Friday, April 30, 2010

The countdown has begun

This afternoon I picked up my packet at Fleet Feet for tomorrows race. I didn't know what I was getting in this packet besides the bib. I was told the packets would be ready for pick up from 3pm to 6pm today.

Earlier in the day I called my friend, Leslie, who will be running the 10K tower challenge with her husband. She's been running this race for years and runs races regularly. She was also one of my coaches when I originally started running back in 2005. She is incredible and had great advise. I've been very nervous and she was able to calm me down. I will meet her tomorrow morning and she will help me warm up and get ready.

So, I got to FF after 3pm and they had a table outside with several people just standing around. No one greeted me or said anything as I walked up so I said hi to one of the girls standing there. None of these people were too helpful and they all seemed a little confused. The girl couldn't find my name at first--she had to be told to check the next page. The guy next to her found my bib and then asked me what size t-shirt and handed it all to me along with 4 safety pins. I asked if there were anything else....of the 6+ people standing there, not ONE made eye contact with me the whole time I was there. I just stood there for a second waiting for a response, then getting none, started to turn and walk away. That's when the guy said, "Oh, yeah, you need to sign this and write down your bib#." While I did that I, again, asked if there was anything else I needed. Again, I received no response and no eye contact. So, I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.
Not making me feel very confident but this is the 7th annual race so tomorrow should be okay. We'll see......

The "packet" consisted of the t-shirt, bib, and safety pins. But, if I turn my bib back in to FF tomorrow after the race I'll get a hat and be in a drawing for a gift card for some merchandise, I think.

Well, I want to get a good nights rest because I need to be up very very early. I still need to eat dinner. Just making something simple: small piece of baked chicken and asparagus with a little bit of whole grain pasta. I eat this a lot and it doesn't upset my stomach!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Making a life change to run a 5K

In two days I will run in my first 5K. I started training for it in 2005/2006. For different reasons (work, injury, out of town, etc) I never followed through and completed this goal.

Even though my reasons over the years for not running the races were, or just sounded, legitimate, in reality, I took the easy way out (except when I broke my arm). Why would I do that when I had spent time training? I'll get to that later.

At the beginning of 2010 I decided to make this a year of change & accomplishing things. First I had to come to terms with my past. I needed to figure out how I got to where I am in my life and what I needed to do in order to change the course to get where I actually wanted to go. This can be an ugly and humiliating process, but one I really needed to go through if I was serious about changing my life.

As I went back over the past, one glaring thing kept standing out to me: I never follow through with anything. I can make all kinds of excuses but I finally figured out the reason and it's very simple: I was afraid. Afraid of success and of failure.

If I don't do anything I can't fail, right? And, by not pushing myself no one can expect more from me, thus my fear of success. Twisted? Yes, it is. Unfortunately, it's been my way of life for far too long. And, truthfully, it hasn't been a successful way to live.

Basically, I have always taken the path of least resistance, never pushing myself. I always told, & convinced, myself that I was doing my best and when I didn't follow through with something I always had an excuse. I can now admit it and own it. Now, it's time to move on....

I'm not going to lie, but right after I turned in the entry form and paid the fee for this race, I thought of a million excuses to get out of it. Really! But this time is different because I am aware and will not allow myself to drop out.

So, here I am, just a couple of days away from completing the first of many goals. Am I excited? Yes. Am I nervous? Yes, very. Am I anxious? Definitely.

This week I am trying to keep myself balanced both physically and mentally so that I'm ready for Saturday. I know it's not a long & arduous race, but for me this is a big deal! Since I don't like the unknown I have tried to prepare and learn as much as I can. I'd like to think I've covered everything I need to know so there won't be any surprises, which includes going out to the course so I know what to expect. Yes, I hate to admit the fact that I am a control freak, but there it is.

I haven't yet gone out to see the course for one reason: Sometimes surprises are a good thing. I was planning on going out there but decided yesterday to let it go and just enjoy the run and have fun.

