Getting back in the swing of things

Spring has been nuts so far. My initial foray back into running post-injury went well, but I wasn’t very consistent. However, a few weeks ago I started running regularly again and for a while it was going well. I ran four miles, three days a week and my knee didn’t hurt at all. It was fantastic. But then I started increasing my mileage. About three weeks ago I ran six miles in my attempt to start getting ready for my next half marathon. It wasn’t a great run because it was a bit warm and the Powerade Zero I brought with my made me nauseous. During my walking breaks I stretched a bit to keep my knee healthy, and when I thought I had succeeded. But the next day I was really disappointed that it was hurting. I went to spinning that Monday night, which helped a little, but my knee still didn’t feel quite right. So I took a week off from running. I also went to the chiropractor which helped a little, but not nearly as much as I was hoping. Unfortunately the best therapy for my particular problem is rest, which is frustrating with so many races coming up I May. So I made a difficult decision. After weighing all of my options, I decided to forgo the Orange County half marathon on May 3rd. Mostly because I won’t be anywhere near prepared to run 13.1 miles that day, but also because I don’t want to risk getting injured before the Tinkerbell races at Disneyland the next weekend. Fortuitously, one of my co-workers wants to take my OC half marathon bib so it won’t go to waste. As a consolation prize I decided to do the OC 5K instead since I still want to get a medal that weekend. I’m still worried about not being ready for the Tinkerbell 10K and half marathon on May 9th and 10th, but at least skipping the OC half marathon will give me a better chance of being uninjured. I paid a lot of money for the Disney races and I am going to get my medals! The good news is that my run last night was the best I’ve had since I got hurt in January. Everything clicked. Granted, I ran really slowly (even for me), but at least I wasn’t exhausted and gasping for air the whole time. Hopefully this trend continues. Fingers crossed!

Learning experiences

I’ve had a couple of interesting learning experiences over the last two days. First of all, I had jury duty yesterday in Santa Ana. It was the first time since I’ve lived in California that I’ve had to show up in person for jury duty. When I was in Los Angeles County I had to call in every morning for five days, but in my three summons I never had to actually report to the courthouse. That was lucky for me, but Orange County is a different story. Here you show up for one day and then see if you get chosen for a jury. I got to the Santa Ana Courthouse around 7:15 AM yesterday morning thinking I was in for an extremely long day of sitting around and doing nothing, but it didn’t turn out quite that way. Almost immediately after the juror orientation I was pulled into a 60-person jury pool for a trial and went upstairs to one of the courtrooms. The jury selection lasted all morning and part of the afternoon. I was fortunate to just sit in the audience the whole time and not get put in any of the hot seats where I would have been interviewed by the lawyers. The judge was pretty strict and shot down a few flimsy excuses that folks made to try and get dismissed. By 2:30 PM the jury had been selected and sworn in, and the rest of us were excused. That was the best outcome for me considering I have some really important stuff to do at work over the next week. So now I don’t have to worry about jury duty for another year!

One of the things I was looking forward to after avoiding jury duty was going to Disneyland this morning. I had a grand scheme in mind. The next in a series of Disneyland 60th anniversary pins was being released this morning and I was going to be there to get one this time around. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out the way I hoped. I arrived at Downtown Disney at 6:15 AM, which was only 15 minutes after the line for the pins was supposed to start forming. But I guess that particular guideline wasn’t enforced because I noticed that the only open parking lot was pretty full and there was already a very long line. I hurriedly parked my car and queued up as quickly as I could. Less than a minute later, though, a Disney cast member told me that they already had 500 more people in line than they had pins for sale. That meant there were already 2000 people in line ahead of me! I couldn’t believe it. There was no way I was going to stand there for the next hour for something that wasn’t going to happen. Since I’d already made the drive to Anaheim I figured I’d wait for the Earl of Sandwich at to open at 7 AM and grab a delicious breakfast, at least. Then I discovered that they weren’t going to open until 8 AM (even though the website said 7 AM). And since the parks didn’t open until 9 AM today, I decided to just go back home rather than wander around Downtown Disney doing nothing for hours. So I wasted a lot of time driving all over Orange County this morning, but I learned a little bit about the 60th anniversary pin buying process. If I can make it there next month when they release another new pin I’ll be more prepared!

