the big day… video

You thought I was gone didn’t you? I just can’t leave well enough alone. Had to get one more post in before I officially retired this blog until next year’s Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. I’m back with something good… video! Not just video, THE video. THE footage from the day of the race. Sorry it took us so long to edit. Life has a way of catching up with you when you’ve been putting stuff off for two months in order to train; but we finally did it. I have to send a huge thank-you and a wet sloppy kiss to Brad C. Light for editing the sucker. We have sooooo much more footage, probably four times what you actually see here; but we figured most people wouldn’t want to watch an hour long video of us running, so we just got the hightlights in. We haven’t quite mastered the steady cam effect with the Flip so there is a bit of a Blair Witch thing going on. If you’re prone to motion sickness, I recommend dramamine. Give us a break. You try running 13 miles and getting it on camera at the same time 🙂

Make sure to watch both Part 1 and Part 2 immediately below it. Enjoy!





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ahhhh, reward time

Chapter 3: Treating Ourselves

As the magical elation of completing 13.1 miles starts to dissipate into just plain pain, Brad and I hobble over to the Family Reunion area where we meet up with our cheering section. Despite the stiffness setting in, I’m brimming with joy as the hugs and congratulations pile on.

We make our way through the throngs of people and decide, it’s breakfast time. Strangely enough, Brad and I anticipated feeling much hungrier than we do. I think after so much strenuous exercise, one’s appetite simply turns off. Our adoring fans are hungry though, and we undoubtedly will be soon, so we set our sights on the Rainforest Cafe, a guilty pleasure of mine. I know it’s touristy, but come on, they have a huge aquarium in there and animatronic gorillas. It’s awesome. Breakfast is lovely. So wonderful to catch up with everyone and bask in the glow of our victory. As breakfast plates get cleared and checks get paid, I have one thing on my mind, the pool.

Following a giant breakfast of french toast, eggs, english muffins, and fruit, Brad and I head back to our room to change clothes and make our way to the Grand Californian Pool. We spend hours baking in the sunshine. I don’t think I’ve spent the day poolside in years but now I see what I’ve been missing. It’s so relaxing, so rewarding, such a wonderful finish to this day. Is it wrong that I wanted to wear my medal to the pool? I abstained, but I wanted to.

The pool is crowded to say the least. There are three large pools in the swimming area and they all overflow with kids of all ages splashing about. After an hour of bubbling in the hot tub and lounging on the chaise, we hear the lifeguard call out “Every one out of the pool! We need everyone to exit the pool at this time!” That’s weird. What could be… wait… it can’t be… a Milky Way bar? Oh no, if only. We witness a real live Caddyshack moment folks. Except this is unfortunately not chocolate. I don’t recall children having this problem when I was young. I spent many a summer’s day in public pools and not once did a child ever let loose a floating log. This happens twice throughout our day at the Grand Californian pool! It becomes quite the joke and we wonder not does this happen every day, but how many times?? We spot a lifeguard walking away with latex gloves on and a red plastic bag with a giant toxic signal pasted on the side. Great.

Needless to say we spend most of the afternoon out of the pool. We chat it up with two ladies sitting next to us on our right, and a nice British gent on our left. Turns out they all ran the half marathon this morning as well. There is an instant bond when you have that shared experience so we exchange our finishing times, our high points and low points, past running experiences, that kind of thing. These ladies are having the time of their lives as can be displayed by the multiple cocktails the cabana boy keeps bringing to their table. It’s quite hilarious to witness a complete stranger get completely blotto over the course of a few hours. The conversation ends in one of the women giving the poor British gentleman a lecture on immigration! All I remember before Brad and I finally decide to walk away is this lady yelling at the top of her lungs something about taxes and 9/11. Yikes. We are so embarrassed for her but share a laugh with Mr. England once the drunkies finally leave. The final image I have is of this lady chugging water before her friend tries to drive her home. I’ve seen that kind of desperate H2O chug at many a college party. Except this lady looks about 55. Everyone celebrates in their own way I suppose.

in't he handsome? 🙂

Pina Colada, how I've waited for thee

That evening we share a lovely meal with Shannon, Frank and my adorable little cousin Ian at the Storyteller’s Cafe. I highly recommend this place if you ever take a trip to the D-Land. It’s simply delectable and not nearly as expensive as the Napa Rose. After dinner, we explore the hotel and end up on the top floor viewing patio where we catch the finale of the World of Color. What a way to say goodnight.

