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March 2012 Archives

March 14, 2012

Team AllEars 2013: Continuing with Purpose

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Team AllEars Logo

It happens every spring…the snow melts…clocks spring ahead…pitchers and catchers report for spring training…but more importantly it’s that time of year to launch a new year of Team AllEars.

In the Beginning

The Team AllEars Running Team was founded in 2009 with several goals in mind. One was to motivate those who have wanted to acquire a more active and healthier lifestyle through walking, jogging, and running. However, the team was also constructed for a purpose…and that was to not just get healthier but to help others. We are talking about those battling in the fight for survival from breast cancer.

Team AllEars would become a force committed to increasing breast cancer awareness by raising funds for Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer .

Regarding launch of Team AllEars for 2013, Deb Wills expressed:

“I am so excited to announce Team AllEars for 2013. The Team has exceeded all my expectations. Each year new people make a decision to get healthier and off the couch and join the team. Also, as a Team that Runs with Purpose, Team AllEars has raised over $140,000 in three years to fight breast cancer. Many lives have been saved through everyone's hard work and determination. I am so proud of everyone involved.”

A Team Becomes a Family

At the annual team meeting this past January at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-McLean used “family” as the proper word to define what Team AllEars has become over the years. As she expressed it to the team members, “A family answers questions when people have issues or worries, or their it band is blown, or they’re nervous about a race, or they don't know how to get from one resort to the other. That’s what a family does and you have given me so much and, I really feel that we are a family, and you are my family, and I really appreciate everything you do.”

The team’s support mechanisms for the fight against breast cancer, support for their fellow teammates, and in fact the support they have given all runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, has prompted Rudy Novotny, the voice of runDisney, to remark, “The AllEars Team was a fabulous "addition" to the entire weekend of events. RunDisney, and in fact, the running community as a whole, is better for having Team AllEars out on the roads. All of those that are touched and benefit from AllEars fundraising efforts surely appreciate the blessing you all bring more than you will ever know.”

So what does it take to become part of Team AllEars?

First, team members commit to running in one of the various races held in January, during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. These races range from a 5K distance (3.1 miles), to a half marathon (13.1 miles), and finally to a full marathon distance (26.2 miles).

Secondly, team members commit to raising $500 in funds for Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The team has fundraising experts who assist team members with ideas on fundraising events and, in fact, the entire team shares ideas in this area, which in turn aids towards the success of the team.

The team gathers in January to run and celebrate their achievements over the previous 12 months and to hold their annual team meeting where they share what motivates them to “run with purpose”.

Mike Scopa, Co-Captain for Team AllEars, described the annual meeting as, “The culmination of all those miles on the road, all those hours training, and all those efforts throughout the year to raise funds…it’s understandable why everyone is emotional at this meeting. Not only do we get to share our success as a team, and as a family, but we are also reminded how each one of us has been touched by cancer. As we end the meeting you can see the determination in everyone’s faces…faces that seem to say, “I’m not done…the fight goes on.”

During that weekend the team spends time with the annual Team AllEars YeeHaw Bob Meet at Port Orleans Riverside, and other get togethers such as meals and desert parties.

Team AllEars includes Team AllCheers who support the Team AllEars runners and their efforts by also attending the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and rooting them on.

Beyond the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, team members join up throughout the year to run in other races around the country to enjoy friendship and support.

So as Team AllEars moves into it’s fourth year, the energy, the drive, and the motivation to get healthier and to fight the battle against breast cancer is stronger than ever before. Each year sees some change in the numbers and names of those on the team, but there is no denying, that although the numbers and names and faces may change slightly…one thing never changes…this team Runs with Purpose.

How to Join

For you to join the Team AllEars 2013 you must first be registered for one of the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races.

Secondly, you are asked to committing to raising $500 or more to Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, along the way raising breast cancer awareness as well.

Member Benefits

Team members will receive official AllEars® Running Team Newsletters that will feature special articles along with some tips and hints on preparing for the big race.

Team members will be encouraged and welcomed to contribute to the team newsletter with questions regarding training and to share their success stories in the team blog.

Team members are encouraged to participate in the private Team AllEars Facebook page (open to members only).

All team members will be invited to special team events during the 2013 WDW Marathon Weekend.

If you would like to become a member of the Team AllEars Running team please send an email to Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at michelle@teamallears.com.

Remember, the only way to run is to Run with Purpose.

Lift off!


Team AllEars Logo

March 24, 2012

It’s Kind of Fun to do the Impossible

by Christine Griffin

I suppose you could say I started running to get away from the law. No need to fret - Deb, Michelle, and Mike are not harboring a fugitive among their merry band of runners. Allow me to explain…

At this time last year, I was more than halfway through my first year of law school. As my Team AllEars teammate Heather Melito-Dezan knows, the first year of law school is the academic equivalent to being placed in a gigantic pressure cooker. Professors utilizing the Socratic method, competing against your classmates for grades and interviews, and a general lack of sunshine and fresh air make for an interesting atmosphere. I had never been in great shape, although in college I participated in many fun extracurriculars - ballroom dancing! rock climbing! snowboarding! Zumba! – the things you could get credit for as an undergraduate! But any athletic progress I made before starting law school came to a screeching halt once my legal studies commenced. My first semester, I did absolutely nothing in the way of exercise – unless you count hauling those heaving textbooks back and forth from my locker to the library (Which may be a valid point, but I digress).

