To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon - Take 2

Half marathon number 22 …. Wow. Remember when I was diligently training for my first half marathon? (Disney’s 2011 Princess Half Marathon, for those of you keeping track.) Apparently since I feel like a seasoned half marathoner I decided training is optional? I guess, really, I only ever “trained” for that first half. From then on I did them constantly and was just always ready to race. Life happened in 2013 – I was sick a lot with Meniere’s issues, and then of course planning a wedding. Running got shoved aside – but I feel like with this race I am coming back with a vengeance! The race in question is the Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon. Last year I ran this one hard, coming fresh off of a PR in Eugene. This time I knew that I was just running to prove to myself that I can still run and finish 13.1 miles with a smile on my face. No time goals, no pace band. Just me, my Adidas, some good music and my legs taking me for a nice, long run.

The weather was ideal! Warm enough at the start that I didn't feel chilled in my short sleeves and skirt, but never hot. Oh, let’s talk about my outfit! Since this was a mental run for me I chose things that reminded me that I CAN do it! I wore my Goofy 39.3 headband; my shirt is what I wore when I did the WDW Relay (my first back to back half marathons); and the socks I wore in the WDW Marathon when completing the Goofy Challenge. I was set for success! Plus seeing Frank Shorter the day before and hearing references of my idol Steve Prefontaine, well, I knew I would have a good race! So back at the race …. I arrived with plenty of time to wander around people watching before heading to my corral. After the moment of silence for Boston I got my last pep talk from MF and he sent me on my way with a kiss. Aww. The time in the corrals flew by and soon I was at the start line, focusing on relaxing, having fun and talking to Pre – as I do at every start line. And we were off!

I settled into my rhythm for the first 5K. I didn't do any intervals, I just wanted to run it as long as I could at a nice pace. I felt pretty darn good, aside from a sudden pain in my left calf, and enjoyed all that RnR races have to offer …. i.e. music on the course, spectators and frequent aid stations. I was so happy they ditched Cytomax and went with Gatorade that actually had life and flavor to it – unlike the anorexic, near vomit inducing Nuun that I tried at the expo. After the first 5K I decided to play it smart and “do the Galloway”. It was around mile 4 that I was excited to see MF again. I pulled over to say Hi (I’m not going for a PR after all) and hand him my water. That gave me some pep in my step, and off I went through downtown Portland!

Soon we were running over the Hawthorn bridge and hitting the east side of town. A side I’m not as familiar with, but a side I recall last year as being non-stop hills. Guess what, this year was just the same! I had a hard time for a while. The roads were NOT nice at all. I felt like any moment there would be another pothole, plus I couldn't find a flat spot to run, so my hips and IT band weren't the happiest. *I was trying to stick to the right since I started having Meniere’s issues and tend to drift right. I didn't want to be a burden to other runners and accidentally cut people off. The vertigo started getting so bad that I was really nauseated and on the verge of getting sick. The pang that I got in my calf at mile 1.5 came back strong. I pulled over to stretch and massage my leg a bit, but still had to continue on with a bit of a limp. I took my gel at the 10K mark and ran a bit until I hit a corner. OMG, that hill. It wasn't so terrible, except that it was over a mile long and seemed to be through all of the things that I dislike about Portland. (How many bike and coffee shops can one town have??) And so I just walked. Even walking I was passing people – thanks to my mom, I can be a very fast walker!

I had texted MF that I was struggling and really sick. He reminded me that I am awesome and can do it - Good cheer squad! At mile 7 things improved for me when this band of 9th graders(?) started playing Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House. It just amused me so much that these young people were playing something older than they are. I couldn't help but laugh and smile. Huge boost thanks to them! That helped me get back on my intervals, as best as I could. The miles started flying by and then another ray of sunshine appeared. Around mile 10 I heard someone talk to me. I looked over, and it’s Stacie and her husband! How wonderful! We stopped for a photo and walked together a while before parting ways around mile 11. That was my favorite mile!

From there the course was mainly downhill (finally!!). I got in the zone and gave it my all, what “all” I had left anyway. I didn't do my normal picking off of people. This time I just focused on myself and enjoying every step. Once I hit the 13 mile marker I did crank out the last tenth, flying by a few people. I can’t help it. I always train to have a last minute kick, it wouldn't be me to just coast through a finish line! MF was there waiting for me and it was just such a pleasant sight to see! RnR did a great job with post-race refreshments. The best thing … the TWO cups of Jamba Juice a volunteer insisted I take. It was Heaven! Better than any blah bagel or water!

