Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Santa Barbara Half Marathon

I naively signed up for Santa Barbara before even running the San Jose half. Ultimately I was glad that I signed up early because I may have talked myself out of it - not because I didn't love running in October, but because I was so tired by the whole experience. Santa Barbara was barely a month later, but the calls to Anna  and Maria had been made. We had paid the entrance fee, put down money on the vacation rental, and settled on travel plans. 

The race was on Saturday, November 10. This complicated things because I didn't want to miss work, so Seth and I left as soon as that final bell rang and made the drive to the central coast. Seth dropped me off at the darling beach house I was staying at with Anna's family and Maria close to 11pm. We unsuccessfully tried to sleep and were lacing up our shoes just after 5am so that we could line up for the busses that were supposed to get us to the starting line.
 The busses were hopelessly behind, so we stood in the freezing morning sunshine and took pictures. I think our feet look so tiny. Not quite sure how the proportions ended up this way. 
For it being so early and so cold, we look pretty happy. Lots of laughing and lots of people watching. 
 This amazing woman has three boys and a husband working towards a PhD at U.C. Riverside, and she still managed to fit in time to train. We've come a long way from our days running around the halls of our freshman dorm. 
This is the iconic Instagram of the day. 
Our lavish travel arrangements - Santa Barbara school busses. Oh so fancy. 
 Maria ran her heart out and finished much sooner than Anna and I, so Maria was able to snap this action shot of our final turn on the course with Gangam Style blaring every inch of the way. This half marathon was a good excuse for Anna and I to catch up without her cute boys climbing all over her. It was also was an incredible view of the ocean as we rounded a corner during the last couple miles. 
 Tired, starving (my two pre-run bananas just weren't cutting it), and happy.
It was Veteran's Day weekend so our course had these fine gentlemen clad in uniform hanging out at the end. 

The standout thing about this run is actually what happened after. While it was a great adventure to run with these two friends, it was Maria getting so sick on our bus back to the parking lot that left the more lasting impression. The poor girl threw up over and over again over the course of the hour after the race and was so weak that I drove her back to Los Angeles because I was nervous about her being alone on the road. I was sad to leave Anna, Justin, and her boys much earlier than planned, but glad that I had the ability to get Maria home. Besides my legs shaking like crazy while Maria and got stuck in traffic on the 101, we had a surprisingly good time just chatting and marveling about the fact that we had done two races in a month. We even mused about the possibility of a marathon and gushed over pictures of her new niece. I fell asleep before eight that night curled up on Maria's couch. 

Because Seth had continued on to Orange County after dropping me in Santa Barbara, he was able to come pick me up the next morning so that we could make the trek back home. Naturally we had to stop in San Luis Obispo (which we also did on the way down) for food and to drop off Seth's friend Jim. When we got back to the Bay Area, it was hard to tell what had just happened. SLO, SB, LA, and back to the Bay in 48 hours - not to mention the 13.1 miles run in the middle. Oh, the insanity!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half-Marathon - Post-Run

When Jenessa and I crossed the finish line, we knew were going to do the Jessica Ennis pose (see below). It was even better that Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was playing and the people on the sidelines (including my parents and Cameron) were cheering like crazy. Jenessa and I were practically in tears. Finishing that race was an accomplishment we had been talking about for a long time, and amazingly enough we had done it. 

The race itself was actually so much fun. Maria had left us after mile one, since she was much better conditioned than Jenessa and I and had a chance for a great finish time. Being that it was a "Rock 'n' Roll" race, there were bands playing at every mile, not to mention high school pep bands and cheerleaders spread out along the way. These distractions and the random Gatorade stations were a major help. Without question though, having Jenessa by my side is the reason I made it through the race. She persevered through an injury to finish, never complaining even though she literally went down at mile ten in excruciating pain. Like I mentioned in my last post, people called us Double Mint twins along the way and others pointed saying audibly, "Oh my gosh, they're twins!" Yes, my sister, who is ten years my junior, and I were twins for a day. Couldn't ask for a better person to be my other half. 

