Friday, February 19, 2010

Beats on the Streets...or sidewalk...or path...or on a treadmill

Two years ago, when I started this whole "running" thing, I knew from the moment I stepped foot into the gym at school or eventually the loop around where I live that I was going to get distracted easily. Case in point, as I was running, all I could hear was the sound of my breathing and my feet hitting the pavement. For those of us that remember when we started to run, that was the most unpleasant sound in the entire world. The "heaving" and "hacking" and muttering under our breath as we cursed those that got us into this in the first place (Stephen and Tana @b_bmom I am directing that to you). As for your feet hitting the pavement, you could hear every "pound" and "crunch" and you became more aware of your legs and your pace. It was brutal!

Now, there will be the die hards out there that will say, "now Brett, when you are running, and you are outside, you should listen to nature; the birds singing, the leaves blowing in the trees, the peacefulness of where you are." I say, "YEAH RIGHT! That's not happening so I am getting an iPod, loading my music onto it, just so I don't get bored and I have something to distract me during my time out there." The funny thing is that time does fly when you have tunes in your ears.

I also know that there is a lot of people in the running community that are either for having MP3 players during races and those that are dead set against them. Even now, MP3 players are "strongly discouraged" in races and if you do have them on, you must make sure that the volume is at a level that you don't become a "hazard" on the course. I totally agree with that. Plus, during our training runs, I would hope that most of us that do have MP3 players with us are not so wrapped up in our music that we lose complete self-awareness that we are running in places that have heavy traffic. If you can't hear the semi coming up behind you, YOUR VOLUME IS TOO LOUD, PEOPLE!

As for my selection of MP3 player, I decided to go with as small as I could get in both physical presence and memory. For some reason there are people that need to have all of their music with them when they run or workout. For me, as long as I can put on about 50 to 100 songs onto the player, I am happy. Plus, I don't have the need to have a designated "workout playlist" as it is all on the player. That made me decide to go with the iPod shuffle (second generation). I went with the 1GB version as it allows me to have about 200 songs on it. As of right now, I only have about 84 songs on mine right now. Luckily, they are all songs that I don't care which one comes on because it is one that I know I can run or workout to. I will say that I am not too happy with Apple's design on their generation 3 iPod shuffle. They have now designed the iPod shuffle so that the controls are on the ear buds, not on the actual player which would let me go between songs. Which leads me to my next gripe; headphones.

As for headphones, for some odd reason (whether it be genetics or what) those little iPod headphones that come with all their MP3 players do not stay in my ears when I run or workout. So, after many attempts at the "buds" I decided to go with the wrap around the back of the head Sennheiser PMX60 Street-Style Headphones. They are awesome! Great sound plus, they stay on my ears! Thus you can see why I will stick with the generation 2 iPod shuffle for as long as I can. At least with generation 2 I can decide which headphones I want to plug in. Apple, Steve Jobs, can you hear me? Change it back, please!

The last part is the strap to put your Shuffle on. Yes the generation 2 iPod has a nice clip you can place on your person so that it work for you. However, the last thing I want to worry about, while running, is having the iPod fall off and me having to put it back in place. That is where my Belkin iPod strap comes in hand. The iPod just clips in, you put it around your arms with the velcro strap and you are good to go. Plus, the velcro is amazingly strong. Have had it for over a year and a half and have never had issues with the velcro.

Blah Blah Blah! That might seem like the "plug" for the products, but people have asked me what I wear while running and I am just telling you what works for me. Would you rather talk about types of running shoes? Yes? Well let's leave that for another entry.

Now, onto music. What do I listen to while running or working out? I know that everyone has different tastes in what they listen to. I have lots of people on Twitter and Facebook ask me about what is on my iPod shuffle to keep me going. My taste in music is eclectic (spelled that right on my first attempt!). I listen to pop, rock, and even country. Whatever is in the Top 40 or popular at the time, I will listen to it. I love the classics as well (60s, 70s, 80s, even the 90s now). The second I get sick of a song it comes off the Shuffle That's the nice thing about having a device like MP3 players where you are able to swap out your music at will to fit your taste at the moment.