The following day is spent Splashing through Mountains, dueling with Pirates, cruising the Jungles, riding Big Thunder and Astro Blasting our way through Disneyland with Mom and Dennis. The day’s events can best be summed up through photos, so enjoy the following mini album everyone!

And might I say, thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I have so loved writing this blog and tracking all of the milestones, the discoveries, the challenges. I have this theory, one that I share with many artists, that we understand our lives in all of their complexity, and in a much deeper and more profound way when we express them through a medium, be it painting, singing, dancing, acting, or writing. Filtering my journey through this diary of sorts has given me the gift of clarifying all I’ve gained, and helped me to mine all of the riches to be had from this immense challenge. I hope it was somewhat entertaining for you all who stuck with me. I’m sad it’s over, and I’m certainly going through some half marathon withdrawal. The British bloke from the pool said to Brad and I “As soon as you finish a race, you think, why did I do this to myself? 5 minutes later you’re asking, when can I do it again?” So very true. I’m hooked. I already signed up for a 10k on Catalina Island in November. I haven’t forgotten my idea to start a new blog wherein I document all of the exotic and new running routes I discover in the world. I hope you’ll join me if I do. For now, this is The Happiest Runner on Earth… signing off.

the back side of water

thank you everyone...

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Race Day! (and pictures)

Chapter 2: It’s the day of the race y’all!

So where did I leave off? Ah yes, springing out of bed at 4:00 a.m. My excitement and nerves at this point are oozing out of my fingers and toes. Brad is somehow surprisingly calm. Or actually, not surprisingly, Brad is pretty much always calm. He’s serenely making a pot of coffee while I’m chugging water and panicking about the fact that I don’t have anything to eat for breakfast. Did I mention that? One of the things I freaked out about the previous night, besides the Vaseline, lack of flair and adequate hair ties, was that I had forgotten to pick up a Clif Bar or instant oatmeal for breakfast. Major faux pas! What is wrong with me? The only option I have is to scarf down the leftovers from last night. Neapolitan pizza at 4:00 in the morning? Yuck. But I need fuel. At this point I feel like the Delorean in Back to the Future Part II. You know, the one that runs on garbage? It’s my own fault, but no one is perfect.

We make our way down to the lobby and find the most amazing surprise. Not only are my mom and Dennis actually awake at this hour, but they have made a “GO BRAD AND BECKY” sign complete with twinkling stars! Magical! Check it out.

Brad is, of course, drinking coffee

Such a great sign

Brad and I walk to the starting line and contemplate how many people are signed up for this race. What did we hear? 1,500? 2,000? Oh no. Silly Brad. Silly Becky. 14,000!!! That’s 14 with three zeroes behind it! This is what 14,000 people look like.

This is only one corral, out of 7!

14,000 people standing around at 5:00 am

At 6:00 sharp, Mickey counts us down. Ready… SET…. GO! Except, we don’t go. They stagger the start times for each corral. We’re in corral D so we end up starting around 6:20. Definitely helped build up even more anticipation. So we’re off! I’m so high right now, I don’t have an ounce of pain in my legs (like I usually do at the beginning of a run) and I just keep reminding myself of pace, pace, pace. Don’t burn out. At this point it’s impossible to outpace myself anyway. You try circumnavigating 14,000 people. I hear some lady behind me mumble under breath that she is getting dizzy from looking at my wings. Well then move over lady! Because this fairy is flying.

Finally we make our way into the Disney California Adventure Park. I’m most excited about this part! It would take so long to describe how awesome it was, which is why Brad got plenty of footage of the 4 miles through both parks. Video coming soon! I promise. We just need time to edit the sucker. In a nutshell, there are princesses, villains, chimney sweeps, aliens, genies, bears, and cows (real cows!) There are colorful fountains, there is upbeat music, there are friendly cast members to cheer us on, and perhaps most importantly, there are bathrooms! I don’t know about all you other runners out there, but anything over 3 miles is pretty much a laxative for me. That’s all I’ll say about that.

We exit the parks right around mile 5. Sad face. Now it seems the fun part is over. To my surprise, Mom and Dennis are there at the mile marker to cheer us on! Sweet! That helps put some pep in my step.

What a pleasant surprise!

There they are!

We plow on. The rest of the route is riddled with all sorts of exciting things. Anaheim supplies us with mariachi bands, dance troupes, cheerleaders. I’m pretty sure every high school in the greater Anaheim area turned out their school orchestra or choir to cheer us on. I completely underestimated how much all of that enthusiasm would help get me through, but it made me smile over and over and kept my feet moving. The next moment of note had to be when we ran through Angel Stadium. They put on a good little event in there. They had the Angels announcer dude randomly calling out people’s names over the loud speaker with little factoids such as “Gollum Smeagol has run all 5 Disneyland 1/2 Marathons!” Good for you precious. They also had a camera set up in the stadium so everyone got to see their likeness up on the huge jumbotron as we ran by.

