Tag Archive | health

Laguna Hills Half Marathon Recap

It’s so simple. Running is the perfect metaphor for life. You get out of it pretty much exactly what you put into it. So when I train hard and strong I get a really great race in return, and maybe even a PR. When I train half-heartedly and make excuses for myself, I struggle and I suffer. No matter how long I run I suppose I need refresher courses in this lesson every once in a while. The Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon provided such a lesson.

Let me start by saying that this is a fantastic race. I’m so glad we signed up and actually ran it. The only reason we did was because Brad wanted to find a half marathon for us to run other than the Disneyland Half. We get in this pattern where we train really well for the Dland Half, run it, and then we don’t run as diligently until June or July of the next year when training starts up again. So Brad’s philosophy was that we should sign up for a race in the spring that would keep us on track. Good idea Brad. It sort of worked ūüėõ

The morning started off… early. Here I thought getting up for a runDisney race was brutal, but that’s like sleeping in compared to this. In an effort to save money, we decided to forego getting a hotel in Laguna Hills the night before the race and instead would drive down the morning of. The difficult part of that scenario is that the race started at 7:30, Laguna Hills was over an hour away, and we had to be there an hour early to pick up our bibs. The night before the race we set the alarm for 4:00 and snuggled in for essentially a nap.

Luckily there was no traffic on the way down, and the race starting area was easy to find right off the highway. It was a beautiful morning for a race!

Lots of activity at the starting line. I was impressed by the turnout!

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Sleepy, but ready and rarin’

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Morning bathroom time. We all need it. We don’t like to talk about it. But for runners, it’s a very crucial part of your pre-race prep. Unfortunately neither Brad nor I had to use the facilities until we’d already arrived at the registration area. Even more unfortunate, the bathroom lines looked like this:

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This picture doesn’t accurately depict how long the lines were, but when ya gotta go… Every time I run a non-Disney race, no matter how good it is, I’m somehow reminded of why runDisney reigns supreme. At the start line for all of the runDisney races I’ve participated in, I’ve never waited more than a few minutes to use the loo. These lines were a good 20 minutes long. *Sigh*. They can’t all be Disney.

The real bummer about waiting in this line was that it forced us to start the race late. They counted down and runners started running, but we still had to go! So by the time we got started running, the race course looked like this:

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Just a handful of stragglers bringing up the rear. The race was chip-timed, so it didn’t really matter, except the whole point of running a big race is to feel the energy of that big crowd. I wore my shirt that reads on the back: “Dear God, Please let there be someone behind me to read this” and I was actually worried there might not be! I really didn’t want to run in last place so I put on some speed to catch up with the crowd. In hindsight that was a mistake. Never burn too much fuel in the beginning of a race.

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The first few miles of the race were lovely. We ran through a quiet residential neighborhood in Laguna Hills. I believe it was actually a retirement community as there were several lovely retired people sitting out on their front lawns to cheer on the runners. Honestly, there is nothing better than cheering, enthusiastic, spectators. Ok, maybe there are some things better, but it’s really high on the list. One of my favorite parts about a race is getting cheered on by a stranger. There’s something so pure and hopeful about it. A total stranger willing the success of another total stranger. It’s as life should be.

This was a combo race. In other words there was a 5k, a 10k, and a Half Marathon, but they all started at the same time. So as we approached the three mile marker a lot of people cheered to the runners, “You’re almost done! You can do it!” I giggled as I heard a lady next to me reply, “No we’re not!” because I was thinking the exact same thing. Combo races are deceptive. I started the morning thinking this was a large race. By the numbers, it was. About 8,000 runners participated I believe. But as we ran on it became clear that most of those thousands of runners were doing the 5k or the 10k, and a somewhat small number of crazies were running on to the Half Marathon. I was worried that it would actually be a really small percentage, but as we passed the 10k turnaround, I felt relieved to be in the presence of a still solid group of runners. Probably about 1,000 half marathoners would be my guess.

Hills!

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Hills!

20130527_074506More hills!

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You can’t quite get the right perspective from the pictures, but this race had hills. Not crazy hills. Mild rolling hills. I know that I shouldn’t have been surprised, given that the race was called the Laguna¬†Hills¬†Half Marathon, and I wasn’t really; I just quickly realized that we should have done a lot more hill training. Long story short, I pretty much completely ran out of steam around mile 10, and that had a lot to do with poor training, but was definitely compounded by the challenge of these hills.