Seth drew this picture of Jenessa and I crossing the finish line. I just recently hung up a copy of it in my classroom to (cue the cheesy music) remind me of what's possible when you have a goal and put in the work to make a dream a reality.  
The live-action photo that Seth's drawing comes from.

Our Jessica Ennis picture - you can tell we didn't buy the picture because the proof is a little bit scary, but it makes us oh, so happy.
Ice, Jamba, Gatorade, Sweat, and Tears
We found Maria and naturally had to take more pictures. I am so glad that Maria flew in from LA to run this race with us. Seems fitting to run with two of the most important people in my life. 
Not the most glamourous picture, but our mom looks great. 
I love the design of our finishers' medals. Very retro (if the 80s can be retro).
Our driver, artist, photographer, and moral support - not to mention distracting humorist. Seth's teasing about my pain after the race kept me laughing so much that I didn't focus on the fact that it got harder to move with each progressive minute. Oh the joys of running 13.1 miles. 
This is the Instagram that Jenessa posted after our event. I look at it all the time, in awe of the fact that we set a goal and actually accomplished it. Running has changed my outlook on so many things, myself included. It sounds a bit cliche to say that a single morning in October changed my life, but that morning and process of getting there really did. 

I took most of December and all of January off from running because of illness, cold (hello thirty degree temperatures in California, what is going on?!), and work chaos, and I have missed it so much. Starting next Tuesday, I'll be back. See you on the trail, and as always, happy running!

Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half-Marathon - Pre-Run

It has been months, but it's absolutely essential to document the Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon that Jenessa, Maria, and I ran on October 7th of last year. Becoming a runner was one of the highlights of last year, and this particular run helped solidify in our minds that this was not a "one and done" type of event. Once a runner, always a runner. 
 Early on Saturday morning, the girls and I trekked to San Jose Health Expo to pick up our race packets. This picture reminded  me of Jem and the Rockers - couldn't resist the photo op.
 No idea why we made Ness be documents with the Nesquik bunny, except that chocolate milk is delicious - even at twenty-nine and nineteen, respectively.
 We were trying to document our Lululemon purchases without smiling with these funny looking bags. This was what we came up with. I think our hunger was getting in the way of successful posing ideas. 
 The shirts are obviously what was in the Lulemon bags. We decided that for our first race, we wanted to be matchy-matchy. All throughout the course, people called Jenessa and I the Double Mint twins. 
 This race was in lieu of our normal J2 Walkathon - the motto is j-walk or die, and on a thirteen mile race course, we did all sorts of j-walking (j-running??). Successful event to be sure--
It was Tracy's idea that she and I do this race back during December 2011. Unfortunately, she and David ended up having a scheduling conflict, but had to give her a shout out for inspiring us with the idea in the first place. 
 I ended up moving from the 14th corral up to the 9th to leave the gates with Maria and Jenessa. Even still this is the tag that I am thrilled to have hanging on my wall at school.
Months later my face breaks into a full grin seeing these pictures.
Seth was nice enough to wake up way too early to drive the three of us down to San Jose, so we wouldn't have to park a car or worry about having shaking legs while driving back. He also brought his camera and helped document the madness.
Off we go. See you in 13.1 miles!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Word Obession

As you know, I am obsessed with quotes - quotes about books, quotes about boys, quotes about love, life, and the blissful mess it all can be. Here are a few that I've been musing on lately.

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. --John Green
(I love John Green, and I love this quote. It's perfect.)

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice. --
T.S. Eliot
(I read this on New Year's Day and have been trying to determine what I want 2013's voice to be ever since.)

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. --Henry Miller

Words were not given to man in order to conceal his thoughts  --Jose Saramago
(I am trying to be more transparent with my thoughts. It doesn't make a hard situation easier not to talk things through.)

Grammar is a piano I play by ear.  --Joan Didion
(Case in point for why teaching grammar is hard. You can just hear when things are right. In Didion's case, her playing is epically beautiful.)

