I Know The Holidays Can Be Tough (or Trying To Give Support To My Friends)

When I was younger, I was diagnosed with depression. At the time I thought that the diagnosis was correct even though no medication was helping me. Now looking back, I’m pretty sure it was a misdiagnosis and my depression was more of a side effect of my eating disorder, panic/anxiety disorder, and mild OCD. But even with it being a misdiagnosis, I understand how helpless things can feel at times. But fortunately for me, I can get myself out of that mindset before things get too bad.

But that’s not the case for several of my friends. I have many friends who have depression and other mental issues that lead to depression. I’ve had friends attempt suicide and have been the person that someone calls in the middle of the night to hear a voice of reason when things seem impossible. I’m more than happy to be that person for my friends because I don’t want to see someone harming themselves because they don’t think anyone cares or can’t get a hold of someone. I sleep with my phone on and next to my bed so I can be available for calls in the middle of my night. I’m fine sacrificing sleep if it helps someone else not do something that cannot be reversed.

Like many other mental health issues, I think depression and suicide are getting more attention in the media and that it is becoming less stigmatized. If you haven’t seen last week’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (spoiler alert), the episode is themed about this. I think that this episode was so powerful and that they will continue to be as sensitive about the subject in the coming episodes. But just because something is being discussed publicly more often doesn’t necessarily make it easier for those dealing with it.

I know that depression can hit at any time of the year, but I also know that for some of my friends it can be worse during the holidays. If you are used to being with your family and can’t do that it can be tough. If you are surrounded by happy people and you feel like an outsider, it can be tough. Anything can be a trigger and it doesn’t have to be for a reason or make sense. But when depression hits and you feel like there is no escape it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world. You just feel like you need out and that isn’t always the right thing to do.

I’m posting this now because I’ve recently had a few friends try to kill themselves. I’m glad that all of them were unsuccessful in their attempts so they are still around and are able to get help. But it’s still hard to think that someone I love that much felt like they were unloved. And no matter how much I try to support them, I know that depression is a personal battle and they have to work on it on their own. But not everyone has the same support that my friends have and I want to make sure that everyone knows where they can get help.

One of the best ways to get help if you feel like there is no other choice is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

There is someone you can talk to 24/7 and help is free and confidential. They can guide you to resources to get help and will listen to you without judgement. And if you are a friend or family member of someone who is suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you too. There are resources so that you can help someone else. I have used those before to help my friends. And I’ve also used their guides on how to report suicidal posts on social media so you can help someone who you may not know in person. Sometimes people joke about suicide and it’s tough to tell if they are being truthful or not. I’ve reported people who weren’t being serious on social media, but I’d rather be more cautious than to think someone is joking when they really are reaching out for help.

Hopefully if you are feeling helpless or know someone who is that you know that help is possible. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but it’s true. And when you talk to someone who has overcome depression they will tell you that there is hope and help when you need it. And once they are on the other side they are so grateful that they didn’t do something that they couldn’t come back from.

I know that for my friends battling this that many of them have a long way to go. But I love them so much and want to support them in any way I can. And I’m in it for the long haul with them. They are with me with battling my eating disorder and know how wonderful it feels to have someone supporting me on my best days and worst days and isn’t wondering how much longer it will take me to get over things. So by doing the same thing for someone else (even if it is about a different mental health issue), I’m just trying to pay forward the support I’ve been so lucky to get.

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Spamilton (or A Between The Seasons Musical)

It’s been a little while since my last show at the Pantages. And we do have tickets for next season, but our first show of that season is about 2 months away. My Pantages group didn’t really have any plans for shows between our two seasons, but when I was driving past the Kirk Douglas Theatre I noticed an ad for “Spamilton“. So I texted the group to see if anyone was interested in checking the show out and everyone said yes!

I have some friends who work at that theater so I contacted them to see if they knew of any deals, and my friend said that he could get us his employee comp tickets! We were going to have to buy the other 2, but that saved us 50% on the tickets so we were so happy about that. And since it’s a show that doesn’t have an intermission it wasn’t a big deal that we couldn’t sit together. We figured we’d hang out before the show and after the show.

We met up for dinner in downtown Culver City before the show and then headed to the theater. None of us knew too much about “Spamilton” except that it was a spoof musical about “Hamilton” and we were excited to see what it was all about.

As soon as we got into the lobby we noticed the drink specials that they were offering. We all loved the puns on the songs that the drinks were named after.

Dani and Michelle decided to have them spin the wheel so they could get the $5 drink of whatever it landed on. I don’t remember what they got, but they both enjoyed their drinks so it was a great deal for them.

