Friday, September 26, 2014

Disappointment and Sportsmanship

I planned on writing a very different accounting of this event when I wrote it in my head. And trust me, I've been writing it in my head for awhile now, planning out the best way to tell you all about my amazingness. (Humbly bragging, of course, because no one likes a cocky asshole.)

In case you had any doubt...

Now, most of you know I am not the most serious of runners. I can admit that. Running is something I do because I love racing and I have a hard time putting effort into things without a goal in mind. If I don't sign up for races, I have a very hard time just going out and running for the love of it or even for my health. I need goals, but I also don't freak out (usually) if I don't have a stellar performance. I basically run races for fun.

One thing I am absolutely dedicated to is riding. I ride 5 days a week, and we train hard. That doesn't include all of the care, prep work, etc., that also goes along with horse ownership. I've shown more in the last two years with Louie than I have since I was a teenager.

The competition year for the USDF, which in this case means United States Dressage Federation, runs from October 1st through Septempber 31st. There are national standings by level and by breed.

A couple months ago, I found myself sitting in 2nd place in the national standings for Louie's breed. You have to meet certain requirements, file breed declarations, show a certain number of times, etc.

Yes, that's Lou's real name.


Exciting, right? Now even though my horse trainer blasted this news on Facebook, I'm really superstitious about counting my chickens before they hatch. But even so, I maintained my reserve champion (2nd place) standing until last week. So, of course, I was blogging in my head about Louie's amazingness and was ready to write a very different post. I mean, the season is almost over.

I knew the girl behind me had little hope of catching me because it's all based on averages and she most likely wouldn't have enough time to bump up her average that much. What I didn't expect was for someone to come out of nowhere two weeks from the end and land in the champion spot, effectively knocking us all down a slot.

So, why is this such a big deal? I mean, he's still in the top 5. In the country.

Well, because there is a national awards gala event held every year that honors Champion and Reserve Champion winners. It's a black tie event. You receive a medal and recognition. Third place gets a certificate in the mail.

So, yeah. I'm pretty disappointed. In my mind, I had already sealed the deal. Even at this point, I could get knocked out of third, but it wouldn't be as big of a blow as getting knocked out of second. Or if all top 5 were recognized and received an award, it wouldn't sting as much. Just getting a certificate isn't quite as exciting.

My very first horse trainer absolutely wouldn't tolerate unsportsmanlike behavior, so I was never a kid that wanted to beat anyone in particular. I wanted to win, don't get me wrong, but growing up in the horse show world, you learn a lot about disappointment. I'm sure the top two riders didn't work any less hard than I did and I'm sure the girl in second feels pretty crappy, too, because she was in the lead for months and got knocked down a placing with only two weeks left in the show year.

There's always next year, right?



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Longer, Faster, More

Yesterday morning, Lara and I met at 5:00am for our long run. The plan was to do 14 miles. Now for the last month, all of our long runs have been in the double digits which is about the most consistent training I have done in years.

Good morning, Scottsdale!


Also, they've all ended rather miserably with my hips tightening up and my feet killing me. We had done some speed work on Thursday and I reported that it was the first run in forever where I actually felt good about running.

Hidden Mickey


Well, I'm happy to say that Thursday's run wasn't just a fluke. I actually felt pretty good for almost the entire run. Sure, I felt pretty beat when I sat down in my car, but I also felt like I could have continued for at least a little bit farther and that is always an amazing feeling. Granted, this time I was smart and took some Advil before our run. I know some people are against taking NSAIDs before running, but it really helps me. So I'm not advocating that others should do it... But it totally helped me not want to die at mile 10. Plus, I only took two.


Random bike and tent. Not sure that's happening here...


It has been really humid in Arizona this summer, but it wasn't quite as miserable as it has been so that was nice. Every 10 years or so we have what is called an El NiƱo year where we get a considerable amount of rain. Looks like we're having one this year, because we've had crazy storms and flooding. The desert looks like a meadow. Although we haven't been running in the desert because I'm so sick of seeing that same scenery over and over and over. We've been running along golf courses, which are pretty hilly. Even though the hills are small, there's a ton of them so we're getting in some hill work, too.


This is not supposed to be a pond.

Anyway, we ended up doing 14.5 miles and I didn't want to die. I consider that a win. We took way less walk breaks and the breaks were took were shorter. Our overall pace was faster (although that really applies more to me than Lara because she's capable of running faster than me any day).

