Revenge of TL;DR - My Dopey Challenge Race Report! (In THREE parts!)

Last week I did a series of consecutive races in a Disney Run event called the Dopey Challenge. It's a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, and then a full marathon, run one after the other in four consecutive days.

My race report is in three parts. Yes, it's that long. Reading it is like runnning the Dopey Challenge!

- The Beginning - The Walt Disney World 5K and the 10K

- Drama Unleashes in the Harrowing tale of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon!

- The Walt Disney World Full Marathon Race Report
Thee Empress

Race Report: The 2017 Dopey Challenge, Part III - The Walt Disney World Marathon

The Day of Reckoning: The final day of the Dopey Challenge - The Walt Disney World Marathon

When I signed up for the Dopey Challenge, I wasn't at all worried about the first three races. I had run that many miles in a shorter time during Ragnar Relays. The marathon was what concerned me more than anything else. But as with the first three races, I vowed to run this one easy.

My strategy for this race: Run easy for the first thirteen miles, and then assess where I was at. At least one short walking break at every mile. If I got bottled up by slower runners or walking walls, (Groups of friends who walk side-by-side when taking walking breaks because I don't know why,) just let myself get bottled up.

One advantage of running this race: It was my last one. Even if it was the longest, I didn't have to worry about saving myself for the next day.

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Thee Empress

Race Report: The 2017 Dopey Challenge, Part II - The Unofficial WDW Half Marathon

From Agony to Ecstasy: Uncancelling the cancelled Half Marathon

There had been some weather advisories about the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which was to take place on Saturday. Weather advisories aren't at all uncommon for races. I've run marathons through torrential downpours with forty mile an hour winds, through cold so biting that water froze instantly when it hit the ground. (Skate through the water station!) And I've run in 100+ heat.

But I've never signed up for a race that was ever cancelled because of the weather. Until this one.

I was out wandering around Epcot on Friday evening when a friend texted me. "They actually cancelled the race???" I quickly checked my email. Yep. Because of an incoming storm Run Disney decided to cancel the Half Marathon. It was not the storm so much that prompted their decision to cancel the race, so much as it was the lightning that came with it.

I was crushed. All of the preparation, all of the time and expense to go across the country and run four straight days of races, just to have one pulled out from under me.

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Thee Empress

Race Report: The 2017 Dopey Challenge, Part I - The Beginning, the 5K, and the 10K!

Just this past week, I ran a series of races that comprised The Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World. For those of you who don't know, the Dopey Challenge is four races from Thursday to Sunday, comprising of a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and then topped off with a marathon on Sunday.

Sounds crazy? It is!

I decided to do the Dopey Challenge even though I was already registered for the Chicago Marathon in October and the California International Marathon in December. My PT was concerned that I might be doing too much running, but my training for Chicago and CIM made my training for Dopey all that much easier.

Between CIM and Dopey I concentrated more on strength training rather than running. Even though I kept my miles up, I made sure I got in my squats and lunges and hydrants and clamshells and hitting the standing hip abductor machine at the gym, amonsgt other lower body and core things.

My strategy was easy: Run the first three races really easy, and then run the first half of the marathon easy as well. Just finish, and remember not to get carried away and run too hard during any of the races. Take my smartphone with me and take pics of anything I found neat or interesting, to help me keep my pace down and not get carried away. Also, enforced walking breaks at every mile marker, whethere I felt like walking or not.

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Thee Empress

Race Report - The California International Marathon

Last Sunday I ran the California International Marathon. It was my 7th ever CIM and my 20th Marathon overall.

The main reason I chose to run this December Marathon is because I'm working on my legacy status. It was my sixth CIM in a row, and I want to keep the streak going. Also it's a fairly easy course. I've PR'd twice on this course!

This year myself and ten thousand of my closest running friends totally lucked out because the weather was so good. Not very cold and a nice, cool temperature the entire way. I was one of the waterlogged runners who experienced the monsoon-like conditions of 2012, and nearly froze to death during the cold, cold snap of 2013.

I had not trained too strenuously for this marathon since I had run the Chicago Marathon a mere two months prior. I was curious as to how I would handle this marathon since I had held back on training very hard.

