Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Oh the places we've been

2010 was a ridiculously awesome year and I can't wait to see what adventures 2011 will bring. And now, some of my favorite pictures from 2010:

Lyric of the moment: "There'd be no distance that could hold us back. So this is the new year..."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 12 miles before Christmas

On Friday night we went to see Black Swan at the Little Theater and I reserved the secret balcony, which is awesome squared because it's a) a secret and b) a balcony. We got to watch the movie from our own little balcony room with comfy benches. They put a fancy reserved sign on the door and everything. I want to watch all movies this way from now on.

Black Swan was interesting, albeit slightly creepy at times. I like movies where you're not quite sure what is really happening and what is all the in character's head.

Saturday morning I went to running group at Fleet Feet and ended up running 12 miles. I hadn't run that far since the half marathon in September, and it's nice to know I still have it in me. Winter miles feel so much longer than summer miles though.

Lyric of the moment: "Cause I need freedom now. And I need to know how to live my life as it's meant to be..."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow Cheap Trail Race

Rocking my new headlamp
 I went to the first race in the Snow Cheap Trail series tonight. It was, as they say, an experience. It was a crazy, slippery trek through the fields and woods, uphill and down, over logs and under tree branches. The course is different every time and you don't know how long it is until you're done. Some people wear snowshoes but I don't have snowshoes, and I don't know how to snowshoe anyway, so I just wore my trail running shoes. I'm glad I went. I survived my first trail race and I didn't even fall! But I consider myself lucky not to have wiped out or gotten smacked in the face by a tree branch, and I feel like running another race might be tempting fate. Seriously, the whole time I was thinking "This is crazy. Only a crazy person would be doing this." Still, I have to admit it was strangely exhilarating not knowing where we were or how far we were going, just trying to stay upright and make it to the finish. Afterwards some guy came up to me and thanked me for setting a good pace. It was his first time too and apparently he was following me the whole time and trying to stay with me. Hilarious. I had no idea what I was doing. I was just trying not to get lost or injured. Mission accomplished.

Lyric of the moment: "But I'll be close behind. I'll follow you into the dark.."

If I am lost or broken

So I'm back to drinking tea again. Apparently my dislike of being cold trumps my dislike of tea.

It seems like the desire to be warm is my sole motivator as of late. Hot drinks, boots, scarves, tons of layers, and hugging my space heater are in. Skirts, dresses, ice cream and not being under a blanket are out.

I wish I was one of those women who could wear skirts in winter, but i have no idea how to accomplish this without a) freezing and b) looking all bulked up like some kind of abominable snowperson. I bought a pair of sweater tights because the name made them sound warm and cozy, but I haven't figured out how to wear them yet.

At what age do things fall into place and you find your personal style? At what age do you stop thinking about where your life is going and what you're going to be when you grow up?

I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to run a trail race in Rochester in December. In the snow. In the dark. On trails. Snowy, slippery trails. Unfamiliar trails to boot. But that's what I'll be doing at 7pm tonight. If you don't hear from me in a while, I am lost and lying broken somewhere in the woods at Cobb's Hill. Please send cake.

Lyric of the moment: "Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow..." (because you can't stop Christmas)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love in the time of sleeplessness

I did not sleep well last night. Not well at all. Grrr. Hopefully it is just an anomaly in my otherwise fantastic sleep record. So on to happier, less sleep-deprived business.

Things I am in love with this week:

*The pizza delivery dude who, after I said "I'm sorry you have to drive around in the bad weather," replied, "I lead a life of danger and intrigue."

*The parents pulling their snowsuited up little kid in a sled down the sidewalk. Little kids in snowsuits are simultaneously the cutest and creepiest thing ever. Seriously. Watch The Brood and you'll know what I'm talking about. Who wants to pull me around in a sled? Just kidding. Who wants to watch movies and drink hot chocolate?

*When my boss said, in a conversation about personality tests, "I did well on those tests, but I always lied."

*Soup. Because it's cold and all I feel like eating is warmth. Bonus points for being in a breadbowl.

*The Song Garage Sale by Nerf Herder. I heard it on the radio and just laughed and laughed.

*Thursday. Because it's payday and funny TV night and almost the weekend.

Lyric of the moment: "I spent $34.95 on a very fancy scented candle. It smelt like strawberry Pop Tarts and oregeno. I rubbed it all over my body and wrapped it up to give it to you. But here it is at your garage sale, 25 cents at your garage sale..." (worst. gift. ever.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter Armistice

It's no secret that Winter and I are not friends. Winter is cold and my body has a frightening inability to regulate its temperature in any weather cooler than 60 degrees. Since hibernation is not a viable option, I decided to join the Winter Warriors program at Fleet Feet. Basically, you get points for going to any of the regular Fleet Feet workouts or running in any races that Fleet Feet sponsors, and you can win prizes along the way. It doesn't matter how fast you are; the points are based entirely on participation. The point is to encourage people to stay active through the winter months. I don't need any motivation to exercise, but I figure Winter Warriors will help me embrace the cold and snow, or at least tolerate it.

I guess bad weather is like anything else. You can focus on all the things you don't like about it and get all grumpy, or you can accept that there are certain things you can't change and just try to make the best of it.

