Saturday, December 25, 2010

good bye 2010

It's Christmas. I feel like the year has yet again gone by so quickly. I guess it's because I've done so much and been so many places. Sometimes I just wish I had a home base and didn't have to think about moving anymore. I wonder when that will happen?

The beginning of the year began with transition. I moved from the Richardson house to the Fanz. I lived there for 5 months while continuing to do marathons: January 9 & 10 I went to Florida and ran the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World and went home for dad's birthday. In February I wasn't able to run a marathon because I flew home for both my sister's bridal shower (with the big snow in 2010 I had to drive to Washington Dulles to fly to Los Angeles because JFK and Boston were both closed, it took 5 hours to get to Dulles even though it should have been 2.5-3 hours because there was so much snow on the road and there was only one lane open on the 4 lane highway with 5 or 6 feet of snow pushed onto the other lanes) and wedding. March came and I went to Louisville for interviews for a mission trip and drove to Knoxville for a marathon. Little did I know that the trip I made to Knoxville would not be my last.

In April I worked, took an over 24 hour greyhound bus ride to Tampa to watch the Rays and a 22 hour bus ride back and went back to Knoxville to go zorbing and on to Kentucky with Nathan for the Kentucky Derby Marathon. He became the first person who came to cheer just for me during a race ever, my first spectator! The next weekend, the first weekend of May I ran in New Jersey and the humidity and heat was horrible. I overheated and my body temp was over 103 degrees when I finished. I flew home for Kevin and Noelle's wedding and then started my long drive back across the country. Nathan and I went to an Oriole's game two days before my birthday (he took his first greyhound bus ride from Knoxville to Richmond), it was his first MLB game ever.

The entire month of June I was on the road, I first stopped in Roanoke with Nathan to visit his cousins and uncle for dinner on my birthday. We stopped in Knoxville at Nathan's and I continued on to Dayton to visit Jecca and Dan. After that I drove up to Wheaton to visit the Halls and on to Milton to visit the Richardson kids since Scott and Kelly were on the road. I drove from Wisconsin out to Minneapolis to visit Abby and Eric, run the Minneapolis Marathon and go to the new Target Field, my last of all 30 major league baseball parks that were currently operational.

I drove from Minnesota down to South Dakota and stayed with Luralyn and her husband Jordan prior to running the Swan Lake Christian Camp Marathon the weekend after the Minneapolis Marathon. Vermillion is a very small town, but at least they have an ice cream shop and a college. After my South Dakota marathon I was able to spend the night at Lura's friend's apartment in Rapid City. I watched game 5 of the NBA finals with Nathan over the phone and soon passed out after running a marathon and driving 6 hours across the state of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore was my next destination and thought it had rained all day the day before, it cleared up and I was able to get some pretty good pictures with the president's faces in the background. Later during Nathan's graduation weekend I learned from his Uncle Kenny and Aunt Nancy, who had also been to visit Mount Rushmore this summer, that one of Nathan's relatives had been an engineer on the project and his name was on the stone "Blewett, Thomas "Tom"."

I continued on to Wright, Wyoming to visit Elizabeth and her family. The sky looked huge with just land and no buildings or trees along the way. While I was drive from Wright down to Fort Collins, Colorado Nathan asked me to be his girlfriend. Ninety one days after knowing each other, I entered into a "relationship" with him after not dating anyone for 8 years (and I mean official, if it's on facebook, you know it's real). I told you 2010 was a big year. In Fort Collins, I slept on Donnie's (one of Nathan's best friends) chair and then stayed with Tony Time in Denver while waiting for Ashley and Brian's wedding to roll around. Tons of ice cream to be eaten before then! Tony dropped me at the airport with the evil horse statue that killed it's creator (it has red lights lighting up it's eyes) and I flew down to San Diego to stay with Shane and hang out with Kim and go to Rachel and Jeff's wedding. I flew back up to Colorado and hung out with Coop and Lindsay prior to driving 8 hours up to Salt Lake City to visit Thy. After Salt Lake City and hitting up In-N-Out (they have it in Utah now!), I wanted to visit Bryce Canyon but didn't have enough time. I made it down to Ian's in North Vegas and hung out there for a night before staying at the Brausell's house with Wally and Sylvia's parents. Lazarus broke down on the way to the 50 miler in the desert and I was so thankful that Sylvia's mom was able to get me after the tow truck too me to the shop to get my car fixed. While I was running the marathon (I switched to the marathon instead of the 50 miler because I made it just in time for the marathon start and had missed prime cooler hours for the 50 miler) they fixed my car.

I drove from Vegas down to SoCal and watched a Dodgers Yankees game with some of Nathan's friends that he had met while couchsurfing last summer in California. Then to visit sister and fly back to Knoxville to hang out with Nathan for two weeks before flying back and driving home through San Luis Obispo. I made it in one piece. I had decided I wanted to hike Half Dome and Nathan wanted to be there when I did it, so we split his flight out to California and hiked it on a Thursday (since they had new permits for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays) after watching the A's beat the Red Sox after he arrived California (Nathan went from no MLB parks to three in the span of 3 months because he took me down to Atlanta to visit Stone Mountain and go to a Braves game for 4th of July weekend when I was in Knoxville). I organized my stuff and my family went to Japan to visit my dad's sons and their families. We went to the Tokyo Dome to watch the Giants play (they're like the Yankees in Japan). I was going international with my baseball watching. I still need to go international with my marathons, but I want to actually get in shape before I do that.

As soon as I got back I unpacked, washed my clothes and headed back to the airport to fly to Knoxville. Nathan and I went camping in Roan Mountain with his family (this was the first time I met his parents). I flew from Knoxville to New York for orientation for the mission trip, I still can't believe I cried when he was dropping me off at the airport. (Seriously, I feel like I've become a pansy over the past years, I get so much more emotional.) Orientation was interesting, I got really sick and ended up sleeping a lot. Flew from New York to Tucson and was there for 5 weeks, during which I flew to Tennessee for the Florida game. Nathan flew out for the Mount Lemmon Marathon, his first ever and went to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. We flew to Nashville together and then drove to Knoxville where I stayed for 3 weeks before flying back home and drove down to San Luis Obispo to get the condo ready for renters (I drove from San Luis down to Anaheim and back and then back home, basically making two trips because there was a lot of stuff). I flew to San Antonio for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon and determined that if I'm going to roller skate prior to a marathon, I should either roller skate regularly, or just not do it. I was in Miriam and Sal's wedding which was in our little home city of San Leandro with the reception further out in Walnut Creek.

The weekend after the wedding Nathan flew out for Thanksgiving and we went to Alcatraz on Black Friday, which turned out to be a wonderful day to go because it was chilly but the sun was out so it wasn't too cold. Soon after I flew to Tennessee for his graduation and got back a few days before Christmas and spent two days at the DMV trying to change my car from a planned non operative car to an operative car. Note to self: just pay for registration and keep in it the garage, it doesn't matter if it's 50 bucks more over a year, it takes way too much time and effort to change it back!

To sum up 2010: I now have a boyfriend who lives in Tennessee and just graduated from University of Tennessee, making me a Volunteer Football fan. I drove thousands of miles with everything in Lazarus up and down the east and west coasts and across the nation. Took a 25 hour bus ride down to Florida for baseball with a 22 hour bus ride back and decided it was worth it to pay more and fly if it was over 10 hours on the bus. I flew over 22 times on countless airlines (including Delta who loses your luggage; I miss JetBlue's all you can eat snacks and 36 channels of direct tv included in the ticket price) from Virginia to Florida, Washington D.C., Nor Cal, SoCal, Tennessee, Arizona, New York, Texas, and Japan. I ran 10 marathons in 10 different states, including 'the world's toughest marathon' and got both my boyfriend and my sister to run their very first marathons on the same day: October 17, 2010. I moved 4 times and next week will be 5 (all different states except the first from one house in Virginia to another) in the past year. Oh, and I also finished my Master of Science degree from Northeastern University. I suppose that's pretty important too. I always forget that. Whoops. Here's to 2011 and a new home base. God please help me to find a job! I pray that I will continue to follow You and strive to do Your will and not mine.

- run for life

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I feel like something's always happening tomorrow. I'm always trying to get things done so I can get to tomorrow. When will I just get to sit and rest in today? There are times when I feel like that's possible. There are times when I feel like I'm so far behind, even with no job or school, yes, you can get behind. I need to write about the San Antonio marathon in more detail. I don't know if I ever wrote about Mount Lemmon in detail, but I should see if that's happened yet. If I'm actually going to write a book about all these excursions for marathons, I'm going to need to keep up with it!

I feel like I accomplished more today than I have in a few days. I've been writing postcards all afternoon/evening for Christmas (all by hand!). I ran 8.5 today. I still need to pick up the pace, but at least I'm out there. There's nothing wrong with that. I ran mostly uphill because I was just trying to get going. Daddy was asking about engagement, marriage, jobs and where I'm going to live. I know he cares and is just worried, but it's frustrating the way he asks. I just need to remember that it's because he cares about me... and keep telling myself that.

I wonder often about the whole online era. Everything is seen online and even this blog, everyone can read it. People I don't even know could be reading my thoughts! Strange to think that people could read this right after I post it, somehow landing on my page through some sort of random search. Guess that's why I never put my full name so it's more difficult to find. I feel like I need to make my fb more private. I actually wish I didn't have it, but unfortunately it becomes more necessary these days to keep in touch because some people only use internet sources like email and fb to communicate. I mean, I finally got texts this past May and some people still use fb instead! I kind of want to get rid of texts or at least cut down on the amount, but with long distance it's kind of vital to have something.