Right before the show started, we split up to go to our seats. The two seats we bought were in the second to last and the last row in the center and the two seats we got from my friend ended up being in the 5th row! I thought they would be toward the back because that’s how many comp tickets go, but we lucked out!

And as soon as the show started, we didn’t stop laughing! This show was amazing! You have to know musical theater to get it, but you don’t have to know “Hamilton” super well to get the jokes. If you know the songs a bit and who the cast is, you’ll get the jokes about the show. But there were a lot of joked about other musicals, playwrights, and other people involved in the theater world that they sang about.

One of my favorite parts was when they sang about mashup musicals. It was just so clever and the mashups they created were perfect. I loved how they did “The Lion King” and “The King and I” together and “Avenue Q” and “The Crucible” together. The songs were really funny and I was almost crying I was laughing so hard.

At times we wondered if we were bugging the people sitting by us because we were laughing so loud and they weren’t laughing. I don’t know if they were quiet laughers or if they didn’t get what they were making fun of. But we were having an amazing time and hopefully everyone else in the audience was too.

The show is pretty short at only 80 minutes but it was a jammed packed 80 minutes. And the cast had so much energy from start to finish and it looked like they were having a great time. The main cast was 5 actors and they were accompanied by a piano, but it felt like a much fuller show than that. But I loved the simplicity of the set and music because the performances stood out so much!

After the show was done, we all agreed that it was a great show and very funny! I think it helped me to get my musical fix in between our seasons at Pantages. I am still entering the lottery every day to try to win tickets for “Hamilton”. I really want to see it for a second time before it leaves LA but I haven’t had any luck yet. But there’s still a bit of time left before it leaves so hopefully my luck will change (or one of my friends will win and bring me with them).

Or maybe I’ll go see “Spamilton” again because it was such a great night out!

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Festival Of Holidays (or All The Food, Some Of The Rides)

After my last adventure to Disneyland, my friends and I tried to plan out when we could go for the rest of 2017. We knew that our winter holiday blackouts were coming soon with our passes and we were limited in how many more days we would be able to go. We made some plans for December but we were also hoping to figure out when we could go in November too. We couldn’t figure out when all 3 of us could go, but Michelle and I were both able to go this week so we decided to go for a Disney day!

The timing was perfect because the holiday stuff just started at Disneyland. And at California Adventure they were doing the Festival Of Holidays which consists of about a dozen different food booths with different holiday themed food offerings. It’s similar to what they did during the Food and Wine Festival earlier this year and we were excited to check out what food we could get! And as Annual Passholders, we could get the Sip and Savor pass which allows you to get 8 items for $45. Since most things were more expensive than $6, it’s a pretty great deal!

Michelle got 4 things and I got 3 things throughout the day. And most of the time we split stuff between us so we could each try as many things as possible. I think the salmon and brisket were my favorites so far. But I’ll be in the park at least one more time before the Festival Of Holidays ends (plus I still have 5 more food items I can get with my pass) so I’ll be trying many more.

And our priority was to try all the amazing foods, we did go on some rides as well. We went on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout twice in the hopes that we’d get a new song on the ride. There are 6 song choices and we had only had 3 before. But on the 2 rides we had, both times we had songs we had already heard before. Hopefully we will make it through all 6 songs one day!

We also went on California Screamin’ since that ride will be closing for a bit soon. They will be changing the theme of the ride (but keeping the ride the same) so it will be themed to “The Incredibles”. But we still wanted to make sure we got to go on it before it closed and changed.

And they will also be closing Mickey’s Fun Wheel to change the theme so we made a stop over there as well. We were about halfway up on the ferris wheel stopped because they were loading the cars below us. Michelle and I were focused on the fun view and looking at what food things we wanted to try next.

But we realized after a while that we had been at that spot for a while and when we looked down we realized that there was no longer a line for the ride. I don’t know what happened but it did break down so they had to move it so that each car could get off. But when they got our car down to the bottom it kept moving. It was weird and we thought maybe the ride was working again. But I guess they just made a mistake because it started going backwards so we could be let off. But they gave us a pass to use for another ride and we took that to go on Soarin Around The World.

We also got to see an incredible sunset while in the park. It kept changing colors as the sun was setting, but it looked amazing every time we looked at it.

After those rides and our food, we decided to go over to the Disneyland side. It was pretty crowded over there compared to California Adventure but it was still so pretty with all the holiday decorations up.

It felt so late but it wasn’t even 6pm! The time change really threw me off and I was already starting to feel tired. We tried to go look at the castle but they were filming the tv special that will be airing soon so the castle was blocked by various equipment. We kind of could see how pretty it looked, but I’m looking forward to seeing it another time when the view isn’t obstructed.

