Monday, September 8, 2014

Star Wars Half Training: Week 1

With the Star Wars Half in mid January and me not running since April, I knew that getting my training schedule started early would be important so September 1st marked Day 1 of Half Marathon training for me. 


I actually had my running schedule booked into my Outlook calendar for several months now.  I planned ahead and took the time to schedule individual runs 3 days a week from September through January.  They are even specially color coded and contain lots of exclamation pointed reminders to get me motivated.


The First also marked my first day back to tracking seriously with Weight Watchers again.  For about the last year I have been half-assing it and tracking maybe 4 days a week (if at all).  My weight sucks right now, and I’m not happy about it.  I’m not in a bad place, and can get the weight back off easily, I just have to pay attention and work at it.  I’d like to be back to my “happy” weight in time for the half marathon, but I’m not going to stress on it too much.  I know when I amp up my training I will need more fuel to keep my body going so I can’t be full on “diet mode”.  I also don’t want the holidays and training to be an excuse to binge and eat all the things.  This week I made it 5 days of honest tracking….and then…well…I’ll explain later.


A lot of this training and the Half Marathon itself will be more mental for me than physical.  I’m very confident that my body will be able to take me across that finish line (as long as I take good care of it).  But it’s my mind that will be my biggest hurdle to overcome.  When I drew up my training calendar I did a lot of research and grabbed lots of other example schedules to work off of.  Many of them had the longest run being 10 or 11 miles prior to race day.  I didn’t like that.  I want to be able to know that my body can do a minimum of 13 miles before I set foot in California.  I also want to enjoy my time on the course too.  I’m paying a lot of money for this race, and I don’t want to be a miserable mess the entire time.  So I created my own training schedule and will run upwards of 13 miles several times prior to the official race.  I also don’t want to be self concious or unhappy with my body while running or posing for photos, so that’s another reason I want to drop some weight before the race too.  


So Monday I started with 3 miles (easy).  I told myself to go slow and just get into the groove of things.  I was also running in a brand new pair of shoes so I wanted to take it as easy as possible.  The husband tagged along for a bit on his bike which was nice.  The run was tough, but I got through it. 


Then Wednesday I had planned on spending 30 minutes on the elliptical but it was a beautiful sunny day so I opted to run instead.  Big mistake.  Huge.  I ran alone with my own thoughts to keep me company and spent the whole time just beating myself up.  I could feel my thighs rubbing together, I could see my muffin top in my shadow on the road in front of me, I felt people looking at me and judging me for how slow I was going.  It was just unhappy and uncomfortable.  I did almost 3.5 miles in over 40 minutes.  Back in April I was just about to break my record and run a 5k in under 30 min.  So yea, I beat myself up a lot over that.


Then the weekend hit and I had a bit of a mental breakdown and couldn’t get out of bed.  I tried. But I just couldn’t do it.  The husband had to physically drag me up and get me moving for our regularly scheduled “Date Night” on Saturday.  I barely made it.  I cried 3 times just trying to get dressed.  He took me to my favorite local brewery for dinner and beers followed by ice cream and that helped a little. (If you’re in the Portland area, you have to go to Salt & Straw for ice cream. It’s amazing. I can’t get enough.)  Sunday I didn’t even bother to try and run.  The husband didn’t event bother to make me. He could see I needed to hide from the world for anther day so brought me coffee in bed and let me be.  I’m still not back to myself yet, but I’m working on it.  Seriously people, dperession is real, and ugly, and hard. 


So today I will hit the pavement for 4 miles instead of the 3 that are planned to make up for the 4 that I didn’t do on Saturday.  Then Wednesday I will need to do 4 again.  I have plans to go to Seattle on Friday and Saturday so my long run of 5 miles will have to be done on Sunday.  Unless I get out of this slump and get super motivated, wake up at 6 AM on Friday, run 5 miles, shower, then get in my car before 8 to make it to Seattle by lunch time….we will see.  For now, this week is just about being gentle with myself which is easier said than done.


I’ve added a reminder to my calendar to write up quick recap posts for my training each week.  Mostly to keep myself accountable, but we will see how that goes.  We all know I suck at blogging on the regular.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Who's got team spirit? (Not me...)