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Thee Empress

Race Report - The Chicago Marathon

Last Sunday I ran the Chicago Marathon. It was my first time ever in Chicago, my 3rd marathon outside of California, and my 19th Marathon overall.

They call Chicago the Windy City, but personally I never found it especially windy. (But then again, I was there in the mild month of October.) And Marathon day was no exception. The day was clear and cool with a few clouds. I made it, along with the rest of the mob, early enough to particiapte on my corral's eight AM start. The thing is, around eight o'clock my corral wasn't anywhere near the start line. It would be a little more than an extra half hour before I finally crossed the line with my herd.

The day before at the Marathon Expo I attended a Runner's World forum, and one of the running coaches recommended running the first ten miles as one would a training run, so you could spare yourself for the latter part. I decided to follow that advice. It was also ideal since my PT Jessica Greaux, (Of Innersport in Berkeley,) had been coaching my running, and I paid a lot of attention to my gait and cadence as I tried to pedal my feet and move the ground underneath me, rather than slapping my feet on top of it.

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Thee Empress

My Lost Cat Jadzia - Time to start saying Goodbye...

On the evening of August 4th, nearly two months ago, my cat Jadzia went out of the bedroom window to go catting around, as she had so many times during her more than ten years of life, only this time she never returned.

Since the night she inexplicably disappeared I have searched my house and the surrounding area very thoroughly. I have been through ever corner and crevice in the attic and the basement. I searched the surrounding area, combed through the adjacent creek bed, and even scoured a vacant lot nearby after crawling under a chainlink fence. I have wallpapered the neighborhood with lost cat signs, visited all of the East Bay shelters several times, put up lost cat notices on online neighborhood bulletin boards and visited the local vets. I'm still doing that, but I'm now also checking the local pet rescues, since one of them might have picked her up if she had been brought to a shelter shortly after she disappeared.

It's been less than a year since we lost her brother Bashir, who was struck and killed by a car. Now she is gone.

It is maddening. If she had been badly injured by a car or a wild animal, I suspect I would've found her body by now. She has a chip, so if she were brought to a shelter or a vet they should've been able to identify her. There we some recent incidences of coyotes killing cats in the area, but in all of those cases remains were found. Still, the possibility exists that she may have been killed by a wild animal or a car, and she was so badly mangled that she was never recovered. Or she may be in someone's home, someone who thought she was a stray, but in that case that someone should've seen the lost cat signs.

There is the possibility she was taken to a shelter, and maybe she has been adopted. I doubt she was quickly euthanized, unless she was badly hurt, but in those cases they should've found the chip. I've been told that there are incidences where a chipped animals was not identified with a scan because someone did a quick wave through and just didn't find it. But that's also unlikely.

The worst part of all of this is the not knowing. Has she gone over the Rainbow Bridge? Or is she curled up and purring in someone's lap? I just want to know. I hope and pray that someone else has her and that she's okay, getting fed and having a nice warm place to sleep. But even if that's not the case I still want to know what happened to her.

At this point I'm not optimistic. I am beginning to doubt that I'll ever find out, that she's probably gone for good. I have heard about lost cats coming back after weeks or months, or even years, but she never strayed far from the house.

I will still check in on the shelters, and I'll put up the last of the lost pet signs, even though some that were put up back in early August are still up. In the meantime, I will perform a ritual I had been putting off: I have her brother Bashir's ashes, and I have always been meaning to spread some of them in two of his favorite places: In the creek bed where he liked to hang out, and on the large tree stump not too far from there where he liked to survey his kingdom. I have not fully gotten over Bashir's loss. I even had a dream about him the other night. I was in the creek bed, and I could hear his distinctive meow, even though I couldn't see him. Now, with his sister gone, I believe it's finally time to go through with that ritual. Who knows? Maybe it will summon her return.

In any case, my upcoming Bashir ritual is also to say goodbye to Jadzia as as well as to him. She may yet still return, but just in case, I want to start to say goodbye so I can reconcile myself with the most likely outcome: That she is gone for good, and that she's never coming back.

This is a very Jadzia picture
of Jadzia. Always serious
and dignified

Jadzia and her brother Bashir.
Jadzia was never the same after
she lost her brother last year.
Mutter sagt ich bin...

