Monday. Pffft.

Things I did today:

  • Wrote a quiz and worked on items for my class tomorrow.
  • Read half a chapter in the course text.
  • Read a sizable chunk of a book for my class on Thursday.
  • Scheduled/confirmed a job interview.
  • Panicked repeatedly about said job interview.
  • Worked on administrative paperwork for graduation.
  • Went back and re-corrected several quizzes manually after a student pointed out that online grading wasn’t working correctly.
  • Met with my advisor.
  • Cobbled together bits of research from my dissertation for an op-ed piece and submitted it for publication.
  • Sorted through current events to share with my students.
  • Answered roughly one zillion e-mails.
  • Laundry.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Dog-walking.
  • Cooking and dishes.
  • Hobbling around all day on a skinned knee, thanks to some idiot people who ran me off the sidewalk yesterday.

Now, at nearly 10PM, I am finally considering doing something that isn’t work- or housekeeping-related. All this, and I am considered a part-time employee. Gotta love grad school.

Tinkerbell Half Marathon Report, Part 2

…As we last left my race report, I went to bed early (-ish) on Saturday night with a belly full of churros and ice cream and after walking around all day at Disney’s California Adventure. I also forgot to mention that I did a quick (1.6 mile) run on Saturday morning to see if I could wear my new race shirt without fear of chafing. In all, Saturday was a bit of me bucking my normal pre-race trends of rest and relaxation. Another thing I tend not to do is to wake up on the morning of a race and barely leave time to get to the starting line. This was clearly unintentional. Just to give you an idea, under normal circumstances my relatives live two highway exits from Disneyland. On race day, it took me about an hour to get there and park. Madness. I love you, California highways.

At any rate, this race was clearly not designed with locals in mind. If you weren’t staying at a Disney-endorsed hotel, there was no shuttle available and you were forced to pay regular parking rates ($15, WTF) to park in the only one of the park’s parking structures that was open. Total BS. The only plus is that the parking structure was huge and lines moved quickly. By the time I parked, though, the start was 15 minutes and a half mile away. And I had to pee. Dammit. It was a sprint to the starting line and I got there literally just as my corral (the first one) was starting off. At least I had a warm-up.

The first part of the race was spectacular. The first five miles ran through back lots, the California Adventure park, Disneyland proper, and Downtown Disney. Crowd support was awesome. I couldn’t believe how many red hat ladies were out! Of course, because I was trying to PR I had to be conservative about stopping for character photos. Honestly, I figured I would build up a time cushion of a minute or two, and then stop for photos at the end. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that basically all of the character photo opportunities would be in those first few miles of the race, and there was no opportunity to loop back after the finish. I stopped for one and only one photo, with Captain Jack Sparrow. Because he had no line. Which I couldn’t believe, and I told him so. Sure, he’s not really Johnny Depp, but a girl can dream. Anyhow, also on the character photo note, I felt better about not posing for pictures when I saw some that were taken of other racers later on. Race start time was 5:00AM so obviously it was dark out, but some of the pictures I’ve seen (including my own) were quite poorly lit. Disney did do a great job with the race experience otherwise, though: Radiator Springs/Carsland, the Small World Cruise, the Castle, and Paradise Pier were lit up beautifully, and the World of Color fountains in the California Adventure park were extremely cool. I also had no problem with crowding or with the course being narrow. In fact, I was running the race of my life.

This was taken the night before, but just to show you what it looks like all lit up.

This was taken the night before, but just to show you what it looks like all lit up.

At mile 5, we left the Disney Parks to run around Anaheim. Obviously running down residential streets in the dark was less satisfying than being in the park, but once we got into the main streets of Anaheim there was plenty of entertainment. School bands, cheer teams, and spectators were out to see and entertain us. I hope these kids somehow benefitted from the race, since they were up extra early. At mile 8.5 I took a Cliff shot from the station and just kept going. Really, the race becomes a blur at this point. I remember the bands and the signs I saw, but this was unlike any half marathon I’ve ever run before. I felt no strain, no fatigue, I was just go-going at a consistent pace and feeling great. It was hard to even believe my Garmin as it was clicking off 10, 11 miles and I was approaching the parks again.

DL_MeI definitely got my butt in gear as I was approaching the finish, even though I knew by then I would meet my goal. I had intended to run the first 11.1 miles just as I did in my last long training run and then take walk breaks at the end if I needed to… But I felt so good I just kept going. Elation was the feeling as I approached the finish line and saw Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse and heard my name announced–more than a minute under my goal time of 2:10.