So this is my armistice with winter. I will try to run through the winter without complaint (well, mostly without complaint - I reserve the right to complain about hail because that icewad hurts!) and hopefully winter will try not to frostbite me.

Granted, it hasn't been that cold yet, but so far so good. I went to this week's Tuesday night, Friday night and Saturday morning runs and, as long as I keep moving I stay warm enough. Hopefully I can brave the arsenal of snow, sleet and wind ahead.

Lyric of the moment: "And when I wake tomorrow I'll bet that you and I will walk together again, 'cause I can tell that we are going to be friends..."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rochester Thanksgiving Day 8K

Yesterday, I ran in the first ever Rochester Thanksgiving Day 8K race downtown. I'd never run a debut race before, plus I didn't feel like driving out to Webster to run the Turkey Trot with 3,000 other people, so the downtown race it was. The course was okay - no real hills, which was nice, especially considering that it was a cold and windy morning. But I'm not a fan of courses that simply go out halfway, turn around and then follow the exact same route back.

I don't know if it was the cold weather or if I went out too fast or what, but the first half of the race wasn't pleasant. My chest hurt from breathing in the cold air and I thought I was going to have a bad race. Why did I think this would be a good idea? Why wasn't I still under the covers right now or drinking hot chocolate or otherwise indoors like a normal person? But then I moved on to more productive thoughts like "You can slow down if you want but you have to keep running." and "So what if you have a bad race? It will make you stronger or build character or something." and "I'm going to eat so much pie later." And then I started feeling better. When some dude passed me around the 7K mark, I said "Good job" and he replied "Stay strong" so I figured I'd try to stay with him until the end. But when the finish line came into sight, I took off and ended up finishing before him. Though I did get beat by a guy wearing a turkey hat. As he ran by me I told him I liked his hat and he said something I couldn't understand. (I think there is a direct correlation between running speed and the tendency for your exclamations to come out like grunts instead of actual words.) Afterwards, the Stay Strong dude told me I had a nice kick to the finish.

My time was 36:33 (59th out of 308), which was faster than I'd expected. I know I'll never be fast enough to win a race. I just want to keep improving or, failing that, at least keep going and enjoying myself.

This morning I went to the Waffle Run at Fleet Feet and ran the 5 mile route. Back at the store, they served free waffles and sausage, but I left after the run because I had other things to do and because I didn't really know anyone there. I still haven't gotten the hang of the social activity aspect of running. But I like running with other people, even if I don't have much to say yet.

Lyric of the moment: "And if I need a rhythm, it’s gonna be to my heart I listen..."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My bestest friend's wedding

This weekend I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for one of my closest friends. Meghan and I have been friends since 7th grade and we have had some crazy and hilarious adventures along the way. The wedding was a blast! Good friends, good food, good music, good times. Meghan looked absolutely gorgeous, as always, and I know she and Mike will be very happy together. Even though I am in no hurry to get married myself, I have always loved other people's weddings. I love seeing the people I love in their happiest moments. And weddings have an infectious sort of energy - so full of hope and optimism for the future - that you just can't help but have an awesome time.

Also, the dress-up photobooth is the best ever!


Lyric of the moment: "You'll be given love, you'll be taken care of. You'll be given love, you have to trust it. Maybe not from the sources you have poured yours into, maybe not from the directions you are staring at. But turn your head around, it's all around you. All is full of love..."

Monday, November 8, 2010

If you give a house to a rookie...

My weekend started off with a semi-accidental 10 mile run on Saturday morning. (Last year I would have thought "How the hell do you accidentally run 10 miles?" but apparently that's just how I roll now.) I went to the distance run at Fleet Feet, but the weather was crappy so I figured I'd do the 6 mile loop and call it a day. But I ended up running with a group of 3 other people who were following the 10 mile route and I felt good so I decided to do the extra miles with them instead of heading back. Overall, I think we may have gone closer to 11 miles. I didn't have any gels since I hadn't planned on going that far, and the weather was a mixture of cold rain and snow, but it was a surprisingly enjoyable run. I haven't run that far since the half marathon and it was nice to find out that I can still do it. Now that I have thrown modesty to the wind and given in to the spandex, running in the rain is no big deal. Throw on a waterproof jacket and running tights and you're good to go. My Kinvara's held up well in the rain too. Of course I stepped in a puddle within in the first mile and my feet got soaked, but they warmed up pretty quickly and didn't feel soggy or anything after that. Sunday I woke up early and snuck in a quick 3 mile run around my neighborhood before heading to breakfast with friends at Simply Crepes. So delicious.

The running was just what I needed to get rid of some pent-up frustration about my house. My weirdo bathroom has been misbehaving and I will probably hire someone to put in a new bathroom floor within the next few months. And if I'm going to rip up the whole floor, I might as well redo the whole bathroom while I'm at it and try and fix all the weirdness the previous owner installed in there. But that's expensive. And time consuming. So do I still want to buy a new house, possibly a duplex, in a few years or stay in my current house until I pay it off, slowly fixing it up along the way? I still haven't decided, but lately I'm leaning more towards staying. Dealing with renters would be a huge pain in the ass, though totally worth it for the extra income. But a simpler life with a smaller house, like the one I have now, has its appeal too. I don't know. I'll figure it out somehow.

