Tag Archive | Disneyland Half Marathon

How to Cure Vacation Withdrawal… More Vacation

Brad and I just got back from a glorious week-long mountain adventure in Colorado. Activities included whitewater rafting, exploring a ghost town, hiking to the top of a mountain to discover a heavenly meadow of wildflowers and a trout-filled lake, touring our wedding venue, and taking on some serious trail runs at 9,000 feet. To sum up, I need a vacation from my vacation. Answer: Disneyland in 5 weeks.

You thought I forgot, didn’t you? It’s Disneyland Half Marathon time!! The most wonderful running time of the year. I’m so excited to be participating in our 4th straight year of running 13.1 miles through the Happiest Place Race on Earth. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Last week I got a taste of paradise and now Monday has brought with it some serious vacation withdrawal depression. What a relief from the back-to-work blues, knowing that I have this race to look forward to in just a little over a month.

The stakes are higher this year. In case you haven’t heard, runDisney has introduced new madness to Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. For the first time ever they’ve introduced a 10k to the weekend’s activities, the Disneyland 10k specifically. The 10k is a great distance because it’s accessible to pretty much everyone. For those who don’t quite have the motivation to train for a half marathon, the 10k (6.2 miles) is a worthy challenge. And for seasoned marathoners and half marathoners, 10k is still a great workout and provides the perfect opportunity for challenging speed work and the chance to PR time and again. This 10k is going to be particulary fantastic because it’s short enough that most of the race will actually be in the Disneyland resort instead of sprawled out onto the streets of Anaheim. In short, it’s going to rock and I hope you signed up.

But I’m not done! Not only did runDisney introduce a 10k into the mix, but they’ve officially laid down the west coast version of the Goofy Challenge, only slightly less totally insane Goofy. Brad and I are training for the Dumbo Double Dare, which means we’ll be running the 10k on Saturday morning, and the half marathon on Sunday morning. We’re Dumbo! I’ve never run that much mileage back to back, but I’m not too worried. We’re going to take it real easy on the 10k, stopping for photos and enjoying the gentle jog through the parks, and then we’ll really let the motors go for the half marathon. Besides, we ran at 9,000 feet altitude last week (you can feel the the oxygen deprivation!) so our runs at sea level from here on out will pretty much make us feel like superheroes. I understand now why Olympians train at high altitudes!

We had a great 8 mile run last night at sunset. Hard to believe we were in the Rocky Mountains on Saturday and gazing out at the Pacific on Sunday. I really can’t complain about life. It’s really really good. 

Here are some pics from our mountain adventure! 

Hiking in the San Isabel National Forest

Hiking in the San Isabel National Forest

fields of wildflowers on top of a mountain

fields of wildflowers on top of a mountain

St. Elmo ghost town. One of many old abandoned mining towns in the Rockies. Spooky and beautiful.

St. Elmo ghost town. One of many old abandoned mining towns in the Rockies. Spooky and beautiful.

lots of hummingbirds at St. Elmo

lots of hummingbirds at St. Elmo

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There's a corner of St. Elmo home to hundreds of friendly chipmunks. You can buy feed for 50c and these little critters will crawl all over you nibbling away at their seeds. They are incredibly adorable.

There’s a corner of St. Elmo home to hundreds of friendly chipmunks. You can buy feed for 50c and these little critters will crawl all over you nibbling away at their seeds. They are incredibly adorable. What do you think? Is this little guy Chip or Dale?

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My first experience whitewater rafting. I'm hooked.

My first experience whitewater rafting. I’m hooked.

big drop

big drop

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Touring our wedding venue! That meadow is where we'll say "I Do!"

Touring our wedding venue! That meadow is where we’ll say “I Do!”

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Bathing in warm natural spring water at Mt Princeton Hot Springs. Yeah, our wedding is going to rock.

and of course...

and of course…

... running

… running

 

 

Have you taken a vacation yet this year? Where did you adventure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Places

I recently had a revelation while pondering what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve spent countless hours pondering that question when in fact I believe the answer has been staring me in the face.

Do you have places in the world that you would describe as your happy places? I do. And I don’t mean a metaphorical happy place wherein you imagine yourself surrounded by bluebirds as a warm light washes over you. No. I mean a real, tangible, physical, happy place. Places you go where, no matter what, you feel instant glee. Not just cool places. Not just places you enjoy or find fun or pleasant. Places that have something special. Places with a magical power to transplant you from the dullest of dolddrums to the utmost place of hope and contentment. I have some.

