Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Goals...met, sorta

I was just looking over the goals I had set for 2012 and figured I'd just do a quick assessment of how I did. You can see what my goals were over at this page.

Running Goals
Well, it's pretty easy to see that this (and really all my goals) were changing over the year. I did the majority of the races listed on the page but in reality I managed to finish 20 official half marathons (13.1 miles) and 3 unofficial virtual half marathons.

Completed Half Marathons (Official):

TinkerBell HM - Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
Pecos Valley Stampede HM - Roswell, NM
Xpress HM - Wichita Falls, TX
Arizona Distance Classic HM - Oro Grande Valley, AZ
Bloodgusher HM - Midland, TX
Arbuckle to Ardmore HM - Ardmore, OK
Wayland Wellness HM - Wichita Falls, TX
Southern Indiana Classic HM - Evansville, IN
GO! St. Louis HM - St. Louis, MO
New Mexico Centennial/TX-NM Club Challenge HM - Hobbs/Lovington, NM
Oklahoma City Memorial HM - Oklahoma City, OK
Wisconsin HM - Kenosha, WI
1st Midwest Bank Southwest HM - Palos Heights, IL
Hope & Healing Place HM - Amarillo, TX
Kirtland AFB Armed Forces Day HM - Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM
Wounded Warriors HM - Irving, TX
Legacy Midnight Run HM - Farmington, UT
ET Full Moon Midnight HM - Las Vegas/Rachel, NV
Prairie Fire HM - Wichita, KS
Wine & Dine HM - Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Completed Half Marathons (Unofficial):

New Year's Day Virtual Race Against Cancer HM (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Team in Training Fundraiser)
For the Love of the Kids Virtual HM
Bling Ho's 1st SemiAnnual Charity Race Virtual HM (Relay for Life Fundraiser)

I did manage to join the Half Fanatics in March and have maxed out at 7 moons (Venus) out of 10. I was shooting for Sun (10 moons - 30 HMs in 30 different states in 365 days) but because of the severe depression from May through really now still...that goal has gone out the window. I'm fine with it though...going from a non-runner to a multiple race half marathoner crazy enough at one point to run 3 doubles (one race on subsequent Saturdays and Sundays) in one month is not a bad thing! :D

I postponed my foray into the full marathon spectrum (26.2 miles) until 2013 which ended up being a good thing since I did emotionally crash this year. I actually got to the point early in the year where 8-10 mile runs were the norm and something I looked forward to, but since I'm still recovering from the depressed mood I'm going to have to start from near scratch to get back up there. My times got worse over the year but had gotten down at one point to a fairly steady 11 minute mile so there's still room for improvement.

2012 Weight Loss Goals

Well, this was kind of a bust. I started out well and managed to get down to about 138 pounds but once the depression hit the weight came back. Right now I'm sitting at about 152 pounds so I'm going to have to get on the ball in 2013 to get where I want to be.

2013 Fitness Goals

Again, I started off well but with the exacerbation of the bipolar so went the exercise routine. I've been dealing with injuries of the lower extremities for the last 3-4 months and just overall fatigue (no surprise with the depression). So this too will need to be worked on in 2013. I never did do the duathlon or century ride primarily due to the fact that I didn't have the right type of equipment (cheap mountain bike vs at least and entry level road bike) or the right training. I'll work on kicking out at least one sprint duathlon in 2013 for sure though!

My main focus will be working on core strength, hip area strength to help with the pelvic malrotation issues/balance and ankle strength. My plan is to run, walk, cycle, elliptical (which I hate!) and swim although the whole swim thing is a bit hairy since although I know the mechanics of swimming I have a huge fear  of deep water, anything more than 5 feet, due to a near drowning as a five year old. So, swimming lessons or at least tutelage will be in order this year.

So, while I guess I did well on some aspects I didn't do so well on others. I'll be working on these some more in 2013 and hopefully it won't be as rough a year as this year has been. So, for me, it onward and upward...trying to be more optimistic and looking forward to becoming the really active individual I was prior to the mental crash. My 2013 goals will follow in another post shortly...

Happy New Years Eve!! Be safe!!

With the New Years Eve festivities starting up in less that 12 hours I'd just like to remind everyone to be safe and have a designated driver selected if you're going out on the town. If you're a AAA member you can check out the article below to see if you're are AAA chapter/offices will be offering any safe driving alternatives. Those of you on military installations will usually have an Airmen Against Drunk Driving group that also offers free rides to those who have had a little too much of the celebratory libations.

(ORLANDO, Fla., December 18, 2012) As millions of Americans prepare to celebrate the upcoming holidays, AAA urges motorists to remember the safety precautions they should take during this festive season. Drive only while drug and alcohol-free, select a designated driver for the evening, plan to take a cab or stay with a friend.

Have a safe and happy celebration!! Be safe!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflecting Back on 2012... (Part 2)

So, the first quarter or so of 2012 wasn't all that bad. Made some good new friends, ran my little heart out and was basically feeling good until April/May-ish. I've had this post open for the last 2 hours or so putting off my writing just because of the fact that the remainder of the year was pretty crappy. I mean, really, do I want to rehash those memories. Not really, but I will because what will I have to compare it with next year?? So here goes...

July 2012
I missed out on four races during this month...that was a loss of 4 states in my quest to 30 races/30 states/365 days and leveling out at Sun in Half Fanatics. Much of this month is a blur...not because it was fast, but rather because it was just crap overall. The depression maxed out, my thinking was slowed and in my own mind was the worst it had been since my ultra major depression of 2009-2011 (yes, almost a full 2 years). I think I ran a total of 3 miles the whole month, other than that my bed was my best friend. I only left the house if I needed to and I did some stupid things as well resulting in weeks of downplayed agony. Like I've said before, I'm a master at hiding my true feelings. I retreated from the world both real and online and I really gave up on myself. My self worth was at a near monumental low and my time on Earth limited in my eyes. OK...that's enough of that.

August 2012
My depression had taken a huge toll already and placed a strain on the husband's and my relationship. After weeks of poor moods I had a double (2 half marathons in one weekend) scheduled in Utah and Nevada. I was fed up with not running. I was fed up with the husband. I was fed up with me. I needed to get away. I knew it was a stupid idea to take off on my own but I needed a change. So, I drove to Utah for my first race and since I had barely run in the previous months it was no surprise that while I initially felt good at the beginning of the run I ended up getting some massive calf cramping going on by mile 9 at which point I just gave up and pretty much walked the rest of the race. I turned around the next morning and drove to Las Vegas for my second race of the weekend that night. By the time race time came around I was so wiped out...something I hadn't ever experienced with doing a double many times in the previous months...that I didn't even want to run the race at all. I did it anyway feeling totally exhausted, in a shit mood and just wanting to finish no matter how slow it would be. By mile 6 again I had given up just because I was so tired and walked the remainder of the race. The time away from the husband improved the relationship after a sit down upon my arrival back home, but I was pretty much wiped out for the next 3 weeks. Again, not a happy month to remember. You'd think I'd know better, but apparently not because I'm going to be doing something similar in about 3 weeks from now.

