Thursday, January 20, 2011
Whew. Ok. I've been putting this one off because I wasn't sure how much I wanted to say or how I even felt about things. But here goes --
I've been talking about the Goofy since 2008. I signed up in spring, 2010 when my knee was looking strong and all things seemed possible. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan, and my knee has never completely come back. I only walk now, not "wog", and the knee struggles with anything more than eight or nine miles. So my 1/2s are do-able with a bit of teeth-gritting, but not fulls.
I decided not to do the Goofy (1/2 on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday) before we even traveled. I planned ot do the 5K with my BFF, do the half on Saturday, and cheer her on in her first full marathon. It's been ages since we really got to spend time together, and forever since we visited without children around, so I was psyched.
I arrived at Walt Disneyworld very late Wednesday. I thought BFF was arriving on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, she arrived closer to dinner time. The Magic Kingdom just isn't all that magical by oneself, I'm sorry to say. She arrived, we went to the expo, and it was bittersweet to receive all the "stuff" associated with the race and the encouragement from the well meaning volunteers who thought I'd be racing both big races.
We had a blast in the "Best Friends 5K" on Friday. Woody and Buzz hosted, and spirits were high. We saw lots of people in fancy dress. It was fantastic to spend time with my friend, and time limits be darned -- we just walked, took lots of silly pictures, and enjoyed ourselves.
My BFF and I were at Epcot when we finished the race, and it was just too tempting. We played in the park all day, and I logged 28000+ steps. Big mistake. The next day, I could feel that I just didn't have much "juice". I lined up and prepared for a tough few hours.
For some reason, friends who finish around my time received higher corral placements than I did. Because of the wave start, many of them started 30+ minutes ahead of me. Disney said we needed to maintain a 16-minute mile. I averaged 16:07 per miles for the first four miles. ...
... which meant I was mere seconds behines the pacers at the 4-mile mark This did not stop them from physicaly preventing me from continuing the race. For the love of 28 seconds, they frog marched me and those others behind the pace onto a bus, where our numbers were recorded, and then a woman PHYSICALLY CUT OFF MY CHRONOTAG so that I couldn't get back into the race. It was like being drummed out of the army. I was utterly humiliated, and it irritated me even further when I later saw how many other people averaged a much slower pace than I did but managed to finish because they had started earlier. My suspicions? I requested an XL shirt, and they assumed I was slow. Had I requested a S, I might have finished the race. Many people sobbed the whole ride back. I kept up a conversation with another determinedly pleasant women and tried not to think about it.
The bus took us to an area parallel to the finish line and after race area. In a mockery of the finishing ceremony, we disembarked, and walked a gauntlet of silent, solemn volunteers, who handed us race towels and MEDALS. I know what some of you are thinking, right? I'm a bling 'ho. I was happy, right? It's called a Finisher's Medal. You don't get one for showing up. It made me sick. I thought about handing it back to them, but the situation was so uncomfortable -- why make it worse?
When I returned to the hotel, my BFF was on the phone. I thought she would ask me about it, but instead we planned the rest of the day. I tried really hard to not dwell on it and ruin the weekend, and also keep her positive for her big race, but it was a hard for me when she suggested multiple times that I should line up with her for the marathon, even though I'd get pulled. I don't know if she was asking for support, but it didn't make me feel good, and combined with some other things, it left me with the impression that I think more of her than she thinks of me. I hope I'm wrong about that.
The good news? Her race went really well. She finished strong and had a lot to be proud of. I was at the finish line to see her come across and was super psyched when she finished in under five hours.
We had a good day in Hollywood Studios the next day, and then it was time to leave WDW. I was feeling icky. It was a little bit emotional and a little bit physical. Still, I hooked up with DANIMITE2 and her DH and went to Universal.
Wow! I loved visiting with my dear Sparkfriend, and it was huge fun to wander the world of Harry Potter. The only downside? I couldn't fit comfortably into the Hogwarts ride and ultimately opted not to ride rather than face the humiliation of being asked to get off. It's a new ride. One would think it was sized for people today. Still, it was another reminder that I'm not at the weight I should be.
