Monday, October 24, 2011

There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow...

That song has been stuck in my head since I rode the "Carousel of Progress" at the Magic Kingdom with Amelia and Tim during my first day of Disney vacation.  If you don't know what song I'm talking about, you can hear it here.  I warn you, though, that it can get stuck in your head for a LONG time.

Though the above-referenced song is really cheesy and, let's face it, annoying, it does summarize how I'm feeling about life in general right now.  There are so many good things happening for me and Tim that I can't fit them all in one post.  I'll start by reporting on Disney, running, and a bit about my career.

I always said that, when I finished my PhD, I was going to go to Disney World.  Not that I've never been before.  I'm a Disney person who comes from a Disney family.  My mom used to take me and my brother there Every. Single. Summer.  I have a Minnie Mouse (vintage-style) tattoo on my ankle.  Yes, I'm serious about Disney.

My daughter Amelia, who is only 9, has been at least six or seven times.  But I hadn't been able to take her for almost five years due to school, lack of time/money, etc.  Rowan, of course, had not yet been.  I took Amelia for the first time when she was 15 months.  Rowan is 14 months...and so, it was time.  Tim, Amelia, Rowan, my mom, and I spent five days experiencing all that Disney World has to offer.  All four of the parks, the best food imaginable, and the prime attractions.  The crowds were not bad at all (October is the second best time of year to to February), we spent very little time waiting in lines, and the weather was nice.

However, Disney done right is an exhausting experience.  I don't know that Tim was prepared for this.  He's only been to Disney once before, and I think for only a day.  He was about to do Disney the Trueblood way.  The short of it is that we were pretty much on our feet for 16 hours a day.  My mom graciously took Rowan back to the room early and allowed me, Tim, and Amelia to enjoy the parks until late into the night...around midnight each night.  We stayed in one of the Disney value resorts, which offer free bus transportation from the hotel to the parks.  That sounds great, but it's a long process.  Next time, I'm saving up enough money to ensure that we can stay at a hotel that has direct monorail access.  Anyway--it's not the best place to go when trying to get your legs to recover from a marathon.

Tim, who was so curious about how many miles we were walking each day, finally turned on his Garmin and tracked it.  We were walking 12ish miles every day.  It felt more difficult than any 12 mile run I've ever done.  We collapsed in bed each night, only to arise early the next morning to do it over. We had an absolute blast.  And Rowan got his first hair cut!  He looks frighteningly like his Uncle Wes now.

Now, running.  I'm running again.  Not much, but I'm back out there.  And my legs finally feel un-trashed.  I had almost two weeks off, so I certainly don't feel anything even approaching "fit" or "sharp," but at least nothing hurts.  Conor had instructed me to come back slowly, and so that's what I've done.  I've been running 15- to 20-minute segments very, very slowly.  And I've enjoyed it.

In the middle of composing this post, I got a call from Conor.  We discussed my training and how it's going to work.  I'll save the details for later, but let me just say I'm VERY excited about it.  It sounds like I'll be focusing on some shorter stuff for a while, which is actually welcome after my Chicago experience.  Not that it was a horrific experience (it might have been physically, but I sure did learn a lot), but the thought of training for shorter races is really, really appealing.  I love 5Ks, but haven't raced one in over two years.  My PR is 19:06, and that was done as a brand new runner.  I'm excited to see what I can do there.

You might be shocked at how not devastated I am about my Chicago performance.  I'm not at all, and there are two reasons for it:  I know that I gave 100% of myself that day, never gave up, and could not have gone any faster.  Secondly, it feels good to finally turn the reigns over to someone else.  I am so glad to no longer be 100% in control of my training.  I love running almost to a fault, and I'm really, really bad at moderation when I truly love something.  You never have to worry about undertraining or lack of motivation with me.  Rather, you have to worry about me running myself into the ground and pretending that I'm not doing so.  However, I'm also the type that has deference to authority.  Meaning that, if I hire a coach, I'm going to do whatever he/she says.  I can't wait to see exactly what Conor has in store.  Whatever it is--I'll do it!

Now, career.  I'm defending my dissertation this week.  It's surreal to be this close to the end of this journey.  After my defense, I will be....done.  No more school for me.  I'm excited, but also nervous about that prospect.  I've been in school for a LONG time.  I've been juggling work, school, and family for many years.  And now I can finally just juggle work and family (and running!).  I can't wait.

Oh, and a note about Tim.  He ran a good race at Chicago, but apparently he wasn't satisfied.  A week later, he ran a 20 with the guys, then ran the whole time in Disney.  He did another 20 yesterday.  Hmm...could he be thinking of running another marathon?  Perhaps the Monumental Marathon in two weeks?

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