Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Grumpy Old Men Suck (Not Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Those guys were awesome.)

The Wall Street Journal recently did an article entitled "The Slowest Generation" in which the author laments that races are increasingly turning into parades. You can find it here. When I say "article" what I'm actually referring to is a series of loosely connected anecdotes from cranky old men some of whom who have a fiduciary interest in making sure road races remain a competitive endeavor, emphasis on competitive. The article fails to give any real insight into the changing demographics of running or mention the increasing participation of women in the sport.

I am not fast. My race times prove that. They also prove I need compression sleeves to stop my calves from cramping, but that's another issue. Every time I've said that upon returning from a race, my co-workers have asked, "You finished, though? I wouldn't have run thirteen miles." Of course the author finds that mentality disturbing.

My inner women's college graduate wants to discuss why women have slower times than men. There are biological reasons for this. Second, I would hazard a guess that most of the women out there running races have a life other than running. All those pesky children and jobs and educations to deal with. Not to mention their husbands or boyfriends who just can't take care of themselves. I'm not saying there's some super woman out there who can't do it all and if you are that woman, please let us know how you do it. Third, competitiveness. I'm not saying women aren't competitive, I'm just proposing that a lot of us don't see the point in killing ourselves to beat someone we don't know by two seconds. That's not to say everyone feels that way, I've seen a lot of women on message boards complain about other people half-assing it and chatting with their friends and instead of running. While I too hate when a group runs five abreast, usually one will find that these women have no friends. They also usually hate people in tutus or sparkly skirts, I often find that's because they desperately need one to offset their lamentable personalities. Yes, I learned all this at women's college.

Let me now discuss the value of competition which was also a tenet of the article. Yes, competition can be good, but let's go through the competitions I've won. The 2nd grade reading challenge, a couple of Spelling Bees, I was second in Girl Scout Cookies sold in San Antonio one year and I've been a Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival Teleplay Competition. Now, about the Girl Scout cookies, I sold around 2,000 boxes the year that Desert Storm happened and my parents were head of the Council for Lackland Air Force Base and you might imagine, there were less parents available than usual that year. I did not get enough boxes to get the bike and I was sick of Girl Scout Cookies by the time it was over. The AFF Second Rounder thing I find irritating to no end. You'll notice none of these competitions are in athletics. Why? I'm never going to have a podium finish, in fact, I think my best chance of getting one may be to wait until I'm in my eighties and the competition has thinned out and then I'll need to find a small field. This is where the article and I reach the same conclusion, but disagree on whether that's a positive thing. Basically, if I'm not going to finish on the podium and I still get the same medal, why worry about beating people? The article thinks this mentality is responsible for the demise of America. I think I've got lots to worry about besides beating people at a race. I think competition is a construct designed to exclude people, hence why the author and his grumpy old friends would like us all to stay home.

That having been said, there was a girl at the Austin 1020 who kept trying to pick me off when I was basically having the worst race ever after my foot had fallen asleep for three miles which is apparently another reason I need compression calf sleeves. It just pissed me off because every time she went to pick me off she stopped just in front of me. She and I traded places for a while until I decided to smoke her. Keep in mind smoking her on that day meant just walking really fast until I couldn't see her anymore. Also, one time I ran way ahead of some Aggie girl because I was sick of listening to her talk to her boyfriend.

Also, the bling and being motivated by bling. Um, yeah? Why is that wrong? You wouldn't show up at school if they weren't going to give you a grade. You wouldn't show up at work if you weren't going to get money. Why the hell would I show up at a race where I did not expect to get a medal at the end? I mean a 5K, 10K, fine, but a half with no medal? I know, I know, the love of running, Forest Gump ran for two years... God bless him, but people forget that Forest Gump was not very smart and also, fictional.

So, I say we find the author's next event and join hands and prancercise in front of him in our sparkly skirts and tutus. At least it will make for a more interesting article.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Costume Choice, Part One: Choose Your Princess

Welcome to my new series on Disney Princess Half Marathon costume selection. If you're like me, you've just signed up for the Princess Half or Glass Slipper Challenge (two costumes) and you have all of training to look forward to, but why not start thinking about your costume? I personally am in for the half and the 5K. No GSC for me this year since I want to focus on my goal of beasting the Princess Half. Now, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Disney running costumes and yet my costume last year was a failure. Let me outline why.


I had originally envisaged running as Cinderella. I'm not sure I can latch on to why, but then I changed my mind. I can latch on to why I changed my mind: I re-watched Cinderella and frankly, I feel like she has Stockholm Syndrome. It's funny the things you don't notice when you're five. I still like the girl, I just wish she would see a shrink.

