Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Until Later, It's Not Good Bye

Two weeks ago, I made a very difficult decision to retire my show horse, Bam Bam Rubble.

I never thought I would be in this position. I always thought he would be mine forever. When I brought him home ten years ago, I had so many dreams for him. Those dreams changed and evolved, but I never stopped believing that we could overcome any obstacle in our way.

In a lot of ways, that was true. Bam Bam played with the big boys, and while he wasn't always a rockstar, a lot of times he beat the horses that were bigger, fancier and more suitable for the sport than he was. And he tried harder than any horse I've ever had.

Last night, we took Bam to his new home about a half an hour away. He settled right in like he was meant to be there. I couldn't bear the thought of selling him because the idea of never seeing him again was unbearable. Not to mention, he's a nice horse and I didn't want someone down the road to think they could make him a show horse.

Bam Bam in his new home
I've cried more tears in the last two weeks than I can remember crying in the last several years. It feels like I'm going through a break up. I've never dealt well with good byes because once someone is in my heart, I can't seem to let go. Luckily, I will be able to see him whenever I want and they even told me that I could ride him if I wanted to. While it breaks my heart to let him go, it's not good bye. If there ever comes a time when they a forced to rehome him, I have first right of refusal and I can take him home.

This horse is a special guy and I wanted so much to prove to the world that he had a big enough heart to overcome any of his shortcomings. I wanted him to shine and I don't doubt that if he didn't have some physical issues, he would have gone farther than anyone would have imagined. He may not have been able to win, but I bet he could have done the job. Deep down I really believed in him.

But part of being a good  horseman is recognizing when a horse is no longer capable of performing. I didn't call it quits because either of us wanted to. I made the decision because he's been trying to let me know for awhile now that he can no longer physically handle the stress of this level of work. It's not because he doesn't have the heart to try.

When I got home last night, Amanda, the founder of the ranch, had sent me two pictures.

BBR after a bath with the girls
Getting a kiss
That's when I knew that I had found the right place for him. His new job is getting love and in return, he'll help kids heal from whatever emotional trauma they have. I can't think of a more perfect horse for the job nor a more perfect life for such a social little horse.

I've never loved a horse more than I love Bam Bam Rubble, nor has any horse made me laugh like he does.

I hope the kids at the ranch love you as much as I do, BBR. I will miss you terribly.

Thanks for the ride, Bam Bam. You've always been a special guy.

But it's not good bye, I will see you soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free Disneyland Half Marathon Poster

For all of my fellow Disneyland Half Marathon runners:

You can pick up a cute free half marathon poster at the expo. You have to go to their website and sign up. You'll get a confirmation email that you print and bring to the expo and voila! You get a cute poster. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Because I'm A Honey Badger...

...and honey badgers don't give a shit.

And honey badgers don't care about eating GU for dinner.

That's right. I ate vanilla GU for dinner.

Well, I did have a late lunch at Blu Burger. My dad and I went to see Bam Bam's new home. (More on that later, I don't want to jinx my and Bam's good fortune by talking about it until everything is a done deal. But let's just say that despite the gallons of tears that I have cried in the last two weeks, an opportunity for him came about that would be the best situation for both of us.)

After spending quite awhile touring the ranch, I was starving. On our way back into town, we stopped at Blu Burger and I snarfed a giant hamburger.

Not this burger, because this one is chock full of gluten,
but you get the idea.
Anyway, we ate lunch around 3, and I figured I would be set for dinner. I was out of town last weekend and I haven't had time to catch up, so I have no food in my house. So I ate some GU.

Yes, I know that's weird. But you runners know how delicious vanilla GU is, right? It tastes like frosting!

Anyway, in the last couple of weeks, I have cried more tears than I have cried in years over having to retire Bam Bam. I've been a complete wreck. I haven't done any running and I have the Disneyland Half Marathon next weekend. I'm hoping that my consistent training for the last several months (which is a huge improvement over my usual routine) will help carry me and I will still be able to pull off a decent time. Well, a decent time for me considering how slow I happen to be.

I really wanted to PR at this race, and you never know, maybe the rest will do my body good and my legs will fell rested, but I have my doubts.

I'm still riding BBR, but mostly at a walk so that he relaxes and gets his brain out of horse show mode.