I love my music and the nice thing about having a blog, and like I do on Twitter on occasion, is link to music that I am enjoying at the moment. Is it for everyone? NO! We all have our own taste. For me, I don't mind having Lady Gaga mixed in with Aerosmith, Jason Derulo mixed in with Journey, or a Glee song mixed in with DJ Kool.

For me, as long as the song can keep me moving between a steady or a hard pace during a run, I will have it on my iPod. It has got to make me GO GO GO! Because of the joys of the internet there is even sites devoted to running songs. There is even a site that breaks songs down into Beats Per Minute (BPM)! Songs are broken down into their BPM and then listed on the site so people can see how hard they could actually be working their body. Please check it out at Running Music Mix.

Because music is a passion of mine, along with MANY other things (cough cough Disney cough cough) I would like to post a few links to songs that I am listening to every few weeks. I hope that you will, maybe, hear a song that you would like put on your MP3 player for your workout.
Music is an amazing motivator during a run or a workout. Whether is is the lyrics, a certain guitar riff, or the beats per minute, music can keep you going through the hard parts when we need that extra little bit of "kick". Sorry nature folks, tweeting birds do not get me motivated!

So, what's on my iPod right now? As you can see, Owl City's "Fireflies" is not listed as those who follow me on Twitter know that I detest with a passion! Here we go:

Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf
Jai Ho - AR Rehman and Pussycat Dolls
Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
The Quest - Brynn Christopher
Let Me Entertain You - Robbie Williams
I Don't Care - Fall Out Boy
Just Push Play - Aerosmith
Walk This Way - DMC and Aerosmith
Can't Stop Messin - Aerosmith
Stronger - Kanye West
Breaking Dishes - Rhianna
In My Head - Jason Derulo
Jump - Flo Rida with Nelly Furtado
Telephone - Lady Gaga and Beyonce
Blame it on the Pop 2009 - Dj Earworm (AMAZING MIX of 25 hits from 2009)

Celebrate You - Corbin Bleau (Cause let's face it, we have to have something Disney in this entry! Definitely thinking about January 2011 Goofy's Challenge when running to this one)

This is just a taste of what is on my Shuffle. There will be other entries dealing with running and workout music in the future as I keep changing what is on the iPod! :) If you have one that you workout to all the time, please feel free to list it in the comment section. I am always looking for new music to put on the iPod. Please, let me know what you are listening to!

Have a good one!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Dream Called Walt Disney World

How many of us remember that movie from above? I guess I am mostly talking to my Twitter people here! :) It was almost a ritual, on the weekends for my sister and I to pop in the BETA tape of "A Dream Called Walt Disney World" and watch it once, twice, oh fine, sometimes three times on Saturday afternoons. I still remember putting in the tape and having to rewind it because someone had forgotten to the last time we watched it. Then waiting for that first image of the the castle on the screen, that little girl in the red dress walking towards the castle and opening that big door. Then, in the blink of an eye, a half hour had gone by and I felt like I had had a mini vacation to WDW and likely would just hit the rewind button and have another. I also remember after each view running up to my parents and saying, "when are we going back?" That question was often answered by the "sometime" response.

I have, over the course of my life, been called "spoiled". Not that I am a snob or anything like that (like to think of myself as the opposite). However, I won't lie in say that I have been very fortunate to go on many trips to Walt Disney World since the time I was four years old. Today, I am almost th-th-thir-thirty (sigh) and will be heading off to WDW with my family (mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece) for my 26th trip this coming July.

Now, for some of you that I follow on Twitter and Facebook, that maybe doesn't seem like a HUGE number to some of you because I know that Disney is a passion. Hey, that's what caught my eye when I decided to follow most of you you. However, for some, that is a big number.