I realized, however, that I had to start doing something, if not for my physical health then at the very least for my mental well-being. So, once I settled back in for the second semester, I joined a local all-women’s gym with the intention of taking one or two Zumba classes a week, since Zumba was one of the few forms of exercise I did not equate with torture. Soon, I branched out to other areas of the gym – the elliptical, the rowing machine, the stationary bikes and weight machines. I avoided treadmills like the plague, though.

One day, in the middle of a Zumba class, it occurred to me that if I could do fast-paced dancing for an hour without croaking, then surely I could complete a 5K. As an avid AllEars.net reader, I remembered reading the TAE blog posts recounting the running adventures of Mike, Michelle, Deb, Laura, Lee, and others in awe, living vicariously while thinking that I could never complete a half marathon. Much to my delight, I discovered that TAE members, in addition to meeting their fundraising goals, only had to complete the 5K during Marathon Weekend! No half or full marathons required! And if anything could get me to run, it was a trip to Disney World. Additionally, my aunt is a breast cancer survivor and TAE raises money for breast cancer research. It was a match made in heaven.

I cannot remember which came first, my signing up for the WDW Family Fun 5K or my email to Michelle, one of the team’s co-captains. She assured me that TAE consisted of runners, walkers, and run-walkers of all abilities. At some point in this process, massive quantities of pixie dust clouded my judgment and I did the unthinkable – I registered for the WDW half marathon. I rationalized it to myself, saying I could power walk to stay in the 16 minute-per-mile required pace. But, as someone who couldn’t run even a half-mile at the time, even I thought I was crazy. I told very few people of my crazy plans at first, mostly just Michelle and my family.

My credit card sufficiently walloped (Disney races may be magical, but come cheap they do not), I had no choice but to begin running. A friend from school brought me to a running store to get fitted for my first pair of proper running shoes. I sheepishly confessed to him that I signed up for the half marathon, some eight months away. But something funny happened – he didn’t reply with incredulous disbelief like I expected. Instead, he fully believed I could do it, which meant a lot since I hadn’t yet convinced myself I could. At around the same time, I found the perfect quote to put on my team t-shirts: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” It was as if Walt himself offered encouragement.

Additionally, I received loads of support and encouragement from my mentor, the wonderful Michelle Scribner-MacLean, who took me on as a mentee despite her other, less-important jobs, namely being a college professor, mother, and TAE co-captain. But in all seriousness, we connected instantly, both being Boston girls. I’m pretty sure Michelle is actually my long-lost aunt and I will be forever grateful for her support and guidance.

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The more I ran, the more it occurred to me that running has quite a bit in common with law school. In both pursuits, you learn new ‘languages’ – caveat emptor, enfeoffment, and “the myrmidon of res judicata” are some choice terms in legalese, while running taught me fun new words like Gu, Zensah, and overpronation. Studying for a law school exam is a lot like training for a long race. Much as you cannot cram for a law school exam, you cannot fake hundreds of miles of training come race day. Finding a good mentor is invaluable, whether they are a respected attorney or a fellow “runnah.”

As spring turned to summer and summer turned to fall, I began participating in local races – a few 5Ks, a 10K, and at Michelle’s suggestion, a hilly, seaside half marathon. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t fast, but my mentor’s advice was spot-on – completing a half at home made me much more confident in the weeks leading up to WDW.

Before I knew it, I finished the first semester of my second year and headed down to the World for a whirlwind week of races and TAE love. The excitement of the race expo and meeting all of my teammates in person was amazing. My mother, sister, and father participated in the 5K, the first ever race for each of them. I laid out my running gear the night before the Half, since I knew my 2:30am wake up call would come early.

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Come early it did, and after a never-ending bus ride I found myself waiting in Corral C with Michelle, Mike, Mandy, Heather, and Helen. The corral gods work in mysterious ways – the TAE New England coalition was well-represented in C and being surrounded by my mentor and teammates I knew well helped to keep my nerves at bay. Words cannot describe the atmosphere of a runDisney race; I believe it’s something everyone should experience at least once in his or her lifetime.

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Just as Michelle promised, the miles flew by. In the blink of an eye, we were running through the gates of the Magic Kingdom; however, by far the highlight of my fledgling running career came when Michelle and I ran through the castle together. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line and received my (surprisingly hefty) Donald medal.

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Before I conclude, I’d like to make a few shout outs to everyone who believed in my running, even when I didn’t – my family; my wonderful mentor Michelle; Mike, Deb, the Ear Buds and the rest of TAE; Pat; all my Body to Soul girls, especially Pasqualina and Tracie; my law school classmates and running buddies; and last but not least all my friends and neighbors whose generous support of my TAE fundraising efforts floored me. Your encouragement and enthusiasm made all my hard work and training worthwhile.

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Clichéd though it may sound, joining TAE changed my life. Over the course of a year I went from someone who could not run a mile to someone who has run many 5Ks, a 10K, and two half marathons and actually (gasp) enjoys running. I am far healthier and happier than I was at this time last year. Most importantly, I have acquired a new extended family, one that offers unconditional support, loves Disney as much as I do, and fights breast cancer. I rejoined TAE for 2013 and am looking forward to training for the WDW full marathon. Whether you are a seasoned runner who would like to try a longer distance, a casual walker or jogger, or a complete novice, I highly encourage you to join TAE for our 2013 season. The team has all the support, advice, and camaraderie you could ever need, and besides – it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

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About March 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in March 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2012 is the previous archive.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.