A while back I got asked to join a kickball team with some people from work.  The timing was just perfect as kickball would start just a few weeks after my dragon boating ended.  I was looking for another activity to take up time and get me out of the house so I gladly signed up and sent off my $45 registration fee to join the team.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  It would be my first real team sport.  Plus, as an added bonus it would be a great opportunity for me to maybe get some actual friends.  In my head I pictured the team being all laughs and fun, with get-togethers after the games to celebrate our wins, lots of high-fives, cheering and team spirit.


Boy, was I wrong.



So very very wrong.



Prior to our first game the league sent everyone on the team our schedule and the handbook with all the rules. Of course, I read that thing cover to cover because rules are important and I knew very little about kickball to begin with.  I also added all the games to my work calendar so it was prioritized on my schedule.  I showed up early for the first game and was ready to rock.


But I was the only one…


Our “team captain” had never played the game before, didn’t read the handbook, had no idea how to organize players on the field or the kicking list and basically had no clue what she was doing.  She only started the team because it sounded like fun.  And I totally understand that, taking a risk and trying something new is awesome. But come on, do the research, figure it all out, and come prepared.  Especially when others are depending on you and financially invested in it.


So the whole season went along just like that first game.  We were scheduled for a total of 6 games. 2 games we didn’t have enough female players show up. 1 game we didn’t have enough male players. 1 game it rained and only 4 people showed up. The league requires a minimum of 4 males and 4 females to play a game.  We had 6 females on our team. Of those 6, I was the only one who showed up to all the games.  One person showed up 20 minutes late to half the games, one person only showed up to ONE game and annoyed everyone so much we were glad she didn’t come back.  The “team captain” missed 4 games and didn’t play in one of the games she showed up to due to a headache (or some stupid shit excuse…I can’t exactly remember but it pissed me off).


Our team was unorganized and just a mess.  The other girls on the team put forth no effort (except one who was also super disappointed in how things were going) so the boys had to work extra hard to compensate.  This really frustrated me because I wanted to participate and play hard, but the boys just assumed I was worthless and played like I was invisible.  Sure, I missed most of the fly balls that came at me, but I still tried to catch them.  Jumping front of me screaming “I’ve got it, get out of the way” is no way to play a game and be part of a team.  Sure we all want to win, but I’m also there to have fun and participate.  After a while I started to get snobby about it with side comments to the boys after then cut me out of a play.  “I was trying for that ball you know” or “You could have thrown it to me, I was right there”.  I spent most of the game just focused on keeping my sanity instead of enjoying myself.  


And the suckiest part about all of this is that we were actually pretty good!  For the games that people actually showed up, we won.  And our last game when we had just enough players to play with the minimum and the other team had like 15 people we slaughtered them.  


Yesterday was the first game of the semi-finals.  My team was in 5th place.  I didn’t go to the game.  Once again, not enough people showed and my team was forced to forfeit and lost. We are now out of the finals and are done for the season.  I missed the game out of stupid petty anger and no other reason.  I feel super guilty about it.  I could have gone to the game.  But I didn’t.  I felt inconvenienced by the last minute notification of the game itself and I wasn’t prepared for it.  The husband would have had to reorganize his day to not only bring me clothes to change into but he would have to drive me to and from the game as well. (The one time he drives me to work because he needs my car…I actually would have needed my car…jeez).


I’m trying to keep my sanity and not get all bent out of shape and never join a team again.  This team may have been a fluke, but who knows.  I already don’t like people enough as it is.  It feels like every time I try to branch out with human interaction I get burned.  Maybe the lesson here is in fact to continue to avoid humans.  I just don’t know. I’m also peeved about the money.  To others $45 may not be that much, but with my husband not working it’s a big deal to us.  When I put my money on the table that’s a big thing. The girl that only showed up for 1 game also paid the same amount…I guess to her money means nothing and you can just waste it by not showing up.  That’s not how I roll. I want to get my money’s worth. (Which is why I need to not be around buffets or open bars.)


Last week I was asked to join a softball team.  I looked at the schedule and I would miss 3 games due to my vacation schedule in August.  So I turned down the offer!  I wish everyone else did that too.  It would make me feel less like an ass-face for actually giving a shit.  And it would make others look less like ass-faces for NOT giving a shit.



But here is my advice for all of you:  When you sign up to do something ACTUALLY DO IT.  When you commit, be 110% committed. Don’t half ass your commitment when others are depending on you.