And we then had our final ride of the day which was Space Mountain. It’s back to the regular version of the ride, but that feels special since between Hyperspace Mountain and Ghost Galaxy it seems like I never ride the regular version.

We debated about trying to go on one more ride to wait out traffic, but we both were pretty close to being done. Even though we didn’t go on that many rides, we did a ton of walking. My Fitbit said I had done about 17,000 steps which is what we normally do in a full day of rides.

But even being tired while we were walking out, I couldn’t help but smile at how pretty Main Street looked with all the lights.

I’ll be back at Disneyland in a few weeks for sure, but there may be another adventure before that or right after before we are blacked out for the holidays. The holidays are so pretty at Disneyland and I want to make sure I experience it as much as possible before I have to wait a year for it to be back again!

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Final Union Working Meeting For 2017 (or A Commercial Roundtable)

I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of Union Working for a while now. Their meetings are always so inspiring and I’ve learned so much from attending. I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve been getting more and more involved with the union, which has been a goal of mine for a while. I know that there is much more that I can do, but I’m taking steps in the right direction.

The meetings for Union Working are about every 6 weeks and the meeting this past week was the last one for this year. It seems like a lot of things are winding down because of the holidays but I know that it will be back in the new year. But since this was the last meeting for the year, the group did one of the best meetings they’ve ever had as a 2017 finale.

Usually the meetings have a guest speaker who answers questions from the group about what is happening in the entertainment industry. A lot of the focus is on what is happening with commercials but other things come up too. But for this meeting there was a roundtable discussion. So instead of just one guest there were multiple guests. And the questions were asked to everyone so we could see how different people in the industry have different answers and they got to learn from each other as well.

In the roundtable we had staff from SAG-AFTRA (even though the group is not officially affiliated with the union we do have staff members who have spoken before), casting directors, agents, actors, and even the creator of one of the online submission services that is used for submitting actors for auditions. It was a really great variety in the panel and I was impressed by who they were able to get.

There were a lot of topics that we’ve heard about before, but it’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective. And to listen to the people on the panel debate amongst each other was interesting. Sometimes they helped to form ideas as a group that could help actors together. Or they learned why one idea or another wouldn’t work based on what we as actors have access too. And some of them weren’t aware of all the limits or abilities of the union so I’m glad that information was able to be shared with them.

The idea of this meeting wasn’t necessarily to walk away with actionable steps but to leave with ideas that we can use toward working on things for the future. I was more inspired than ever to keep working hard for my union and to keep trying to bring more people to Union Working meetings. When they start again in the new year, I want to try to get one friend to each meeting I go to. These meetings are great for members of the union but they are also great for those who aren’t members yet. There are many things I wish I had known when I wasn’t union. I probably would have been much smarter about my career and I probably would have joined the union sooner. But now that I’m in, I want to see all professional actors as union members so we can continue to strengthen the union.

There was a hangout at a bar after the meeting was over, but I needed to get home to get some work done and go to sleep. Last week was a bit of a rough week for me with sleeping due to the nausea issue so I really was making an effort to try to get to bed sooner than normal. I missed the social aspect of going to the meetings, but I know that leaving was the best thing for me and that I’ll have plenty more opportunities to go to bar hangouts when the meetings start up again next year.

Even though this is the end of the Union Working meetings for the year, it’s not the end of my involvement with them for the year. I was asked if I’d help out with some work that the group is doing and I’m pretty excited about that. I don’t have all the details about what I’m doing, but I’m just happy to be involved. That’s all I’ve wanted to do and it was an opportunity that presented itself to me and I’m taking advantage of it.

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this group. I’ve been able to do so much this year with them and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for the group and for my involvement with them.

A Mid-Week Realization (or Forcing Myself To Run)

Last week, I blogged about my lack of 5Ks in my future and how I felt that was affecting my workouts. That post was in the middle of this past week of workouts and it was what I needed to get my butt back in gear. I was struggling during the beginning of the week because I was having horrible nausea (I’m looking into finding new medications that should help me) but when I wrote that post I was coming to the end of the problem and was able to get back to what I know I should be doing.

Monday’s workout was a power and strength day and it was one of the worst days for my nausea. I was terrified that I would throw up during class and wondered if it would be dangerous to take more medication before I was supposed to (I didn’t, but for me to want to means it was really horrible). Because I was feeling so awful, I only had a goal to get through class and not worry about anything else.

