Hi there! If you haven’t heard, I’ve given up Facebook for Lent. This means I’m going to have a lot more time and focus devoted to my writing. I’m so excited! While I compile all of my new though currently scattered thoughts and plans for future posts, I want to share with you the latest from the greatest Brad Light, my one and only. While I document the written account, Brad has the visual component covered of our journey to Tahiti. The latest offering is a video recap of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon which we ran in January of this year (2014). Judging from this awesome video, you’d never know I was completely and utterly exhausted! Well, you kind of get an inkling that I’m hurting from the brief and blunt interview at the end. Just speaking my mind 🙂
And no, Brad is not dressed as a dinosaur or an alien shark. He’s the Crocodile people! Tick Tock!
Did you run the Tink Half this year? How did it go?
Last month I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon to kick off the 2014 race schedule. I pretty much had a terrible time. I mean it’s Disneyland and Neverland and family fun times so all of the elements of fun were there but when it comes to the running, I had a terrible time. Due to circumstances sort of beyond my control I got a total of 6 hours of sleep in the two nights leading up to the race. That’s 3 hours of sleep the night before a half marathon. I don’t recommend it.
I love waking up with Brad on a race day. While making coffee, Brad makes jokes about how painfully early it is and I flit around the hotel room like a demented fairy, getting nervous for the impending 13 miles ahead. But this morning I just felt tired. SO tired. Deliriously tired. It was difficult to flit around. Pixie dust meter on empty. The thing about waking up at 3:30 am to run a half marathon is that no matter what time you went to bed the night before, you’re always going to be tired. Looking at your alarm clock at 3:30 am will always make you very very sleepy. So on this particular morning I didn’t register that I was more tired than usual. I just felt a malaise. The thought that entered my head was “I’m not really feeling it.” That thought is kryptonite to someone who’s about to run a half marathon. You have to, at the very least, feel it.
We got dressed. I decked out as Smee and Brad my Crocodile (the hat for the Croc being the culprit for my staying up until midnight. Stupid Krazy Glue!)
Stumbling out of our hotel room at approximately 4:15 we make our way to the starting line. The energy surrounding me is as per usual for a runDisney event. Electric. Thousands of runners surround me, many seemingly first time half marathoners. I’m excited. I am. A detached sort of excited. I register my detachment and try to brush it off. This is exciting! It is! Next to us I see a runner dressed as Rufio from Hook. How awesome is that?
5:00 am approaches. The national anthem is sung. The singing of the national anthem usually brings a tear to my eye. This morning it does not. Fireworks ignite the air. The announcers inspire. All of the elements of a fantastic runDisney morning are there and all I can do is continue to suppress the little minion in my head repeating the mantra “I’m just not feeling it.”
Ever feel like you’re in a fog? Like you’re going through the motions of your life, surrounded by things that should make you happy yet they fall upon numbness? Like you have a front row seat to observe your life from the outside? Inside you feel, just, nothing? I’m fortunate that I’ve never been seriously or clinically depressed, but I’m told the sensation is similar. If that is in fact the case then I can tell you that running 13 miles through Disneyland at 5:00 in the morning on 3 hours of sleep is much the same as being clinically depressed. Add to the mix some guilt. Guilt for not being happy at a runDisney race (it feels like sacrilege). Guilt that I paid so much money to run an event that “I’m just not feeling.” Guilt that I coerced Brad into running the same event. Though luckily Brad looks pretty happy. Brad appears to be having a good run. Phew!
Around mile 6, about the time when I’m just wishing the whole damn thing would be over, I start to panic. Am I falling out of love with running? Am I falling out of love with Disney? Are runDisney and I going to have to break up??? No!! Sheer panic. Why do I feel so terrible? Why isn’t Tinker Bell making me happy? What is this malaise? Why am I not feeling it? I still had not put 2 and 2 together that 3 hours of sleep the night before miiiiight contribute to my lack of excitement.
Brad runs with gusto. He is, as I said, having a great race and clips along at a good pace. I can’t hold him back in my fog. He takes off around mile 9 and continues on to have a fantastic final 4 miles. I just try to make it through.