Sorry for all the Negative Nancy rambling…I needed to get that off my chest…



Monday, July 7, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

I realized today that it has been a really long time since I last posted.  I’m sure no one has noticed, but I feel like playing a bit of catch up anyway.


This is what has been going on the last few months:


·         I’m no longer taking the stairs every day.  Not because I am being lazy but because I changed positions within the company and moved to a different building that is only one level. My car is now spitting distance from my desk so my daily steps have dropped significantly. The change happened just over a month ago and I’m still trying to determine my new routine for this job so I haven’t figured out a way to add walking back into my working hours.

·         Back in early April I signed up to be on a Dragon Boat team. It was one of the greatest things I have ever done.  Those who follow me on Twitter got to hear the play by play of my practices 3 nights a week for 10 weeks followed by a long weekend of racing in early June.  It was hard on my body but worth every second.  I loved it.  My team did great coming in 3rd place in our division and 7th place overall.  I can’t wait until next April when practice starts again!

·         Just before Dragon Boat ended I was looking to find another activity to get out of the house and get my heart rate pumping so I signed up to be on a kick ball team with some coworkers. I regret it already.  Mostly because the people on my team lack commitment but also because I am terrible at kickball.  I’m trying though, and I guess that is what counts.  And unlike most of the people on my team I actually have shown up for every game.  It really frustrates me when people agree to do something, put money into it, and then don’t follow through. I showed up for a game in record breaking rainfall.  Only 4 other people did out of 15 on the team.

·         Speaking of team members that suck…My Portland to Coast team may be the death of me.  It’s like pulling teeth with them to get things accomplished.  I’m betting we either get disqualified or don’t race this year. Which sucks as it is already paid for and my mom is flying out for the race. I’ve been wanting to run the Hood to Coast relay version for several years now, so I’ve decided this will be my last year herding cats on a walking team.  7 years is enough…it’s time to move on.  (Shhhhh, don’t tell my team yet….)

·         I didn’t go to Fitbloggin this year and I sort of regret it.  But also sort of don’t.  I didn’t have the money to go, but I missed seeing my friends.  And I’ve gotten the impression that this year’s event wasn’t that great.  The sponsors were phenomenal from what I can tell though.  I’m toying with the idea of going next year when it’s in Denver.  We will see.  Depends on who else is going.

·         My 4-year Lifetime Anniversary with Weight Watchers is in just under 2 weeks.  I’m currently 5lbs over my goal weight and have been for quite some time. I’m not happy about it, and only half-assing my efforts to get back down to where I should be.  I feel gross. I’m working on getting back down to where I need to be and staying there, but it’s harder than it used to be for some reason and I just don’t know why.

·          I have a jam-packed summer, which I actually kind of like. Last week my very good friend came to visit me for a week.  Even though we talk every day we haven’t seen each other for 2 years so it was nice to be reunited.  And then in a few weeks another good friend I haven’t seen in a year is coming to town for a few days on “business” and has promised me a few evenings of her schedule. Then in August my mom and step dad will be in town most of the month and we are going to Disneyland for a few days.  (Where I plan to have beers with another friend I haven’t seen in a year).  And then in September I am going to Seattle to see yet another friend who I haven’t seen in a year too!

·         I signed up for a half marathon in Disney World in January!  I am super excited!  My mom will be racing with me as well.  A great mother/daughter weekend!  I need to get on a training plan as I haven’t run since…April?  Yikes!



I really need to make a better effort to blog more.  I enjoy it, but I get discouraged a lot due to lack of response.  I’m a super jealous person so when I see all my internet friends getting free crap from companies and lots of blog traffic I get all green with envy…but then I have to remind myself that I don’t really put as much attention into this silly little blog as they do.  I also have nothing interesting or original to say.  Sometimes I get great ideas on things I would like to write about, but then I don’t…because I suck. 





Thursday, January 23, 2014

Takin' the Stairs, like a Boss!

Back in April of last year I switched jobs within the same company and moved to a new building. In the previous building I was on the 2nd floor of a 3 story building. Now I am on the 6th floor of a 9 story building. When I first moved I was excited about the opportunity to take the stairs instead of the elevator to get in a little mor activity but I quickly learned that it was not an option for me to do so.