September 2012
So, what happened in September. Not much. The depression was still lingering although I'd rarely and briefly, literally less than 10-15 minutes at a time would get back on some of the social networks gaining a minor semblance of at least an online presence. I still was pretty much housebound other than going to doctor's and counseling appointments. I did manage to get about 5-6 runs in mostly only in the 2-3 mile range. I turned 48 on the 11th. It was the second year in a row that I didn't spend the day bawling because of the psychological effects of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. No, I didn't know anyone affected (that I know of) but I had a sense of  "perceived" survivors guilt. In my mind on that day, when I was sick at home watching the horrendous events unfold live, I should have mobilized to go volunteer in NYC. I was a civilian working in a military health facility I should go to the commander and tell her that I wanted to go to NYC to volunteer. But I didn't, our base didn't send anyone and yet I convinced myself that I was a bad person for not going on my own initiative. It didn't matter that I still had a couple of teenagers at home who "needed" me since their dad was busy at work and school. I simply was a bad person for not going. I cried most of the day on the anniversary of the attacks, my birthday, until 2011 when for the first time I made it through the day without crying. I didn't celebrate my birthday for all those years. The one really good thing I started doing was volunteering once or twice a month at the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op distribution which forced me to get out among people and begin to socialize face to face again. Yet another crappy month overall with those two rays of sunshine.

October 2012
I'm swinging in and out of depression and hypomania most of the month. The periods of hypomania are great, I have energy, I'm communicating online regularly, I'm leaving the house to go grocery shopping. I ran the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in Wichita, Kansas mid-month after running just over a half dozen times in the month and a half prior. I felt good at the beginning of the run but again that 9th mile came and I started cramping plus having lateral foot pain in my right foot. I finished the race (after a really rough about it here) only to end up in the ER that night and on crutches for the next month. So, once again I'd go another month without any training, this time because I couldn't (or wasn't supposed to) bear weight on the foot. Mood-wise I had improved somewhat but it's when someone like me, with my history, is coming out of depression that life can become even more dangerous.

November 2012
My moods had pretty much balanced out during the month. I was in a lower level of depression and staying in a more "stable" frame of mind. I was back online, I was talking with real people face to face (versus just online). I had another race to do, my first race at Walt Disney World...the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. My running friend, Melanie, was going to do it with me but ended up having knee surgery and had to back out. So I went alone and decided to skip the parks because I was still on crutches. To make a long story short I ditched the crutches the day before the race and finished the race without any pain. Tired as all get out, but no pain other than some normal cramping. If you haven't already, you can read about the race here. After the race I took a week off and then tried to run resulting in these damned anterior shin splints that hit me less than a quarter of a mile into each of the attempted runs. I could barely hobble home. I haven't run since. I did finally see the podiatrist regarding the foot pain from the Kansas race and it was determined that it was a nerve issue possibly caused by my shoes. So now I have to move up to a wide shoe and ensure that there is no stitching/seams in the area of the nerve irritation. Hopefully that'll keep any future issues from happening.
Thanksgiving was quiet with just the hubs and myself and our K9s. Other than that it was the most "normal" month I had experience in many months. High point of the month?? The night of the race when I bumped into some of my running friends from TinkerBell and receiving my Coast to Coast medal for 2012.

TinkerBell HM medal (Disneyland), Wine & Dine medal (WDW)
Coast to Coast medal (for running 1 HM at each park in a calendar year)

December 2012
I won't bore you with the details since I just posted an update a few days can read it here if you want. Christmas was great, the hubs and I chose not to exchange gifts this year as we just have more stuff than we have room. Had a good time with the son and his fiance and met the inlaws. And overall, have been feeling pretty good for a change. Had a quiet 29th wedding anniversary as well. The only down point...I decided not to run a double at the beginning of the month because of the major shin splint issues I was having...yet another loss of 2 states on my list. I did manage to reach the seventh level (Venus) in Half Fanatics with 13 half marathons within 79 days. Not my overall goal, but with the roller coaster the year has been I'll take it. Who would have ever thought that I'd complete 20 half marathons (not including virtual races) in less than a year? Not me!! :D

My overall impression of 2012?? It sucked the last half and was pretty great for most of the first half. Yeah, the pessimist in me still pops out a lot, but I am hopeful that 2013 will at least be a little better. I mean, really, it couldn't be much worse...unless I end up dead. (Sorry, dark/sick humor on my part.)

So here's a toast of some Moscato to an improved 2013 and a lot of running in my future. Honest, I'm trying to be as optimistic as I's just against my nature...

Cheers to a, hopefully, awesome 2013!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reflecting back on 2012... (Part 1)

I'm sitting here looking back on a year that started out with so much optimism only to come crashing down mid-year with a severe depression and subsequent effects on what had been a promising year of running and health. So, let's take a month by month look at this bumpy year that I hope to leave in the rear view mirror in hopes of a much improved 2013.

January 2012
After a slightly rough start with being injured and in physical therapy since Oct 2011 and having to limit my newly found love of running things began looking up when I was released from PT and restarted training for my very first half marathon, the inaugural TinkerBell HM at Disneyland. I met my fundraising goal for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training and would be heading back out west to see if I could meet the challenge. I did and I made some good running friends while at it. Probably the most close relationship I've developed from this race are my friends Melanie & Dianne. It was Melanie's and my first half marathon ever. We were previous non-lovers of running and both RNs in the psych/mental health nursing world. We started the race as virtual strangers other than meeting once and communicating via Facebook but finished together as friends. We shared many similarities in our lives and I've come to think of her as a very good friend. I can't wait to see her again at TinkerBell in 2013 (we're rooming together). :D

Love ya, Melanie!! :D
Dianne had already been running for a while and while we didn't communicate much face to face at the race other than at our Facebook group meetup where she brought some Ghiradelli chocolates for everyone and a brief chat after the race we have been very communicative online. I think the connection has to do with the fact that we're both California girls and Asian...we understand things that others sometimes don't! LOL! I'll be seeing Dianne again at Tink 2013 and then we're rooming together at the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in February where she will attain Legacy runner status (running every year of the first 5 years of the race). I don't have any pics of Dianne aside from our group's meetup pic below. :(

TinkerBell HM Facebook Group - Inaugural Meetup
That's Dianne sitting down near the middle in the white long sleeve shirt.

February 2012
Nothing major really happened in February that I can recall other than running my second half marathon for which I only had to travel an hour and a half. I ran this one with a newly formed running group here in town, the Clovis Area Run/Walk Club, which was started on 1/3/12. Of course I was the slowest one to complete the half marathon in the group but I made a very good local friend, Teresa, who had been running for about 4 years after beating cancer. We communicate regularly on Facebook now, see each other occassionally in town and I introduced her to the Bountiful Baskets food co-op program here in town because I know whe is a very healthy eater (something I am still working on). I consider her my local running partner in crime...I don't think she knows that yet. We got together and participated in a couple more races in 2012 (Wayland Wellness Run Half Marathon and the New Mexico Centennial-TX/NM Team Challenge (she did the full and still finished before I finished the half!). We'll be participating in the Bataan Memorial Death March and hopefully The Color Run 5K together (but apart...she's way faster than me) in 2013.

