Where's Goofy?

One may ask: "What's 'Where's Goofy?' and what does it mean?"

Well, here's the story of Goofy and what led up to this web site.

My name is Jim Damm from the Houston, Texas area, and I am a runner, triathlete, and multisport athlete. I'm not the fastest - I may be the slowest at any event, but my goal is to finish each event I start. Remember:
  Dead Last Finish
    beats Did Not Finish
      which greatly trumps Did Not Start.

In July 2005, a good friend (Dawn) convinced me to join this group she was a part of called Bay Area Fit (aka "BAF") in the Clear Lake Area south of Houston, Texas. Bay Area Fit is a part of the USA Fit organization, whose goal is to help you successfully run a marathon or a half marathon.  She had joined the year before (she had mentioned it then, but it didn't quite click or sit well with me at the time, regardless, I didn't bite...), and asked me again.  I remember that she had done the Houston marathon and we were proud of her.  In addition, I was approaching that magical birthday of 40 (not quite there yet...) and knew that I needed to get a little more physically active, so I agreed to join.  I agreed to join, but wouldn't commit to doing the marathon or half-marathon - just something that would "force" me to get some physical activity.  Dawn also conned - I mean convinced - some other folks from work to join, so I wasn't the only one involved.

About Bay Area Fit: As part of the USA Fit organization, BAF brings the organization to the local community. The group divides into color groups - Bay Area Fit has Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple and Blue. Runners/Walkers are grouped by ability. Green, Yellow, Orange and Red are full marathon runners (Green has the fastest pace; Red has the slowest pace of the 4 colors, and includes the walk/runners-more running than walking). Blue is the group for half marathon runners (all paces) - they're broken into 2 groups Blue A (experienced and faster halfers) and Blue B (newbies and slower halfers). That leave the best group for last - the Purples (or Purps as we are known). Purps are the folks who are either walkers or run/walkers. The run/walkers are the folks who run a little and walk a little more - usually at a 2/5 pace: 2 minutes running followed by 5 minutes walking. Enough about Bay Area Fit for now.

Anyway, I went the first week and after doing a couple of miles, I was exhausted and went home and slept 4 hours...   I kept going every Saturday morning, getting earlier and earlier as the season progressed.  I agreed to sign up for the Houston Marathon, although I knew that I could easily drop to the half marathon - just to keep Dawn off my back.  I was still skeptical that I could do a marathon, but I kept coming back due to the peer pressure and accountability of my friends (both ones I knew before BAF and those I met at BAF).  As the season went on, it got easier - to the point that I didn't take a nap after the Saturday morning activities...   I knew I would complete something in January and that would be that - and I could enjoy my Saturday mornings as before.  

My turning point was the Bay Area Fit 18 miler.  We were going out doing two 9-mile loops of the Clear Lake Area - it was the Saturday after Thanksgiving.   We started and the weather wasn't looking good, but it was fine to go (we were doing the 2/5 run/walk pace by that time...) - there was no rain or lightning in the area.  We got through the first loop and the weather wasn't looking that good - there had been some rain, but as we had been warned - the Marathon doesn't stop for the rain...  So Dawn and I agreed to keep going.   We, along with a fellow Purple named Becky kept going.  About 1 mile into loop two, the skies opened up and we were soaked.  We both decided that since we were already wet, we might as well keep going.  We plugged along - the aid stations had long since shut down, but we kept going - the sidewalks had 1-2 inches of water on them, but we kept going - we were soaking wet, but we kept going (you get the picture).   As we got to the end, I expected there might be one or two folks there to make sure we got in.  As we came around the corner into Clear Lake High School, we could hear a whole group of folks cheering us on.  It was a wonderful feeling - about 20 fellow Fitters (as we're called) stuck around in the rain to see us in.   Our fellow Purple Fitter and Coach Elizabeth met us with dry towels and the other Fitters who I didn't really know made me feel like "I belonged" - even though I wasn't a runner and hadn't been all that active in the group - other than the Saturday morning runs.  Angie - one of the Bay Area Fit coordinators - said that if we survived this, we could survive the marathon with no problems.  That was the day something "clicked" within me and I knew that I had found an activity I enjoyed, could do with other people, and could hopefully encourage others to get involved and do something, rather than just sit on the sidelines and watch life go by.

After that, I did the Houston Marathon - Dawn and I finished with a time of 5:37:22 - over 22 minutes to spare before the marathon course shut down and I wouldn't have an official marathon time.  From there, another friend (Alan) as well as a co-worker (Jerry) suggested the MS-150.   After the marathon, the MS-150 seemed that it would be a piece of cake! (It was a challenge, but that's another story).  I also did two half marathons along the way: Surfside Marathon and Seabrook Lucky Trail

After the MS-150, I participated in Bay Area Fit's 7 at 7 - our off-season program to keep us active...  Somewhere along the line, Disney's Goofy Challenge came up.  I admitted that I was game and committed to the Goofy Challenge.  The Goofy Challenge (or officially "2007 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge") consists of doing a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday of the weekend of the Disney World Marathon for a total of 39.3 miles over two days.  The primary goal is to finish both, but the "benefit" is what Angie calls "The Bling" - 3 different Disney medals.  (I'm also doing the Inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon, so that will be 4 Disney medals for the year...).

Anyway, since there's a whole group of us from Bay Area Fit doing some aspect of the Disneyworld Marathon Weekend, we've adopted Goofy as our mascot, and I've been taking Goofy with me as I've been traveling.   This site is dedicated to the pictures I've taken along the way with Goofy, along with some of my training thoughts.


January 2007