We ate at the Three Broomsticks, and I discovered that butterbeer is one of the great delights in life. Yum!
I felt ill by that night, and by the next morning, it was clear that I was sick. I drove down to the Everglades as planned but spent the whole time in bed in the hotel, too feverish and sick to go anywhere. Keeping to the plan, I flew to Savannah to visit my father. The poor man. I was in bed almost the entire time. We did visit Fort Pulaski, which was fun. The NPS is following history. At this point in the Civil War (Janaury 20, 1861), Georgia was flying a "secessionist flag" but hadn't joined the not-formed-yet Confederacy. So we saw a white flag with a red star flying proudly over the fort. So clever. The NPS is going to show events in "real time" over the next five years. If I lived in America, I would definitely frequent these places to "live" the action. We also strolled through my absolute favourite cemetary Bonaventure Cemetary. I find it relaxing and beautiful, and if I ever wanted to be buries somewhere, it would be there!
Now I'm geting ready to return home. I'm still sick, but at least the fever broke a couple of days ago.
It wasn't the holiday I'd hoped for, but maybe I hoped for too much.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Summer lasted until a few weeks ago, but winter arrived with a vengeance yesterday. I wish I could find the words to convey the energy in the air. The rain falls so heavily that all the roads are flooded, and the wind whips about as though determined to uproot everything on the ground. Everywhere, one sees broken branches and uprooted trees. Every time I see more patio furniture fly by, I think , Aunit Em! Auntie Em!" hahaha
I feel so sorry for the poor sailors on the ships in the harbor down below, braving the angry sea. Giant swells are pounding the shoreline. They're scary but strangely thrilling.
Mr. MacDuff is funny. He has a little slicker, but he simply doesn't care for wet weather. When I take him out for walks, he runs from covered spot to covered sport, looks pathetic, and tries to shame me into bringing him back inside!
Sadly, these storms make Sparking difficult, as I keep losing power, bugger all. Still, I can't help but admire Mother Nature's raw power. Our world truly is amazing!
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
When I was racing every weekend in November, I was thinking ahead to the big Goofy race weekend in Walt Disneyworld in January. I know I'm not ready, and I've almost accepted that Goofy is going to have to wait until another year when I'm healed and fit. Still, I had intended to go full monty this month, making training my top priority and go into WDW weekend in the best shape I can be.
At the same time, it's been a strangely crazy intense time in every aspect of my life. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is rumored to be handing over the case to the judge to issue indictments. For those of you who know what I'm talking about, things are very tense here right now. I'm working a lot to get as far as I can as fast as I can in case things turn ugly and works grinds to a stop.
After years of working in a dingy, grotty dump of an office, I finally found some cash and had it redone. Good-bye gross stained poop-coloured capet - hello gorgeous PVC flooring. So long furniture I -- literally -- swiped off a rubbish heap, and hello brand spankin' new fancy furniture. I have a big L-shaped desk with a matching triple bookcase, and a hot red sofa and matching chair. My old coffee table was, I kid you not, a lump of wood that we'd lacquered black. Now it's an ultramodern, super cool little number. Aiyeee! I also cleaned up all the random junk, and my office is clean, beautiful, and uncluttered for the first time in ... well, since I started. I've noticed that I have more energy when I work now. Isn't it funny that my environment affects me so?
It got me to thinking. My home and life are also cluttered, and they drain and distract me. I don't want to lose focus on my fitness goals, but re-doing my office has made me see how much my environment affects me.
I'm cleaning and decluttering my house. It's exhausting. I feel how unfit I am because I get tired so easily, but it's more than that. Just looking at all the "stuff" sucks the energy out of me. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a hoarder by any stretch. It's just that I live in an open loft that has no storage space. Everything is out in the open, and it is just all too much.