The beauty of the course made up for it though. We winded down through a nature preserve and ran along a lovely hiking trail alongside a creek. Course aesthetics are super important to me, and this course gets points for beauty. Sure, it’s not Hawaii or anything, but it really made me appreciate the beauty of Southern California.

Running up along a ridge, we could see the whole valley below and the city of Laguna Hills.

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Running along the creek, Brad spots some local wildlife.

 

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I think we look kind of bad-ass in this one. I like it ūüôā

 

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Mile 8, things start to change.

 

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Through mile 8 I was having a pretty great run considering the hills. Did I mention there were hills? Oh yeah, there were hills. I could tell at this mile marker though that the winds were changing, and not in my favor. By the time I got to mile 10, I was toast.

It’s hard to describe the difference between good tired and bad tired, except to say that I can honestly imagine what my car feels like when it’s running on fumes. By the end of a half marathon, I’m always tired. That’s a given. When I’m good tired, I still have magic runner energy. I’m winded and my muscles hurt and I’m fantasizing about crossing that finish line, but my legs still move in a steady rhythm with gusto. When I’m bad tired, every move is torture. My legs feel like they’re made of leaden spaghetti (did you know there was such a thing as leaden spaghetti), I can’t seem to get my breathing in a set rhythm, and the worst adversary of all, my brain. I heard a runner once say about ultra-marathoning that the hardest distance you have to defeat is the 6 inches between your ears. I love that. It’s absolutely so true about distance running. A lot of it is in your head and you have to learn to balance and control your thoughts to achieve things you didn’t know you could. But when you hit the wall and run out of energy, those 6 inches between your ears become the longest distance ever. The willpower I summoned through the mantra in my head is the only thing that got me across the finish line. My body was toast.

I finished. We finished. But I had to walk a bit. At mile 9 we walked for about 3 or 4 minutes, and then again at mile 11. I ran the last mile, proudly. I knew that I wouldn’t feel great afterwards though and that it was my own fault. This is what happens to me when I don’t train. Lesson learned. Again.

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We managed to cross the finish line with big silly grins on our faces. I’m telling you, no matter how tired you are, you can’t help but smile when you cross that finish line.

And then of course there’s the bling. Gotta love the bling.

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The medals were actually quite impressive. We shall proudly add them to our collection.

 

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There was a really great expo and celebration at the finish line complete with food trucks, DJs, vendors, and a beer garden. Unfortunately because I was totally wiped out, I didn’t really get to enjoy any of it. All I wanted to do was find somewhere shady and cool to sit down and rest.

The most important thing about this day was that it was Memorial Day, and that we were there to first: honor our fallen veterans, and second: run a race. I have mixed feelings about the military; and yes I harbor plenty of lefty-hippie opinions about war and peace and our bloated defense budget, but NONE of that mattered on this day. Because no matter how I feel about the military, the men and women who put on a uniform and fight to defend my right to have lefty-hippie opinions deserve my respect and my undying gratitude. And they have it. And I get choked up just thinking about it. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who serve.

The race specifically honored the Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion. The Marines had quite a set up at the finish line complete with a tank, weaponry, and lots of soldiers available to talk to the runners and educate all those present about what they do. It was a very interesting display. Brad reverted to his 10 year old self when he saw the tank. He wanted a picture.

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On one hand I was glad that the community had the opportunity to actually witness all of this first-hand, so that it became real and not just a news reel. I think it’s important for us to resist detachment from the reality of war as much as possible. The more removed we are, the more dangerous. On the other hand I was a bit sad to see little kids like the one above look at this giant automatic weapon like a toy. Again, mixed feelings. Again, doesn’t really matter. I’m going to choose to be optimistic and say that the opportunity for these soldiers to educate these little kids about weapons was ultimately a good thing and will make them take guns very seriously as they get older.

All in all, we had a great time. We started training for this race in February after I finished the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. We started strong and stuck to our schedule, but then I got in a play and Brad got in a play, and suddenly we’re missing almost all of our weekly runs and getting about half the weekend mileage we should. Like I said, I got out of this race exactly what I put into it in terms of performance, and I learned a huge lesson. Training pays off. I guess part of me started to wonder if, since I’ve run several half marathons, maybe I’d gotten to a point where I could just go out there and run 13 miles without trying. Nope. Training never stops. You can only run half marathons as long as you are training for half marathons, and when you stop training, you’re preparedness stops with it. No matter how much your heart and mind feel like you can distance-race, your body has to participate.