Daredevil

And now for something a little lighter! Do you remember the awful “Daredevil” movie that was released back in 2003? The one starring Ben Affleck? When I was in grad school my ex-husband (boyfriend at the time) and I went to see it on Valentine’s Day, the day it premiered. I honestly don’t remember much about the movie, but it definitely wasn’t good. Not the best way to spend Valentine’s Day, that’s for sure! But looking back, I realize that the movie might have been a little ahead of its time. Superhero movies are box office juggernauts these days, as evidence by the hugely popular string of Marvel blockbusters over the last few years. (DC Comics wishes they could compete!) I seem to remember that the first Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” movie was very successful back in 2002 (followed by two slightly less popular sequels), but I think it was the exception at the time. It seems like it wasn’t until the first “Iron Man” movie was released in 2008 that the superhero craze really penetrated the theatrical mainstream. If the Daredevil movie had waited a few years it might have been more warmly received. (Well, maybe. I should watch the movie again and see if it holds up at all.) Marvel isn’t one to give up a franchise under any circumstances, though. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found out that Netflix is launching a new “Daredevil” series on April 10th! I’m really looking forward to it. Not that I need any new programs to watch, but good television (even web-based) is hard to find. As far as superhero shows go, I watch “Agents of SHIELD” and “Agent Carter,” and I’ve been watching the first couple of seasons of “Arrow” on Netflix. If “Daredevil” turns out to be a good show I’ll gladly find time for it in my already packed viewing schedule. All of this undermines my “less screen time” New Year’s resolution #2, but who cares?

Run all the races!

This may already be obvious, but I have a confession to make. After discovering Disney races I’ve become slightly obsessed with running as many as possible. Hence the fact that I participated in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend (not the half marathon, but the 5K and 10K) at Disneyland one week after the Disney World Half Marathon back in January. Oops. It’s really hard for me to see the registration for one of the races approaching and not at least consider signing up. Most of the Disney World events are out since I can’t make it to Orlando that often, but each and every one of the Disneyland races makes me drool. The combinations of running and Disney is irresistible. The shirts and medals are pretty attractive too!

Here is the latest example of my ridiculous dilemma. This morning Run Disney announced that they’re adding a 10K race as well as a challenge (10K + half marathon) to the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend in November. Cue the temptation! I ran the Avengers Half Marathon last year, and besides the gale force winds which made the middle of the race miserable, I enjoyed it. In fact, it’s my fastest half marathon time so far. (Fast for me, but not for anyone else.) For a number of reasons I’d love to sign up for the new Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. My only reservation is that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is the weekend before at Disney World. I had been planning to do Wine & Dine for a while so signing up for it this week was a no brainer, even without the new Avengers race information. The big question is, should I commit to another big race just a few days after I get home from Orlando? I’m torn! The obvious compromise is just to run the 10K to make sure I don’t injure myself with too much running (I can survive 6.2 miles in just about any circumstances), but part of me is dying to do the challenge! One reason is that I have a chance to be a legacy runner for the Avengers Half Marathon if I participate all of the first five years. It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but as of now it’s be the only race where that’s even a possibility for me. Annual pass holder registration opens on Tuesday morning so I have until then to make my initial decision. I’ll think about it. If this isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is!

Going to Orlando in November!