Big ((hugs))  to you Teresa!

March 2012
The biggest thing that happened in March was finishing my third half marathon with what is still my personal record to date (PR) of 2:37:xx. This enabled me to join the Half Fanatics as member #1982...the same year as my high school graduation (not by accident). This led to the start of a quest to finish 30 half marathons in 30 different states in 365 days. I was well on my way but by May things would be different and I won't be reaching my goal. But for a previous non-runner to join a group of exceptional people who run for different reasons and at varying speeds is something I never in my life would have thought would have happened. 

April 2012
This was the month that I started noticing the depression coming on. It's not like it was unexpected because I typically do go into a depressive state during the spring, but it was just my hope that I could skip a year without was just not to be. I kept racing finishing the OKC Memorial Half Marathon and meeting running legend Bill Rodgers. The month was not extremely bad, but the downhill slide was gaining momentum.

Me with Bill Rodgers, Olympian, marathoner, author.

Probably the most meaningful medal so far.

May 2012
This was the month that the sh!t hit the fan. I've always been pretty good at hiding just how bad I was feeling when depressed but I had always managed to maintain a relatively active online presence. Not this time. I basically went offline for the first time since the late 90's. I disappeared from all my social networks, I rarely left the house other than to run and I spent many a day not getting dressed, showered or eating. Not a happy time. I did manage to finish 4 half marathons and registered for an all women's trail running clinic.

I traveled all the way to Illinois and Wisconsin to race. I met up with another good running friend and TNT alum, Kat, who is originally from Wisconsin and the chance to see her again and knock out another state was my momentum to run in the Wisconsin Half Marathon. Not only did I meet up with her again, but I also met Dave Mari...running celeb extraodaire who gets to so many races and takes so many pictures that it's totally crazy. You can always identify him because he always has the Paul Frank monkey on his shirt! I also spent a couple of nights with my cousin, Maria, who lives in Illinois and I hadn't seen since they moved to Japan after being stationed in New Mexico (where we met for the first time, while stationed at the same base). I have no idea of how we managed not to get any pictures while I was there!?!

Kat with the Captain!
Dave and I.
Unfortunately, this trip also resulted in the ending of the relationship with my daughter who also suffers from bipolar disorder. We have cut off communication with each other under mutual agreement. The last bridge has been burned and I'm done.

Probably the big personal thing that happened was that I reached my fundraising goal for Relay for Life and shaved my head...again! I had done it in 2006 where it was a big deal because my nursing students who helped me with fundraising got to shave my hair off. This year it was much more low key because I was sick (mentally and physically) and I didn't have hoards of people actually wanting to shave my head. It because a non-big deal as I showed up at the team's camp and they proceeded to shave everything off.

June 2012
By June I was pretty much deep into this depressive episode with the high points only being concerned with running. This was also the month that my thinking got too stupid and had some really bad repercussions. I was at my lowest at this point, skipping my 30 year high school class reunion which I had been looking forward to for over a year. Friends who I had not seen since high school were going to be there and instead I spent the week in bed with such a low self-worth that I couldn't be scraped off the floor with a sharp edged, metal scraper. At the beginning of the month before a major emotional crash I managed to complete the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in Irving, TX with my cousin Ausa who I had not seen for years during which she completed her very first 10K. I also attended the trail running clinic with Teresa at which I discovered something I already knew...I was not born to be a trail runner!

My cousin Ausa after finishing her very first 10K race.

To be continued...

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Quick Update & an Obsession Out of Control

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted last. Part of the reason is because I haven't run since my last race...almost literally. I took a week off to rest then tried a few times to do some short runs of < 5K only to be sidelined by some nasty shin splints bilaterally within the first quarter mile of each run. Dejected by this failure, I decided to rest for awhile and just haven't gotten up the gumption to get back out there again. I skipped a double that I had scheduled in Louisiana and Arkansas as well. Of course, next Thursday I leave for my next half marathon in Mississippi...the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. Again this will be a race with virtually no training and I expect to walk a good portion of the course. Then to follow that up, I have a double in California in mid-January at the Temecula Valley HM and the 2nd TinkerBell HM...again, likely to be walking much of the course. What a way to start 2013!! Meh.

As far as the end of 2012 goes, I hope everyone had a great holiday whether it was Christmas, Hanukka or Kwanza. We had a great time here with the son and his fiance coming to visit for 5 days and staying with us. We ate, met the future in-laws, they visited other family and friends, I did some massive cooking preparing a bunch of crock pot soup/chili plus multiple loaves of quick bread, celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary by sitting in bed all day catching up on a semester's worth of DVRd shows and it was an overall good time.

And then there is my newest obsession...On the 11th I was up in Amarillo for an appointment and before I drove home I stopped to catch Pitch Perfect at the theater. I had been waiting to watch this since it came out and finally had the chance so I was surely not going to miss it. I knew that I was in a potentially obsessive mode when I walked out of this movie. The songs, the dancing, the quirky characters, the sweet ups and downs of romance and a cute hottie in the male lead young enough to (literally) be my son. Ah yes, Skylar Astin. Yum. I think I'm either bordering on pedophilia or cougar mode since he's literally 11 days older than my own son!! LOL!

The movie came out on DVD and VOD on the 18th and wouldn't you know it I purchased my first rental of the movie just after midnight. Within the first 24 hours I had literally watched the movie at least 10x, sleeping only 2-3 hours and repeating the cycle again for 2 more days. To date, some 10 days later, I have by m best estimate watched this movie (as I am doing while typing this) at least 50 times!! I've watched it enough that I've got the most of the dialogue and choreography down cold. It's not unusual that I obsess over a movie or male lead, but it is unusual that I've watched the movie so many times and am fangirling over such a young actor. In the past movies like Bridget Jones and Titanic were my obsessions, then came Ryan Reynolds and I watch Green Lantern (best imagery of his hot bod) at least 20x after it came out as well as building a pretty massive Facebook album of Ryan Reynolds photos...excuse me while I wipe up the drool...OK, I'm back.

