Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some post-marathon feelings

When words fail...

During the race:

Crossing the finish line:

About 30 minutes after we finished:

The rest of the day after the race:

At work yesterday:
And today, actually, to be honest
But basically I feel like:


And I just want to dedicate this one to Becca

(Sources: various roller derby Tumblrs, actually)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nerd Wars, Tournament 6, Round 1

A little background on Nerd Wars - it's a big knitting/crocheting/spinning/weaving competition on Ravelry where people are grouped according to different nerddoms, and each team competes by meeting challenges outlined for each round. Each round is one month long, and each tournament consists of three rounds. There are always six challenges every round (Intellectual, Scientific, Giving Geeks, Geek Pride, Nerd Culture, and Technical). You get points for meeting a challenge and can earn additional points for tying in your project to your nerddom (Team Spirit points)

In the past, I've participated in one or two rounds and then totally dropped off. Right now, it's my goal to participate with at least one project in each round, but definitely to attempt to do all six challenges at some point. I'm on Team Paranormal Investigations, which encompasses all shows/movies that have people investigating paranormal phenomena. I'm a big fan of X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Fringe.

I managed to do 5 out of the 6 challenges this time! That's the most I've ever done in one round. I've only ever done one (Technical, usually). I worked really hard on this this time.

Round 2 starts November 1st.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

“Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.” - William Shakespeare

How am I even still STANDING?
I'm not even sure where to start right now. Aside from being so tired that I'm not sure I still have command of the English language, I'm also completely overwhelmed with feelings right now. I'm simultaneously ecstatic that I finally accomplished something I've wanted to do for years, but disappointed that I didn't meet my goal time, but proud that I didn't give up, but guilty because I really wanted to give up... SO many feelings right now.

What I CAN say right now is that marathons are hard. I can only liken it to childbirth - it takes hours, there are usually unflattering photos of you, and when it's over, you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Morgan Hill wasn't actually my first choice. Becca and I had originally signed up to do the Norcal in September, but since they cancelled the full marathon for this year (couldn't sort out race course issues with the city), they offered to transfer our registrations to MH, since it's the same company that runs both. It might not have been the wisest decision, with the Norcal being in San Jose and pretty much flat, and the MH winding through hills for over half the course. But we persevered and trained for it, and all of a sudden, race weekend was upon us.

Oh lordy. I was a nervous wreck the entire week leading up, and I swear I was shaking all day Friday and Saturday. Becca and I had pre-race plans that included picking up our packet, decorating shirts, and a mostly-Paleo carbo-licious dinner. (I will be pretty happy not to eat any sweet potatoes again for a while, thank you.) Last night, as expected, I had trouble falling asleep, and then woke up at 3:30 in the morning and couldn't go BACK to sleep for at least an hour. I finally managed to doze off for a few minutes before the alarm finally went off, after dreaming that we had showed up at the marathon and they were suddenly not allowing us to wear our shoes.

It was freezing at the start line, and I was very reluctant to give up my jacket, but we were told that it would be 85 degrees later, and I didn't want extra things to carry - I was already wearing a four-bottle hydration belt and a SpiBelt stuffed full of Gu packets. Before we lined up, we ran into Becca's friend who was volunteering and my friend who was also running his first marathon, and suddenly it was time to GO ohgodohgod.

It was an easy first 10 miles, but miles 11-16 wound through the hills and backroads, and that was HARD. In our longest training runs, the first 14 miles have consistently been easy, but that's because we trained on the same trail every week - and this course was nothing like our trail. If it wasn't a steep incline, it was a very loooong incline. Or it was a steep decline. Or it was not an incline OR a decline, but a steeply banked road. So we did a lot more walking than we'd wanted to, much earlier in the race than we'd wanted to. Yeah, that threw a wrench in our race plan.