I think Emelyn had the right idea when she said she wanted her next husband to be a handyman. All of this would be so much easier if I was married to Ty Pennington right now. Well, not Ty Pennington exactly, but someone equally handy and less hyperactive. This is the downside to buying a house by yourself: you have to bear all the responsibility yourself. There's no one to help you decide what to do and help you pay for it. And I'm certainly no handyman. But I'm sure it will all work out eventually.

Still, it would be nice if the house could offer up some good surprises once in a while, like finding thousands of dollars under the couch cushions instead of dog hair or gold bars in the basement instead of spiders (Sorry Tiger. I like you and all your spider friends, but spiders don't have the skills to pay the bills.)

Lyric of the moment: "I'm trying to tell you something about my life. Maybe give me insight between black and white. The best thing you've ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously. It's only life after all..."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some kind of mysterious stranger

He said: "Is that a mood ring? You're blue and green, that's a good combination."
She liked the sounds of that.

I love fleeting moments with random strangers. Maybe you share a funny anecdote or a smile, maybe you commiserate about long lines or shitty weather, maybe you wave in acknowledgement of your shared determination to be awake and running at this ungodly hour. These are the kinds of moments that are full of limitless possibilities. You don't know anything about this person, so anything could happen. For whatever reason, some sequence of events has brought you to this place at this time, where your world has just collided with that of another. And that's just the beginning. You don't yet know that she carries a lucky penny in the pocket of all her coats or that his favorite book is "Sirens of Titan." You don't know if you'll become best friends or vague memories. Maybe you'll never see each other again or maybe, years from now, you'll hardly be able to remember a time before you knew each other.

But whatever happens, this chance meeting will change you somehow, perhaps without you even realizing it. And that's my favorite part. Everyone we interact with can be a source of joy in an otherwise ordinary day or a lesson we had to learn the hard way. We are the accumulation of all our experiences and connections.

I like people and sometimes I even revel a little in the awkwardness of human interactions, so why don't I ever actively try to meet new people? Oh yeah, because I am terrible at it. Some people naturally make friends wherever they go and I wish I was one of them, but I am lacking the necessary social skills and outgoing personality. I'm no good at small talk. I want to skip ahead to the part where we jump out of airplanes and travel around the world together.

Lyric of the moment: "Haven't we met? You're some kind of beautiful stranger. You could be good for me. I have a taste for the danger..." (because it reminds me of Austin Powers. yeah baby)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Run for the hills

Last night I went to the hill workout at Fleet Feet and the free talk afterwards about how to dress for running in cold weather. This was my first time at one of their regular Tuesday night hill workouts, mainly because I'm a morning runner and their workouts don't start until 6pm. But it was actually a lot of fun. As much as hill repeats can ever be fun. And the view from Cobb's Hill at sunset is breathtaking.

I used to hate hills, but lately I find that I really don't mind them. By no means do I love them or actively seek them out, but I'm not intimidated by them either. Just take it one step at a time to the top, and eventually you get to come back down again. It's just converting kinetic energy to potential energy and then back to kinetic. Take that hills, you've been scienced! (I really wish I had more occasions to say "You've been scienced!")

Most of the other runners were decked out in their reflective vests and headlamps. I should probably buy something like that since it's dark when I run in the mornings, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I don't like having a lot of running "stuff." I just want to lace up my shoes and go. But I also don't want to get smashed up by a car. So there's that.

The talk about cold weather gear was informative, but I'm not about to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy new high-tech baselayers and midlayers and jackets and tights. Mostly I just wanted to hear what kinds of fabrics and products they recommended so that I can be on the lookout for similar items the next time I go to TJMaxx, Marshalls or other discount stores. In winters past, I ran in sweats, but the Fleet Feet lady said cotton is the worst fabric to wear when running. Apparently I've been living on the edge.

Lyric of the moment: "When the future's architectured by a carnival of idiots on show, you'd better lie low..." (because it's the perfect description of election time.)

Lucky sporting my I voted today sticker

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkins in the park 5K

I ran in the Pumpkins in the park 5K at Cobb's Hill this morning. With all the hills, it's definitely not a PR course, so I'm happy with my time of 22:59 (44th place out of 467 total runners). Plus costumes were encouraged so I got to wear a Superman shirt. I only wish I had a cape too. Still, that shirt is sweet and I'm totally going to wear it even when it's not Halloween. There were some pretty neat costumes, including a runaway bride, Oompa Loompa, Homer Simpson, and 3 ladies dressed up as the 3 blind mice. Sadly, I registered too late and they had run out of t-shirts, but I did win a plaque for finishing second in my age group.

Jeremy made this awesome photo series from the race. It's like my very own comic strip!

Lyric of the moment: "I wonder what it's like to be a super hero. I wonder where I'd go if I could fly around downtown. From some other planet, I get this funky high on yellow sun..."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The laws of physics need not apply

Sometimes I think about the things I would do if Physics ever took a vacation...

I would love to visit another universe or another dimension or wherever it is those people on Fringe and Quantum Leap and Doctor Who are always going. I would love to meet an alternate Jen. What would she be like? Would she have a mohawk? (awesome!) Would she be a chemist? (not awesome).

(Question: what is the opposite of an exclamation point? If "!" is what you use to convey your excitement about something, what punctuation mark conveys your unhappiness or non-enthusiasm about something?)