Wonder how this is going to go when I move to Tennessee. I'm hopeful. I'll keep my hopes mostly to myself. I don't want to spread them around like wildfire and make people think something is more or less than it is. We shall see. I am praying that God will remain my focus and my guide. That I will always trust Him no matter what and that I will go to Him for everything. God will tell me what I need to do and where I should go. God please provide me with a job and a place to live!

- run for life

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

over reacting

I think I have high expectations for myself. I expect myself to have good will power and self control as well as drive and focus. I often become prideful and forget to give myself to God. My thought is that I am strong and have good morals and character and I so often loose the main thing in my life. The reason I even have anything. God is definitely the reason I am still living. I'm not sure why I'm here specifically, but I know that God has a purpose for myself. I often wonder what that purpose is as I feel like I'm floundering through parts of life, but I know His plans for me are for my good.

For my friends, I expect them to treat me with respect and be there for me when I need them. I guess I have high expectations of those close to me and get frustrated when they are not met. Perhaps it is my fault for having high expectations? Maybe I shouldn't become frustrated and I should act like nothing has happened? I don't think that's okay. I don't want to be a doormat to anyone. All of my closest friends who have been close friends for more than a year are great and even though there may be little things here and there... we haven't ever had any arguments or problems.

I guess it's easier like my sister said, because we're all like-minded. We think alike and therefore agree with each other on big issues and then the little things are easy to brush away.

With a boyfriend, I guess you're supposed to do the same thing. Treat him like a best friend and let the little things go... but I don't want the little things to keep happening when they clearly bother me. Oh, who knows. Maybe I should just move to Alaska or Montana and find myself a mountain man who just loves the outdoors and stays away from the crazy worldly lures of television, movies and other advertisements. I guess it's hard because I know those are bad and I don't like television and I rarely watch movies because I don't want to support them. I don't like advertisements on television telling me I need some 'thing' to make my life better. God has made my life great and I don't need to clutter it up with 'stuff.'

Sometimes I wonder if things are worth it. I do need to work on how I say things and my requests. It's hard when people don't want to even talk about things or listen to what I have to say or keep saying they don't understand. I don't think I'm that difficult to understand. When people already are plotting their argument or plan of attack... they're NEVER going to understand what the other person is saying. That is why it's important to listen and understand (or at least try to) and then respond... not formulate a response before the other person even finishes their thought.

God I need help. I don't know what to do sometimes.
- run for life

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sometimes I get frustrated about life. Sometimes I wonder why things have to be so difficult or so hard. I think it's because as humans we always think of ourselves. We're always right, our feelings are always right to ourselves.

I try to discern what's right, I try my best to live the way Jesus wants me to. I think I need to be more patient with others and remain calmer... though I have been doing better. I've been learning how to express my feelings a little more and how to more appropriately express my concerns.

I guess sometimes I feel like it's difficult. I know that everyone has to change, myself included. I know change hurts and it's not the most fun experience... but as the saying goes... "no pain, no gain" right? I think my biggest fear is to be taken advantage of. I think I am a nice person, I like to do things for others, I just don't want people think that that's my job... Perhaps I should think of it different. I need to remember that I'm first serving God and not anyone else or myself.

-run for life

Monday, October 11, 2010

one step at a time

I really dislike applying for jobs and looking for jobs. I feel like I'm being scrutinized down to my very core. I don't like bragging about myself other than sarcastically and it's difficult to get your story across in the first 30 minutes of meeting someone. It really is all about the first impression.

I updated my resume and began to look for anything available online. I am not sure where to even begin. The place in San Luis Obispo is empty, I could live there. I could live back at home. I could live in an apartment for the very first time ever. I'd be on my own... weird. I never thought about that until I was talking to Kelly and realized I've never actually 100% lived on my own. I've never rented my own apartment or place without my parent's owning it or living with another family.

I do like community and I do like being extroverted... but I guess I'm finding out that I do need some introvert time and figure out what I'm going to do. I thought about beginning my own dietitian or nutrition counseling services. I wonder if the gyms around have any openings or are deciding that they need a dietitian. I don't know how I go about looking for those jobs. It's quite frustrating. All the jobs posted are clinical. I want to work on my CSSD and get experience more along the lines of nutrition and fitness rather than CNSD or being a diabetes educator.

While I think it's important to help treat people and help them figure out how to control their blood sugar and diet... I also believe prevention is key. We need people starting NOW on the forefront of preventative diet and exercise. Not necessarily 'weight loss' diet, but a healthy diet. If people are always looking to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis... it would be a much better place. We wouldn't have as many people struggling with complications of obesity such as heart problems, COPD, diabetes, and sleep apnea. It's more difficult to loose 20-30 pounds and keep it off than it is to maintain your weight year after year. They say the average person gains 3-5 pounds a year and over 7 or 8 years, that's 21-40 pounds! The yo-yo diets and 'quick' fixes are abundant in our society today. We need to convince people that they can live a healthy life day by day and they don't need to get drawn in by the advertisements.

It's so frustrating to see those ads and know that thousands will spend their money hoping for a change... only to have their hopes dashed.

Change takes time. Old habits die hard and it takes time for new habits to form. One step at a time can help someone get to a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet and regular exercise...

- run for life

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I feel like I always have plans. Plans to do this, to go there or be here. I make plans ahead in the future and as soon as I don't have plans or plans don't go as planned... I make more. Is that the way it should be? Should I be more spontaneous? I like being spontaneous, but I also like getting things done and I like to get early bird discounts on things like marathons and runs.

The planner is usually someone who is organized and likes stability. I do like being organized. I do like knowing when things are going to happen and with whom. I feel like my life is all mixed up right now. I don't like when things don't go according to plan. However, I do like to be free and I do like to be able to go where I want, when I want.

If someone else is involved in the decision making process, I feel like it's harder to do things and go places. So far this summer was fine. I felt like I got to do what I wanted to do. Traveling costs are higher when there is more than one person involved and most people like to sleep on beds and are opposed to sleeping in the car like I do on a regular basis (it's really not that bad if you're short).

On the other hand, if someone else is involved, it makes for a good time. I like having someone else along to help drive if it's a road trip and talk to to keep me awake when I am driving. I enjoy singing along to music with someone else... more than just by myself. I always make new friends while running marathons because I would be bored otherwise. Having someone along side makes the miles pass by instead of trudge along. The rain pelting down on me during the Knoxville marathon was disheartening, but a man named Jack ran with me for the last 5 miles because he said I was encouraging and that helped me a lot. I was cheering and thanking everyone along the way. While I am quite motivating and encouraging, some even would go as far as inspiring, I do need motivation myself. I do need someone to encourage me and back me up as well.

I'm a little afraid of this whole Mount Lemmon deal. It's advertised as the 'world's toughest road marathon' and is entirely uphill. Twenty six point two miles up. It's quite daunting. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. Nathan will be there and we'll make it up step by step together. I know we can make it to the finish. I'm just not going to worry about time.

Time. It plays a big part in people's lives. Where will you spend your time? What's important to you? What are your priorities? I wonder often about God's timing. His plans. I always make plans, but I need to think more about His plans. I constantly come back to: many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. [Proverbs 19:21].

- run for life

Monday, September 6, 2010



Keep your chin up and eyes on the prize. Fight the good fight. Pray and follow Him.

- run for life

Saturday, September 4, 2010


When things don't happen as planned, what do you do?

Friday, August 6, 2010


The only thing I really, really wanted to do when I knew we were coming to Japan was climb Mount Fuji. Anita had done it when she was on the army base in Zama back in 2007. She had made it up and back in 6 hours, so I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Boy was I wrong.

It turns out there are 5 different routes up and each starts at a different level on the mountain. Apparently the one army dropped her group off the first time was the easiest one. The one we did yesterday was the second hardest. If that was the second hardest, I don't even want to know what the hardest one is like!

It was an ordeal deciding when to go because our half brothers told us it was hard and we'd need a lot of time, so we settled on leaving Thursday night at 7:30PM from the Shinjuku bus station. Hiro asked me when we would want to come back, so we booked the bus coming back at 12 noon the next day. I figured we'd make it up for sunrise (by 4:30AM), maybe walk around the top in 90 minutes and head on our merry way back down by 6:45-7AM. That did not happen.

After taking mom and dad to the cemetery, Hiro picked us up at the hotel and we headed off to the bus station. We ate before he came so we were able to get right on the bus when it got there. It was super confusing to find the right stop! There were so many buses, even Hiro had to call the bus line and ask where we needed to go. Anita and I definitely wouldn't have been able to find it since we can't speak Japanese. We planned on sleeping on the bus, but that didn't happen. I wasn't tired at all yet as it was only 7:30PM and I often stay up talking to Nathan on skype well past midnight since it's day time for him (13 hour time difference). So we ended up talking and then took a brief "nap" for an hour... in which I didn't sleep at all, I just tried to sleep but failed miserably.