Libraries/Book stores

Sports supplies stores (especially running stores)

Craft and art supplies stores (Michael’s, Utrecht, even Home Depot fits into this category. Places where you can get stuff to build other stuff)

Disneyland

Museums/Observatories

The woods

Office supplies stores

The ocean

On my couch with my fiance and my cats

London

I would say that pretty much covers my happy places. I could get more specific (The Griffith Observatory, The American Museum of Natural History, Northern California redwoods, etc.), but these are the main categories. Kind of a weird hodge-podge wouldn’t you say? I’m kind of weird.

As I’ve been mulling over what I should do with the rest of my life, I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that my happy places might be providing me with an answer.

How did I come to this realization? I thought about the things I’m currently doing that I don’t make a living off of, but that I love doing, and I realized there is potential to make a living off of them if I put my mind to it. I own and operate Whimsy Do. I write this blog. I run. I go to Disneyland (ok so maybe there’s not potential to make a living off of going to Disneyland but I have a point, which I’ll get to shortly). A light bulb went off as I realized that these things directly correlated to my top happy places.

  1. I own and operate Whimsy Do. I’m instantly happy in art and/or craft supplies stores a la Utrecht or Michael’s.
  2. I write. I write this blog and I write stories. I’m instantly happy in a book store or library.
  3. I run. I’m instantly happy in a running store and on the running trail. My blog is also a running blog so 2 and 3 tie in together.

I’m creating, writing, running; but I’m not currently making a living off of any of these things. I could though. I could invest more time and energy into Whimsy Do. I could actually get my stories published. I could turn this blog into a source of income with the right strategy and determination. And here is how Disneyland ties in. Disneyland Half Marathon weekend is one of my ultimate happy places (and training starts this week!). I could work for runDisney. Running and Disneyland, two happy places combined. If runDisney ever starts up a California office, I’m there. I could, and I should, and I would. Somehow.

I know what you’re thinking. If you make what you love your job, you run the risk of not loving it as much. You might ruin it. What a sad thought. Think about what that means for a moment. That means we are not only willing to, but deliberately choose to do things we dislike for the majority of our waking lives (8+ hrs of every day!) because we’ve somehow bought into the notion that work = something to be tolerated. I say we change that presumption. I say it’s time for a paradigm shift. It’s time we spend the majority of our lives doing things that feel right in our bones. That feel meaningful and make us, yes, happy. And will we feel happy all of the time? Of course not. Will it sometimes feel like work, even though we supposedly love it? Of course. Anything worth doing is hard. Marriage, parenthood, career aspirations. All challenging. All worth it. Because there is meaning in the challenge. You think it’s easy to climb Mt. Everest? I guarantee you the people who do it aren’t doing it for the paycheck. Passion is hard, but there is a payoff that directly feeds into our core, our selfness, our most precious part of ourselves that generates love and spirit and hope and life. It’s the right kind of hard work. Most of us spend our lives doing the wrong kind of work. The kind that makes us stare at the clock until 5:00. The kind that makes us steal as many Facebook minutes as possible throughout the day. Anything to distract us from that paperwork, right? The kind that makes us live for the weekend. As if two days make up for the other lost 5.

So idealistic right? I know. It’s easy to talk about. It’s hard to do. There are bills. There are mortgages. There are children to send to college. There are debts to pay off. I hear ya. I’m in a version of that boat myself. But it doesn’t stop me from believing that it’s possible. It must be possible to honor our fiscal responsibilities while the work we do gives our life meaning. We just spend too much of our lives at work for that not to be possible. 33.33% of my life is spent sleeping, 33.33% of my life is spent working, and 33.33% of my life is mine to do with as I please. That tiny third also has to include laundry, cooking, cleaning, bill pay, errands, etc. It’s not enough. Life is too precious. I want more than a third of it with which to make a difference. I want more than a third of it with which to accomplish something magical and more importantly something meaningful. I want to love and not to regret more than a third of my life. I know it’s possible. Because I feel it happening. 4 years ago I left an office job I didn’t like and I turned my back on the restaurant business because they were sucking my soul. I took a leap of faith, and a week later I got a call to work for a non-profit that is changing lives. I have a great job. I don’t love it every day, and I don’t believe it’s where I’m meant to end up, but my days aren’t wasted. I’m grateful for that. And because I took that leap, the next stepping stones are becoming clearer and clearer.

If you’re lost, floating, drifting, unsure of what move to make next, first of all you’re not alone. Maybe think about a happy place. They really are quite neat. As if the universe gave them to us, as to whisper in our ear “This. Do more of this. You were born to do this.”

I’m genuinely curious. What are your happy places? Universities? Science labs? Boardrooms? Churches? Kitchens? Let Tahiti readers know by leaving your happy place in the comments below. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else!