As others have mentioned, the finish area was a little uninspired. I wish there had been some characters, photos, more things to do or at least more places to watch the other runners finish. I did get a nice breakfast pack, though, and a heavenly massage. I was also initially disappointed with the race pics… but they put up a nice finish pic (see left) after all, so no more complaints. In all, I’m very happy to have had the Run Disney experience, and I would totally do it again sometime. Are these races expensive? Yes. But, in the end, there’s nothing to compare it to. And now that I have my 2:08-ish PR, maybe I’ll feel comfortable slowing down and enjoying the next one.

Next up: Lost Dutchman 10K 2013!

Tinkerbell Half Marathon Report, Part 1

Well, last weekend I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The weekend was so big that it’s going to take two parts to tell it all!

On Friday, I drove out to California. The plan was to hit up the race expo, visit Disneyland, and then return Saturday to spend another day at the parks and on Sunday for the race. The race expo was at the Disneyland Hotel and I had a bit of a hard time finding it, but that’s partly due to my failure to correctly read a map.

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 3.27.25 PMLines moved surprisingly quickly, and I was able to pick up my number, test my timing chip, buy park tickets, and get a race packet without issues. The race t-shirt is a really cool design, which is also on my race number and program. In a stroke of genius, the race packet also includes a drawstring backpack with the race logo. I used this all weekend to carry things around the park. Aside from these items, there weren’t too many “goodies” in the packet. A snack-sized Luna bar and some race info, but not as many samples as I’m used to getting. The expo itself was also OK, but smaller than what I expected for a race this size. I’d say it was similar to what I saw at the Women’s Half Marathon event I did in Scottsdale in 2010, and it may even have been smaller. Nonetheless, I did make sure to scarf down some free samples of Cliff shots and Luna bars, plus I bought myself a glitter headband for my race kit. I didn’t have time to put together a costume for this race, but in case you wanted to do one last-minute, there were plenty of opportunities to stock up on wings, mouse ears, sparkle skirts, and Run Disney gear at the expo.

Visiting Disneyland by night was extremely cool. One discount (and about the only worthwhile discount) that the race offers is an evening ticket that is discounted by about $20 off the regular ticket price. I also had to buy a full-day ticket for Saturday and got a $2 discount on that… but come on, Disney. I think you can cough up a little more of a discount given how much I paid for this race in the first place. Anyway, on Friday night I got on many of the iconic rides: Pirates of the Caribbean, the spinning tea cups, the Matterhorn, and I saw the Captain EO tribute! Lines were pretty short, and everything lived up to expectations. I have to say, spinning in the tea cups and watching the fireworks go off overhead is a mental snapshot I will always remember.

DL_Castle
DL_SmallWorld

On Saturday I returned to the park to scope out Disney’s California Adventure. This newer part of the park celebrates several more recent Disney and Pixar films. I was very excited about visiting Cars Land, since I loved the movie. The layout did not disappoint. It’s really just like the movie come to life! Sadly, though, the lines for rides here were horrible. I never did get on the Radiator Springs roller coaster.

DL_Carsland


DL_FlosMy favorite rides at the California Adventure park were the Tower of Terror, and pretty much all the rides I went on in the Pier area. This part of the park has a ferris wheel, a roller coaster, flying swings, and a Little Mermaid-themed ride. The Never Land 5K race took place on Saturday morning, and I saw lots of people with their “medals.” I stopped a young woman and her family to take a picture of their medals. They reported that it was a great time and wished me luck on the half.

DL_5kmedal

I also had no shame about acting like a big kid all day long.

DL_Pin
DL_Pluto

At the end of the day, I watched the Pixar play parade and then headed back to my aunt and uncle’s house for an early bedtime before waking up at 3:30AM to get to the race the following day. The only question is, after a whole day on my feet and stuffing my face with ice cream and churros, would I be able to meet my goal time? (Dramatic music)

To be continued…

Meet Me at La Encantada

I’m well into my tapering phase now, and I can’t believe I leave for California so soon. I also can’t believe I haven’t finished planning for the trip yet. Blah.

Tonight I did a quick 3-mile group run with the Meet Me at La Encantada group here in Tucson. The group that organizes this run/walk program also does Monday night run/walks downtown (one of which I attended) and organizes some local races. We had gorgeous views tonight and the 5:50PM run was perfectly timed to get the best of the sunset. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take pictures because I was running… but here’s a view of the mountains behind the mall taken on a previous visit. I’m definitely a solo runner at heart, but sometimes it’s nice to get a glimpse of the running community as well.