Not really a problem...


So yeah, two runs in a row that I'm feeling good about. Months ago, I had a goal of running NYC Marathon in sub 5, but I don't think it's possible. I've been way more consistent about training but to pull that off, I should have trained harder this spring. C'est la vie. Plus, this way I can go into that race just soaking everything in. I definitely want pictures and I want to remember every second because I know it's the most amazing race there is.

I've run past this light for the last 5 weeks and I never noticed how cool it is.

Later, I went to Chipotle and ordered a gigantic lunch. While I was in line, I saw this teenaged girl wearing floaties on her arms. I saw the same thing at a restaurant last weekend. Is this a thing? It's so ridiculous, that I couldn't stop staring. Did my generation do things this weird and now I'm just old so I think it's dumb?

So weird.

Only 41 days until the New York City Marathon. Eeeeeee!!!

This blog post was brought to you today by the letter M. For Marathon, of course!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Whoa, A Post Where I Don't Whine

So, Wednesday night (I actually wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it), the alien billy goat, a.k.a. Lara, and I did an actual speed and tempo run. We stayed off the trail because Lara's billy goat abilities failed her last week and she fell on the mountain and fractured her arm.

I took the rainbow as a sign my run would be magical.


Never fear, though, Lara is running just fine and also is riding her horse. And as much as I want to sometimes murder her on our long runs when she says things like, "'we're almost done" when we still have like 5 miles to go, I know I'd never get long runs in without her.



Anyway, we did 5 miles and I really pushed myself. The first mile was slow to warm up and the next mile we picked it up a bit. On the third mile we picked it up even more and on the fourth mile we did intervals between light posts. We took a walk break for about a quarter mile and then really pushed the rest of the last mile.

Had to stop for this picture, of course.


You know what? I actually felt good. It has been so long since I had a run where I actually got a runner's high that I'd forgotten how good it can feel. Consistency actually does pay off, my friends. Who knew?

Plus, the scenery was amazing even if the humidity was ridiculous. I said I wasn't going to complain, so I'll let my weather app do that for me.

Also humid. Don't forget that!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It Might Be Time To Freak Out

I keep thinking I have all sorts of time to train for the NYC Marathon, but it's getting frighteningly closer. I keep checking the New York Road Runners page, not for marathon updates, but for swag updates. Because God knows, I am going to go cray cray buying things with that logo on it.

But then I saw the count down. (Cue ominous music here)

Well, yikes. That's pretty close.

I've actually been training, but it's not pretty. Like, at all. I've done several double digit runs, but I've been hovering in the 12 to 13 mile range, because, well, anything longer just blows. Plus, being the slow turtle-like runner that I am and the Florida-esque humidity along with the Arizona hellish heat, it has just been really, really miserable. I know, I know, boo hoo. Suck it up.

My new awesome weather app.


I keep imagining how much nicer the weather will be in NYC, but it will be crappy here until pretty much the weekend before we leave. In a lot of ways, I keep wanting to just blow it all off and wing it, but I also don't want to have a completely horrible experience. After all, how many times will I get the opportunity to run this race?

In the meantime, I've been trolling the NYRR store website. In 2012, they offered really cool finisher jackets for pre-order that you could have delivered right to your hotel the next day. How cool is that?! This year's finisher jackets haven't been released, yet, but there's other cool stuff.

A little pricey for a t-shirt, but I want it.


Water bottle? Yes, please.

Of course, the thing I'm really holding out for is the Asics NYCM back pack. My sister got me one from when I was supposed to run it in 2012 as a gift. Now, it doesn't have the year on it, but it has the old ING logo. NYRR has partnered up with TCS and the logo is different. So of course, I need a new one, right? Right?

The answer is yes. I'm a sucker for awesome backpacks and the Asics NYCM backpack is really reasonably priced and really good quality. At least the one I have is. I haven't seen the new one, but I emailed them and they assured me that one would be offered this year. #priorities

Somebody help me use restraint. Anyway, looking at merchandise helps motivate me to get out there and run. Mainly by scaring the shit out me.

This app is the best. Seriously.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Medal Monday

Lately, I've been trolling eBay. You see, last year I found these amazing casual boots through an online saddle shop and I love them. Mainly because they fit. I'm a short person with giant calves, so tall boots of any kind are really hard for me to find. You don't even want to know what my custom riding boots cost me. Trust me, I nearly choke when I think about it.