So, I had just seen Brave and decided to go as Merida because well, she's a badass and not suffering from mental illness. Also, she's voiced by Kelly MacDonald who was in a film called The Decoy Bride with David Tennant a.k.a. the Tenth Doctor so in my mind clearly Merida will eventually end up with a character voiced by David Tennant. Not that she needs him, you know, she'll just let him hang around. I use this David Tennant logic often. I once stood two feet from Anton Yelchin at the Austin Film Festival (he was in Fright Night with David Tennant) and had to resist the urge to ask what David Tennant was like and did he have his cell number? That wouldn't have been weird at all...

Cinderella was out. Merida was in, so this also created a choice. Standard Merida or Games Merida. Green or aqua? After much consideration, I decided I could pull of Games Merida by adding some gold ribbon to an Adidas tank and my Fuel Belt.

Let me just add, I am not crafty. I've made some decent Spurs ornaments with old tickets, confetti and beads, but that's about it. I made a Batgirl costume for the Herothon, but screwed up the tutu which still sits on a hook on my wall mocking me. I managed to make a Minnie Mouse tutu for the 5K with red tulle and white felt for the dots. I never did manage to do any of the fancy stuff with wrapping around the ribbon. So, because I am a procrastinator- which is a disastrous combination with not crafty- I bought some no sew glue before I left San Antonio, threw it in the bag with the ribbon and figured I could do it at the hotel.

Saturday night. Time to get serious. So I get out the ribbon I've selected, the scissors and the glue. This is when I discover that the Adidas tank seems to be wicking away the glue so all I'm doing is making a mess. I also meant to have an orange Bondi band with aqua ink to represent her hair and tiara but somehow it never got to the expo even though they said they would have it for me. So, I was forced to give up on the costume idea as I saw no adult sized Merida gowns in tech fabric available in the Everything Pop Shopping and Dining area. Also, remember to take a swim cover up when you go to Pop because people will stare at you if you walk in wearing a swimsuit. One, it's Florida. Two, the sign said to have shoes and a shirt, I had those. Three, it's right by the pool! How else was I supposed to get my forty Powerade refills?!

So, my first piece of advice is choose your princess, know your princess.

Princess choice is of course, deeply personal. It all relates back to what you felt when you first saw the movie in question as a small child and your connection to the princess. I'm not saying you have to be a princess per se, just any character. You then have to take this through a rubric of personal comfort and preference. For example, I identify with Belle as she is an avid reader and I can still sing all the songs from Beauty and the Beast, but her gown is yellow. I look awful in yellow, not just a little bad, like I have liver disease. I really didn't want to run the half with everyone telling me how brave I was. That might be an exaggeration but it happened in my head enough times. I could have been village Belle, but I didn't know how to work the basket and I saw a girl on the course with a basket complete with baguette! I can't believe she didn't eat the baguette, I know I would have. Then Ariel was suggested to me, I agree the Ariel costume is cute and recognizable, but I didn't want to put clam shells on my giant breasts. I know nothing would have really been showing, but, I feel like it would have been too in your face.

So, start thinking about what princess and why. I know the big ones: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and I know you probably want to run as those and you have your own reasons. I can also promise you that there will be 4,000 other women in the same outfit so try to be unique. I'll have more on that later. Or you could dress as another underrepresented princess:

Pocahontas: I'm telling you, I've only ever seen two pictures of someone dressed as Pocahontas.

Mulan: Again, only ever two of these, when there are so many possibilities! Do you go as Warrior Mulan or Pretty Mulan? What accessories?!

Tiana: Why aren't there more Tianas?! I guess it's a more recent movie, but look at the great potential in the costume!  That costume is just great, you need green and a flower! Maybe a frog, but we can get into details later.
If you need more ideas, check out my Princess costume Pinterest board  board and let me know what you think! Tell me who you want to go as!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Gear Check: What New Runners Need to Know: Part One

When you start running, they tell you that the road is free. Well, it is and it isn't. Then there's the stuff besides the road. The shoes, the compression capris, the sports bra which will run you a small fortune in my case. Then there's all the other stuff.

1. Body Glide

Okay, if you're like me, you look at girls in regular running shorts and wonder why they don't chafe. Some of them do use Vaseline, but doesn't Vaseline and sweat sound like a truly disgusting combination? Come on! I first had the need for Body Glide when I did the Wounded Warrior Project 8K in the pouring rain. There was some truly painful arm chafing afterwards.

2. Sweaty Bands

I'm Greek. I have Greek hair and Greek hair problems, like keeping it out of the way and trying to stay cute. Sweaty Bands actually doesn't slip. Is it the velvet? Is it the elastic? Probably. The point is they are awesome.

