Friday, September 14, 2012

The Traveling Hillbilly Refuses to Say Goodbye to Summer!

 I swore to myself that I was not going to let this summer go by without having some amazing adventures.   Now here I sit at 7:30 on a Friday evening outside on my deck and it's already dark! Summer is coming to a close.   Did I make it to Istanbul?  To Barcelona?   A long weekend in Hawaii?  No, No and No!   However, I did get to have great trips with both of my sisters.   Plus, I'm fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles.   While it's getting dark earlier and earlier each night and staying dark later and later each morning, we still have some nice warm weather ahead.   I can continue to bury my head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that we are closer to October than August.   I still have a few months before the year ends and hey, October, November and December are always great times to travel!   It's always summer somewhere!

And come next summer, LOOK OUT!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Day After

I awoke this morning, fully expecting to have some difficulty getting out of bed and moving about.   But I’m pleasantly surprised to discover I feel pretty damn good considering I ran 13.2 miles yesterday.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m a little stiff and my quads are a wee bit tight, but I’m actually not feeling too bad!   Woo hoo!  Maybe that 3+ mile walk after the race really helped!
Will tomorrow be a different story?

The Long Walk Back to the Hotel

After 13.2 miles, we were ready to get back to the hotel to kick back and relax maybe lounge poolside for a bit.  We had the option of taking a shuttle, but figured a walk back to the hotel would be a good way to stretch our legs a little after the race.   Little did we know that one wrong turn would lead to more than miles of walking!   Our hotel was only about a 5-10 minute walk from the race area but we wound up going the wrong way out of the park and headed to the wrong hotel!  Once we realized our mistake, we were almost 2 miles from our hotel.   So after finishing a half marathon, we spent another 1 hour and 45 minutes walking back to our hotel!   All we could do at that point was laugh at our mistake.   We were so exhausted and ready to collapse we could have cried but we laughed all the way back and literally collapsed the moment we walked into the room.

The Traveling Hillbilly Does a Half Marathon?

Many months ago, I agreed to do half marathon with my little sister.  She had just finished her first marathon and wanted to come out to LA to do the Disneyland Half Marathon.   I had not run a half marathon, or run at all for that matter, in the last several years so I figured it was a great excuse to start again.   I had more than 6 months to train and get ready for the Labor Day weekend event.   Plenty of time, right?
Well when Memorial Day came, I told myself, “You have to start serious training by June 1st.   When June came and went, it was like, ok July 1st is it.   If you don’t start some serious training by then you’re going to be in trouble.  Despite the constant reminders from the voices in my head, September crept up on me!   Suddenly my little sister was here and I had not run much beyond 4 miles!  I at least did start running, 2-4 miles 4-x a week but I certainly did not get in the training I needed.   
We had to be at the race by 4:30am on Sunday morning!  I wake up ready to go, figuring we’ll see how this goes.   No one should be up and expected to function when it’s still so dark outside!   But we get there in plenty of time.
Unfortunately we are in the very last corral, so we don’t even start the race until about 35 minutes after everybody else.  The lead runner was already at mile 8 before we even started.  How’s that for motivation, or lack of?  Well the first few miles go by fairly quickly and I’m feeling good.   There’s just so much adrenaline on race day (a big Red Bull helps too) and the cheers from the crowd boost your energy even further.  
As we hit mile 4, I wonder, “will this be where my lack of training starts to kick in?”   To my surprise, I get through mile five, six, then seven and I’m actually doing pretty well.  At mile nine, I’m like, “I only 4 more to go.  This is just one more of my usual morning runs.”   Then we hit mile 10.  Suddenly, my pinky toe hurts, my sock feels twisted, my right shoe is tied too loose, then I tie it too tight, then it’s too loose again.   Suddenly everything is bugging me.  I try and focus on the fact we have just a few more miles to go, but it’s not easy.  I put my headphones on to drown out the whiny voices in my head, but they manage to outshout my tunes! 
I realize I’ve already come so far and I can’t let my little sister down.  She has to get that coast to coast medal.  She’s running despite the fact she pulled her back and was laid up for days just last week!  So I suck it up, keep moving.   We cross the finish line together.   Sometimes, it’s amazing what you can accomplish with just pure heart and spirit! 
I have to admit, I’m surprised by how good I actually feel when it’s over.   I thought for sure my knees would swell up and ache.  I thought I’d be absolutely miserable.  Don’t get me wrong, I was feeling some stiffness in the neck, back and shoulders but all in all, I was feeling pretty good.   We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings!
But for today, I’ll enjoy the moment.  What an amazing experience for us to share!  A memory I’ll always cherish. 

The Route
I have to admit the route was a little disappointing.  In the beginning, we got to run through the Disneyland Park and had multiple opportunities to have pictures taken with various characters throughout the park. However, once we were out of the park, the route got pretty boring and ugly.   Thank goodness for the crowds that came out.   Their cheers of support make such a difference.  They really do help to give you a second, a third and even a fourth wind!   At one point we got to run through the Angels stadium.   The excitement of the crowd was very uplifting and propelled us to keep on going.    So thanks to the Disney staff, the local school bands, the cheerleaders and all the supporters that came out.