Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Procrastination

I'm trying to take some time to enjoy this week. I just remember the constant feeling of wonder and excitement this time of year used to bring about in my early childhood - before my parents' divorce, of course. Trick or treating. Thanksgivings at home with Mom and Dad. My grandparents driving all the way up to New Jersey from Florida to spend time with me. So awesome.

I don't know what it is about my childhood that I can't let go. I've certainly spent more of my life without the wonder than with it at this point.

I read something about procrastination (it ties into this, I promise) - that procrastinators put things off because there's pain associated with the thing that we don't want to do. But procrastinators treat life as if there's an endless supply of time. And by putting something off, we're causing ourselves the greatest pain - loss of time.

SO here's what this has to do with my childhood. I put off committing to healthier habits because I associate things like pumpkin pie and gingerbread with this time of year. I must indulge in order to try to recapture that childhood wonder. I can always commit after the holidays, right?



But it's just that sentiment that keeps me in a body I'm unhappy with. So many things are causing me pain here - avoiding the indulgence causes me severe Christmas FOMO. But submitting to temptation is just another reason I'm unable to run a sub 2 half marathon.

The solution is obvious - the sooner I realize that food isn't going to make me feel like Santa Claus is bringing me a Nintendo and a puppy, the happier I'm going to be.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Super Heroes Half Marathon Ranking

I need to jot some notes here about the Avengers half marathon before it all escapes my memory. Has it already been two weeks since I last ran? Geez, life. Slow down a bit, would you?

So I ran it faster than I did the Star Wars Dark Side half in April, but I don't attribute it to any improvement in ability. I just had a better idea of what I was capable of this time around, and didn't hold anything back when the starting gun sounded. Also, I walked away from this race uninjured. Er... I didn't feel any more pain than usual lingering from April's stress fracture. Hurray for achieving the most underwhelming goal I've ever set for myself.

Here's my new ranking of half marathons I've raced, updated from last May:

6: Star Wars Dark Side Challenge: Orlando, FL

I expended a ton of physical and emotional energy in trying to assure this race would be my best ever, only to end up with my worst time. And an injury that still haunts me. This race made me realize that the Disney World races are just not as cool as the Disneyland races. Disney World is so big that in order to get you from the start to the finish in 13.1 miles, you get to spend very little race time in each of the parks - most of the course is on overpasses in between the parks. Disneyland is small enough that you get to spend significant race time in the parks, AND the city of Anaheim participates in a big way too (see #1 and #3 below).

And all of mile 11 at Disney World was uphill. Not cool, Disney.

When I last created these rankings, I predicted that the Avengers Half at Disneyland - no matter what happened - would be better than the Dark Side Half. And I was right.

5: Rock and Roll Half: Philadelphia, PA

My time of 2:02 was decent enough, but I was so freaking bored. This race had no loops or clover leafs, and city roads were closed off, which made it impossible for race supporters to cheer you on. It was great to see my husband at mile 3-ish, but I really could have used a familiar face around miles 10-12. There was also a killer hill at the end. Dislike.

3 (TIE): Wine and Dine Half: Orlando, FL AND Avengers Half: Anaheim, CA

So here's the deal... The Wine and Dine Half was awesome not so much for the race itself, but for the incredible after-party. The ability to take over Epcot until the wee hours of the morning (4am) made it all worthwhile, and got me thinking I might even be able to do a full marathon if it was at Disney. BUT since I did this race in 2013, Disney has made some changes. The Wine and Dine Half is no longer a night race. So if you had to choose one over the other in the future, I would say the Avengers Half is now going to be the better race.

The Avengers course was fun, especially for all of those super photogenic people that got to take their pictures with Spiderman, Hawkeye, and Thor. I actually don't own a single photo from the race, and can't even find a race GoPro video like I have in the past, so enjoy this photo I stole from the Disney Photopass site:




Disneyland is a much smaller resort than Disney World - so you get to run the first 6 miles through the parks, and then you are out in the streets of Anaheim. Mile 9 brought us into Angels Stadium, and we got to run across the baseball field as a DJ announced our names over the stadium speakers. And - because I had run the Dr. Strange 10k the day before AND ran a half marathon at Disney World in Orlando in the same calendar year - I walked away from this race with FOUR medals!!

The only reason this race doesn't earn a higher ranking from me is because it now holds my second worst race record ever.