Lately, I've been rocking this Run San Antonio Sweaty Band. 210 represent! (You would get that if you were from here.)   They are also selling some awesome Boston Sweaty Bands. The money goes to support the victims of the marathon bombings. You can also have them make a custom sweaty band. Also, if you were looking to get a Sweaty Band and some race bling, you might try entering my Virtual Run. There are lots of great prizes including Sweaty Bands and it's only $10.

3. Socks

This all depends on your shoes and I'm not going to pretend I have the knowledge to advise you on your shoes. My Brooks Pure Cadence fit tight so I used thin SofSoles. My new Asics GT-2000s are looser so I use Thorlos. They have some nice padding and compression. The point is get real socks.

I'm going to add to this list later. Comment with anything you think must be on it!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why, Run Disney, why?

Run Disney, why do you do this to me?

In January, they told me about Dumbo. Then Dumbo sold out in like an hour and the half in a day and I had to get a charity spot for the half to get my Coast to Coast. Don't get me wrong, it's a great charity and all, but it was a situation I didn't expect to find myself in. If you want to donate to said wonderful charity you can go here or maybe check out the Virtual Run I'm hosting at the top of this page???

Then Minnie. I love Minnie and would love to have a Minnie 10K medal.  Then it had to go and sell out before I got money for it and I decided I would go to Princess and get my revenge on the course.


Now I have to decide whether or not to do the 10K. Do I want a Glass Slipper medal? What does the 10K medal look like? Who will be on it? Would I get to dress as two different Princesses? Is the 5K on Friday? That would be four medals. Three outfits.

I have to say my intense dislike for Tinkerbell is the only think keeping me from the pink Coast to Coast Medal. The character not the race, but you get a medal of the character so... The only reason I can think of for it is that Julia Roberts played her in Hook and she gets on my nerves. Like that movie she did with Clive Owen, what was that?

So many decisions!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Runners Run: Frank Shorter

I'm starting a new series on the blog called "Runners Run." I intend for it to talk about all levels of runners, as the Doctor says, there's only one requirement, they have to be "amazing." Picture Matt Smith saying that last part, it works better.

Anyway, today, I am going to talk about Frank Shorter and in light of Boston, I think it's a good idea. I read about Frank last summer in Runner's World in anticipation of the Olympics. He is generally credited with starting the distance running boom and won a gold medal in the Marathon in Munich. If you don't know, Munich was marred by a terrorist attack. A group called Black September took nine members of the Israeli Olympic Team hostage. Two of them were killed immediately, the rest died during a botched rescue attempt. It was a black mark for the Olympics, the nation of Germany and the city of Munich, the latter two who were desperate to shake off the specter of the Second World War. Then terrorists came.

One of the consequences of this was that the Olympic Marathon was delayed by a day. The athletes had to wonder if they should race, if they could race, what was the point? I even read that one athlete had worked out his fueling strategy so scientifically that the delay was a disaster for him. This shook the athletes understandably, but Frank Shorter won the gold. What nobody knew for years was that Frank Shorter had grown up with an abusive father. Running had been his solace. Those terrorists couldn't shake him, he had lived in terror his whole life. To endure, to succeed after such abuse, that's pretty amazing to me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My First Virtual Run!

As you may know, I am fundraising for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation as part of Team For Life at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Lazarex helps cancer patients get to FDA clinical trials and get the treatment that may save their life when they don't have insurance or even transportation to get to the trial. Needless to say, I think this is a great organization and am thrilled to be a part of it.

Now, here comes the fundraising part. I will be hosting a virtual run this Flag Day. I've been participating in virtual races for a while and if you don't know, a virtual race is a fun way to get some bling. You pay and I send you a medal. On the day of the race which might vary according to your schedule, you do your mileage and hang up your race medal! The whole thing is on the honor system, the generally accepted rule is no hanging until you've done your miles. You can do the race anywhere, your neighborhood, your favorite trail, even the treadmill. There is no packet pickup, no course time limit, no waking up at 3 AM and of course, no balloon ladies. Unless of course you want a balloon lady. I don't know why you would, but you should totally get a medal for her. You can do it any time from June 7-17th. If that seems like a long time, remember, it's virtual so it's meant to fit into your schedule! I put two weekends in there, one of them is the same weekend as Father's Day just in case you need some flexibility. Better yet, do the race with Dad!

The best part of this run is that it's designed to be for the whole family to do together. What do I mean by that? You still get a cute Flag Day medal with faux gem border and stars and stripes ribbon, but the more entries you get, the cheaper it is.