After our jaunt through Angel Stadium, there’s really nothing to look forward to except crossing that finish line; and boy am I looking forward to it. Right around mile 11, I hit a wall. I feel the lactic acid start to ooze throughout my entire body. I feel that nasty leftover pizza wearing off and yep, I’m running on empty. I’m terrified of eating Gu considering last time it left me riding the porcelain bus for a couple of hours. Now is the time to hone in. I need to focus. This is it, this is the challenge, this is the whole reason I did it. I didn’t sign up for this race just for fun and laughs. I signed up for this moment; for the moment that feels impossible to overcome, the moment that I feel like I can’t go any further, the moment that I am terrified I’m going to fail. I have to reach down to the deepest part of myself and overcome it all. As all of these fears surface, I realize the most important thing I can do is not worry about them. I’m worried I’m going to puke. So what. I’m worried I’m going to pass out. I’m not going to. I’m worried I’m not going to finish. I am. The only thing that is going to come from focusing on these negative thoughts, are negative results. I consciously press the mute button in my mind and take it one step and one breath at a time. As long as I’m still conscious, I’m going to keep running.

Brad keeps asking me if I’m alright. Up until mile 11 I’ve been super happy and relatively chatty. Now I’m silent, I’m focusing on my breath and I need every ounce of energy I’ve got to make it to the finish line. I explain all this to Brad through nods and hand gestures and he gets me. So lucky we understand each other even without words.

Y’know what gets me through to the finish? The kindness of strangers. So many bystanders, cast members, runners who’ve already finished, they all line the side of the course cheering us on with everything they’ve got. Giving us high-fives. Calling us by name (which is totally weird until we realize our names are printed on our bibs. Duh). I feel all of this positive energy pulling me through that last mile. I suddenly feel the same emotion I felt when the first donations started pouring in for The Unusual Suspects. My goodness, people are actually nice.

I come around the final bend, right around the Disneyland Hotel, and the Finish Line comes into view. It is a thing of beauty. I’ve spent the last 3 miles focused on one thing, that Finish Line. I fantasized that I’d be able to sprint through it but all I can do is keep a steady pace through to the end. This next part is so sweet.

Why do we run races? Everyone has their personal reason but you can be sure it’s to feel some sort of accomplishment. The Finish Line is the complete embodiment of that accomplishment and crossing it is the moment we all look forward to the most. Brad, selfless soul that he is, runs ahead of me about 50 feet, through the finish line, so that he can videotape me crossing it. He didn’t even take that moment for himself. He just moved through it as fast as he could so he could get a good shot of my moment. I know I’ve got myself a good guy. *sigh*

As we cross the finish line, I am overwhelmed with happiness. So much emotion and all of it good. No matter that every muscle in my body seizes up, my feet cramp, my body drenches in sweat. I feel complete elation. Suddenly I hear “Becky! Becky!” I look through the crowd and spot our cheering section. Mom, Dennis, Mike, Karyl, my cousin Shannon and even little Ian! All there with smiles on their faces, but not quite as big as the smile on mine 🙂

We spot our chEARing section

Brad and I make our way through the throngs of sweaty happy people to get our medals, pause for some photo ops, and most importantly figure out where we’re going to get breakfast! We just burned about 2,000 calories. If there are numbers on clouds, I’m on the 9th one. Success.

I’ll end this chapter for now. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry which features two ladies sitting next to us at the hotel pool, both of whom we witness get progressively sloshed throughout the day, a Caddyshack moment not involving a Milky Way bar plus a celebratory day at Disneyland!

5:00 am, still dark

Gotta stretch, this is very serious

Easy peasy

it's all about the medal

wouldn't be a party without these two

easy for you to laugh, Mice! you didn't just run 13.1 miles

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13 may be cursed, but 13.1 is lucky!

Where to begin??? I guess there are only 3 words to start with: I DID IT!!! I did it. 13.1 miles through the happiest place on earth. Well, actually it was only about 5 miles through the happiest place on earth and the rest through the “scenic” streets of Anaheim; but I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to take you through the weekend. Mostly I just want to relive the whole experience because it was so much fun. Humor me. Can I can I? Pretty please? I just love playing it all back in my head. I’ll do this in 3 short chapters as opposed to 1 unbearably long post.