2: Unite Half Marathon: Piscataway, NJ

This was my first half marathon - decently priced, close to home, and had a great course that clover-leafed around the starting line so I had lots of spectator support throughout the race (thanks to my father and stepmother). My family also were easily able to get to the finish line through some back roads. This race gets a bump too because it holds my best record.

1: Star Wars Half Marathon: Anaheim, CA

Shocking, right? Like I mentioned about the Super Heroes Half, races at Disneyland keep you in the parks for the first 6 miles, and then you are out running the streets of Anaheim. We didn't get to run through Angels Stadium for this race, but it didn't matter - the entertainment was even better once we left the park. High school marching bands and cheerleaders lined the streets, along with members of the 501st. I don't know if this has been the case every year, or maybe the one I did was extra special because it was the inaugural race. If you ran it in 2016, let me know if it was just as cool!

People show up in the best costumes at these Star Wars races. There were certainly some good costumes at the Super Heroes half (including a girl dressed as my hero, Quicksilver), I think the Star Wars races bring out a whole different breed of running nerds that set the bar pretty high.

So there you have it. Six half marathons in the books. Maybe that's enough for one lifetime.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gratitude

If you only think about what you are thankful for this one day each year, buddy, you're doing life all wrong.

I've (re)added a new habit to my daily routine over the last few weeks. This is something I keep coming back to when I feel my anxiety spiraling out of control, and it really makes a difference in how I approach each day. I'm not sure why I even occasionally fall out of practice with this... I think I just get too overwhelmed sometimes and forget this is a helpful weapon in my anti-anxiety arsenal.

Here's what I do: Upon waking every morning, before I even roll out of bed, I think about three things I'm grateful for. Those three thoughts are typically the same every single day, in the following order because that's how I become aware of their existence in my slowly waking state:

  1. "Man, do I have a comfortable bed. I am so lucky to wake up every morning thinking I've just had the best sleep of my life, and even though I can't bear to part with it, I know the bed is going to be there when I'm ready to go back to sleep at night. I'm so glad I get to sleep, and sleep well, because it helps me be a healthy human being."
  2. "I have the snuggliest cuddle monster of a dog, and yes, he may be snoring like a chainsaw right now, but that just confirms he's alive and well, and here to help me get through another day."
  3. "I've got a husband that thinks I'm even more awesome than an oreo baked inside a chocolate chip cookie,  and treats me like a princess despite all of my shenanigans."
And nobody points a finger at this princess.
Occasionally, I'll think of other things I'm grateful for. Like the fact that we get some pretty awesome holidays here in the states, and I'm grateful my employer gives me the time off of work to spend them with my family. Or that I've got a kitchen full of nutritious food, and I'm not going to be hungry today. Or that I get to live in my own personal paradise while my friends are watching a football game in thundersnow... and yes, I may be envious that they get to watch the football game, but thundersnow.

I could go on about all the things I feel so fortunate to have in my life, but I think I'm walking a fine line here between information sharing and bragging.

Besides, the point is that going through this exercise reminds me that - even on my worst days - life is pretty damn good.

I'm sure everyone can think of three things they are grateful for, even in what seems like the most difficult of times. Leave a comment if you'd like to share what your three things are. You might just help someone who is struggling right now brainstorm something they wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.




Monday, November 21, 2016

Reboot

Two months ago, I retired.

But it turns out I have more to say. So let's just hit ctrl alt del on this and give it a restart, shall we?

8 days ago, I ran another half marathon during Super Heroes weekend at Disneyland.

No, I didn't run it in under 2 hours. I'd love to tell you exactly what happened, but I'm pretty sure Disney would never let me run another race again, so my lips are sealed.

I did add 4 more race medals to my collection, so that was cool.

Running is kind of supposed to be over for me now. Except... I'm addicted.

It's not enough for me to have a Coast to Coast challenge medal... I gotta have the special pink edition Coast to Coast medal for running both the Princess and Tinkerbell half marathons in the same calendar year.

While in CA, I also learned about the "Castle to Chateau" medal one can earn by running a half marathon at one of the U.S. Disney parks and a second half marathon at Disneyland Paris.

Must... have... all... the... medals.

Just not necessarily in 2017.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure nobody's listening anymore, but whaddya say... give me another chance?