunch. I got them out of the freezer, but they weren’t frozen! I didn’t think anything of it and just cooked them. Later that night….my stomach felt a little off.

Friday, I woke up to a very painful stomach along with cramps. Friday was a long day. I spent the majority of the day setting up the track for the race and decorating the hall where we have the race. Then, I had to get my Scout uniform and then, back to the hall to run Test and Tune.

This went on until about 9:00 pm. I came home, printed out programs for the race and went to bed.

Saturday morning I awoke to a painful stomach again…..and cramps… 3:00 am! I never did get back to sleep! I went to the hall, started the race and everything went smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great time!


After cleaning up, time to go home and leave for the hotel.

As we did last year, we used our Marriott Rewards points to book a room at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale Beach! No charge! Since it was Valentines Day, I spent a few dollars  to get the beach side upgraded room. And, it was well worth it!


The bed

room view

The view from our room…..


The bar……………..


Our official toast to start off a race! It’s a tradition!

After checking in and having a drink…….or three….time for dinner.

After last years tremendous meal at the H2O Cafe, we had no choice but to return!

Once again, the service and food was great. Our Server, Andre, was funny and was always right there to see if we needed anything.

They didn’t have the mussels that I ordered last year, but did have a suitable replacement.


Shrimp Cipria

Shrimp sautéed in a cognac saucewith cherry tomatoes, pinenuts and mushrooms. 

The Shrimp Cipria was outstanding!!!! I could have had about 4 more plates of this…especially since Marshall ate most of the shrimp!

Time for the main course!


Risotto Da Vinci

An array of fresh fish, mussels, clams shrimp and a touch of tomato. 

Teala had the Risotto Da Vinci pictured above and I had the Prime Rib, pictured below.


Prime Rib
Slow roasted with au jus, served with mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day.

The wife decided that since she deferred to next year, she would have a treat to go along with her wine!


Key Lime Pie

As you can see…someone started before I could even get the picture!

After a delicious dinner, we walked back to the hotel, had a glass of wine on the balcony, then I went to bed. It was roughly 9:00 pm.

I woke up at midnight…a full three hours before my alarm was supposed to go off.

On day two of this blog…you will find out why and also a race recap.

Stay tuned………………………

February 17, 2016 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to start training!

It has been quite some time since my last post. I have been busy with the holidays, Cub Scouts, and a whole host of other things….including, running the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in November!

I was making great progress in my training and really felt good about this race. Unfortunately, due to severe weather conditions in the area, it was shortened to roughly 7 miles. This actually worked out well as I had plenty of time to take pictures of some of the characters on the course, as well as to run at a leisurely pace.

The shortened race also allowed myself and the wife as well as a couple of friends to enjoy the Wine and Dine portion of the event until 4:00 am!

There is nothing to really report with regards to that race. I barely broke a sweat and had no damage reported to equipment or myself. So much for old news!

a1a medal

Now, it is on to training for my 4th A1A Half Marathon! Hard to believe that someone who never ran and has the injuries I have, has somehow managed to run 9 half marathons and a 10 mile race as well!

As I do at least twice a year, I am finishing up the 7-day total body cleanse……..and boy do I need it!

It took nearly five days before I started to feel like “myself”!

Next week begins training for the A1A half marathon which will focus on cardiovascular training. This will be accomplished using a three day a week full body workout along with an hour of cardio on those days, split up into 2 half hour blocks, one prior to the weight workout, one after, and three running days.

The one thing I really like about the A1A Half Marathon is that is first thing in the morning. This means that I can do all of my training before 9:00 am, and that will carry over to race day.

I will try to update the blog once a week, hopefully, after a successful week of training!

January 9, 2016 Posted by | Home, Running | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A1A Half Marathon Wrap-up!

This was one of the best races and times we have had in a long time!

I will start with a trip down memory lane. But first……….

I decided to start Saturday morning with a soak in the hot tub!

The hot tub

The hot tub


Now, on to memory lane…..

This is the 11th Avenue Bridge. It is one of the few bridges here in South Florida, that turns instead of going up like a draw bridge. To the immediate left of this bridge, was a home owned by one of my fathers friends. He used to let me come over and crab off of his dock. Good times for sure!