There is one characteristic emotion of mine that can’t seem to be anesthetized, no matter my state of exhaustion or malaise, and that is my lovely stubbornness. Even though I’m tired and struggling and should really just take it easy if I ever want to enjoy running again, for some reason I decide that I want to finish in under 3 hours. I push it hard the last few miles to ensure that will happen and I cross the finish line feeling, for the first time, pretty damn good. What I soon discover is that since I hadn’t really been feeling anything the entire race, not excitement or joy or determination, I mistook these final emotions (extreme pain) as “pretty damn good.” I suppose I was just relieved to be feeling anything. Since a popular runner’s motto is “my sport is your sport’s punishment” let’s just say it’s not uncommon for a runner to mistake pain for pleasure.
I cross the finish line, find Brad, take our picture, get some water, and feel relieved the race is done. About 10 minutes later I feel everything a runner dreads. Nausea, extreme exhaustion, dizziness, chills, irritability. Damnit. My stubbornness caught up with me. Lactic acid comes rushing in.
Somehow I make it through to the other side of this episode. We find Mom and Dennis and head to Denny’s for breakfast. The thought of food makes me feel like I want to die whilst vomiting, but Mom insists that it will make me feel better. I suspect she’s right so I go with them to Denny’s even though all I really want to do is collapse. Mom orders me a chocolate milkshake and you know what, it was like magic. That magic guilt-free chocolate milkshake I downed at 8:00 in the morning perked me up and settled my tummy. Ice Cream really is the answer to everything. Best chocolate milkshake ever.
After breakfast we walk back to the hotel for a much needed nap, and now that my brain feels a bit more attached to my head I can start to think clearly again. I start to ask questions. Why does this happen to me? Why is it that sometimes I have a great race and sometimes I feel like shit? It can’t just be training. I’m actually pretty well trained for this race. Why does lactic acid seem to attack me only on some runs, and takes pity on me others?
By this point I’d gotten smart and realized that sleep deprivation no doubt played a major role in my malaise. After the milkshake cleared my head I had a light bulb moment and said “Ooohhh. THAT’S why I wasn’t feeling it.” Amazing it took me that long to figure out. I took this as a comfort, knowing that it’s something I can control. Next time I’ll just get more sleep. But this lactic acid question lingered and bothered me. I don’t feel as though I have control over its presence in my running. It seems to rear its ugly head when it wants to, other times a sleeping dragon. After our nap I set out to do some research on this evil foe. I want to understand how lactic acid really works in the body. Why in the world does our body produce anything that would make us feel so terrible right at the time when we need our body to work FOR us, not against us? The answers I found astounded me.
I discovered that lactic acid is actually meant to work for you, you just have to know how to use it. Mind blown. Suddenly I feel like if I can understand this villain of mine, perhaps we can be allies. It’s just as Honest Abe Lincoln once said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Lactic acid and I are about to become bffs.
I’ll impart my research on lactic acid at a later date. Before you roll your eyes, I promise that it’s interesting! I’ve got more studying to do however before I can write a worthy article. As far as Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2014 goes, I found myself in a foggy runner’s malaise and turned it into a teachable moment. And that’s why I run. Because although I briefly panicked that running and I were falling out of love, the great thing about a healthy relationship is that you can always work it out. Running and I, we’re working it out. We’re learning about each other.
Sunday afternoon I went for a breathtaking 5 mile run on the beach. I pushed myself. I philosophized. I worked through some mental cobwebs that had been bugging me. I felt centered. I felt grateful for my feet.
Got some good news today to continue the positive momentum of 2014. The waivers are now available for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and I discovered that Brad and I have graduated to Corral C! Woo-hoo! So what does this mean to the non-runners out there? Basically it means we’re getting faster. When you sign up for a runDisney race you have to provide your estimated finish time. For logical and logistical reasons they organize the corrals with the fastest in the front and the slower folks bringing up the rear. We have been in Corral D for every singe race since we started 4 years ago, so this feels like a significant leap forward. Corral C out of F! Not bad.
Now all we need to do is get Brad healed before race day. Poor guy got hit with the flu last weekend and a temp of 103! Scared the crap out of me. Seems he’s on the mend as of today, so please send prayers of healthiness his way, and prayers of immunity mine.