Ummm...yeah. this is currently the wallpaper on my cell!  *sigh*

Anyway, two days after first watching the VOD movie I went out and bought the soundtrack which took me 2 hours to figure out how to import it onto my phone so I could go grocery shopping and driving while listening to the music wherever I go. It was kind of funny to be jammin' out to the soundtrack while doing my grocery shopping at Walmart and Albertson's. I've been living Pitch Perfect for over a week now watching it whenever a have a spare couple of hours, listening to the CD when I'm at home or anywhere that I can listen to my phone and just today I spent a few hours to build a Pintrest page dedicated to the movie (featuring a lot of Skylar Astin). For Christmas my son gave me a Visa gift card that was to be used for running gear ONLY, but I snuck in the Blue Ray/DVD mega combo pack which I had to order online and am eagerly awaiting to arrive so that I can watch all the extra content. I'm pretty sure my constant scanning for new online pics of Skylar, watching numerous YouTube videos of the movie and Skylar plus following Skylar on Twitter may border on stalking. I jest, I jest!! lol!

There are additional new tracks on the just released extended
soundtrack that  I will be downloading from iTunes.

I'm not certain why the movie resonates with me so much. I know a new hottie and the music are certainly a draw, but whatever it is I do love this flick! At least it's a healthy obsession...for now. I'm not going out and blowing money, doing drugs or other stupid it's OK, right?

My favorite parts of the movie in chronological order (SPOILER alert!):
  • Right at the beginning when Jesse sings to Beca from the car before they even meet...too funny when his parents take off  at high speed during Freshman move in day.
  • A capella tryouts, especially when Jesse sings.
  • When Jesse messes around with the album covers to make Beca smile.
  • When Jesse meets up with Beca on the quad arriving with a candle, Snyder's of Hanover Hard Pretzels, movies including The Breakfast Club and a juice packet. Why would you need a candle in the daylight, on the campus quad?? IDK.
  • The riff-off especially when Jesse sings Feels Like the First Time and you know that he's singing it to Beca.
  • The dorm scene right after the riff-off where Jesse puts the move on Beca.
  • The Trebles performance of Right Round at the first competition. Swoon!
  • The Bellas breaking out with Party in the USA in the bus.
  • The Footnotes performance of Blame it on the Boogie.
  • Beca yelling at Jesse after Aubrey lays into her after the Bellas performance at semi-finals. So sad...I feel so bad for Jesse! :(
  • Beca finally watching The Breakfast Club.
  • Beca trying to make up with Jesse after spring break and he basically breaks up their relationship ("whatever this is") even though he cares for her still. Another sad section of the movie. :(
  • Aubrey's major projectile vomiting episode and the ensuing girl fight.
  • The Bellas mashup in the swimming pool.
  • The Trebles final performance of Bright Lights, Bigger City/Magic. Easily my very favorite musical number. Not only do you hear the smooth voice of Jesse but Benji also lets loose and the boys in general dance great. Huge swoon for Jesse!! (Excuse me, I have to go wipe off the drool again!)
  • Beca's section of the Bella's final performance when Jesse realizes that she's singing/making up to him. The look on his face is priceless...which leads to more swooning!
  • OK, being the romantic that I can be at times, when they finally kiss. Oh, to be 25 year younger, 25 pounds lighter and in the place of Beca! ROTFLMAO!
Yes, this is a very lighthearted movie which gives me a fuzzy, warm feeling a PG sense. The acting is great and entertaining. The music, dancing and singing is great...especially Skylar Astin as Jesse. His voice just hits the right spot every time whether he's singing or rapping. Rebel Wilson throws out her irreverent humor and brings on a lot of laughs. Anna Kendrick is well cast as the rebel finding out that college life can be fun. The cast overall is just awesome. Oh, and then there's Elizabeth Banks as one of the competition commentators...she is hilarious in the 10 or 15 minutes she has on screen!

So, I've just finished watching the movie and singing and dancing (quietly) to the last two performances as the old man slept...good thing he's deaf! My VOD rental is expired so now I just need to wait and see if I can manage to hold off on ordering it again until my mega combo BluRay/DVD arrives sometime between now and January 2nd. If it doesn't get here by Saturday, I'll probably be going through withdrawal symptoms and have to order it yet again! Oh my!

Here are a few of my favorite videos off of YouTube with regards to Pitch Perfect. Enjoy!

Mike Tompkins, the cast of Pitch Perfect and fans sing "Starships."
Again...Skylar Astin's voice...ahhhhhhh!

This video has most of my favorite non-musical scenes 
from the movie between Beca and Jesse. It's set to 
"Without You" as done by Lea Michelle from Glee...
Skylar's former cast mate on the Broadway hit 
"Spring Awakenings."

The Trebles perform "Right Round." Damn, Jesse and Donald are good!
I can't be the only one loving what happens at 0:51 in the clip...

Second half of the riff off...songs about sex. 
Jesse sings "Feels Like the First Time". 
OMG. I can't get enough of his voice!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Recap: Walt Disney World Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Race Day: Saturday, November 11, 2012 at 10pm

Race Day – 2: Travel Day

Well, I got up this morning at 4:30am to start getting ready for my drive to the Lubbock airport to catch my flight to Orlando. Darn this time change…first we get the extra hour with the time change and then I lose it again having to cross the border and eventually to the Eastern time zone. I’m traveling on my crutches with a post-op walking shoe and my foot wrapped  in an ACE wrap. Let me tell you, trying to drag my suitcase and carry on backpack to the car was not easy!

Once I got on the road things were much better. I decided to park in an off airport lot so that they could shuttle me to the terminal and I wouldn’t have to deal with  except to get it to the check in counter to have them put the tag on the bag. As I headed to the security check point it took me forever to get everything ready to place in the bins.  I stood next to the chair while I was getting everything settled and allowed probably over  a dozen people to go by me.  I grabbed some breakfast (bagel, cream cheese and a Sprite) then headed to the customer service desk to get a blue tag for early boarding. Nice bonus for having to use crutches!

This was a direct flight to Orlando with a short stop in Austin to take in more passengers. We arrived just a little early at about 2pm and I went to grab my one bag (I had carried my race gear with me as my carry on).  With that done fairly quickly, we were able to arrive a little earlier than anticipated. Once I picked up my bag I headed to the transportation area to catch the Magical Express to the All Stars Music Resort. Unfortunately that was the wrong side to check in. The bus driver was kind enough to drive me over to the other area so I didn’t have to mess with my bag and crutches. I finally made it through check in and was able to board the bus within about 10 minutes. The drive to the resort was pretty much like I remembered it. The driver dropped people of at several other stops before getting to my hotel.

Check in at the hotel was a joke! I had done the online check in so that it would be much faster, but it turned out that there was no one manning the online check in area. The three concierges eventually took the first 3 people in line, but after that they began working with people in the concierge line. I took pics of almost each line to show you what I was talking about…I hope that this is not an every day occurrence! Eventually a single clerk came out and started helping the online check in waiting line which by then had blossomed to about 6-8 people/families. People who were waiting for the regular check in actually finished about 10 minutes fast than me and I was the first one in the online check in!
All Stars Movie Resort - Love Bug 6 where I stayed.