(It's cute how I say I wanted to take the stairs for "activity" that's totally a lie, I actually hate elevators. I don't like being that close to strangers. I also say I park in the back lot because it's a farther walk. That's a lie too. I'm terrified of parking garages.)

Last week one of my coworkers walked by huffing and puffing saying she had just taken the stairs and was out of breath. I made her immediately turn around and show me where and how she got into the stairwell. Another coworker overheard and tagged along because he was also interested in taking the staris! Next thing I know, they are online ordering Fitbits and I am drafting up a calendar to keep track of how oftern we take the stairs up and down!

I was on cloud nine that whole day. As many of you who follow me on Twitter know, I have don't have the best relationship with people I work with. I mean, my new team is NOTHING like The Bitches from my previous job, but I've never felt like I belonged.

Well, that was last week. On Monday of this week two other coworkers noticed what the three of us were doing and JOINED IN! Now all 5 of us are taking the stairs when we get in each morning, and any time we need something down stairs. What's even better is that when one of us is going down we say "Stairs?" and everyone (who is available) gets up and tags along!

My heart is so full right now for all the positivity and commradery. Who would have thought something so simple would bring us together? It is awesome.

And the best part? My thighs. It's been a week and I can already feel a difference. I had no idea that it would be so hard to walk up 6 flights of stairs (a total of 154 total stairs to be exact). I am winded by the 5th floor and struggle the last bit. Expecially in the morning when I am carrying my purse and lunch bag.

Also, just by adding the daily stairs I have increased my daily step count enough to reach my 5,000 goal every day this week! Usually I only get my goal on the weekends! (If you want to add me as a friend on Fitbit, my user name is SuperErizzle. I can't figure out how to add friends, so you have to add me.)

In my last post I talked about how small changes really do add up, and this is just more example of that! If you are struggling or having a hard time or feel overwhelmed by your goals, just do ONE thing different. Then do one more thing. And then one more.

Also, don't be afraid to talk about your journey with others. You never know who you will inspire or who will inspire you.

I haven't seen any difference on the scale yet, but that's not really what matters in the grand scheme of things.

And speaking of the scale...I'm above my goal weight again. Not by much, but by enough. I'm working hard to get it back down. I've tracked 100% for 2 weeks straight and that's the first time I have done that in...well...I can't even remember. The scale may not be showing a number I want right now, but I am SO happy with everything that I am doing. I'm taking yoga once a week, I'm back on a training schedule (15k, Baby!), I'm drinking 100oz of water a day, and I'm tracking honestly every day.

Oh, and I was thinking of finally taking the plunge and buying my own domain name and creating an actual real website for all my random blogging. If any of you readers know how to do that and are willing to help, please let me know. I feel really restricted in this current format and I would really like to grow this little blog a bit more.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Small Changes Really Add Up!

While eating dinner the other night my Mr. and I had the episode of Big Bang Theory on where they all buy the time machine. Randomly I said "If I had a time machine, I would go back 10 years just to tell you that not only would you eventually be married to someone this hot, but you would be eating a vegetables every night by choice. I bet you wouldn't believe me". He agreed. We discussed for quite a bit how different our eating habits are now from when we first got married. It really is unbelievable how far we have come in 7 years! And the most impressive part about all of them is that we keep it up. We enjoy the changes and look forward to making more.

What kind of changes have we made? Okay, well…to begin with we eat vegetables every night with dinner. Without fail. My vegetable-hating husband always picks. 5 years ago, if we ate veggies it was corn. Maybe green beans. And that’s it. I've always loved veggies but I never cooked them because Mr. didn't eat them. But when it became important to my lifestyle to have them, I started cooking them for myself, he would try them and most of the time he actually liked them! Now we eat broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, and asparagus pretty regularly and barely eat corn any more. Green beans will always be a family favorite though. And we buy fresh local, or frozen (preferably organic) veggies. I can't even remember the last time we bought canned veggies. Which is what we used to always eat. Just the idea of eating a canned vegetable grosses me out now. (I keep a few on hand though. In case of the apocalypse. Just enough to tide us over until we can plant/can our own after society collapses.)