Hopefully, I will be back on track soon. I'm sure the next couple of days will require some wine consumption. Cross your fingers for Bam... I think he's going to love his new life. It's me that needs help coping...

Barn mascot

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Out of My Head

The last couple of weeks have been really difficult. I'm trying to get out of my head by pumping myself up for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

I've barely run in the last 2 weeks and I know I'm going to pay for that on Saturday morning when I attempt our scheduled 15 miler. I've never run more than 13.1 miles and that's strictly when racing. I missed last week's run due to being at a horse show (Sadly, Bam stayed home, but I went anyway.)

I've just been...out of it.

It just seems like the last year and a half have been filled with loss and other sad things. I won't go on and on about my tale of woe, but I'm ready for some happiness, that's for sure. So I suppose a trip to Disneyland will help distract me from other things. Plus, moping at the barn is not doing me any good. (Although, the amount of wine we seem to consume up there really does help!)

Guess how many glasses we consumed before this picture...

How about a trip down memory lane? Here's a picture of my sister, Melissa, and me at Disney World in 1995. Do you remember when characters still roamed the parks without designated meet and greet lines?

How sweet are my shorts? Jealous?
Here's a more recent picture of us on the other coast at Disneyland in 2009.

The 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon was my very first race. I'm so glad I picked a Disney race for my first half marathon because I probably would not have done so many otherwise.

This year, I convinced my mom and sister to do the 5K on Saturday and I'm going to do this half on Sunday. I was really hoping for a PR, but since I've hardly run in the last 2 weeks, that may no longer be in the cards. I need to drag my sorry ass back out there!

2011 Coast to Coast!
I already got my Coast to Coast this year after Tinkerbell.

Love this picture!
And one of my favorite pictures from the Princess Half Marathon 2011:

I'm really looking forward to seeing the new Cars Land. The 5K is Cars Land themed, so I'm assuming a lot of the course runs through there. Different parts of CA Adventure have been under construction for the last couple of years, so the course through the parks was different in 2010 and 2011. Of course, it's really hard to tell from the map.

The map for the 5k is a lot more detailed. I've never done a Disney 5K, so I'm excited that this seems to be almost entirely withing the parks. Very cool.

We're also making a family vacation out of the trip with my mom, my sister and my brother and law. Luckily, my mom likes to travel in style, so instead of staying at a cheap place down the street, we're staying at the Grand Californian. Woot!


I know we'll have a good time. I mean, how can one not have a good time at Disneyland?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Agony of Making Tough Decisions

It's been awhile since I blogged. Life has been...busy.

You're probably asking yourself why I'm blogging in the middle of the day instead of working. Well, I'm taking a much needed vacation/relaxation day. I'm also catching up on Rizzoli and Isles. I have priorities.

Love this show...

Things have been very emotional for me for the last week. I've made the very difficult decision to retire my show horse, Bam Bam Rubble.

My first horse show with Bam in 2008

I have a habit of hanging on to the people I love way longer than is healthy, even when the relationship has gone downhill. When I love someone, I can't let go of them. The same goes for horses.

The difficult thing is that horses are not pets. If non-horsey people knew how much money I spend on just housing and feeding Bam, they would fall over in shock. Let's just say I could drive a really, really nice car. Really nice. Bam Bam is the reason I never have any money.

He's even gotten to be a model for a tack store.

Bam is a little worker bee and loves having a job. Unfortunately, as we're going up the levels in dressage, it's getting way too hard for him. And he's been letting me know in not so subtle ways.

It's gotten to the point where, as much as I love him, I have begun to dread riding him. He's struggling and I'm struggling and I can't keep asking him to do a job he no longer enjoys.

My favorite picture of us.

Last Monday, a few days before we were supposed to leave for a horses show, I made the difficult decision to retire him. I literally cried for 3 days. I knew I was making the right decision when not a single person that knows him said I should keep trying. At least 15 different people have told me that it was time to move on.

BBR in his own private jungle.

I truly never meant to get so attached to this horse. Show horses are not pets like dogs and cats, but I fell in love with him anyway. I still remember the first moment I saw him when he was a baby and I said, "if that horse moves well, I'm going to buy him." That was in 2001.

I've had him for over 10 years and until now, never gave up hope that we could do it. In all honesty, we got him farther along than most people thought that we could. I even managed to get some decent scores.

