Fun with race photos

I’ve been saving this for a time like now when I’m too busy to do a longer post. Back during the long Thanksgiving weekend I felt like doing some arts and crafts and ended up with the following…

I went with a Disney theme for this frame. I never realized before that race photos are usually vertically-oriented. It was really hard for me to find a photo I liked to fit in the bottom right corner.

I’m not sure where the inspiration for this collage come from. I think I just wanted to do something non-Disney and the Havasu Half seemed like a good race to commemorate since it’s still my half PR. I’m really happy with how all the elements came together.

Do you keep memorabilia from races? What do you do with it?

Posted in Random. 4 Comments »

An Apple A Day…

I’m almost done with the next installment of my Vegas Race Report. But I’ve been a bit distracted the past couple days because…

My brand new laptop finally arrived!!! I ordered it on Cyber Monday and it took about 2 1/2 weeks to get to me. But I forgive it because I’m so head over heels in love with my new little 13″ MacBook Pro. I’ve been wanting a new laptop for awhile because my personal laptop (a first generation Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium) is over eight years old and while it still runs, it’s really slow. I mainly use it for downloading podcasts. I’ve been using my work laptop for blogging and photo storage, but it’s really not an ideal situation in case anything ever happens where I don’t have time to clear off my personal files from my work laptop. I thought about getting a cheap netbook, but I’ve always been an Apple fan and I just couldn’t resist the beauty (and ease of use) of the MacBook Pro.

The reason it took so long to arrive is because instead of ordering directly from Apple, I purchased it through my alma mater in order to take advantage of their educational discount. It was worth the wait because I ended up saving about $440! I debated for a long time whether I really needed a new laptop, and the savings was what convinced me to just bite the bullet and make the purchase. So that’s my tip of the day… after you graduate, check with your college/university to see what type of discounts they’re able extend to alumni and you may be pleasantly surprised.

When I get a new bit of electronic equipment (tv, video game console, laptop, etc.), instead of jumping right in, I’m the type of person who sits down and painstakingly configures all the settings to my liking. I unboxed the laptop on Thursday night, then yesterday and today I’ve been installing applications and getting things organized and set up. Oh, and I took a little time out to create a couple characters in Sims3. 🙂

One of the things I did today was hook my Garmin 205 up so I could download all of my training history. I’m really excited to start using the Garmin Connect service. I also installed the Garmin Training Center, but don’t like it quite as much. I’ll probably do a separate post about both, but for now here’s some proof of my speed-walking from Thursday night.

I don’t know how I got to be such a fast walker. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing the funny-looking arm swinging thing. It looks goofy, but it does help. Also, it’s easier to keep up a fast pace when it’s “only” a 5k. Tomorrow I’m doing a 10-miler so it’ll be interesting to see what my pace is like at that distance.

So one final thought to tie everything together here, and then I need to get some rest. For my new laptop, I’ve been looking at different accessories like a carrying sleeve and a keyboard protector. I kept asking myself “do I really need this?” and “is it really worth $25?” And ultimately I did buy a bunch of stuff because I want to protect my laptop and hopefully use it for another eight years. But then I had this realization today that it’s crazy how my priorities have changed in the last year. It takes me days to decide whether to make a $25 investment into the longevity of my laptop. Yet I think nothing of the fact that I’m going to pay $35 tomorrow so that I can walk for 10 miles. It was this weird “wow, when did that happen?” moment for me. How did running (and walking) become such an essential part of my life?

I had to stop and ask myself the same question… “do I really need to be doing all these races?” I could just as easily go out and do a long walk on my own. But I guess the way I justify it is that it’s an investment into my health and well-being. Without races I wouldn’t have as much motivation to work out as often. And participating in races is not only good exercise, but it lifts my spirit and makes me happy to be around other people with the same interest. As long as I can afford it, I’ll keep paying the registration fees. Some women collect designer shoes and purses, instead I collect medals and race bibs.