I would definitely build a perpetual motion machine. Just because I could.

Also, I would levitate. All the time. Gravity schmavity.

And teleport. Breakfast in Paris, a day trip to San Francisco, a weekend in Australia and back home in time for work on Monday.

Ooh! Forget about getting home in time for work. I could be in two places at once. Sweet!

Explore a black hole, run across the ocean, eat an infinity of cake without gaining a pound (ok, even I wouldn't want to eat an infinity of cake. Sugar coma!)

I wish Physics would go on Oprah and win a trip to somewhere far away. Like Pluto.

Ooh! Another one. Go to Pluto! Although technically, it's not the laws of physics that's preventing me from going to Pluto. It's the lack of a rocket ship.

So many possibilities.

Exclamation point overload.

Lyric of the moment: "It's so easy from above, you can't really see it all. People who belong together, lost and sad and small. But there's nothing to be done for them. It doesn't work that way. Sure we all have soulmates, but we walk past them every day..."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birthday suite

Saturday was my 29th birthday and it was filled with Niagara Falls adventures...

Riding the Whirlpool cable car

 Enjoying the sweet view of the falls from our suite

Riding the Skywheel

 Eating dinner at the Rainforest Cafe

And by dinner I mean the chocolate volcano. It even came with a sparkler on top!

My birthday present from Jeremy was a sterling silver mood ring. I'd been wanting one for a while and somehow he found a local artisan to handcraft one for me. It's pretty awesome.

Now, what should I do with my last year of being a twentysomething?

Lyric of the moment: "You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for 29 years. You know I dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you..."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some people make to do lists. I make wish lists

I wish I was less awkward and better at talking to strangers. If some dude you've never seen before comes up to you as you're walking into the gym, starts talking to you and says "I saw you running..." is it friendly or creepy? I'm hoping friendly. I am always surprised when strangers talk to me. I don't know why I assume other people can't see me. They have eyes and I am not the Invisible Man. I like people but I am terrible at small talk and awkward at everything else.

I wish the candidates for State Assembly were less interested in my vote. Ken Krause came to my door, Harry Bronson's people keep calling me and I'm getting hounded by political surveys. It's rather annoying.

I wish I could opt out of the holidays sometimes, like skip Christmas one year or call in sick. Christmas comes every year so it seems like you should get to sit one out every once in a while. You could be all "Thanks dudes, but I'm cool. No overcrowded malls and 2 months of Christmas songs for me this year. I'll catch the next one." One year my family went to Florida for Christmas and squirrels attacked our house. So I can only imagine what Christmas would do if I tried to dodge it.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have such a sweet tooth. Or maybe had just one sweet tooth instead of 24. It's cake's fault for being so delicious.

I wish my dreams were invitation only. Maybe my unconscious could hire a bouncer to keep out the wankers and ghosts from the past. Last night I had a dream about a man who killed his wife and dumped her body in a lake. The dream wasn't scary or anything (I can't remember ever having a nightmare or scary dream. Even when bad things happen in my dreams, I am never afraid in them. Dream Jen is invincible. And can fly if she runs fast enough. Awake Jen is way less cool.) But when I woke up I was creeped out at myself for having dreamt* it.

I don't know if there are rules about how many wishes you can make at one time, so this last one is a hope.

I hope I can maintain all the endurance and speed I gained during summer training. Sometimes it feels weird not having a training plan to follow, but other times I like the freedom. I don't have trouble finding the motivation to work out. I need the motion. If I don't get some kind of exercise every day, I get all antsy and restless. But I still can't believe that last month I ran a half marathon in 1 hour 43 minutes! I was hoping to finish in 2 hours and I had doubts about my ability to maintain that pace. The possibility of going faster hadn't even crossed my mind. I hope it wasn't just some kind of fluke and that I can continue to get stronger and faster. I've found lots of training plans for different length races, but no maintenance plans for the in-between times, so I've just been winging it. Here's hoping that works.

Lyric of the moment: "The world's a roller coaster. And I am not strapped in. Maybe I should hold with care. But my hands are busy in the air saying, I wish you were here..."

*According to the Oxford English dictionary, the past tense of dream is dreamt or dreamed. I like dreamt better because it sounds fancy. And dreams should be fancy. But I appreciate the ole OxEng giving us options.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Farewell to funk

I'm like most people in that Monday is my least favorite day of the week, but today I actually don't mind it. I'm still trying to climb out of the funk I fell into last week. I don't know if it was the result of a bad day at work or just seasonal malaise, but I felt mentally tired and just sort of blah in general. I'm ready for a new week and a new start.

Why is it that it's so easy to forget compliments yet so hard to forget criticisms? Even when you know you didn't do anything wrong and the giver of said criticism is clearly an unpleasant person and possibly a nutcase, it is still hard to let go of bad experiences sometimes. I get annoyed with myself when I let other people get to me. So many good things happen in life and I shouldn't let one bad thing leave a stain on my otherwise good day.

Segue to completely unrelated things.

As expected, I am in love with my new Tempur-Pedic mattress and I'm thrilled to have a queen sized bed after so many years of sleeping on a double. (I take up a lot of space in my sleep. I'm not sure what I do but I think it involves some kind of ninja-ing.) Now there's a room in my house with nothing but a huge bed (filled with pillows, memory foam and a warm comforter), nightstands and reading lamps. It's the sleep of champions up in there!