Brad and I give this race two enthusiastic thumbs up and we will run it again next year. Join us!

How about you? Can you run a half marathon without a lot of training? Or are you like me and have to put in the prep?

 

 

 

 

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BIG announcement, like, big

Last weekend I watched my friend not only finish the L.A. Marathon, but kick it in the butt. Brad and I drove him to the starting line at 6:00 am. The sun continued to sleep soundly somewhere past the horizon while Dodgers Stadium overflowed with 20,000+ eager and excited runners. As we pulled into the drop-off area, inspiration filled my lungs. I couldn’t believe not only how many people took on the challenge of running a marathon, but how many of them were in the same physical condition (and maybe even a bit worse) than me. I couldn’t help but excitedly think if they could do this, I could do this. And I can.

With no further ado I have an announcement to make. I will run a marathon in 2015.

In case you weren’t sure, that’s 26.2 miles.

I’ve been toying with the idea since about one week after I finished my first half marathon. Immediately after finishing I thought that running that distance twice in a row sounded like the most insane idea I’d ever heard of, and I couldn’t believe ANYone actually did it. But it only took about a week to forget the pain before I started thinking not only of running another half as soon as possible, but entertaining the notion of greater challenges. I imagine it’s a bit like having children. During childbirth and immediately after I think most women curse their spouse’s name and swear they’ll never do this again. Doesn’t take long before that cuddly little bundle wipes away the memory of the pain and you start prepping another baby’s room. So yes, I’ve been thinking about it for years, (the marathon thing, not the baby thing) and I’m done thinking. The only way I’m going to find out if I can actually do it, is to just frickin’ do it.

So I’m going to do it.

Why wait until 2015 you ask? Well I’ve got this little thing called a wedding to plan. Brad and I are getting hitched in July 2014 (BRAD AND I ARE GETTING HITCHED JULY 2014!!!!!) and I don’t need to add to the stress of wedding planning by trying to squeeze in 15 mile runs on the weekends. 2014 is the year ‘o’ love. As soon as we get back from our honeymoon, let the training begin.

The goal right now (and I hope I hope I hope I can make it work) is to run the Walt Disney World Marathon. We’re talking about a marathon people. My FIRST marathon. It’s a big deal. You want your first time to be special, y’know? Whether or not we’ll have enough money leftover to fly to Florida for a running vacay after saving for a wedding and honeymoon remains to be seen. If it doesn’t happen, then it’ll either be the LA Marathon¬†or the California International Marathon¬†that takes my marathon V-Card.

So there you have it! You heard it here first. Accountability officially in print on Running to Tahiti.

I will run a marathon.

special idiots run marathon copy

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

I realize it’s been 2 months since the Tinker Bell Half Marathon but what can I say, better late than never? I always intend to do these incredible, inspiring, reflective, life-changing race recaps but the task becomes so daunting that I put it off and never get to it. Hence, nothing gets done in my life. So, in an effort to do things I say I’m going to do, I’m going to go ahead and write my race recap anyway because you know what, I had a great time and I’d like to share.

As is often the case, the race was not without its hiccups and challenges. The hectic holiday season (especially hectic this year) made training rather difficult and because I thought I was going to run/walk with my Mom and not worry about a PR, I wasn’t too concerned about a strict training regimen. It was only a couple of weeks before the race that my Mom decided she wasn’t going to be able to run with me. *Gulp*. Guess I should have trained harder, since now it looked like I was going to run with my fast fiance and our rather fast friend Chris, who was taking my mom’s place.

Sometime around the new year I realized another potential road block to Neverland. It was flu season. So far I had escaped unscathed, as had my fiance; but we got our hopes up too soon. Right after New Year’s Brad went down in battle. The flu got him good. He was out of commission for a solid 3 weeks. I grew paranoid about so many things.

A) His health and well-being. I became concerned his illness was turning into pneumonia and stubborn man that he was, he refused to go the doctor.

B) My own health and well-being. I mean, I can’t NOT kiss the guy for three weeks!

C) The race. Whose idea was it to schedule a half marathon during flu season. Curses!