Posted in Random. 2 Comments »

Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for…

  • My health… I’m on a lot of medication, but I’m recovering nicely. For the most part I’m back to normal day-to-day activity. The biggest change is that instead of running I’ve been walking and playing a bit of Wii Fit.
  • My family… My mom has been living with me for the last month and she’s been amazing in helping cook me healthly and nutritious meals and assisting with day-to-day “chores”. Of course my dad, sister, and extended family have been supportive as well from long distance.
  • My ex-boyfriend… This is a weird way to break the news, but Troy and I mutually agreed to end our relationship. However, I’m extremely grateful for the love and care he offered while I was sick and I’m optimistic that we’ll remain very good friends.
  • My job… I returned to work last week and things are going well. Everyone was happy to see me back. I’m lucky that my company offers a nice benefits package including short-term disability assistance which is definitely a good thing since I was away from work for a whole month. I was a little worried, but the offer to relocate to Baltimore is still on the table too.

A rant on race shirts

Why is it so hard for race organizers to provide a decent-sized shirt for petite women? Out of my entire collection of race shirts (about 15), there are only two that I would actually wear in public. One is from last year’s A Race For Maggie’s Place which ended up being well worth the $30 race day registration fee for the tech shirt and the great goody bag. Although it wasn’t a women-only race, I attribute the great shirt to the fact that the race is held to benefit women.

Lost Dutchman 10k 2008The shirt in action during the Lost Dutchman 10k.

Then, there’s the awesome women’s tech shirt from Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. It’s my favorite race shirt because it’s Disney, it’s pink, and it just fits perfectly. Although the race was open to men, it was definitely a female-centric event and I don’t even think there was a male/unisex shirt option available.

Disneyland 5k 2009I wore my “princess” shirt and a tiara for the Disneyland Family Fun Run 5k.

Of course, not all women’s races get it right. At the Trek Women’s Duathlon, the smallest shirt size was a medium!

For some reason I don’t mind it so much when I get cotton shirts that are too big. At least I can still get some use by wearing them around the house. But there just isn’t anything to do with tech shirts. It also seems like some race organizers use tech shirts as a reason to justify high registration fees. If I’m not going to be able to wear the shirt anyway, I’d rather get a $5-10 discount and no shirt. Like at the Rock ‘n’ Roll races, I already know the “free” shirt won’t fit. They must be getting some kind of huge bulk discount because every race has the same “unisex” Sugoi tech shirts and they’re always blue. With as many participants as they get, you’d think they could provide women’s sizes and different colors for each race.

But the real reason for this post is because of the last two Disney race shirts that I’ve gotten. Here’s a look at the shirt from the Expedition Everest Challenge.

Expedition Everest Challenge 2009 race shirt

At this angle it looks okay. But the proportions are actually all off. The body’s not too bad, although perhaps just a little short. It’s the sleeves that are crazy. The Disneyland Half Marathon shirt has the same cut. Here’s what it looks like on.

Disneyland Half Marathon 2009 race shirt

See what I mean about the sleeves? Who would actually look good in this shirt? I don’t know whether the blame lies with Disney or Champion, but both companies have enough expertise with apparel that this shouldn’t happen. It’s worse than if the shirt was just too big overall.

So anyway, that’s my rant for the day. Do you have a favorite race shirt? What are some races that offer shirts in both men’s and women’s sizes?

Stupid bugs

Mmmm, I’m snacking on a yummy piece of gingerbread Mickey while I write this post. I love bringing home snacks from Disney to make the magic last longer.

Gingerbread Mickeys from Disneyland

I took an ice bath last night and my legs feel much better today. I even made it out for a short run tonight after work.

Wednesday, September 9 – 2 mile run, 20 minutes stationary bike, about 30 minutes strength training (Adidas)

This is the biggest of the blisters that appeared on my legs last week. I was going to see a doctor yesterday, but then it accidentally popped on its own. The rest of the blisters dried up and seem to healing. I still don’t know what happened. I was reading on WebMD and learned there are actually lots of things that can cause blisters… sun, spider bites, allergic reactions…

My icky blister

Unfortunately now I’ve got a new round of what I think are bug bites on my legs. I told Troy that tomorrow he’s got to spray around the house because I’m tired of being itchy all the time. Hopefully none of these turn into blisters, but if they do I’ll definitely go to the doctor’s this time.

My non-running week and future races

Mock Runner's World Cover from RnR Chicago Expo

What do I do when I’m not training? No, unfortunately I’m not interviewing for a feature article in Runner’s World. But I thought it would be fun to share this mock magazine cover from the RnR Chicago Expo. I have another one from after the race too, that I’ll post another time.