We arrived at the 5th station a little after 10PM, we went to buy our sticks, we got the shorter ones with flags on them for 1200 Yen. A guy found nubs of the sticks and we asked if we could have them and the guys at the counter shook their heads "no" and took them from us. (They were probably a foot long and had the 5th station brand on them, I figured if we could get "top" brands on those and our long sticks, we'd for sure be able to get our branded sticks or stick nubs home somehow on the plane!) Oh, well. We sat on the rock seats that were outlining a rocky patch and ate some of our rice triangles and drank some water before we began our accent at 10:18PM. I had to go potty but I didn't really want to pay 50 Yen at the bottom in the store where we got our sticks, so I waited until we found some trees on the side of the trail and went there when there were no people passing by. It was much easier in the dark because as long as no one was shining a flash light on you, no one could see you as it was pitch black. Later I found out all of the restrooms on the trail were 200 Yen, so 50 Yen at the bottom didn't seem like much!

There was a cement tunnel-like structure with a speaker that said in Japanese and English that we should be prepared for a strenuous activity and that if we were wearing summer clothes, we should turn back now. It reminded me of the warnings on the rides at Disneyland... Luckily Anita had said it was colder at the top so I was prepared wearing my North Face snow pants and brought my North Face jacket with fleece liner. I was San Leandro'ed out, reppin' the North Face! Ha, ha. I almost bought a new Recon while I was at Sports Authority... if I hadn't needed new running socks, I totally would have since I had that $25 gift card. I'll have to get the Recon again when its on sale or there is a coupon again from REI. It's pretty much best backpack I ever owned, but my old one's zipper broke. :( I was hoping to get a new one, but they just gave me money back and said I'd have to buy a new one... I've been putting it off because they're about $100 bucks. Anyway, I should get back to the Mt. Fuji journey...

Shortly there after we arrived at the guide station where we received a map for the trail. It's pretty straight forward to get up... you just take all the trails upward. It's down that is more confusing, but I'll get into that later. There were no stamps at the guide station, but after a few more twists and turns we reached the 6th station where we received our first stamp! I was pretty excited and handed over my money willingly. Whoever thought of the stick with branding idea was brilliant, branding is super easy/very low cost and the sticks are way useful when climbing up a volcano with slippery rocks and loose dirt.

I have been saying "climbing" rather than "hiking" because we were literally climbing up rocks at least 1/3 of the time. It was quite difficult to do with a hand held flash light and I longed for my headlamp I had packed into my Arizona stuff! I vowed never to leave home without one again (I always keep one in my car too, just in case I need a light!). In case you're wondering, I didn't bring it because we were planning on hiking in the day time-getting there in the morning and then coming back that late afternoon or evening.

I was carrying an exorbitant amount of water and food as well as a change of clothes and my flip flops. We each brought 2-2 liter bottles of water, a small bottle of vitamin water, and a small (16 oz) bottle of water. I carried 3 of the 2 liter bottles along with my vitamin water and small bottle of water. In all I was carrying almost 2 gallons of water which is nearly 17 pounds of water. Along with that I had an extra shirt and pants in my bag, my fleece for when we got to the top since there was always snow at the top, tons of food including snacks, rice triangles, bagels, pocky, chips, chocolate, etc. We didn't want to buy the crazy high priced food in the mountains so we packed a lot.

We arrived at the 7th station and were quite tired. Literally every time I began to ascend I felt winded. When we were walking on flat ground through the station I felt fine... so of course I wanted to keep going. I knew we needed to keep going in order to make it to the top before sunrise. When we began at the 5th station, we were still beneath the clouds, but the rocky slope was steep and we were able to see the tops of the clouds. The view was breath taking. We continued gamely on with our massive amounts of water and over abundance of gear.

We reached the 8th station and had over an hour to make it to the top, we weren't that far so I thought we could make it. I began stumbling up the side of the mountain. The altitude was getting to us. I closed my eyes and trudged up the path. It was dark anyway, everyone had lights. Anita thought there were more buildings above us, but the white, blue and red lights turned out to be a huge line of people waiting to get to the top. We joined the line shortly and still had 45 minutes to make it the last 900 meters to the top.

The line barely moved. I became a little concerned. Even though I really didn't mind the slow pace since the altitude was killer (when you get less oxygen than you need to your brain and legs, it really puts a damper on things), I was worried we wouldn't make it to the top in time for sunrise! It took 10 minutes to move 20 meters! I tried cutting through people but the path was only big enough for two people and the line was already two across as people marched two-by-two up the path.

It was soon 4:20AM and we still had about 10 turns to go, if we were only doing 2 turns every 10 minutes, we weren't going to make it before the sun rose at 4:57AM! We decided to step off the path and watch the sunrise from 12,370 or so feet instead of waiting to get to the top (not even the highest point, we had to hike around to that after we hit what most consider to be the "top"). I pulled out the video camera (oh, yeah, that was another 4 pounds on top of the 17 or so pounds of water along with all the other gear and food I brought) and tried to set it up. It said the card was formatted incorrectly. I was getting frustrated. I didn't carry it all that way to have it not work while the sun was rising!! I pulled out the battery and put it back in, but that didn't work. I pulled out the memory card and put it back in. It's easier said than done because at this point I was literally freezing and my fingers and hands weren't functioning properly. It was hard to smile because my face was so cold and my teeth were chattering. I couldn't wait for the sun to come up!

After I put the memory card back in, it worked! I was SO glad and set it up on a rock facing the sun. It took a decent picture, but it was definitely not the same as sitting there watching the sunrise. There are so many words that can attempt to describe the beauty, but nothing is even close. The clouds look like fluffy pillows with a red gleam far off on the horizon. As the sun rises higher, the light breaks into gold, yellow and red in the distance. The great reddish orange ball of light continues up into the sky flooding light over everything in sight. Like I said, nothing can describe what we saw that Friday morning on August 6, 2010 on Mount Fuji at over 12,000 feet. It was even more gorgeous than the sunrise Anita and I saw back in 2002 on Haleakala (the world's largest dormant volcano on Maui in Hawai'i) at over 10,000 foot elevation. I never thought I'd see a more beautiful sunrise.

I think the pain and headache (literally) of climbing that high that fast made it even more beautiful. My head was pounding and I could barely move from the cold, but the view was breath taking (literally with the limited amount of oxygen available).

After the sun fully rose we packed up the video camera and headed up the trail toward the 'gate' at the top. A man who worked in Japan, but was from the U.S. told us what it was, I think he said it was a Torro? I forget, my brain was just hurting and it was all I could do to smile for a picture beneath it.

I had to hit the bathroom. I can say without a doubt that climbing Mount Fuji at a bad time of month for me was the toughest thing I have ever done as a woman. I stood in line for the bathroom at the top. It smelled wretched. And it cost 300 Yen. I used wet naps to clean up a little and waited while Anita stood in line. We looked for the "top/sunrise" stamps but we couldn't find them. I began walking toward the highest point. It didn't look that far. The path we chose started out downhill. That was easy, I was feeling better! Of course, what goes down... and is trying to get to the highest point... must go up! As soon as my foot stepped on the upward slope, I was not happy with my decision. I knew I was an idiot for attempting to get around when the bus was leaving at noon. We trudged along anyway since we had already come this far. I was figuring if we were able to get back around and start down by 8 (that'd be four hours) we would be fine. There was a line to take pictures at the highest point. It took about half an hour to get through that. It was ridiculous how many lines there were on top of a volcano!!

Once we had taken pictures at the highest point, we climbed up a ladder to the look out... which was a sucky view and my backpack was so big it was difficult to fit through the small opening in the metal that you had to get through to see it. I squished through anyway and was disappointed and wanted to go back down. We finished the circle as quickly as we could, we found the post office on the way, went to the 'gate' to the left of the "village" or shops on the top when you first climb up the Yoshida Trail... I was disappointed. It didn't look as awesome from close up and there wasn't much space to take a jumping picture! Boo.

We hurried back to the shops to find the brand we wanted. It was right in front of our faces by the Coca-Cola umbrella out in the open! We stood in line for a short while and got all 4 for 300 Yen a pair, so for both of us, it was 1200 Yen. Totally worth it and we hurried to begin our decent at 8:38AM. We had 3 hours and 22 minutes to make it down. We half ran/half walked. I could make it down more quickly, but my shoes were horrid and kept getting rocks in the bottom. That's definitely the last time I wear sandals (I was wearing Keens) to climb mountains. They weren't very comfy on the Half Dome hike either (that was actually a hike, this was definitely a climb). Note to self: don't climb mountains with Keens when there is a possibility of there being loose dirt and pebbles!!! They are fine/great even when there is not loose dirt or pebbles.

I kept checking the signs to make sure we were on the right path while Anita kept on trekking downward. Her knees were hurting so I took the rest of the water and her jacket to make her load a little lighter. We drank another 2 liter bottle of water on the way down but still had another two liter and a small 16 oz bottle of water in my backpack when we finished. We saw horses on the way back, the people there rented horses out to people to carry them to the end of the trail head. They think of everything here! As soon as it was flat enough, there were horses for tired, weary travelers who just wanted to get back to the bus station.

