Saturday, September 03, 2011
What a great race!! I was so excited for this one. This was a return to my first ever 5K as a runner. 2 years ago I did Disney as a brand new runner. Back then I was just an infant and didn't know anything about what I was experiencing. Today I went back with more experience and had a blast!! The first one was a blast too.
I'll back up to the Friday Expo. Disneyland still holds the record as best ever expo and this year did not disappoint. My sister, who didn't run the race, and her twin girls and I made the trip out to Anaheim together. While sis and I hit the expo the girls went to the parks for a few rides.
The expo was AWESOME!! So many great products to look at and came away with quite a bit of swag. Sis and I both won Pam Am grocery totes from the ABC booth (got lucky we had to spin the wheel and then answer a question about an upcoming ABC show...knew the answers..phew...that was close-lol). Got a white mesh running hat from Geico palying Plinko, and Shot Blocks from the goodie bags. Wee, love free stuff!!! Sis and I also took advantage of a buy 3 get one sale on socks and split the difference on the 3 pairs so we each came away with two new pairs of socks. Also pooled our resources on a buy 3 get one on car magnets. My magnets say..."Race Day Strategy: Start off slow then back off" and "Running is a mental sport and we are all insane". We had a great time looking at lots of gear and found this great shop called Run Pretty Far. She is online too...just add a .com to the name. Her shirts are absolutely GORGEOUS. We both couldn't believe we were seeing such pretty running shirts. Not just cute or clever, but GORGEOUS. We both came away with one :). She has been in business for 4 months and we both felt like we HAD to support a small business putting out such a pretty product...still have to put the shirt to the run and wash test, but they are soooooo pretty I hope they hold up so that I'll want to buy more :). Had a great dinner at...I just drew a total blank on the name of the place...oh Rainforest Cafe. Yeah, there...sis and I both ordered from the appetizer menu and split and shared. It was YUMMY. The evening was over way too soon and we were on our way home.
At home it was a quick job of finishing up a few things and getting in bed because we were up again at 3:00 am. Yes, 3:00 in the morning. I was paranoid about getting there late so I allowed us a full hour to get out the door (we were faster than that), 2 hours to get there (it generally takes 1.5 without traffic) and more than an hour to get in place. We were REALLY early in the end-lol!! But, it was nice because we got to be casual and participate in the warm-up (which happened, like, a full hour or so before the start of the race-lol-maybe not an hour, but REALLY early).
This year Disney did something different than the first year and had "corrals" designated and you lined up on the honor system in your designated area. I went to the slowest corral, but placed myself towards the front of it. While we were waiting to start I got a chance to meet up with fellow sparker ESBELL!! That was a great way to start the race!!
We were treated to a show before the race. Disneyland has a Jedi Training Academy that is REALLY fun to watch and even more fun if your child is selected to participate. Today it was basically the Jedi Training Academy show with the runners taking the parts of the Padawan students. We didn't get lightsabres, but we were sworn in as Jedi trainees and watched as Darth Vader made an appearance and tried to sway our loyalties. Then after an emotional National Anthem we were off and running. Sort of. This is one of the changes I LOVED. The first year we ran through this section that would bottle neck and everyone was jammed up and walking and even then it was like the worst traffic jam you've ever seen. This year they staggered the runners by corral. They allowed the first corral to move ahead a bit before letting the next one go and so on. It worked REALLY well. There was a slight bottle neck, but only a few steps of walking before it opened up again and we were off.
The main problem for me at this race was, yes, my shins. All of a sudden they decide they are going to act up again, that combined with lead leg syndrome slowed me down (lead leg syndrome...an unoffical, but common to runners, ailment that strikes for no reason and at some of the most inopportune times). I think it is that I've had a very busy week with lots of walking in just regular shoes. Including at the expo. I should have worn my sneakers at the expo...next time. I had to stop twice to stretch but after the second time I was good to go. The first time I did Disney there were a couple mild hills and they got me and slowed me down a lot. This time I just powered right up those puppies. Including a new and much steeper hill than was present at the previous race. Kind of lost it on that one and took it as a personal challenge to power up it without breaking stride. I made it no problem, but then had to walk a couple of yards at the top to catch my breath-lol! But, it was only a couple of yards then I was off again.