Half #22 is in the books!
I got my finisher photos taken and then we rushed to the finish line concert. Andy Grammer was the concert. I didn't know him at all, but I really did enjoy it a lot. I’m even considering picking up his CD (i.e. downloading on iTunes). It was no Gym Class Heroes type of awesome like at Seattle last year, but I still enjoyed it a lot! I had commented that he reminded me of Adam Levine … and the next song he did actually was a Maroon 5 song. I called it!

Overall I really did enjoy this race. Considering my non-running, I feel like I did a really good job, and only 10 minutes slower than the year before when I really pushed myself and was in top shape! The negatives were all just from my complete lack of training and Meniere’s Disease – aside from bad road conditions, but that is a City of Portland issue, not RnR. I’m sure I’ll be back next year to do it again! Third times a charm, right?!?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Four Days

Today is day four of no caffeine. My headache is much better! At the Hangover III last night I had lemonade. Right now at lunch I'm having something orange. Go me!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thumpthing For Thursday

The wedding is behind me, I've just run my first solo half marathon in a year (race report is on the way), and I'm feeling rejuvenated!

Technically at the moment I'm feeling miserable. I've gone cold turkey with the caffeine. I think Monday was the last time I had any. Today is day 2 of the headache from Hell.  I'm just going to power through. In college I didn't have a lot of money one week, (or ever!) so I thought I'd skip buying my 12 pack of Diet Pepsi. It was the first day of my Abnormal Psych class and fortunately our professor couldn't make it to class. I don't know if I could have sat through it. I ended up in my dorm room feeling nauseated, in a cold sweat, clammy.... I was a mess. At work that afternoon my coworkers helped me figure out I was having caffeine withdrawals. All that was just to say that hey - at least this time it is just a headache!
Photo question: what are we doing? Who are we imitating??

So anyhoozy, I am about to put myself on a new half marathon training plan. Wait, she does half marathons constantly, why a plan?? Good question! My plan this year is to not race constantly. I'm trying to save money because ideally I'll will sooner than later be tending to a new human (no, this is NOT some announcement -- it's just the ultimate goal right now). If I don't have a race on the calendar then I have no motivation to train. Last time I did Disneyland Half it was ridiculously hot. Team Jam was melting. I even used Rose's height to create shade for me at one point so I wouldn't shrivel up and die. So my plan is to use an easy training plan to keep me running regularly through the summer, incorporating races here and there. And I'm doing this so then hopefully my body will be in half marathon shape enough that when I start to whine about the heat, at least my body knows what to do and I'll cross that finish line in typical obnoxious fashion and spend my days in the parks! I'm really excited! The last training plan I followed was last summer, and it was for a marathon. And I thought I was going to die. No matter what time my lazy ass starts a run, if I'm doing 20 miles in the summer I'm going to eventually melt - and that's what happened. This summer I'll run steady, regular, work on speed when I feel like it.... but this time it will be FUN!
(I felt this post needed random photos from my phone)

Also occupying my time? Thank you cards. Leave it to me to insist every message be different, personalized, and fill up the entire card! My system is first I write them out in my notebook, then once I have a batch done I write them onto the actual cards. Clearly I am making too much work for myself.
ALSO occupying my time.... costumes! Now that I have no wedding to obsess over I'm trying to figure out what to run the Disneyland 10K and half marathon as. I refuse to do anything Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland or Mickey related since I figure we'll see TONS of them. I don't want to force MF to wear tights or a skirt either, although both would be hilarious for me! I have quite a list of ideas, but I also have to face the fact that I will probably never be able to top my Goofy weekend costumes. I loved them too much!

And anyway, that's that. Tonight I'm going to see the new Hangover movie and I am ridiculously excited!!! I am hoping they have lemonade or something because when I get some hot, yummy popcorn and I want something to drink I am going to do my very best to NOT choose caffeine!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Little Bit of Something

My plan was to run today. The weather decided to have a huge change, which I have been noticing seems to trigger Meniere's attacks. So I ended up at home for the last half of the day. But with that I got to wake up just in time to see psycho slut bag Jodi Arias be told she was cruel in her murdering methods. No shit! Obviously! Yeah, so anyway I can't run tonight.