The 11th Avenue bridge.


This is the Evergreen cemetery. It is the one of the oldest cemeteries in Broward County. Back when I was in high school, we used to jump the fence, which was lower than it is now, and have parties til all hours of the morning. The phrase was, we are having a party Saturday night…and everyone was dying to get in!


Evergreen Historic Cemetery


After driving around Broward County for a while, it was time to visit the Expo. As always, this Expo has just about everything you could want for running and fitness. We got our race packet, shirt, poster, sport beans, all in 40 minutes!











Lexus isle at the Expo.


Next, we took Marshall to his Aunt Rose Maries where he got to spend the weekend! After that, time to check into the hotel. When I went to get a hotel for this race, everything was booked, at least what was in our price range. So, we had to “settle” for the Ritz Carlton! The standard rate for this room was $599.00 per night……………unless……you have Marriott Rewards points! Since we use our Marriot credit card for everything, we have an abundance of points, so, 50,000 points deducted, and the room was free!! And what a room!

This has to be the best hotel room we have ever stayed at. Click on the link Ritz Carlton, just to look at the place. Below are a few pictures of our room and the view. As an aside, the service is unbelievable! Everything you want is a fingertip away!

The Bed

The Bed

Bathroom vanity

Bathroom vanity

The bathtub

The bathtub

The toilet room..with a phone and a TV in the bathroom!

The toilet room..with a phone………… and a TV in the bathroom!


The view from our balcony.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

The view from the 7th floor pool deck.

After we settled in, we decided to have a few drinks on the patio overlooking the Intracoastal waterway. The Miami boat show was going on the same weekend, but we had our own private boat show!

Bridge opening.....

Bridge opening…..



A nice boat....

A nice boat….

A real nice boat......

A real nice boat……

A really, really, really nice boat!!

A really, really, really nice boat!!

After viewing our own private boat show, it was time for dinner. We decided to walk around to burn off a few drinks and ended up at the Quarterdeck Lounge. This is a place that as youngsters, we used to frequent. Maybe when you get older, you notice more, but this place was a dump. After waiting 20 minutes for service, and none ever came, and being subjected to a smoker who appeared to be in the final stages of some sort of death disease, we decided to eat elsewhere!

We walked around some more and ended up back at the hotel to see about getting dinner reservations. All booked up. We walked back down “the strip”, and ended up at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Looking at the menu, there wasn’t much that appealed to me, so we moved on. Eventually, we arrived at the H20 Cafe.

The wife used her phone to look up the reviews and most were positive, so, we decided to eat here for our Valentines dinner.

We were seated immediately and our waiter asked for our drink order. My current training drink is Jose Cuervo tequila and diet Sierra Mist. It is a zero carbohydrate drink and not as fattening as my normal Tequila Sunrise. Since they had no Diet drinks of any kind, we had to improvise. Tequila, Seltzer water, lemon, lime, and Splenda!

With the drinks out of the way, time to order food.

First was the appetizer, Cozze Posilipo….which is “Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.”

Cozze Posilipo  Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

Cozze Posilipo
Mussels in a light tomato wine sauce with red onions and a touch of fresh tomato and basil.

This was absolutely fantastic! I was tempted to get another order, but seeing the portion size, figured the dinner would be plenty!

Speaking of which, I had the NY Strip Steak and the wife had the Risotto Champagne. Both were outstanding! I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in the area.

New York Strip Steak

New York Strip Steak

Risotto Champagne Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

Risotto Champagne
Risotto with baby shrimp and asparagus in a champagne cream sauce.

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

The view of Fort Lauderdale Beach from our dinner table!

Time to head back to the room to watch the sunset and go to bed around 8:30 pm.





Nite nite……..

What is that sound? Ah, the alarm… is 3:00 am!!!

Remember that hotel service I mentioned earlier?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Can you send us up a pot of hot coffee?

Although it was 20 dollars, it was worth it!!!!! And, it arrived 10 minutes after the call and was fresh and hot!!

Now it was time to bathe, get dressed, and do everything else that you have to do before you head out to a race. We made a phone call to the valet, yes, it is mandatory valet parking, and when we got downstairs, our car was waiting for us! We even picked up a girl runner who was waiting for a cab, and we offered her a ride to the race.