I started us down the Yoshida Trail toward the Yoshida-guchi 5th station, but one of the guides yelled down to us to come back up. Another guy said Kawaguchi was the other way when I asked him. We came back up and were soon on the right path. I'm glad that was the only place I got a little turned around on directions! (I tried to remember everything but things look completely different from night to day! ... especially since it was literally the difference of night and day when we hiked up and down.) When we hit 1000 meters to the finish (I believe it was Izumigataki where the road broke off and you could get to Sato-goya following the other path) there was a group of people there taking surveys. They said it was about 15 minutes from the end and Anita was tired so she continued on. They offered a 16 oz bottle of water if you completed the survey... which I didn't need since we still had more than a half gallon, but I did it anyway. We still had nearly 50 minutes to make it to the end before our bus departed the station. The survey just asked how I heard about Mt. Fuji, if I had been to Japan before, who I was traveling with, if I had come with a tour group, why I was visiting the country, what they could do to improve (i.e. a visitor center since there wasn't one, more information about the area, religious, history), etc. I said more bathrooms at the top cuz that 20 minute or so line was ridiculous when you're on that time and need to go! I got my bottle of water and hurried along the trail back up to the bus station. I caught up with Anita along the way and we made it to the starting gate in less than 3 hours! We still had 30 minutes to spare. I was stoaked. We walked over to the bus stop through the now crowded circle filled with people laying down and those new comers coming in to climb. I'm definitely glad we left at night because it was more crowded during the day than it was at night and I thought there were quite a few people at night. It's probably because it's popular as it's the highest point in Japan and it's only open to most people 1.5 months out of the year due to weather (snow, sleet, etc) making it unsafe.

I asked to make sure we were at the correct bus stop and then we took turns hitting the bathroom. I made it back as people were loading the bus and after we got on, we passed out. We hadn't slept since Thursday morning because we weren't able to take naps during the day Thursday or on the bus. That was the longest I had ever stayed up in my life (over 26 hours)! (I pulled an all nighter once in my life before during college but I was only awake for 24 hours and then I went straight to sleep after I turned in my homework.) I don't sleep a whole lot or haven't since I started grad school while working full time, but I always take naps and sleep at night. I would always put off homework or studying and choose sleeping over any of that. (I barely studied in school anyway.)

Needless to say, it was amazing to see the sunrise up over the clouds in brilliant fiery reds and oranges. My head hurt like nobody's business. I'm a tad bit sore, but not much, it was really the lack of oxygen and not the actually physical difficulty of the climb that made it difficult. According to the Yoshida Trail map you start a little below 2,390 meters, hike down a few hundred feet and then up to 3776 meters. So I figure we went from almost zero elevation/sea level in Tokyo to 7,841 feet and then climbed up to 12,395 feet. It looks like we climbed over 4,500 feet on foot and the bus took us to about 7,800. Either way, I think we both got altitude sickness since we live at or around sea level 365.25 days out of the year. You literally climb up rocks and trudge your way up switch backs up the side of a volcano. It took us 7 hours including our stop to watch the sunrise to get to the top and less than 3 hours to get down. The fastest person ever to run up did it in 3 hours. I'm sure that was without waiting in lines for other people! It was super hard, it'd take a miracle for me to want to do it like that again. I want to climb more mountains, but I think I'd want to acclimate a little more to altitudes before I go running around up mountains and volcanoes any time in the near future... so I should probably train a whole lot more for the Mount Lemmon marathon I signed Nathan and I up for this October...

- run for life

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

catch up on catching up?

Really, I will catch up and write about the completion of my road trip, my two week trip to Tennessee to visit Nathan, and hiking up Half Dome! I'm currently in Japan and talking to Nathan on skype. Once I get to Arizona I should be able to get up to date! Sorry for the delay... more to come in a few weeks...!

- run for life

Thursday, July 15, 2010

catch up!

I need to catch up on blogging from my road trip since I haven't taken the time to do so since I was in South Dakota. I've been more content to chill and bum around. I'm currently at Anita's in Anaheim and am getting ready to pack up Lazarus for one last hoorah up the coast through SLO and back to the bay. I'll be home on Saturday.

Since I last wrote, I've acquired an "official" boyfriend, I mean, it's facebook official, so it must be a big deal right? Today has been one month since we've become boyfriend and girlfriend officially. Unfortunately, it's long distance, but I don't know, I've gotta feeling about this one. We'll see how this works out. Spent 8 years not dating and coming up with more pre-requisites that my future boyfriend would need to have when I eventually had one. I think I hooked a good one this time, I don't foresee having to throw him back into the ocean anytime soon.

Gotta pack up Laz and head out to SLO. I'll try to actually catch up on the last month of my life soon.

- run for life

Thursday, June 10, 2010

on the road again...

Nathan took a Greyhound bus from Knoxville to Richmond to come visit me. :) I took him with me to Baltimore to watch the A's play the Orioles. It was his first major league baseball game, which I was glad I was the one to take him to it. Camden Yards is a nice park to go to for your first game ever. Hopefully he won't be too disappointed if I ever take him to the coliseum! We don't focus on the frills in Oakland, we just play baseball! We drove back to Richmond that night looking forward to a good night's sleep, especially since Nathan had been on the Greyhound and hardly slept and then I took him straight up to Maryland and back! We arrived at the apartment and no one was home. We couldn't get in and after deliberating for a bit, we headed to a hotel to shower and sleep. It had been sticky in Baltimore due to the humidity and we were tired. It was the first time I've ever paid for a hotel in my life. I always couch surf and my parents have the time share condos with World Mark so we don't go to hotels. I screamed when I saw a roach on the bed. I killed it and threw away the body, but wow. Gross. I was paranoid something was going to bite me. I don't think I'll be checking into a hotel again any time soon. I definitely appreciate my dad spending money on the time share stuff a lot more now. It's always super clean with a full kitchen and master bedroom.

I was hoping to take him down to the river and hang out, but since we were so tired we slept in and checked out of the hotel at 11AM. I baked a yummy pizza for lunch and we just hung out at the apartment and watched a movie. I packed up my stuff to leave Friday after work.

Unfortunately after I packed my stuff up... I brought my keys with me to work, which defeated the purpose of getting a ride to work, but Nathan was able to open the door and get my spare key so he could come visit me at work and have lunch with my co-workers and myself. :) After lunch we headed out, stopping at the house I lived at in Harbor Point to pick up any mail and drop off my key. Then we hit the road, stopping in Roanoke to have dinner with his uncle and two cousins who live there. It was a fun birthday dinner. I never have many birthday celebrations so it was nice to have a gathering on my birthday even if it wasn't specifically for my birthday. Last year I sat on the couch at the Richardson's watching the Cavs vs. Magic game by myself while doing homework. Super exciting, I know.

We continued to Knoxville, stopping to get gas along the way and were very tired and a little cranky by the time we got there. Tennessee was fun, we mostly chilled, hung out by the pool, watched movies and ate food of course! Brittany, Denise, and Jenna had gotten me a gift certificate to Olive Garden and I took Nathan there where we had a long and interesting conversation with our waitress about her life, kid, and gym memberships. I felt bad for her and tipped generously when it was time to pay for the check, especially since most of the meal was covered by my birthday present. Sunday night I cooked dinner, we need to get more spices, but I tried to make do with pepper... I liked my fish and potatoes, but my asparagus was lacking. I usually like to cook my asparagus with garlic, so next time I'll spring for the garlic when I go shopping. I was going to leave on Monday but I ended up staying until Tuesday morning.

After Tennessee I drove up to Dayton to hang out with Jecca and Dan. Jecca was done with school and just passed the NCLEX so we hung out, watched movies, and rode bikes. When I got there her friend was there and we all watched 'Dear John' which was one of the worst movies I've seen this year, if not the worst. I thought people said it was a good movie... or a good book, but it was horrendous! The girl promised to wait for John when he went overseas in the army and then wrote him a letter TWO MONTHS later saying that she was engaged... what the heck??? What is commitment to these people? How is that a good movie? I thought perhaps it'd get better or something, but it didn't. He ended up going back and they alluded to them getting back together after she was a widow because her husband died. She could have taken care of the dude without marrying him. That's ridiculous. If you really love someone, you shouldn't marry someone else. I felt like I had wasted two hours of my life that I couldn't get back. Ugh.

We did run the first morning I was there at a local walking/running park near where she lives, walked over to Graeter's Ice Cream (ice cream made in Cincinnati) and hung out by the pool until the clouds rolled up. We rode her scooter around a bit and I was left wanting my motorcycle (daddy said I'd hurt myself, which is probably true, so I sold it since it wasn't vital for my livelihood). It was awesome to just chill out. I think I could get used to this life! I stayed for about two days there and headed out to Wheaton... fighting off the Chicago traffic (it ended up taking 8 hours because of the last 30 miles, I had made good time through Indiana!). Jill and Catherine came out to meet me, Catherine had made me a sign that said "Welcome Jill" and we had pizza and salad for dinner. It was good to see them! Catherine and Connor have gotten so big! Patrick came home later and we had some ice cream and caught up.

In the morning I went with Jill to drop off the kids at school and back for Connor's 2nd grade poetry reading. Afterward I headed out to Wisconsin to hang out with the Richardson kids after they got off school. We just sat around, watched television and I regulated their chip consumption. ha, ha. Then they were picked up by the woman they were staying with for the weekend and I hung out alone in their house... which turned out to be very creepy because the lights were flickering in the dining room, the door shook and there were growling noises coming from in the basement. It didn't help that Kelly told me her tales of when she grew up in the house and there were demons in it. I was quite afraid alone and turned up the Jesus music and went back into one of the bedrooms, shut the door, put some stuff in front of it and prayed.