Registration Price Breakdown
1 Entry -   $10
2 Entries - $19
3 Entries - $27
4 Entries - $34
5 Entries - $40
6 Entries - $45

After 6, additional entries are going to be $5 each. I just can't keep going down to nothing, just in case the Duggars sign up or something, then I would owe them money. If you need more than the seven entries I've set on the payment button, please email me and I'll use Paypal to send you an invoice! In case you're wondering, I would like to go through Paypal because on a fee this small I don't want to have to add $3 in fees and I want to be able to have my employer match the proceeds from the race.

Also, if you would like me to ship internationally, I would prefer that you email me to send you an invoice with an added fee for shipping. Please give me time to check on costs.

What You Get:
Super Cute Flag Medal
Race Bib
Entry into a Random Drawing for FABULOUS PRIZES!!! (Fabulous Prizes TBD & TBA)

I want this race to be successful and that depends on getting as many people involved as I can. Tell your friends about this race, if they sign up and email me or tell me on the event Facebook page that you referred them, both of you get an extra entry into the random drawing.

Just so you know that I'm legitimate, you can visit My Lazarex Fundraising Page. If you are not interested in running, but would still like to help, you can donate there!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston 4.15.2013

I've tried to let this week sink in so I could say something poignant, but I haven't come up with anything poignant. As I write, suspect number two is hiding in a boat. Well, not really hiding. I don't know where the guy thinks he's going.

Let me start on Monday. Since I've taken up running I have also developed an interest in the sport of running and watching marathons. This is to my brother's dismay as he cannot stand a sport where people just run for two hours. I like it. There's something very tactical about it that I like. It's not enough to be fast because you see a lot of people jump to the lead of a marathon, then they drop off. You need cunning to win a marathon. I've been watching all the marathons offered by DirecTV and even woke up before I had to be at work to watch the London Olympic marathons. Keep in mind I usually have to be at work at 6 or 7. I had Monday off, though, so I could watch Boston in my pajamas while I ate Chick Fil A (That's how you know I'm a real athlete. I'm sure had Kara Goucher not been in the race, it's what she would have done.).  So, I watched the elites, the tactics and then I went on with my day: writing, grocery store, catching up on TV. I had just finished watching Call the Midwife when I heard the news about Boston.

What is the Boston Marathon to me? I'll be honest: when I see the Boston qualifying times for my age group, I usually burst out laughing. It works out to about an 8:03 mile. I'm sorry, I would be happy to be as fast as Jerry in Spirit of the Marathon. Ten minute miles you're talking crazy! EIGHT?! EIGHT FREAKING MINUTES?! It's just not happening. My mom has a friend that is a repeat Boston runner, I've tried suggesting that she run Princess with me. My basic plan is that she would run ahead and save my spot in line for pictures until I caught up, then she could go to the next photo op. She's done the JFK 50 Miler, it wouldn't even be hard. I personally think this could work and my contribution to the team could be finding the most interesting cupcakes in Disney World and selecting our costumes. As you can see my prioritization of running related tasks is just one of the reasons I have not yet qualified for Boston.

So, suppose in some reality I did qualify for Boston and run it and finish and then two bombs went off. Or suppose I got stopped five miles from the finish as some people did. Suppose you just ran Boston and lost a limb. It's unimaginable and those guys would have to hope that they got caught by the police and not me. Seriously, you want to deter this, leave this guy alone with the marathoners. Something about what these guys did offends me, really offends me in the most visceral way because they changed the meaning of this race, perhaps all races and I don't even think they had a reason. Jihad isn't a reason. There are no reasons. There are some lame excuses that correspond directly to you being a jackass who blew up an eight year old. I'm convinced there's a special place in Hell for these guys and people like them. I'm not being poignant, but those guys aren't serving a case, either.

Let's have Stephen Colbert do the talking.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bucket List Races

So, on the Princess Half Marathon Facebook group I'm a part of, somebody asked for bucket list races. I have an extensive list so let me just share.

1. The Marine Corps Marathon- I want this to be my first full and I can't wait. I'm just trying very hard not to sign up this year. I want to be faster so I don't have to be out there all day. It's the only big marathon without a lottery and without prize money.

2. The London Marathon- Uh, hello? It's the freaking London Marathon. Fast, flat course, great weather and did I mention London?!

3. Marathon du Medoc- French wine country, 23 wine and cheese stops, pre-party, post race party and fireworks. The website says "not a race for record seekers." Oh, yes. I think so. And there's a costume contest!

4. Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon- Okay, my love for London is showing here, but it's a race through London's parks and you get a wooden leaf shaped medal made out of a tree from the park! How cool is that?!

5. Two Oceans Marathon - South Africa, where I really want to go. Fun fact: Did you know Coca Cola has a 93% market share there? This one is actually 56K, but, uh, two oceans?!

