Captain Crack Back Blackfoot

The weekend after the Disney Half, I went Snowboarding!

And broke my spine.

After much coordination, I finally went on my snowboarding weekend of 2012. I had rented a cabin for 12, which cost me a bit of money, and I had a heck of a time getting a group together and getting the timing right with my ever-changing taiko performance schedule. However, it finally came and I whisked away to Vermont to meet the group, many of whom had gone up earlier though I was super stuck at work, and prepared myself for a weekend on the sunny slopes.

The cabin group!

The first day of boarding was great. Despite the warm weather, there was real snow on the slopes, enough to maneuver safely and not too much ice on the trails we traversed. The second day was the same…until it happened at around 11am.

Enjoying the run

I was cut off by a skier, whom looked to be a teenager, and to avoid smashing him at the speed I was going, I tried to break on my heel edge down the mountain. Unfortunately, this caused me to veer to the right (I am goofy-foot) and at the speed I was going, I wasn’t able to stop in time before I hit some metal thing and then the trees. ūüė¶ I have never felt so much pain in my life. I had hit them board-first and my right foot was ripped off the board with the binding. I lay on my back screaming in pain until my friends got the medic and I was transported via a board to the medical center. There, they took an X-ray (hours later) and immediately called an ambulance for me to get to the ER. I had fractured my L1 vertebrae.

I hit this so hard, I warped the metal

And chopped into the trees, board-first. The board probably saved my life

I spend that night in the hospital in a lot of pain and anger. I was pissed that the guy who dangerously cut me off was probably out drinking with his buddies while I lay there getting morphine pumped into my IV almost every hour. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom myself. I spent 4 total days at the hospital with Fernando and Shaun by my side 24/7. I can never repay how my friends helped me go through this.

In the hospital

Support team - I hope they aren't quacks!

On Wednesday, after not being too pleased with my spine doctor there, I packed into the car and precariously headed home to Brooklyn. I wear a hardcore metal and velcro brace which I have to have on if I do anything but lie flat on my back.

Finally got a brace

OMG what happened to me!!! Still alive, people!

Back from the dead for food!

Luckily, I have a lot of love and support. My father and step mom came to visit from Germany! My friends from Soh Daiko and more visited. I got a lot of emails and facebook support from those far away. I am going to get through this and end up totally fine, the doctor said I used up one of my nine lives now since it could have been much worse. But I am sturdy and strong, so other than missing running and taiko and being able to do basic things from myself, I am blessed.

Danny, Momo, and Han visit!

Colleagues and Friends visit!

Marlene and Papi make a surprise visit from Germany

Thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes. I will never forget how much people care about me. I hope no one has to go through anything like this, but if my friends or family ever needed anything, I will be the first to find you and hug you.

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Dreams Come True: My First Half Marathon

Princess’s Run Through Disney World

Back to the Half Marathon recap! Just as an aside, I had a little injury while snowboarding last weekend and have been off the pavement for awhile now. It may be 2 months before I can run again so read this one up, as there won’t be another race post for awhile… ¬†ūüė¶

Early Morning on the Highway

The Start: I started running in the pitch black which is 5:45am. I was near the one male runner in Corral A – the 1:40 pacer. The Fairy Godmother kicked it all off with her wand and fireworks, and off we went! Later I learned I was only 15 seconds from the start line so I was in a pretty good spot. At first I thought “wouldn’t it be nice if I could hang on to this pacer guy?” but after about 3/4 mile, I had to let him go, that pace felt a bit uncomfortable for so early in the race. My goal was to do under 2 hours, no matter what, and my secret wish (in Disney, you always have to wish) was to even do sub 1:50.

5K Split: The race was on the highway for the first few miles, which was not too inspirational, but I did get to see Captain Jack Sparrow and a few other loonies

Into the Castle

whom I did not stop for – sorry, Capt’ maybe next time! (Some people were dodging off the road to take photos, which I would have loved to do but not on my first half marathon! I needed to clock a good time!) I don’t remember exactly where the 5K split was but we ran over one of those timer mats so I knew that 2 people would be getting a text saying where I was and how I was doing, which made me happy. I felt pretty alone out there, and a bit emotional. This was finally happening! After 2 half marathon chances dashed because of bad weather, here I finally was, running the race of my ‘dreams’ in Disney! I had been looking forward to this for ages. I went through a lot since I signed up and it was finally the moment. MY moment. I almost got teary-eyed.