In the morning I gathered all my stuff, shut out the lights and headed out as soon as I woke up. I was on my way to St. Paul, Minnesota. I had a marathon to run and a baseball game to watch! I made it the 5 hours of driving without stopping for gas or the bathroom. I had filled up before I left Wheaton and made it to St. Paul with Lazarus' tank near empty. I pulled up to a gas station on Como Street where they were having an art fair in the drizzling rain and napped in the parking lot across from the apartments while I waited for Abby to finish at work. When she got there I brought some of my stuff up and we went downtown to go to the expo... which was the more pathetic excuse for an expo. There was nothing there, not even to buy if I wanted. The shirt was pretty cool and I like the color, but the jacket they were raving about was waffle material and funny cut. The sleeves are too short and there's a weird slit in the bottom of them. I just watched a movie on Saturday when they went out and then went to bed.

Sunday I got up and drove down to the Lake Street light rail station since the bus didn't start running Sunday morning until after the race had already started. I caught the light rail to Government Plaza, followed people to the bag check, turned in my bag (I brought a bag so I could have other clothes to change into because I was supposed to meet Kat that afternoon), and waited in line for the restroom (okay, so port-a-potties).

The run began. I took my time and walked up to the starting line. I ended up finding my way to the 4:45 pace group and chatted a bit with the pacer and another guy named Al who was running his first marathon. After mile 8 I sped up a bit with a girl from North Dakota who was there with her grand father running her second marathon. She was only a sophomore in high school who ran cross country in the fall and did a marathon in the spring instead of doing track. I thought that was interesting. We ran together for about 10 miles before she decided she needed to walk and I trudged along ahead until Fort Snelling when I walked up the hill because it was huge! They definitely did not give you enough water or Powerade (of course I thought of Nathan and how he would be pleased there was Powerade and not Gatorade). It was probably a centimeter of liquid in the bottom of a small cup which is barely a sip! I took three Powerade cups and two water at almost every station to attempt to wet my throat even a little!

I found myself with the 4:45 pace group again as I ran through miles 19-22. After awhile I just needed to hit 10s and couldn't run at the 10:53 pace they were at so I went on ahead. I was passing people and trying to encourage them to keep going to the finish and one guy took it to heart. His name was Kent. He was from Iowa and he ran with me from around mile 22-24.5 before he started walking a bit. I walked up the hill around mile 25 and he caught up with me again telling me I was close! and that I could do it. It was good to have a little push at the end and when we finished he hugged me and thanked me for the encouragement and said he wouldn't have been able to run those last few miles without me. His kids were there at the finish waiting for him. It always makes me feel like I've accomplished something when people say stuff like that. I feel like I've done something. Helping people achieve their goals is a great feeling.

Afterward I tottered on over to the bag check, picked up my stuff and wobbled over to the food where I picked up everything. I was appalled they didn't have water bottles for people who had just finished a marathon... I mean for crying out loud, why wouldn't they have water bottles? I drank 3 cups of water, but they weren't even full and I couldn't carry it with me. I laid around on the cement near the stone bridge while waiting for Kat to finish up at work. Unfortunately after I had text her a second time... (I text her right when I finished and then again 3 hours later) she told me she wasn't going to get done until 9-10pm... um, I wish I had known that 3 and a half hours before so I could have just gone back to St. Paul instead of lying around downtown Minneapolis! It's not like I could have done anything cool or knew where to go when I was super tired after running a marathon. And I was hungry! Boo. I headed back to the light rail, got back to the apartment, took a shower and chilled out. (I watched Step Up 2 for the millionth time.)

When Ab and Eric got back they were going to Eric's best friend's house for a birthday dinner, so I tagged along. They had 4 kinds of pie! It was awesome. I of course tried them all. :) His grand parents were there, they were super cute showing off their great grand child. :) We chatted as I tried not to fall asleep. The next morning Ab and I laid out on the front lawn of the apartment... I fell asleep while trying to read Born to Run and got a little toastier than I would have liked. Then we hung out, made pizza for dinner, and watched some of the Blind Side when Eric got back. We headed to 331 with one of their friends for some free live blue grass music and hung out for a bit afterward for some strawberries in chocolate sauce. Al and Andy had gotten engaged on the west coast so I took a break from the blue grass music to hear the story. :)

After that, more sleep and when I woke up, it was Tuesday. Game day! I was a little worried because it was raining all morning. I took a nice long nap in the after noon and then packed up my stuff to head to Target Field. Luckily it stopped raining and although they canceled batting practice because of the rain, I was able to wander around and take pictures around the entire outside of the stadium and inside. I posted myself near the foul pole in left field and talked with some Australians who were there on holiday. They borrowed my glove for pictures and bought me a bottle of water in return for explaining some of our American baseball practices. I met another pair who lived in St. Paul and I didn't end up having to wait for the bus because they gave me a ride back to the apartment.

I fell asleep soon after talking to Nathan and was woken up in the morning when Abby knocked on the door and said she had to go to work. While I was packing and folding everything up, I watched the Proposal again and moved everything to Lazarus and hit the road. I had horrid reception on the way down interstate 90 toward South Dakota. Luckily I have reception here in Vermillion, but apparently South Dakota's best carrier is Verizon so everyone out here has it. When I arrived in South Dakota I had dinner with Lura and her husband Jordan, we hung out, chatted and had some ice cream afterward.

And this morning... all I've done so far is type up this blog, talk to Nathan and eat food. Not a bad morning for an unemployed master's program graduate huh?

- run for life

Thursday, May 13, 2010

sharp top then back to the bay

I was a little heisitant but I went to meet up with a friend in Roanoke, Virginia at his cousin's family's house Sunday after work. I got Monday and Tuesday off since I have a bunch of PTO (paid time off) days and I'm leaving the company (I don't take sick days). We hung out, watched movies and ate lots of yummy food. (I'm definitely still the president of the Big Eaters Club!) I had just talked to a friend and mentioned that I wish I could have been going home this weekend because the A's were playing at home and I would of course have gone to all the games... and Dallas Braden threw a PERFECT GAME on Mother's Day (Sunday), the first in A's history since 1968 and the 19th ever in Major League Baseball! I was disappointed that I wasn't there to witness it... but at least I had fun in Virginia right? Sigh. We had dinner with his cousin's family and aunt and uncle at McDonald's... the first time I've been to Mickey D's in over 2 years. I, like the good dietitian I am, ordered large fries and an Oreo McFlurry. I'm such a great example.

Monday morning I woke up, did the dishes, took out the trash and ran up Mountain View street and back for a total of 4.6 miles. I need to run more. I was kind of tired and it was very nice weather though I have pretty bad allergies out here in Virginia. My friend and I drove over to the Otter's Peaks and hiked up Sharp Top. It was a perfect day, the sky was perfect, the weather was perfect. The pictures turned out because the weather was so great. We went to Cracker Barrel and I branched out and had something other than my usual blueberry pancakes... it was delicious as expected from Cracker Barrel.

Tuesday I was a little more lazy because it was raining when I got up and though I changed to go running, I didn't end up going out. We watched 'Death at a Funeral' at the theatre and ate at Red Robin for lunch. I headed out around 8:30PM and though I was falling asleep, I made it back to Midlothian via 460 to 307 to 360 (I passed Farmville where I used to intern at Southside, so the last 50 miles were familiar... I've fallen asleep while driving those 50 miles tons of times... not safe but whatever, at least I made it.)

Wednesday I went to the dentist and got the bumps taken off my teeth and I'm done with invisalign! :) I was excited. I chewed a piece of gum with gusto as soon as I got to work... despite the fact that we're not supposed to chew gum at work... but I haven't chewed gum in almost 9 months! I am a gum and chapstick addict and I'm not in denial about it either. I need to go to Costco and get gum when I go home. We had our Abbott rep come and do an A.S.P.E.N. inservice with us so we got Panera for lunch... I had already made plans to eat at Panera with some work friends for dinner... so I had the yummy Panera twice yesterday, ha ha. Later I met up with another friend from church for Cold Stone's. I love ice cream. Gosh, food is delicious.

Today I got up at 3AM and registered for the Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Marathon, so I'll get Texas done this year. I don't know if I'll get New Mexico done while I'm in Arizona because we're supposed to stay in state as much as possible and I really want to make it to Miriam and Al's weddings. My friends are priorities over running... as we tell because I'm paying to fly to California for K-Gibbs and Noelle's wedding this weekend even though I already registered and paid for the Delaware Marathon back in November. Hopefully I'll be able to run it later/not have to pay another full registration fee again (I already deferred my registration for next year for $25 but I might not be able to make it out to Delaware since I'll be in Arizona... augh!).

Well, I've been at work for about 5 hours (I got here a little before 5:30AM) and I'm really tired, it's a good thing it's hospital week and it's the ice cream social today after lunch. I have to drive up to RIC and fly out to Oakland today. I'm SO excited for In-N-Out. Of course Manuel's picking me up and we're going to In-N-Out like I always do as soon as I touch ground at home no matter what part of California I'm in. Tomorrow is our joint birthday venture (my 7th birthday party ever), we're going to Quinn's and bowling. Hopefully I'll see Rock tomorrow and also see Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood. Saturday I'm hanging out with Al and Andy before K-Gibb's wedding in Portola Valley... my tan lines are horrid for a strapless dress, but oh well, I'm going to blame New Jersey. Sunday is Bay to Breakers! I am pretty sure Manny, Noli and Herns are all doing it... along with a whole host of other people I know but haven't confirmed with. Good times back in the bay. I can't wait.