I’m going to Orlando in November! I’m really looking forward to it, but this trip has already been fraught with difficulties. Two weeks ago early registration for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Disney World on November 7th opened for annual pass holders. I was already planning wanted to travel to Orlando for this race in 2015 so I went home from work for an hour that morning so I could sign up. I was logged on everywhere and hitting refresh on all of the websites right at 9 AM, but I couldn’t find the registration link in the usual places. And based on all of the Facebook posts I was reading (in between page refreshes), I wasn’t the only one. Finally I figured out where the link was hiding, typed in all of my information as fast as possible, hit Enter, and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately I was greeted with a message that said something like “capacity limit reached.” Pre-registration was sold out in less than 15 minutes. I had taken time off work for this? Phooey. My only saving grace was that I’d have another chance to sign up during open registration a couple of weeks later. Fast forward to this morning. After working all weekend I had enough hours to take the morning off so I could be sitting on my couch with my laptop, ready to secure my spot in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, right at 9 AM. Fortunately for me, this time it worked out, but not without another registration debacle. The Run Disney website went down right before 9 AM so no one could get to the registration links (again, based on Facebook posts I read while mildly panicking). Eventually I found a roundabout way to the half marathon link, but then I was put into a virtual queue to wait my turn. The queue initially said 12 minutes, but I think it was more like 15 before I got to actually register. I was so nervous that I’d miss out again! In the end I was one of the lucky ones who got through before the race sold out (less than 45 minutes later). I am extremely grateful, but there has got to be a way to make the registration process easier! After I got my confirmation email for the race, I called and booked a hotel room at the Disney Polynesian Resort, and bought a plane ticket as well. In less than an hour I was almost fully prepared for this trip already! I can’t wait to go back to Orlando!

My Monday

For the record, I worked all weekend (Saturday 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday 11 AM to 8 PM). Also, I participated in the Knott’s Berry Farm Coaster Run 5K yesterday morning so I had to get to Buena Park at 5:30 AM. As you can imagine, I was completely exhausted last night! I didn’t go to bed as early as I should have, but when I did, I passed out almost immediately. But then at 5:30 AM my cell phone rang and woke me up. It was work calling me about a problem. When this happened in the past I always managed to hang up on the caller because I thought it was my alarm. Oops. (Don’t worry, they always called back.) These days I have a different ring tone for my alarm, and whatever part of my brain that was functioning when I was rudely awakened this morning managed to register that this was a phone call. I was really groggy so I’m not sure how satisfactorily I answered the question from the person on the other end of the line, but the call was over after a few minutes. Of course as soon as I hung up the phone I thought of two questions I should have asked. But at the moment I was too tired/lazy to go downstairs, find my notebook with the phone number, and call them back. That was far too much effort at 5:30 AM. My adrenaline was pumping from being jolted awake so I had a hard time falling asleep again. Unfortunately that means I overslept. I didn’t need to work a full day today, but I planned to go in a few hours before a meeting and make sure my charts were ready. In reality, I only got there a half hour before the meeting and decided to just present my charts the way they were. But when I walked in the door someone asked, “What are you doing here?” Turns out the meeting was cancelled and no one told me, not even during the early morning phone call. Aargh! I only stayed at work for a couple of hours, but then escaped to enjoy as much of my time off as possible. I certainly haven’t had much of it lately! And how did I make the most of this lovely free time? Why, by doing some spring cleaning! Usually the term doesn’t mean that much to me, but so far this year I’ve been sorting and organizing just about everything in my apartment. It’s really nice to have all of my belongings in good shape, and also to purge items that I don’t want or need any more. It doesn’t make for exciting blog posts, but I’m happy! Now I need to get to bed so I can be well rested for work tomorrow. Another busy day!