Anyway, why does it always seem to hurt more the day after a race? On Sunday I felt fine despite (or because of?) spending three hours on a plane home from Chicago. But on Monday I definitely felt like I had run 13.1 miles. I was happy that I was going to take a break from training for a few days.

Monday night, Troy and I went to Red Robin to spend a couple of the bird bucks I’d gotten at the Run For The Cheetah. I had a yummy BBQ chicken burger and French fries.

Tuesday night, we went to the Asian grocery store so I could pick up some Chinese produce. I love how cheap it is to buy vegetables. Instead of training, I’ve been spending my evenings cooking instead.

Wednesday night, my car Stewart was not happy and decided to leave me stranded at the bank so I got stuck waiting TWO HOURS for the tow truck to arrive. At least Troy was able to diagnose and fix the problem for me so I didn’t have to take Stewart into a shop. Stewart’s started had to be replaced.

Thursday night was relatively normal. I spent a bunch of time planning our upcoming trip out to Disneyland (woo hoo!) and got most of the details sorted out. Since I’m going to be up early anyway for the races, my goal is to be at park opening on both Saturday and Sunday so we can get on the popular rides that we missed during our last trip in June. I’m also excited to try the famous Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou for lunch after the half marathon. For the race, I’m definitely going just to have a fun time and I plan to take lots of photos with the characters.

Speaking of races, I’ve been thinking about what to add to the schedule between Disneyland and Las Vegas. For awhile, I’ve been debating whether to do another Rock ‘n’ Roll event this year, just so I can get my Rock Star heavy medal. I’m so close, and I don’t know when I’ll ever do this many Rock ‘n’ Roll events again in the same year. After comparing San Jose and San Antonio, I’m probably going to go ahead and sign up for San Jose.  Ultimately what it came down to is that the location of the start, finish, and expo are more convenient in San Jose, and it seems like the airfare and hotel will be cheaper.

There’s been a rumor going around that Disney will be canceling two of their fall races. At the RnR Chicago Expo, I talked to a Disney rep who confirmed that 2009 is the last year for the Race for the Taste 10k and the Tower of Terror 13k. The two races will be replaced with a half marathon. I guess I know what I’ll be doing next October, but in the mean time it makes me sad that I won’t get an opportunity to do those two races. I tossed around the idea of trying to squeeze them this year, but I can’t really justify making two weekend trips out to Orlando just two weeks apart.

I may still try to do the Expedition Everest Challenge, depending on whether I can find a cheap Ding! fare on Southwest. After all, I’ve got to go defend my title, right? Actually that’s what Troy keeps saying. On the other hand, I sort of think that it’s better to go out on top and enjoy my rare victory without spoiling it with a so so showing this year. The main reason I want to go is to make this the one Disney race that I’ll have done every year from the beginning.

So while I’ve enjoyed being lazy this week, I know it’s time to get out and start running again. I think I may do a slow 2-3 mile run tonight to get my legs moving again, then a longer run later this weekend. It’s supposed to be a great weekend with slightly cooler temperatures. If I can drag myself out of bed early enough, it’ll only be about 85-90° during my run.

Blog changes

After a week of not doing daily updates and not visiting this blog at all for the past three days, I’ve been pondering why exactly I have a blog in the first place. It’s starting to feel like a lot of effort with no real point. I don’t know how other bloggers manage to do it.

The blog started out as a food diary. While I haven’t really lost any weight since January, I do think that keeping track of my daily intake has helped me make better food choices. But unless I go down the path of counting calories, I’m not sure that I have anything to gain from continuing the daily lists. The blog is also currently the only place where I track my training miles. It’s nice to have the record, but I’m starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to use a web service designed specifically for that purpose.

So moving forward, the first change is that I’m going to stop with the food diary. Until I find a good online training log, I’ll keep posting my mileage but eventually that may go away too. Finally, I’ll probably be posting less frequently. Maybe just weekends. Or I’ll have to train myself to write shorter posts. For the time being, my focus will just be on finishing all the outstanding race reports. It’s fun reliving the memories and I need something to do with all my race photos. Plus reading race reports is something I really enjoy and it’s how I discovered the running blogger community in the first place.

Posted in Random. 1 Comment »