But he's no longer happy. I'm not happy. Not only that, but pushing and pushing him is going to lead to one of us getting hurt. And it's most likely going to be me.

There's a reason Tara sent this to me for my birthday...

I'm hoping to find him a home working with kids with disabilities. I think that he would love doing that. He would still have a job, but it would be low pressure. I'm also told he would get non-stop attention and treats.

 There are two places near my house. They both have open door policies where I could come visit him whenever I want.

I truly never thought that things would spiral downward so far that we would have to quit, but he's had some physical issues in the past and this work is becoming too hard for him. And like the people I love, I hung on to this horse much longer than I probably should have.

This is the first time in 10 years that I stopped believing I could make him a show horse. And I cried like I was going through a break up... in fact, just writing this is making me cry all over again.

I truly love this horse. Dealing with all of his surgeries and issues over the years has changed who I am as a person. He's taught me on more than one occasion the meaning of being selfless. I have to do what's right for him, and that means finding my little worker bee a job that would actually make him happy.

So yeah, marathon training has taken the back seat for a week.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Summer Sunday When You Went Insane..

Was anyone else a fan of Cowboy Mouth? The title of this post is borrowed from lyrics in their song Jenny Says which I listened to nonstop in 1996...and maybe 1997. I even went to their concert which I remember as being awesome. But I wasn't even 21 then, so what did I know?

Anyway, it was 112 here today and my brain is fried, so the title seems appropriate. This post is all sorts of random. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

First, how cute is this pony?

I'm developing an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest. Seriously. Once I start, I'm sucked in for what seems like hours. Strangely, I do not like the web based version, but the app version rocks on my phone. I need to do a separate post just about the awesome things I've found, particularly places around the globe that I want to visit and some that I didn't even know existed. Like this amazingness:

Forgotten Temple of Lysistrata, Greece
I need to see this in my lifetime. And what about this?

Innsbruck, Austria at Christmastime
Not to mention the things that appeal to my sense of humor.

Oh Julie, you read my mind!
I considered going running this evening, but it's a dark and still 109, so um, screw that.

It's sad that 97 at the end of the week
will actually feel good.
Run Disney posted a picture of the Disneyland Half Marathon Medal on their facebook page and holy cow, the amount of whining was really annoying. Yes, it's the same design as last year. That's how Disney does their races. They use the same design for 4 years, have a special aniversary medal for the 5th year, use a new design for the next 4 years, have a special anniversary medal for the 10th year and so on. Sometimes I wonder if Disney regrets setting up a facebook page with the constant complaining I see on there.

I still like it.

On a more serious note, and hey this is TMI, but isn't that what blogs are for? I've been struggling a lot with my anxiety. I really, really do not want to be on medication, although sometimes it seems serious enough to warrant the risk. A dear friend of mine talked me off of the ledge today (thank you, D.) but it got me researching natural remedies and magnesium supplementation came up multiple times.

 I dragged my heat stroke suffering ass out this evening to Whole Foods to pick up some magnesium. And delicious sushi. They have a really good sushi counter there. I would have taken a picture, but I snarfed it down before I thought about it. Oops.

Hee hee

I'm willing to try a little magnesium to see if it works. Strangely, it's also given to performance horses to help relax them and ease tight muscles, so it might just help me.

And right now, I watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics. The opening ceremony felt like a trip down Schizophrenia Lane and the closing isn't much better. I'm sad that the Olympics are over. I watched a lot more of the events than I usually do. Congratulations to all of the athletes.

That's all for me, folks. Hope you all had a nice weekend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

P!nk and other thoughts

I'm not the biggest P!nk fan, but I do like a lot her songs. What I like most is her f**k off attitude. I'm always trolling iTunes for new music because when you spend a ridiculous amount of hours training for a marathon, you constantly need new music.

This morning, on my loooong drive out to the start of our group run, I heard P!nk's Blow Me One Last Kiss and I fell in love with it.

Awesome running song.

I mentioned it to Tara when we were running this morning, but I hadn't really listened to the all of the lyrics. Oh, my God, this made me laugh. Seriously. She never sits around and laments lost love, she basically just says, "f**k off, I'm done."

I'm not going through a break up or anything, but the next time I get my heart broken, I should listen to this song. I'm one of those people that pulls out the rose colored glasses when something ends and somehow manages to erase all of the crappy stuff from my memory. This girl knows how to get over someone!