It was a 3 group class and each section of the room had 2 blocks. On the treadmill the first block was increasing 1 minute hills and the second block was 45 second all out paces with front raises with weights in-between each all out. I had to decrease my speed for the entire time because just walking fast was making me feel sick. But I did manage to do what I could and didn’t give up which was all I could ask for.

On the floor, the first block was squats, lunges, and scissor ab work. And the second block was lateral lunges, rotations on the straps, and plank work. Unfortunately, there was a lot of up and down while on the floor and that again made things tough on me. I took time to sit and tried to feel more like myself while I was working because I knew that pushing myself harder wasn’t going to be a good thing for me.

And on the rower, the first block was 200 meter rows with shoulder presses in-between each row. I didn’t look at my rowing time because I knew it was bad. And the last block was a 6 minute row for distance and I ended up taking a break every minute or so to try to feel better. It was a tough class to get through and I tried not to be hard on myself because I know that these were not normal circumstances for me.

Wednesday I was finally starting to feel better and I had the extra motivation of trying to get back to my running. And this class ended up being a run/row switching format so it was a good opportunity to work on my running. It was interesting to switch a couple of times during a run/row, but that allowed me time to rest and recover. There were 3 blocks in the run/row and the first block was .1 mile runs with 200 meter rows. I was able to run every time I had the .1 mile run. The second block was 3 rounds of 30 second intervals, 2 rounds of 45 second intervals, and a 1 minute all out pace to end the block. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. And the last block was an incline .1 mile run which I ended up doing as a walk because I didn’t feel ok with running on an incline. And the rowing in the last block was 200 meter rows that increased each round.

The floor was a lot of arm work and lunges. The first block was single arm snatches, pop jacks, and lateral lunges. The second block was lunges with weights, upright rows with weights, and crunches. And the last block was rows on the straps, pullovers with weights, and plank work. I felt pretty strong on the floor and only had minor moments of nausea so I was feeling proud of myself. And I did a decent amount of running so that really helped my confidence.

Friday’s workout was a power day so it felt like another perfect opportunity to work on my running. All of the blocks on the treadmill were really short. The longest block we had was 4 minutes but most of them were closer to 3 minutes. The first few blocks started with a push pace that was between 30-90 seconds and then had a base pace and ended with a push pace to an all out pace. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. This was more what I was used to so I was feeling amazing!

On the floor, we mainly had 1 long block. In that block, we had 3 sections that each had 2 moves in them. We were supposed to do 3 rounds of the 2 moves in that section and then go to the rower to do a 1 minute row for distance. The moves were push ups, skaters, chest presses using the straps, low rows using the straps, lunges, and plank work). I think my rower was having issues because it was telling me I was only doing 40 meters in 1 minute when normal for me is around 200 meters. At the end of the workout, we went over to the rowers to row in the same pattern as the treadmills. It was a 3 minute row for distance and again my rower was having issues with telling me the distance. It ended up saying I did just over 100 meters when I know it was closer to 600. But I was able to row for the 3 minutes without stopping so that was an improvement over the beginning of the week.

I was feeling pretty awesome about my running when I got to Saturday’s class and found out it was an endurance day. Those are tough days for me to work on running, but I was going to do my best. Since it was a 3 group class, I knew I’d only be on the treadmill for about 15 minutes so that helped. The treadmill was distance runs on our own time. We started with a .25 mile run which I was able to run without stopping. Next was supposed to be a .5 mile run and I was going to try to do running intervals. I did about 90 seconds of running before going down to my walk and thought I could get back to running after about a minute. But my legs were feeling like they weighed 1,000 pounds and I ended up walking on an incline to finish it. But I did do it as a .5 mile run/walk and not doing the power walk option of .25 miles.

Next I was on the floor were we had increased rep work. Each round started with 5 burpees (I was so glad my nausea was gone because the burpees would have been horrible otherwise) and then we had squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups on the straps. Those other moves started at 10 reps each but went up 5 reps each round we did them. I made it through the 20 rep round before time was called to switch to the rower.

On the rower, we started with an 800 meter row and the row went down 200 meters each time. Between each row we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball. About halfway through the time on the rower, things switched to be squats with the medicine ball between each row. I was able to do my 800 and 600 meter rows without stopping and the only reason my 400 meter row had a break was to learn about what the new move was going to be in-between the rowing.

While this past week of workouts got off to a tough start, it ended on a pretty great note. I had 3 decent days of running including running .25 miles without a walking break. It wasn’t that long ago that running that distance without walking seemed impossible and I was able to just jump back into doing that. Hopefully I can figure out some more motivation for my running and I can figure out better ways to handle my nausea so this doesn’t become an issue for a week each month.