Five minutes later, with a little “creative” driving, all routes to and from the hotel were blocked off and I had to navigate several cones, we were at the VIP parking lot, which is at the finish line. So far, so good.

Next we got on the bus and headed to the starting line, which is normally a 15 minute ride. Unfortunately, due to construction, several of the “usual” roads were blocked off and our driver seemed to have a hard time understanding what some of us locals were trying to tell her! Eventually, we ended up near the starting line, the driver pulled off to the side of the road, and we all got off and made our way to the start.


The Starting Line!

We only had to wait 20 minutes until the Star Spangled Banner was played on a saxophone. Then the wheeled racers were off. At 6:00 am, the race started. This race, unlike the Disney races or any other race we have run, is a mass start race. Everyone gets into position by markers for their projected pace. The only issue with this is that some of the slower runners, jump to the front of the line, which, later in the race, causes some runners, to have to weave around these other runners after you catch up to them.

In any event, I preferred this start as I only had to wait 6 minutes to get to the Starting line as opposed to the half hour or more at Disney.

As I started to run, I realized that I felt really good. I had no pain and also, no tightening up of my calves. I was running effortlessly, but still trying to keep a 13:30 pace.  For the first nine miles, I never was slower than a 13:29 pace. The first 4 miles were run in an average pace of 12:55!

5K time:38:48, which is  a personal best! The view of the 5K marker, which is now a castle instead of the previous sailboat.

5K castle.

5K castle.

Running along, at miles four and five, the sunrise….



Now it was time to focus on running. I was running at a consistent pace, 13:04 or so for a majority of the race. At mile 10, I finally had to urinate as I had been holding it for six miles! Miles 10,11,and 12, were my slowest miles. I was fighting a toe cramp in my left foot, as well as pain in my left hip. Luckily, those pains went away and to my surprise, and I didn’t know this until I looked at the tracker later, my fastest mile was my last! Mile 13 was at a 12:51 pace!

Here are the official and unofficial results:


Distance: 13.27 miles

Duration: 2:57:09

Average Pace: 13:20



Official time:

First Name Last Name Age 10k Gun Time Net-Time Pace
Eric Van De Ven 54 1:18:46 3:03:50 02:56:38 13:29

Not a personal best, but considering I was 15 pounds heavier than last year, I was only 2 minutes slower. And, no pain except for a little soreness.

Also, using the run/walk interval method and the low carbohydrate diet, I felt fresh after the race.

While waiting for the wife to finish, I took a few pictures of the beach and surrounding areas.

Fort Lauderdale beach!

Fort Lauderdale beach!

More beach....

More beach….

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright the sun!

In the instruction manual of our new Canon camera, it says not to look at the lens if you are taking a picture of a bright object…like the sun!

The Bahia Mar hotel..

The Bahia Mar hotel..

A cargo ship...that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

A cargo ship…that was probably at least a half a mile away. That zoom really does work!

Wishful thinking!

Wishful thinking!

Almost there!

Almost there!


The finish line! I took this picture while running with the wife to the finish!

The best thing at the cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!

The best thing at the finish…ice cold low fat chocolate milk!!!!!!



Now that the race was over, what to do? We got an extended checkout, so, went up to the room, rehydrated, and packed. We called the bellman and they took our luggage downstairs and held it for us. Meanwhile, we went to the pool patio deck and had lunch. But first, drinks!! Now that the race was over, carbohydrate fever! A Mojito for me and a Bahama Mamma for the wife!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

Mojito and a Bahama Mamma!

A quick burger and Mahi Mahi sandwich..time to enjoy the view!

Bacon cheeseburger.

Bacon cheeseburger.

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Mahi Mahi sandwich!

Bye bye Lauderdale...... :(

Bye bye Lauderdale…… 😦

This was a fantastic trip. No injuries and no drama..except for nearly missing the race! 😉

We are already planning for the race next year and it may be a 2-night stay this time!

Next race up….Disney Wine and Dine 2015!




February 16, 2015 Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wine and Dine 2014 1/2 Marathon wrap up (Pre-Race)

Another race in the books!!!

This years race was one of the more enjoyable events, as well as the most painful! We will start off with the enjoyable part first!


