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October 2009 Archives

October 6, 2009

Team All Ears Profile: Amanda McKittrick Gonzales

Note from Michelle and Mike: From time to time we will be highlighting the stories of members of Team All Ears, a wonderful group of individuals, who have agreed to raise money for Deb Wills' Avon Breast Cancer Fund by running Disney races in January 2010.


Hi, My name is Amanda McKittrick Gonzales and I am proud to be a member of the All Ears Net running team.

I am running the Half-Marathon in January of 2010 and have aspirations to run the full marathon in 2011 and perhaps the Goofy in 2012!

I am a life-long Disney enthusiast and have been a fan of Deb Wills and follower of AllEars.net for many years. I am also a mother of four young children under 8 years old.

The past nine years have been extremely busy and I, unfortunately allowed my health and caring for myself slip away. This past April, I finally looked in the mirror and did not recognize the person staring back at me. As a former college athlete, I had always been in excellent shape, I was a pixie, but suddenly, my heart sank as I realized I had turned into a heffalump. I stepped on the scale, consulted my doctor and learned that I was 100 pounds overweight. I qualified as morbidly obese.

My children and my family are the most important things in my life, but I realized that I needed to take drastic measures to change my habits so that I could have the best chance of living a long life. I want to be alive to watch my children and, hopefully grandchildren grow.

I decided to register for the Disney Half-Marathon. Disney would motivate me to accomplish this task. What better place to accomplish this dream than in Disney World the place where dreams do come true! I joined weight watchers, consulted my doctors and began changing my nutrition and exercise habits.

I joined Team AllEars to help raise money for Breast Cancer research because several people in my community whom I am friends with are battling this horrific disease. I also lost my father to Cancer and I want to decrease my chances of developing the disease some day.

It has not been easy, but I am proud to say that with the support of my teammates and some hard work, I have lost 25 pounds and am up to 8 miles on my running mileage. I am proud to be a Team AllEars member ad consider it a privilege and and honor to be raising money for Breast Cancer research, changing my health in a positive way and running the half marathon in Disney!


October 13, 2009

Team All Ears Profile: Trey Brush

Note from Michelle and Mike: From time to time we will be highlighting the stories of members of Team All Ears, a wonderful group of individuals, who have agreed to raise money for Deb Wills' Avon Breast Cancer Fund by running Disney races in January 2010.


When I first started to run six years ago, I was just bringing home our first born son from the hospital and realized that if I wanted to be able to enjoy my kids for many years and be able to keep up with them. Running had always been something I had enjoyed. As a natural introvert and a person of reflection I had always just enjoyed my time on the road thinking and reflecting about life.

Since that time I have lost about 75 pounds and many are not able to recognize me out at family gatherings.

I ran my first Disney marathon in January 2007 and ran again in 2008. Since then my reason and motivation for running has changed quite a bit. I still enjoy my time alone on the road and am motivated to stay healthy for my kids, but I remember crossing the finish line on my first marathon ands suddenly had an empty feeling. Was it the first marathon blues? I thought: "Is this it? Is this why I run? Is it for a medal?"

There was not an immediate answer to that. It became something I began to think about on my runs. I began to reflect on the idea of why I was out there running. I began to search for those answers and they would come.

Running always came natural for me. I began to think about running for purpose. I decided then that my running had to be about others.

Deb Wills and All Ears has done so much for my family to help enjoy the magic of Disney. When I heard about the opportunity to help Deb to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness I jumped at the opportunity.

Since that decision, "running on empty" has been a thing of the past. Being a part of something bigger and running for a purpose is what motivates me day in and day out. Knowing that at the end of the race that the impact can be something more than a medal is very satisfying.

To say that I love Disney is to say that there is a little water in the ocean. Disney was the location of my first marathon and always my favorite. There is a feeling that I get in Disney that no other race has ever been able to replicate. It is not just the celebration and the crowd and all of the extra stuff but the idea of running through the place that has given me and my family the chance to create so many magical memories is worth every step.

I am very excited to be a part of Team AllEars and look forward to running as a part of our team in January.


October 27, 2009

Team All Ears Profile: Brad Garfinkel

Note from Michelle and Mike: From time to time we will be highlighting the stories of members of Team All Ears, a wonderful group of individuals, who have agreed to raise money for Deb Wills' Avon Breast Cancer Fund by running Disney races in January 2010.


I have a bit of a Disney addiction. I had visited Walt Disney World every few years throughout my childhood. The addiction did not really start to get serious until 1992 when I met my (now) wife Cindy and her family, who were annual visitors to Walt Disney World. I got to visit annually, as well. As a 40+ trip veteran and DVC Member, I looked for any reason or excuse to get to Walt Disney World. My past reasons have included attending Food and Wine, Baseballs' Spring Training, Star Wars Weekends, my brother-in-law’s wedding at the Wedding Pavilion. I was looking for a new reason to visit when I began hearing about the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

13.1 miles? I could probably run 13.1 miles! My only problem was that I had not done anything athletic and physical since playing lacrosse in college 17 years ago.

I ran and completed my first half marathon this past January, running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I began January 1, 2008 with the New Year’s resolution of getting off of the couch, losing weight, and reducing my work related stress, while sneaking in another trip to WDW. After registering for the half, my wife Cindy threatened me that I had to complete this or else. I had registered several years ago not training seriously and never actually ran the race. After registering, I never actually ran --- period!

At the age of 39, now 35 pounds lighter, in shape, more relaxed, and a confident athlete, I am addicted to running. I get up at 4:00 am six days a week to workout and run, whether, I am training for a race or just keeping in shape. There is no better feeling and accomplishment then starting the day off with doing something most won't do, running miles at a time. I also completed my 2nd and 3rd half marathons this year, running the Suntrust Half Marathon through Washington, DC in March and the Harrisburg Half Marathon in September. I ran several 5Ks and the Disney Race for the Taste 10K. I am running the Harrisburg Marathon in several weeks, which will be my first full marathon. Needless to say running has become a significant part of my life. Living in chilly PA, I only ran in-doors for 2 weeks this past year. Outdoors is where I belong. As motivation for myself and hopefully others, I post my runs and times daily on Facebook and Twitter and am motivated by other runners doing the same.

Crossing the finish line in January was one of my greatest individual accomplishments. Joining the All Ears Running Team and the thought of motivating others and running for a cause was even more reason to pursue my new passion. I ran by myself for the past 21 months. The thought of letting other runners know that they have support and are not alone is something I enjoy being a part of.

My wife Cindy and I have been regular contributors to Deb's annual Avon walk for the past several years. I donate in memory of my grandmother Naomi Klevans, who lost the battle with breast cancer at the young age of 85 after having been diagnosed with breast cancer in her latter years. My grandmother was a very important influence in my life and taught me to work hard, set goals, and keep a positive attitude, no matter what life throws at you. Even facing such a significant diagnosis, I was awed by her positive outlook and how she took the diagnosis in stride. She waged a tough battle, but ultimately lost her battle with cancer a few years later. It is in her honor and memory that I run this coming year and why this cause and team is so important to me.

I will be competing in and completing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge this January as I run in memory of my grandmother. My wonderful wife Cindy and my 5 1/2 year old daughter Julia will be there to support me during marathon weekend. This will be Julia's 18th trip to Walt Disney World, but her first time running as she participates in the 200M Kids race. I hope Julia catches the running bug, I sure have!

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About October 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in October 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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