La_Encantada

Next Stop: Disneyland!

Seeing blog posts and tweets all weekend about the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events in Orlando has really started to get me excited about the upcoming Tinkerbell Half in Disneyland! I’ve finally got my butt in gear about making plans, and today I did my last long run. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon starts at 5:00AM in California, but with the incredibly cold weather here in Tucson today I think it was a fine dry run. Check out these times:

Mile 1–10:03

Mile 2–9:41

Mile 3–9:37

Mile 4–9:37

Mile 5–9:44

Mile 6–9:51

Mile 7–9:40

Mile 8–9:45

Mile 9–9:47

Mile 10–9:49

Mile 11–9:52

Mile 11.1–9:10*

Total: 1:48:23

If I can manage this pace again next weekend, it will be no problem to cover the last two miles and finish in under 2:10, which is my goal. I’ve felt like I slacked off a little on training over the past week or two, but today’s run gives me confidence. Next stop: Disneyland!*

(*After I finish a full week of work, that is. Blah.)

Forgiveness Without Remorse

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships and forgiveness. This past week was an anniversary of sorts for me, marking a year since I decided to stop drinking. Although I’d already started to make other changes like running more and eating better, the decision to stop drinking was when everything started to click. But it didn’t come without a cost. I stopped drinking because I didn’t like who I was when I drank. I stopped because I needed to prove to myself and to others around me that I could. I stopped because I never again wanted someone I loved to use alcohol as an excuse (and it was an excuse, not a reason) for turning their back on me.

An important part of changing my life in 2012 was learning to forgive myself: for drinking too much, for not being richer or prettier, more successful or married or finished with my Ph.D. But forgiving myself wasn’t really that hard, because I had felt so awful about my faults and misdeeds (real and imagined) for so long that, looking at myself with compassion, I understood it was time to let go of that suffering. What do you do when it comes to forgiving someone who isn’t sorry?

Visual aid

The other thing that made me think of forgiveness tonight is that I learned this week that my former fiance has moved to Algeria. It’s been nearly nine years since we met, just over six since we broke up, and about that long since we’ve had any form of communication. We still had a mutual friend, and I would occasionally get pointed feedback from her about how he was living in the same apartment, working the same job as when we broke up. My reaction to these reports was something like Schadenfreude mixed with validation. He broke up with me in a cruel way. He took his time doing it, and in the meantime he spent nearly three months verbally and emotionally abusing me. I was called fat, told that I was unattractive, and he told me he was embarrassed to go to nice places with me because I didn’t dress well enough or have good table manners. He disappeared on me for days when it was convenient. He made me believe that my plans to get a Ph.D. would ruin him financially, and made it clear that he thought I was keeping him from some better future. These things would be terrible to say to anyone, but to say them to someone who had just been through a rape and a trial less than a year earlier–events he knew full well of–were ruinous to me. When it was finally over, I was suicidal. A friend literally drove me to a therapist on my lunch hour because I believed I would kill myself. I believed that I was totally beyond redemption, damaged to a point where I would never be loved by anyone. It has taken me years and many other bad relationships where I put up with bad treatment to get past some of these statements… And even now I still believe some of it might be true, in my darkest hours.

He never apologized to me for what he did. He never showed any remorse, not even to mutual friends. In fact, I found out months later that he’d led his friends to believe that had been the one to break up with him. Years later, I don’t know how to forgive that. I had a lot of emotions when I found out he’d left the country. While he was still living in my hometown, there was always a chance our paths would cross again. I’ve long since left behind any feelings I had for him, but I always had the hope that maybe some day I would see him on the street or at a party, and he’d apologize. I wanted to believe that a person I once loved was capable of empathy and remorse for what he had done to me. But it seems our paths are unlikely to ever cross that way again. In some sense, I was happy that he was gone. I regained some respect for him knowing that he finally did take a leap and do something with his life. But can I forgive him? Sometimes, in life, actually saying the words “I’m sorry” is the only form of justice we get. It’s the only thing that truly heals a wound. Sometimes, forgiveness just can’t be given without being asked for.

One year ago, something else was broken. It was broken by both sides. I apologized for what I did wrong because I knew it was the right thing to do, and I changed. But, once again, I never heard the words that I wanted to hear. I always want someone I loved to redeem themselves. I want to take that cloud off the memory of our time together. I want to know I wasn’t wrong to believe that the other person had a heart, or that it hurt them to break mine.

Perhaps I should just give forgiveness freely. I reflect on my resentments every time I meditate. But some resentments are as hard as stone, and wear away just as slowly.