Tag Archive for Cigna Blogger Social Media meet up

Cigna Blogger / Social Media Meetup Jan 5, 2018

After the 10k race was done earlier in the morning and we had some breakfast we headed into Epcot for a bit for some fast passes we had. But I had to skip out on Soarin’ to head back to the Boardwalk area to get to the Atlantic Dance Hall for the Cigna Blogger / Social Media meet up!

A little while back I was invited (along with many other bloggers and social media folks) to attend a blogger meet up during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Cigna is the primary sponsor for the event and they wanted to raise some awareness of the kinds of things they do health wise for their customers (and give some appreciation to the bloggers that cover this event).

I have did a couple posts leading up to the event with information provided by Cigna – the folks in the posts were very inspirational and I am glad I was able to see the info and promote their stories.

Bindu Panapalli

Sonya Hazel

Chelby Elam

It’s great to see that the a race event you love is sponsored by a team that does good work.

I showed up to the event and took a couple photos of the welcome sign (while avoiding standing in front of it so I wouldn’t be in the way of others doing the same thing).

Note: all pictures in this post were taken by the photographer Cigna provided for the event. 

Atlantic Dance Hall – photo courtesy of Cigna


Quickly went in, introduced myself, got my name tag and a sticker that told me which team I would be on for the fun and games later. Team Donald!

They had a lovely buffet lunch set out for everyone which was very good. Tasty stuff.

Lunch – I am on the far left in the grey hoodie. Photo courtesy of Cigna


After a short wait we needed to assemble our teams at one of four game stations.

We did that and I was doing so I recognized many folks who I follow on Twitter (some of whom do the same to me).

Below is a list of some of the folks I recognized – it is not a comprehensive list and some of the people there I did not know so I will have missed them:

Be Our Guest podcast, Joyful Miles, Sparkly Runner, Run Steff Run, Weight Off my Shoulders, Elbow Glitter, The Casual Runner, RezRuns (from YouTube), Running Happily Ever After, Run All the Races, Always Running Forward (Justin Stone), Heather Runs 13.1, Half Crazy Mama, Bama Girl Runs, and many more. Sorry to those who I forgot!

We started with 4 games that we rotated through as a team – each one used to highlight various healthy living information.

First 4 games included a sugar packet toss, picking up jacks, stacking cups, and trying to bounce a ping pong ball into empty food cans (hit the healthy ones!). They were all a lot of fun to play around with and each team had a representative that did a timed run to see which team could get the most points.

After that we switched to a trivia game with health and diet questions where you received tokens for each correct answer that added towards your team’s points.

After that it was on to a second set of 4 games: rolling a ping pong ball along a tape measure and into a shot glass, block stacking on a frisbee on your head, apple stacking, and nut (as in nuts and bolts) stacking with chop sticks. Also a great deal of fun.

Next up was a music game where each team had to try to buzz in and complete a line of a song – each of the songs were then used to tie into a health / diet theme.

Once that was all done it was time to tally the scores and see how everyone did. Our team was certain we were last in the scoring based on some of the points we had seen but were stunned when we weren’t!

There was a tie for 2nd place though so we figured that is where we would be…but to our amazement we ended up winning?

We won? photo courtesy of Cigna


We got a cool little medal with Cigna on it for winning and got to have our team picture taken.

The winning team – photo courtesy of Cigna 

Next up we had full group pictures taken and then Doctors Mickey and Minnie came out for group and individual photos. Pretty rare characters to see!

Meetup crew and Doctors Mickey and Minnie – photo courtesy of Cigna


We then all lined up and got individual and fun pictures with the characters before we headed out for the day.

The big goof with Doctors Mickey and Minnie – photo courtesy of Cigna!

Great gift bag from Cigna on our way out as well – a cool little light and a great running belt bag. I didn’t use the bag on the half or full marathon but I will definitely on future races.

A great event – I am happy to have been invited to participate and have some fun with some great people!

After the event I dropped a bunch of stuff in our room and headed back into Epcot to have some more fun with the family. Very busy day!

Thanks Cigna for inviting me!!

2 week out update for Dopey Challenge #2

Ok – I am back – it’s been busy the past few weeks so I haven’t been doing the blogging I want to do but today marks 2 weeks out from our travel day to the Disney World Marathon weekend and my 2nd Dopey Challenge (7th Goofy? wow…) and I figured I should find some time to get in here and give a quick round up of where I am and get everyone up to date on what is going on. (it is going to be a long one…)

I will start off with a major cool surprise this week as I was invited to attend the Cigna Blogger and Social Media Meet-Up over the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! I have read up on how fun the event can be from some of the runners I follow on Twitter and it sounds like a great time. Honored to have been invited and very excited to attend!

And with that wild announcement out of the way on with the update…


Where do I stand running wise?

Running has been going decently well – furthest I have gotten on my recent longer runs has been 14 miles – which is not long enough but at least showed I could still do something. I have had several 10s in there as well so the 14 wasn’t a fluke.

For the most part my legs have been good. The ankle that has caused me grief for the past year and a half seems very solid so that seems to finally be truly solved – major sigh of relief there!

