Election Day 2016

“At this moment the nation is still waiting to hear the final results of the extremely close and highly controversial election for our next president. I was quite excited to have the opportunity to vote today, even though it required me walking for an hour to do so. In order to make the trip and cast my vote I had to skip my experimental methods lab section. The need for each and every vote is critical this year, however, since the pre-election numbers were showing such small margins between Bush and Gore. For that reason I knew that I needed to get to the polls today and I was lucky that missing my lab was no big deal this week. We’ll have to wait and see how the Electoral College turns out.”
11/7/00 webpage post

Information on my 2016 mail-in ballot from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s website
Issued on: 10/10/2016
Returned on: 10/15/2016
Status: Your vote-by-mail ballot has been counted

Sixteen years ago was my first presidential election. I was at the University of Florida and I had to skip a class to cast my ballot, but I knew it was important. (Yes, that was the year of the big ballot controversy in Florida. But in Alachua County we used a marker to fill in circles on a scantron, so we didn’t contribute to that debacle.) As much as I was concerned about the result of the 2000 presidential election (which didn’t go the way I wanted it to) I believe this year is even more critical. After electing and then re-electing the first African-American President of the United States we are on the brink of stopping the progress of the last eight years dead in its tracks. It’s incredibly scary. So I earnestly voted for Hillary Clinton and returned my absentee ballot the day after it arrived in my mailbox. After that I tried not to worry about the election, but it wasn’t easy. And tonight I am actively avoiding the news and social media. I will learn the results tomorrow morning when I wake up. Don’t let me down, America.

2016 Resolution #4 revisited

“I’ve already put all of the September through December training runs on my wall calendar at work so I have some idea of what I’m facing. Even though I don’t even have to start for more than four months, I’m still scared. Am I completely crazy for signing up for a marathon? Time will tell, I guess. If I’m lucky I’ll be a marathoner on my 38th birthday!”
4/22/16 webpage post

Remember how I resolved to train for a marathon in 2016? Well, as of this weekend I have completed nine weeks of the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Program! That means I’m officially halfway through my training. How crazy is that? That also means that there are less than nine weeks until my marathon in January. Yikes! I’m hanging in there so far, though. Surprisingly, I haven’t missed any of those runs that I diligently wrote on my calendar back in April. I may have flexed the schedule a bit to accommodate a couple of races (like the Avengers 5K this Friday morning) and other activities (like gym classes and movie nights), but my total mileage since Labor Day is actually higher than the training plan calls for. Not bad! That’s why I was so happy about being able to complete my 10 mile run yesterday while I was in Arkansas. I was a little worried about getting off track while I was out of town, but thanks to my understanding family I’m exactly where I need to be halfway through my marathon training. Not that I haven’t had a few struggles so far, but I’ll write more about that in another post. This weekend is going to be a little crazy with the Avengers race weekend at Disneyland, especially since I couldn’t stop myself for registering for all three races (5K, 10K, and half marathon). It’s a good thing I caught up on sleep while I was in Arkansas!

2016 Resolution #4

New Year’s Resolution #4: Train for a marathon

After more than a year of deliberations, on Tuesday I registered for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2017. I’m not quite sure what I’ve gotten myself into, but there’s no turning back now! Come hell or high water I’ll be running 26.2 miles the day before my next birthday. It’s a frightening prospect with only a couple of years of running under my belt, but I think I can do it with the right training. Funny enough, I’ve already paid an outrageous amount of money to secure a spot in this race, but my training doesn’t start until September. The week after the Disneyland Half Marathon, actually. Until then I’ll just be attempting to build up and then maintain some semblance of fitness. This spring is all about getting back in shape (I have four more half marathons in the next six weeks plus a 5K and a 10K), but the summer will be more difficult. Trying to keep up a consistent running routine when it’s hot outside won’t be easy for me. As much as I loathe the idea, I may have to become a morning runner. It won’t help that it will still be ridiculously hot when my marathon training plan is scheduled to start. I’ve already put all of the September through December training runs on my wall calendar at work so I have some idea of what I’m facing. Even though I don’t even have to start for more than four months, I’m still scared. Am I completely crazy for signing up for a marathon? Time will tell, I guess. If I’m lucky I’ll be a marathoner on my 38th birthday!

2015 resolutions revisited

Time to recap my 2015 resolutions before 2016 arrives! Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!