Responses when I tell people that I have gone to WDW 25 times and continue to return year after year:
  • "really, again?"
  • "Do you own the company?"
  • "Why? Has it changed that much?"
  • "Don't you want to go someplace else?"
  • "There is a big world out there and you aren't experiencing it."
  • "Seriously? Seriously? Seriously?"
The questions above I have learned to smile and take them in stride. In fact, I kind of laugh on the inside when I hear one of them directed at me; especially when it is someone that has either "A" never visited WDW before or "B" was there once in the early 1980s and doesn't think the place has changed. Of course there are those people that, what I like to call "get it", and they just wish us a good time, tell us to take lots of pics, write trip reports, and enjoy yourselves. A lot of you understand that already. The place is just so big that you can find many things to do throughout your trip and still have not done it all. Oh yeah, "and when you're done and you think you are through, you turn around and there's more than you ever dreamed of." True fact. It's in the song (look above).

My life has been Disney since I was four. I don't know what it is like without it. Theme parks, Orlando, Animated Features, Figment, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Roger Rabbit, etc. I love the fact that when I was about nine my parents felt comfortable enough to say, "Ok, Magic Kingdom. Brett, do you want to go off by yourself for a bit? Do you have your watch? We are meeting at this time in front of Casey's. Remember, if you need help, look for a Cast Member. Have a good time!" Now, some parents are probably gasping, "they let him go by himself when he was nine?" Yep! Seems my parents thought I had some common sense. Plus, they knew that I knew my way around the parks (MK and Epcot during this time then the Studios and AK later on). Later on, when my sister was older and cousins were with me, we had no problems just going off on our own. That's just the way it was. It was awesome to feel that independence to just go off and do what I wanted to do. Does that mean I didn't spend any time with my parents? No. However, at least once a day they would let me go off for about two hours by myself and just explore and let me soak up the Disney experience, my way. For that, I am grateful.

Why do we continue to go back? That is a question that is often asked of myself and my family. Nostalgia? somewhat. Memories? yep. Because we know that when we go on vacation we have a place where we know we are going to have a great time and relax. Absolutely. I guess, for me, the reason I keep going back is because I want to go to a place that I know I am going to have a good time at. I am not a "lay on the beach and get sunburned" kind of person. Can and should I go and explore other areas of the world. Yep, I probably should. Will I, eventually? Maybe. I am not too worried about it right now. The cool things is is that I have watched the place grow and evolve over time. Like watching a child/student grow over the years. It is amazing how far WDW has come over the years and there is still so much more to develop. I guess I continue to go back because I like looking at it through the eye of a "fanatic" and not a "tourist". I love watching the Cast Members do their thing. I love walking through Adventureland as the MK is closing down. I enjoy helping others that need assistance when they are lost. Plus, I always enjoy giving away the FastPasses we don't use to a family that is just walking into the parks. Some would say that is "manufactured happiness". To me, I see that as living the life that I would love to see in the "Real World".

This year, of course, I am going to have an amazing WDW year. We are off for a vacation in July and then in January I will be heading back down to combine my two passions; Disney+Running=Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. That, for me, will be the experience of a lifetime. Some of us have talked about a "bucket list" and that is one that has been on mine for the last two years. It is time to cross it off!

Let's face it, I could go on and on with this post. However, I just like people to know where I come from. I have a passion for anything and everything Disney. I don't have a website devoted to it (but I visit a ton of them). I don't have a podcast (but I love listening to them). I haven't written books about Disney (but I love reading them). I love all those people that share their passion about Disney. It definitely makes me realize I am not alone in the world, lol!

So, to all of you out there who share the "Disney Dream" along with myself and my family, we would like to thank all of you for sharing your passion with us. I would like to especially thank all of those people that I follow on Twitter that have Disney as their passion. Your information and insight is awesome. I hope that I have been able to share even a tenth of what you have shared with me! You all ROCK!

This post is not meant to be mind shattering or anything. I just wanted to share where I am coming form when it comes to my passion for Disney. This is just a drop in the bucket. I guess maybe I should write a book. hmmmm?

Now, as with the end of all Disney BETA movies, we need to watch this! You know what I'm talking about.