Whiskey dick? I would not want to
 be this woman's ex.

I bet P!nk is the type of woman that would slash an ex's tires. But it's still funny.

I also love her song, So What. Same attitude. Plus, both of them are excellent running songs. I don't usually like break up songs because, well, they're depressing...and sometimes whiny. But her break up songs make me laugh. I would not want to cross her. She seems pretty bad ass.

This morning, we did our group long run. It has been hot, hot, hot here. But the sun is rises later and later, so at least we're not being fried like an egg. We only did 7.35 miles. Eight miles were on the schedule, but as soon as that sun came up, we turned around and headed back. I never thought I would be someone that said, "only 7.35 miles." My, how things have changed.

Someone added some "artwork" to the sidewalk since the last time we ran the canal.

I thought this was cool...

I haven't been feeling great lately, so I went to bed last night immediately when I got home from work. I think it's a combination of too many outdoor activities in this ridiculous heat (it was 115 yesterday), not enough water and too much hidden gluten sneaking it's way into my body. Of course, I should really be more careful...

Run Disney announced the WDW Half Marathon Medal for 2013.

Thumbs up from me!
I like it. A lot of people were complaining about it, but I like this one better than last year's medal. Last year's just seemed...creepy. I like the circle design, which makes it look more like a medal.

Not a big fan of this one.
I am ready for them to release Mickey, since I'm doing the Goofy Challenge this year.
Now I'm off to take a short nap before meeting a friend for dinner. Cheers!

Have I mentioned how much I love my photo apps?

Monday, August 6, 2012

ET Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon Aug 2012

The ET Full Moon Midnight Marathon takes place on the Extraterrestrial Highway near Area 51 and offers a 10K, a half marathon, a marathon and a 51K ultra marathon.

I have so much to say about this crazy adventure! It was quite an experience. Warning: lots of words and pictures. Lots...

First of all, I have a horse show coming up in a couple of weeks and I knew my trainer would be unhappy with me if I skipped out on riding for the entire weekend, so I got up Saturday morning at 5 AM and rode my horse before leaving on a 10:50 AM flight to Las Vegas. This is mistake #1 for the weekend.

We flew on a brand new Southwest plane and it was HUGE.

We decided to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel because it was the host hotel. The packet pick up was from 4-8 PM and the buses would depart for the start line at Area 51 at 8:45 PM. The plan was to check into our hotel, eat our pre-race meal, then go back to the room and nap for a few hours. Plus, we got a good deal on a room. Sounds like a perfect plan, right?

Couldn't resist this photo op!
We checked into our room, which was beautiful.

These beds are insanely comfortable. Too bad they are also supremely
efficient at conducting throbbing base directing into my brain stem.

I should have known we were in trouble when this was our Do Not Disturb sign:


We were not prepared for the raging pool party taking place right outside of our room. It was like being inside of a club. The windows and furniture were vibrating with base from the DJ. Not really ideal conditions for napping.

I'm pretty sure that pool is full of STDs just waiting for a host.
Non stop making out going on down there.

Do I sound old, yet?

We decided to carb up early so we would have time to digest before leaving for the race. The Hard Rock Hotel has a Pink Taco restaurant. I know, I know, the name is awful, but the food is amazing.

Tara doesn't believe in taking normal pictures...
This was mistake #2. I consumed way too much food. It's really hard to gauge when and how much to eat when fueling for a race that starts at 12:30 in the morning. But I do know not to over eat before a race and the food was just so delicious that I.Could.Not.Stop.Snarfing. I would pay for that later. Mistake #2.

By the time we were done stuffing our faces with their signature "Pink Tacos" we had just enough time to run to CVS to get some supplies and then head over to the packet pick up.

No frills packet pick up.
We got our race packet in minutes and then headed back to attempt to get 3 or so hours of sleep before being back down stairs for the bus pick up.

I already look tired before trying to nap.

Sleep was not going to happen. The pool party was still in full swing and didn't die down until we had to get up and get ready for the run. At this point, I had been up since 5 AM and was heading out for a race the would go all night. Mistake #3. (If I ever do this race again, I will not stay at the Hard Rock)

At 8:30 PM, we headed down to the buses. This is a small race - only about 750 competitors - so all of us fit on 7 or 8 buses.