Mountains in the snow. Happy Place.

Mountains in the snow. Happy Place.

Brad and I touring the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Happy happy.

Brad and I touring the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Happy happy.

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On our beach. Happy.

The Los Angeles Public Library. Happy place.

The Los Angeles Public Library. Happy place.

Michael's (especially at Halloween). Happy place.

Michael’s (especially at Halloween). Happy place.

Running the Disneyland Half Marathon. Can't you tell by our faces? Happy places.

Running the Disneyland Half Marathon. Can’t you tell by our faces? Happy places.

A Friday night with my boys. Completely perfect happy place.

A Friday night with my guys. Completely perfect happy place. Although Sharky doesn’t look too happy 🙂

And of course, Tahiti. I have a feeling that's going to be one helluva happy place.

And of course, Tahiti. I have a feeling that’s going to be one helluva happy place.

falling down the rabbit hole HURTS!

I’ve convinced myself that what happened at the race on Sunday happened so that I would have great material to write about for my blog. Who wants to read about something going as planned? Don’t worry, you won’t.

Running has given me life lessons at every turn and last weekend’s half marathon is no exception. You can plan and plan and plan for something and when it comes right down to it you can’t control what happens at go time.

I start the weekend with enthusiasm and confidence. I know I have trained hard and I have trained strong. I am ready. More ready for a race than ever before. There is practically nothing that can stop me from murdering my personal record.

I am so excited about my costume choice and have even convinced Brad to dress up as the White Rabbit.

ready to race

We make it down to the starting corral at 5:00 am and the nerves start to kick in. Not everything is perfect after all. I have a pinched nerve in my back that seems to flare up only at times it is unwelcome. Despite my best efforts to get up extra early and drink copious amounts of coffee I have not yet “gone to the bathroom.” Pardon me for the crudeness but this is a very important issue for runners. And lastly, I remember that my last long race was not strong at all. It was an 8 miler and it almost got the best of me. These things start to play on my confidence and I feel it wane a bit.

I suffer from allowing my race day energy to disguise itself as worry as I wait in my corral for the 45 minutes before we start running. Something I need to work on. Thankfully the energy is quickly put to good use as we move across the starting line. I feel the nerves turn into running fuel. We start strong. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.. GO! The race is off. 

At just a 1/4 mile into the race Brad and I hear a loud smack and see a poor runner just to our right take a nasty face-plant into the pavement. Those street lane bumps, they’ll get you every time. It’s a bad spill and I feel so sorry for her. She gets up rather quickly, although I don’t know if she is able to stay in the race. I think to myself “Geez I’m glad that wasn’t me,” coupled with an eerie shadow of foreboding. I shake it off and keep running. Watch your footing, I tell myself.

The race is fantastic. I feel so strong. We’re passing people left and right which clearly means we’re going to pace out with a group much faster than in previous year’s. We do have to stop in Fantasyland for a bathroom break (dang coffee, NOW you kick in!) but luckily there is no line so it’s only about a 3 minute delay. Still. 3 minutes mean a lot to a runner trying to beat a PR. But it can’t be helped.

There’s not much else to say about the next 5 miles. They are incredible. I feel strong. I feel fast. I even feel a runner’s high start to kick in. I have a killer playlist to boot. Amazing what music does to put pep in your step. Good, good, better, better. Let’s skip to mile 8, shall we?

We turn the corner to enter Angel Stadium. This is one of Brad and my’s favorite spots on the course. There are so many people in the stadium there cheering us on. It’s exactly the burst of energy we need at mile 9 to get through the next 4 miles. We turn the corner to exit the stadium and that’s when it happens. I fall down the rabbit hole. The operative word being fall.

I have a fair amount of Disney music on my half marathon playlist. What can I say? I love it. Have you ever run to “Out There” from Hunchback of Notre Dame? Or even better, “Go the Distance” from Hercules? You’ll never run faster. I have one song on my playlist to pay homage to our costumes for the day. This song:

This is the song that Alice sings right before she falls down the rabbit hole. This is the song that plays as I turn the corner out of the stadium, catch half of my foot on the cement walkway and half on the dirt sidewalk, and fall on my face. This is the song that plays as I fall down a rabbit hole of my own, I kid you not. Not only do I seem to live my life in metaphors, I seem to actually BE Alice.