Through Cinderella's Castle

10K Split: Suddenly I ran under the big gates that said “Welcome to Magic Kingdom,” and it sure was magical. First, there was a taiko group playing in the parking lot! And then I saw ¬†almost all the princesses, princes, queens, characters, bad guys, everyone! They were all lit up pretty and waving and cheering. It was awesome. Inspirational. Definitely Magical.

Half Way:¬†The 10K split was right after you popped out of Cinderella’s Castle. I asked Shaun to chase me there to get a photo but apparently I was moving faster than I anticipated. He was busy monorailing around to find me! But again, it made me happy to know he would know where I was after they texted him my 10K time. It was still dark when I came out of the castle. After that, it was through the back lots, and

10K Complete!

back on the highway where I encountered the dreaded sign “Halfway There.” I did a self-check and realized, shit! I was getting tired, the¬†highway looked endless, the magic of Magic Kingdom gone for the rest of the race. Now what was there to look forward to? I chugged on, deciding at Mile 7 to try and eat my energy jelly beans. What a mistake! I hadn’t noticed how dry my mouth was and I was having a hard time choking them down and picking them out of my teeth (purple ones too, real attractive). I ran by a water station and although I had not planned on trying to drink water this race, I thought I better try to wash down the beans. I pinched the cup as I saw other runners doing and promptly sloshed a few drops in my mouth and

Just keep running

some up my nose. >.<

15K Split:¬†After that little episode I decided no more beans. Even though I tried to think they were giving me a mental boost, I¬†really wasn’t feeling like I was doing so hot. I kept my eye on the mile marker time, since I knew it would be pretty close to my chip time. I was still “ok” but I was getting worried that like my cross country 5K, I would burn out by the end. I also kept feeling like I was slowing down. So I tried to pick it up, thinking that by doing so, I would at least be keeping even with my pacing. It turns out I was doing a great job keeping even and speeding up my average by a few seconds. Someone handed me a GU which I promptly dropped by accident (not that I was going to risk choking to death on that). I took a slosh of Powerade

Dying a little bit

for the mental benefits. More highway and finally, the time mat for 15K in a parking lot. Strategy be damned, I was tired.

11 Miles: After the time mat, I became conflicted. I wanted to speed up. They say you are supposed to endure your first 10 miles and race the last 3.1. Well, the way I was feeling, I decided on holding back on the speed up because I felt it was too early for the way I was feeling. Some girl in a cap frustrated me because she would speed by me, and then stop and walk at the water stations. I would pass her every time, but she would catch up with me with her speed and pass me over and over again. We repeated this for a bit and I just tried to ignore her. I was giving it all I got with a bit to spare for the very end. For some reason, the highway course got all

Last bit through Epcot

sortsa slanty as we went on overpasses, exits, etc. I got worried now – why were these obstacles HERE where we are the most tired? I don’t remember now what got me through that part, it was definitely tough. Maybe a mental pep talk or general¬†competitiveness. But, I made it through. The blessed 12 mile mark finally arrived.

12 Miles to Finish Line:After I saw there was 1.1 left, I started to do what I felt was a ‘pick up.’ In fact, it was not. I think my 12th mile was at an 8 minute pace. I didn’t know it but Mile 9-12, I was a little on the slow side, between 7:48 and 8 minute miles. (Slow compared to the other miles, not slow for my expectations, mind you!!!) After I thought I only had half a mile to go, I started my end pick up. It was kinda narrow and curving around tight turns

Finishing Sprint!

which made you feel you were going faster than you were. I was in backstage Epcot which was not super pretty, but there was some atmosphere. I lot of workers were standing out and cheering. It was light and there weren’t many runners near me. I¬†tried to keep behind a girl in a black tutu and I did, though I never managed to catch up. I passed the girl in the cap and kept her behind me (not by much though, if I look at the finish line photo!). At one point I realized I shot my wad too early, and there was more race to go. After a mental “oh crap” I quickly decided that this was it. I was not slowing down, or else I would never pick it up again. I decided to ‘show my guts’ as I read about in the book “Once a Runner” and keep killing it until I reached the finish line. I was dying, my breathing

Finish!!!!

was appalling and my form was clompy. But I didn’t care, this was it! The finish line appeared in pink and purple, there was Donald Duck and Goofy, and confetti everywhere and YAAAYYYYY!!!!! I FINISHED!!!!

