Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day: mini style

Today is Election Day. #doi
It goes without saying that this is a fantastic opportunity to express our opinions and show support for the candidate with whom our views most closely align. There were several ballot measures that I felt passionately about this year; I did my research, felt informed and placed my vote like millions of other Americans today. But that's not what this post is about; this post is about my minis.

In an effort to make the election more tangible for my students, I let each mini vote for their favorite candidate. I thought it would be interesting to ask them why they voted the way they did. While many told me "because my mom voted for him" or "because I like him", there were a couple diamonds in the rough... I thought I'd share them. (keep in mind: they're five)

  • One girl who cast her vote told me "I want the red one to win 'cause he's never been president"
  • One Obama supporter told me, "I voted for him because my brother did" (his brother is in 3rd grade)
  • Most kids who voted for Mitt told me that they liked his name
  • Finally, a little boy proudly gave me his Obama vote and answered: I let him come to my house once. #delusionisthenewblack 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I am not a runner.

I am not a runner. I never have been, unless you count my year of dabbling in Cross Country/Track during high school to avoid taking "regular P.E.". Running just isn't an activity that comes easy to me. I know what you might be thinking: one foot in front of the other, how could that be difficult? but for me it can be quite demoralizing and has been the root of a few pestering injuries throughout the years. More times than not, my running is to appease others or satisfy what I think I should be doing in order to lose weight/get lean/etc. In the past six months I will admit, I have grown to tolerate, at times even enjoy the experience of running. I have started to include 5k afternoon runs in several times a week in addition to my regular routine at FNS Training Center. In fact, when I vacationed in Europe for a month this summer I ran a 5k in every city that I visited, only skipping one day the entire trip - it was one of the major highlights of my trip.

People may be surprised to hear that I don't enjoy running because for a while I was running races every month. But to me, there is a huge difference between a leisurely 5k after work and an organized 5k event. Races have a special energy surrounding them; being amongst hundreds or thousands of other participants is a constant motivator, and nothing can beat the "finish line feeling" when you take that final step and know that you've achieved something great - whether a 5k, 10k, or half marathon.

On December 5, 2010 I ran my first half marathon. Running 13.1 miles continuously is something that I genuinely had no interest in doing and would have laughed if you had suggested otherwise. In fact, when Katy Casellini mentioned her desire to do one I probably had some choice words to share with her about what an asinine idea I thought it was. Well, on June 6th I decided to give one of my best friends a double birthday gift. Not only did I register her for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon, but I volunteered to do it alongside her. I wouldn't say I trained specifically for the half marathon, but I was definitely trying to stay fit and we ran some 5k fun runs leading up to it. I went into the marathon with little expectation. Before the race I had never run more than 6 miles continuously. At the start of the race, Katy and I hoped to make it halfway without walking. Once we hit 7 miles, we knew we could make it to 8. Once I passed 8 I was determined to make it to continue my trot to 10 - in my head I just kept thinking that the less I stopped, the faster I'd be done. I finished that half marathon without stopping once to walk - my time was 2 hours and 22 minutes. I teared up when I crossed the finish line. Partially because I was proud, mostly because I was exhausted. It was a great course for a 1st timer because there was literally NO incline, we ran from Mandalay Bay, down the strip to Fremont Street and back. There was great scenery, people watching, awesome entertainment and lots of spectators the entire way.After completing that half I hung up my "long distance" shoes (I put that in quotes because I realize that it is probably considered mid-range, but to me it felt long). I told myself that I'd accomplished that goal and really didn't feel inclined to do it again.

That was until I got a text message from Nicole Yarwasky, while sitting on the beach in Tampa Bay enjoying my Spring Break. Yar asked if I'd do the Nike Women's (half) Marathon. All I'd ever heard about it was how it was a lottery selection process and that you get a Tiffany's necklace at the finish line. She told me that as a student (which I'd just gone back to get my Masters at SJSU) you could bypass the lottery AND pay half price. I figured it was going to be the cheapest Tiffany's necklace I could buy so I registered on the spot. Once again, I didn't train for the race but was in better shape than I had felt the previous year. I'd been doing Crossfit, circuit training and ran a few longer races. I ran Nike alone, me and my playlist. The course for Nike is MUCH different than the Vegas Rock N Roll. Hills. Lots of them. As I navigated the course, having no idea what was coming around the next corner, I race into the finish line at 2 hours and 9 minutes. I was happy that when I did the math, that pace was just below a ten minute mile. Although Katy wasn't able to run this one with me, she was waiting for me at the finish line with a big hug, a souvenir bottle and a car parked strategically close so as to save my aching legs. Immediately upon completion of this race I felt pain shooting to my knees and hip flexors (I guess hills will do that to you). But sweet Katy was there to rescue me and sweep me away.

