Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Retirement Hiatus: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

Ohhhhh, hi.

On Sunday, I ran Tink at the Disneyland Resort for the third straight year- I'm a legacy runner, and intend to run this event every year, for ever and ever. And ever. (Even next year, when they move the even to May. Honestly, this is a change I LOVE - people keep yapping about how hooooooootttttttttt it will be, but I feel like they are wrong. Our May mornings are cool and almost always foggy and overcast, and that is my most favorite running weather. And, PS, DID YOU KNOW the last three years, the January date has been HOT in the afternoon?).

Saturday, Becka and I volunteered at the runDisney Kid's Races, along with Sheila. We were lucky enough to get tasked with handing out medals - which was pretty much the funnest thing I've ever done. Do you know that kids are SUPER PSYCHED about getting medals?

Here's another Did You Know - dyk every medal is individually wrapped, and has to be unwrapped by volunteers?

If you've been watching national news lately, you might know that SoCal (and all of California, really) has been experiencing a crazy drought - January is supposed to be our rainiest month of the year, but it's been dry all month. Additionally, last week was HOT HOT HOT, and windy. It was not ideal running weather, which is the excuse I'd like to use for my 0 mileage lately (in reality, that's chalked up to sheer laziness). So I was really excited that the weather race morning looked cool and comfortable - and, if we were really fast, it would stay that way for the duration of the race, thanks to the super duper early start time of 5am.

We actually had some goals going into the race this time....
A Goal: Beat Becka's Baker's Dozen time of 2:48ish
B Goal: Sub-3
C Goal: Disney PR, sub 3:08

As always, we planned to stop for pictures, and always walking aid stations. Because I'm an excellent planner (more accurately, "excellent planner"), I made a point to charge my camera the night before - I carried a dead camera around during some race Disneyland weekend, and didn't want to repeat my mistake, so I made SURE that bish was charged.

Unfortunately for meeeeeeee, it never occurred to me to make sure there was a memory card in the camera. so... oops.

We (deservingly, duh) started in corral A, which I really think made all the difference in the world for us. We went out at a comfortable pace, stopped at about a dozen character pictures, and experienced NONE of the normal bottle necking and frustration we normally find through the parks.

Crazy, right? Who knew that running was the key.

Caption all: WE ARE THE FUNNEST.

Around mile 5, the course leaves the parks, heads through Downtown Disney, and past the Red Hat Ladies, who are SO great. They are for sure my favorite part of this race, they are so energetic and encouraging and loud and FUN.

And then mile 6, you're out in Anaheim, and the course is just the city from there. I don't love the rest of the course, I think it's FINE, but it's certainly not the same as running through Disney World. This year, I would have SWORN the course was changed, because I for real didn't recognize any of it.... but it wasn't changed. It was the same. I have run-nesia.

Anyway. I warned Becka pretty soon after leaving the park that I was not sure I would be able to maintain whatever pace we were at, because I was not feeling great. Nothing felt bad, nothing felt broken, I just know I haven't been putting in the miles, and was preparing us both for the eventual brain breakage.

I kind of implemented the same strategy I used at Holiday Half - just keep running (that isht is trademarked, don't steal it) - and SHOCKINGLY, it worked. Our splits, stolen from Becka:

Official Time - 2:41:23
Official 5k - 38:20
Official 10k - 1:29:27
Official 15k - 2:02:29
Garmin Time - 2:41:23
Garmin Pace - 11:48
Garmin Moving Time - 2:19:58
Garmin Moving Pace - 10:14
Mile 1 - 10:21
Mile 2 - 12:43
Mile 3 - 13:01
Mile 4 - 21:39 (This obviously, was the bulk of the pictures)
Mile 5 - 13:37
Mile 6 - 11:15
Mile 7 - 10:47
Mile 8 - 10:35
Mile 9 - 10:33
Mile 10 - 10:37
Mile 11 - 10:25
Mile 12 - 10:19
Mile 13 - 8:57 (!!?!)
Mile 13.68 - 9:39

Huh! When I realized what our time was coming in as, I was SHOCKED. I didn't wear my Garmin, so I was listening to B call out our pace at the mile markers, but didn't really put it all together. 

we are SHOCKED

Soooooo, we killed our goal, and obviously we were the Fastest People Ever, AND now for real I might retire?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1

January, for me, doesn't mark the time where I will grandly transform into everything I've been really meaning to be for the last four months. I'm not really big on the sentimentality behind the year flipping over, and changing the calendar on the wall doesn't mark a fresh beginning - every single day, every hour you have that opportunity; I don't understand why so many people wait until a calendar dictates it's time to move.