I have been a fan of the Biggest Loser since it premiered in October 2004. It's ironic that this weeks episode had the contestants going to Texas to run in a 5K. They also had to motivate people to come out to support, and run in, the race. For me it was very inspirational and couldn't have come at a better time! It put me in the right frame of mind for the rest of the week.

Okay....I have been training for this since October 2005. But, in reality, for this particular race, it's been 2 1/2 months. It's almost here and I'm very excited (also nervous & anxious). I know I can do this and can't wait to get to the starting line.....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Premiere of The Hills/The City

Well, I watched the season premieres of both The Hills and The City. Neither one disappointed. My thoughts on each show:

I was confused as to why they "hid" Heidi Montag's face in the opening scenes since she was on the cover of People Magazine after she had the surgery--the new look was not a surprise. However, I have to say there was a big difference between seeing her pictures in a magazine and seeing her "live" on TV. To be truthful.....once she started talking, her new look was quite shocking. She really does look like a completely different girl and that isn't a complement. Her face looked rubbery and she couldn't really move it. Watching her try to eat was painful to see....and apparently painful for her to do. I totally feel for her mother. I don't have kids, but I can only imagine what she must be thinking & going through. Even her sister looked distraught.

As for the other girls, Audrina Patridge looks like she had her lips plumped some more. After watching all of the seasons it looks like she plumped them a little bit last season and this year they look even bigger. No she doesn't have big lips now, but she had a very very thin upper lip originally and now it's fuller.

Seeing Lo Bosworth confused me. She's friends with Lauren Conrad, who is no longer on the show. Why is she still on since she really has no ties to anyone else!? She doesn't bring anything interesting to the show, so why is she there??

Kristin Cavallari is still Kristin...doing her own thing. I'm a little confused as to why the girls confronted her w/drug & alcohol accusations just because she didn't return their calls/texts? Is there more to that story that they didn't broadcast, or is it just scripted in to add more interest? I don't feel that is a subject to joke about as that can ruin someones reputation! And to be accused of having a drug/alcohol problem because she's lost weight or that her legs are "too skinny"....huh?? She doesn't look any thinner than last season, so I don't really know what that was all about??

Well, can't wait for the season to unfold.....that would be great if they could get Lauren to come back for the last few shows. I'd like to see what would happen if she and Kristin came face to face again......

As for The City, I enjoyed it more than the first season. I like the Olivia v Erin "feud". It'll be interesting to see what happens.

As for Whitney, her show went well, although why is Roxy still there? She seems a little flaky to me, but that's just my opinion!

Also, love seeing Kelly Cutrone. I didn't get her too much the first season, but since watching the old Hills episodes when she was introduced and then becoming totally addicted to HER reality show Kell On Earth on the Bravo channel, I have come to really like and enjoy her!! I loved that she was so supportive of Whitney and really wanted her to savor that moment.

Again, can't wait until next week's episode!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Hills and The City

I have definitely become a "reality show whore" (for lack of a better term). I just started watching The Hills last season when Kristin Cavallari came on. Never saw Laguna Beach or The Hills when Lauren Conrad was on.

Since I hadn't seen previous seasons of the show I wasn't familiar with the people on both The Hills and The City.

I enjoyed watching The Hills because of Kristin. I had heard that people didn't like her and I couldn't figure out why. I like the fact that she lives her life and isn't defined by a guy. In my opinion, more girls/women should be like that--they'd probably be much happier, instead of letting some guy manipulate and use them!

I didn't care for The City that first season because, again, I hadn't seen The Hills when Whitney Port was on and wasn't familiar with anyone on the show. However, I did keep watching each week.

Well, thanks to KRON channel 4, which re-broadcasts The Hills and, more currently, Laguna Beach I have been able to get caught up on all of these people. Now, a lot more makes sense to me....but I still like Kristin...."the man-eater"! lol

I didn't realize until late afternoon on Saturday that there was a weekend marathon for The Hills on MTV getting ready for the 6th and final season. Watching them right after the other is a lot different then waiting a day or a week to see the next episode.