When we finally made it back to civilization (after passing a particularly odoriffic cow ranch) somewhere around mile 17 or 18, it was pretty much flat, but the course had us running in direct sunlight, facing the sun. I was already tired (the miles were taking their toll), and the heat was making me lightheaded. I think it might've been the first time I ever got woozy during a race, and it was a really scary feeling. By mile 20 I could only run maybe a minute at a time because my calves and hamstrings were cramping up something fierce, and by mile 22, I couldn't even run at all - I tried to briskly walk as much as I could, but my feet were hurting and the lead feeling had set into my legs. I was all tears because I didn't think we were going to make it back in 6h30m, which was the course limit. Worst of all, I got to the point where I didn't even WANT to make it back anymore.

The last 6.2 miles of a marathon are by all accounts the true test of your might. However hard the first 20 miles have been, the last 6.2 are said to be exponentially more difficult, and after today, I totally believe that. (Not like I hadn't believed it before though.) It's not just because of the physical strain, but the mental one - I fully admit that the battle that I was losing was more mental than physical. Yes, my legs cramping up and my dizziness were a problem, but while my body had so little left to give, my mind had even less than that. I was tapped out. I kept saying over and over in my head, "There's nothing left. There's nothing left. There's nothing left." I was struggling to find reasons to keep going.

But I had one: Becca. Becca, to whom I dedicated my last 6 miles, was the only person who could have kept me going. She was counting on me too! I could live with letting myself down, but I would never forgive myself for letting HER down. Not when we've come so far and worked so hard. She deserved better.

So I picked up my feet and kept moving. One step at a time. The steps slowly turned into miles (the slowest, most agonizing miles of my life), and one by one, we counted down to the end. Three to go... two to go... home stretch.

The finish area was pretty much empty by the time we got there, and we were just about the last ones to cross the finish line before they closed down. BUT WE CROSSED IT. There were medals, icy cold towels, and water bottles waiting for us, as well as Becca's parents, who bought me flowers! (My parents were on Jolie duty and couldn't make it.) I heard the announcer say my name as we crossed the finish line and I totally lost it. I forgot all the pain and disappointment of the last few hours and I managed to crack a smile while tears of pain, fatigue, pride, and accomplishment rolled down my cheeks.

My official finish time was 6:31:21. I fully admit that I am disappointed that we missed our goal by fifteen minutes and that we even finished a minute and a half after the official course limit time. I feel that if I had just somehow found a way to rally my spirits, we might've been able to make it. It's on me, and I will carry that with me from this experience - there was so much that I should have done better in my training, and then maybe my body wouldn't have crapped out on me.

But what's the point in beating myself up about it now? (I'm already feeling pretty beat-up as it is.) The most important part is that we finished it. We set a goal, and yeah, it wasn't perfect, but we met our goal, and now that we know what we are capable of, we will do it again. But better.

I set this goal for myself years ago, and I finally did it. I'm no longer just a runner now. I'm a marathoner.

And now some pictures:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lining up

Three more days. THREE.

In three days, I will run 26.2 miles.

26.2 miles!

This will be, without a doubt, one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life. For me, this will rank up there with having a baby and getting a Master's Degree. I ran (well, walked) my first 5k ten years ago and caught the running bug. And even though I haven't been quite consistent in my training, running has been and always will be a great love of mine. I could no sooner give up running than give up derby.

It's been a longtime goal of mine to run a marathon, and this Sunday, I will finally do it. I will admit that my main obstacle all these years has been motivation and discipline, but as many of us know, sometimes the mental obstacles are worse than the physical ones. I've never been able to stick to a training program to adequately prepare for a marathon - arguably, I didn't stick to this one, this year, very well either, and I will be the first to admit that there was SO much I could have done better, but this is the best I have ever done, and I feel ready.

With three days left, I have done all the training that I could do - physically. What I need to do now is prep myself mentally. I need to mentally prepare for the fact that it's going to hurt, and it's going to be hard. I will probably reach a point (many points!) where my legs won't lift. I know those dark moments will come. And I need to find a way to keep going.