Many emotions and thoughts race through your body and brain when you fall in a moment like that. Amazingly you run the entire gamut of emotions in just the few short seconds it takes you to hit the ground. Forgive the dramatics as I describe this experience but the reason for them is that I have huge expectations for this race. I know what stellar shape I’m in. I know that we’re ahead of our PR and if we just keep at pace, we’ll beat it by a landslide. As I fall, first I feel denial. I feel that I can stop myself. I feel that I can catch my footing. Then I realize I can’t. Then I feel embarrassment. Good lord how embarrassing to fall in front of all these runners. And in a petticoat no less. I suddenly feel silly for wearing it. Then I feel dread. Oh no. I can’t believe I just fell. I can’t believe that just happened. What does this mean? I try to assess the damage but I can’t tell yet. Oh God what if I can’t finish?? I look down and see that I’ve scraped my knee rather dramatically. What just a moment ago was was a gleaming pair of white tights is now a torn dirty bloody rip across my knee. I don’t care about that. I can run with a scraped knee. What I care about is that I can tell something is wrong with my ankle. A new level of denial kicks in. No way. My ankle is FINE. I give it a good rub. A runner who is right in front of me when I fall is so kind. Even though she sees Brad is there to help me, she stops and helps me up and shows true concern on her face. She tells me just to stand for a few minutes before I start running again. There is something about her. She doesn’t show me pity. She looks truly concerned. She shows solidarity. I read in her face “girl, this happens to everyone at some point.” I won’t forget that woman and her random act of kindness. It really comforts me in that moment.

I take her advice and Brad and I stand there for a few minutes to see if I can put weight on my ankle. In the back of my mind I know it doesn’t matter. I am finishing this race if I have to crawl to the finish line. A few minutes of walking and I start to pick up the pace again. The tingling in my ankle seems to have stopped and I feel pretty much fine putting my complete weight on it and getting back to our previous pace. I figure I’m lucky. That I just escaped really twisting or spraining it and won’t be injured at all other than my bloody knee. I underestimate the power of adrenaline. Looking back I know now that a huge dose of the wonder hormone surged straight towards my bad ankle and let me finish the race. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. Human bodies are amazing things. Of course a day later I’ve got a knot the size and color of ripe plum on the side of my foot, but in that moment I think I’m in the clear.

Within just a few minutes we’re flying again. I feel strong and fast and I’m doing my best just to laugh off the fall. Focus and determination to cross that finish line prevent me from looking back. Prevent me from playing the moment over and over again in my head and trying to undo it somehow. That would come in time.

I do my best to really pick up the pace these last few miles. I know we lost at least 4 minutes with the fall. We turn the corner at the end of mile 12 and I can’t believe how amazing I feel. I see a group of runners doing burpees at the mile 13 sign. Ok, so I don’t feel THAT good, but by my standards I’ve never felt better. The finish line is in sight and I fly toward it. At this point I try not to think about my time and just focus on finishing strong. I’ve never experienced the half marathon finish like this. Not a single ounce of nausea. Barely any fatigue. Minimal muscle tightening. I really could have gone farther. We fly through the finish line, Donald and Goofy cheering from the sidelines. Brad feels good enough to proclaim that he feels like he could run a marathon right now. Now there’s an idea.

Not too much time goes by and thoughts previously put at bay by determination and adrenaline start to creep into my mind.

WHY DID I HAVE TO FALL?????

Ugh. Why? How hard is it to put one foot in front of the other? How could I fall? I try to visualize it in my head in slow-mo and I can’t figure out how it happened. One minute I’m running, the next minute I’m eating dirt. If only I had been more careful with my footing. If only I hadn’t been so over zealous in trying to pass people. I would have stayed more on the center of the track and not gone near that lip that tripped me. If only I hadn’t chased that white rabbit. If only… if only… if only. I know it’s just the Disneyland Half Marathon. I know it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But I was doing so well! Why did I have to fall on my best run ever? Why couldn’t I fall on a mediocre run when there was less at stake?

I immediately start thinking about the Olympics. So many Olympian runners have fallen at clinch moments. 1st place with just 200M left and a hurdle gets ’em. Down they go along with their dreams of gold medal glory. If I feel this bad after falling during the Disneyland Half Marathon, I really can’t imagine how those Olympians who have suffered a similar fate felt when their life’s dreams slipped away. Truly. My heart goes out to you.

Even with these thoughts running through my head trying to undo what happened, the truth is I don’t feel terrible. I feel awesome. I feel better than ever before and though I don’t share Brad’s immediate confidence that I could run 26.2 miles in that exact moment, for the first time ever I start to think that one day I probably could.

Then I start thinking about our time. Brad used the Nike+ running app (which he is now completely converted to thanks to my review), to track our time so we’d be able to see our splits. We look at the final results. 2:33. Last year’s time, 2:43. That’s not bad. We didn’t shave 15 minutes off but we shaved 10, and that’s pretty darn good.