While watching the marathon a thought came to me. Even though it's a scripted reality show and mostly fluff....I realized that it does have a purpose of sorts. We didn't have shows like this when I was in my early 20's, which is where these girls are now. This show, with all of its ridiculousness, made me think of where I was at their age. Maybe because I am older and "have lived a little", as they say, I have a different perspective than someone that age and I can appreciate this show for what it is, or could be.

The girls are trying to find their way in this crazy world, both personally and professionally. I think it is inspiring to see them going after dreams (even scripted ones). Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail--that's real life! Girls can be inspired to go after their own dreams by watching both of these shows, if they wade through the fluff stuff....

I have been happily anticipating the new season for both shows and am excited that the premieres are tonight.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One week to go.....

Last week I signed up for my very first 5K race. It's next Saturday, May 1st, and I am getting more nervous as the day creeps closer.

I have been training per my schedule and am feeling pretty good. I'm currently running 2 minutes/walking 3 minutes x 9 rep's. I was going to increase it this week to stay on schedule (2 min each run/walk X 10 reps)but may stay where I am until after the race--we'll see how I feel.

During my run/walk the other day I went for 3 miles and my time was 45:33. My longest run this month has been 3.4 miles so I know I will be fine.

I've read so many books & magazines. They all say to not worry about time for my first race, that I should only be concerned with finishing. I do understand that--logically--however, my competitive side jumps in and wants to have the best time in my age group. (who am I kidding?! I would love to win it--but, in my dreams!)

I'm only going to run twice this week, but I will include cross training: strength training and yoga. I have to make sure I take care of my calf muscles. They tend to get tight and that will cause injuries that I do not want or need.

Today I went for my run...but it was still 82 degrees outside at 5:00pm. So I ended up only doing 2 miles and did a walk/run as usual but didn't time anything. I had my ipod and just ran then walked when I thought I should. I ended up doing that 2 miles in 30 minutes exactly.

Sex and The City 2

I am a huge Sex and the City fan and was very excited when the highly anticipated movie was finally released in May 2008. A group of us from work pre-purchased our tickets for opening night. We were not disappointed!! I enjoyed the movie so much I saw it several more times.

In fact, a few months later I went to England and on my 10 hour non-stop (each way) flight SATC was one of the many film choices. I watched it over and over again on both flights. yes, seriously!!

I cannot wait for the May 28, 2010 release of Sex and The City 2. and, yes, I will be there on opening night.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating Ben Franklins Birthday--2006

In September 2005 I read an article in the SF Chronicle about Philadelphia, PA preparing to celebrate Ben Franklin's 300th Birthday in 2006. Having been a history major this was of interest to me. For the next few months I mulled over the idea of going to Philly and joining the festivities in celebrating one of America's greatest citizens.

Finally in mid-January 2006 I decided that I would, indeed, fly out to celebrate. And, what better month to go than the week of my own birthday in April! So, I did some research and finally booked my trip.

Can you believe I got roundtrip airfare through Southwest (non-stop) from Oakland to Philadelphia for $226.00??? My tickets to Las Vegas, NV cost more than that--seriously! Since I got such a deal on my airfare, I splurged on my hotel. I stayed at the Sheraton Society Hill.

The morning of my flight I had a terrible sinus headache which resulted in my vomiting before I left for the airport. Yes, I know, TMI (too much info). I was afraid I may be too sick to board the plane. My parents drove me to the airport while I slept in the backseat. Luckily, by the time I arrived at the airport I felt a little better. I slept for most of the flight and felt almost human by the time I reached my destination.

I left a rainy California and arrived in a rainy Philadelphia. So, because of the weather & the fact that I wasn't feeling my best, I decided to change my plans and just take it easy for the rest of that first day. I unpacked and than ate dinner at the hotel's restaurant The Wooden Nickel Steakhouse. Yes, I had a NY Steak and a couple of drinks (my drink of choice was Malibu Bay Breeze). It was my birthday dinner to myself--haha

I remember being incredibly excited to be in Philadelphia and anxious to start my exploration of this great city. So I went to bed early so I would be well rested for my first full day of being a tourist!