About a week before the race, it happened. I started to feel it. The tickle in the back of your throat and the general ooginess that lets you know you’re being preyed upon by an unwanted bug. I’ve never fought off a cold so hard. Never drank so much water and OJ. Never took so many vitamins. Never slept so much. I don’t know if it was the copious amounts of echinacea and vitamin C or rather my strong will to race, but something got me through. I got sick, but never full blown. I was bad for about a day and half and started to feel better about 3 days before the race. Still, my immune system was obviously compromised and I had a half marathon to run. How I would reconcile those two things, I had no idea.

20130119_121409Chris, Brad, and I drove down to the Health & Fitness Expo the day before the race to pick up our bibs.¬†Brad came with us armed with an ample dose of magical thinking, hoping there was a way he could still run. That pipe dream was soon dashed. Poor baby was still so sick, and obviously really frustrated that he was completely out of commission. Come on people, you know those runDisney races aren’t cheap. When you pay for that, you want to run it. As we left the Expo he admitted defeat. He wouldn’t run.

I turned to Chris and realized, it’s just him and me now, and gosh darnit, we WERE going to run tomorrow and we were going to have fun!

I had made reservations to stay at a hotel that night since the race started at 5:00 am. Just too difficult to drive down from Venice that early in the morning.  Suddenly it dawned on me. A joyous long weekend of running in Disneyland with my mother and fiance had devolved into a night in the Travelodge with this guy:

Neiman

Neiman

The room smelled like pine sol and cigarettes and Chris had to sleep on a roll-away that barely fit in the room. What can I say? The universe is unpredictable. The important thing is, this makes a pretty good story now, and the MOST important thing is, we had a great time.

Got my running costume all ready the night before. Ok, so it’s not the most original costume choice in the world for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I was sick! I had other things on my mind!

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On the shuttle to the start line. SO early.

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At this point Chris became aware that he was pretty much the only dude on the bus. I reminded him it was a “woman focused” event. He found the male/female ratio intriguing to say the least. (I love the look on the girl’s face right behind him, to the right. Classic)

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At the starting line!

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A sea of runners. Always majorly impressed by the turnout at runDisney events!

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Getting some encouragement from Minnie and Daisy.

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I LOVE all of the signs that the chEAR squad and spectators hold up along the course. This one had to be my favorite!

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After this we were off and running. I’d never run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course before and it was significantly different than the Disneyland Half. I had to admit, jury was still out on which I preferred. In the Tinker Bell Half you spent the first mile running up Disneyland Drive and then around Ball Rd and back down Harbor. You ran a solid mile and half before you even made it into the first park. I do think there’s a benefit to that because it delays gratification a little bit and builds up the excitement for running in the parks. It also made me feel like I was in the parks longer before we headed out onto the streets of Anaheim. Getting that big hill on Ball Rd out of the way in the beginning when we were running on excitement and adrenaline was also a major plus. In the Disneyland Half you hit that hill just as you’re leaving the parks, which is a downer unto itself. To be greeted by a huge hill as you’re leaving? A challenge to say the least.

When we turned into the resort, we ran into a mysterious tunnel.

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I tell ya what, this place never ceases to surprise me. I know those parks backward and forward, and I had no idea this tunnel  existed. I have to admit, it was a little bit creepy; especially since it was still totally dark out. Ominous!

After that we finally ran into Disney California Adventure. The first thing we did was run through Paradise Pier. They had the lights and fountains going for World of Color and it was an inspiring sight. A perfect kickoff to this race. The sun STILL hadn’t come up so the fountains and lights looked gorgeous.

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Since I was feeling a bit ooky from my cold, I had decided that I wasn’t going to push myself in any way on this run. The goal was to have fun and to finish. That being the case, this was the perfect race to stop and take pictures! Each time we stopped to take a picture with a character Chris basically made it sound like I was subjecting him to torture, but I knew he secretly loved it. How could you not?

With Mary Poppins and Burt. Chris is a penguin.

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Stealing a pic with the Peter Pan characters. Even I could admit the line for this gang was ridiculously long, so we just sneaked in the back and slyly pointed in their direction.

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Me and Miss Bell

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Love this one! Two of my faves. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. And here you can get a shot of Chris’ EVIL compression socks. Aren’t those rad? Meanwhile I look like a doofus in my 3/4 pants and black compression socks. I don’t care though. Gotta have my compression!