Finally, I have a long mental to-do list. Constantly running it in my mind to try to stay on top of it is draining and distracting me as well. it just seems never ending. Again, it's not time management. I have great time management skills. What I lack is the energy to make the best use of my time.
Sooo, I'm trying to balance my need to clean and de-clutter my home with needing to get those things on my mental to-do list done with the fact that I only have a few weeks until I try to complete the race I've been gunning for since I first began training for races back in 2008. It isn't going to be easy, but I'm trying to make a plan to get a little further on each goal every day. I want to welcome 2011 feeling better about myself mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Continuing my race-a-weekend pace, I raced the Philadelphia half on Sunday. I had such a severe migraine the day before that I was unsure I'd race. I went to bed in the afternoon, slept through dinner, the night, and my 3 a.m. get up time, waking instead at 4:45 for a 5 a.m. departure! Yikes! I dashed around, and my poor mother drove me into the city at o-dark-hundred. I didn't even have time to get nervous, but I did start to feel excited when I saw Boat House Row.
I lined up with nearly 23,000 other runners next to the Art Museum, where Rocky famously ran up the steps.
Mayor Nutter greeted us at the start and made it clear that Philly is aiming to win the coveted Best Host City title this year. I was in the last corral (surprise), but the race was very organized (lots of port-o-loos at the start!), and my corral crossed that starting line 30 minutes after the first wave. Walking purposefully through Center City, the spectators were kind of done with the cheering and we looked sort of lame just walking or shuffling after the faster runners had dashed by. Still, I was stung when a stereotypically attired South Philly chick loudly complained in a nasal voice, "Look at them. They aren't even running!" I wanted to step off the course, grab her by her faux leopard lapels, and give her a shake!
Most of the spectators were super friendly. One man was handing out bananas. Down on the waterfront, I ran into some revolutionaries, dressed in period costumes. (Yeah. No idea, but they looked cool.) One of them was eating a famous Philly soft pretzel -- and he gave it to me! Sweet! Having not eaten either dinner or breakfast, I was really feeling the caloric expenditure!
The race route was fast, hilly, and scenic. We ran all on the waterfront,
up some beautiful old streets,
past Betsy Ross' little house,
past the Liberty Bell and City Hall, along some delightful shopping areas that made me want to peek in all the windows as I passed them, next to the zoo, through stunning Fairmount Park, and down along Boat House Row before finishing where we began.
Great race! The volunteers were amazing, there was great race support, even though I fell behind the pace car. Technically, the roads were open, but there police at every intersection, and they'd stop traffic so that I could cross. The sag vans never even hassled me. They were just there for runners who couldn't continue. The pacing monitors who were on bikes were super enthusiastic and encouraging, and even when they broke down water stations ahead of my arrival, there were always cups of water remaining for laggards like me.
When I crossed the finish line, I received a gorgeous medal - and in true South Philly fashion - it was wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting dinged or nicked. I've never seen that before, but it's a great idea! Most races offer a slice of orange or a piece of a bagel. In Philly, every person who crossed the line was greeted by a team of medics with trolley beds waiting. The medical tent was right across the line - along with more port-o-johnnies. We then received a BAG of food - including water, two bananas, and a Philly soft pretzel. WOOT!
The blues band playing just beyond the finish line was terrific, and I examined my many bloody blisters as I listened to them. My wonderful Philly friend met me at the finish line, gave me her coat because I was hypothermic, and then got the car and drove right to me so I wouldn't have to take another step.
Philadelphia really is the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love!
My friend I ate lunch and then headed over to the Four Seasons for massages. I so needed one, too! And then we were off to see the new Harry Potter film at the local IMAX.
No complaints. It was a wonderful weekend! Oh, and I burned 7000+ calories for the day!!!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As many of you know, I was supposed to be in Harrisburg this weekend. It would have been great, but some other year perhaps. In the meantime, on the spur of the moment, I decided to do the Outer Banks 1/2 Marathon because I was in Washington, DC for work and thought that North Carolina was "close". What can I say? I live in a country the size of a bread box, and it's distorted my sense of distance.