This realization is bittersweet. I know that this will not be our official chip time. Brad paused the app during our bathroom breaks and during my stumble incident, so while this is an accurate depiction of the amount of time it took us to literally run 13.1 miles, it’s not our official time. 2:33 is the time it took us minus all of the obstacles that got in our way, but it’s the obstacles that get in your way and what it takes you to overcome them that give you your real record. That’s why official times matter. Because you can’t subtract the obstacles from your life to measure your success. They have to factor in or the success is not real, it’s sterilized.

So how long did it officially take us to run the Disneyland Half Marathon this year? 2:39. Even with two bathroom breaks (one extra long) and a pretty dramatic tumble in Angel Stadium, we still shaved 4 minutes off of our race time. We still finished with a personal record. So why am I so dissatisfied?

Last year’s race and this year’s were so different. Last year’s training regimen was weak. We ran the race with zero stops, bathroom breaks or otherwise, and finished at 2:43. If what had happened this year on the course had happened last year I know that 2:43 would have been closer to 2:55. So somewhere in my heart I know that I actually did cut 15 minutes off of my race time. But it doesn’t count. What I did was cut 15 minutes off of my ability, and there’s value to that, but the official time is the official time. We run races for a reason. A race is what you do with 15,000 other runners around you. A race is what you do with a course you’ve never been on before. A race is what you do in a sudden rainstorm, or freezing weather. A race is how fast you pick yourself up when you fall down. A race is what you do knowing the clock won’t stop to make it easier. You can train for years and when it comes right down to it, you can’t control what happens on race day. You can’t control the weather, you can’t control your bowels, you can’t control if you fall (well, you can control it but you definitely can’t reverse it). You can never run in perfect conditions. This is why runner’s run races. Because life isn’t sterilized. Life doesn’t hand you perfect conditions so when you succeed in spite of the challenges, the success is so sweet and so worthy of celebration.

When a race doesn’t go exactly as planned, the challenges that got in your way motivate you to try again and circumvent them completely. Yes we finished with a new personal record. In the face of the obstacles presented to us we did incredibly well and yes, without those obstacles we would have done even better. Without those obstacles I would have accomplished what I set out to do, and that is cut 15 minutes off of my official time. Knowing that I’m ready to achieve that motivates me like crazy. We did everything we should have done. We trained right. We ran strong. Everything else was out of our control. Let’s just say, I’m counting down the weeks until Half Marathon 2013. I will not be falling again.

falling down hurts

but doesn’t stop me from smiling

proud with our medals

Alice

shot of the bunny tail

happy

Next installment of Running to Tahiti, “my visit to Wonderland.”

cancer, the villain of villains

It is pure evil. It has no redeeming qualities. It is a relentless villain that time and again succeeds in taking the lives of millions. Good people. Bad people. Old people. Young people. Big people. Small people. No one is safe. There are things you can do to be healthy. You can do everything right. Don’t smoke, eat organic veggies and “superfoods,” exercise. You can do all of those things. There are people who do all of those things and they live long and healthy lives. There are also people who do all of those things and they still fucking die of cancer. I don’t swear much. I don’t mind when people swear, but it doesn’t roll naturally off my tongue. Right now, however, I have one thing to say. Cancer FUCKING sucks.

I wasn’t going to raise money this year. For the last two years of running the Disneyland Half Marathon I have raised money for both of the non-profit theatre companies to which I’m affiliated. The first year for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, where I am the Program Administrator. The second year for Theatre of NOTE, where at the time I was the President of the Artistic & Management Committee. It was pretty exhausting. I’m all for people running to raise money, and I am SO endlessly grateful to everyone who donated and supported me. After last year’s very successful fundraiser, “Running for Wonderlust,” I decided that I’d take a year off from “fundrunning.” I just wanted to focus on myself and my training.

Then I heard that a friend’s sister had just died of cancer… and I was pissed. Then I saw on Facebook that a friend of a friend lost her 7 year old son to cancer, and I was furious. Then Sacramento lost a theatre legend in Mindy Stover. Heartbreaking. Then we lost MCA. Unacceptable. Then Steve Jobs. What? Then Donna Summer. Then Nora Ephron. Then Sally Ride. The list goes on and on. I have three other friends my age who have had to battle this evil foe and thank God have come out swinging. My own mother has battled the Big C and has reigned victorious over its grip. I have a dear dear friend who is waiting to hear TOMORROW if the tumor in his brain is cancer. I’m just not ok with all of this!

I wasn’t going to raise money but the truth is, running this Half Marathon and blogging about it is an opportunity. I write. People read what I write. I thank you for following my journey from the bottom of my heart. I didn’t want to ask any of my readers for money this year but I just can’t turn a blind eye. At this time I humbly turn your attention to this cause. Stand up with me against this evil adversary. I beg of you to help me.