Chapter 1: Butterflies are flying!

I arrive in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon around 3:00 so frazzled as I had so much to do that morning and got on the road much later than planned. The Disneyland Hotel hosts a Health & Fitness Expo Friday and Saturday before the race, which is where I pick up my bib number and race packet. I get there around 3:30, rush to get my bib and finally wander into the expo. The convention room in the Disneyland Hotel fills to the brim with booths selling every manner of athletic gear imaginable. Clothing, Gu (too much Gu!), high-tech sneakers, running clothes for dogs, power bars, massage machines, orthopedics, sunglasses, ear buds, water bottles. A running junkie’s dream. My favorite spot has to be the One More Mile clothing booth where I spot so many hilarious t-shirts. One says “In my dreams I am a Kenyan” and the other “Will run for ice cream.” I, of course, have to purchase the latter.

Finally I get my mom on the phone. She and Dennis (both Unusual Suspects sponsors!) came down to cheer us on. We meet up at the expo and wander around for a bit while we anxiously wait for Brad to arrive. Brad and I had to travel separately as he had a rehearsal that morning; and as the hours wane I start freaking out. If he doesn’t make it by 6:00 he’s not going to be able to pick up his bib which means no race! Yikes! Mom, Dennis and I do the only reasonable thing to pass the time, hit up the Disneyland Hotel bar. I was a good girl, I didn’t drink. I wasn’t going to make it this far to be foiled by a mickey mouse hangover. Dennis has an especially magical cocktail that lights up and changes colors. Some sort of enchanted (or battery powered) ice cubes.

Finally my phone rings at 5:40. It’s Brad. In the nick of time! I run out to the parking lot to meet him, we race down to the expo and thankfully get his bib just before 6:00. Not only that, but we’ve got a few minutes to walk around the expo right around the time they are giving away tons of free stuff before they close down. Sweet!

Time to check into the hotel. The Grand Californian Hotel. That’s right baby! 10 years I’ve wanted to stay there but the nightly rate of $400 has been a deterrent to say the least. Mom, ever the bargain hunter, found an amazing deal on Expedia and we got our rooms at 60% off! This may be a once in a lifetime deal so I am going to enjoy it. If you’ve never seen it, I encourage you to take a trip down to Anaheim to check it out. It’s done in my favorite architectural style, American Craftsman, outfitted in deep brown and green wooded beams, Frank Lloyd Wright style interior design and beautiful light fixtures. Lot of exposed stonework. It’s just gorgeous. I initially requested a room with two queen size beds. (I like to have an extra bed to throw all of my luggage onto) and as we make our way into our room, what do we discover but a gorgeous queen-size bed with a beautiful carved wooden headboard, built in stained glass lamp fixtures; and right across the room…  bunk beds! Somehow the only room they had left was a family room. Hilarious. If it had been more comfortable, I would have convinced Brad to sleep on the top bunk with me.

Dinner is upon us and this is very important. I take a poll on Facebook because as I’ve said, I’ve never run a race before so I’m not sure what is best to eat. I get an overwhelming response that pasta is our best bet so we make our way to Napoli restaurant in Downtown Disney. Sadly Brad’s dish was a bit cold and my ravioli left something to be desired, but oh well. We load up on carbs and have a fun time gabbing with Mom and Dennis. Towards the end of the meal, an intense wave of nerves washes over me. I realize it’s already 9:00 and I’m not tired even though I know I’m supposed to be in bed already so that I get enough sleep but there’s so much to do, I still have to find something fun to wear for the race, I have to figure out where we can buy Vaseline because I forgot it and I don’t want get chafed during the marathon (yes that is what it’s for!) not to mention my hair ties are terrible and I simply need new ones or my hair will fly all over the place and, oh my goodness, ahhhh!!!

We pay the bill and decide to head over to World of Disney. I simply cannot run the race without a little flair. I’m looking for either some fuzzy Mickey ears, a tutu, or some fairy wings. I lock eyes with a dazzling pair of Tinkerbell wings complete with light up pixie dust capabilities. Perfection. Guess this means I’m going as Tinkerbell for Halloweeen. Fine by me 🙂

It’s 10:00 now. I’m freaking out! It’s way too late, I have to have to have to get to bed. Although now I’ve worked myself into such a state that even if I lay down immediately, my mind and body are racing a mile a minute and I’ll never fall asleep. Brad and I have to trek back to the car to pick up my suitcase. On the way out, Brad gives me a long hug under the moonlight, reminds me of how much fun we’re going to have, and eases me into a calm, restful state as I melt in his arms. He’s the best.