I recently learned that Hitler was a vegetarian and animal rights advocate (I'm reading Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog) and I can't stop thinking about it. So Hitler thought mass extermination of Jewish people was ok but eating meat was disgusting? It's mind bogglingly insane. Add it to the list of things I will never understand.

Last week I went to the Dunkin Donuts drive thru to get hot chocolate, but when I got back to work I realized they had given me some random coffee drink instead. I tried calling the store, but no one answered so I e-mailed customer service to explain that I received the wrong order and didn't want it because I don't like coffee. Then they sent me coupons...for free coffee. Classic.

Saturday morning was chilly and windy so I wussed out and went to the gym instead of running outside. The treadmill's timer only goes up to 60 minutes, so I decided to see how far I could run in that time. I got in a little more than 7 miles. The treadmill is nice because it's a softer landing than pavement, but I forgot how boring it can be to run in place for an hour. I had my iPod and I picked a treadmill in front of the window so I could watch people coming and going outside, but I think next time I'll have to bring a magazine or something to cover up the display panel so I don't have to watch the time tick by sooooooo sloooooowly.

Goodbye funk of last week. On to better days...

Lyric of the moment: "This is just one of those lonely nights. The good times gonna come..."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday's random thought buffet

On Saturday, Raymour and Flanigan will deliver my new love, a queen sized Tempur-Pedic mattress. I'm not thrilled about paying $2000 for a bed, but this is the most comfortable mattress ever. And it comes with a 20 year warranty, so basically for $100 a year I get to sleep on a cloud. I don't mess around when it comes to sleep.

But I may never leave the house again.

Fall is definitely in full swing. All my weekday morning runs are now in the dark, which sometimes makes me feel like I am running in a dream and sometimes makes me feel like I am running in a horror movie.

I don't understand why people in horror movies cannot run without falling. Stop looking behind you and just get the hell out of there.

Part of me wants to run more races, but I'm not really feeling any of the upcoming events in Rochester. I don't like racing in and of itself, so I look for races that involve some kind of awesomeness (like running on an airport runway) or novelty of place or distance. I will probably register for the Pumpkins in the Park 5K because I love Cobbs Hill and potentially one of the Thanksgiving Day races (I think there is a new one in downtown Rochester this year so I have to look into that).

My stupid hip is still not 100% and sometimes my knees hurt a little. I stopped going to acupuncture because, while it's great for managing pain, it isn't going to do anything to fix whatever it is that's wrong with me. The pain is not severe, it's mostly just annoying, so my new plan is to ignore it until I can figure something else out.

I bought Saucony Kinvaras and I've been wearing them on shorter runs. My hip complains less when I'm running in them and I like the way my legs feel all loose and springy afterwards.

I wish I had a regular running buddy, except I don't know how to go about finding one.

Dear universe, hint hint.

Lyric of the moment: "It's not where you are, it's where you're going. And it's not about the things you've done, it's what you're doing now. Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down. How quick are you gonna get up?..." (This song has been in my head since yesterday)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

If you build it, I will climb on it

Yesterday morning I filled up my water bottle and took off on a mini adventure run. I usually run the same handful of routes, so it was nice to head out with no specific plan in mind. Nice but potentially a bad idea since I have a terrible sense of direction and a tendency to not pay attention where I'm going. But it all worked out. I ended up running about 8.5 miles from my house to the canal trail off S. Clinton, taking the trail to Edgewood, then to Monroe Ave and back home. Lately all I want to do is run and explore and listen to Mumford and Sons.

After breakfast, we went to Griffis Sculpture Park, which I thought was near Buffalo but is actually closer to Middle of Nowhere, NY. I was not a fan of the 2 hour drive, but the park itself is neat. There are all these cool sculptures on trails through the woods, and the best part is that you can climb on them! Although, the only people who seemed to be taking advantage of that were me and some small children.

Lucky didn't care about any of the sculptures, but she was super excited to go on her first road trip and sniff new counties. I was super excited to climb on giant insects and towers.


Lyric of the moment: "Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears, inciting and inviting me. Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns. It calls me on and on, across the universe..."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend adventures

Saturday morning I went to the group run at Fleet Feet. I miss the pace groups but it's still nice to have people to run with. I wound up running with a group of 3 guys who I'm pretty sure are all way faster than me. I kept up with them for the whole 8.5 miles, then they all started sprinting at the end and I was thinking "Dudes, it's not a race." I've never been a fan of competition. I don't think running, or life, is a contest. Sure, I want to keep improving, but most importantly I just want to keep going. But on Saturday I just went with it, because I figure running with those guys is great training and can only make me faster and stronger.

Later that afternoon, my parents and I went to my cousin's high school cross country race. She's super fast and finished the 3 mile race in about 20:46! You wouldn't think that running would be inherently exciting, but it can be fascinating to watch other people run. Especially if it's a hot guy. Running shirtless. Into a library.