I would like to single-handedly obliterate cancer from this earth. But I know that I can’t do that. I’m not the real hero. The real heroes are the ones out there on the ground researching treatment. The real heroes are the ones out there searching for a cure. The real heroes are the ones out there battling this disease. Doctors, scientists, researchers, and the people like you and me who have to look this evil disease in the face and spit on it. I can’t do what they do. But we can help them. We can support them. 

Please join me in raising money for the American Cancer Society. Please, let’s put as many of our resources as we can spare toward wiping cancer from the planet. 

DONATE

1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Those are terrible odds, and terribly ridiculous. Can you believe that statistic? I’m not ok with that!

DONATE

If you are reading this and you are human, then chances are you know someone who has been affected by this disease. Either you have lost a loved one, or you love someone who has lost a loved one. None of us are exempt. None of us escape the heartbreaking affect this disease has on our lives. NONE OF US.

DONATE

I’ve set a humble goal. I would love to exceed it. Brad and I are trying to raise $500 for the American Cancer Society before we run the Disneyland Half Marathon in 3 weeks. We have each donated our share which has gotten us closer to our goal. Please help. Please surprise me, won’t you? I would love to be shocked by how far we exceed our expectations.

Think about that person that you have lost to this disease. Whether you knew them personally or they were your personal hero. Whether it’s your grandmother or George Harrison. Think about those that have survived and the life-saving treatment and medical research that got them there. Think about these people, and donate for them. You do not need to know me to stand with me against cancer. I know a lot of perfect strangers read my blog in addition to all of my friends and family. No one is a stranger to this disease. Stand with me. Thank you.

Click on any of the DONATE buttons above to donate through our fundraiser on Crowdrise. Also, here is the full URL for you to share and spread the word:

http://www.crowdrise.com/runtoendcancer/fundraiser/RebeccaSigl

With love,

Rebecca and Brad

Some great ones lost to this disease:

george

MCA

gilda

bogie

swayze

steve jobs

sally ride

farrah

audrey

The list goes on and on, and will continue on and on, until we stop it. Please donate.

the return of supergirl

This year, for the first time in a long time I’m doing things for myself as opposed to things I feel obligated to do. I prioritize based on what will fuel my hopes and dreams, not what will help other people’s hopes and dreams. That may all sound very selfish. It is. I happen to think there is great virtue in selfishness and no, I do not worship Ayn Rand. I did, however, read The Fountainhead about 8 years ago and it forever changed my outlook on life and all its aspirations.

 

I won’t completely summarize the novel here. Just go out and read it. I will say what I took from it. That in realizing our own potential we give more to society than if we spend our days wasting our best talents in the name of altruism. Of course it’s important to help people. Of course it’s important to be kind, compassionate, and giving. Of course. But if we spend ALL of our time in life giving to others and save no time to focus on ourselves, then we have wasted our God-given talents and that does a much greater disservice to the world, I believe. Think of your heroes. Be they athletes, scientists, artists,  politicians, poets. They are your heroes because they have mastered something. Something that lived within them as potential but they spent their entire lives honing and perfecting. In doing so they have inspired you to hopefully do the same for yourself. That chain of inspiration continues the more we focus on what we love.  

Last night Brad and I were watching The Dark Knight to prep for our upcoming venture to see The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. During the credits I noticed the copyright date said 2008. I was stunned. I said to Brad “That’s impossible! This movie did not come out in 2008. That was 4 years ago!” And he replied “You saw the credits. It came out 4 years ago.”

“Oh my God. What happened to the last 4 years of my life. I feel like someone transplanted me from 2008 to now and I have no memory of the last 4 years. Like someone stole them from me. What happened?”

“Well, two of those years were on the AMC. That’s what happened.”

He was right. Let me preface by saying that I do not regret those two years I decided to give to my theatre company. I regret how frustrated I was. I regret how little I was able to change while on the AMC. I regret that I did not do a better job. I have these regrets because running a theatre company is not actually my God-given talent. It’s not my passion. I spent two years doing it because I love my theatre company and I felt like I should take my turn. I personally believe we should get someone to run Theatre of NOTE who actually IS passionate about all of the nuts and bolts of running a theatre company and only then will NOTE realize its own potential, which is enormous. But that’s a whole different discussion. My outcome on the AMC was lackluster compared to my standards for what that incredible company of artists deserves. I don’t regret doing it. I regret not doing it well. This is what happens when we spend our lives doing things we don’t really want to do. We are filled with regret. Life is too short to let regret get in the way of our passion. We must follow our bliss.