Now imagine these babies in black.

Anyway, I bought these boots in brown, but at the time, I really wished they were black, because black is my favorite color to wear. They actually fit, thanks to the adjustable straps and they are comfortable to wear all day long. The saddle shop I ordered them from only offered brown, so it didn't occur to me that they might come in black.

I happened to look at the inside of the boot and realized that they are made by a completely different company than is advertised by the tack store. So I hopped online and found similar boots by that company on eBay. I held out and kept looking for the specific boot and finally the heavens opened up, rainbows appeared, angels sang and those very same boots appeared in black. It was like I won the lottery. (I believe in having low expections in life.)

Anyway, of course I bought them. And they cost less than my original pair. Score! They have yet to arrive, or even actually ship from the seller even though I ordered them 8 days ago (but who's counting, right?) but I'm waiting on pins and needles for them to show up.

And thus, an addiction to eBay was born. You can find all sorts of random shit on there. It's fun to shop around. So, of course, I searched marathon medals.

Now, I don't really care if people want to sell their medals, to be honest. Personally, I don't see myself selling mine, but on the other hand, I've raced a lot in the last 4 years, so I have a pretty good collection at this point. I can see why someone might sell theirs. What I am curious about is who would actually buy them?

$50?? Hmmmmm...

Especially if it's from a recent runDisney event. I could understand replacing a lost medal or a damaged one, but I know runDisney is pretty good about helping out their runners. I heard about someone getting their Dopey medals stolen out of their luggage and runDisney replaced them.

$149.99?! Notice the lack of bids?
I definitely couldn't imagine parting with a Boston medal.

I could understand wanting a vintage medal, say from an early Boston Marathon or New York City. Or maybe one of the early Mickey medals.


I do like these old school medals.

The one thing all of these medals up for auction have in common is that they have zero bids. So I guess there's not a huge market for them. Anyway, it's fun to search them out just to see. Last week, I saw a collection of Coast to Coast medals priced at $399. I think there were maybe 7 of them.

In the meantime, I'll just keep trolling eBay for lost treasures.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple iProducts Versus runDisney

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (we'll call that land "Arizona"), I was an Android phone owner. I know, I know! What was I thinking?!

I never get tired of using this picture.


You see, I was a long time t-Mobile customer. And when I say "long time" I'm not joking. I joined T-Mobile when it was still called Voicestream. So yeah, like 12 years. That's practically enough time for my Prince to come rescue me from my contract with a kiss, right?

When the iPhones first appeared, I figured there was no way they could really be that much better than the Google phones being pushed by T-Mobile. Which is just laughable in hindsight because the G1 and the G2 were crappy phones by all standards; Apple and Android alike.

Finally, in July 2012, I ditched T-Mobile (they still didn't have the iPhone then) and joined Verizon just because at some point I figured that I needed the iPhone since all of the cool kids had iPhones. I immediately fell in love with my iPhone and have had an unhealthy relationship with it ever since.

I can't help it, I had to post this.


You know what that means! My two year contract was up in July and I'm ready to upgrade my 4s for the magical iPhone 6. Now mind you, my 4s has been an awesome phone and I really have no need for a new one, but I really, really want the 6.

My precioussssss Apple Watch? Do I need that? Of course not, but I want it. Which means my brain is obsessing about how to get my grubby paws on these items without selling my soul to the devil for money.

Gah. I'm probably going to need this, too.


So, how is this related to runDisney? Well, because iPhone mania reminds me a wee bit of the runDisney mania that occurs right before a new race is announced or registration opens for a runDisney event.

Apparently, had a count down to this morning's announcement on their website and they had planned to do a live broadcast so everyone could drool into their iPads over the new products but sadly, it crashed. Just like does every time a runDisney race opens for registration.

I hear there was tons of pissed off tweeting and the like. I don't know for sure because I'm too lazy to log on to twitter to find out. But that sounds like every time I lurk on the runDisney Facebook page. Ahhhh, nostalgia.

I'm not really sure that I have a point here, but just know that I've gone bat shit crazy about needing to know everything about the iPhone 6 and I'm aware in some little corner of my mind that I'm exhibiting signs of being a lunatic. Just like the mild anxiety attacks I get when runDisney registrations open up and I suddenly feel a compulsion to sign up for a race I don't even really want to do because ZOMG, runDisney!!