The race was over! And I could barely breathe. I was gasping and limping (out of soreness). I spied the time clock, which was 1:43:16. Even without adjusting it for my chip time, I was super happy. I blew my goal out of the water!!! (And my chip time was 1:43:01!!!) I hobbled away to sit after a photo shoot and getting loaded with snacks and beverages. A girl came up to me and told me she had tried to catch me the whole time but just couldn’t, making me feel really good. Shaun came to find me and after more trials and tribulations (it was impossible to get out of the park, the race was still going for hours and blocked all our normal bus routes!), we finally got back to the hotel where I showered and proudly put my medal back on and we headed to the parks for more awesome Disney Fun.

My first half marathon was unforgettable. I really thank all of you who supported me and who helped me get to this point. It has been a LONG time since I have been so proud of myself. My medal shines in my bedroom now. I love it. I loved this experience. I can’t wait to make many more.

Course Map

Princess Blackfoot

My pal

Team Princess Blackfoot!

I made it!!!

Runners still running

I deserved this!

Space Mountain!

Half Marathon and Disney Day Done

Preparing to Run Like a Princess

it isn’t easy running like a princess, especially without beauty sleep

Now that my big work event is finally over, it is time to tell you about the race! It was a great race, if not a bit silly, and I am very content that I gave it my all, before, during, and even after the race! Hey – park hopping through Disney isn’t easy!

Let’s start from the beginning.

Prepping in Brooklyn: I spent the night before the flight trying to pack, but in reality, I was working on making a sort of ‘Disney Princess’ running outfit. This is what I came up with, which also made me go to bed WAY too late:

Sporty Snow White?

To Florida: Shaun and I had to wake up at a pretty ungodly hour to get to the airport at the crack of dawn. We arrived in Orlando and Magically Expressed to our hotel. It took us awhile to get situated after we realized it was colder than we had expected, but we dutifully headed out to the runner’s expo to pick up my race packet, and then the parks to scare myself silly on Animal Kingdom’s dino-ride (sooooper scary) and find pasta in Epcot’s Italy. There was only one restaurant open there, and ALL the people, presumably runners, were there to carb-up too. We ended up getting a table outside in the freezing cold. Was it all worth it for my tiny and expensive plate of pasta and big beer? Only time would tell.

A pirate among Princesses

Expo says it all

Tower of Terror is nothing compared to the scary dinosaurs!

Freezing in Epcot's Italy just to carb up for the big race

We booked it back to the hotel after dinner because we were really frozen. It was kinda…miserable. I was getting really nervous about the next morning, since I would be in my running shorts and tank. And guess what time we had to be on the bus?

3:30 AM

Needless to say, we went to bed around 10:30pm to shortly wake up at 3 in the freakin’ morning and get to the corrals.

3:30 AM: We managed to wake up on time and be in the bus line promptly at 3:30am. The bus took us to Epcot and soon after, I had to say goodbye to Shaun, giving him my one long sleeve shirt to hold, and then shuffle off to my corral.

Pretty perky for 3:00am

Not perky anymore: Catching a few more Z's on the bus

Corral A:¬†After being very nervous about my corral placement, originally the LAST corral since I had no official 10K time when I signed up for the race, I managed to change my corral to the 1st corral at the expo! This was awesome news since there were about 16,000 runners and I did NOT want to be behind 15,000 of them. The only downside was that Corral A took about an hour to get to from the Runner’s Only gate. That meant a long shuffle from about 4:30am – 5:20am in the pitch black freezing cold which is pre-dawn.

Corral A sticker!

15 seconds from the Start Line!

15 seconds from the Start Line!

After a pep talk about not shooting off too fast from Jeff Galloway and a blessing from the Fairy Godmother….it was 3, 2, 1…..GO!!!!!

To be continued!