Nursing my sick fiance all weekend really helped me keep up with my New Year’s Resolutions. I cooked a new recipe (Hot and Sour Cabbage Stew with Tofu. Yum!). I made dinner two nights in row. I bought groceries. I cleaned the kitchen thoroughly including doing all of the dishes. I cleaned the cat box myself. I made the bed (whenever Brad wasn’t relegated to it). And since I couldn’t sleep in said bed with my germtastic fiance, I spent the evening in the living room, on the couch, catching up on my first book of 2013, “The Alienist.” All of that and I still managed to squeeze in my 11 mile run yesterday. Kind of a supergirl weekend for me. Hopefully I can keep it up!
In other Tinker Bell news, I’ve been trying to think of a costume for the race. I feel compelled to stay within the Neverland realm, but I don’t want to dress up as Tink yet again. I kinda sorta really want to go for Tiger Lily, but something about it just feels wrong; in the same way that the song “What Makes the Red Man Red?” is now painfully wrong when you watch/hear it. A white girl dressed up as a cartoon representation of a Native American? I just don’t know.
She is my second favorite character in Peter Pan after Tinker Bell. Maybe I’ve just become overly sensitive after years of working in Human Resources. I figure it’s better to be sensitive than totally offensive. Though this does spiral me into all kinds of questions about racism and racial stereotypes. If I had brown skin and I dressed up as Tiger Lily people would probably not bat an eyelash. But that’s kind of weird too, isn’t it? Just because someone has brown skin it’s acceptable? Let’s say that someone is Latina or Indian or Filipina, that doesn’t make them any more Native American than me. Is it perhaps worse that all brown skin people may dress up as other brown skin people because they are lumped into one acceptable group of “brown-skinned people?” No. I think that’s terrible. So following that logic, the only group of people who could acceptably dress up as Tiger Lily are actual Native Americans. That also doesn’t seem right since it is in fact a cartoon, and a caricature, and not an accurate representation of Native American culture, so to relegate the costume to actual Native Americans almost makes it seem like the presupposition is that Tiger Lily is a valid representation of a Native American girl. Since she is not, since she is a cartoon, since she is complete fantasy, shouldn’t anyone of any color acceptably represent her? One thing I love to see in the Disney parks, actually, is how the characters tear through racial boundaries especially among kids. I see little white girls dressed as Princess Tiana and little black girls dressed as Ariel. A blondie dressed as Mulan, and a girl with bright red hair dressed as Snow White. Girls dressed as pirates, boys dressed as, well, pirates. I’ve yet to see a little boy dressed as a princess though I’m hopeful the day will come when that is not taboo. If a little girl can dress up as a boy pirate and no one bats an eyelash, a little boy should be able to dress up as a fairy princess and no one should care. And if you care, what you’re saying is that dressing “like a girl” is somehow shameful but dressing “like a boy” is universal. I get very passionate when it comes to gender stereotypes as they apply to children because I’ve seen the shame that plants and seeds when a little boy is told to “act like a man,” whatever that means. Girls can be tomboys and they’re cool. Boys act like girls and they’re “prissy.” Drives me crazy.
Wow. I really went off on a tangent there didn’t I. What I’m trying to say is, if I had a little girl; a little blonde fair-skinned girl; and she wanted to dress up as Tiger Lily for Halloween. What would I do? Would I encourage her to learn about real Native American culture instead so she knows the difference? Ok, well maybe she does that and then tells me she wants to dress up as Pocahontas. Or Sacajawea. Wouldn’t I want her to be able to dress up as such interesting historical women? I just don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when I’m a parent.
Anyway, back to my dilemma!
With my obvious confusion on the subject, limited time (the race is Jan 19), and my lack of confidence to dress as Tiger Lily despite my love of her, I’m leaning towards this guy:
Gotta love Smee, in all his bumbling tomfoolery. I’ve got a soft spot for the klutzy guy in a perpetual state of clueless. Not to mention this costume could translate very easily into running clothes.
What do you think? Are you team Tiger Lily? Or Team Smee?
Registration for the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon is now open! In true runDisney fashion, after just one day the race is already 87% full (at the time of this posting Wednesday morning). Don’t miss out, and don’t over think it. Just sign up! Chances are it will fill up by the end of the week. The registration fee is a bit steep, but fellow runDisney fans will concur, it’s worth it. Sign up today!