So yeah, I'm totally getting the iPhone 6...anyone else jumping on the iCrazyTrain with me?







Monday, September 8, 2014

Why I'm Not Quitting My Day Job

Training for a marathon simultaneously makes you feel like the world is crushing your very soul while also making you think that you have super powers.

Often while I'm out pounding the pavement, my brain starts concocting these grandiose ideas such as, I know! I'll become a famous best selling author!

I blame this phenomenon on the fact that I often listen to dramatic soundtrack music while I'm running and create all sorts of amazing scenes in my head. I get all into my own thoughts and have these incredible story arcs that are brilliant and artistic.

So I trot along getting all excited at my own amazingness. I mean, I'm going to write the next big thing! Look out Hunger Games and Harry Potter! There's no reason I can't write something that thrilling, right? (For young adults, mind you. I know my limits)

Then I use the remainder of my run spending my future millions on horses and travel. Life is going to be the bombdiggity once I'm a billionaire living in Malibu.

But then the universe shifts and splits and some sort of other dimensional phenomenon takes place where one of three things always happens as soon as I walk through the front door:

  1. I realize my lap top is upstairs in my bedroom. So, theoretically, I could be on my way to greatness, but there's like 20 stairs and the TV is right here in front of me. I'll start my greatness tomorrow.
  2. I actually fetch the laptop and even turn it on (overachiever, right here!). I get ready to purge all of my creativity into a Word file and I literally find that what I'm seeing in my brain will just not appear on my screen. It's like I suddenly am incapable of stringing together two sentences without sounding like a dropped out of school in 6th grade.
  3. I turn on my lap top, sit down to write and then realize, I'm basically stealing plot lines from teenager shows on the WB. *big huge dramatic sigh of defeat*

So yeah, I currently am not doing any actual writing, I just create awesome stuff in my mind that someone else has already made millions with and then can't actually produce anything. I'm a talented person trapped in an untalented body. #firstworldproblems

Edited to fix a few typos. I can't imagine why I'm not famous, yet!




Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's Getting Closer

Fall is here! And that might be exciting if you lived somewhere that has seasons, but I don't. So it's still like 110 here. I was all gung-ho to have a great Labor Day weekend filled with awesome long runs, but that didn't happen. I only did one long run on Saturday because Monday was spent feeling sorry for myself on my couch binge watching Vampire Diaries because I had some sort of weird sickness that made me feel like utter crap until about Tuesday.

Seriously, Damen is SUCH an asshole, but so hot.

Saturday I pounded out 12 miles. Thank God we decided to go to a new location to torture ourselves because I'm so sick of that desert trail that I get hostile and angry just pulling into the parking lot. We went to a place that has a path that goes for miles and miles and is known as the Green Belt because there's a whole lot of green and that doesn't happen naturally in the desert unless you run sprinklers every 10 seconds. Also, unlike the NATURE I am forced to endure in the desert, bugs are not allowed on the Green Belt, despite the number of puddles to be found. This is because the Green Belt is in Scottsdale and the bugs can't afford rent. Also, I'm pretty sure there is a whole lotta bug spray to be found in the soil.


I realize that I, too, live in Scottsdale, but I live in Ghetto Scottsdale. If you don't believe me, check out the Walmart across the street from my house. Full of weirdos.

Annnnyway, I ran 12 miles with Lara in the nasty heat and actually felt pretty damn good all the way until maybe mile 10 or 11. So, I'm feeling pretty positive about my run. I didn't hate life the whole time, so that's a win in my book.

Much better scenery.

Also saw some graffiti art, which I thought was kind of cool, but creepy, too.

Ummm, what?

The NEW YORK CITY MARATHON (EEEEEKKK!!) is less than 2 months away. I keep trying to remind myself to stay motivated by remembering just how cool it was to see the finish line in 2012 when I first attempted to run it.

2012 Finish Line

I'm pretty excited, but also a little scared. I've already got hotel reservations and plane tickets, so at least I can scratch that off of the list.

Less than two months!

I don't know how many full marathons are in my future, but the next one I do needs to be in the winter or spring because training in this heat is just stupid. Why are most of the awesome marathons in the fall? Maybe I'll do the full at Disney again without all of the hoopla of a challenge. At least I'd be training for that in better weather.

Now, if I could just figure out how to pipe Netflix directly into my brain so I can watch Vampire Diaries while on my long runs, life would be grand.