For the race, I plan to have a Pace Tat on my arm (so I can keep track of splits), and I've decided that next to each mile, I'm going to write a name. I'm going to dedicate each mile to a different person in my life, someone who has inspired me or helped me or supported me, in running or derby or life. And when times get tough, I will look down at my arm and see these names, and they will keep me moving towards the finish. I won't do this for every marathon I run (LOL OF COURSE I'M DOING MORE), but I thought this would be a good way to commemorate my very first one: to celebrate the people who have directly and indirectly gotten me to the start line.

I haven't yet decided the order in which these names will go on my arm - I guess I will decide Saturday night/Sunday morning. I might not decide on an order at all - I'd feel a little wrong "ranking" people. But if you are here, you are so very important to me.

(But the reverse is not true - if you are NOT here, it doesn't mean that you aren't important to me. There just aren't enough miles for me to list everyone who is important to me. I would have to run all the way across the continent!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sugarpill @#$%! - limited edition eyeshadow

At last!

When I first heard that this eyeshadow was only going to be available at IMATS Los Angeles earlier this year, I was heartbroken because there was no way I would be able to go. Luckily, Amy always comes through for her fans! She recently made @#$%! available for three days only, and I jumped at the chance to get it. It just came TODAY and I thought I'd swatch it for you.

My apologies - my photos are particularly unclear this time because I'd just finished a kettlebell workout before taking these photos. (Not my best decision.) But I was just so excited!

Sugarpill's packaging is always adorable and high quality:

@#$%! is a beautiful sparkle-ful red:

Love+ on the left, @#$%! on the right
My pictures are a little more orangey than real life - Love+ is a vibrant true red, while @#$%! is more of a pinky-red, and it is full of silver sparkle (but is not crazy with fall-out).

Monday, October 15, 2012

October Ipsy bag!

Ipsy (formerly called MyGlam) is a monthly subscription service where you receive four to five beauty products (fitting a specific theme) in a cute little bag. They are usually deluxe sample sizes of quality brands (I've received Urban Decay from them before), with one or two full-size products, for just $10 a month. It's an awesome deal because usually, whatever the one full-size item is usually costs more than $10 retail. For the specific month, Ipsy gives you discounts with the brands that they feature.

This month's theme is "bombshell":

Classic-looking black and white bag with red trim

- Coastal Scents e/s quad
- theBalm What's Your Type? mascara in "The Bodybuilder"
- Pequi oil treatment
- Mirenesse Lip Bomb in Mirror Me
- Be a Bombshell felt-tip eyeliner in Onyx

The Lip Bomb totally reminds me of a slightly thicker version of OCC Lip Tar (it's even got a similar minty scent/taste!), while the Coastal Scents quad is deliciously buttery and pigmented. Why have I never tried their shadows before??? I'm SO getting an 88-something palette.

Interested in subscribing? Go to Ipsy.com - most likely you will have to sign up for the waitlist, since they can only maintain a max number of subscribers. But once you get the invitation, JOIN! It's totally worth it. You get really good stuff to try out, and a cute bag, for only $10 (no tax/shipping).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Body positivity

I've done it. A LOT of women have done it - we've stood in front of our mirrors, eyeing our bodies critically, thinking to ourselves, "I wish my stomach were flatter" or "I wish my thighs wouldn't touch." I've stood there, hating my body and hating the fact that I was cursed with a slower metabolism and a sweet tooth.

I've tried lots of diets. I've joined lots of gyms. I've taken lots of pills. I've read lots of fitness magazines. I've bought lots of workout dvds and workout equipment. Some things were more successful than others at making me lose weight, but none of them were successful at making me love and appreciate my body. I kept trying to starve and/or beat my body into submission, and it just didn't work.

And then this year, I tried something different. I tried to take care of my body instead. Instead of taking out my wrath and frustration on my body, I tried to nurture it instead. I found ways to work out that I loved and that focused on making me stronger rather than making me thinner. I found a way of eating that put my body on the path towards optimum health rather than to pump it with processed food and chemicals.