Other things different about our diet now that have slowly changed over time:
1) Limited artificial sugars - no HFCS or aspartame. Splenda or Stevia only. (Cutting back on the Splenda where we can.)
2) No palm oil! (Save the orangutans!)
3) We eat breakfast. I started this when I got on Weight Watchers and then talked the husband into doing it too. We both really aren't morning eaters but with some trial and error we found what works. I have yogurt and fruit usually. He has a V8 and a "breakfast bar" (which is what everyone else calls a granola bar).
3) We make it from scratch instead of buying packaged if possible.
4) Buy local when possible. (And yes, we are willing to pay more for it.)
5) Fresh ground spices and spice mixes from a spice store. (They may be more $$ but they taste better and have less added crap like salt.)
6) Dropped from 2% milk to 1% milk 5 years ago when I started Weight Watchers. Last year we switched to organic milk. It tastes better and lasts longer. (Seriously, check the expiration date on organic vs. regular. It is actually a cost savings to buy organic if you don't use it quickly like us.)
7) Limited diet soda intake. I used to drink a minimum of 32oz a day. Now I have like 1 a week and never caffeinated. I have an addiction to sparkling water though. It's all about the bubbles! The Mr. is down to 1 can a day from 2 years ago when he was up to 4 a day. He wants to be 100% off it by the end of the year so we are currently looking for alternative caffeinated beverages for him. (He hates coffee and most teas).
8) We don't eat McDonald's. We used to go weekly. I would order 2 double cheeseburgers, a large frie, 9 piece chicken nuggets and a side of tartar sauce. For myself. Then when I started Weight Watchers I had to quit eating like that because of the Points. I only splurged on it maybe once a month for years. Then 2 years ago I found a left over double cheeseburger in the back of my fridge that had been there for so long I didn't even remember putting it in there. It did not rot or mold. It still looked like a double cheeseburger. But just hard as a rock. Haven't eaten there since. I find food that doesn't rot or mold to be revolting. (We still eat Taco Bell. I can't quit that shit. I know it's terrible. But tacos are life's blood. Shut up.)
9) We read labels. If it is full of chemicals we don't buy it. The shorter the ingredient list the better. (Also, the information on labels is also surprising! Did you know that the first ingredient in most coffee creamers is oil? Gross. Who wants oil in their coffee? Not me!)

But how did we do that? And how have we kept it going for so long?

We did it slowly over time. And we didn't do it all at once. One little change let to another. And those little changes really add up over time!

I honestly don't think that had we just said "Okay it is January 1st so no we no longer eat fast food and drink soda, and we only eat all organic diets from now on" we would have failed pretty quickly. Like probably 2 weeks due to Taco Bell.

Because these aren't "rules" but choices we make it's easier to keep making them. If we chose to buy or eat something that doesn’t fit our "norm" that's okay too. And we keep making adjustments and new changes too. I think in 5 more years our diet will be drastically different from what it is now too. Hopefully for the better!

I don't really know what my point is here, but I think it is this: Small changes really add up! Do one thing different and when that feels natural, do another thing. And so on!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I did a bad bad thing.