Saturday night I went to my friend's bachelorette/lingerie party. I'm not sure who started the whole buy your friends lingerie before their wedding trend, but it seems to have taken off. I don't really understand the wearing of lingerie. Why spend money on an article of clothing, the sole purpose of which is to get someone to rip if off you? I think it makes some women feel more confident or something. Personally, I would feel ridiculous and probably wouldn't be able to stop laughing. But my friend loves lingerie and I was glad to see her so happy. Plus, who doesn't like a party with penis shaped baked goods and games of "pin the junk on the hunk."

On Sunday my mom and I went to the Hilton Apple Fest. I was disappointed that they didn't have any Honeycrisp apples and they were sold out of hot apple cider, but I did get some kettle corn, which is the main reason I go to festivals in the first place. Also, arts and crafts booths are always entertaining. People make the most creative and crazy stuff. My favorite booth at the Apple Fest was the "Pet Angels" people, who make stuffed animals with angel wings in memory of your dead pets. What the...? Seriously? Who would buy that? Although I guess it's better than having your pet taxidermied. Better in that it's slightly less creepy but still way up there on the crazy scale. It takes all kinds I guess.

Lyric of the moment: "Autumn’s sweet, we call it fall. I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl..."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go for a spin

Tonight I went to spinning class at the gym for the first time. I don't know why I had never tried it before now, but it's really fun. The music was a little loud and sometimes I couldn't understand what the instructor was saying, but it was a great workout and I think I'll go again sometime. My favorite part was the standing up, out-of-the-saddle position - it felt like running but without all the pounding. Next time I'm sitting on the side not facing the clock though. An hour of running goes by in no time, but an hour on a stationary bike in a small room seemed a lot longer.

Lyric of the moment: "What you want, you are, you always were..."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rare moments of social normalcy

I turned 23 on October 23, 2004 and somehow I got the idea to make a list of 23 things I wanted to do while I was 23. That list, and especially #23: take a big risk, was the start of the crazy and ridiculous adventure that has lead me to where I am today. At the time, I was painfully awkward and shy (and arguably still am, to some extent), so the biggest risk I could think of was to move in with strangers. I had no qualms about skydiving, riding in a hot air balloon or the other random craziness on the list, but moving in with people I had never met scared the crap out of me. So of course, it turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done. Ok, so there were inevitably some sucktastic moments. Life isn't all unicorns and ice cream cake. But overall, the awesome far outweighed the awful. The whole experience forever shaped my life philosophy. And I still keep an informal and ever-expanding list of things I want to do, time and money permitting.

I was never one of those people who simply "knew" they wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or actor or whatever. I never had a clear vision of my future. And honestly, I still have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. But I realized that I wanted to have a life full of new experiences, challenges and travels, and once I set about trying to make that happen, my life took off in unexpectedly hilarious and infinitely amazing ways.

Incidentally, it was Jeff, one of the strangers I ended up moving in with, and then living with for 4 years after that, who gave me the nickname Robot. Shortly after I moved in, Jeff said he had never seen me eat anything besides ice cream and I asked so many questions (several of which have become infamous, including "What is in quiche?" and "How much is the tuition at Hogwarts?") that he thought I was a robot  from space, fueled by sugar and sent here to learn about humans. All of Jeff's friends started calling me Robot, and some didn't even know my real name for a long time. I thought it was hilarious.

It seemed oddly appropriate. I have always felt out of the loop when it comes to many human social behaviors. I don't drink or smoke or belong to any religious group. I don't eat meat or fish (Jeremy is a vegetarian and after we started dating 3 years ago, I naturally ate less meat, found I didn't miss it, and later gave it up completely). I may never get married and I don't want to have kids. I don't understand why anyone would want to ban gay marriage or go to war or wear socks with sandals. So basically, I fall outside of many social norms and, as a result, I am used to getting a lot of "are you some kind of robot?" looks when such topics come up in conversation. I will happily come to your wedding and listen to stories about your children while you eat a steak wrapped in bacon and drink beer, it's just that none of it appeals to me personally.

But don't worry, I'm not one of those robots Sam Waterston warned about on SNL...

"Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel. Well, now there's a company that offers coverage against the unfortunate event of a robot attack, with Old Glory Insurance. You need to feel safe. And that's harder and harder to do nowadays, because robots may strike at any time. And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can't break free, because they're made of metal, and robots are strong."

Still, I need to keep working on reducing my social awkwardness.

Also, I need to stop reading books about ultramarathoners. My brain is getting ideas that my body can't accomplish.
Lyric of the moment: "Binary solo! 00000010000001100000011100001111..."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Barktoberfest 5 mile race

Today, Jeremy, Lucky and I went to Barktoberfest at Lollypop Farm, which is the shelter where we adopted Lucky last year. I ran the 5 mile race and Lucky did a lot of sniffing and peeing.

The race course was a nice mix of trails and roads, with a few hills in the middle but a nice downhill to the finish. My time (37:56) was faster than my first 5 mile race in July, but the hip pain is still nagging me and the rest of my body feels a little worn out too. Sigh.

I really don't want to but I'm going to take this week off from running and do cross training instead. All my bones and muscles and inside parts performed like champs this summer, taking me farther and faster than I ever expected, so they've definitely earned a little rest time. Hopefully my body will heal itself and I can get back to running soon. I want to keep running for the rest of my life, so I should probably factor in some rest and relaxation time occasionally.