6. Maratona di Roma - It's Rome. Do I need a good reason? It's also going to be featured in Spirit of the Marathon II.

7. The Chicago Marathon- Okay, this is because of Spirit of the Marathon. I'll admit it.

8. Oh, and I think I'll do Dopey once for the street cred. Yes. You read that right. For the street cred.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2013 Princess Half Marathon Recap

Okay, so the Princess Half did not go as well as I wanted. I woke up that morning and my foot had a stabbing pain thing going on that I did not dig. I was almost in tears as I put on my running shoes. Not great. Off to the bus.

The bus. Pop Century was full of princesses waiting for the bus. I got there at like 3:30 and I didn't keep track of the wait because I was eating a banana and pondering what the hell I was going to do about my foot for 13.1 miles. The line was silly, but there were multiple Run Disney employees and one of Pop's front desk staff handling it, so I can't complain.

So, you go on the bus and then they drop you off in the middle of an Epcot parking lot you have never been in. I followed the herd of princesses off to the first staging area. There was a line for the bathrooms, but seriously there was a wall of them. I don't think I could ask for more. I loitered with some other members of Corral E and then we realized we had better follow that other herd of princesses for a walk into the woods. This is where our corrals finally were along the highway. I do love Disney's light up corral markers. I'm not sure why, I know that was a random thought. I made my way to Corral E with 5,000 of my new running buddies and tried to find somewhere to stretch my foot. Now, there's something I hadn't realized. I've been running in Texas and in Texas there is like a one inch gap between the sidewalk and the ground so when I need to stretch my foot just a little bit, I hang off that edge. Guess what? Not in Florida. Of course there's hardly any sidewalks in Florida. I found one of the metal barricades they were using to mark off the corrals, which I think stretched my calves more than my foot. Oh, well. My calves didn't really give me trouble during the race.

Standing in E, you have to watch A, B, C and D go off. It was fun to hear Fairy Godmother's spiels for each corral and I found the number of times she used the word "hydrate" amazing. We got to do the crowd version of "Don't Stop Believin'" which anyone who knows me knows I eat up. I am the master of that song on Rock Band and am bitter every time I miss it on Arena Karaoke at the Spurs games. When I go, it's always "Friends in Low Places", "Sweet Caroline" if I'm lucky. "Livin' On A Prayer" once when my brother wanted to disown me. So, that lifted my mood a little, but my foot still hurt.

Then it was time. E was off. Now or never. My mood at this point was mostly, "Well, might as well. I did come to Florida." See, I'm not one of those people who gets caught up in pre-race adrenaline. AT ALL. I'm starting to think it might be better if I was. So, I held my own for a little while and then I started to notice the people passing me. And passing. And passing. I tried not to think about it as I was forced to walk and tried to keep myself from doing the mental math of when the dreaded balloon ladies would be coming.

The balloon ladies. Every Disney race has two pacers that start after the last runner. They keep a sixteen minute per mile pace and if you are behind them, you are too slow and can get pulled from the course. I was starting with a lead on them which was lucky as I was sucking and run-walk intervals were rapidly turning into run-walk/drag right foot intervals. So, I spent a lot of my time walking and trying to stay to the right. Now, may I just say something about the right side of the road for people who complain that walkers never stay on it? In Texas, the very right of the road goes down so that your right foot is lower than your left foot which is not pleasant and not good for you. In Disney, when we were on the overpasses the right side angled badly at just the point where I was having to twist my foot to keep any kind of forward momentum going. So, if you've never been on the right and are frustrated people aren't staying there, that may be part of it. Or they just don't know what they're doing. Either way, I was getting passed right and left and had my usual race crying panic attack around Mile 3 because my foot hurt. By the way, if you're ever in a race and see a girl crying, could you please say hi to her? Because it's probably me and no one said anything. Here is my complaint about the crowding, whenever I moved my arm up to like scratch my nose or something when it came back down my elbow would inevitably hit some runner who decided that the gap from my elbow was big enough to get through and never thought it would come back down. That got annoying and some girls did apologize, but some seemed inconvenienced by my elbow. So, I had trained at one point on the treadmill looking at the course map and realized I was by the racetrack and next would be the Contemporary and through the back entrance to Magic Kingdom. Seeing potentially thousands of people between my dragging right foot and the balloon ladies I suddenly had hope for the first time in the race. There was still just about no chance of my finishing without the sweepers getting me, but I would get to Magic Kingdom. I knew from reading blogs from previous years and Facebook groups that I would not get swept inside Magic Kingdom, though they could get me on the way out. If they didn't get me there, it was going to be a matter of time somewhere on the road from the Grand Floridian back to Epcot. I was racing on borrowed time and I still couldn't run enough to make a difference.