Tangled

This had to be around mile 3 or 4 and yes, it’s STILL dark out

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Running through the castle!

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Disney custodial is all about the runDisney. And we THANK YOU Disney custodial!

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We made our way through the rest of DCA and Disneyland and I have to say, it was more fun than the Disneyland Half course through the parks. I don’t know if it was that first mile and half we burned before we even got there, but it really felt like we were in the parks for so much longer than the Dland Half. We approached mile 6 as we finally left Disneyland!

Then we were off on the streets of Anaheim. At this point Chris took off ahead of me. He was training for the LA Marathon and wanted to keep his pace up. I was still icky and just wanted to finish. I struggled at certain points along the rest of the course so I decided to employ the run/walk/run method to make sure I reserved enough energy to make it to the finish line. I have to tell you, that was the first time I’d ever officially run a sizable distance doing run/walk/run and I felt awesome! I couldn’t believe how good my time was considering I was under the weather. It’s basically magic. I don’t know if I’ll do it all the time, but I will say that when I finally do get around to running the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’m calling Jeff Galloway.

Let’s talk briefly about the course. I’m really split on my opinion of the Tinker Bell course vs. the Disneyland Half. There are pros and cons to both so in the end they probably come out evenly matched. The pros of the Tinker Bell half were that it was definitely more scenic. You ran through some rather charming residential neighborhoods and a really nice shopping area of Anaheim that I didn’t even know existed. On the Disneyland Half you spent a ton of time on the big, I’m sorry to say ugly, boulevards of Anaheim. The major pro of the Disneyland Half however was that you got to run through Angel Stadium. That was one of my absolute favorite things about that race, even though it’s where¬†I bit the dust last year. It’s hard to leave behind the energy of the parks, but getting to run through a crowded cheering baseball stadium at mile 9 and see everyone’s faces on the Jumbotron gave all of us runners the exact burst of energy needed to finish the race. If the Tinker Bell course ran through the stadium, it would be better hands down. HOWEVER, I’m glad it doesn’t. I’m glad that the Disneyland Half Marathon course gets to distinguish itself by having that treat.

Getting close to the finish! Unfortunately by way of that creepy tunnel.

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One more mile!

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Both feet off the ground!

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At the finish line with Minnie. Don’t you think this should be an ad for runDisney?? I think so ūüôā

R Minnie

Aaaand DONE!

I was so excited to get my thermal blanket. You just don’t feel like a distance runner until you get an astronaut blanket.

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I really couldn’t believe how fantastic I felt finishing this race. Sometimes it pays to give yourself a break, do what you can, and re-calibrate¬†your goals to what you can actually accomplish. If I hadn’t gone easy on myself for being sick and insisted on pushing to meet my average pace for a half marathon, I would have made myself seriously ill, and very likely wouldn’t have even finished. I cut myself some slack and the running Gods rewarded me with a beautiful new medal to add to my collection.

I don’t even remember my final chip time or my splits and I’m not even going to look them up because I’m not worried about it. Sometimes it’s ok just to run.

After the race I met up with Chris who also had a really great run. First thing on our minds? Breakfast! We ate at Catal in Downtown Disney. I hadn’t eaten there in years and I must say, their brunch was amazing! I had the smoked salmon hash.¬†

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Chris had shrimp grits, southern boy that he is.

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After that we headed home. Unfortunately no time for fun in the parks this trip. With a sick fiance at home and my own immune system pushed to the max, what we needed was sleep.

Thanks to runDisney for another great event! My bank account however has quite a beef with you as I think I’m now addicted to another race. BUT, the price of admission is worth it to have so much fun while staying healthy.¬†

Did you run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year? How did you do?

new year, new RUNNING goals

Hello there faithful readers! Been awhile. I need to force myself to get back into the habit of writing more often because when I don’t, I miss it, and I feel all ooky and empty inside. Just like anything else it takes discipline to sit down and write everyday which is exactly what writers need to do if they are serious about their craft. I guess I just haven’t been feeling particularly inspired lately. The antidote to that problem is certainly not to spend hours in excess on social media while ingesting multiple episodes of The Walking Dead, although if you guessed my logic to curing writer’s block based on recent behavior, you may think so. Nope, the couch is a killer to creativity and I’m getting off of it. Today I want to talk about the opposite of laziness that is currently permeating the running community. Goal setting time!