I have a confession to make. It's bad. Like really bad. I did a crash diet to lose 2 pounds so I would be under my Lifetime limit because my "free" membership was about to expire. I only ate fruit and veggies for 2 days straight. And as a last ditch effort, I chugged laxatives and water. And you know what.... didn't work. I was .8 over and had to pay the weekly fee. So it was all for nothing. I'm embarassed and ashamed. I should know better. I confessed this sin to 2 of my Weight Watcher friends yesterday just prior to my weigh in. One response was complete horror at what I was doing. The other response was in agreeance with my behaviour and a confession that she does the same sometimes. It was probably becasue I was so hungry at the time that my mind was clouded and I didn't immediatly slap us both in the face for being so hurtful to our bodies. It wasn't until after I over-indulged (but tracked)in some very delious ground turkey tacos with home made quacamole and a handful of Trader Joes' frosted gingermen cookies that it occured to me how unhealthy the conversation I had with that friend was. And that I not only need to do something about for her, but I need to stop this damn yo-yo I'm doing and be honest with myself. So here's my full confession: I have "free" Lifetime membership to Weight Watchers that lasts 8 weeks. For 7 weeks I track occasionally, work out rarely, and I don't go to meetings. Then, when my calendar alerts me that my subscription is about to expire, I crash diet. I take laxatives to "clean out" any excess junk from my guts so I will weigh less. I throw myself on the elliptical until I get all wobbly (mostly from lack of food). Then I get on the scale and hope for a pretty number so I can get renewed for 8 more weeks free. Regardless of what is on the scale that day I go home and binge becasue I'm starving. Where in the Hell did I get the idea that this was okay to do? At what point did I suddenly decide that laxatives were a good idea to save a few ounces on the scale? Laxatives are for consitpation. Not weight loss. And it is lying. Lying to yourself and the scale. Laxatives are not a "cleanse" or a "detox". They aren't going to help you get to your goal any faster. They are chemicals. And gross. People with eating disorders use them. We do NOT have an eating disorder. Like those last few little ounces of digesing food in my system really matter that much anyway. It's in there for a reason. And that reason is more important than a damn number on the scale. And besides, the binge that will occur less than an hour after stepping on the scale just counteracts every thing the laxative did. This cycle has to end. And it has to end NOW. I need to be (and here is the key) CONSISTANT. No more of this yo-yo bullshit. I know what needs to be done. I know how to do it. I'm just being lazy. Like super lazy. So, the plan moving forward is this: I will NOT wait until 8 weeks to get my shit in order. I will never again take laxatives to "clean out" my system. I will never again go without food as punishment. I will be honest with myself and treat myself kindly. I will not tolerate the same behaviour in my friends either. (So, friend, you know who you are...prepare for a lengthy's coming. I treat my self like crap and that needs to stop. I spout all the time how much I love myself, but if that is true, why am I treating myself so badly? Sure, I look great on the outside, but what kind of damage am I doing on the inside? I need a more whole-istic (is that a thing?) approach. I've been battling a major case of the sads the last few month...well, almost a year really...and I need to snap out of it. Maybe if I treated myself better, I would feel better. Plus, having a healthy functioning system of guts would probably benefit in some other ways too. No wonder my insides are "broken" and not doing what I want them to do. No wonder I am so damn sad and lazy all the time. I'm pretty enough on the outside, time to focus on the inside and clean that up a bit. This is the part where a lot of people after having a huge emotional epiphony in December would say "And that all starts in January as my New Year's Resolution". Well, no. That's not cool either. It has to start now. I'm signing up for a 15k in the next few days. And I already have a small training plan in place. I think I may change it up though. I've nvere run further than 7 miles in my life. My plan doesn't include a lot of long runs. I need to add more. It's tough because I leave the house in the AM when it is dark and don't get home until after dark. And my treadmill is stuck in the back corner of our storage unit. I only have my elliptical available to me right now. So the plan right now is to do 2-3 long elliptical sessions during the week and a long run outside on the weekends. We'll see how that pans out. I recruited my husband as my trainer. Not becasue he knows anything about running, but because he is good at making me do things when I dont' want to do them. (Like empty the dishwasher or clean the shower). So, in conclusion my dear internet friends, please be kind to your bodies. Don't be like me. Love yourself. Both inside and out. And if you could slap me when you see or hear me saying or doing things that are negative for my innerself, please slap my pretty outer self so I stop. I'd be happy to do the same for you if you need it. Weight Watchers works. Have faith. Don't do drugs. xoxo

Monday, September 30, 2013

And now for something completely different....iFMAR Wold Championship RC Car Races: A Spectator's Review

This isn't going to be one of my usual blog posts full of bullet points and whining about my life.  If that's what you're here for, you may want to skip this post and come back when I post something else hopefully soon.

Over the weekend my husband and I made a road trip down to Chico, California to see the iFMAR World Championship RC Car Races.  If you're anything like me, you will have NO idea what this event is, but to my husband it was a big freaking deal.

My very nerdy (and handsome) husband Damon, has been loving and racing RC cars since he was a kid.  On my last count he had around 200 different cars in various stages of completion scattered throughout our garage.  He has subscriptions to all the RC magazines, frequents all the websites, blogs, and chat rooms about RC racing, and follows most if not all of the professional RC racers.  So when he saw that the World Championship races would be held not terribly far from us, it was a quick and easy decision for us to drop everything and go.  (Apparently this race happens every 2 years, and is only in the US once every 8 years, so yea, it was a big deal that it was driving distance for us.)

I instantly got online and made hotel reservations at the only hotel not booked in Chico (and it was a crap hole).  I requested a day off of work so that we could leave early to drive down to California and get to the track in time to watch the full day of qualifying on Saturday.  We found a sitter for our dogs. Packed a cooler full of snacks and beverages and hit the road.