- run for life

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm a little concerned about Nevada and the 'Running with the Devil' 50 miler than I have scheduled. I went to New Jersey this weekend and ran the New Jersey Marathon. It was reminiscent of what I would consider torture. I hung out with a friend and watched "John Tucker must die" or something at her house, it was funny (mindless funny). Then I drove up toward New Jersey and slept at a rest stop in Maryland a few miles from the Boarder of Delaware. Since I am holding off on the Delaware Marathon and have no Delaware jumping pics, I stopped off at Delaware Park (I thought it would be a park, like a garden-ish type park with a walking path/playground, but it turned out it was a race track and casino... ha ha). I took some pictures by the signs and met a guy who was on his daily walk who helped me to take some jumping Delaware pictures at the track.

Afterward I headed out to the hotel where I would pick up my stuff for the expo. Of course I'm brilliant and forgot to print out the booklet with the directions and information for runners... So I looked up hotels in Long Branch, New Jersey on Tommy's (my GPS) points of interest. I knew it had the word 'Ocean' in the title, so that narrowed it down to two choices. I called the first hotel on the list. It wasn't the right one, it must be the second right? I called them and it turned out it was the location of the expo and across from the starting line. I chose that as my destination. I was planning on stopping at White Castle (as in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) but I was too tired and wanted to get my stuff.

I hit the expo and picked up all the samples they had and bought a few sports bras and shirts with sweet logos. I even 'designed' my own shirt from the logos they had. It's going to be great. I think it's hilarious. I got a shirt that says "will run for ice cream" aka the story of my life and another that says "it's not fat, it's fuel"... plus the one I designed. I usually don't buy anything, but I really liked the material and the sayings on these shirts so I got sucked in! ha ha.

After I left the expo I wandered around on the beach and sat out on the rocks chatting/catching up with a few friends. I even signed up for unlimited text messages! Big deal for me since I haven't had them since 2007 and am not the hugest fan. Honestly I got them because of a certain someone... but I'm also excited to get A's scores every day sent to my phone.

I read the small book I got from visiting Park West Church in Knoxville, Tennessee by Lucado. I love Lucado's writing, he's so frank and he just makes so much sense!

I went to the 50 States Club meeting and met some people who are just as crazy as myself. :) I was glad I am really not the only one. I'm going to join and get a 'certified' 50 States finish when I am closer to being done. I added up how many states I will complete this year... and I've already done 4 and I will get 4 more before the year is through with just the runs I've already signed up for, not to mention I want to do Arizona and Ohio this year...

Afterward I ate some food and read some more and chilled in Lazarus before prepping for the next morning and falling asleep in the back of Laz.

The run began at 9AM... I thought it was pretty late, but people were arriving before 7AM. I was woken up by the sound of car doors slamming on either side of me. I decided I should get up when it hit 7:39AM and changed and headed toward the hotel to brush my teeth, wash my face, and charge my cell phone... ha ha.

Others were stretching out and were serious about this run... I waltzed in with my toothbrush and was just out to complete another state as a part of my quest to finish the 50 states.

I talked with some fellow runners, dropped my stuff off at Lazarus, put on tons of sunscreen (though apparently not enough because my neck and cheeks were still burnt after the 5 hours in the sun). I headed toward the starting line and there was a sea of people. It was kind of ridiculous. The race started... the gun fired... and then again the gun fired. I didn't actually cross the line until 10 minutes after the original start. It was already 85 degrees and 85% humidity when we started. The sun peeked out through the clouds. It was going to be a hot day.

The loop was unnerving because you could see the markers for the second loop... so at mile 2 we saw mile 14 0.1 miles before we hit mile 2. It was frustrating... I felt so annoyed by mile 9 that I wanted to hide the flags and pull them out later for the second loop. (I'm not a big fan of loop marathons or when you see the other people who are ahead/behind you while you're running, it's disheartening.) I met a guy named Don who was 54 years old and didn't run at all other than the half marathon each year. He said he was out of shape, but he didn't look that terrible for a man of his age and his claims of not exercising. Later he said he was going to do something he'd never done before in his life... walk. I trudged on along ahead and eventually found a woman named Julie to run with. She was 46 and a health and P.E. teacher with two kids. I want to look like her after I have kids when I'm 46. She was awesome. I pushed her through the last 3 miles of the half and was excited to she her finish her first half marathon. :) (That's the only cool thing about a straight up double loop, I could literally see her finishing her run as I passed under the sign that pointed to the "loop 2" for the marathon.)

I continued to slop along (my heels had both been bleeding for at least 5 miles at this point and were quite tender and painful). I stopped by the port-a-potties by mile 14 only to discover to my horror that it was that time of month... no wonder my stomach had hurt, but not running cramping, the other kind. I was so annoyed and of course no one running had anything. I was tempted to ask someone who was sitting on their lawn cheering us on but I figured I might as well just get to the finish so off I went. I ran with a guy named Sean who lived in Texas but worked in Northern Jersey for a company based in Southern California. He got paid to travel around. I liked the sound of that. I definitely need to find a job like that. He was walking/running so I eventually ran on ahead (slowly mind you) and eventually was delirious by mile 22. I thought I was going to die. My head hurt, my body hurt and I wasn't sure what was keeping my legs moving but I had to chant to motivate myself and tried my best to encourage those around me despite the overwhelming heat.

At one point (around mile 24) I was almost crying from the heat and pain of it all. I hit mile 25 where we ran along the boardwalk and I knew I was going to finish under 5 hours. I kept on moving and even picked up the pace in the shoot passing the guy I had set my sights on around mile 23 and dominated the girl who had passed me at mile 22 (I actually passed her at mile 24.5 when she started walking and I continued on toward the finish). When I crossed the line, it was like a release of tension and my head hurt, my body hurt and I semi collapsed. It's a good thing they have medical personnel to help, they put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me over to the medical tent. I didn't quite pass out but I was hyperventilating and it turned out my body temperature was a toasty 103 degrees. They packed my body in ice (armpits, groin, under my knees, neck, in my shirt, etc) and it took a good 20 minutes to get my temperature down to 102.1. I couldn't talk because my tongue was malfunctioning and I called Benedetti to tell her I'd be slower than I had anticipated. My entire body was tingling more than I had ever tingled in my life. I tried to slow down my breathing as they instructed but it was difficult. I was glad I had texts at that point and took a picture of my medal and bib number still pinned to my stomach and sent it off to some friends to notify them of my 13th state finish. 37 to go. After another hour and then some (it took over 90 minutes to get my temperature back down to normal ~96 degrees), I eventually was freezing cold because my clothes were soaked in water from all of the ice melting (they had to change packs of ice on me multiple times) and the breeze coming from the nearby ocean. I left AMA (against medical advice) because I was really hungry and wanted to get back on the road to Princeton to visit Benedetti, Andy and Jeff.

I drove over and we watched Drumline, which I love. A good quote from the movie: "we don't date in the South, we have boyfriends." We got pizza from Papa John's and chilled out. Andy came by and visited after he got back from church in Philadelphia and Jeff stopped by to stay hello after he was done with his prior obligations. I was just glad to see everyone since I was in New Jersey and wasn't planning on going back. I finally left around 10PM and headed south. I made it to Maryland before I had to pull over and take a nap. I was very out of it and quite delirious at this point. I felt so dehydrated I couldn't think. I took an hour and a half nap, woke up and continued on my way (of course after trying to figure out how to get to the freeway, rolling over a curb because I was still out of it, I finally made it back to 95S). I ended up cranking up the tunes and bustin' a move to stay awake till I got back to Midlothian. I arrived around 6AM, took a 2 hour nap and got up and went to work.

I need to get more sleep. Last night I tried to go to bed at 10PM and I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight even after taking half a Benadryl (usually I'm knocked out from Benadryl).

- run for life

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

three things.

Another weekend, another marathon, more life goals checked off the list. I went to Tennessee to hang out and go zorbing in Pigeon Forge, TN. I forget when I discovered zorbing, but I thought it'd be awesome, so of course, I went. It's like a huge hamster ball for people. You get in it and if you do the dry version, you have to get in a harness. If you do the zydro or the zorb with water in it, you don't need a harness and you sort of roll down the hill with the water reducing the friction in the ball. It's pretty awesome. I recommend doing it at least once in your life. I might have to go again...

While in Knoxville, we watched movies, ate food, and hung out. It was fun. We drove up to Louisville, Kentucky where I need to do 2 more things on my list: go to the Louisville Slugger Museum and run the Kentucky Derby Marathon. It was AWESOME. The museum was one of the greatest places I've been, and I've been a lot of places. Perhaps it's because of my huge affinity toward baseball, but it was good times. I ran the marathon and had local ice cream in both Tennessee and Kentucky while I was in each state.

For the first time I had a spectator with me, which was nice so I have some pictures of myself while running (Sam was there when Kristen and I ran the Greenville marathon/half, which was super great so I have pictures from that run too, but this was also more special because my spectator was there specifically for me). I just wish I was actually in shape... haha! Well, I haven't slept much due to driving around so much, but I figured I'd throw out a quick update on my ever jam packed life of traveling and experiences.(I am tired because I left Knoxville around 11:30PM/midnight Sunday and slept an hour on the way to work and last night of course only slept 6 or 7 hours as usual. I need to get back on my regular sleep schedule!). Well, gotta sleep, more work and letter stuffing (for the Tucson mission trip) ahead before the New Jersey marathon this weekend. I'm excited.