I crawl into bed at approximately 10:20 and force my eyes closed. Who am I kidding? I can’t remember having this hard a time falling asleep since I was 10 years old on the night before Christmas. To be perfectly honest, I don’t recall ever really falling asleep. I spend the whole night in sort of a twilight state, but no matter. Our wake up call comes at 4:00 a.m. and I spring out of bed, throw on my running clothes, lace up my sneaks, and get my wings ready. Time to fly!

Stay tuned for Chapter 2: Race Day! Here are some pics from the day before.

Nice photo op at the Health & Fitness Expo

I wanted all of these shirts

So true. I've lost a few along the way.

Mom and Dennis at the Grand Californian

Moi, hiding the jitters

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i’m so excited. i’m so…. scaaared!

One of my favorite Saved by the Bell episodes is when Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills and breaks down to Zach singing “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… scared!” I may not be hooked on drugs, but I share her sentiments. I started this week feeling surprisingly thrilled, ecstatic actually, about the upcoming event. As the countdown to the big day has progressed, feelings of apprehension, nervousness, insecurity have slowly but surely joined that excitement. I’m just being honest folks! This is the first time I’ve ever run in a formal race, this is the first time I’ve ever run more than 12 miles, this is the first time I’ve ever exercised at 6:00 in the morning, this is the first time I’ve raised money for a cause and felt like I had to perform well to make everyone proud. There are a lot of firsts going on.

As I look back on the process, I feel proud, I do, but I’m only human and I can’t help but also feel like there are things I would have done differently. I don’t mean for this entry to be a total downer right when we’re all anticipating victory, but I just want to get this stuff out of the way so I can enter the weekend with confidence and a clear mind.

I’m a rule follower. I’ll admit it. I love rules, and I resent those who break them. Call me what you will, a ninny, dull, a lemming, whatever. I like following rules because if I do and whatever my goal was doesn’t pan out, then I get to blame the guy or gal who came up with the rules, not myself.  If you walk out into a crosswalk on a red light and get hit by a car, it’s somewhat you’re fault. You walk out on a green light and get hit by a car, it’s the driver’s fault. Good rule. I realize this may be a false sense of security because in simple twists of fate, sometimes a car swerves off the road and hits you on the sidewalk. Nonetheless, I like to adhere to rules that I believe are there for a reason. This training schedule I’ve subscribed to feels like a rule. If I follow the calendar, if I run X miles on X numbers of days then I will be able to run 13.1 miles on 9/05/10. Rule. I followed the calendar… for the most part. Eek! I really regret not following the calendar to the letter because now if anything goes wrong on Sunday, I’m not going to be able to blame the jerk who made up the calendar, I’m going to have to blame myself. You see? You see how neurotic I can be? It’s a moot point now but I do wish I had run every single inch of a mile that that training calendar suggested. I probably only missed a few training days, probably about 10 miles total, but still. Relinquish the insanity Rebecca. You’ll be fine.

I am such a Gemini. There are two sides to pretty much every aspect of me. My regard for mornings exemplifies this trait. I love the morning. I love really really really early morning when the air is fresh, the world still has sleep in its eyes, the marine layer sits on the ocean like a blanket slowly being peeled away to welcome the day. I love it. It’s a new day, anything could happen! A clean slate. Every morning is like New Year’s Day. However, and this is a big however, I cannot get my melatonin laced butt out of bed before 8:30. It’s a truly cruel joke of nature to create someone who loves the morning so much but is completely adverse to feeling sleepy. Curses! I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I demand a LOT of sleep. Having said all of this, the 1/2 Marathon begins at 6:00 a.m. Which means I must be ready at the starting line by 5:30 a.m. Which means I must be warming up by 5:00 a.m. Which means I must be awake by 4:30 a.m. Oh uh-uh. I am really nervous about this one. Regret #2: I wish I had forced myself to practice more morning runs. I only did a few, because it’s so hard for me! I run differently in the morning. My muscles are tighter and take longer to warm up. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t had an entire day to hydrate and eat before the run so I have to make sure I eat well and hydrate plenty the night before. I am truly worried about this. I don’t know how my body is going to react to these factors. Darn. Oh well, giving into regret just means you didn’t learn anything. So I won’t give in. I’ll live and learn. And I’ll wake up reaaaally early tomorrow morning so I at least have one practice run with the roosters.

