Monday, September 15, 2014

The Day I Ran For The Bling As Brace Face Ernest | Disney Half 2014

We were stuffing ourselves with prosciutto wrapped salads, sippin’ on some Arnold Palmers, and trying not to shove slices of authentic Italian Margherita pizza down our throats. Fuoco Pizzeria was the scene of our carb loading crime because girl gab is better when carbs are involved. 
Throw in a couple of rapturous cannoli, mix in my good friend’s quirky humor, and I almost forgot I was running my second half marathon of 2014 in three days. My friend is an endless resource of funny Internet material and I knew laughter was imminent when she shared The Oatmeal’s comic with me: The Dos and Do Nots of running your first MARATHON. If you’re a runner clicking on that link is a MUST. Click it now!

Their definition of marathon had me laid out on the restaurant booth cracking up!

Marathon: (noun)
A popular form of overpriced torture wherein participants wake up at ass-o-clock in the morning and stand in the freezing cold until it’s time to run at which point they miserably trot for a god-awful interval of time that could be better spent sleeping in and/or consuming large quantities of beer and cupcakes.

See also: masochism, awfulness, “a bunch of bullshit,” boob-chafing, cupcake deprivation therapy.

Don’t tell me that didn’t just rock your world? Brilliant, right? Okay, I know, what you’re going to say---I guess you have to be a runner to get it.


When my cousin, Ernie, asked if I would run the Disney Half Marathon for him my brain, body, and mouth were at odds with each other. My mouth said yes, but my brain was flashing red alerts, while my body tried to say hold up, wait a minute, you’re running the La Jolla Half in April! As usual, my brain and body were ignored.

This is me at 5 a.m. two Sundays ago waiting in Corral J, incessantly yawning and almost falling asleep standing up. I am NOT a morning person. Waking up before the sun IS masochistic, I agree.
Photo credit: Marathon Foto

Let’s back up to when I said I was in Corral J. That’s the tenth, I repeat, the TENTH letter in the alphabet. Corral J was the last which meant there were thousands of masochists waiting in nine corrals in front of me. I swear I stood there imagining it to be like the time the Red Sea parted for the Israelites. Except, we were slaves not running away from but toward our own insanity.

If you can't wrap your brain around the image of multitudinous masochistic souls waiting in nine corrals take a look at the picture I pilfered from Ernie's Instagram. (Sorry, Ernie.) The bright lights on the horizon marked the starting line. 

While I stretched my limbs my inner thoughts were rampant with self-deprecation.

Girrrl, you’re getting too old for this shit.

Okay, Nannette, why did you say yes to Ernie again? You could be sleeping in on Labor Day Weekend!

Ray was right, you ARE a crazy Rambo wannabe!

WTF, dumb a$$, it’s not like you haven’t run the Disney Half before! What the hell are you trying to prove?!

C’mon is this about posting a cool pic on Instagram?

I get that you want a picture with Darth Vader but for reals, this is death.

Admit it, you didn’t agree to run this race for Ernie out of compassion and kindness, your covetous dark side wants that Disney medal!

Duuuuuude, you just RAN the La Jolla Half in April you really are effing stupid!

I swear if old ladies run past me again this is going to be the last half marathon I run in my life.

Somehow the emcee’s booming voice crashed through my thoughts. I heard her announce the oldest runner joining us on the racecourse was 82 YEARS OLD!!!! Not only was she in her eighties, it wasn’t the first time she ran the Disney Half.

Awwwww hellllllllllll nawwwwwww!

So I did what I used to tell my kids when they were younger.  I shut up and BUCKED UP!

Why put myself through 13.1 miles of “overpriced torture” and “miserably trot for a god-awful interval of time?”

Sure, there’s some madness involved but for me, it’s simple.

Running is...feeling A-L-I-V-E.

I’ve spent almost my entire life numbing myself. It’s a coping mechanism I tried to perfect believing I’d be one bad mama jamma like Black Widow. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m not a hot superhero. I’m the typical story of a moody, depressed kid, starved for love and affection longing for a connection with my father. As most daughters whose fathers are emotionally absent I turned to the usual modes for analgesic benefits---Drugs, alcohol, sex, rebellion.

It was better to feel dead inside than face the truth of my inadequacies. Because that’s the message an emotionally absent father sends: you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, you just pretty much suck.

I started training for a 5K in 2003 after I caught my then boyfriend, the master of duplicity, doing what he did best---lying, cheating, betraying. After the nasty break up I refused to go back to my self-destructive numbing ways. I was two years sober from drugs and didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole again.