For me this was the first stay in a Disney resort of any kind. The room was decent with 2 double beds which was comfortable (only slept in one), a full tub/shower, sink outside the bathroom, a table or 2 and a mini-fridge which didn’t have a freezer. There were no microwaves or coffee makers in the room. The bathroom/sink area was nice because there was a curtain separating the sink area from the sleeping area. That way if you have an early riser in the group (or runners getting ready for an early morning half or full marathon) the rest of the non-running group can sleep.

For the rest of the night I found out how to make the trek to the Shades of Green (SoG)  military resort to shop for some breakfast and snack items. Just FYI get on the bus or monorail to the Magic Kingdom then either take the monorail to the Polynesian exiting through the main enterance and following the walkway and signs. The walk is about a quarter mile. From the Magic Kingdom you can also walk past the monorail entrances and catch the Shades of Green bus that stops where all the other non-Disney buses stop...this is maybe a 10 minute ride once the bus leaves. One quart of low fat milk, 2 pints of chocolate milk, 3 large individual serving cups of Frosted Flakes, a regular bag of Keebler cookies (not a mini bag),  a large bag of beef jerky and a couple of other things came out to just over $25. The prices there were basically the same at any military convenience store.  After getting back to the room (it took about 20-30 minutes each way) I put everything away and headed for the Food Court which reminded me of a college cafeteria. I got an individual sized pepperoni pizza and a bottle of Sprite which came out to about $14. took my pizza and my expensive food and headed back to the room to eat and chill out.

Race Day – 1: The Expo

After about 6 hours sleep (the longest stretch of sleep in a long while), I got up just before 6am. Of course I spent nearly an hour or so playing on Facebook before getting ready for breakfast. The expo wasn’t opening until 10am so I decided to go to the food court because I needed spoons and while I was there I also realized that I needed some bananas (the SoG didn’t have any fresh fruit that I saw) as well as some orange juice. So, I broke down and bought them in the food court for $1.49 for each banana (got 3) and $3.50 for each individual serving of Simply Orange orange juice (got 3).  For those 6 things and tax the total price was just shy of $16!! OUCH!! I was trying to resist the urge to get anything else but for some reason pancakes just sounded good so I ended up with 3 lid sized pancakes and 2 slices of bacon for about $12. I headed back for the room to chill for a while as the first bus to the expo wasn’t until 8:30am. Some TV and Facebook later I headed to the pick up point at 8am because I didn’t know how crowded the line would be. Fortunately, it wasn’t totally full and I was able to get a front seat. BTW, I had ditched the crutches but was still wrapped in the ACE wrap and using the post-op walking shoe.

There was a bit of a waiting line to get through the entrance to ESPN and then another line to wait for packet pickup. Once I got in I headed to the line for my bib number, or what I thought was my number. Thankfully, I looked at my waiver again and I was supposed to be in the line to the left of me which was much, much shorter and moving much, much faster! Score! I got my packet about 10 minutes after I moved to the correct line and made a beeline to the official runDisney store. OMG, the line for the cash registers was LONG. I mean long enough that it snaked through the merch store and was going nearly halfway into the stadium. Thankfully it was moving fairly decent so I was probably in line only for 15 minutes or so. I walked out with only buying 2 tech shirts (I for the event itself and one for the Coast to Coast Challenge). I then headed over to the Jostens Center where we were to pick up our race shirts and where the actual expo was being held. I walked around a bit making sure that I found the SparkleSkirts booth where I would be volunteering the following day so that I could introduce myself to the owner, Leah. There was plenty to see or do but not enough money to do it all! I did buy a new handheld Nathan hydration bottle (I have an Amphipod one that I hate), a couple of sports bras (one was a bold, bright yellow that I’ve been looking for forever) and a few other things as well as a few freebies.
After the expo I decided to head to Downtown Disney for some dinner and maybe walk around. I headed directly for my absolute favorite Disney restaurant…Poole’s Dublin Fish & Chips to crave my fish & chips craving. Then I headed out to my next favorite place Ghiradelli’s Soda Shop to get a brownie sundae. YUMMO!! I was ready to call it a day so I did absolutely no looking around instead heading back to the room on the resort shuttle and setting out my outfits for the Saturday. I set up my camo SparkleSkirt and black tank to wear while working the expo and then my cheap, but functional Eeyore outfit. I did have a sweet tooth attack so I headed to the food court for a snack of a great chocolate croissant, something I haven’t had for years. The rest of the night was spent just chilling and watching TV. I even managed to fall asleep sometime after 9pm and had a really nice extended 8 hour slumber.

Race Day

I woke up at about 5:30am without the alarm after getting a full night’s sleep, something I hadn’t had in a very long time. After doing my ritual of playing on Facebook for awhile before having my standard breakfast for the trip of Frosted Flakes, banana, milk and orange juice. I got dressed in my camo outfit for the SparkleSkirts booth at the expo and headed out the door to catch the first shuttle to the ESPN center. The shuttle was running about 15 minutes late and I even checked with a taxi to see how much it would cost for the trip and for less than a 5 minute ride it was going to be about $15! So, I waited for the shuttle. It finally came at about 10 minutes until 10am and I ran for the Jostens Center so that I could get in before the expo opened. I had to sweet talk the older gentleman who was limiting access since the expo hadn’t actually opened yet to let me in since I didn’t have an exhibitor badge. I arrived at the booth (after quickly making an appointment for a massage after my shift) and introduced myself to the other girls who had volunteered to work the booth as well as to Leah Powell, the owner of SparkleSkirts. Now, realize that the last time I had worked retail was back in high school when I worked at Sears. It was like I had stepped right back into that mode. I was showing people the shorts under the tech skirt and the huge pockets on each  side, the fact that these shorts NEVER ride up, then there’s the 12” zippered pocket on the waistband and the fact that they are made in the USA. I was pushing the new SparkleSkirts MuddBuster shorts and capris made especially for those ladies who love doing mud and obstacle runs. The wicking material for these items is newer and better than the older model, has double paneling front and back so nothing shows through when your soaking wet, has a zip pocket on the back waistband and best of all has 2 large four inch mesh pockets on the legs that will allow water/mud and any junk that may end up in the pockets to drain. I also was pushing the original SparkleSkirts which are just cover skirts that you wear over your own shorts, capris or tights. I swear I love this brand of running skirt and will likely start getting more of them versus some of the other running skirt brands that I use.

I have to say that I had a blast working the booth and hope to do this again at another expo. For my time, just short of 4 hours, I got a $100 store credit which I was able to spend on the spot. I got a Minnie Mouse tech skirt, a brown and multicolor paisley tech skirt and a new medal rack since my current one is completely full. I did go over my $100 by $40 but still that’s not bad for some time and 2 skirts that were normally $65 each and a medal rack that was normally $35. The Minnie Mouse Skirt and the medal rack were on clearance prices of $60 and $20 respectively. After I picked out my stuff, I walked around the expo again until it was time for my massage. It was only a 25 minute massage for $25 but I really needed to loosen up my legs from just beginning to bear full weight again. After that I headed back to the resort to get ready for the night’s race.