How to Talk to a Woman Who is Commanding a Space Station capable of Destroying a Planet

These days, many women walk around playing with a Star Destroyer or coordinates to a wormhole and are often commanding a massive intergalactic space station that is capable of destroying a planet at the same time.

Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.

Of course, not all women are open to being approached because not all women are single and looking.

However, if a woman commanding a space station capable of destroying a planet is single and hoping to meet a boyfriend (or even a new lover), she will usually be happy to take her eyes off of the station's command center screen or leave stellar cartography to give you an opportunity to create a spark with her.

What to Do to Get Her Attention

1. Position your spaceship in front of her space station. (With 1,000 to 15,000 kilometers between you).

2. Have a confident, easy-going smile.

3. If she hasn’t already trained her station's sensors on you, simply get her attention with a static warp shell. Fluctuate your static warp shell in her direct line of station sensors or patrol ships so she can see it and say, “Hey, how’s it going?” She most likely won’t hear you say that, (In space no one can hear you say “Hey, how’s it going?”,) but it’s just a way of showing her that you’re trying to talk to her.

4. When she opens hailing frequencies and gives you her attention, smile, point to her exhaust ports and confidently ask, “Can you lower your shields for a minute?” as you lower your shields, so she fully understands what you mean.

If she doesn’t understand that you want her to briefly lower her shields, simply gesture that you want to talk to her by pointing back and forth at the numerous interstellar fighters that have undoubtedly been launched by now from the station. Say, “I want to talk to you for a minute.”

In most cases, you won’t have to go to that extreme because most women are polite, but some women are shy and will be hesitant about lowering their shields and deactivating station perimeter defenses initially.

Of course, if you notice that she doesn’t want to call off her fleet of Star Destroyers and doesn’t seem interested in talking to you at all, just respect that and try to calculate the coordinates for hyper speed without trying to talk to her any further.

5. When she opens a channel to talk to you, you might want to then do what we call “Acknowledging the Awkwardness” by quickly mentioning something about the potential awkwardness of the moment (see the conversation example below), to demonstrate you understand that a man and a woman talking to each other in this way isn’t the most common of experiences for either party.

For example, in an intergalactic corridor or near a highly localized distortion of the space-time conitinuum:

You: [Smile in a friendly, confident manner] :) Hey – I know it’s not normal for people to talk to someone commanding a space station the size of a small moon, but I was walking along and saw you and thought – wow, she’s hot, I have to come over and say hi. I’m Dan, what’s your name?

Woman: Sith Lord Jessica, Destroyer of Worlds.

You: [Add in some humor to get her smiling and create a spark between you] Cool…nice to meet you Jessica, Destroyer of Worlds. I don’t normally talk to girls with massive space stations with hundreds of thousands of storm troopers, but your big black helmet and skull emblem were just calling out to me.

Woman: [Possibly smiling or laughing or waving her hands to black clad security guards with blasters].

You: [If you’re in orbit of a class M planet or near Deep Space Nine, let her know that you have something else to do besides talk to her, so she understands that you’re not going to stand there scanning her station's defensive capabilities for 30 minutes] Anyway, I’m just out doing a bit of pergium mining at the moment. How about you?

If it’s clear that she’s interested in talking to you and has not locked onto your craft with a tractor beam, keep the conversation going and, if she’s not training the Concave Dish Composite Beam Superlaser at a hapless planet at that moment, transport over to her station and have a chat for a while before getting her sector coordinates and parting ways.
Thee Empress

Smacked in the Face by Fairy Wings: What I Learned at the Tinkerbell Running Festival

Earlier this month I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. Actually I did the Pixie Dust Challenge, which was the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. I was going to write a regular race report, as I usually do with big races, but I'm prompted to write this instead.

I am a "regular" race runner. I run on average three marathons a year, having run my first in 2009, and I've run so many half marathons, 10Ks, and 5Ks that I've literally lost count. I save all of my race bibs, and I've run out of medal hangers, yet again.

I knew about Disney races but wasn't really prompted to try one out until my friend Maire convinced me to try one out last year, when I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in 2015.

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