It was a LONG 8 hour drive South for us.  I hate road trips and I suffer from car sickness like whoa.  I did not enjoy the drive.  Damon drove the whole way, wide awake out of pure excitement.  We checked into the hotel at midnight, set the alarm for 7 AM, and crawled into bed.

The next morning (Saturday), Damon was up early, dressed and ready to go in no time.  We got to the track, picked up our free tickets and entries into the HUGE raffles the were having, and went straight to the grand stands so we could watch the beginning of the qualifying rounds.  I looked around, and my first impression was that it was a beautiful track.  Huge, well maintained, and top of the line.  My second impression? "Why are there not more people here?".  While Damon watched the qualifying rounds, pointing out to me who was who and what team and what products they raced, I looked around at the people.  Just about everyone I saw had on a neck tag signifying that they were a Guest, Driver, Supplier, etc.  Everyone.  I saw no one with out one.  I figured we were missing something, so I went to investigate.  All I found was a few food venders, a couple bounce houses for children, a small test track for children to try out different RC cars, and that was it.  No vendor tables, no information booth, no schedule of events, nothing.  We were blocked from the back area of the track were the racers had their tents where they prepped for the races.  That was no big deal, it made sense, they didn't need tons of spectators wandering around back there.  But man, it was busy back there.  Tons of people coming and going constantly.  Lots of activity.  I could tell that was where all the action was!

I went back to my seat on the nearly empty grand stands and watched the races as patiently as I could.  Eventually I got out my book and just read.  I can only watch cars drive in circles for so long before I go cross-eyed.  Damon didn't mind.  He knew I would be bored.  He wasn't at all though.  For the 11 hours we sat there he never took his eyes off the track.  Not for a second.  He was completely entranced.  Just blissfully happy.  It was a lovely day.  Beautiful sunshine and a nice breeze.  A nice gentleman in a "Staff" shirt walked by the stand occasionally asking if anyone had any questions about what was happening and sat for long periods of time talking to spectators.  Since Saturday was "family day" it got pretty busy in the late afternoon.  There was a big raffle where they gave away "$10,000 worth of prizes" that in theory was a great idea, but just upset me.  (Every person was handed ONE ticket on their way in as entry into the raffle.  So every person should have ONE raffle ticket in hand.  Nope, there were people with STACKS of tickets.  It was ridiculous.  The were obviously only there for the raffle as they only appeared when the drawing was about to start.  Luckily the family I saw who had the largest stack didn't win anything, but another family who had at least 30 tickets walked away with a $500 car which he proudly stated he was going to sell on eBay as soon as he got home.  I wanted to punch him. But I restrained myself.)  There was a fantastic fireworks show in the evening which was an unexpected treat for sure.

There were no tents or displays set up at all.  None of the teams had booths or anything where we could look at products, talk to people, or buy souvenirs.  The only displays I saw were for who broadcasted the entire race, and RC Car Action Magazine.  And both of those displays were terrible. had a tent with a TV in it showing what was streaming live on the website.  The tent stayed mostly empty.  The announcers stayed in their trailer.  The RC Car Action Magazine tent was simply a tent, with picnic tables underneath, and 3 boxes of the latest edition of the magazine sitting on the table.  No reps from the magazine.  An no one even bothered to take the magazines out of the boxes so they were displayed in a way that people understood they were free.

While we were sitting in the stands occasionally drivers or suppliers that Damon recognized would walk by and he would have a moment of total celebrity awe.  As happy as Damon was, I was highly disappointed in them.  First off, most of them smoked.  Like chimneys with no consideration for those around them.  It was gross.  Also, they hung out in their little cliques and didn't pay a lick of attention to the few scattered spectators that were there.  Especially the high profile racers.  Not once did I see ANY top ranked racer walk around and talk with people.  Sure, they were probably busy prepping and getting ready for their next race, but the lower qualified racers sure seemed to have the time to stand around and smoke and bet on the outcomes.  I would have paid money for my husband to get the chance to shake hands with or get an autograph from ANY of the racers.  Watching my husband point out racers and people who used to be top racers when he was a kid and the light in his eyes when he talked about how they inspired him or how much he looked up to them just put an ache in my heart because he was SO CLOSE to these people and yet, so damn far away.  While he was happy to just be in the same facility as them and to have the opportunity to watch them, I was disappointed for him.