Since I hadn't gotten any sleep that afternoon, I attempted to snooze on the bus, but I was too hyped up. The bus ride was was about 2.5 hours to get to the start of the full and ultra marathons. Their start was at the black mailbox, an iconic land mark (that is now white) where UFO enthusiasts have met for years because there is nothing else out there in the middle of the desert!

My little X-Files heart was happy to see this tag on the mailbox.
We hung around for awhile waiting for the marathon start. The half marathon start was about 6 miles into the full marathon course and started at 12:30. After getting our pictures taken, we hung out on the bus for awhile and got ready to go.

And we met this guy...

I didn't get any pictures of the start line, but I wish I had. There were so few runners, that the start is not chip timed, but is clock timed. The organizer of the race basically just yelled Go! and everyone just took off. The finish was chip timed, though.

Tara and I ran the entire race together, which was good because it is so dark, cold and lonely out there, that it was good to have someone to talk to. There was a full moon and when it wasn't obscured by clouds, it was actually kind of bright.

It's very different to do a race in the middle of no where, along a top secret military base with not a single spectator. You can't help staring up into the sky hoping to see something questionable. The first half of the race is uphill with a pretty significant grade. After awhile, you really do start thinking that you're seeing stuff up in the sky. Mostly, though, you get to see a lot of shooting stars, which is so cool.

We started off doing great, but somewhere around mile 3 or 4, my stomach started to really hurt. This is the point where I really regretted having eaten so much for our pre-race meal. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and hoped that my stomach pains would pass. I was also exhausted. Running a challenging course on no sleep is not pleasant.

We finally reached the top of the summit at about 6 miles and it was so cold. I was not really expecting that, since Vegas is just as hot as Phoenix. At mile 10, I was really hurting, but decided to take my traditional mile 10 picture, which did not turn out. At all. I don't know if it was from the reflective material or what, but I could not get a good picture.

Yes, Tara is biting the sign.

After mile 10, I managed to finally begin to ignore the pain in my stomach and our next 3 miles were run at an 11-12 minute pace, which is pretty fast for us. We did lose significant time when we came up on the Extraterrestrial Highway sign. My phone absolutely would not cooperate. There was no way I wasn't getting a picture of this sign. I finally got a decent shot by turning off my flash and using Tara's headlamp as a light source. We probably spent at least 5 minutes just trying to get pictures here.

We could see the finish line about a mile away which is at the Little A'Le'Inn. Get it?

There was a breakfast buffet when we got to the Inn. This place was awesome. It's just like you would imagine a little restaurant/hotel in the middle of nowhere. They had a surprising number of staff members for a place located in a town this small. In fact, Rachel, NV, doesn't even have a gas station.

I want this.

It was about 4:30 AM by the time we got back on the bus. I semi-slept through the ride back to the Hard Rock, but it wasn't real sleep. We arrived at about 8:15, and I was so exhausted that I actually felt sick. We crawled back to our room slower than snails and crashed until the effing pool party started back up at 10:00. Never, ever stay at the Hard Rock if you plan on doing this race. Just don't.

We convinced the hotel to let us have a late check out since our flight wasn't until almost 9:00 PM. After crashing for a few hours, we headed back to the Pink Taco to stuff ourselves silly again, but I just was not feeling well. I didn't eat much, but I managed to choke down a glass of celebratory champagne.

After a very long lunch, we still had a few hours to kill, so we went across the street for a massage. The place looked somewhat questionable. I mean, this is Vegas, after all.

You ring a bell for "service" after hours. Umm...
Anyway, we did get massages, and no, we were not offered anything questionable, but I wonder what happens after hours.

All in all, this race was quite an experience. The woman that runs the show did an excellent job. I don't know if I would do it again simply because the logistics are so tough. Running all night on no sleep, uphill into really cold wind is grueling, I won't lie. But it's an unforgettable race and I would recommend any race enthusiast try it at least once. And I did learn a lot.

And the medal is really cool.

If I ever do it again, I will definitely stay somewhere else. I think not being able to sleep made an already difficult race that much harder. But I'm so glad I can say that I ran at Area 51. Kudos to Calico Racing for their organization of such a logistically tough event. (Apparently, just getting the permits to run there is not easy.)