We arrive bright and early to our hotel, the Caribbean Beach Resort. Checked in and then, got to the Pirate Room! Thanks Jen!




Now it was off to Epcot for the Wine and Dine portion of this trip!


I had to be careful as to which countries we ate at due to my gluten issue.

We started off in New Zealand, where I had the Steamed Green Lip Mussells. I forgot to get a picture! Next, we skipped around until we got to Morocco for some sangria. Which was the best sangria, hands down at the event. Then we went to France for the Braised Short Ribs and some Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Delicious!! Next, Brazil for Crispy Pork Belly and Black Beans. I had the Frozen Caipirinha…whatever that is!! It was very refreshing! We finished up the eating portion with a trip to Puerto Rico where I had a conch salad and sangria. We ended the Wine and Dine portion in Mexico where I had the third sangria.

Braised Short Ribs in France

Braised Short Ribs in France

Pork Belly and Black Beans in Brazil

Pork Belly and Black Beans in Brazil


Conch Salad in Puerto Rico

Bye Bye Epcot....for now!

Bye Bye Epcot….for now!

We went back to the room, had a snack, yes, hard to believe we will still hungry, and then, to soak in the hot tub.

Time for dinner! Every time we visit Disney, we try to eat somewhere new. This trip, we went to the Contemporary Hotel and ate at “The Wave“.

Contemporary Hotel

Contemporary Hotel

The Wave

The Wave

I started off with Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika, which was tremendous!!!

Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika

Steamed Florida Cedar Key Clams
with Chorizo Sausage, Fennel, and Smoked Paprika

That was followed by Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise. This was also delicious!

Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise

Herb-Salt Seasoned Beef Tenderloin
Caramelized Field Mushrooms, Organic Green Beans, Potato Mash, and Sauce Bordelaise

For dessert…and this isn’t on the menu, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake!!! I also ordered a Chocolate martini. This was one of the best desserts I have ever had! If you are ever at the Wave, make sure you order this combination. I was almost tempted to order a “to-go” version!!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with a Chocolate Martini

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with a Chocolate Martini

After dinner, we watched the fireworks and the castle got “Frozen”!

Frozen Castle

Frozen Castle

We went back to the hotel and to bed! Day one was tiring!!


Friday started off with a trip to the race Expo at Wide World of Sports. We had to get our race packets, bibs, run tracking, and a few supplies. Then, it was off to Animal Kingdom.

Marshall and Mommy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Mommy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Daddy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall and Daddy at Wide World of Sports

Marshall in the dugout.

Marshall in the dugout.

Home plate!

Home plate!

Sports Expo

Sports Expo

Off to Animal Kingdom…….


I finally got to see the walking tree lady!!

I finally got to see the walking tree lady!!

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life


Marshall riding a dinosaur!

Marshall riding a dinosaur!

A large lizard............

A large lizard…………

A lurking bat.....

A lurking bat…..

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

After lunch at the Flame Tree Cafe, we headed back to the hotel. Had a few drinks, relaxed, then it was off to dinner.

Dinner was at the Flying Fish.

A Blood orange margarita

A Blood orange margarita

The only picture worth posting is the one above. The food was pedestrian at best. The service and mass confusion was also a contributor to an overall forgettable experience. With such high ratings, we surprised by the experience. Young Marshall did enjoy the mussels though!


Time to return back to the room and rest up….

Next post….Race Day!!!!

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Gluten-Free Foods and Diet, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney, Darth, and Diversity!

Since injuring my Achilles tendon, I have had to back off on training for the Disney Wine and Dine race in November.

To celebrate our son being “promoted”, and believe it or not, some aren’t, to first grade, we went to Disney World for Star Wars weekend!

To start off with, I have to give thanks to our Mousekeplanner, Jennifer Upton! For those that follow this blog, you already know I always give a “shout out” to Jenn and the reason is, she does a great job! If you are planning anything Disney related, click on the link and contact Jenn first!

Since we moved, we are now much closer to Disney, in fact, two weeks ago we went up for the day and it only took an hour and forty-five minutes to get there! I had to use up my last day of a three-day pass on that trip. At the suggestion by Jenn, the decision was made to purchase an annual pass for me as the wife and Marshall already have their own. For the annual pass to be effective, you need to spend at least five days at Disney. This trip was three and the Wine and Dine is four, so, I am already 2 days ahead!!!!!