How Is It Almost Thanksgiving?!? (or Working On My Checklist)

I swear this month has flown by way too fast! I was just looking at my calendar and realized how little time I have left before Thanksgiving! And of course, I have a bunch of things that I need to get done before I go down to San Diego to be with my family and most things I haven’t even gotten close to starting.

The biggest thing I needed to work on fortunately was something I am already done with. I am working on something for the family that will be part of our name cards for dinner. I can’t share too much about it since I know my family reads this and I want it to be a surprise, but it’s been a multi-step project. But I have worked on this over the past month and I’m down to the last few steps. And I think most of those steps are going to be things I need to do once I’m in San Diego so that’s taking some of the stress off of me.

And as it has been the past few years, my mom has asked me to help out with some of the food. I’m very happy to do that because I get to make things that I like and I know that everyone else enjoys them too. I’m going to make the same dips that I have made before and those are pretty easy to get together. I only have one bowl for my food processor so that does make it take a bit longer, but it’s easy enough to do in an afternoon. I’ll also probably make banana bread again too since everyone likes having that as a breakfast or snack option.

My mom also asked me to help out with getting some of the pies for Thanksgiving dinner, but she asked me to order some instead of having to make some. So I placed an order online with The Pie Hole for some Thanksgiving pies and will be picking those up on my way down to San Diego! We always have amazing desserts but I think these will be extra amazing! And since I’m ordering these it’s a pretty simple thing I can do to help out.

Most of the other stuff I need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving are things that can’t be done until right before I go. I’ve already double checked what my work schedule will be during that week (I’ll be working from San Diego) and I know what work stuff I need to pack with me. I’ll eventually figure out what clothes I want to bring, but I know for sure it will include my workout gear since I’ll be doing a family workout on Thanksgiving morning! But the rest of my wardrobe will be figured out the weekend before I leave since I will have to do laundry and that type of stuff before figuring out what I want to have with me.

There isn’t that much time left between now and Thanksgiving especially since I have been adding things to my calendar without thinking about how soon I will be going to San Diego. But I’m working on blocking out time to do all the things I need to take care of so the weekend before I go isn’t going to be too crazy or stressful. At least this time I don’t have to do an MRI the day before I leave! That was just added stress on top of planning stress last year!

But this time, I get to just have fun while stressing out a bit for the next week and a half before I go and when I get down to San Diego I won’t have to worry about much at all. I can focus on having a nice time with my family and enjoying the craziness that having 4 generations of a family together brings. And knowing my family, there will be at least a little bit of craziness happening. But that’s what makes getting together once a year for Thanksgiving so awesome!

And before I know it, I’m sure I’ll be posting on here how I can’t believe that it’s almost 2018, or the 4th of July, or my birthday, or something. Time really does fly by faster as you get older and it always takes me by surprise.

I Guess I Am Doing Some Cutting Back (or My Willpower Is Coming Back)

I’ve been trying to work on getting my food back on track and it’s not going the way I was hoping. I want to get back to how things were last year but it seems like things are preventing me from doing that. Or at least that is the excuse I have been making to myself. I really want to work on this but it’s not easy and I know that the more frustrated I get about things the harder it will be.

Since this has been so difficult, I’ve wondered if I have lost the willpower I’ve had in the past. It’s never easy for me to have willpower and I know that it’s not something that I can get back easily. And of course, I know that willpower isn’t necessarily real, but it is nice when things are going easily for me and that I don’t have to think about food. I don’t think it will ever be easy for me and it’s been tough to understand that reality. But I think that knowing it is a step forward.

But while I’ve been in a bit of a funk about my lack of willpower about my food, I’ve realized that I haven’t totally lost my willpower. While I’m not a huge clothes shopper, I do like to shop and when I find things that fit and are a good price I usually get them. It’s not too often I find things that are right for me so I feel a need to get them if I do find them. I know that this is a problem and I’ve been trying to be better about not buying more stuff. I’m trying to go through my closet to see what I already own because I have rediscovered things that I forgot I owned. But there are still times that I can’t resist an amazing sale.

But yesterday I was looking at the Nordstrom Rack Clear The Rack sale online and found a bunch of things I’ve been thinking of getting in the sale. There are some dresses I’ve looked at that are down to almost $10 (they were $50 previously). I looked at a bunch of stuff and had a lot of tabs open with what I was thinking of buying. I was just trying to decide what I wanted and what I could skip on getting.

But the more I looked at what I was looking at, the less I wanted to get it. I have been wanting to get a lot of these things for months so I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was the money I didn’t want to spend (even though getting 6 things was going to only be about $60) or maybe I didn’t want to buy things until I lost more weight. But whatever the reason, I closed all the tabs with all the things I was looking at and didn’t buy anything.