- run for life

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I love good food. I love eating it, cooking it, baking it, and everything about it. I like making food aesthetically pleasing and the smell of glorious creations wafting from the kitchen.

Tonight some of my co-workers at I visited Mamma Zu's in Richmond (Churchhill area) and I had gargonzola sauce over penne with peas (I didn't choose the peas, it came with it, I would have chosen broccoli or mushrooms). I love 'stinky' cheese! It's so delicious! I liked the other dishes they had as well. (I need to remember to bring my camera so I can take pictures of my dishes...) I probably shouldn't get cream sauce prior to a marathon [note to self] because of the whole lactose intolerance factor (and if you read about my lactose tolerance test, you know I'm legit lactose intolerant). We went to The Phoenician last week on Monday night and had the Mezza or appetizer sampler. Their hummus was so smooth and delicious! I was delighted to have the yummy pita and the large variety of dishes to try. The cheese was so good! I liked both the cheese that was crumbled and the cheese that was in the block still (the block was better, but I love cheese either way). I need to figure out the names of everything I like... which was pretty much everything but the grape leaves, their flatires and kebbe.

I was disappointed because Auntie Helen used to make kebbe and I loved it so I was really looking forward to it... theirs tasted a little too fried or toasty/dry for me though. I miss Auntie Helen. I was talking to Anito and I think Auntie Helen was Lebanese... I never thought about it before. Interesting. The minds of young children are so different than adults.

It's past 11PM and I'm trying to get back in shape so I should wake up early to exercise... so it's past my bed time!

-run for life

Monday, April 12, 2010

note to self

Dear self,

Remember the grit, grime, gunk and long waits at bus stations when you have the brilliant idea to take Greyhound instead of flying again to save a little dinero. That was ridiculous. There is no reason to ever subject yourself to anything like that again. Flying is really the way to go, it's faster, more convenient, and usually you can get decent prices if you are looking around. Don't take Greyhound ever again. Sincerely, me.

I went to Tampa this weekend. I got to work a little before 6AM Thursday morning, finished up and got a ride over to the Petersburg bus station. The bus was late. Great start. Luckily I had a 4 hour layover in Richmond to wait for my next bus so it didn't matter the bus was an hour late. When I got to Richmond I was quickly reminded of how much I dislike taking Greyhound. The chairs are uncomfortable, dirty and there is no where to sleep while you're waiting for your bus to arrive. I got on the next bus, fell asleep quickly since it was already 7:50PM when I got on and was rudely awoken by the bus driver tapping my head as a slept telling me I had to get off the bus until they called us again to reboard.

Waiting at bus stops near plugs is not the most fun thing in the world. They do have "charging stations" at some bus stations at least. Most of them (like Richmond) have very few plugs and some of them are oddly placed 5 feet above your head. They're also so loose you have to hold your plug in at an angle in order to get it to work. It's so frustrating. When I got to Jacksonville a guy came up to me and was SO excited I had an ipod... which everyone and their mom has an ipod these days right? He wanted to charge his, I'm nice so I let him. He went to smoke and came back in... he asked me where I got my plug and I told him I bought it from the apple store. He asked how much I got it for, I told him $30 bucks. He went back outside to finish his cigarette, came back in and offered to buy my plug for $20 bucks... I was like, "dude, I just told you I bought it for $30, why in the world would I sell it for $20?". He offered me $30. I told him I wasn't interested unless he was going to give me $300 because I used it for my ipod and phone, so why would I sell it, then I wouldn't have a charger, duh.

Weird people.

I finally got to Tampa where my CS host picked me up and we drove over to St. Petersburg where the Rays play. The stadium was interesting looking, all indoor stadiums are kind of ghetto. We bought the cheapest tickets, took a few pictures outside as per my custom and headed inside where I took some more pictures. We missed free t-shirts (to the first 10,000 fans), I blame Greyhound for that since I was over an hour late. I got over it really quickly when I saw them. They were baby blue and quite ugly at that, I would have just donated it to Good Will anyway. We found some seats in the front of the bleachers where we sat until we were kicked out. We thought perhaps the man at the end (we dubbed him 'peanut man') would be nice and let us sit next to him, instead my CS host got sprayed by peanut flecks and spit from peanut man's mouth when he was yelling that the seats next to him were taken. Interesting. We moved down closer to the players and I was having difficulty seeing because tall people kept sitting in front of me... and the lady behind us was all into the cow bell thing (which is really loud and annoying). A family sat in front of us and I occupied the youngest girl by making funny faces (fish, platty, etc). Soon more people moved into our row and we were forced to move again.

We moved down closer (you'd think we'd have to move further but that was not the case). We sat in an almost empty row on the first base side. A guy in a hat was sitting 8 or 9 chairs down from me. It was the worst hat I've ever seen, I almost lost it right then as I was turning to say something, my CS host made a comment sending me into fits of laughter. It became the butt of our jokes for the rest of the night. I got a picture of it too. Wow. It's interesting right? The Rays and Yankees both had home runs in the game, continuing my streak of home team home runs (home runs in general really). The game was uneventful, the Rays beat the Yankees 9-3, no come backs by the Yankees at all. They had indoor fireworks... really the lamest show I've ever seen in my life, but they let us walk across the fake astro turf and exit out the back which was kind of neat.

We left the game and went back to the small parking lot we paid to park in ($10 vs. $20 for the team parking lots that were the same distance away-within walking distance). I wondered if the lot even belonged to the boys and father who were taking money and showing us where to park behind the fence. I really doubted it. We got into the car, I ate a snack (I refused to buy food from the Rays and support them more, especially since tickets cost $23 each for the cheapest ones!) and we headed back to Tampa on a mission to find a restaurant to eat. I spotted IHOP and we pulled in. It was super cold inside so I went out and got my fleece pants and sweatshirt. It was a good choice. I got a Spinach & Mushroom omelet with 3 pancakes (cheesecake pancakes with blueberries on top). Unfortunately I couldn't really taste any cheesecakey bits so I was a little disappointed but they were still good nonetheless. The Hollandaise sauce on my omelet or whatever it was, was disgusting so I scraped it off and proceeded to consume my entire order. There were some interesting people in IHOP at 1AM including a girl who looked like she wasn't wearing any pants when she walked past. I didn't get to see the rest of the ensemble, but that's probably for the best.

We headed back to sleep, he slept on the couch and I slept on the bed because he felt bad that I had spent so long on a Greyhound bus. When I woke up it was nearly 1PM and unfortunately the last run for kayaks was at 2PM so we missed that. There was also a new zipline Safari in Florida that was full for the night (moonlight Safari). Rock climbing was expensive and the other options just didn't seem worth it so we went down to the pirate ship and bay walk where I got a jumping picture in front of the boat and we walked for an hour down the bay walk and back. It was nice and fun to just chat and hang out (for free). On the way back we stopped at Bo's for ice cream, I got a vanilla ice cream cone dipped in chocolate. It was great. We hung out for a bit at his place before we hit Carraba's where I got lobster raviloli which were delicious. The bread was good, my salad was better with cheese on it and I was disappointed to find they no longer at canolis. There were some kids going to prom there also.

We hit the grocery store to get some ice cream (moose tracks with health magic shell) and headed back. I was excited to watch Die Hard... but it turned out that Live Free or Die Hard was on Sunday night, not Saturday! So disappointing. We ended up watching Fever Pitch and The Bank Job instead. Fever Pitch was okay, I didn't really like the acting but the story was decent. After all, I do like baseball. Could you tell?

I went to sleep again on the bed after taking a shower and woke up at 7:30AM, ate some breakfast and we were off to the Greyhound station... I was not excited. I said farewell and waited for my bus. It was late. I got on and we ended up getting late to our stop in Jacksonville (big surprise) and I ended up missing my exchange. Luckily there was another guy who missed his transfer also... because we ended up outside McDonald's in Waterboro, Georgia and sat there for over 20 minutes wondering if we had just got left in the middle of nowhere. We got on the correct bus and I sat next to an ex-Marine (the CSer I stayed with was also an ex-Marine). We chatted for a bit before I passed out and was sleeping soundly. We arrived in Columbia, South Carolina at 1:15AM, only 5 minutes behind schedule. My bus was scheduled to leave at 2AM, his at 2:50AM. I was glad mine was going to leave earlier. Unfortunately... they ended up leaving first and my bus didn't leave for an hour and forty minutes after the scheduled departure. We got to Charlotte, North Carolina late and to Petersburg, Virginia an hour and forty minutes late. Luckily I had chosen the earliest arrival so I was still on time to work. I got everything done and was able to make it to my appointment for my oil change and dentist on time. It really pays to work ahead and sort everything out to be sure that I won't be swamped on Mondays.

Overall, Tampa was definitely more fun because my host was hilarious. We joked around like old friends and had a blast. The food was good and I was a fan of the ice cream as well. I love couch surfing. I have made so many good friends while traveling around sleeping on people's couches. Good times, but I'm still never taking the Greyhound bus again. It's definitely not worth it!

- run for life

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I am officially done with class as the final day of school was yesterday. Monday will be my first day as a non-student since I was four years old. That's a long, long time. I am gearing up for the day ahead at work, finishing my ServSafe certification is one of my priorities in the coming weeks.