Yesterday I did what I thought I'd never do, for several reasons. I not only ran another Half Marathon, but I beat my personal record - more on that in a moment. I decided that the student registration for Nike was too good of a deal to pass up, so I signed up to do the race for a second time. As I said in the early part of this rambling I have embraced running in the past six months.While I once again did not train specifically for the race, I had put in more miles in the last six months than I had in my entire running career leading up to last year's run.  In preparing for the race I was met with tons of support and encouragement - My ever-supportive boyfriend got me outfitted with new Nike running shoes, socks, and made preparations for transportation the day of and accommodations the night before. The amazing staff at FNS offered extra services for runners including complimentary RockTape application by Dr. Jen and Triggerpoint Therapy to loosen and prepare our muscles prior to race day. Denise Rodriguez, one of the newest trainers at FNS and fellow athlete Allison Gomez even decided to fore-go their own race success in order to run and pace for me so I could work toward my goal of 2 hours. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. It hurt. But as we came into the finish line, holding hands, I had achieved my goal. We crossed at 1 hour and 57 minutes, 12 minutes faster than my previous best. With the support and encouragement of trainers, friends, and family I was able to achieve something I'd never thought possible. Tears of relief, pride and happiness streamed down my face as I shared the news with my boyfriend at the finish line.

Yesterday I proved to myself that maybe I am a runner. I guess it really is simply the act of putting one foot in front of the other after all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Euro Invastion 2012

As I return to reality after an amazing trip, I find that perhaps the best way to compile and share my trip would be to dust off this blog...

Let's start by explaining that I'm a horrible journal-er. I lack the ability to be concise, I want to write down every single detail regardless of their importance. This can be time consuming, especially during a three week long trip. So after my first day of journaling, I decided to scrap it and make a series of lists which could cover all the bases and pertinent information. So, here it is... three weeks in Europe in a nutshell.

June 27th - Luxembourg City Hostel (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
June 28th - Jugendherberge Zuerich (Zurich, Switzerland)
June 29th & 30th - Hotel Coronado (Zurich, Switzerland)
July 1st - Funny Farm (Interlaken, Switzerland)
July 2nd - B&B Cima (Zermatt, Switzerland)
July 3rd & 4th - Hotel Villa Aurora (Lake Como, Italy)
July 5th - Motel Fussen (Fussen, Germany)
July 6th & 7th - Gastehaus Doring (Mitternwald, Germany)
July 8th & 9th - Hotel Turnerwirt (Salzburg, Austria)
July 10th & 11th - Hotel Royal (Munich, Germany)
July 12th - Hotel Burgschmiet (Nuremburg, Germany)
July 13th, 14th & 15th - Gasthof Zehentbartl (Wernburg, Germany)
July 16th & 17th - Hotel Rott (Prague, Czech Republlic)

Highlights from each country:
- Stumbling upon a gathering in a town square with a big screen projection of the Euro Cup Semifinals. I attempted to go buy a sausage, upon realizing that I had no Euros yet I tried to communicate and ask where I could get some - the guy felt so bad for me that he just gave me a sausage for free :)  #offtoagoodstart
- Realized that I forgot to pack a towel, so I used my sheets and pillowcases after my shower #resourcesful

- Sweet Zurich walking tour complete with chocolate and cupcake samples #nomnomnom
- Running around Lake Zurich (only to realize after driving around it the next day how MASSIVE it is)
- Lake Lucerne sight-seeing
- Dinner in Zurich with my mom's cousin Therese (who lives in Chur, Switzerland)
- Getting lost on both runs in Interlaken (thank goodness for my iPhone map) #5kturnedintoa7k
- Zermatt is a car-free city, so we took a train into town then had to find our hotel in the rain
- Daily "goat parade" in Zermatt, which basically consisted of dozens of goats being herded through the main street in town #baaaa
- Matterhorn Museum and Matterhorn memorials in the Zermatt cemetaries #notarideatdisneyland
- Cograil up to Gornergrat to see the Matterhorn. We did a little hike and I drank water that I scooped up from a waterfall - talk about straight from the source! #takethatevian
- Mom waking Tina and I to see sunrise on the Matterhorn. Yes, I'll admit now that it was cool. But anyone who knows me will appreciate the fact that I was less than enthused to take it all in at 5am #snoozeexpert

- Delicious meals at the Villa Aurora: pizza, cheap liters of sparkling wine, perch, and half-birthday ice cream
- 4th of July thunderstorm, Italy's answer to the USA's fireworks #thanksmotherearth
- Tour around the lake with Renardo in his broken English
- Discovering that Tina and I are Olympic-caliber kayakers (aka paddling in zigzags and circles) #teamUSA
- Using google and googleimages to help us find George Clooney's house #paparazziintraining
- Exploring Bellagio #notahotelinvegas

- It's tough to pick a highlight. There wasn't much to see. In all fairness, we knew that was going to be the case but we were at least hoping for a passport stamp. #didntevenseedentures

- Sound of Music bike tour around Salzburg to see sites from the movie. #crashandburn
- Taking the "long way home" because we didn't wanna wait #thankgoodnessforfriendlybusdrivers
- Delicious dinner at the drunken monkey
- Zotter Chocolate Shop
- Watching drunk children in the town square while Tina drank beer on the steps of the church.
- Visit to Berchtesgaden to take a Salt Mine Tour (complete with slide and train ride) and visit Hitler's Tea House.