The next matter was to get a room.  There are very few places in Disney that we have not stayed. In the short-term, the “value” resorts seemed OK, but upon further review, bumping up to a moderate was the better choice. Jenn got us a good rate and we stayed at Coronado Springs Resort.


The rooms were nice and had sliding doors to separate the bathroom/sink/storage area from the rest of the room. It also had a desk with receptacles on the top of the desk

20140606_120424The laptops were only out for the first day!

We never did get to eat at the restaurant as we had already made reservations at other places. We also selected all of our “fast-passes” online and they were uploaded into our magic-bands. Speaking of which, the magic-bands are fantastic. You almost don’t need anything else! They get you into the park, you can pay for dinner and drinks with them as well as purchasing gifts. There is a commercial where people are trying to use their magic-bands in grocery stores……..I predict that someday, this will be a reality! 😉



20140606_110619Marshall claims this was a hot tub! The water was warm!

20140606_110527With my affinity for Tequila, this would have been fun!

CS pool

We spent the morning/early afternoon at the resort pool. Then…off to Epcot

We, as usual, went “Around the World” at Epcot! We visited every country and ended up eating in Japan. We almost made it to fireworks……..but some members of the team were worn out. It wasn’t me! Even though I spent the trip in a walking boot and knee braces!




The little drummer boy




The above picture is the “diversity” portion of this post! Although I received numerous strange looks, I am happy to report that I had no pain at all during the weekend or the days after we returned home!

Day two began with breakfast at the resort. It is a treat to actually eat with real utensils!!! Unfortunately, we needed to acquire a spoon or three for yogurt we had brought. We made this remark to the maid and when we got back from the park, there was a Ziploc bag full of spoons, forks, and knives!!!


Off to Disneys Hollywood Studios and Star Wars Weekend!! We walked around, saw a bunch of characters and registered Marshall for his surprise……The Jedi Training Academy!



Princess Leia

Princess Leia

Darth Vader

Darth Vader


Time to go back to the pool..but first…………………..



More drinks!!

More drinks!!

Somehow, the wife got an early dinner reservation, which actually worked out quite well as Marshall’s Jedi Training was to begin at 6:00 pm. We had dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Disney! They have snippets of old “B” Sci-Fi movies playing while the seats are cars with bench-seats.

A few classics:



Coming Attractions

Coming Attractions

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Robot Monster

Robot Monster

The Gila Monster

The Gila Monster



























After dinner, it was time for Jedi Training! We have a video, but it is too large to post here. A picture will have to do!

This is actually how Darth Vader lost his hand!!

After the Jedi Training, we went on some more rides and then got our spot for Fantasmic! Marshall loved it and Daddy is still scared to death of that dragon!!!!!!


We didn’t get to see the fireworks….or so we thought! While we were waiting for the bus back to the resort, we were in perfect position to watch the fireworks show! A perfect ending to a perfect day at Disney!!!!

Sunday, we went to Animal Kingdom, saw the usual group of animals, and got to eat at my favorite place in Animal Kingdom, The Flametree Cafe!






Lunch at the Flametree Cafe

This is by far, the most enjoyable trip to Disney ever!!!

While we were there, we had our Mousekeplanner book our rooms for the Wine and Dine race in November. With our accumulation of points on our Disney Visa card, we should end up with a day or two free!!!

Speaking of the Wine and Dine, As I am currently sidelined with the Achilles tear, and the torn meniscus in my right knee, I am concentrating on losing weight. While I was at the pool bar getting another drink, I was speaking with a guy who is also a runner. He was telling me that every 10 pounds lost equates to a 1 minute per mile increase in speed. I can certainly believe that as in drag racing, if you do nothing else to the car, every 100 pounds shed equals a 1/10 of a second gained in elapsed time.

Prior to the cleanse two weeks ago, the scale nearly broke as it registered 252 pounds when I stepped on it! Since then, I have lost 14 pounds. I suspect most of it was water..err…tequila weight! 🙂

I am also going to start riding the bicycle as I am not permitted to run for another three months. I rode one mile yesterday at an average speed of 17 mph, which isn’t bad for the first time out. I will increase the distance while maintaining a 15-17 mph speed. This should help with weight loss while at the same time, strengthening my legs and prevent further injury to my legs.