It was a bit depressing for a minute thinking that I was no longer interested in things that I have been wanting for a while. But then I realized that not buying this stuff was a bit of willpower. Nothing I was looking at was something that I needed. It was all fun stuff that I liked but could live without. So by not getting them I was resisting spending money that I didn’t need to spend and getting clothes that I don’t need.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I wish my willpower could be transferred from one area of my life to another. I’m good at having willpower for things that aren’t too important, but when it comes to the big things it’s not always there. I don’t necessarily know how to find it again and it’s a mystery to me a lot when I do have it. But maybe being aware of having it in an area of my life that I’m not expecting it I can use that to try to find it where I need it.

I know that being on the right track with my food now is a tough thing. I have lots of things coming up that are going to make it easy to fall into bad habits that I’m trying to avoid. I have the holidays coming up and all the parties that happen this time of year. Again, I don’t want to use these as excuses, but I’m aware that allowing for things to not be as structured as I’d like will help in the long run. I don’t want to feel like I’ve screwed everything up and will try to start another time. I’m not putting off getting back on track because then I will never do it. But I need to find the balance I need to have in my life and the willpower that will help me not go off the rails like I have in the past.

Trying To Make A 5K Plan (or Maybe This Is The Motivation I’m Missing)

I’ve been feeling a bit stuck (or even going backwards) in my running lately. It’s unfortunate that I’ve been feeling like that because I have made some amazing progress. But things like getting sick or having a weird schedule have been affecting me more than I would like. I want to get back into making awesome progress with my running, but I don’t know what it will take.

You might have also noticed that I haven’t written about doing a 5K in a while. I usually have a race around this time of year, but I actually won’t be doing one. The race that I normally do was supposed to be last month but then it never happened. It was very odd because it was promoted as a certain date but you couldn’t register for it. And then the week it was supposed to happen they announced it wouldn’t be happening. I wasn’t thinking I would be doing this race since there was nothing about it online, but it was still a disappointment when it didn’t happen.

And I haven’t signed up for the race that I usually do in the spring yet. That race has always been a 5K, 10K, and half marathon. But we got an email earlier this year that the race was merging with another race and it now appears that there are only options to do a 10K or half marathon. It’s also more expensive now. So I’m not sure what I want to do about that.

I’ve never done a 10K but I’ve been considering it. But I said I would want to do a 10K as a Disney race because that would be extra motivation to work hard. And then Disney announced that there won’t be any races coming up at Disneyland because of the construction happening. So there went that idea.

It’s weird to not have any 5Ks in my future. There are a few other races I’ve done in the past that I’m thinking about doing toward the end of this year or sometime next year, but it’s not the same as the tradition that I’ve had for the past few years. But I really think I need to get back into doing races because I think that is what I need to do to get my running back to where it was.

When I have a race that I’m getting ready for, I’m so competitive with myself. I always want to PR on a race and I know that I have to work really hard in my treadmill workouts to do that. Plus, then I also go out and do running workout on my own. Right now, I don’t feel the sense of urgency that I have in the past and maybe that is allowing me to be a bit lazy in my workouts. As much as I want to blame not feeling well, I have to remember that one of my last 5Ks was right after I had been at the hospital for the day with horrible stomach pains (which helped to lead me to discover I have the liver tumors). If I could have an amazing race after being in the hospital, then I can work on my treadmill workouts after feeling sick.

If I had a race that I was working toward, I would push myself to work harder in my workouts because I know what I have to be able to do to match what I’ve done in the past and I usually push myself to do more than that. I have a goal in mind that I’m working toward and I didn’t realize before how important that is for me in my workouts. I really need another race to know is coming up to keep me accountable and working hard. Otherwise, I can take it easy but still feel like I’m doing a good job because I’m there for my workouts.

I need to look at my schedule to see what 5Ks I could possibly do and which ones aren’t too expensive. And I am going to think about doing that 10K in April but I’m really torn if I think I’m ready for that or not. But the planning needs to start happening because if I don’t then these races will happen and I won’t be a part of them. And as hard as it is to believe, I think I actually miss doing 5Ks. They have been a part of my life for a while and it feels weird not to be doing them or having more medals to add to my collection. Hopefully I can figure out a plan to keep doing them so that I don’t feel like something is missing in my workout life.

A Wizard’s Birthday (or A Full Universal Day)

When I got my Universal Studios pass again this year, I knew it would be worth it since you only have to go twice to make it the cheaper option than buying tickets. But I didn’t know if I’d go much more than that because I don’t love going there as often as I do Disneyland. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting another pass after this one expires, so I’m making sure that I get my Universal fix in while I have a pass.