Dates seem sort of irrelevant to me. I don't like confining definitions to match a box in the calendar. I don't want to celebrate someone's life because we penciled their birthday into one of those boxes - I want to be excited they're here, every day. I don't love my husband more because that box says it's valentine's day, or our anniversary.

When I think back about my life, experiences, the kids, my family, events I remember... most memories are pictures, they're experiences, and senses. I don't often attach a date to my memories. Just the feelings.

January 1st is an exception.

In 1999, I was young, and a little crazy and dumb, and sure thought I knew a lot of things. I was overdue with my kid #1, and was OVER being pregnant. We had picked out a middle name based on her Christmas-y due date - Noelle - and I was annoyed that it would no longer make sense, because we are now so far outside that holiday window.

On January 1st, my husband and I went out for dinner. We didn't do it often, we were young and poor, but we did it that day. I'm sure I was throwing a tantrum of some type, and he put up with it and met my demands. We went to TGI Fridays by the local mall. I'd been craving buffalo chicken for the entire pregnancy, but had been avoiding it, because I was taking the spicy foods superstition to heart.

On January 1st, I ordered buffalo chicken, because - what's the worst that would happen? I have a baby?

Just like in the movies, I started having contractions, there in the restaurant. Unlike in the movies, it was non-dramatic, and I didn't even realize it until several had passed. We went home, started logging the contractions on a piece of lined notebook paper, and I spent the last hours of the first day of 1999 in the hospital, begging for an epidural, and finally getting one, but only because there were some complications. I remember thinking that none of this was going the way I anticipated, and not worried - just accepting - that there's nothing I can do about that. No amount of crazy-person pregnancy tantrums will change it.

January 1st, 2011. I worked in e-commerce and holidays are always extra busy. I always look forward to January 1st, for the day off.

Gabby had been fighting some sort of cold. She had been coughing, and couldn't kick it - the doctor wasn't too concerned the week before, even after small red dots popped up around her eyes (from small blood vessels broken during the coughs). I figured after a lazy winter break from school, she just needed to be pepped up, run around outside and get some fresh air.

I spent January 1st, 2011, dragging her to any place I could think of - a park, where I made her climb up a small hill to get to the swings (she barely made it, and sat lethargically in the seat while I pushed her, before she asked to leave), the furniture store to look at new couches (where she practically fell asleep in the little car she was "pushing"), to Costco, where we didn't really need anything (where she actually DID fall asleep in the cart).

Looking back now, I can see clearly that her lethargy had been progressively getting worse, that she was practically a shell of her normal, vibrant 4 year old self. At the time, in that day, it was an annoyance. I didn't have time for a sick kid, because we had a birthday to celebrate the next day.

Sometime in the late afternoon, after all of my attempts to perk up the kid had failed, I took her to urgent care. An hour later, the ER doctor told us she was being transported to the oncology ICU, and that it was serious.

I remember everything that happened, vividly, that night, and I remember being all at once annoyed that she was sick, dreading that it was something for real serious - maybe that's why I tried to avoid the doctor entirely? - and every time I thought back on the last few weeks with her, and had to recount her slowly progressing symptoms, ashamed that I had not stepped in faster, and concerned that someone, anyone who heard that it had been a few weeks of the cough, that she was lethargic for days, that she hadn't eaten and had no interest in food all day, that they were judging me as a terrible, neglectful parent. When I said all of those things together, out loud, it seemed ridiculous that I had just tried to heal her with a trip to look at couches.

I could recount everything that transpired - I sent my husband home from the ER after they drew her blood, because I (still) didn't think it would be too much of a crisis, and we were right down the street from home - he had just gotten off of work, so I told him to go home and eat. My second call - to my cousin, after the ER doctors looked concerned about her blood work. We spent the last hours of the first day of 2011 in the hospital, with a vague "cancery" diagnosis. It was certainly not how I anticipated the day ending, but... what can you do.

On January 2, 2011, we celebrated #1 turning 12 in the OICU, with a cake, that we shared with the residents and nurses, while Gab had her first lumbar puncture and bone marrow biopsy.

It's tricky to reconcile those memories.


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