The two SparkleTech Skirts and medal rack that I got for
working the SparkleSkirts booth,
plus I paid an additional $40 since I went over my earned credit.
It was about 4pm when I got back to my room so I freshened up a bit then began to get dressed. Now, I was dressing up as Eeyore in just a simple costume: a periwinkle (light purple/blue) running skirt and tank, a felt chest piece, Eeyore ear headband and a tail. It was a pretty tacky costume, but it’s a Disney race…you have to (not really) dress up in a costume of some sort to run. I grabbed my gear bag headed out to the food court to get the last of my carb loading done with a plate of spaghetti with meatballs. By the time I finished eating it was 6:40pm so I headed out to wait for the first bus to the starting line.

The outfit looked better just laid out on the bed!
And yes, there's a tail, you just can't see it.
The bus was full of people chatting away and you could feel the excitement building. I tried looking around the bus for people that I knew but with no luck. So when we got dropped off at the waiting area I headed directly to the port-o-jons  for last minute emptying and then to dropped off my bag at the gear drop tent. Since it was only about 7pm, I went up near the stage area where they have the “entertainment.” This was really just an extremely energetic emcee/deejay who got the crowd riled up and dancing/stretching. I joined in with the dancing and singing from time to time (getting tired and sweaty even before the running started) and at other times was walking around to find people I knew. It was during this time that I probably lost my $10 gift card that was for the after party…I was just so ticked at myself for that, but eventually let go of the self anger. I did bump into some ladies that I’ve met from my online running groups or run with at other races (most at the Tinkerbell HM).

Finally at around 9:30pm the announcement was made for everyone to start heading to their appropriate corrals. Earlier I had decided to start one of the further back corrals, like in C or D; but at the last minute I was feeling pretty confident and stayed in my assigned corral B. I did try to stay to the back of the pack but as they were asking people to move forward in the corrals I ended up in the middle of the pack. We waited, and waited, and waited some more until finally the 10 minute mark was announced. Everyone started warming up with earnest and at 9:55pm the wheelchair racer was on his way. Five minutes later corral A was released to the loud cheers, music and fireworks. Then it was my corrals turn…we got the same cheers, music and fireworks…and as we crossed the starting line I forgot about the worries of my foot and began running. I took off too fast as usual going at about a 10:38-10:48  pace for the first 3 miles or so. I finally slowed down and by mile 6 I was in my usual pace range of 12:30 - 13 :30.

Blurry pic of the starting line...sorry!
We headed through the Disney Studios, went back on the road to the Animal Kingdom then onto Epcot. The course was mostly flat with several overpasses that weren't bad at all. I can't really say that it was scenic since it was on the major roads on the Disney Property so it's usually lined with trees, canals and such but since this is a night race you didn't really get to see the scenery.There were the usual photo ops with Disney characters, but I’m not a huge Disney fanatic so the character pics really didn’t mean anything to me. Call me jaded, but I just think it’s because I grew up going to Disneyland almost every summer when I was growing up and even then I was not a kid who really wanted to take pics with the characters.

These pics are of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The finish line was at Epcot, we had to actually go through one of the buildings and then under the overhang on one side of Spaceship Earth before heading to the back lot and finally the finish line. After crossing the line I was relieved to finish uninjured…I didn’t even care about my time. Just the fact that I finished after 4 weeks of absolutely no training and only a day and a half with partial/full weight bearing was good enough for me. I got my finisher’s medal then grabbed a banana and a post race snack box (a piece of Almond Roca, nut/raisin packet, crackers, spreadable cheese, hard energy candy and some other small stuff) definitely not anything special. I headed over to the Coast to Coast medal booth to pick mine up then got my bag at gear check. It was kind of hard to find a place to sit. At TinkerBell there was a large area right next to the finish that you could plop down just about anywhere, but at this race it seemed that they had blocked off the waiting area so that we couldn’t sit there. Instead there was just a small block of ground maybe the size of a small 1 bedroom bungalow that everyone was sitting. I had brought my usual post race replenishment and sat there eating beef jerky, 2 pints of chocolate milk and the banana. By the time I was done taking pics of the medals and eating I was too full to even consider heading over to the after party where different booths were serving different drinks and foods from all over the world. Instead, I hopped on the bus back to the resort, took a cold bath, then a warm shower before going to sleep at nearly 6am.

Almost there! Really!
Less than a mile to go!
Laser light show during the last quarter mile.
The finish line, finally!!
Race Day +1

Oddly enough I woke up just before 10am which is fairly normal for me but I had taken a Xanax when I went to bed so I should have been out for a couple more hours. I did my morning routine: Facebook, breakfast and shower and decided that I’d do my laundry before going home. So I spent from about noon to 1:30pm doing laundry, having another chocolate croissant and repacking the suitcase.  Around 4pm I decided that I needed to eat a late lunch/dinner…the dilemma was where to eat.  That was pretty easily solved considering that my favorite Disney restaurant is in Downtown Disney so off I went and caught the shuttle back over to DTD and headed straight back to Poole’s for my fish and chips and then over to Ghiradelli’s for another brownie sundae. This pretty much ended up my short stay in WDW on a very happy note. All that I had left to do was make sure my reservation for the Magical Express (airport transportation) was all set for the next morning and I donated my crutches to the front desk where they bring left behind strollers, wheelchairs, etc. into the baggage hold room and give them out to people who need them while at the resort. I went to sleep pretty early, before 9pm and slept great aside from some really weird dreams that seemed very realistic…not nightmares but just outrageously nonsensical dreams.

Race Day +2

I woke up at 4:45am and took my shower, finished packing the tech clothes that hadn’t been all the way dry after being washed on Saturday and had breakfast while playing on Facebook. At 5:15 I rolled my suitcase over to the front of the hotel where they would do the airline check in. They printed up my boarding pass and took possession of my bag and made sure that it got on the plane. One less bother to worry about on the trip home. My pick up time for the Express was at 6:15 and they arrived right on time.

We arrived at the Orlando airport at about 7am and since I was already checked in, I went straight to the security line and slowly made my way through. As I got to the TSA agent, she saw my military ID and told me to go to the priority line. I asked if she was sure since I am only a dependent but she said go ahead. I moved over there and showed the agent my ID and again asked about me being allowed to use the priority line. She replied that as long as on an “operation” military could use the priority line. So I guess the TSA doesn’t get any training on what the different ID cards for the military indicate, so I just went with it and was through the security checkpoint in less than 5 minutes. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try that again, but it would be nice if it was true and correct.

After getting on the shuttle for the gates, I noticed a guy who was vomiting near constantly. My first thought was, “I hope he’s not on my flight.” I got to the gate I plugged in at a charging station (surprise, surprise) and waited for boarding to start. Once I got on the flight, somehow managing to wrangle an aisle seat even though I was within the last 35 to board. The flight to Austin was a little bumpy and within the first 30 minutes I began to hear the retching and vomiting…it was the guy from the shuttle gates. Joy. Within another 20 minutes or so a guy in the front row began vomiting as well. Oh joy…again. I just tried to sleep and ignore the vomiting going on. When we finally landed in Austin I found out that I didn’t have a boarding pass for my connecting flight. I picked one up at customer service and just waited.