Last year, one of the many blogs I read was According to Kelly . She had gone into the 2012 race looking to PR and had an asthma attack on the course. She decided that it wouldn't be her fastest race ever, but it would be her funnest race ever. I made that my new goal. I was going to get swept, there really was no sense in making myself miserable until it happened. I was going to get to run through Magic Kingdom, how many people don't get to do that and want to? Hell, I had signed up. I was here. It may not have been as good as some people, but it was still better than all the people who hadn't started. Again, Dead Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start. I would still be ahead of all the Did Not Starts. So, the iPhone camera came out and I didn't stop for character photos because I was still inexplicably worried about my time even though I had resigned myself to being swept. The lines were really long at this point and when I got to the castle there was a traffic jam from women getting fairy dusted. When we got out, I got to all out run in Frontierland. It was amazing, running through Disney and I felt like I was in the ad and then I got out of Magic Kingdom and passed an empty SAG bus.

This was the long stretch of the race. At this point, the humidity was getting to me as well. My first half, the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio had been brutally humid at the finish. Well, when I woke up that morning it was that brutally humid at the start. Not a promising sign as I slogged through the Florida humidity, ashamed that I had somehow become accustomed to San Antonio's fake humidity instead of my native hard core Florida humidity. I wondered if there was some way to put a treadmill in a sauna. I also wondered where those balloon ladies were. My foot seriously hurt and I was ready to be done. Again, for some reason, I decided I didn't want to go present myself as being finished, I would rather get swept. They were just going to have to get me. Not like crazy Thelma and Louise get me, but you know, they would have to say I was done, not me.

Then around Mile 9 almost 10 or so it happened, I got passed by the balloon lady who had a pack of people sticking to her. I tried to keep up for a while but my foot hurt too much and there she was. The bike guys advised us to stay where we could at least see the balloon lady and that worked... for a while. At the next marker, Mile 10, they announced we were a whopping four and half minutes behind pace. WHAT?! How could I be that far behind and not standing still? I'm still not sure it was right or I heard her right. Anyway, it wasn't like it mattered as I had resigned myself to sweeping back at Mile 4, so these threats did not scare me. I should also mention I was not alone. There were hundreds of people around me, if not more. Also, did this woman think I was going to make up the four and a half minutes? Did she think I was just really soaking up the atmosphere? I really wasn't in the back of the pack because I enjoyed it. It was just what happened.

Then the overpass. The dreaded overpass which made me wonder why crap like that is always at the end of races? Thoughts? After passing the Green Army Man, we were then informed we had one minute to get to Mile 11. I know if you don't know me, you probably think I'm a defeatist or that this is the moment I turn it around and it becomes all about the triumph of the human spirit or something. That would be like some Hollywood blockbuster, think of me as the weird indie film that people like, but don't know what to do with. So, I couldn't see the next mile marker at this point and a minute... Yeah, that wasn't happening. Not to mention there were hundreds of princesses between me and there. AND... the foot still hurt... I know you're getting sick of that. I was. So, there were a few more threats of sweeping to which I finally threw my arms up and muttered, "Then why don't you do it?"

Then I was at Mile 11 and looking around and... we were still going? So, wait, I had to finish this race now? I had been expecting to be swept for eight miles and now I had to finish? Let me explain about the back of the pack, it's not the best mindset back there. It's a lot of people being dragged by relatives/friends and people wondering why the hell they paid $140 to do this. My mindset was improving with the slow realization that I might actually finish and not have to worry about what to do with a medal for a race I didn't finish. I was also by this girl and her grandmother. The girl was dressed as Ariel and Ariel clearly belonged in a faster corral, but was helping her grandma. I say this because Ariel was dancing at Mile 11, shouting, "Come on, Grandma! You got this!" as she danced some more. Grandma did not answer, she clearly had the look of one of the people who was wondering why the hell she paid to do this and who decided this was a good idea? Surely, there was a Matlock rerun on somewhere. Grandma, to her credit, refrained from saying all of this out of love for her grandchild or possibly because she was too damned busy walking. Ariel cracked me up, though and it was encouraging when she turned to me mid-dance to say "Come on, Cinderella! We've got this!" Oh, footnote I meant to be Merida, but due to a costume complication in my hotel room, my costume was a aqua blue tank and Sparkle Skirt and I had a Cinderella bib so one might have not unreasonably concluded I meant to be Cinderella. Then we could also see the traffic leaving the race and one princess leaning out of her car window waving her medal to shout, "You've got this! Go get it! It's right over there!"
And you know what? It was. We were at Epcot. I had long ago come to the conclusion that if I reached this point, Disney probably would not go to the trouble of busing me to the Finish on the other side of the parking lot. Even the photo stops were shutting down, except for Mulan. Mulan's handler was talking in hushed tones to the pace warning lady, but Mulan was still cheering people on and it sort of seemed like she was motioning for people to come for pictures behind the pace warning lady's back. I mean, what? Is she going to say no to Mulan? She's a princess!