I wish I had run an official race before this one. Just a 5K or a 10K. Just so I could know what it feels like to be in a group of thousands of people running together. It would have been a good chance to get used to the adrenaline and energy that is sure to arise from running with so many other peoples’ endorphins swirling around. Ah well, to look on the bright side, it does make the anticipation of this race all the more intoxicating because I have no idea what to expect!

Only other regret has to go to strength training. I know I talked about it in an earlier entry and I said I was going to do it. Well I did, but not enough. I still have some sharp pains in my calves when I run and I don’t think that would be the case if I had really committed to more leg and core strength training. But you know what, I did my best. I’m just going to say it, I did my very best with the time I had available and the physical and mental capacity I had at my disposal. So I learn. Even though the race is on Sunday, this journey is not over. I want to be good at this. I want to continue to consider myself a real runner, so I’m going to learn from these minor mistakes and do better next time. In the meantime, let’s focus on the positive for a second shall we?

I’m going to Disneyland!!! I’m going to run with a group of thousands who share my love of two things: Disney and running. It’s bound to be a good day. I can’t help but hear the timid little voice in the back of my head calling out “Oh no, are you sure you’re ready? Are you sure you can do this? It feels like we’ve been tapering too much and it’s been so long since we did a long one. What if we can’t do it???” Here is where the biggest challenge of all comes into play, trust. You have to do your prep work, you have to prep hard, but when you perform, trust what you’ve done, let it all go and just do it. This is exactly the same advice that any good acting teacher will give you. (Loving the acting/running parallels I’ve discovered.) Just let it all go and do it. It’s much easier said than done. Anything could happen. I could hydrate and nourish until the cows come home and still end up puking all over Donald Duck at mile 10 and get hauled off by the Mickey-Cart-of-Shame. It could happen, but oh well. The puke and the shame won’t undermine what I’ve gained along the way. I have worked hard, I have learned many things about training and endurance sports, I know what I’m doing, and now I just jump. Man this trust thing is hard! I think I’m going to need a little something more but what can it be? I know! All I need is faith and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust 🙂 See you at Disneyland everyone.

This mug is so weird! Doesn't it look like Tink woke up after a tough night with a John? Yeah, I said that. But we're all thinking it. I mean really Disney?

I always wanted Peter Pan and Tink to get together

SOMETHING I DON’T REGRET: Raising money for US! Two official fund raising days left to donate to The Unusual Suspects. Think of it this way, it’s Friday, you’re probably going to spend at least $10 this weekend on something that is less than a wise investment, be it a cocktail, impulse buy, that extra side of bacon at Sunday brunch, valet parking, could be lots of different things. All I ask is to spare yourself that regret and put that little bit of money towards something that you will, guaranteed, feel good about. You could spend money to buy yourself a drink full of empty brain-numbing calories, or, you could spend money to change childrens’ lives. Wow! Bonus points for that guilt trip! I hope it worked 🙂 *DONATE HERE

*Click on the DONATE button and pay via PayPal. I’ll make sure they know what the donation is for. (I help process all donations so don’t worry, I’ll see it) Or you can send a check to The Unusual Suspects:

617 S. Olive Street, Suite 812

Los Angeles, CA  90014

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running is for lovers

As I reach the end of this formal training regimen, I reflect back on the memories made, miles accrued, asphalt traversed, hills climbed, and calories burned. I have to say one of my favorite things about this adventure (start heating the fondue pot because this is going to be cheesy) has been the time I’ve spent with my beau, Brad.

Prior to this training process I was very much a solitary runner. I enjoyed running by myself and cringed at the idea of “running clubs.” Yuck! Who would want to talk to run with people?! I considered running my own personal time of the day, a time to get in the zone and focus on myself, a time when I wouldn’t have to worry about making small talk or chit-chat, just run out whatever bothered me from the remains of the day. I still enjoy running alone sometimes for these reasons, reasons that are completely valid; but now mostly I look forward to sharing the experience with Brad, it’s true. I see a parallel between the runner I was then/the runner I am now to the person I was then/the person I am now. Before love, “I am a rock, I am iiii-iii-i-sland. And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” In love, I am more of an atoll, and Brad is my corral reef. Alright, I don’t know what that metaphor is all about but you see what I mean, maybe.