Soon I was at the end of the race. Coming around the last curve I walked a bit again to allow myself to cross the finish strong. There was this one staffer there though literally screaming himself hoarse telling runners that they were almost there and telling walkers "most of the time if you run at Disney we yell at you and tell you to stop. Today you get to do something nobody else gets to do. RUN at Disney...Run!!" I broke into a trot and shouted back "FINE THEN", but in a kidding tone, not angry and made him laugh. He lost his concentration for just a sec and then was back to yelling at the next group. It actually gave me extra energy knowing that I had contributed to his day in a small way.
Around the corner and a Jedi is cheering us on. Then Goofy dressed as Darth Vader, Micky as a Jedi and Minnie as Princess Leia. (If I'm remembering that correctly-I snapped a pic, but my camera is dead). Finish line is straight ahead and another Jedi calling out finishers. He had a microphone and was naming people off (most, if not all, runners had personalized bibs). I was running far to the side and alone, but I'm not sure he saw my bib. But, what he did do meant much more to me. He moved his microphone away from his mouth and leaned into the race path and shouted over to me and pointed right at me and said "you, (pointed again) you, are doing a great job!" Awww thanks so much. I was working and running hard and trying to do my absolute best and that meant a lot to me, that he would personalize a message and give it just to me instead of just giving the standard "here comes...."
I crossed the finish and thought I hit stop on my phone GPS tracker, but didn't stop it somehow so I had a little extra time. Luckily, once home I was able to look up the stats and see what my actual time and distance would have been. I hit a 16:33 pace and that is WITH stopping twice to stretch!! I am so happy with that time. I know a lot of people do and will think..."that is so slow". But, for me, that is a great time, especially with the hills and the shin splints and the horrible start I had.
I had an AWESOME, AWESOME race and loved every minute of it. In the next day or two I'll get the card out of the camera and upload some pics and the pic of the medal all the runners received.
The kids' races were next, but we had quite a wait and then, even after lining up we had another hour and a half to just wait. The poor kids were tired and getting grumpier by the second. My picky kids...Dad had taken them to La Brea Bakery for some breakfast and none of them liked it despite the fact they all picked things I would have also picked for them. Son went so far as to say that La Brea Bakery was disgusting. I like it, hmph. So, hungry on top of hot and tired was not going over well. They finally did get sent off on their run though. Youngest ran a 200 with Dad and the older two ran a 400 with the group. I scooted off to find them at the finish line.
To add salt to the wound, once we finally got the older two across the finish they had run out of bottles of water and cliff bars for the kids. Near disaster until we told them it was okay we would go to Jamba Juice instead. Whew, that was a close one. They were all very happy to get their medals and Jamba Juice refreshed everyone enough to get us to the tram and on the way home. Which was delayed by a dead car battery. Security gave us a jump start and home we went. I think one was asleep before we got out of the parking structure and the other two were quick to follow. Husband was driving so I tipped back my chair and took a little nap too! :).
It was a great day and we all had a great time! Disney remains at the top of my charts for running experiences despite the kids' troubles, and will always hold a special place as my "first".
Hope everyone has a great weekend and happy travels to anyone doing something special over the Labor Day weekend.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Starting running was scary. Running a 5K was scary. Running a 10K was scary. Running a Half was terrifying and I survived and learned to love each one of those things and still I'm saying "EEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK"!!! What have I gotten myself into? Freaking out just a little bit over here. I've committed to doing a hike that has me trembling in my hiking boots.
Here's the back story. I can't remember how old I was...that's how early this memory is...but I have this very clear memory of a hike we went on when I was just a youngling (maybe 6, probably 5?). I remember that EVERYONE in the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) went on this hike. I remember drinking from a stream and I remember the destination was a GORGEOUS meadow. I have NO idea where this hike was, but I remember hiking. See, my family likes to hike. We like to camp. I have MANY memories of hiking and all the memories are great...well, there was that one hike to the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite when I think each and every one of us came down the trail with an injury of some sort and my brother did nearly send himself over the falls and managed to not do so, but tore himself up pretty good in the process...yeah, that hike still lives on and has a special spot on the hiking top ten-lol! Even though we got hurt and beat up by that hike it still reigns supreme as one of the greatest family adventures ever. The very long point here being that hiking is NOT new to me. However, I've never invested in backpacking gear...all hikes are day long and I've never invested in hiking poles. Pretty much we take a walk in the mountains and call it hiking-lol! Not to diminish our hiking accomplishments...we have had some challenging ones. Two years ago we did a hike called the Summit Hike in our local mountains and that was quite the adventure too.