This year that changed. My tenure on the AMC came to a close. I have taken a leave of absence from my theatre company to focus on myself. The results are coming in, and they are positive. Brad and I have made up some huge mileage on the road to Tahiti. (We got so behind last year). I had perhaps the most rewarding creative experience ever working on The Crucible with my good friend Bill Voorhees. I fell in love with acting all over again the moment I met Mary Warren. I’m training harder and faster for the Disneyland Half Marathon and am on my way to a new PR. I joined SAG-AFTRA and can count myself a proud union member. I opened my own Etsy shop and have a new creative outlet for when I don’t get to act. The shop is soaring. I’m so honored to receive so many messages from strangers all around the world who are so excited to wear my hair Whimsy Dos in their weddings, holidays, or vacations. My creations have touched people from Brazil to Jordan to Australia to Canada. I’m honored. I believe the things I am doing are sending positive vibrations out into the universe. I’m more optimistic than ever. I’m kinder. More confident. More proud of my fellow artists. More supportive. And just plain happier. All this because I decided to focus on me for a change.

There is one last piece to this puzzle. Physical fitness. I’m on my way to becoming the best version of myself artistically, emotionally, and creatively. I’m still far from it physically. I had a meeting with a genetic counselor a few weeks ago because breast cancer runs heavily in my family. One of the leading risk factors in developing the disease is being overweight. I won’t have that. I want to live as long as possible. I want to suck the marrow out of this life and I need to give myself the best shot possible. That means being in the best physical condition possible. I want to put myself at low risk for disease. I want to run fast. I want to look good in a bikini! I want to fit in my clothes. I want to go to the doctor and have her tell me “yep, you’re pretty much fit as a fiddle” instead of “you’re really healthy, except you could stand to lose a little weight.” I want to be the healthiest version of myself and inspire healthy eating to as many people as possible. So today, in keeping with the superhero theme, today is called “The Return of Supergirl.”

Last year I embarked upon a healthy eating initiative about a week before the half marathon. For those 8 days I had so much energy, and I lost a couple of pounds. The race came and went, as did the healthy eating initiative. Today is the sequel, and it’s here to stay. Read here to learn about the genesis of the supergirl diet. It’s nothing revolutionary. Just healthy, clean, common-sense eating. Little to no sugar, zero alcohol until race day, no processed foods, lots of fruit and veggies. Today I’m making a promise to do this for myself. Everything else that I’ve started to do for myself this year has been rather successful. This will be too. I’m not doing this for an agent, or Hollywood, or my family, or my doctor, or my readers. I’m not proving anything to anyone except me. Alright Supergirl, take flight.

10 miles of bliss

Half Marathon training week 5 has come and gone! We are officially halfway to race day. So sorry that I didn’t post a schedule last week. I was too busy running! That’s no excuse. There may be at least one person who reads this blog and tries to keep up with the training schedule. To that loyal runner and reader, I apologize. Let’s get back on track here in week 6! But first, some great highlights from the past week and a half.

I ran 10 miles!!!! 10.5 to be exact. I could not believe it when Saturday approached and I looked at the training calendar. How did we already make it to the double-digit runs? Time has flown by and yet, Brad and I have not let the training schedule fly by with it. We’ve been scrupulous this year, following every training mile to a tee, and it’s paying off. The added miles are getting easier, the pace is slowly quickening. (Slowly quickening? Jumbo shrimp? Whatever it makes sense to me.)

So there I am on Saturday morning, knowing what challenge lies ahead of me. I intend to get up early and hit the pavement so as not to encounter that evil midday sun. We all know how that goes. But I wake up at 8:00 am with a cat snuggling on my belly and come on, I simply cannot move him. It would be cruel! 

he’s a paperweight for people

So I close my eyes for a few more minutes and before I know it, it’s 11:00am. Looks like it’s going to be a midday run whether I like it or not. I pray for marine layer, or at least a cool breeze. I get up and make a plan for the day.

11:00 – 12:00 slowly get up and get dressed

12:00 – 1:00 fuel up. Lots of carbs and water.

1:00 – 2:00 take a walk down Main Street and burn off some of the carbs so as to avoid a sideache during run.

2:00 – 4:00 RUN!

Steps 1 – 3 go off without a hitch. 2:00 approaches and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the impending workout. Like I said, I have notoriously mixed results on these long training runs and today I will be in trouble if I get sick. Brad is out of town so there will be no one to come rescue me if I collapse on the sidewalk in heat exhaustion. I make a couple of promises to myself and I’m certain it’s these promises that make for such a successful run.

1) Don’t worry about speed. Go as slow as you need to, especially in the beginning. Don’t. Worry.