I’ve written this before in my other blog posts but I HATED running. So much so I would forge letters to my P.E. teacher instructing him/her to excuse me from running that day because of “menstrual issues.” It helped that I was asthmatic so I’d wheeze something fierce on the days the dratted P.E. teacher decided running was better than playing volleyball. My scrawny legs couldn’t even carry me over half a mile.

In 2003 I was 35 years old and sick of feeling devoid of all emotion. Not a damn thing. After I broke up with that deceitful boyfriend running became my lifeline.

Something magical happened. 

I got injected with a superhero serum---endorphins. There’s something about endorphins that clear the bullshit from your eyes crystallizing the truth of your worth. For the first time in my life I felt empowered. No one could take my fitness away. Never again would I allow a lying, cheating, fool to have power over my worth. 

It’s true what Brene Brown says in her book The Gift of Imperfections…”We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

I wasn’t so much addicted to Endorphins as I was to feeling alive for the first time. Running long distances, especially half marathons, were the only times I connected to the panoply of emotions: Joy, Doubt, Fear, Pain, Exhilaration, Anger, Determination, Hope, Courage, Passion, Shame, Sadness, Victory. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t chasing a high but it’s not what y’all think.

My endorphin high plugs me into God in more ways than any drug (legal and illegal) has ever achieved. Crossing the finish line means you’ve crossed the threshold of your promised land.

In my last blog post I wrote about the ways I’ve managed my depression. As I fell in love with running I discovered its power in abating the darkness that threatened to overtake me. Empowered by the changes, not only in my physical body but in my mental health as well, I weaned myself off of the substances (legal and illegal) I took to numb myself.

Getting high on endorphins amplified my weaknesses that I couldn’t pretend they didn’t exist any longer; pushing me to accept them with grace and helping me break through the psychological logjam I was trapped in.

When I push my body to its limit I fine-tune my mind to focus on what’s important. Sometimes I’m shielding myself from truths I’m scared to face. Like how I need to figure out a way to stop wasting my life doing what makes me miserable. Or how I’ve made myself readily available for people who don’t give a damn about me.

Running placed a bullshit mirror in front of me, reflecting my own deceitful soul. When I was unfaithful in my second marriage I justified my actions with all kinds of self-righteous nonsense. It was during one of my runs when I realized I had become one of the hypocrites I vehemently judged at church, giving me the balls to divulge the truth to my spouse and face the ugly consequences.

So on that downer note let me take you back to that morning I was stretching in Corral J waiting for nine corrals of adrenaline-pumped human bodies to be set free. Before each corral was let loose the emcee asked if they were running for the bling.

I laughed to my sleepy self. I’m not into expensive jewelry, okay wait, I take that back. Unless it’s this Star Wars Tie Fighter ring, OMG, please I die every time I see it! I don’t give a flying flip that it’s an “engagement” ring. Engagement, shmengagement, I would wear it regardless.

There is no denying that Disneyland’s medals are pretty blingy. They’re one of the best ones I’ve had wrapped around my neck and right there at 6 a.m. I let that bling dangle like a carrot to get me through to the finish line. In my defense I offered it to Ernie beforehand but he declined. God bless his pure soul.

I told myself this would be the last half marathon I’d run. [Read about the brutality I put myself through in the La Jolla Half Marathon last April.] But maybe for the right bling I’d torture myself again.


My pre-run paraphernalia. My new red Halo visor, new red
Pro Compression socks, and Doterra Deep Blue & Breathe
essential oils. I'm never running a race without these again! 

When I took this picture with Maleficent the
Disney "gestapo" rode up on their bikes
and yelled, YOU'RE BEHIND PACE!"
30 seconds and I would've been shut out of the race. 

Move over, Luke! He's my Daddy now!
(This picture was the reason I fell behind pace. I waited in a LONG line
but man, it was worth it.) 

On Facebook I wrote that I had to stop and take a picture
in front of California Screamin'.A couple of years ago when we had
annual passes Ray had me ride it twice in a row and I threw up afterwards. 
Good times.

The entire 7th mile was lined with souped-up classic and muscle cars!
I couldn't stop to take pics but my dream car was there! A 1965 cherry
red Pontiac GTO!

Victory at the Finish Line! Photo cred: my son Tristan

Not sure why long runs bloat me to Humpty Dumpty
size and swell my arms/hands but
seeing my son, Tristan and honorary daughter, Becca,
made me tear up. 

The bling I tortured myself for and it was worth it. 
Thank you again, Ernie!!!!