Well, we've been hiking regularly this year...our favorite..Ernie Maxwell, which is a nice hike and pretty easy too. Round trip is right around 4.5 miles round trip with a nice balance of climbing and fairly level trail. I'm getting pretty comfortable with Ernie. I know the trail, it is not difficult, but challenging, it is a beautiful trail, but somebody had the bright idea to try a new trail this year. This trail is a tad bit different from all the other trails we've ever gone on. For one thing not one of those hikes in previous years required an adventure pass so that the Rangers could find your body when you didn't come back.
Our new trail this year is called, get this, Devil's Slide. Yeah, who names a hike after Satan's playground? Sheesh. Like the Summit hike of two years ago this hike takes you to the summit of the mountain. Unlike the other summit hike this one is on a separate peak of the same mountain and significantly higher. One of the cool things about it though is that is crosses the PCT. Non-west-coast hikers and non-hikers in the group? PCT is the Pacific Crest Trail. A REALLY long hiking trail leading from the boarder of Cali and Mexico all the way to Canada. If you had the desire you could literally hike all the way up the western coast of America. It's on my to do list-seriously. Don't know WHEN I'll accomplish this awesome feat of hiking, but hey, that's what retirement is for, right? So, back to our story...
Devil's slide...requires an adventure pass. The Rangers say it is to make sure the trail is not overcrowded or over used. I'm pretty sure it really is so that they can find your body when you don't come back.
9 miles of trail (round trip). Some of it VERY steep. Check out the review "This is an elevation gainer, no question about it. You will know that you are climbing a peak. " (http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/TahquitzD
FUUUUUNNNN. This hike it looks like it will just be me, my sister and my nephew (sis' son). My mother has wisely backed out-lol!
My sister points out that I've run a half marathon so I can do this...yeah, not sure I'm convinced. lol
However, I've committed to it and I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'm going to be SLOW!! But, I want to see what the world looks like from the real top of the mountain (and really it's the TOP of the mountain-the top of the rock on the top of the mountain-reported to be the 2nd highest peak in Southern California).
I've got a month to prepare. A month to buy and learn to use hiking poles (never needed them before). A month to figure out a nutrition plan for a hike that will be a challenge and probably TONS of fun. A month to figure out if my boots can handle this hike and if not, break in a new pair. A month to conquer a fear that seems somehow irrational considering I'm climbing a trail not the front of the rock. A month to convince myself I can do one more thing I've never done.
My goals for September? Run, strength train and get ready to take the first step of the hikiest hike I've ever hiked.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Yep, the title says it all. Sparkpeople, right now anyways, has become my lifeline to reality.
I can't believe how INSANE my life has gotten lately. I can't believe the stress I'm experiencing and I can't believe how tenuous that thread to sanity can seem!!
Today was one of those days and if I get started describing it you will find yourselves in the middle of one huge rant/temper tantrum. NOTHING about today was the way it was supposed to be. NOTHING!! I got home stressed to the MAX. I could FEEL my heart rate and blood pressure were through the roof. I sat down, opened the computer, opened my e-mail and saw that friends had been posting blogs today and I had some stuff to read. As I start reading I can feel myself calming down, I could feel the stress abating. I could feel my heart rate slowing down and I felt....more sane. Not necessarily calm by any means. When my anxiety gets ramped up it takes a while for me to simmer back down, but I did feel sane once more.
I didn't feel like the crazy person I felt like moments before. Touching base with friends has a calming influence and it is sad that so much of our friendships are electronic these days. But, it it weren't for Spark I wouldn't have ever "met" people I truly consider to be friends.
The fact that I have something important to me is also important to all these friends makes it even more important at times like these.