I am however having an issue with my right knee. Over the years this knee has caused me some grief (going back to high school football…back in the dark ages…) but I am still surprised it has popped up as an issue now. Mostly because of how / why it started bugging me. That is, I didn’t seem to do anything bad to it running…I seem to have buggered it up by having a nap on the couch a week or so ago…

That deserves an explanation I suppose.

So about a week and a half ago I sat down on the couch with my legs up on the ottoman to do some reading and promptly fell asleep. I had my legs crossed at the ankles with my right leg underneath…when I woke up a couple hours later I had not moved at all…and when I stood up my right knee would barely hold my weight – it had been hyper-extended pretty good by the weight of the other leg being on top of it for a few hours. Getting old sucks. The knee improved quickly just by moving it around but ever since it gives me shots now and then when I run. So I have been taking it easy with how hard I am running as truly injuring my leg right now would not be a good thing.

I still hope to get in a real good long run over the next week to clear the cobwebs but at this point it will just be for convincing myself I can as opposed to actually improving my conditioning.


My weight:

I have been getting my weight to go down – probably down about 5-8 pounds from where I was 2 months ago which is an improvement but still not where I need to be. Back in 2015 when I ran my first Dopey Challenge I was around the 220 pound mark and I am sitting above the 240 point right now – so I have a lot of work to do but obviously that won’t be fixed before the races in 2 weeks. But I have made positive improvements and I expect to keep that going so that I can train and run better races later in 2018. I have to take the long term goal of getting my weight under control – it took me a few years to get where I am so I won’t be able to fix it overnight. (on a side note my half and full PRs were set at about the 220 pound point – 1:46:00 for the half – I am tall and carry a fair bit of muscle so the 220 on me is not as dramatically overweight as it might sound…)


Kids’ training:

This year we are doing the 5k race as a family – so my wife Heather, our son (11) and daughter (9), and I will all be running the 5k.

I will then be doing the 10k with our son before going on and doing the half and full on my own to finish out the Dopey Challenge.

We did the ProBowl 5k together back in February but this will be the kids’ first taste of a real runDisney race and I want them in good enough shape that they can enjoy it and not be struggling with the distance or the cut off times.

How has their training been going? Probably more consistently than mine actually…

Our daughter has been doing 1-2 mile run/walks a few times a week as well as walking the pups with me. She also has run club before school twice a week. So she will be quite ready. She has crazy good natural running form too, so I really hope she keeps an interest in running.

Our son has been doing a few 2 mile runs a week plus occasionally longer. He might have some troubles with the 10k but the hope is at a minimum we can do the first 5k in a strong fashion and then really enjoy the back half of the race – because if he has to do some walking there it will at least be the most fun places to do that and we should have a time buffer to make sure we can finish. He did seem to have some issues earlier in the training with his form –  a lot of clomping and almost looked like he was going to trip himself all the time. One of his feet bends inward a bit and the shoes he was wearing seemed to be amplifying the issue. For an 11 year old he has pretty gigantic feet and we had to move up to smaller adult size to get him a decent pair of running shoes. But on the positive side of that, because we had to go with an adult size we could get him very good quality running shoes – once we did his form improved immensely.

Heather has been training as well so we will all be ready to have a really good time with the 5k race!


Overall – where is my head at?

Frankly my running has been on a slow and steady decline since spring 2015 when I got a bit sick and I have struggled with motivation and training since. My weight has slowly gotten worse as well over that time frame. And to top it off stress has been beating me up pretty good too.

BUT it seems like in the past couple months I have been able to start to make improvements in both my running and my weight and just feel better physically and mentally overall. I have a lot of work ahead of me but at least I am feeling positive about running and being healthy again.

I am going into these races with no real game plan either – I haven’t been in an organized race since the Spruce Woods 50k ultra back in early May and I haven’t done a road race since Goofy Challenge back in January. So I really have no idea what is going to happen on the races, how fast I will go, how I will feel, everything is in the air here.

Surprisingly I did get corral C from a time I had from last spring – I am probably not in the shape I should be to be in that corral so I might move back voluntarily but on the other side of it I am wondering if getting those extra few minutes isn’t going to be a good thing in case I implode spectacularly on the marathon. Which is entirely possible at this point.

So…what does that mean?

I am feeling generally positive going into the races but I am not expecting miracles from myself. My times for the longer runs I have done lately say 5 to 5.5 hours could be possible but I realistically expect closer to 6 hours for the full.

My plan is to run the races with my gimbal and a camera (for the 5k and 10k for sure and hopefully all 4 races) to take video and pictures and to distract my brain so that my body can do what it needs to do.

So with all that said for the marathon I am hoping to start with a pace to finish in 5 hours with the expectation that it my poor conditioning will catch up with me after about 2 hours and I will slow down significantly while still shooting to complete in 6 hours. That then gives me a buffer for things to go spectacularly wrong and still be have time to finish…


Alrighty – thanks for sticking with me through that one – it was definitely a long one…if I could post more frequently these things would be shorter…probably something I should remember…

Good luck to everyone on their training and if you see me at the Walt Disney World Marathon please say hi!