- Eating weißwurst with almost every meal with either bread or a pretzel.
- Visiting Hohenschwangau, Linderhof and Neuschwannstein, the castles of Crazy King Ludwig II.
- Shopping at the flea market in Mittenwald
- Driving up to our hotel in Munich (which was in the Red Light District) and having literally no idea what we were getting ourselves into. #brownchickenbrowncow
- Beer tour in Munich with stops at Augstiner and Pauliner and finished our evening with dinner and liters at Hoftbrauhaus. #twoandahalfpoundsofbeer
- Happening upon a unicycle throwdown in Oberammergau
- Tour of Dachau Concentration Camp
- Summer Luge course in Tegelberg #notquitejamaica
- Trip to Zugspitz "Top of Germany" - reaching the top and realizing that lulu shorts were not suitable for the snow that we found there #whoops
- Tour of the Documentation Center on the Nazi Party Rally Grounds outside of Nuremberg.
- Visiting the family farm in Kotschdorf where my grandpa grew up. While there we took a horse drawn wagon tour of the property, jumped on the trampoline, ate lots (and lots) of delicious food, and I got to drive a tractor :)
- We took a tour of the historic town of Regensburg
- Visiting the family farm in Losau where my grandma grew up. We walked around the town (population: 46) and I tried on my 3rd cousin Lydia's dirndl. #embracingbavaria 

Czech Republic
- Hashtagging on the John Lennon Wall #wagsdoitbetter #adventureteam
- Running two 5ks across the Charles Bridge
- Bike tour through the cobbled streets of Prague in the pouring rain
- Dinner cruise on the Vltava river

Means of Transportation: 
feet, ferry, share road with cows, bicycle, motorailway, tram, train, bus, cograil, funicular, gondola, drove on tram tracks, winding roads in the Alps, water taxi, speed boat, salt mine train, salt mine slide, tractor (which I drove), horse drawn wagon, taxi, plane, subway

Best Food: 
Weißwurst (veal sausage) 
Veal Meatballs w/ veggies and mashed potatoes (Zum Augustiner - Munich, Germany)
Fondue and Raclette dinner (Swiss Chuchi Hotel Adler - Zurich, Switzerland)
Grilled pork fillet on potato hash browns with mushrooms, bacon and tomatoes,
gratinated with cheese, served with mixed salads (Zum Fidelen Affen - Salzburg, Austria)

Best Runs:
Lake Como, Italy 5k up a scenic cliff
Salzburg, Austria 8k through the coutryside
Interlaken, Switzerland 7k with Tina
Munich, German 5k through the English Gardens
Prague, Czech Republic 5ks over Charles Bridge

Essential German:
bäckereimetzgerei, ja, nein, bitte, danke, schön, Kartoffelknödel, Weißwurst, Autobahn, ausfahrt, brezen, käse, brot, schloss, kirche, schnell

Songs of the Summer
Drive By - Train
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
Somebody That I Used to Know - Goyte
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to not only travel for three weeks, but to do so with my mom and sister. I was able to see some of the most beautiful places in Europe and meet family who prior to the trip had simply been names on the family tree. #wagsdoitbetter #notluckyimblessed

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Forging Elite Sarcasm

About Your Female Body Issues…

Ladies, there’s something that the non-bat shit crazy people in your life have been wanting to tell you: your fucking body issues are all in your goddamn heads. And the men in your life are sick of fucking hearing about them. Let me break it down.
We know. You’re not skinny enough. Or you’re too tall. Or short. Your ass sags. Your complexion is off. You have a belly. Your tits aren’t big enough. Whatev. We don’t seriously care.
You tend to bitch about what the media portrays as an ideal look and body type for women. Magazine covers, movies, TV, that kind of horseshit. What you don’t realize is that guys could give a fuck about any of it. We don’t let outside influences distort our view of hotness. We judge it the old fashioned way: we get wood. That’s it. Caveman shit.

So when I go on Facebook and see bullshit like this, and a few thousand people “like” it, I wonder where the fucking breakdown is:

When the lights are out, you’re all 10′s.
Let’s be honest: the Strong is the New
Slutty craze caught on because so many women are incapable of actually being skinny. Don’t lie, if you could, you would. So instead you get hot by working out (rightly so), except you feel the need to justify it to other women. But why the fuck do you care what some anorexic bitch thinks of you?
You know what’s really hot? Not being fucking neurotic. Men fucking love that.
Also, plastic surgery is the shit. Any woman whose self-esteem is so low that she’d pay thousands of dollars and have herself cut open in the name of increasing hotness is exactly the kind slut you want to take home for a one nighter. Plus the fake tits stick out like, well, fake tits, so they’re easy as fuck to spot. Win win.

You don’t come here to meet your soul mate anyway. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we can see you for who you are on the inside just as easily as we can on the outside. It’s easier, actually. If you respond positively to trite, incoherent marketing babble like this:

Then you’re probably an overly self-conscious dipshit incapable of having meaningful and stress-free relationships anyway. You’ll settle for some CrossDouche.

There’s no Hate here. Seriously. If this is you, un-fuck your head. Being sane is hot as fuck.
“Stop buying T shirts and start getting your shit together.”

Unless they’re my T shirts. Buy the fuck out of those.