Yesterday I faxed my official 'acceptance of appointment' to the PC USA to be a Young Adult Volunteer in Tucson, AZ. I've been praying about it and God has really given me a peace about it. He's done so much, even my dad has now said that he just wants me to be happy and if God wants me to go to Arizona and not move home yet, that's okay. :) I nearly cried when he said that and apologized for getting mad at me and hanging up abruptly when I first proposed the idea. It really means a lot to me to be able to honor God without feeling conflicted inside by disobeying my parents.

I created my new YAV-only blog yesterday. Raisin helped me with the title. It's called: babbling oasis. I posted my first post yesterday. I'll still be posting here now and then, especially while I'm still in Virginia (which is the original reason made this blog... because I was so far from my family and friends) and driving across the nation. I'm excited about moving closer to home.

Dad also wants to go to Japan and China this summer. I'm pretty excited about that. I need to take my new passport picture tonight and get the renewal form sent off. I decided I was going to do the Running with the Devil 50 miler in Nevada. I still need to buy my plane tickets to get from Denver, CO to San Diego, CA and back for Rachel & Jeff's wedding the day after Ashley & Brian's. It's going to be a great summer.

- run for life

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I did what I was going to get done for the capstone class. I analyzed and analyzed and re-analyzed using the SPSS 17.0 program and lots of excel sheets. I am so tired of looking at spreadsheets. I wrote and wrote and created my presentation and poster. I turned my documents in and now it's up to the final grading and that's not my part! I'm sure I'll do fine, I am just glad it's over. Now I just need to work on the final draft of my eating disorders paper and turn it in. I'm so tired, I think I might sleep first and work on my paper later... I have to do my lecture slides or whatever for the interns at VSU on Friday too (I'm doing the RD exam review with them). Maybe I should do that now... since I want to print it out at work tomorrow and I'm going straight to VSU tomorrow morning and then going to work afterward.

So much to do... so little time. I always feel like I pack things in even when I don't try to. I have to work this weekend too. At least I get Tuesday off to chill and teach a fitness conditioning class. I think that class will be fun.

Well, I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to sleep now and work on the paper and RD review stuff tomorrow at work. Hopefully I can get it done before I leave. At least I have nothing planned tomorrow night.

Almost there!

- run for life

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

and another one...

And another one, another one bites the dust. I did state 11 - Covenant Health Marathon in Knoxville, TN this past Sunday. It was a 'persevering' experience.

Saturday I got up, did the dishes at my CS host's place since their sink was super full and went downtown to pick up my race packet. I parked in the same lot by the art museum that I did Friday while I was wandering and went down to check out the Sun Sphere (from the 1982 World's Fair, which I didn't even know they had World's Fairs in random years-apparently the Eiffel Tower was from the 1889 World's Fair and the Space Needle was from the 1962 World's Fair). I was expecting this '360 degree view' of Knoxville to be amazing so I was disappointed when it was only 4 stories up and reminiscent of the Canada Tower but not as cool because it wasn't as high and there was no glass/clear floor. I was expecting something more like the Space Needle, but I guess Seattle has everyone beat. There's apparently a bar up there on the 5th floor but I didn't make it that far.

I headed off to the convention center and picked up my stuff. There was a decent assortment of things to look at and I got some car magnets - one of my favorites says "some girls chase boys, I pass 'em." I got another one that said, "I know I run like a girl, try and keep up." I normally don't buy anything but I liked them! I was going to but the "some girls chase boys, I pass 'em" on my car but I feel like I need to get something that says I'm a runner first because people might just think I drive fast or something... which I really don't because I'm paranoid about getting another speeding ticket. :P

Afterward I hit the Hilton's Starbucks to use their free wireless internet and got another 6 hours of analysis for my thesis done! I was stoaked I was being so productive... (I should be editing my final paper right now but I am writing this instead, whoops...). Then I met up with another CSer for dinner where we went to Dazzo's on S. Gay Street and had a bowl of pasta. I had broccoli rabe pasta which was delicious albeit there weren't enough people working that night because it took an hour to get a bowl of pasta. Then I got dropped at Laz and went back to my CS host's place to do some more homework and sleep before the 26.2 in the morning.

Sunday morning I got up at 6AM and went through the motions of checking my stuff, putting on my shirt with number pinned to it (I always pin it on the night before) and socks and shoes. This bib had the timing chip stuck to it so that was pretty neat. I didn't have to put a bright orange timing band on my shoe (I would have thought they'd want to put it on because UTenn's colors are crazy bright orange and white). I packed up my stuff, put it in Lazarus, made a hole in a garbage bag since it was raining and walked 2 miles to the starting line. I'm really glad I brought the plastic bag because I would have been freezing the entire race if I hadn't since it rained before we even started at 7:30AM. I went to the convention center where everyone was gathered in to keep warm and dry prior to the start. I met two ladies from an hour west of Knoxville who were there to run the half. I ended up running the entire first half with them, it was fun chatting and getting to know them. They were both mothers and said they ran for a cheaper "group therapy" option. We talked about tons of things from life and running to food and shoes (a man was actually wearing the Vibram 'barefoot' shoes, I did get a pair to try and I tried them on last night, they were really comfy, I'll have to write about them after I've run in them). I love long distance runners. They're so friendly!

After they finished the half I was off on my own. I took a little walking break (running 5-6 times total since Jan 9/10 is not an optimal training strategy) for a half mile and picked up again when I got to a downhill. Around mile 16 I fell into pace with a man with the last name 'Knox' who had run all 6 Knoxville marathons! It was interesting getting to know him too, the first Knoxville marathon he had broken some of his ribs in a speed skating incident and ran it anyway because he thought he should represent Knoxville as the only entrant with the last name of 'Knox.' For 2 miles we plodded along until it began to rain at mile 18. When I say 'rain,' I actually mean pour like no other. I was drenched in less than 10 seconds, chilled to the bone.

I sped up in an attempt to get done more quickly and eat the gross (yet oddly tastes like the best ever after a long run) cold pizza awaiting me at the finish line. Clearly some of the roads we were on were not meant for pedestrians. I was running in puddles above my ankles and my shoes were squeaking from the water. I was surprised there were any spectators left and I said "thank you" to every single volunteer, spectator and police officer after mile 19. I cheered everyone on after mile 21 because everyone looked so gloomy. Around mile 21.5 a 61 year old by the name of 'Jack' fell into stride with me. He mostly played tennis these days but his daughter had asked him to join in their relay last minute. He had run about 10 times prior to the race, his leg of the marathon was the last 6.2 miles. He ran with me to the finish and after I was tired of encouraging, he encouraged me. As they say, 'Iron sharpens iron' and we need our brothers to pick us up when we fall. I was glad he was there for those final miles.

When I crossed the line the cramps I had been trying to avoid thinking about since mile 10 (yeah, I know I'm out of shape) set in. I went to the athletic trainer tent and some students helped me to stretch and 'knead' out my 'crunchy' IT band and muscles. Afterward I got a ride from two ladies in a golf cart to where the post race 'party' was being held. I was still freezing since I had planned on grabbing some food and heading back to Lazarus to change instead of carrying a bag with me and checking in my stuff.

There were no hand dryers in the basketball stadium's bathrooms so I couldn't dry off. I went to get my food and loaded up on pizza, chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, banana halves, Luna bars and tomato soup. The post race lunch of champions, I know. The granola bars and Luna bars I saved for the drive back to Virginia (since 7 hours is a long drive alone!). I ate my food and conversed with some of my fellow marathon finishers who were at the table I sat down at.

After I was full, I was preparing myself to walk back to Lazarus when I spotted a Lost and Found table... sheer luck. Since I had taken so long for stretching and ate so slowly it was nearly time to pack up and leave (if I had waited another fifteen minutes they would have given me an entire pizza or two since they had so much food leftover). I quickly sifted through the clothes and found the only sweatshirt in the pile, hurried over to the women's restroom, stripped off my soaking wet (I could still squeeze water out) running shirt and tank and pulled on the dry sweatshirt. It was definitely a lifesaver. I wrapped my space blanket around me, pulled on my marathon finisher's hat and walked outside.

It was much warmer with the dry sweatshirt on even though the bottom half of me was still freezing and wet. I walked down to Cumberland Ave. and began the trek back to Lazarus. I stopped in a pizza joint to use the restroom again (I think I drank a lot of water... so at least I was hydrated while running) and a minute after I got back outside the skies opened and it was dumping buckets on me. Luckily the space blankets are that silver water proof material and I stayed relatively dry.

When I got back to Laz, I headed to the CSer's place whom I had eaten my pre-race dinner. He arrived from lunch with church friends and I took a glorious warm shower. (Showers, like food are 100 million times better after you've run a marathon... and even better when you've been frozen, wet and pruny for as long as I had.) We watched the UTenn vs. Michigan State game (sadly UTenn lost by one point with a terrible desparate final shot that didn't even hit rim). I ended up staying in Knoxville a lot longer than I thought I would. Luckily I was able to stop to power nap at a gas station and a rest stop on the way home and made it to work. In all, it was a great visit to Tennessee. I doubt I'll go back again soon since I've checked off my life goals for the state (marathon & jumping pictures in each state), but I enjoyed it.

Now back to homework. School ends this Saturday, commencement is April 24th. I'm so excited for school to be over!

- run for life