Moving again

“I’ve had a weird couple of days at work. A few weeks ago we found out that our work area was going to be turned over to another program, meaning that we were getting kicked out. Thus began the aforementioned Great Cubicle Move of 2005. We had to be out of there by the end of the day today so things were a little hectic. … Our personal belongings (of which I have very few) turned out to be the easiest part of the move. We also had to prepare our computers for the movers. Disconnecting the computers was pretty disgusting work because of the accumulated dust. … So, as you can tell, many strange things happened at work this week. I’m sure things will be back to normal on Monday, though, as long as I can find my new cubicle.”
9/30/05 webpage post

History certainly has a way of repeating itself! Nearly ten years after the Great Cubicle Move of 2005 my program is in the midst of another migration. Actually, we’ve moved a couple of times in the last decade, but I couldn’t find any posts about the interim ones. One of those moves was from the Huntington Beach facility to the Seal Beach facility so I’m surprised I never wrote about it, but I guess there are a lot of events (both small and large) that I never shared on my blog. (Per my New Year’s resolution #4 I’m trying to change that! Not that anyone is really interested in reading about the tedium of cubicle musical chairs, but that’s what’s going on in my life today. Deal with it!) Back in 2005 my co-workers and I were moving from one area of a building to another within the Huntington Beach facility, and this time around we’re moving from one building to another within in the Seal Beach facility. It’s a pretty big change. I should have started packing up my office a week ago, but we’ve all been incredibly busy preparing for and executing several important events. I’ve been pretty frantic. But the move is scheduled to happen tomorrow, so I spent almost all of today boxing up my personal belongings (my 2015 race medals, work awards and certificates, and my Gandalf toy I got from Burger King back in 2001) and dismantling all of my computers and phones. It was messy work. I really need to dust my cubicle more often. Specifically the computer. Thank goodness my neighbor brought a Swiffer duster today. Even though I waited until the eleventh hour to pack, by 3:30 PM I was done. Everything in my office had been sorted, boxed, and labeled. I was exhausted! It was a little strange seeing the cubicle empty as I got ready to leave. I felt a mixture of sadness and nostalgia. I don’t have the same attachment to my work area as I do to my home or anything like that, but I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. But I know that I’ll be settled into my new office and working as hard as ever soon. There are plenty of good times ahead!

Weird week

It’s been a weird week. On Monday and Tuesday I was frantically making final preparations at work for an event that took place on Wednesday. I was in charge of the whole thing so I was really stressed about it going well. There were a lot of people I needed to impress. I was so tired when I got to work on Wednesday morning that I was already ready for the event to be over. But in spite of the high stakes, I honestly expected to breeze through the day and leave that afternoon with a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Unfortunately I was wrong. Actually, the first half of the day was great, but everything went downhill after lunch. The good news, if there is any, is that I had nothing to do with the downward spiral. All of the products I created worked the way they were supposed to, but we uncovered a few vulnerabilities that we don’t currently protect against. Aargh. This means more work for me, of course, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. I eventually escaped from work and celebrated by watching a movie and basically accomplishing nothing for the rest of the evening. Thursday was an even weirder day because I had to work from 11 PM to 7 AM. My plan was to get up at my normal time, get a few things done in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and then go to work at night. It didn’t quite happen that way, though. I just couldn’t sleep when I needed to. I probably dozed off for an hour or so in the early evening, but that was about it. So I wasn’t in very good shape when I got to work at 11 PM. But I powered through. And I probably would have been fine if I could have gone home at 7 AM and immediately crawled into bed, but that wasn’t in the cards. There was an important meeting scheduled at 8 AM regarding my event on Wednesday that I needed to attend. Happy Friday, right? (Not that I remembered what day it was at that point. When your shift spans two days your brain started to get a little confused.) I was exhausted by the time the meeting rolled around. I ultimately got home around 10 AM and I passed out after inhaling some breakfast (or whatever you call the meal you eat after being awake for more than 24 hours). I woke up again around 4 PM feeling slightly better, showered, and got ready to run some errands. Specifically, I needed to pick up my race shirt and bib for the Race on the Base 5K the next morning. (Don’t worry, I’ll write more about the race tomorrow.)

The best news that came out of last week is that I booked my Disney Cruise for next February! If all goes the way I’m planning, I’ll run the Princess Half Marathon ay Disney World on 2/21 and then hop on a cruise to the Bahamas the next day. It’s going to be amazing!