Lyric of the moment: "Some of us are different. It's just something in our blood. There's no need for explanations, we're just dogs on the run..."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Win some, lose some, awesome

Not awesome:
VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS SPRINT SHOE - MENS - 45 - RED/BLACK/BLACK*I wanted to get a pair of Vibram Five Fingers but unfortunately they won't fit my feet due to my freakishly webbed toes. There's always that one dude at every race who runs in the Five Fingers or barefoot. I want to be that dude! Sadly, it seems it's not meant to be.
*I randomly got stung on my knee the other day. It was so not the bee's knees.
*I went to a sports medicine doctor, who said I don't have bursitis but my right hip muscles are weak. At least that's what I think he said. He spoke in William Shatner-like bursts of phrases that I only semi-understood. He sort of demonstrated some strengthening exercises that I could do, so I will have an attempt at those. Whatever is wrong with me, I just want it to go away and never return.

Dear body, please heal yourself as soon as possible. If you let me do all the awesome things I want to do, I promise not to think mean thoughts about you ever again. Infinity of thanks.

*Apparently I am now 5'7'' tall. I always thought I was 5'6'' so either I have recently grown an inch or I am finally standing up straight. I think my feet got longer too because some of my shoes from last year feel too small now. Weird.
*Pumpkin bars are back at Wegmans. They're like pumpkin pie but with walnuts and better crust. A deliciously good time.
*I transferred a little more money into my savings account, or as I like to think of it, my "moneys for awesome adventures" account. Little by little, I will get there. Hopefully.
*This picture of me fighting the Brobdingnagian (fantastic new word I learned that means "gigantic, enormous, of excessive size") squirrel sticker on the side of The Nut House on Monroe Ave.

Lyric of the moment: "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride. Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no, I got to keep on moving..."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random reflections on the run

I was sort of in a daze on Sunday after the half marathon. A few times I even caught myself pulling a Lucky, staring off into space at nothing in particular. I don't think I've ever been so tired (or so happy about it).

But now that I can form thoughts again, I wanted to record some of them.

I feel like a bit of an ass for saying this, but hearing your name called as you cross the finish line is seriously awesome. Getting a medal for finishing is pretty sweet too.

Not to mention the ridiculous assorted swag that was in our race packets: A long sleeve t-shirt, 2 kinds of toothpaste, arthritis rub, men's deodorant, Red Bull, a package of craisins, assorted coupons and flyers, and a box of Success rice (which Jeremy and I ate last night for dinner).

During the half I found myself thinking "Seriously? You want to run a full marathon someday? As in, 2 of these! In a row!" But some part of me is still all "Yes, yes I do." At group training on Saturdays, we would all run the first loop together, then the half marathoners would be done, but the full marathoners would go back out on an extra loop to get in their additional miles. Half of me was glad I got to go home and shower, but the other half, like the little kid who wants to sit at the grown-ups' table at Thanksgiving, wanted to go the extra miles too.

I wish I could find a way to zone out during races. I can do it during training runs, but on race day I can't seem to focus on anything other than the task at hand (or foot, as the case may be). I suppose it's nice to be totally in the moment like that. During the half marathon, since I couldn't distract myself from the race, I just went with it and started thinking "You're doing it! You're running a half marathon!" over and over.

I wish I could figure out how to drink water out of a cup while running. I'm great at getting water all over my face and down my shirt, but in my mouth, not so much. Apparently I'm not the only one who has trouble with this. At one of the water stops during the race, I heard the guy running next to me say "Oof, that went up the nose." I hear you, dude.

It's funny how running is both a communal and solitary sport. You're surrounded by a crowd of almost 2000 other runners, and yet you're really only in a race with yourself (and sometimes the clock). Sometimes I wish I had friends to run with, but sometimes I enjoy the alone time.

There seems to be a strange sort of automatic intimacy among runners. You may barely know someone's name before you find yourself in a conversation about dietary habits and nipple chafing and bathroom talk. It's oddly amusing.

And last but certainly not least, infinity of thanks to all the race volunteers and spectators! I don't know why you'd want to get up at the crack of dawn on a rainy Sunday morning and spend hours outside cheering and handing out water, but thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lyric of the moment: "Run, running all the time. Running to the future, with you right by my side..."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Half marathon race day!

I ran my first half marathon today!

MVP Healthcare Rochester Half Marathon
September 12th, 2010 - Rochester, NY
1838 Total Finishers (787 Male, 1051 Female)

I was hoping to get under 2 hours, but I finished way faster than I expected: 1:43:22 (182nd place). It's the farthest and fastest I've ever run, so even though most of my body hurts right now, I feel awesome!

Lyric of the moment: "And I'll run in the rain 'til I'm breathless, when I'm breathless I'll run 'til I drop..."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Able to run 7.5 miles in a single hour

I ran the Fleet Feet Summerfest 12K race at Mendon Ponds Park yesterday. With the strong winds and the 7.5 mile hilly course (seriously, the course was a like a roller coaster with all the rolling hills), it was definitely a tough workout.

Like an idiot, I forgot to take an Ibuprofen before the race, but my hip didn't really bother me while I was running. I definitely felt it afterwards though. When my watch read 8:15 at the first mile, I thought I went out too fast and should relax on pace a little bit, but evidently my body heard, "Let's go faster" because I finished in 59:33 (average pace of 7:59 per mile, #61 out of 232).