When we first started running together, he would talk, I would listen. I wasn’t in good enough shape to talk and jog; I was trying to focus on breathing and maintaining consciousness. Brad however has always had pretty amazing lung capacity so he can talk and talk and talk no matter how fast we run. So we start our jogs and right away I say “Ok, tell me a story.” He giggles, knowing that I can’t converse but I don’t want to shut him out by listening to my headphones. I will be honest, at first I wanted so badly to fall back on my crutch, my old friend the “shut-out-the-world” iPod. I abstain, and decide I’ll give this whole “couples running” thing a try.  So again, I ask Brad for a good story. Who can remember a good story when put on the spot like that? Brad can. Somehow he always comes up with a good one. Like Owl in Winnie-the-Pooh, always some random story right up his sleeve.  I love listening to Brad’s stories while we run. It’s like my own living iPod. Ahh, to interact with people. What a concept.

As the weeks pass I find myself able to carry on basic conversation during our runs. Not chit-chat, mind you, I can’t be bothered. Isn’t that the best thing about love? Not having to chit-chat anymore? Meeting someone to whom you can actually say what you mean and mean what you say? Meeting someone who doesn’t care if you let out a little gas, emotional or literal, in the middle of your workout. Brad still does most of the talking but at this point I’m able to provide insightful albeit succinct commentary.

Nowadays I’m at full-on conversation lung capacity as long as we’re running 5 miles or less. During a 3-miler just this morning Brad and I got into a somewhat heated debate over our definitions of ignorance. Who knows if we would have even started talking about it had we not been running. The dialogue isn’t always intelligent. Sometimes we just laugh, at who knows what, but we laugh. Or we go on adventures. I would have never run through cow pastures and made faces at bulls, or ran up a trail in Catalina to find the most beautiful sunset view I’ve ever seen, I would not have done these things had I run alone. Not to mention that I likely would not have pushed myself faster and faster and actually reached conversational lung capacity without Brad’s Flash speed to challenge me.  It’s just pretty amazing the new things one discovers when one has another set of eyes to see the world through. Things I’ve learned: it’s fun to accomplish something, but boy is it tons more fun with someone you enjoy. Run with someone you love, it will push you in directions you otherwise may not have wandered.

And here are some B&B Disney pics to get us all in the mood for Sunday!

Adventure: duh duh DUH duuuuh, duh duh duuuuuuh

wheel of death

Mickey's Fun Wheel... of terror

Club 33!


13.1 miles is nothing compared to riding the teacups with Matt Sigl (not pictured)

There are only 4 fund raising days left. Help me reach (or at least get close to) my goal of $1,000. I’m close! Remember, your tax-deductible donation goes directly to help at-risk youth whose lives can be changed by arts mentoring programs from The Unusual Suspects. Just click here! Then click the DONATE button on the website.

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Video Countdown!!

Here are all the videos leading up to the big day. Count with me: 8, 7, 6, 5,…

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a silly video with nothing better to do

Just a boring ol’ 3 mile run today. I promised to document every workout this week, so I had to get creative. Forgive my juvenile experimentation with iMovie. Having to compress the vid for the web took away the brilliant effects I edited in there. That’s right! They were brilliant!…  I’m learning.

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some thoughts on fund raising

I have recorded 4 takes of a video and worked on this entry for hours and cannot seem to find an adequate way to express my thoughts on this subject, so I’ve included both a video and this here written blog entry to cover all of my bases. Feel free to partake in both to grasp the full scope of my plea, which is this:

A small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission, can alter the course of history.

How bad-ass is that? Alright I can’t take credit. I have to cite Ghandi for that one. He said all the smart things before the rest of us got the chance. Pretty cool guy. The point is, he was absolutely right and this quote pretty much sums up a major epiphany I’ve had since beginning this fund raising endeavor for The Unusual Suspects. This mini-essay is not about soliciting you for more money (breathe easy), but mostly I want to share some thoughts I’ve had on the fundamental nature of giving.

I used to be like most people (especially most un-wealthy people), whenever someone or some organization would solicit me for a donation, I would respectfully decline or delete the email, out of sight out of mind, figuring they can’t possibly really want a donation from me seeing as I have so little to give, or figuring that other people are going to donate so I’m off the hook. How many times have I changed the radio station during a pledge drive for NPR even though I know they really do need money? Having sat on the other side of the table, I deeply regret the missed opportunity. The truth is, most of the time I could spare at least $5-$10 for a worthy cause, but I would often talk myself out of giving because I felt like it was an insignificant amount of money or it wouldn’t make a difference or I was actually a bit embarrassed by giving so little. Since I can’t go back in time and tell 6-month ago Rebecca what present-day Rebecca now knows, I will do the next best thing, impart my new found wisdom to all of you.