I was hoping that the race finals on Sunday would at least be different for him.  We brought some of his magazines he wanted autographed and the free poster he received that clearly stated on the flier was for autographs in case we got the opportunity to meet any drivers.  We were the first spectators on the grand stands again.  The only people there without passes around our necks.  The only time the grand stands were full was when the high profile races were happening.  The moment they were over everyone cleared out and went to the back tents to work on their cars.  I found that very unsportsman like for the lower level racers who were not top qualifiers.  The final race on Sunday was fantastic.  Very action packed and enjoyable to watch.  Everyone cheered and clapped for each competitor.  It was a blast.  The second the winner crossed the finish line, he disappeared.  The crowd vanished behind the pits, and the grand stands were empty in minutes leaving my husband and I just standing there, utterly confused.  The announcer went silent, the crowd was gone, and the track was empty.  We stood around for a little while, I took a few pictures of him in front of the track and we packed up and started to head out.   That's when I noticed a gaggle of people standing just inside the "No spectators beyond this point" sign.  They were setting up for the award ceremony.  IN THE BACK!  HIDDEN FROM VIEW!  I wanted to cry for my husband.  He was SO upset and told me several times "let's just go".  I refused to leave.  He needed to see that, needed a last second chance to maybe, just MAYBE, meet SOMEONE, ANYONE who he looked up to in the RC industry.  We stood at that gate for nearly an hour.  (There was a medical emergency which caused a delay.  Prayers for the gentleman who was taken away in the ambulance.  I hope he is okay.)  Because of the crowd and our inability to get past the gate, we were able to see none of the trophies being handed out.  I got a few pictures of the winners with their trophies, but they are mostly blocked from view and at terrible angles.  After the press had their shots, the crowd dissipated, and everyone went to go pack their gear.

My husband and I walked back to the car.  I was disappointed for Damon to the point of tears.  Damon assures me that he is completely happy with the outcome of the weekend.  We left the track, headed to In & Out burger for lunch as we had both never been there before, then went back out onto the open road for a 12 hour drive home.  (Yea, 12 hours...the rain storm was killer.  We barely did 40 most of the way because of road conditions and visibility.  It was terrible.)

So anyway, here are my suggestions for improvement for future iFMAR events:

1) Schedule of events. - Post it somewhere, hand it out, something.  I saw people with badges had them.  It would have been nice to know as a spectator what the heck we were watching and when certain things were going to happen.
2) Supplier/Vendor tents - Something for people to stop by and ask questions about products, get information, maybe buy some souvenir t-shirts or meet drivers sponsored by that product.
3) Event souvenirs - we had to walk across the street and a block over to buy an event shirt.  It would have been nice to have a booth or something at the event location itself.  The hobby shop the hosted the event had the few souvenirs at their shop across the street.  My husband bought a T-shirt and a hoodie.  He hasn't taken either off since.  Such a devoted nerd.  ;)
4) Meet & Greet for drivers - I know they are busy, but have a tent, and a schedule, and put a few drivers out every once and a while to shake a few hands and sign autographs.  I think these guys can spare 20 minutes of their day for their fans.  (Obviously, they feel that they cannot or they would have...but the should and that's my point here.)
5) Girls - why the heck are there NO girl RC drivers?  LOL.  

Maybe I am a total jerk and wrong in my expectations of the event.  My husband is happy, so I should be too.  But I am not.  I wanted so much more for him (as I always do).  And beyond that, what about the few random kids that attended the event.  I wonder how disappointed they were.  They look up to those racers, just like my husband does.  Developing the passion in these kids early is what will keep them devoted to the hobby their whole lives.  I know my future child will be as devoted to the hobby as my husband is.  I look forward to them spending lots of quality time together building and racing cars.  He is looking forward to the opportunity to attend more RC events in the future.  Hopefully with our future kid and not with me, of course.  ;)

Oh, and if you look at any of the coverage of the race, I am easy to find in the stands.  On Saturday (qualifying races) I am in either a black & white striped tank top or a pink t-shirt.  On Sunday I was in a white hoodie or a pink hoodie just above the Swedish flag in the grand stands.

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