So, into Epcot. I just had to go to the lagoon and out. At this point, the park was open and there were packs of tourists staring at us, wondering why the hell they had to wait to go get Fast Passes for Soarin', which is what I assume they were thinking. Though I was disappointed to see the Coca Cola Refreshment Zone was not opened as an aid station, the employees and volunteers were still cheering us on, even the ones on their breaks backstage. At the exit, there was a security guard who managed to crack me up with, "Thank you for coming to visit Epcot today. Please come back when you have more time and money to spend."

Oh, and the gospel choir. They could use more gospel choirs for this much humidity, I think.

Then it was Mile Marker 13. Hmm, could I run the last point one in a last ditch attempt to get a cool looking finisher picture? I'm not the only one who thinks like that, right? Wait, just a minute, there's Mickey! Which must mean.... MINNIE MOUSE!!!

At this point, my five year old brain took over and I ran to Minnie Mouse. I stood and waited as one of the professional Disney people took a photo of her and some other girl. I assume it was Disney because they gave her a medal to put on for the shot. That girl finished and then another girl jumped in front of me and did one of those holding the camera out poses with Minnie. Minnie's handler then apologized to me and said it would just be a minute. I said that was okay, I was pretty sure I had already missed out on an age group award, which did make him smile. Then Minnie!!!

Okay, was it the race I wanted? No. Would I have liked to have done better? Yes. Am I glad I finished? Hell yes. Do I feel a nagging need for redemption at the Disneyland Half or possibly Princess next year? You betcha. I would like to know what the middle of the pack looks like. Am I going to do the thing where I show you my time and splits? No. Let's just forget about time. Besides, if you're that interested, you can go find out. It was not pretty, but it was a finish, so let's just focus on that.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Expo SURVIVOR

Last week, I finally got to achieve my goal of running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Well, schlepping, mostly, but that's a long story. Let me begin with the story of the Fit For A Princess Expo.

I love expos. It's shopping only with stuff I want and then you know, like protein powder... So, yes, I was looking forward to this one.

I started out early because I wanted to get my Run Disney merchandise which sells out quickly. I got my bibs, got my 5K shirt and had a look at the Run Disney merchandise line... It was long, so I decided to get in it before getting my shirt for the half.

Did I mention the line was long? Disclaimer: I have served many holidays at Old Navy. I have seen Black Fridays, $1 Flip Flop Days, $10 Jeans Days, $2 Tank Top Days and the list goes on and on. Take that and multiply it by about ten. Yes, I have a chip on my shoulder about lines and realize that Disney is different than Old Navy, but this wasn't a line, it was a monster.

First mistake I could see as a retail professional? The merch booth was walled in with two entrances/exits. It was the only thing that was walled in. Therefore even to see what you wanted you had to go in. Two long lines going in both doors and somehow I was already in line to pay? I don't know. It was fuzzy. So, I summoned all my retail skills and started looking around. I saw a tank top that I regret not getting. I passed by the table of I Did It shirts because my belief in jinxing myself is just too strong. I hurried back got my Limited Edition pin, a car magnet and got in line where I would pass the Runner Mickey Vinylmations and medals. The line moved slow and I was able to put my retail skills to work as I stood in front of the Mouse Ears and tiaras, offering them to whoever happened to be looking. I think some people thought it was weird. Not as weird as when I saw a race exclusive Bondi Band had fallen on the floor by some other ladies and asked them to pick it up and give it to me. What? Did you want it?

It was about this time I noticed an older lady in a mobility scooter on the phone with a bunch of stuff. I'm going to think positively and hope she was getting it for a granddaughter or something... Not trying to hose people on the Internet because she wasn't running the race. I did have some ladies in line behind me who understood my logic with the Bondi Band and once we spotted them for real offered to let me jump out and pick another color, but I had finally arrived at the front of the line and it was now or never. I paid and hurried out...

Where I saw the biggest line I had ever seen by the half marathon shirts. It did cross my mind to forgo my shirt, but then I realized I needed it so people at the gym would know what a bad ass I was. So, I tried to find my way around the line to another entry point that would be easier.