2) Don’t be an idiot. If you start to feel sick or weird, just stop and walk home. Don’t. Be. An. Idiot.

These things may sound obvious but to my stubborn brain they are not. I have before run to the brink of hospitalization so I need to actively remind myself that it’s simply not worth it. What I fear most about running long distances is not that I will get sick or die, it’s that I won’t be able to finish. Kind of twisted, isn’t it? In giving myself permission to fail, and to not finish, I feel the anxiety about the mileage ahead quickly evaporate and I take off on my run, fearlessly.

I want to take you through every moment, but I know I can’t capture them. What I’ll say is this, every moment was full. I ran for two solid hours and I’ve never felt so present and grateful for time. I often spend my running time daydreaming. Not so much on these 10 miles. Or rather, it was a different kind of daydreaming. Rather than imagining far off lands and distant dreams, I was inspired by the land around me. I didn’t listen to any music or podcasts. Didn’t have my ear buds in at all. Just ran in the moment listening to the world around me, occassionally talking to myself, and taking in the beautiful California landscape. 

I started this blog because I originally wanted to write about running and travel. I love to travel. My favorite way to explore a new place is to run in it. It gets in your blood that way. When you run you inhale so much oxygen into your system and your brain releases so many happy endorphins that I believe you literally breathe in the world around you in a deeper way when you run through it as opposed to drive or even walk. I looked out at the sea I ran next to and it looked more beautiful to me than the day before. I looked up at the blue sky and felt the sun seep into my skin. (My spf covered skin. Wear sun screen!) I felt the sea breeze blow across my face and was incredibly grateful for its cool kiss. I let myself off the hook for running fast and I freed myself from the fear of getting sick, and in return I got the most exhilarating two hours to myself that I will draw upon whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious. I’ll remember back to that Saturday run that it was just me and my breath and the pavement and the sky.

I finished strong. Achy and THIRSTY, to be sure, but strong. 10.5 miles of presence. 10.5 miles of bliss.

Some survival tips for a long run. Before I left for breakfast I filled both of my belt bottles with water and stuck them in the freezer. That way I was ensured ice cold water for almost the entire 10 miles. I know there are trainers out there who will caution against drinking ice water when you’re exerting so much energy. It can be a shock to the system but it’s also a lifesaver if you start to overheat. For me, I’m all about ice water. I also made sure to wear my hat which kept the midday sun out of my eyes and off my scalp. And last but not least, sun screen. So crucial. The last thing you want is burned skin after a long hard run. First because it’s just plain bad for you. Cancer anyone!? Second because your body is going to be so heated after your workout and burned skin will make it that much harder for your body temp to come down. Not to mention how uncomfortable you’ll be. Don’t think twice. Just wear screen.

At the end of this post I’ll list the training schedule for both the Half Marathon runners and those on the Couch-to-5k™ program for this week. But first, I wanted to share some photos with you. This is why I love where I live. Look where I get to run!

the view from mile 3 out of 10

the mighty pacific

the most beautiful sunset i’ve ever seen

And here’s the schedule for this week:

Half Marathon

  • Monday – 4 miles
  • Wednesday – 5 miles
  • Thursday – 4 miles
  • Saturday – 11 miles

Family Fun Run 5k

  • Monday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
    • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Wednesday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
    • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
    • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Friday – Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:  jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.

Do you have a blissful running moment to share? Write them in the comments below and inspire us all!

Happy Running!

half marathon training: week 4

Really hard to believe we’re already 4 weeks in to training for this race, and we’re staring down an 8 mile run this Saturday! It’s been quite a while since I’ve run 8 miles. Looking forward to seeing how it goes. My goal for Saturday’s run is to get it in early. Really early. Even though it’s Saturday, I’d like to be done by 9:30 am. That means I’ll need to start running around 8:00. We’ll see how that goes. This has been a tough week at work and I’m feeling pretty sleep deprived, but all one can do is strive. Here’s the training schedule for this week:

Half Marathon:

  • Monday – 3 miles (hopefully you did that yesterday or Monday. Sorry to get these schedules out so late in the week!)

  • Tuesday – rest

  • Wednesday – (that’s today!) 5 miles

  • Thursday – 3 miles

  • Friday – rest

  • Saturday – 8 miles

  • Sunday – rest

5k:

  • Monday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

  • Wednesday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

  • Friday or Saturday: Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

    • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)

    • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)

    • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)

    • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Thar she be! Don’t forget you can move the days around as needed, but try to keep the pattern of workout days to rest days relatively consistent. Have a great week everyone!

Let everyone know how your training process is going in the comments below.