I have looked at all of my running times and I am stuck at 2:45 for a half marathon as the best and slower when the cramps show up. My goal for this years Wine and Dine is to finish in the 2:15-2:30 hour range. If I finish in that time-frame and don’t hurt myself, I will register for the A1A Marathon……unless the rumors are true about a Star Wars Imperial race at Disney World! 🙂


June 12, 2014 Posted by | Family and Friends, Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On to the next Race!

It is three days after the Wine and Dine 1/2 marathon. Looking back on this race, there is good and bad. I’ll start with the bad first.


  1. I didn’t get the finish time I was looking for.


  1. I got to see my son run his first race!
  2. My wife showed a lot of guts just to finish this race. I am very proud of her.
  3. I managed to survive the race with no new injuries.
  4. All of the modifications, except one worked to perfection.
  5. Another medal!

The only issue during the race was dehydration. That was caused by more than likely, loss of salt. My black running shorts were almost white with salt stains after the race. During the coming weeks, I will change the diet a little bit to prevent this from happening.

My next scheduled event, there may be a 5K or two in between, is the A1A Marathon. You will notice, there was no “1/2” in front of that word!

The gang in Fort Lauderdale are feverishly working on this years medal. And what a medal it is!


I can’t wait to run this race!

Training will begin or should I say resume, after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I may have to revert to my old high school football days and start “two-a-days”, aka, two trips to the gym for some extensive low impact cardio training to lose weight. I need to shed roughly 30 pounds by January and then settle into the last 10 pounds, the month leading up to the race. That will be roughly 40 pounds of weight loss.

The “diet” will be just a standard healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, meats, in moderation. The family will have to live with the effects of a lactose/fructose intolerant individual, but it will only be for four months! If I can take it, so can they! 🙂

I’ll start the food diary next week and post daily to chart my progress.

Stay tuned…this should be a hoot!

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine and Dine (part two, race day)

Saturday was race day. In the morning, we went to Marshall’s first race ever. A 200 meter run. Another bus ride to Wide World of Sports.

2013-11-08-09-29-46_photo (Custom)

2013-11-08-09-58-41_photo (Custom)The corrals

2013-11-09-08-29-19_photo (Custom)Marshall….ready to race!!!!!

2013-11-09-08-48-09_photo (Custom)Marshall running the Tower of Terror!

2013-11-09-08-48-38_photo (Custom)Marshall, practicing his victory pose!

2013-11-09-09-02-13_photo (Custom)Kids Races entrance

2013-11-09-10-20-51_photo (Custom)The race is on! Marshall was so fast, I couldn’t get a picture of him! He finished in the front of the pack..leaving Mommy in the dust!

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I don’t think Marshall even broke into a sweat!2013-11-09-10-43-15_photo (Custom)Medal time!!!

We took Marshall over to his grandparents and then, went to lunch at the Outback. Once we got back to the hotel, we went in the hot-tub for an hour. Chatted a bit with Jen, then off for a pre-race nap. It was a little later than we thought, so, time to get ready.

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Teala, ready to race!

2013-11-09-18-47-33_photo (Custom)Eric, ready to race. No, I didn’t wear the wings in the race! Maybe I should have!

We loaded everything up in our race bag, and headed for the bus. We left the hotel at 7:10 and got to the corrals at about 7:45. Only 2 1/2 hours to go before the race!

We sat around, looked at some shows, did our final prep, and then, it was race time!

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2013-11-09-22-12-07_photo (Custom)Fireworks at the Start!

2013-11-09-22-14-51_photo (Custom)The starting line.

For this race, I went on a low carbohydrate diet as I felt so good after the Race Around the Lake, except for the broken legs, and thought that I would have enough fuel for this race. I was right. Fuel wasn’t the problem.

After the Race Around the Lake, it was discovered that I had severe stress fractures in both tibias. No training for 5 months and the training I did do, was minimal. Several short runs and one 10 mile run. None was done at “race speed” in an attempt to let my bones heal and not to injure myself. That seems to have worked.