2015 Resolution #1 revisited

New Year’s Resolution #1: Decide whether to train for a full marathon

I hate to say it, but I’m close to admitting defeat on this one. When I first wrote about this resolution I said I’d have until sometime in April to decide whether I want to train for a full marathon this year, and that deadline is still valid, but the decision has pretty much already been made for me. There’s a reason I haven’t written about running lately. Mostly because I haven’t done any. My knee is still not fully healed. I’ve gone to the chiropractor a number of times, but it hasn’t been the miracle cure that I was wishing for. Despite more than two weeks of rest (since the Surf City half marathon), my knee still hurts in certain situations. Like when it’s bent for too long. Sadly a desk job isn’t doing me any favors in this arena. And when I fall asleep in the wrong position I wake up in pain a few hours later. It’s not fun. The chiropractor appointments definitely haven’t hurt, but the lack of improvement means that it’s not entirely a muscular problem. After I described my current woes at today’s appointment the chiropractor referred me to an orthopedist to get an MRI of my knee. I’m was actually relieved when he gave me the number. I’m still hopeful that this isn’t a serious injury, but I’ll be glad to find out one way or another.

Getting back to the resolution, I have a strong suspicion that marathon training isn’t going to happen in 2015. I was hoping to get an idea of my capabilities while training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon this spring, but I haven’t been able to even start that yet. In January I wrote all of my planned Tinkerbell training runs on a calendar and hung it up in my cubicle at work. I was so excited to tackle a new challenge, but unfortunately that program was derailed almost right from the start. Now I have to set my sights on something else. My only goal right now is to be healthy in time for the two half marathons (and one 10K) I’m registered for in May. I don’t need to be completely prepared for them, but I want to be able to run without pain. Hopefully this isn’t too ambitious. The good news is that there are benefits to putting off marathon training for a year. Assuming my knee makes a full recovery, I’ll be able to participate in the Star Wars Rebel Challenge at Disneyland next January. Also, I’ll be able to take a few more days off in February 2016 to go to Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon weekend. (Including a Caribbean cruise afterwards! I can’t wait!) So I’ll still be challenging myself, just not in the same way. And if all goes well, I’ll sign up for the Disney World Marathon in January 2017. Fingers crossed!

Musicals

“I am a big fan of Disney Broadway musicals so I picked up a copy of the new Tarzan soundtrack at Target the other day. At first I was disappointed because, unlike other Disney shows, it didn’t seem to have a particular song that caught my attention. The Lion King has ‘Endless Night’ and Beauty and the Beast has ‘If I Can’t Love Her,’ both fantastic songs that I listen to over and over again. Then today as I was listening to ‘For the First Time’ I got goosebumps and realized I had found the song I was looking for.”
9/29/06 webpage post

The first of this year’s Academy Awards nominees I saw was “Into the Woods.” (Technically it was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t really count since it was only nominated for sound editing. How the mighty have fallen.) My parents and I went to see “Into the Woods” on December 27th. Being a huge fan of musicals in general I thought I was going to love it. I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I’ve never seen the play before (how is that possible?) and I’m not familiar with the score, but something about the movie just didn’t hold my interest. None of the characters were particularly likeable, and none of the songs gave me goosebumps like I wanted them to. When I saw “Les Miserables” on Broadway in 1996 something magical happened. The first time I heard “On My Own” I was entranced. I couldn’t stop thinking about that song. I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home from New York and I listened to it constantly for a while. It was fantastic. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that in “Into the Woods.” On the other hand, last week I popped the “Newsies” soundtrack into my car’s CD player and it reminded me why I love that movie so much. (Not just because it has Christian Bale and Bill Pullman either!) The songs just make me so happy that I can’t help but smile. I can listen to the soundtrack over and over and sing every song at the top of my lungs. That’s what musicals should do. They should stir up your emotions until you can’t help but sing along. It’s just a shame that “Into the Woods” didn’t have that quality.