My drive home was as boring as usual and it didn’t help that I was stuffed and getting sleepy. Once I made it to town, I put on all three medals again and stopped in m husband shop to let him know that I was back and do a little bragging!! :D My drive home was as boring as usual and it didn’t help that I was stuffed and getting sleepy. Once I made it to town, I put on all three medals again and stopped in m husband shop to let him know that I was back and do a little bragging!! :D

 Oddly enough the flight to Lubbock was totally full but at least it was a smooth, short trip. Lubbock is a small airport so baggage claim was no big deal. I caught the off airport parking shuttle and picked up my car.

Since it was about lunch time I decided to see if any restaurants were serving free Veterans Day meals since Monday was the federal observation of the holiday. I found several places that were doing the Monday offer so I first headed to Golden Corral which I found was only doing a dinner special from 4pm-9pm. I then decided to try Texas Roadhouse where I got a great grilled pork chop, green beans, loaded baked potato, 4 dinner rolls and a soda…enough to fill me up and put me to sleep at the same time!

My Disney Coast to Coast Medal and qualifying medals.
TinkerBell Half Marathon & the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
Official time: 3:27:22

What did I like about this race?
This is a fun, no pressure Disney race. This is one of those races that unless your a really hardcore runner you don't mind making extra stops for character pictures that sometimes have long lines.

What I did not like about this race?
Primarily the cost. All Disney races are expensive even if you sign up early. Since the race goes through the parks, there are times that the course gets quite narrow and congested but that's what you get for running in the parks! They weren't built with road races in mind. Lack of runner etiquette, even though in the final instructions and race program they review proper etiquette few seem to follow it. I tended to stay on the very far side of the course right next to the cones or curbs yet I almost got knocked over 2-3 times by runners passing where there was not enough room yet on the other side there was plenty of room to pass. That's not Disney's fault, but still something I dislike in any race.

Would I do this race again?
Yes, maybe. Because these are such expensive races my goal is to run all the half marathons and the marathon at least once except for Tink which I plan to go legacy (run it for 5 straight years). I won't do any of the shorter races unless I'm already in the area for some reason. Maybe I'll do this with my husband once he starts running his half marathons...hell could freeze over by then!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Recap: Prairie Fire Half Marathon

Race Day: Sunday, October 14, 2012 @ 8:00am

Race Day - 1

In the weeks prior to this race I had been combating a massive depression that I did my best to hide from friends and family...not always with success. It wasn't until yesterday, October 12th, that I finally decided that I would participate in Prairie Fire. This involved last minute packing and planning which I really hate as I typically pack several days in advance even up to a week in advance. To top it off, I planned to car camp for the night prior to the race in order to save a few bucks ($7 on base vs $100+ at the starting line...I reservation I now regret having cancelled). Anyway, I managed to get everything that I thought I needed while still packing minimally after waking up at 3am and doing my packing then.

By around 6am I was on the road to Wichita, Kansas which would be about a 9 hour drive including the loss of 1 hour due to the change to Central Time. The drive itself was fairly uneventful and I made pretty good time arriving at the expo at just before 3pm CT. After stopping to pick up my race packet, I got in the car and set my GPS for Offutt AFB where I had planned to camp out for the night. Lo and behold! Offutt AFB is located in Nebraska and was the base I had planned to stay at when I had planned to originally do a Saturday half marathon at Valisporo just outside Omaha. Okay. So I began to freak out. I was on a very limited budget...just over $100 for the trip (gas on the gas card). I knew there was no way I could pay for a room near the start so I decided to go ahead and drive to McConnell AFB to see if they had rooms available. Unfortunately, the Air Force lodging prices had just gone up from $39/night to $53/night at the beginning of the month. Figuring that at least I'd know it would be a decent room I was lucky enough to find the base after incorrect directions from the GPS and getting lost for about 10 minutes.

After finding the back gate to the base I finally made my way to the Air Capital Inn and was able to get a temporary lodging facility (basically a 1 bedroom apartment) for $54 for the night. As I got back into the car after registering it began to rain and by the time I made my way to the building that I was assigned (just behind the building with the office) it was throwing down. I don't mean just a little hard rain, but torrents of rain. Monsoonal rain. Wet to the bones rain. As I drove slowly through the parking lot I searched for where my room was...I saw the room number preceding my room and decided that would be the place to park. Wrong. When I got out to start carrying my stuff to the room I was unpleasantly surprised to find that my room was not where I thought it should be, but rather on the other end (not side) of the building. In order to find it, I had to walk in an open corridor getting pelted by the rain. I walked up the north corridor and didn't find the room. I walked down the south corridor and found the room at the very end of the building...the total opposite of where I had parked. I threw whatever I had in my arms and took a deep breath before tackling the rain that was coming in almost horizontally and rather painfully. I ran back to the car and moved it to a space just outside my room and began grabbing what stuff I needed for the night. As I finished up, I turned on the TVs only to find a severe thunderstorm watch in effect with the potential for 2" hail. Joy. Not only was I soaking to the bone, but my car may get smashed up here in tornado country. I took a few minutes to try to wring out my shirt during which time I realized that the pasta dinner would be starting in just literally over an hour. Here I was with a dinner ticket and soaking clothes and hair. Luckily the rain had let up and I decided that I'd take a chance and go to the base exchange to see if I could get a cheap outfit for the night.

About 40 minutes later I got back to the room having found a shirt, skinny jeans on clearance and an umbrella for less than $25. I quickly dried my hair (the rain had stopped by now) and stuck the blow dryer in my shoes, alternating every few minutes, to dry them out a bit. Thank goodness I don't wear makeup! I got dressed and headed out to the dinner with just enough time for the ~15 minute drive to the venue. I arrived just in time to sit down towards the rear before dinner was served and introduced myself to the table. There was another Beth who was also a relatively new runner with this being only her 2nd half marathon, another nurse who had just finished a contract at a hospital in Santa Fe and was heading home to Florida (if I remember correctly) after running the full marathon and finally a young man with his family who was running his first full marathon and would be heading east to visit his family right after the race. The food was pretty good although there was absolutely no protein offered...kind of odd, usually there's at least a little protein at these things. Dane Rauchenberg, ultra runner and author, was the guest speaker and was really rather interesting and entertaining. We all left at around the same time, before the event actually closed down...actually I think I was the last one at the table.