So when my friend Erin told me that her daughter Olive was doing a birthday adventure at Universal, of course I wanted to join in! I’ve known Olive her entire life and I love that she is so into the world of make-believe. She loves everything Harry Potter and loves being in the park to do spells.

They wanted to get there when the park opened, so it was an earlier start than I’m used to. I was at the gate before it opened and it was raining a bit while I waited for them to join me. But fortunately that stopped soon after and it ended up being a pretty gorgeous day out.

Olive could easily spend the day just doing the Harry Potter ride 13 times. That’s actually what she said her plan for the day was. But the grownups in the group knew that wasn’t how the day was going to go so we encouraged her to pick other rides she wanted to go on. We went on the Minions ride, she and I watched when the others went on Jurassic Park, and I got to ride a few other things without Olive. But the main part of the day was spent in the Harry Potter section of the park.

It was nice to see that they were already decorating for the holidays and most of the buildings have garlands and wreaths on them.

We did the Harry Potter ride twice as a group and we also had a nice lunch at the restaurant there. While I can be a bit tired of the same things over and over again, I love being there with Olive because seeing things through a kid’s eyes is just such a fun experience. Seeing her believe in everything in the park as something real is a great thing. So many kids are jaded by her age and I appreciate that she still believes and is still a kid and not an elementary school aged teenager. Kids should get to be kids and that’s exactly what she does.

While we were at the park I was starting to deal with some pretty bad nausea. I had my medications with me and was taking them while I was there, but I was glad when we decided to take a break from the rides and go watch the Waterworld show. I see that show almost every time I’m there and it is still one of my favorites.

I was feeling a bit better after sitting down for the show, but I was not feeling like I could do any more rides. I don’t think I would have thrown up on a ride, but I didn’t want to risk that or do anything that would potentially make me feel worse. So while everyone else was getting ready to ride the Harry Potter ride again, I had to say goodbye so I could go home and try to feel better.

I didn’t feel too horrible about leaving early because some of Olive’s friends arrived just as I was leaving. And I had been in the park for about 6 hours which is longer than I’m normally there. So I had a full day and I think that Olive had fun while I was there. And from the photos I saw on Facebook, I know that she had fun after I left too. It looks like they stayed there until the park closed so they had a super full day!

I’m only about halfway through my year with this annual pass to Universal so I’m sure I’ll make it back there again before it expires. Some of the employees there mentioned that they were going to do a special castle show for the holidays so hopefully that will be this year so I can see it. And I’ll probably go back right before my pass expires to ride all my favorites one more time before I know I won’t be going back for a while. And maybe Olive will want me to go with her again and we can have another Harry Potter filled day!

Finishing Hell Week (or I Need To Get Back To Running)

After doing 4 Hell Week workouts the week prior, this past week I only had to do 1 more Hell Week workout in order to earn my shirt. Even though I was tired from having my first 5 workout week, I knew this past week I wanted to stay on track and do a 4 workout week. It’s nice that 4 workouts a week is becoming so normal to me, but I’ll admit that I think that after a 5 workout week I probably should have taken things a bit easier.

Monday’s workout was the final Hell Week workout for me (there was another Hell Week class on Tuesday, but I wasn’t going to be working out on Tuesday). This time the class was called Inclines Of Death. I was prepared for this to possibly be the hardest of the Hell Week classes, but I think I lucked out by having this class be a 3 group workout. It wasn’t as tough as some of the other Hell Week workouts but it was still a tough day.

I started on the floor this time, but the floor and rower people worked together (kind of like a partner workout). On the floor we had triceps, chest presses with weights, chest presses with straps, rows on the straps, hammer curls, and rows with weights. We had some of those moves and then we tagged out the person on the rower and did a 500 meter row. When we were done on the rower, we tagged the floor person and repeated things. And when it was my turn on the rower, it was the same thing as the floor except that I didn’t set the pace. So I rowed until I was tagged by the floor person and I did the floor work until the rower tagged me.

The last rotation for me was on the treadmill which was all inclines. Because I had done so much on the floor and the rower my body was not really too happy to be on the treadmill. I ended up walking everything at a much slower speed than I’m used to. The format for the treadmill was to go up 1% every 30 seconds until we maxed out and then we went down 1% every 30 seconds. When we were working on decreasing the inclines I decreased it to 8% and then stayed there for the rest of the treadmill time.