I started the next day walking to the Independence Visitor Center to get my pre-purchased ticket to Independence Hall. After I picked up the ticket for later in the morning, I walked over to the building which housed the Liberty Bell. You have to go through security before they will let you in to see it up close. Amazing that anyone would want to do anything to this symbol of freedom, but I guess nothing should shock us anymore...

I wasn't prepared to feel so patriotic standing before this big Bell. I've seen it in pictures many many times, but somehow it wasn't the same as standing right in front of it! Afterward, I moved on to Independence Hall (including the old City Hall, the Great Essential Exhibit, & Congress Hall) for my tour. I can't really put into words how it felt to stand in the same room as some of the greatest Americans who have ever lived. I can only speak for myself....but I felt honored and incredibly proud to be an American!!

After the tour, I decided to have lunch and went to the Bourse and had a ham & cheese hoagie (yummy). Then I was off to the National Constitution Center to see the Franklin Exhibit...which was the original basis for me coming to Philadelphia! I spent so much time in this exhibit, I ran out of time and didn't get to visit the rest of the Center. Well, a good reason for another visit!

The morning was cold & windy but by the afternoon the weather had cleared up. It was a good time to do some walking around. Luckily most everything historical was close so no public transportation was needed. I walked by & through several historical sites before arriving at the Betsy Ross house. I did the tour--which I enjoyed. Later in the afternoon I found a Starbucks where I sat and enjoyed a hot beverage & pastry before continuing on.

I visited the National Liberty Museum which should be a mandatory place for all to see. It has to do with freedom all around the world. The very last thing I saw at the museum was a short (and silent) film about 9/11/01. It showed both planes crashing into the twin towers and all of the aftermath. WOW---is all I can say. Even though almost 5 years had passed since 9/11, it was still the most powerful thing I had ever seen! A small group of us stood there and watched it. We were all moved to tears.

I visited Washington Square and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And, being half Irish, I had to go see the Irish Memorial! I had a fabulous dinner at the City Tavern, which was right across the way from my hotel. I had prime rib, which was delicious and HUGE! What I love most about vacations is not feeling guilty about anything I eat or drink because I end up walking so much, I never worry about gaining weight!! Oh, yes, of course I had a Philly cheesesteak--twice!! What can I say but yes it was most delicious!

The only time I took public transportation was when I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was able to see the steps Rocky Balboa ran up in the movie Rocky. And, no, I didn't try to run up the steps! I love art museums and this one didn't disappoint, although I do wish I had gone to one of the other museums in town. Oh, well, another trip, perhaps?!

I guess I didn't look like a tourist because people stopped me to ask for directions. I think I should take that as a compliment! Because of my thorough research before going anywhere, I am never seen with a map or tourbook (don't worry, they're hidden in my purse, just in case) & I always look like I know where I'm going. Being familiar with street patterns, street names, & landmarks help, fyi.

I met lots of people on my trip so even though I was traveling alone, I was never lonely (a big difference!). I met a lady at Independence Hall who was from Seattle WA & there on a business trip. She asked if I was there on business like her and I answered no, just for vacation. She asked if I was traveling alone and I answered yes. She told me she was impressed that I could do that as she "could never do it alone". Funny, I used to think that. Now, I enjoy it!

I actually did a lot of sightseeing in this beautiful city but somehow I didn't take too many pictures. So much of what I saw was very moving and had deep meaning for me. I was caught up in the moment & wasn't thinking about my camera. Besides, there was just so much to absorb it couldn't really be captured in pictures. It's something you have to experience individually and in person.

If you ever get the chance, please visit this fabulous City of Brotherly Love--I highly recommend it!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My California Road Trip-July 2005

I've wanted to travel my whole life. As an adult, I haven't had many opportunities to go anywhere. So, after my divorce in 2005, I decided it was time to hit the road and start traveling like I always dreamed of.

My first trip was decided, planned, & booked within 10 days of my leaving. A friend of mine told me traveling solo was an empowering experience, so I figured, why not?! My reason for choosing a road trip for my first solo adventure was simple: I would be in my own car & feel less intimidated traveling in familiar transportation.