The expo to pick up my racing bib closed at 6 p.m. At 5:30, I was pulled over by an extremely handsome, very polite state trooper who courteously introduced himself before inquiring as to why I was doing 75 in a 45 zone. So I told him. And he let me off with a warning. Clearly this man understands women and their need for bling!
In fact, I didn't get to the expo until half seven, but thankfully, there were still a few people there. I got my bib and set off to find my hotel. Mapquest obviously hates me and sent me up a flooded back road, but I eventually located my temporary home.
I'd never visited the North Carolina before and was unprepared for how lovely everyone is. So polite! Such a cute accent! And everyone is very friendly here. I hadn't been sure what to expect, what with names like Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Pirates Cove!
I popped awake at 3 a.m. and got ready to race. I drove all the way from Sanderling to Manteo to park at the finish line and then shuttle back to the start in Kill Devil Hills and line up by 6:30. The weather was perfect, and the sunrise was one of the prettiest I'd ever seen.
Now it would probably be overstating things to call myself a veteran, but I have raced enough times to have a sense of things, and this was an interesting crowd. I am usually the largest competitor, and not only was I not the only super-sized racer, in general, it was something of a ... how should I put it? A crowd that knew well what biscuits and gravy taste like! They weren't *fat* per se, but they were all a but curvier than I'm used to seeing. The atmosphere was relaxed. We half marathoners knew that there really weren't pacing requirements because the marathoners were starting 13 miles and 20 minutes behind us, so there would be course support for us for at least six hours. It felt great not to worry about being swept for a change!
I started in the back, settled into a comfortable pace, and chatted with other racers. Nancy Griffin of Manteo cruised along with her son, who sported a t-shirt that read, "Nancy turns 64 today" and had an arrow pointing to her. He also carried a sign wishing her a happy birthday. I wanted to get a picture of them, but Nancy was moving, and I couldn't keep up! Somehow, during the race, I got ahead of them and never saw them again, but Nancy finished in 4:34, her son finished one second behind. So sweet.
For several miles, I chatted with Lana from North Carolina. She used to weigh 500 !!! pounds and was down to 300. She had attempted this race last year but failed on the bridge in the 10th mile and was seeking redemption. She seemed to be struggling, and after a while, I needed to move on. I waited for her later on but didn't see her again.
The course was flat and fast, and the spectators were very kind and encouraging. In mile 6, I got passed by the elite runners, who were in their mile 19!!!! Talk about humbling! Plodding on, I faced the bridge, with its steep incline late in the race. My knees were really unhappy by then, but thankfully, no blisters this time. Maybe I've finally found the right shoes?
In mile 11 for me/24 for the marathoners, a one-legged women raced past me. The crowd went wild. Someone told me that she was just recently voted off Survivor, so maybe you know who she is? Anyway, she looked great and was running easily, finsihing with a sub 4 time. Amazing.
In mile 11, I got a bit of a jolt. I saw some of the finishers wearing their medals -- which were completely different from last year's and not nearly as nice! I was so disappointed that I almost quit! No, I'm not joking. I actually walked off the course for a few minutes. Last year, we got pirate gold. This year, it was a generic sort of medal. So lame.
I continued because I've never quit, but I wasn't nearly as excited. I finished in 4:10 and checked out the after party. Fun! Lots of people in fancy dress, free beer, good music, and dancing in the streets.
Later, checking the stats, I saw her! Lana Lambert of Sylva, North Carolina - good for you! Lana DID finish at the 5:10 mark. It takes such courage and perseverance to push through pain and fatigue for more then FIVE hours. I am so tremendously proud of her and hope she likes that medal more than I do. Well done, girlfriend!
GO, LANA! GO, LANA! GO, LANA! Go, Go, GO!
Overall, the race was so much fun that I already signed up for the Flying Pirate next April, after I was ASSURED that the bling would look like this:
WOOT! Can't wait!
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