If you listen to the Be Our Guest Podcast, then you are familiar with Mike Rahlmann. You may know that he has run a few of the runDisney events, but he has never admitted to really “liking” it. Well now he’s been bit by the running bug and registered for the full marathon with his step-daughter Paige.
When I saw his tweet about that I had to ask him if I could interview him for the blog. He was so gracious to give me his responses to my questions and I’d love to share them with you.
How did you begin running?
I really never liked running much. I was a high school baseball and basketball player, but only ran because it was a necessity to make the team. I was always the slowest guy on the team. During college, I became an inline indoor speed skater, which took me around the country to competitions. This was a lot of fun and got me excited about the “race” environment. Finally making the National Championships one year, I was really into the competition of it all. After a few years of skating, I settled into a more “typical” lifestyle and gave up skating and all things athletic. After being a Disney fan and hearing about the races back in 2007 or so, I thought this might be a great reason to get an “extra” trip to Walt Disney World in. If I had to run 13.1 miles to get there, it would still be worth it. Isn’t 3 hours of pain worth 3 days of WDW fun?
What was your first race?
My first race was the 2009 WDW Half-Marathon. I never did one training run for this one (actually, never trained once for any of my races before last year’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler; not recommended by the way), but really enjoyed the environment. I got to meet some of my favorite podcasters and other people from the Disney Community and it was fun! Also, getting to see the parks during the winter months was pretty cool.
At first I think I recall you didn’t really like running, am I right? Has that feeling changed for you and why?
I think I’m liking running more now simply because of the community of “regular” runners we have built around the podcast. There are constantly friends on Twitter, Facebook, our forums and other places that are encouraging each other to get out there and put in a few miles. Also, podcasts like the Mickey Miles Podcast do a great job of educating the novice and experienced runner while keeping us company out on the road. Finally, it’s great to have very successful runners encouraging us beginners. It really is an awesome community of friends encouraging each other!
How do you train?
I typically train 4 nights a week. I will run 6 miles a night on Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, I try to run at least 10 miles. On the days that I don’t run, I try to walk around 15,000 – 20,000 steps due to having a FitBit which keeps me motivated.
I believe your daughter runs cross country, do you run with her at any races or for training?
I love watching my step-daughter, Paige, run cross-country for her high school. She is also an amazing soccer player. I don’t run with her, though. I know my limits. She is 17, I’m 40. That wouldn’t end well. However, we are running the 2015 WDW Full Marathon together, so that will be a great moment for me.
What or who inspires you?
There are so many people that do inspire me that it is hard to pick out certain names. I will say that just hearing Jeff Galloway many times on the Mickey Miles Podcast has encouraged me so much. He is always so positive and really makes you feel as if you can do anything. I love that he gives “regular” people like me permission to run/walk/run. That method has made it so much better for me to enjoy my experience. Also, great runners like Stan Harris and Mike Bankhead from Team AllEars have been more kind to me than I deserve. Finally, friends like Adam Roberson from our podcast keep me motivated, as we are both on an incredible journey together.
Do you have a dream race?
My dream race is going to be the WDW Full Marathon in 2015 with Paige and so many friends who will be also running their first full marathon with me. I never, ever thought I would even think about running a full marathon in my life. If/when I cross that line, there will be some incredible feelings going through my mind. I have watched the finish of the WDW full marathon twice and known those people were super-human. I just wonder if I can step up and meet his challenge?
Would you say you have now been bit by the running bug?
Absolutely. I have learned that with work, your body will change, but so will your mind. At first, I dreaded the days I had my runs, but I knew I had to get out there. My weight was not where I wanted it to be last summer at the end of our podcast cruise. I knew I needed to do something about it. As of today, I have lost 62 pounds and feel so much better. That motivates me a lot seeing these physical changes. However, I think the most important thing is the mental change. I feel like I can do so much more now. Stan Harris posts a lot of things on Facebook about running being more mental than physical, and I totally believe this. When my legs feel like they are going to fall off, I just have to tell myself I can make it. This has lots of carry-over into the rest of my life. You can do this even if people tell you you can’t.
Do you have any favorite gear or gadgets?
I don’t have a lot of gear or gadgets. I run in a pair of Reebok shoes that I bought at the Tower of Terror 10 Miler Expo last year that we closeouts for $29.00. These shoes have about 850 miles on them now, so I think I got my money’s worth. I just run with my iPhone and earbuds and great friends on podcasts in my ears. I can’t thank the fellow podcasters enough for putting out great content to keep me company through these miles this past year.
Which Disney Races will you be doing this year and next?
I will be running the Tower of Terror 10 Miler for the third time this year and starting 2015 with my first full Marathon at Walt Disney World! I would love to run more, but due to living in St. Louis and being an elementary school teacher, it’s tough to get away for lots of runDisney Weekends. However, I do love sharing my experiences with my students. If this old teacher can run 26.2 miles, they can do more than they think too!
How has running changed your life (if it has)?
Physically, I feel so much better. I used to get terrible migraine headaches a couple of times a week that I had to take some pretty potent medicine to combat. Since running at least 4 times a week in July, I have taken that medicine twice. Mentally, I just feel awesome knowing I’m now kind of a “runner.” I get time to get out on the road and take a mental break. It’s nice to say “Hi” to your neighbors, hear birds chirping, and see wonderful sunsets and sunrises. I also hope that I am making my girls proud that their dad is out there trying to be the best he can be.
Has your diet changed since you started running?
As far as diet, since last July, I have been watching what I eat. I tend to eat a bagel with peanut butter in the morning, a turkey sandwich and baked chips for lunch, and then have a “normal” supper with the family. I figure that I save enough calories from breakfast and lunch to eat fine at supper. 😉 I also eat out a few times a week as well, stopping at Chick-Fil-A on Tuesday evenings while Mallory has Dance Class and at my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Las Fuentes every Friday after school. You just have to have fajitas at least once a week!
And what podcasts do you listen to?
As far as podcasts that I really enjoy, there are quite a few. I always listen to WDW Today, Wedway Radio and the Mickey Miles Podcasts as soon as they are released. Not only are these very quality shows, I’m very lucky to call each of these hosts friends and that makes it nice to have these shows riding along with my on my runs. The only drawback is that I typically want to send a quick Tweet or text to them about something they said during their shows, and I need to focus on my running. I think they do stuff like this to try to kill me. 😉 I also listen to the Resort Loop Podcast, RFF Radio (Reality TV Podcast), and I love baseball, so I will listen to any baseball game that is on through the MLB At-Bat App!
You can check out Mike’s podcast on itunes and at Beourguestpodcast.com Mike’s twitter handle is @BeOurGuestMike. You can also find him on Facebook. Look for Mike at the races he is registered for and say hello! He loves to meet the listeners of his podcast!
I will also interview Mike after his WDW Marathon experience with his step-daughter Paige next January. Be sure to cheer them on!