Changing shoes also seemed to work as I am happy to report, there was no shin pain during or after the race.

Two weeks prior to this race, I was doing an inspection and climbing through an attic. I twisted my right leg and my foot got caught in one of the trusses. There was instant pain in my right knee, the “good” knee, followed by swelling, later that night. I iced my knee every night and kept it wrapped up until race day. I suspect there is torn meniscus or possibly, a torn medial collateral ligament. I’ll find out later this week.

I had hopes of running this race as at least as fast as the last race, 2:50, but since I hurt my knee, I didn’t even know if I would finish. Even with the pain in my knee, I didn’t take any medication. No Advil or Vicodin. There was some question as to if the drugs may have caused or been part of the massive cramping at the race around the lake. I wanted to eliminate them as a possible cause. Since I hadn’t used either during any of the training runs and no cramping developed, I didn’t want to change that for the race.

Finally….time to race:

Mile 1- 13:20. This was a fast start, even though I inadvertently set my walk interval at 1: 55 instead of 55 seconds. During a walk interval, I reset my run/walk interval to 35 running/55 seconds walking and used that for the entire race.

Mile 2- 12:37. What turned out to be the fastest mile.

Mile 3- 12:56 I sped up in mile two to make up for the mistake in the run/walk settings. 13 minutes per mile was my goal for the first half of the race.

Mile 4- 13:05 Everything was going fine, until, one of the fairies decided to do a “crazy Ivan” and ran me off the road! I landed in a hole in the grass and felt a bunch of pain in my right ankle and knee. Great…just what I needed.

Mile 5- 13:21 I finished 5 miles in 1:05:19 which was under my 1:06 goal. 🙂

Mile 6- 13:33

Mile 7- 13:32 Through the first seven miles, I was running just about where I expected to.

Mile 8- 14:12 I had been drinking a bunch of water as I wanted to prevent the cramps that occurred during the last race. Unfortunately, it appears that lack of water wasn’t the problem. Halfway through mile eight, I began to feel the “little balls” in the back of my left calf. This is exactly the same time as in the Tower of Terror race that this began to happen. I walked, stretched, drank more water, and the cramps went away…for a little while. 😦

Mile 9- 15:54 Now, both calves started to cramp up. I was fighting through it, but even walking was hard.

Mile 10- 15:02 I was still cramping, but was able to walk “like a duck” which seemed to take some of the stress off of my calves.

Mile 11- 16:53 The slowest mile I have ever run. It was filled with walking, drinking as much water as possible at the drink station, stretching, anything I could think of to finish the race.

Mile 12- 16:11 Still fighting, but, after taking a few cups of Powerade, the cramps started to subside.

Mile 13- 15:23 Starting to run a little bit normally heading to the finish.


Chip Time:     13.1 miles –Time  3:13:42–Average pace: 14:47. 😦 Almost a half an hour slower than my last race. And, 20 minutes slower than my first Wine and Dine race last year.

Endomondo: 13.5 miles –Time 3:14:06–Average pace: 14:19

The electronics, The Galaxy S4 phone (still had 60% battery left), Run/Walk interval, Endomondo, and WinAmp music player performed flawlessly. The Endomondo tracker is pretty accurate. The times were only 40 seconds apart and with the zigzagging, I am sure I ran more than 13.1 miles!

After the race, both knees hurt, but that was to be expected. The left knee is a disaster as it is, and the right knee was injured prior to and during the race. The toenail that was injured on my trip to the Keys three weeks ago, didn’t fall off during the race. It did today! As for energy, running on a low carbohydrate diet, I had all kinds of energy after the race. We didn’t get home until 5:00 am! If my math is correct, that would be staying awake for 23 hours straight…with a 13 mile race thrown in!

Monday, there is a little pain in my calves and the right knee is swollen. Fortunately, I have today off. I plan to take two weeks off to let my body heal. Then, on to marathon training.

The schedule is to see my team of doctors to make sure no permanent damage has been done and that no surgeries are required, then start the weight loss and training.

In approximately three months, I will run my first marathon. Words I thought I would never hear in my life!