Resolution #1: Decide whether to train for a full marathon
I’m going to count this one as a win even though it required little to no effort on my part. After getting hurt during the Disney World Half Marathon in January I decided to postpone my full marathon attempt for another year. It took me almost two months of rest to recover and get back to running again, but it was worth it. I’m glad I didn’t commit to marathon training this year because it allowed me to participate in quite a whole bunch of fall races that I otherwise would have had to skip. (I’m working on another post about that. My fall race schedule was insane!) Luckily I’ve been healthy for a majority of the year, and as of right now I am eagerly anticipating signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2017. It will be the day before my 38th birthday so it seems like the perfect time to tackle such an ambitious feat. Registration opens in April and I’m nervous, but excited too! I’ve already put my marathon training plan on my calendar (purchased in Alaska this summer) that I’ll hang on the wall in my cubicle in 2016. It’s going to be a crazy year!

Resolution #2: Less screen time
If you’d asked me about this one halfway through the year I would have called it a win, but after that I started slipping back into old habits. Earlier this year I was turning off the television when I started getting ready for bed, but work/life/running stress caused me to go back to watching mindless TV at night. I know it has a negative impact on my sleep quality, but I just like the noise. With this in mind I want to try using a radio app like Pandora or iHeartRadio with a sleep timer on it instead. Also, I want to go back to turning off the television when I start getting ready for bed in favor of listening to podcasts or radio instead. I put blue light filters on my laptop and iPads at the beginning of the year because I was worried that my evening screen time was detrimental to my sleep, and I think it did help. However, I know that turning off all of the visual stimulation at night will be even more beneficial. Let’s just hope I can stick with it this time!

Resolution #3: Wear a bikini
An unequivocal win! When I went to Hawaii in June there was no way I was going to leave without donning a bathing suit and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it since I’d put on a few pounds while I was recovering from my knee injury in the spring, but I still packed a bikini (newly purchased, of course, to replace the old suits I hadn’t worn in years) in my suitcase and I was determined to wear it. Not just to fulfill some silly New Year’s resolution, but also to prove that how I perceive my body won’t stop me from having as much fun as possible. I want to get the most out of life, no matter what the number on the scale happens to be at any given time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be healthy (and slim, if I’m honest), but that I refuse to allow my weight or my measurements to dictate my happiness. I’m 36 years old and finally starting to make this distinction! I still have a long way to go, but wearing a bikini this summer in Maui was the first step. And what better place than the incredible beachfront mansion with a private pool where my friends and I stayed? That’s a vacation I’ll not soon forget.

Resolution #4: Blog about events in a timely manner
I’m not quite sure which category to put this one in. It’s a win in the sense that there are only a couple of major events from 2015 that I haven’t written about yet, but the “timely manner” part of the resolution points towards failure instead. I still haven’t posted about my amazing trip to Alaska! (Hopefully I can get that done before I have to go back to work on Monday. It’s going to take a lot of effort on my part to not squander what remains of my free time during this holiday break.) Looking back, 2015 was an unbelievable year for me (which is obvious looking at my photo albums from races, vacations, and holidays), but I haven’t done it justice in writing. It’s a shame. Luckily January is historically my most productive month as far as blogging is concerned, so maybe I’ll be caught up on my recaps before 2016 is too old. I can’t promise that I’ll be any more prompt with my documentation of my life in the coming year, but as always, I’ll certainly try.

Resolution #5: Visit more states
This last resolution is definitely a win, but to a lesser extent than I original planned. There were a few obstacles that prevented me from adding more color to my “states visited” map in 2015. First of all, I only travelled to DC for work once this year. I wanted to take a side trip to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont when I was on the East Coast, but I just didn’t have the time required for such a venture during my business trip in July. I did have the opportunity to take a quick jaunt (more like a three-hour drive with all the traffic) to New Jersey on the last day of that trip, but it wasn’t quite what I’d hoped it would be. It was still progress, though. Also, I was supposed to meet my family in Oregon in May, but fluid work obligations made that impossible. Maybe I’ll be able to visit California’s neighbor to the north sometime in 2016. On a positive note, the crowning glory of 2015 was our family vacation to Alaska in August. Denali National Park is such a breathtaking place and I loved every minute that we got to spend there. It was an absolutely incredible experience. More on that when I finally get around to writing a post about the trip. So as of the end of this year I’ve visited 35 of 50 states. Not bad when you think about it, but I still have 30% of the country to go. It’s a good thing I already have plans for 2016!