The start of a new year brings a wave of eagerness and optimism. We runners sit down and set our running and racing goals for the year with enthusiasm and gusto. We reflect on goals missed and/or met in the previous year and make plans to either exceed those goals or to do better to accomplish them. It’s a time of high expectations and while it may be easy to write down in a journal that “I’m going to run 15 miles per week,” the reality sets in quickly that it’s far more difficult to actually accomplish. So how do we avoid this trap? How do we not only make running goals for the year but take action to meet them? Some runners simply have the discipline needed to do exactly that. They say they’re going to do something and they do it. I need more accountability or the couch and my favorite television shows slowly but surely suck me in to their grasp. May I offer my favorite tool for accountability as a tip to all you runners starting off the new year with a long list of goals? Sign up for a race. And one that happens soon.

Ideally I would have posted about this a few months ago and advised you to sign up for a race that happens in January. This is the first year I’ve done just that and man has it helped me to start the running year off right! Normally in January I’m slowly easing out of holiday mode and maybe getting in a few 3 mile runs a week if I’m lucky. This year I’m signed up for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on January 20 and I need a lot more than 3 mile runs to get ready. Admittedly I’m behind on my training but I knew that coming into the New Year. I knew that I would need to make these three weeks before race day count. The challenge would be to put in enough miles to be ready for the race without injuring myself. So far, I’m kicking butt.

The reason I say either run a race in January or one that happens as soon as possible in the new year is because if you don’t, you’re not really avoiding the trap. Don’t get me wrong, taking that step to sign up for a race and challenge yourself is always a good thing but if the race isn’t until October then you’re not really lighting the fire under your butt to get out and run NOW. Don’t allow procrastination to present itself as an option. Immediacy is everything. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t think you should sign up for a distance you’re not ready for. You can’t go from holiday slug to marathon runner in a month. If you’ve been sluggish the past few months, sign up for a 5k that happens in February. Not quite a slug but still emerging from a slow holiday pace? How about a 10k before March 1st? You know your limits and your abilities. The most important thing right now as we start the new year is just to get out there and run, and for me a countdown to a race that I’m excited about really holds me accountable to that.

There are other ways to hold yourself accountable if your bank account is a little dry after the holiday shopping season and those entry fees are just a bit too much. Why not get a running partner and schedule runs together? You’re more likely to get up out of bed when that alarm goes off at 6:00 am if your friend is waiting for you outside. There are many ways to creatively motivate yourself. The most important thing is to figure out how to make your running goals a priority. For me, accountability comes in the form of pixie dust.

I can state with almost certainty that I won’t be setting any PRs at the upcoming Tink Half. The relief is that I’m totally OK with that. This is another important New Year’s lesson. Not every race has to be a record-setter. Sometimes it’s more important just to finish than to finish first. That’s my goal for this Half Marathon. I want to have fun. I want to finish. I don’t care about my time. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know that’s a strange thing for me to say. I’m just excited to get 2013 off to a running start! ūüôā

Speaking of running at Disney, it’s an exciting time of year for we runDisney fans! Not only is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon coming up in just a week and a half, but bigger news is that the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon is happening this Sunday! I still haven’t found it in me to sign up for a marathon but I know that when I do I want my first to be the WDW Marathon. I love connecting with all of my runDisney pals on Twitter and it’s been very cool to see the feeds exploding in excitement for this weekend’s upcoming events. I’m thinking of all of you! Especially everyone running the Goofy Challenge. If you don’t know what this is, check it out: if you sign up for the Goofy Race and Half Challenge then you run the half marathon on Saturday AND the full marathon on Sunday. It’s called Goofy for a reason! Have fun out there and I can’t wait to read all of your race reports in the blogosphere!

One more bit of quick business about the upcoming Half Marathon. I need a costume. Now, it’s called the Tinker Bell Half Marathon so there is an obvious costume choice built right into the title. I’m certain there will be literally thousands of Tinker Bells running the race. My instinct is twofold. On the one hand I want to do something different to stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, HOW CAN I TURN DOWN AN OPPORTUNITY TO DRESS UP AS TINKER BELL? Yeah, I don’t care if I’m one in 10,000, I gotta dress up as Tinker Bell.

an afternoon in Neverland

an afternoon in Neverland

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‚ĄĘ 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!