I chose my route based on places in California I've always wanted to go, or places I've been & loved (like Disneyland). I was meticulous in my research and mapping of this route. I say that because there were detours along my trip & I never felt lost or flustered because I had studied my maps.(this is one of the reasons I dislike, & refuse to us,e GPS!)

My trip started by driving to, & over, the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought this would be cool, forgetting how much I hated going over bridges due to my fear of heights!! Nice time to remember--as I'm driving OVER the bridge!! Anyway, I continued down Hwy 101 until I got to my first destination...San Simeon. I did stop in Galt at the outlets--boy, is that place huge!!

I've wanted to see Hearst Castle since I was a little girl. I have to say that it didn't disappoint. It is an incredibly beautiful place! I only went on the first tour, but wish I had scheduled more time here & taken at least one other tour. Even today, 4 1/2 yrs later, all I have to do is close my eyes & I am transported back to the mansion, standing on the beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean. Breathtaking!!

I also wanted to stay at a Bed & Breakfast, so I stayed in Cambria at the Ollalieberry Inn. It is a fabulous B&B and I stayed in the Angels Nook room in the adjoining building. The food they provided was fresh & fabulous and the staff was awesome!! I met some lovely couples from around the country who all made me feel like a part of the group. It was heaven and, again, I wish I had been able to stay longer.

The route for my trip was Hwy 101, part of which was along the coast. Once in a while I would just stop at places that piqued my interest. I didn't really stop as many times as I would have liked. But then, I would have never gotten to my next destination .....Disneyland!!

Since I was traveling solo I decided, for my safety, to stay at the Disneyland Hotel since it was on-site. Also, I've always wanted to stay there. I've never felt safer anywhere! The staff was fabulous and I had the best time doing all of the things I wanted to do. I met Mickey and Minnie Mouse, went on rides, saw shows, etc. It was a fun and relaxing time!!

After a couple of days, I continued my journey to San Diego. Along the way I stopped at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I had the best time going on a "safari-like" trip around the park seeing all of the different animals. Again, having never been, I didn't allot enough time & wished I could stay longer, but I needed to be on my way to San Diego.

I got to my hotel, Humphrey's Half Moon Inn & Suites, located on Shelter Island. I had a beautiful view of the Bay. I was there for a few days so I was able to sit & relax on my deck & enjoy the view. Also this hotel included a concert hall behind my room, so when I was in my room at night I could hear any concert going on: including Clay Walker (a country singer--I'm not familiar w/him since I'm not a country music lover), and Ladysmith Black Mambazo/Richard Thompson.

During my stay I went to: SeaWorld--FANTASTIC! I saw all of the shows & got drenched at the Shamu Adventure; San Diego Zoo--I love zoo's. My favorite was the Koala bear exhibit. Koala's have always been my favorite animal, so needless to say, I spent a lot of time here. Unfortunately, I got lost in the zoo & it took me forever to get "unlost" so didn't get to see all of Balboa Park after I left the zoo; Old Town San Diego--I love history so this was right up my alley. I spent a lovely afternoon here & had lunch at the Cosmopolitan restaurant; San Diego Mission--again, I love history, so tried to see some of the missions on my journey. It was beautiful & peaceful!

On my return trip I drove up to Santa Barbara. I traveled from San Diego to Santa Barbara on a Sunday, mistakenly thinking it would be a nice drive. Yeah, that is if you like bumper to bumper traffic! It ended up taking me over 6 hours to make the drive & because of the traffic I did not stop along the way. I had been drinking a lot of water so, let's just say, I was never so happy to get to a destination!

Unfortunately, my happiness was short-lived when I got to my hotel. I stayed at the Mason Beach Inn, which AAA (in my opinion, mistakenly) gave 3 diamonds. I was afraid to leave my room at night, so I didn't partake in any nighttime endeavors. I locked myself in my room, barely sleeping that night, and checked out the next morning! After I found a Starbucks, I did a little sightseeing around Downtown Santa Barbara & the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

My next stop was Solvang--a quaint Danish town in the Santa Ynez Mountains. I was there the day after Sandra Bullock & Jesse James got married in the area. If you ever go to Solvang, Mortenson's Bakery is a must! The pastries are to die for!! Thinking about that place makes me smile. Since I was "right around the corner", I stopped by Mission Santa Ines--what can say? I love missions.