I made my way back to the base...with correct GPS instructions this time and got my gear ready for the race the next day. I was just glad that with the rough afternoon that the race had a start time of 8am rather than 7am that had been the norm through out my earlier races. I was glad that I opted for a room instead of trying to find the Famcamp since the t-storm warning was still in place with the continued chance of least I would be warm and dry, not having to run to the bathhouse to use the restroom or shower in the rain, etc. And mostly I'd be able to sleep in comfort and spread out as much as I wanted. I had forgotten my meds (realized that at about 5 hours into the drive) so I had to settle for Benadryl for sleep, Tylenol and some Endurance Caps (electrolyte capsules) instead. After I taped up my knees for support, I headed to bed and was finally asleep by around 11pm.

Race Day

Woke up at 5:30am. Went straight into the shower, ate my typical breakfast, taped up my feet and got dressed. I left the base at about 7:10am which was plenty of time to park and get to the starting area...or so I thought. The drive into downtown was fine until I started hitting all the closed streets. Ugh! I finally got to a lot that I thought was relatively close to the starting area only to find out that it was no where near. So, I headed back to the car and drove around again and again parked in an area that I thought was close to the start. It was now about 7:40am. As I followed some obvious spectators I became a bit worried when I saw a mile 1 marker. I asked the volunteers there if the start was straight ahead but they weren't sure. I broke into a jog (mind you I typically do a 12 to 13 minute mile) and passed one of the course bands. I asked another set of volunteers if I was headed in the right direction and they said I was...I guess I should have gotten a little more specific. I was now in a slow run...rather than a jog. I was beginning to panic. I began thinking how I drove 9 hours, suffered through the storm and now was going to miss the start of the race because I had parked a mile and a quarter away from the starting area. I finally began to recognize the area and headed in the direction that I thought that the starting line was at. I was near tears by this point. After hitting several dead ends, I finally saw the venue. I broke into a full run as I heard the announcer declare that the race would be starting in a couple of minutes. I literally had just enough time to tear off the tab on my bib and toss it and my gear bag to one of the girls at gear check before heading to the start where I heard the words..."We'll be starting in 1 minute!" Whew! I fired up my MotoACTV's GPS, tried to catch my breath and tried to calm the surge of anxiety that had suddenly welled up with the relief of finding the start. It wasn't good though that I was already panting before the race had even started. "GO!!"

And the run was on...I began walking with the occasional jog still trying to recover from my unofficial pre-race mile. I eventually felt like I was in a groove and began  an alternating run-walk. Bad idea. The first part of the race wasn't too bad. mostly flat going through part of the Riverside area, Old Town, along the Douglas Design District into College Hills and back (for the most part...the last part of the run was on the other side of the river). I had stopped a regular run-walk system at about mile 9 opting to just run as far as I could...typically only 100 feet or so then walking as long as I needed to. Since I was passing my car on the way back I decided to go off course and dump my race belt in the car. I just grabbed one of my 10oz bottles of G2, my camera and my phone (I thought) and got back on course. By the last 2 miles or so I was exhausted and had started to cramp up in my right foot. By that point it became a mostly, if not all, walking event. I'd look out for the course photogs and try to pretend that I was running as I went by them with not a lot of success. I tried to run across the 2nd bridge but it was a no go and I finished the race walking...slowly. I was way over my goal of 3 hours and my foot was cramping badly. After stopping for a massage (where I realized that I must have forgotten my phone in the car), some oranges, a whole bunch of chocolate milk and a Gatorade I made my very first trip to a medical tent to get an ice bag. I sat around listening to the band while waiting to get an ART (active release therapy) chiro to do a demo on me in hopes of loosening up my legs and back before the drive home. I waited for over an hour...everyone else was packing up to go and this chiro was just there chit chatting with the person before me. I had to get on the road so I just said forget it and headed out on the 1.25 mile walk back to the car.

When I got back to the car, I noticed that my phone wasn't anywhere in the car. I spent a half hour searching everywhere in and around the car even following part of the course (after traffic had already started back up) to see if it was smashed on the street somewhere. Crap! That was my lifelink home. Luckily I had my tablet with me and texted the old man that I had lost the phone (again). I decided that it was permanently lost so I decided to go to the nearest Y and take a shower before hitting the road. I checked my texts (no voice capability on the tablet) and the old man had gotten a call from a man whose wife had found it. I used the Y's phone to call him and we began a several hour long telephone tag to get my phone back. Since it was already past 4pm I decided that I'd have to stay another night and drove back to the base to try to get a room. Luckily they had plenty of rooms available and I ended up in a first floor room in the main building. After getting some near San Francisco quality Chinese food in town, I was finally able to get back in touch with the guy and get directions to meet his wife for the return of my phone. That happened at a little after 8pm so I was really happy to have found a room already.

By the time I got the phone back, my right foot was hurting terribly and I could barely put weight on it. In fact, I was basically just walking on the instep because I was fairly sure that I had managed to get a stress fracture of my 5th metatarsal (the outside foot bone). I was going to go to a civilian urgent care/ER when I remembered that there was a VA medical center (read ER) in town so that's where I headed (I didn't need any extra medical bills). After nearly 4 hours I was out on crutches with a post op walking shoe. Joy. I was to be non-weight bearing for 7-10 days...lovely. I got back to the base, figured out a way to carry 2 cans of soda while walking with 2 crutches. At 48 years old, this was the first time I had been on crutches let me tell you...I was no good at using crutches. I finally fell asleep sometime after 2am...

Race Day + 1

I woke up just after 6am. I decided to just take my time and head out by 9am or so. I lounged around a bit, played on the laptop and finally started getting ready. Let me tell you, I was just glad that there was a shower stall instead of a tub in the bathroom. Being non-weight bearing on one foot really made for an interesting shower.

I finally headed out a little before 9am. The only eventful things happening on the way home was getting lost within the first 5 miles and having to backtrack and my first stop at a McDonald's on I-35 service area for lunch (my first lunch at McD's in a couple of years).

I arrived home around 7:30pm MT to a choir of 7 canines barking and howling for mama/gramma. After a weekend like that I was really surprised that I never really fell apart emotionally. I had come close on race day, but I managed to get through it without melting down. Maybe I was actually on the mend...

Official Time:  3:11:27 (Personal Worst by about 5 minutes)

What did I like about this race?
Nice, mostly flat course, nice weather this year (for the race itself), goes through some nice areas.

What did I not like about this race?
Finish area was a bit disorganized...ran out of food for the late half marathon finishers (only had half a tray of oranges when I arrived and I was essentially chased off of the marathon finishers table). The food was almost out at the runner's food tent in the runner's village as well.

Would I do this race again?
Yes, but I'd train correctly (had only run a max of 5.5 miles and only about 15 runs total most of which were only 3 miles or less) and be much better prepared. It was my fault as far as getting an injury all due to poor preparation.

Dane Rauchenberg, ultra runner and author.

I represented Team Red, White & Blue for this race.
Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the course.
I believe this was in the College Hills area.
Going down Douglas Ave, the return trip.
Keeper of the Plains Plaza & Sculpture in the Riverside area.
Coming over the pedestrian bridge at Keeper of the Plains Plaza.
2012 Half Marathon Finishers medal.
Close up the HM Finishers medal.