My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of [bodice ripping] if you're lucky.  --Alan Moore
(This is a bit saucy, but I like the sentiment...and yes, I edited the original.)

Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.  --Zig Ziglar

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. --Ben Franklin

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. --J.K. Rowling

The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. --Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(I just love this because it's so profoundly true.)

There you have it - something to think about. Love you tons!

Monday, January 21, 2013

just thought you should know

The real reason I am catching up on my posts is that Jenessa is halfway across the world studying for the semester in Jerusalem. She requested the updates, and since I want her to keep me posted, I promised to do the same. You should check out her updates aptly called "Come Away With Me". Her days are never boring and her pictures are fantastic. The only thing that would make her blog better is if I were in the pictures with her. Happy reading!

TV Land

Wintertime means more television because when it is cold, I want to curl up with a blanket in front of a fire. Throw in that winter means more intense days at school, and disappearing into a good show can make a rough day a bit less dramatic. So greetings from TV Land - here's what I'm into lately.....

Next Iron Chef: Redemption
I know the Food Network doesn't captivate some of you the way it captivates me, but I loved this season of the Next Iron Chef. Maybe it's because I know more of the chefs or because I'm getting more adventurous in the kitchen. I watched this show every week - more so than even Grey's (which you know I love - hello, Owen and Cristina?!?). If you have even a vague inclination towards the culinary world, check this one out. 

I love Claire Danes - from My So-Called Life to now, she has been fantastic. I love her style and the way that she can melt into her characters in a way that you forget what other roles she's had. Homeland is no different. Playing a bi-polar CIA agent, Danes manages to make you believe in terrorist threats, real or contrived. Managing to be both brilliant and vulnerable simultaneously, I found myself holding my breath during the show unable anticipate whether Danes' character Carrie was on the right track of an American prisoner of war who she believed had been turned into an agent for a terrorist. All that said, this show has a high "sketch factor" and should not be viewed anywhere near kiddies. Still, I cannot wait to track down season two.

Downton Abbey
You knew I couldn't resist a shameless plug for Masterpiece's most recent season of Downton Abbey. Even with its melodramatic flares, I find myself drawn into these characters once again. Only three episodes in, I can't tell where exactly we're headed, but I love that Sybil is at home, that Mary and Matthew finally are together, and that there is the possibility that Bates and Anna might find their way back to each other. 

Like I said, wintertime means a bit more television, but when there options as good as this, I may be staying in a bit more than I should come warmer weather. Happy watching!

Gone Girl

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hesitated to review this book because I was so blown away by it. Even now, six weeks later, I can’t tell you if I loved it or if I hated it. Either way, I was compelled forward, almost against my will, to finish it. Flynn creates loathsome characters, but they are so vivid that you almost feel that you are sitting there listening to them speak. Her characters’ voices are distinctive, clever, and alarming in a way that I have not experienced before.  Perhaps the topic of a broken marriages, manipulation, murder, and betrayal are not for me, but I am glad to know for myself what the hype is about Gone Girl.

Like I said, I’m not sure if I loved it or hated it, but the writing is masterful. This book, however, is not for the faint of heart. The characters are vulgar, profane, and absolutely hateful. The plot twists, while occasionally genius, are disturbing, so it’s totally your call if you have the stomach for it.

Ps. The detail of Amy’s parents basing a whole book series on her was fantastic. Loved it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

white out

You know you haven't posted much when non-regular blog readers start putting in requests for posts. I'm getting there. Be on the lookout for a few post-dated December ones that will get "published" - the list of what's to come includes reviews of Gone Girl, All Quiet, Romeo & Juliet, Iron Chef Redemption, Les Miserables and a few randoms like the half-marathons, Stanley Tucci, disillusionment, fear of conversation, old magazines (cleaning), Tahoe, holidays, Homeland, toffee perfection, airy jeans, project, separation anxiety, etc., etc....soon(ish)...I promise.