And you know what? It worked. And the funny thing is, while I have lost weight this year (something that I would've been ecstatic about in the past), it's like... I don't care. I don't care so much about the weight I've lost, because I've found that it's more important that my body feels good and functions properly. I've stopped caring so much about what my body looks like, and I've started caring more about what my body can do. And now, I love my body.

I ran twenty miles today. TWENTY MILES. It's the peak long run of my marathon training program, and I totally did it. How can I hate my body after that? How can I stand in front of the mirror and wish I had a different body when it totally just did something awesome today, something I never in my life (and certainly never in the ten years that I've been running) thought I would actually be able to do?


Does it mean that I don't want to lose more weight? Does it mean that I'm going to stop my quest to improve my athleticism? Absolutely not. I care about getting faster and stronger. I care about performing better. Some weight loss is involved in that - after all, I didn't start running faster until I lost weight this year and suddenly my body didn't have to work so hard to run.

But it means that I'm going to stop hating my body. I'm going to stop trying to force it to fit society's definition of an attractive body and I'm just going to let it be what it is - I'm going to be myself but better, rather than trying to be someone else. I'm going to stop treating my body like an enemy, an archrival that keeps trying to foil my plans to look like a supermodel. Because I'm not meant to look like a supermodel, I'm meant to look like ME. And moreover, it doesn't matter what I look like, as long as my body is healthy and functioning.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Urban Decay Smoked pencil set - swatches and comparisons

UD's Smoked pencil set, like the Smoked palette, is a nice, solid set of shades that are extremely versatile and, thanks to its size, extremely portable. When I first got the Smoked palette and started using it (I brought it with me to Rollercon in July), I came to the conclusion that I actually thought it was a better travel palette than the Naked palettes, by virtue of the fact that it had a small selection of colors. (One cannot simply live on neutrals alone!) I think that the Smoked pencil set offers the same versatility and portability as its palette counterpart, and I think that these are great shades to have on hand wherever you go.

I'm not going to bother swatching Zero, because black eyeliner is black eyeliner (though it is a very good one, and was my favorite until UD released Perversion, which is far darker), but here are Empire, Uzi, and Demolition:

Demolition is a not-uncommon brown (and available as part of the permanent range), but Uzi has only been released in a couple sets, and Empire was only released as part of a double-ended pencil with Uzi. Empire has been one of my favorites since I first got it, because I love purple, and because UD doesn't have any other dark purple eye pencils that look like this. Uzi is great - darker and more sparkly than Gunmetal. It reminds me a bit of UD's Mercury shadow pencil.

This set includes two brand-new shades ("Ah ha!" you say, "THAT'S why you bought this pencil set!"), Mainline and Smog. I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been an eye pencil called Smog before, since the Smog e/s has been around for ages. It's a coppery brown. Mainline is a dark, blackened teal. Both colors are pretty unique among the 24/7 line - see here:

Left to right, top row to bottom row:

Deviant, LSD, Sabbath
Radium, Mainline, Junkie

Bourbon, Smog, Stash
Underground, Hustle, Whiskey

Mainline really doesn't look like any of the other shades, aside from being blackened like Sabbath, but even then, you wouldn't mistake the two. Smog is much more golden than Hustle, and not at all greeny like Stash.

So there you have it. Is it worth the price? Depends. I think it's awesome to get two new, unique shades (Mainline and Smog) as well as backups of two limited-availability shades that I love (Empire and Uzi). When all is said and done, I only ended up with two pencils that I really didn't need (Demolition and especially Zero), but if you're NOT like me and you don't already own every single UD eye pencil ever released (of course you do, right?), then you'd probably be able to find a use for those two as well. So four out of the six shades are not permanently available, and the two that are are really great basic staples for any makeup collection.

Another solid set from Urban Decay!

Second Sock Syndrome

I have finished ONE SOCK.

Ugh, now I just have to START ALL OVER AGAIN and make a SECOND sock.