Let me tell you what I know about lines. I know that people need to know which one they're in. It is one of the basic rules of lines. This huge one was apparently the Medium Shirt line. I went back and it intersected with the New Balance line. Second thing about lines, they shouldn't intersect with lines for other things. So, I worked my way back around and had to cut through a sea of humanity. I'm serious. I'm not claustrophobic, but I thought I was about to be. I had a very similar feeling in the top of a bell tower in Poland. Wait, maybe I am claustrophobic and it's going to strike out any time now. Whatever. You want to know the third thing about lines? It helps no one when you say, "This is crazy." Yes, it was. Do you know where I just heard that? The other five hundred people I had to pass to get here! It's not some revolutionary thought, we all think it's crazy! I forged my way through and came out somewhere around the XXL shirt line. I wear an XL. I decided this would have to be close enough. I got in line and prepared my best rantings because someone at the end of the line was going to have to give me a shirt or I don't know what would happen. I tried to think of all the best rants directed at me over the years and all I could think of was the time a lady got mad at me because I told her to hold her own return while she shopped and she lost it somewhere in the store.  The best part of that was when she yelled at my two managers for talking to one another when she had first come up. She left the store in an angry rage and we found her bag on the girls' graphic table two minutes later. We never heard from her again. That anecdote would not be helpful in this situation. So, I got to the front of the XXL line and explained I needed an XL. I didn't know what line it was or at the least how to get to it, I just wanted my shirt. The volunteer- and really, God help people who were not getting paid at this thing- gave me my shirt and told me it was the last one. Free at last!

I will say that while that half of the hall's organization sucked, I did see Run Disney people with walkies looking at the situation and trying to move some of the merchandise line. The Bib line went quick. I have no clue why the shirt line couldn't move quick. They had the look of people who didn't know what to do about the sea of princesses while they talked on walkies about it. I guess they hadn't expected everyone to come AT ONCE but when you create a hype around merchandise, that's what happens. $1 Flip Flops, people. I'm sure there was other great stuff at the expo. The Run Disney nutritionist Tara Gidus was there giving a good talk, but I had to get out of there, which was a shame because there was lot of stuff I would have like to have seen.  Could we offer Fast Pass for the Expo next year?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon II Trailer!!!

Did I ever mention I love Spirit of the Marathon?

Well, I do and if you haven't seen it you should go Netflix it right now. It almost makes me want to run the Chicago Marathon.


Anyway, there's a sequel coming out and they released the trailer and it looks awesome. This one centers around the Maratona di Roma. What a race that would be. I've wanted to go to Rome for a while, though I've never run on cobblestones and that scares me. Also, the 26.2 miles of running.  Anyway, have a look at the trailer:

I love Jeff Beal's music and they've used bits of his work from Rome in the trailer. Rome was one of my favorite shows woefully cancelled because the stupid BBC decided to have budget cuts. Remember that year Doctor Who had four episodes? Yeah. It also features Julie Weiss a.k.a. Marathon Goddess. You can find her on Facebook or at She is running a marathon a week, fifty-two weeks in a row, to raise money and awareness for Pancreatic Cancer research. She's almost done and will be at the Livestrong Austin Marathon this weekend. It's going to be number forty-eight which is just crazy to think about.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Did I Do Ten Miles on the Treadmill?

I suck at blogging. This much is certain.

In a week's time, I leave for Disney World. The race I've been waiting for, the Disney Princess Half Marathon is a week from Sunday. I always think it's bizarre when goals you set get closer. To me, most of having a dream is wanting it. That could just be me.

Anyway, I did my last long run on the treadmill because I am insane. Or it was more like, "God, I want to get my long run done so I have enough taper time and my work schedule sucks so let me just do it now." So, let me just summarize my spur of the moment long run.

1. I hadn't brought Honey Stingers so I got Peanut M&Ms at HEB. Allow me to say Peanut M&Ms taste way better after an hour of running than Honey Stingers.

2. I didn't hydrate enough. Yes, you can get dehydrated inside Gold's Gym.

3. They were playing Valentine's movies all week at the gym. Would it have killed them to play Skyfall? I could have worked out to Skyfall. What is wrong with these people?

4. Ten miles is a long way on the treadmill. Especially if the treadmill lies as I have decided it has.

5. Ten miles is also a long time when your phone keeps playing the same songs again and again.

6. One of the people in the Disney Princess Facebook group I frequent had the tip to look at the course map when you're on the treadmill and visualize where you are on the course. That part of it worked although I had to visualize a lot of Disney roads and pretend guess what the character stops were.

My long runs never go the way I want. I always want to be faster, run better, run longer. I always get out there and decide I just want to not die/get back to my car. I wonder if this is because I am just naturally a pessimist and all the runners I find are optimists. Also, I might really suck, but you know what I have a jump on the sweepers so I just need to stay ahead of them most of the time. Then again, my will to spite people is usually very strong so I might end up going, "You wouldn't dare sweep me!" It could get ugly.