I didn’t love that I ended Hell Week with a workout that wasn’t to the best of my ability, but I still completed 5 workouts and earned my Hell Week shirt. And not only was this day the day I completed Hell Week, it was also my 600th Orangetheory workout! That’s pretty amazing and I am proud of myself!

Wednesday was a run/row workout that focused on strength and power. Because of some issues traffic I got to the workout a bit later than normal and had to start on the floor instead of on the treadmill (there will be a studio opening up in a few months that will cut my commute to my workout from 30 minutes to 5 minutes and I can’t wait!). The floor was focused mainly on squats and my thighs were feeling it! We had goblet squats, regular squats, weighted squats, jump squats using the straps, and lunges to squats. We also had pull overs, jumping presses, and ab work.

After the floor, I got to work on the run/row. Usually a run/row is one long block for that half of class, but this time we had 2 blocks. The first run/row block was decreasing distances with increasing inclines and increasing rows. The second block was increasing distances with decreasing inclines and decreasing rows. I ended up walking all the treadmill segments but I was able to keep my speed at my normal speed and the inclines at the inclines that were recommended to do (instead of a lower incline). And my rowing wasn’t super fast, but I finished in under the recommended time each time I was on the rower.

Friday ended up being kind of a run/row too. It was pretty great to have 2 run/row days in a week since they tend to be my favorites. But this time, everything was timed and we weren’t on our own to switch back and forth. Everything we did was a distance challenge. We had a 6 minute challenge on the treadmill, then a 3 minute challenge on the rower, and then repeated both things. On the 6 minute run challenge, I would have loved to run the entire thing. But I realized that I hadn’t done a lot of running lately (which I really need to fix) so I had to do the 6 minutes with run/walk intervals. Both times I did it I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1 minute, ran for 1 minute, walked for 1 minute, and ran for the last minute. But I did increase my speed for the second attempt so I was able to get farther than I did the first time.

When I was on the rower, I wanted to focus on keeping my wattage up but my speed down. It’s tough to do that since my wattage only seems to get high when I’m moving really fast. But I did my best to figure out quickly what a good pace would be that I could try to do for the entire 3 minutes. The goal was to get between 600-900 meters in 3 minutes. The first time I got 627 meters and the second time I got 634. Unlike on the treadmill, I can’t really tell if I’m going to beat my time or distance. While I can see if my speed or wattage is higher, it’s tough to tell if I’m doing better. So it was a surprise to me that I beat my first row!

The floor was 3 blocks. The first block was a long one with deadlifts, alligators on the straps, and pushups. The deadlifts were supposed to be single leg deadlifts and I did do one round of them like that but while holding onto the bench to keep my balance. I know it’s good for me to work on balance but it’s tough to do with my hip issues. But challenging myself with these were good for me. But I wasn’t able to do more than one round as single leg work, so the other times I did them I did them with both feet on the ground. The second block was skier swings, hip bridges, and toe touches. And the last block was a 3 minute core blast.

Saturday was a 3 group workout that had endurance, strength, and power. I went into the workout with the intention of doing running, but I had a combination of a bad hip day and horrible nausea. So again, running wasn’t in the cards for me. On the treadmill, we had 2 blocks. The first one was more endurance based with longer push paces. And the second one was more strength based with working with the inclines up higher. I was able to do my incline work a bit higher than I normally do which was great since I was a bit down on myself for not running at all.

I was on the rower next where we also had 2 blocks. Every block was focused on 1 minute rows for distance. On the first block, we had wall sits between each row. And on the second block we had squats between the rows. I know that I can do 300 meters in a minute if I work really hard, but I also knew that I’d be doing lots of attempts at 1 minute rows. So I just tried to work on keeping my pulls long on the rower and I averaged around 230 meters each time (which is better than the 200 meter minimum we were supposed to do). The wall sits were much easier than I expected and I was able to balance a lot better than I could the last time I tried doing them.

And on the floor, we had a mix of things. We had squats to shoulder presses, triceps, squats with flys, knee tucks, and hip bridges. I was starting to feel super nauseous on the floor and that wasn’t helped by going from standing to laying down as often as we did. I just tried to keep breathing and going slow, but I was really waiting for class to be done because I didn’t want to feel any worse.

Overall, it was an ok workout week. With each individual day, I thought I had done well. But as I look as the week as a whole, I’m a bit disappointed with myself. I know that there have been outside circumstances that have preventing me from running or making all the progress I have been hoping to make, but I don’t want to make excuses for myself. I know that I can do better and I need to make myself do better. I want to be running more often and seeing what new running goals I can hit. It’s been a while since I’ve had a big running accomplishment and I think I’m due to make that happen soon.