Your 5, 10, 20 dollars makes a huge difference. Not on its own, it’s true, but if you have faith that others share in your giving spirit (which I can testify that they do!) then your $5 paired with thousands of peoples’ $5 could suddenly be a huge contribution. Suddenly you are a part of this incredible network of goodness! A community of people who believe in the ability to make a profound difference through small efforts. It sounds so obvious right? But I don’t think it is because I certainly failed to understand it this way until now. You see, the rub is that you must believe that your $5 does not stand alone. I used to work at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation. I processed a lot of individual donations that came in and I remember whenever I would receive a donation for just $1, it would often be accompanied by a note saying something like “I’m so sorry I can’t give more” or “This is all I have, I hope it helps the children.” These donations would always bring tears to my eyes because it was obvious that these people truly had nothing. All they could spare was $1. But they spared it, and because of their faith in giving and in kindness, those 1 dollar bills added up to usually 100 dollars a day. And that is certainly enough to make a difference.

I can be quite the pessimist. I may seem all sunny and cheery most of the time but I constantly battle a very cynical outlook on the world. I always assume that others are as lazy and cynical as I am and won’t donate either so what’s the point? What a sour-puss. Witnessing the outpouring of support in my direction for this 1/2 Marathon has truly renewed some of my faith in the human spirit. Thank you for that. From the deep deep deep down bottom of my heart, thank you. The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company thanks you. The young men and women whose lives have been changed by arts education thank you. Your contribution, some small, some large, have added up to something that has made a huge impact. You are all a part of that. 6 months ago I had a very narrow outlook. I didn’t realize I could be a part of something bigger than my measly $5 and because I was such a negative Nancy, now the polar bears are going to die. No no, I kid I kid.

I’m not saying these things for myself or even for The Unusual Suspects or the polar bears. I’m saying this because we are living in a time when rejection letters from grants and foundations are aplenty and I don’t want to see that discourage anyone from trying to make a difference. Remember that we also live in a time abundant with creativity and opportunity. I have so many wonderful friends and family taking on incredible projects, starting arts organizations, raising money for important causes, basically spitting in the face of this recession by putting stock in what people really consider valuable and important. I want to see all of them succeed. I’m thinking about my friend Connor who has started New Helvetia Theatre in Sacramento, a professional theatre company bringing lesser-known gems of the musical theatre canon to Sacramento. Or my friend Kate Gibbens who is running a full marathon to raise money for AIDS Project Los Angeles. That’s 26.2 miles! Jackie Vanderbeck, another Sacramento theatre alum has founded a wonderful non-profit called Sing For Your Seniors. Brendan O’Connor, also a longtime friend, is training for a triathlon to raise money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Or my own theatre company, Theatre of NOTE. Right now my friend Nick is raising money for the world premiere of Skeleton Stories at NOTE. This play is going to be so beautiful but he needs moolah. We all need support. This is not to say I want to guilt you all into running out and throwing money at these causes right now (gently tossing would be nicer). I mention them to merely highlight how many people I know who are doing awesome things. You probably know just as many people and you have the unique opportunity to be the change you wish to see in the world. Another Ghandi original. Thought if I slipped it in there you might think it was all me but I’d feel guilty for plagiarizing Ghandi.

This all reminds me of A Bug’s Life. Have you seen that movie? It’s lovely. In this movie, Hopper the mean ol’ grasshopper discloses his sinister plan that by keeping the ants under his control, he prohibits them from realizing their power:

“You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.”

We are all the ants. And Hopper is our own ignorance and cynicism keeping us from discovering our communal strength. Do you like how I brought this back to Disney? Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. 6 days.

In a time when huge corporations are taking our consumer dollars and giving them to hate-mongering politicians (ahem, Target, that means you), it’s time to fight fire with fire. Save your money and put it towards a cause you feel passionate about. It’s time to redirect our pocketbooks and define what is really important. Give of your time. Give of your spare change. There are a million little “Hoppers” in our heads that convince us not to and I cannot encourage you enough to silence all those voices. Don’t hold back. I’m making a pledge to abstain from my Starbucks and Coffee Bean addiction once a week, and donate that money instead. Such a small sacrifice that I now know will have a huge impact, but only if I’m not alone. Help a cynical girl maintain her faith in the world. Will you take this pledge with me?

So close to reaching my goal! Follow this link and click DONATE to make a change.

Here is a video for you visual types:


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A Video!

Finally got around to uploading a video, which was the whole purpose of starting this blog to begin with but y’know, these things take time. Took me forever to figure out how to edit this silly little thing so now it’s late, I’m tired, fourgotten hau two spel, have to go to bed. I have to wake up early aaaaand….. you guessed it, RUN!

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