2013 has had some of the greatest moments (WDW Goofy weekend, Las Vegas, my wedding!!) but it's been rather crappy at times, too. I've spent the better part of the year out of commission due to Meniere's issues. (I do get to see a doctor next month!) A family member passed away the morning of my wedding. A family member was diagnosed with leukemia. A family member had a unique surgery. Really, not the easiest of times.

But I feel like that means things can only get better! I got to officially meet MF's daughter at our reception, and I think it went great! I loved seeing her and her girlfriends have fun dancing and getting their photo booth time.  So hopefully now that I know both of his kids we can all start hanging out more often and I can prove I'm not some bitchy woman like I'm sure their mother would love for them to believe.  

                                             It's the Cupid Shuffle, Abby!!

Oh speaking of my reception!! Here's one for ya! I had a friend of 32 years (I am 34). I tweaked our guest list so that I could have her, her newest husband and 3 or 4 of her daughters join us.  I got their favorite music lined up with the DJ, I had kid friendly food and drinks ready, I bought glow in the dark rings and bracelets for the girls to wear. We texted a lot in the week before, sharing excitement over getting to have a reunion. At 6:59pm I looked through the curtain at our guests and didn't see her. I was disappointed but hopeful so I sent a text to get her status. Naturally if she was close I was going to delay things until she could get there. This is 32 years of friendship after all.

A response to that text has still not come to my phone. That was April 27th. I got to thinking, and looked back. Never once did I get a text, call, email, or Facebook comment congratulating me on my wedding. Not even a single "like" on any photo. As if that wasn't confusing enough, I then discovered that at some point after the reception she not only unfriended me, but she also unfriended my Maid of Honor and my mom! I'm baffled. I can say I have no idea why the shunning. Here I was going out of my way for her and excited to see the girl that most people at some point have thought was my sister....and now the big delete? Well so be it! If it is jealousy over my friends and family that were there? Well, she was invited...and those friends that have supported me, listened to me and been there through all the bad that happened in last year pre-MF...those are my REAL friends (yeah, I'm talking about some of you reading this!), so really this isn't even a loss.  This is one less person making jokes at my expense and one less person making subtle, insulting stabs at me. So long!

                                 Real friends help you laugh through tears!!

And anyway, that's my babble for today! I think I need to put on my Wayne Newton nightshirt and crawl in bed while waiting for Real World Portland to come on.  Here's one more photo, just because. Note, the image on the left is our cake topper!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Evening With Mr. Las Vegas

Oh Wayne, you showman, you! Or perhaps I should say, Hello, my name is R0nda, and I am a Wayniac!

A couple of months ago I got frantic phone calls and text messages from my mom. When I finally spoke to her it was with great glee that she told me Wayne Newton was coming to our local casino. Before she had a chance to even ask I declared that we were going, no ifs, ands or buts! She rushed home, bought 6 tickets, and finally, this past weekend we were there. At Seven Feathers Casino in good ol’ south county. So after going for a run, working on Grandpa’s boat and freshening up I was eagerly on my way to see Mr. Las Vegas. Decked out in a nice dress and my official bride jacket, I considered this to be the end of the wedding activities. (Yeah, I might be celebrating for a month. I’m the bride, I can do that.)

Before the show, MF and I split off from my family to have our own little date night together – as much of a “date night” as you can have while killing time in the geriatric’s casino. I looked at every slot machine and table game, wishing I was still in Las Vegas. The real fun came in the arcade! MF had his ice cream and was happy, so I pulled him along to get one of those cute photo booth strip photo things done. What I didn't expect was that I would make a whole dollar in that arcade! Four times we found a random quarter on the ground and nobody around to claim it. Woo hoo!! Big winners! On the way to the concert we watched a bit of the cabaret lounge show with a guy doing some swing music. There were some frighteningly thin girls dancing and appeared to be doing moves we learned in Stripper 101. Fortunately in Stripper 101 our awesome instructor didn't tell us to be stiff as a board and have jerky movements. It was awkward to watch, so we left and found Grandpa in the Keno bar …. As off to the concert we went!

A butt shot for the ladies!
For the record, I was without a doubt the youngest person at the Wayne Newton concert. Others even confirmed it. I may have been the youngest, but I was clearly one of the most excited, especially when the music began! It was so cool!!! Loud, full sound came from his orchestra. He didn’t travel with just a pre-recorded track. Oh no! He had everything. Keyboard, percussion, guitar, cello, violins, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, everything! The band geek in me was pretty thrilled! And soon there he was… not a single hair out of place (I really wanted to touch it, a la “Cousin Eddy”), THE Wayne Newton! Oh man, I was one of those women screaming and clapping and bouncing in my seat. This was the closest I’d ever get to the Rat Pack and I was soaking it all up.