I don't know about all of you...but I have traditional friends, right here in town, who wouldn't get how coming on here can calm me. They don't understand frustrations with running, or how fitting that in with an already CRAZY life can be a problem that would send me over the edge of sanity. They wouldn't understand how running is THERAPY. They wouldn't get how problems seem to become much, much smaller and sometimes completely disappear when left on the roadside during a run. Even if I went to them with my problems they would come back with many of their own that I needed to have sympathy for, when I had no sympathy left to give. It's different here. Even if I'm at the bottom of my own barrel and read a rant blog or an "I need a boost" blog, it is different here. That person is not needing ME, PERSONALLY, to help them or rescue them. I am not the only comment 99.99% of the time. It is not something being put on my plate to deal with that moment. It is my choice to comment or not and the majority of the time I do comment because it is my choice to do so. Nobody is standing there forcing me into something I don't want to do.
I took a little break over the summer and now I am back into real life and I have found that sitting here, for just a few moments, is giving me the link to friends and peace that I so desperately needed today and I'm sure I will need it again in the future.
Thanks friends for being here and just being who you are. Thanks for posting about your own successes and trials so that I don't feel quite so alone in this journey. Thanks for reading and sometimes commenting. I have gotten countless laughs, giggles, smiles, words of comfort and lessons learned as well as shared a few tears with you. You are my FRIENDS and I hold you dear.
On that note.... I lost 3 pounds this week!! THREE pounds!! A positive side to stress, excessively hot days and not having time to eat. :).
Love you all and sincerely hope you are each experiencing ups and not downs and successes instead of failures.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sheeeeee's baaaackkk-lol! Uggh, where to begin.
I've decided that at much as I like swimming and other summer activities, I HATE summer. HATE, HATE, HATE it. Sorry to all you summer lovers, but it's not for me. First off, I have three kids and I don't know why, maybe because they are older and naps are a thing of the past, but this summer was MISERABLE kid wise. Son has entered a very fun "everybody hates me" phase of life and literally picked fights with his sisters all summer long. Oldest daughter spent the summer partaking of her favorite past time-pushing buttons. She loves getting reactions out of people and is VERY good at it. I am WORKING hard trying to teach her that GOOD reactions are more fulfilling and less dangerous than NEGATIVE reactions, but at 7 she isn't quite there yet. Youngest, being the youngest, spent the summer with a giant target on her back.
The past month I've done very well with sticking to the running and that schedule went great, home based exercise, not so much. No strength, no yoga and lots of stress did not make a happy mommy and the morning runs were definitely therapy for me.
I kind of gave up the household battle and have a long way to go before my house looks the way I want it to again.
Which, brings us back around to the present, school started Monday (hallelujah-we all made it through alive)!! It has still not been an easy week. I suddenly gained an extra 3rd grader and a 7th grader. Since middle school lets out WAAAY after Elementary I am making extra afternoon trips. PTA is keeping me BUSY too. Hopefully that will settle down a bit. Then, it's been HORRIBLY hot this week and by evening I am wiped out and EXHAUSTED, so for the first time in quite a while my running streak has been broken and spectacularly so. No "exercise" this week. I put "exercise" in quotes because I've been having lots of activity, just no exercise.
However, the good, to balance the bad and the ugly, is that I have had more time to think about my food. I got to go to the store and buy what I wanted! Half a bagel with some fresh mozzarella and some sliced tomatoes (from my garden) has made an excellent breakfast this week. Salad at lunch sprinkled with some chicken or tuna. And time to actually plan ahead dinner. WOOOT. I am tackling the food monster. The ugly is the last of daughter's birthday cake sitting in the fridge. Yesterday, a piece jumped out of the pan and literally stuffed itself down my throat, nearly choking me in the process. Wish that was true, the real truth is I was tired and HOT and frustrated and tired and I ate it. I said "YUM, that chocolate cake is exactly what I want right now" and ate it...I did manage to make the piece smaller than usual.
So, now to get to work on more of the house restructuring before I go get youngest from kindergarten. Tomorrow I am fitting in strength and yoga SOMEHOW and then Saturday is a hike and I'm not skipping the chance to get up above the heat, even for just a couple hours.
Autumn is generally viewed as a time when the earth starts shutting down and getting ready for winter. I LOVE autumn, for me, in autumn is a time of reawakening. During the summer I go into a heat induced stupor and hibernate in a way. School has started and the weather hasn't changed, in fact it's getting hotter instead of cooler, but I can feel the change of seasons coming and I am waking up from my stupor renewed and ready to go.
I'm slowly, but surely, coming back around. YAY!!
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