My next stop was Pismo Beach. I walked along the shore for a long time. It was a beautiful day & I just relaxed and enjoyed the moment. I walked around the town for a bit, shopping along the way, got a bite to eat and continued my journey.

My next stop was San Luis Obispo. I hadn't been there since I was a little girl visiting my grandma. I was trying to find the San Luis Obispo Mission--however, I didn't pay much attention because I drove right past it--twice!! Who would have thought the mission would be in the center of town?? By the time I realized I was there...the mission was closed.

On my last day, driving home, I stopped at the Mission San Miguel. It was closed due to renovation, but I walked around a bit anyway and took some pictures.

As I was getting closer to home, the dark clouds were coming. Wait, it's in the middle of July, how can there be dark clouds and rain!? Luckily it didn't matter as my first solo journey was over & I was home safe.

On reflection my friend was right. Solo travel is empowering. I got to go where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go, & if I decided to change my mind about something, I did, without worrying about anyone else. I met a lot of nice friendly people along the way & I had the best time! Whenever I recall this journey, it brings a huge smile to my face.

Training for a 5K

I have tried to train & run in a 5K for a very long time. More specifically, since 2005/2006, when I joined a local womens running class. Something has always seemed to get in the way of accomplishing this goal (mostly work). The closest I got was an informal race the day after Thanksgiving in 2008. I had been training & was going to run in it with a friend of mine. However, 2 weeks before the race I fell & broke my right arm. No, I was not running/training at the time of the fall. I tripped over a rug in my house. Yes, seriously.

I was st
ill planning to run the race, but my mom told me she didn't think it was a good idea with the cast. Knowing me as well as she does, she announced she was coming with me. She knew if she weren't there I would try to run. So, I ended up power walking with her--yes, ALWAYS listen to your mother! I've found that when I don't the results are usually not good!! Oh, and by the way, she power walks much faster than I do & I had to work hard to keep up. But then again, she power walks 5-8 miles a day several times a week!! Go mom!!

So, one of my New Years Resolutions for 2010 is to finally run in a 5K. I have been training for it since February. It's been hard for the most part because I dislike cold & rainy weather. Since the temperature has been better lately I've been more consistent.

It's also difficult to train because I am doing it alone, so I have to motivate myself. I do have online friends who run & they inspire me a lot. Thank goodness for them!!

I feel I am getting close to being ready. There are a couple of 5K's coming up soon in my area. A friend I used to run with (and now lives in another town) said to let her know when I have picked a race &, if she could make it, she would come run it with me!

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I've been training for this for how many years? I need to listen to Nike & "just do it". Until then, I will continue to train.....

My love of Baseball & how I started scorekeeping

Baseball is my favorite sport! My love for it started as a young girl listening to the games on the radio, & then later, going to watch my brother play Little League. At the age of 9 a friend of my moms (who was also the wife of my brothers coach)asked me to be a scorekeeper. I said okay & she took me to a class to learn.

I've always wondered if anyone else started as a scorekeeper at this young age. The other scorekeepers I saw were adults. In junior high we moved & there was no Little League in the new town, so my brother played in a Babe Ruth League and I became a scorekeeper.

In high school I was the head scorekeeper for the varsity baseball team. I enjoyed my time & the team was good--they ended up league champs. I've always taken my job as scorekeeper very seriously and was always fair & honest. I never played favorites, even for my brother.

I remember once my brother got on base & I listed it as an error. Our coach didn't think so & requested I change it to a hit. I refused. He fought me on it & felt I was being unfair to my brother. I don't remember if it was ever changed by the coach. I know I never did. My brother never got mad at me for it.

I also was a stat for the girls varsity basketball team. I kept track of the rebounds. I have never really liked basketball and don't really understand the game. The coach explained what I was supposed to record & I did it. Don't ask me anything else about basketball, because I have no idea!