Viva Las Vegas

Wayne & Sammy Davis Jr
Wayne’s voice might not be there anymore, but he still had the personality and knew how to work the crowd – even with the annoying, marble-mouthed random shouting coming from audience members that seemed to think they were part of the show. Seriously – why on earth would you keep yelling “Canyonville!” over and over? Yes, we are all in this tiny place called Canyonville. Yay for you for being proud, now shut up and let me enjoy the show. But Wayne rolled with it, and even kind of mocked those that were interrupting. Once things got rolling, fortunately, the crowd nonsense stopped.

So what was the show like? It was like a variety show! I felt like I was watching an old TV special from way back in the day. Musical montages; random talking/chatter/jokes by Wayne; Wayne showcasing his musical ability by playing the keyboard, 2 different guitars, the banjo, and a fiddle; old TV clips of a very young Wayne performing with Lucille Ball and my favorite – Dean Martin; a little disco; some gospel; and even a patriotic moment to honor the people that have served in the US Military. Grandpa and MF both got to stand up with pride as Wayne saluted them! It was the perfect concert for me. Corny, schmaltzy, old school, funny …. Laugh if you will, but really, this old guy can work a room! The highlight for me? When in just one song he not only had the dramatic talking interlude, but then ended it by creating his own echo and then mildly blowing into the microphone to create a wind effect. I died. I just lost it. My hysterical laughter was at least covered by all the swooning old women that were clapping and whooping it up!

Danke Schoen

At the end of the show it became a challenge. “Just look down!” I told MF. We had to dodge wheel chairs, canes, walkers and oxygen tanks. At one point we both looked around wondering what hit us. It was just an older lady and her purse. Poor thing, she had no idea it was flopping all over smacking into everyone’s legs. We just rolled with it and made our way to the merchandise. Oh yeah, do you think I could go see Mr. Newton and NOT get a souvenir? Come on, I’m the one that deliberately chooses my seats on flights to Vegas so that I can have the best view of Casa de Shenandoah (his house*) when coming in for the landing. *And since his house is kind of in the middle of some legal issues, I forked over twenty-five of my dollars to buy myself a Wayne Newton night shirt. “I spent the evening with Wayne Newton” it says! I've been sporting it proudly the last two nights in bed. I’m sure my darling new husband just loves that!

And that was my Saturday night. So much entertainment, a great time with my family, and a fun little date night too!

Running Is Happening!!

The other night, um, Wednesday? Thursday? Doesn't matter.... I went for the loveliest evening run through the neighboring 'hood. It felt great to be able to run 3 miles and not die or melt. It was a real confidence booster! I did have a couple of walk breaks since I insisted in hitting a pretty big, long hill. And I am still slightly congested at times which really feels glaring when trying to run. But I'm not letting that become an issue. I just kept right at it and my legs are actually doing quite well!!

Saturday I went for "an easy three" in the morning. I didn't expect it to be a thousand degrees already, but still I went at it doing my best, until.... At 1.62 miles I was down. On the ground. The world was spinning. I was shaking. Full blown Meniere's attack when I was at my farthest point from home. I debated having MF come pick me up, but instead I let the spinning pass and did my best to get home, only missing half of my last mile. 

But I was not going to feel defeated! Last night MF set out for a walk while I went for a run. It was great!! I did a 5k before reuniting with him in the park for our walk home. The only hiccup in this run? I had to be courteous at the duck pond and grant the right of way to an adorable little family!

And here I am, less than a week from my next race. Physically I am not trained, but mentally I know I've done this before and no matter what I will have fun and do my best on that day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bursting With Photos aka an Easy Read

I just got my photos in the mail from Planet Hollywood!! I am so excited!!! So now, I'm going to minimize the chatter, maybe toss in a comment or caption or two, and basically show you some moments from the big day!
Tap dancing while Jessica sings Anything Goes - a little pre-party!
Jessica, Fruit Fly, Cilley Girl 

My new brother-in-law, the sexy pants groom, and our wonderful best man

Dancing his way down the aisle!
MF and his mom
That's my mommy!

My turn!
And here comes the cry baby!
Singing to each other
And dancing together!

MF's parents
My step-dad and mom
My dad
The whole, new family
Our entire wedding party and every special guest!