The plan is to run on a low carbohydrate diet, with an infusion of carbohydrates prior to the race. Also, five of my six water bottles will be filled with Gatorade. The Powerade, although it tastes horrible, did seem to help with the cramping. Once I get into the 15-20 mile training runs, I’ll see what happens. The most important part of this run, although disappointing from a results standpoint, is that with the exception of my right knee, I feel fine. I could probably run today if I wanted to…but there will be plenty of time for that in the coming months!

Thanks to everyone who has liked or commented on my blog or FB page. Your encouragement is appreciated!

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



At long last, race week is here!

I am hoping tapering off will help me to a faster time for this race.

The goal is 2:30.  We will see how close I get to that.

After the race, I’ll post an update and a review.

So far, we have spent a lot of time at the Wine and Dine festival…….mostly the Wine portion! Tonight at dinner will be the last of that, probably a glass or two, then tomorrow will be in race mode.

Stay tuned!

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine and Dine training has begun!!


At long last, it is time to start training for this race! But first….a run-down of the previous months activities.

August started off with some very good news. Our son, who has a cyst on his brain, got his annual MRI done. Last year, the result was that the cyst had shrunk, slightly. This years result was that the cyst has shrunk considerably and that we do not have to put our son through the MRI process for another three years!!!!

Moving on…..Spring Lake 2013.

Since 1992, when I received an invitation to Spring Lake Golf and Tennis through my business, I have gone every year to “get away from it all”.  Somewhere in the 90s, I decided to make it a tournament and invited a few friends. Now it has morphed into a 5-day event filled with drinking and golfing, complete with hats, trophies, and a good time for all.

And now, finally, actually time to start training!

The first thing was to go on the Atkins diet and eliminate a bunch of carbohydrates. Then it was time for a new set of shoes.

While we were up in Stuart, we decided to visit a running store Fleet Feet. This store, is where Jeff Galloway has appearances and also a running team.

I spoke with one of the individuals in the store, told him about my injuries, and more specifically the recent injuries to my tibia. He recommended that I switch to a stability shoe.

I tried on a bunch of shoes, and ended up with the Saucony Omni 12 in size 11 and a half. The shoes in the store were too narrow, however when I got home, I ordered the shoes from Zappos in size 11 and a half, 2E.

I first tried a quick half mile run around the block. There were was no pain in my shins or knees. I gradually worked up to a mile running in these shoes.

Last week was my first official training run which was 3 miles. The time was a lot slower than what I was running at but there was no pain.

  • DISTANCE      3.33 mi
  • DURATION    45m: 59s
  • AVG. SPEED  13:49 min/mi
  • MAX. SPEED  9:17 min/mi

The next run was 3.8 miles and again no pain.

  • DISTANCE     3.80 mi
  • DURATION   54m: 01s
  • AVG. SPEED 14:12 min/mi
  • MAX. SPEED 7:14 min/mi

Saturday night was my first long run which was almost 7 miles. The heat is still present as well as the humidity! The run was accomplished at a 14 minute mile pace which is about a minute and a half slower per mile, then what I was running before.

  • DISTANCE      6.54 mi
  • DURATION    1h: 36m: 51s
  • AVG. SPEED   14:48 min/mi
  • MAX. SPEED  9:57 min/mi

The good news, is that there is no pain in either leg! The run also was done, as have the other training runs, with no Advil or any pain killers of any type. Now it is time to work on the speed. This run was also done at night to simulate the Wine and Dine race conditions. If it is going to be 83 degrees and 250% humidity, I am ready for it!!!
I was going to trim the running down to two days a week, but, I have some ground to make up, so, Tuesday and Thursday, will be short run days. Saturday will alternate between long runs and speed runs, of 4 miles.

I am still working on the strength training, chest and arms, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, back and shoulders, Tuesday and Thursday. I appear to be fully recovered from the shoulder surgery. Every workout I am getting stronger and in a few weeks, I will just work on weight training using lighter weights.

The weight is at 230 pounds and I am hoping to lose 15 pounds prior to the race, in six weeks.

We also purchased new phones, the Galaxy S4. All of the running apps work flawlessly on this phone! This phone also does almost everything my computer can do! In fact,most of this post was done on the phone!!

I’ll try to give daily updates, but more than likely, it will be one post, Sunday.

September 23, 2013 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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