This was my favorite kind of race, in that it felt like hard work, but not impossible, so I tried to stay relaxed and just keep going. I felt strong the whole way through, and I think this may quite possibly be my best race ever (I'm pretty sure I even beat my Lilac 10K time at the 10K mark of this race). I hope I feel this good or better during the half marathon next week.

Training has a lot to do with it of course (as does eating more), but I think for me personally, the most important factor is that my attitude towards running has changed since my high school and college cross country days. I'm way more positive and upbeat now. Instead of thinking "I can't do this," my attitude has become more of a "Well, I've never done this before, but sure, I'll give it a try."

Now I actually enjoy running, even racing to some extent, and everything just seems more humorous somehow. When my stomach felt a little off around mile 3, I thought "Ok Stomach, throw up or shut up." (Thankfully, it chose shut up.) Just as I was thinking how peaceful the 12K course was through the country roads, I came upon mile 5 and the overwhelming stink of manure. Classic. And then I saw a dog riding on a tractor and passed by 3 horse drawn carriages with riders in old timey clothes, the absurdity of which lent a surreal, almost dream-like quality to the race. After I crossed the finish line, a guy from running group gave me a hug and exclaimed "You're a machine!" Fabulous! 

Lyric of the moment: "In the place where I make no mistakes, in the place where I have what it takes..."

Friday, September 3, 2010

More powerful than a loco motive

I have a 12K race coming up tomorrow and the half marathon next weekend, so I thought it'd be a good time for some robot race philosophy:

This is not a race. This is but one leg of a journey, step by step, mile by mile, to see how far you can go. Whatever happens, you will emerge better, stronger, happier. No worries, just relax and keep going. Remember to eat (fuel), drink (hydrate) and be merry (smile). After all, this is fun, right?

Yeah, something like that.

Lyric of the moment: "With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run..."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Faster than a lunar rover

Jeremy convinced me to return the expensive running shoes I bought at Fleet Feet. I hate complaining or returning things, but the Brooks stability shoe they recommended just didn't work for me. Plus, I think the shoes are what caused the bursitis in my hip. The sales dude took one look at my flat feet and said he would have recommended a stability shoe for me too, but admitted that he can't argue with what my feet say (apparently what my feet say is something along the lines of "Take a hike, stability shoe, you're not the boss of me!") He brought out some neutral shoes for me to try and I ended up trading the Brooks for Mizuno Wave Riders.

Definite upgrade. I love Love LOVE my new Mizunos! If I'm going to spend $100 on running shoes, this is how they should feel. They're light and bouncy and quick. The first time I wore them, they carried me through Saturday's 11 mile group run without so much as a blister. It feels like I'm not even wearing shoes.

My hip pain isn't completely gone, but it's getting there. I'm down from 3 Ibuprofens a day to 1 and I don't need the ice anymore. I think I'll keep going to acupuncture for a while. My hip is feeling better, though I don't know to what extent, if any, acupuncture contributed to the improvement. But acupuncture is alternately amusing (when there are other patients there) and relaxing (when there aren't or when I'm wearing headphones), and it's nice to have 45 minutes of scheduled rest/recuperation time a week. We're now in the tapering phase leading up to the race, and so much nervous energy is building up that I'll be needing all the reminders I can get to just relax and breathe.

So I just finished reading Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, from which I learned that lunar rovers average about 6 miles an hour. So now whenever I run faster than 10 minute mile pace, I picture myself outrunning a lunar rover.

Lyric of the moment: "How long before I get in? Before it starts, before I begin...Where to, where do I go? If you never try, then you'll never know..."

Friday, August 27, 2010

...the tough get...acupuncture?

My recent adventures in trochanteric bursitis led me to Rochester Community Acupuncture last night. I'd had acupuncture once before, years ago, so I had an idea of what to expect. But Rochester Community Acupuncture is different in that it operates on a sliding pay scale (you have the option of paying $15-$35, based on what you can afford, no questions asked) and the acupuncture treatment is performed in a communal setting rather than in a private room. You get your own big, comfortable recliner and personalized treatment, but there are other patients in the room at the same time.

The owner/acupuncturist asked me some questions about my hip pain and verified that I had gone to see my physician first (acupuncture is a complement to traditional Western medicine, not a substitute). Then she felt my pulse and asked if she could see my tongue (strange, but ok. when in Rome...). Later on, while reading about acupuncture, I found out that there are 4 diagnostic methods the acupuncturist can use, one of which, "inspection," includes analyzing the face and especially the tongue. After looking at my tongue, she wrote down some notes (which I was super curious to read but unfortunately I couldn't get a good look) and then inserted about 15 or so tiny acupuncture needles into my hands, arms, feet, legs and ear. You can feel a tiny prick when the needles are inserted, but there's no lasting pain.

Then I was supposed to lie back and rest for 40-45 minutes while the acupuncture got to work unblocking my qi or whatever. (Chinese philosophy postulates that illness can be caused when the flow of qi (energy) in the body gets disrupted, and that restoring the flow of qi balances the yin and yang forces in the body, keeping it healthy. Western science theorizes that acupuncture may work by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters, which can dull pain and strengthen the immune system). Frankly I don't really care how it works, I just want my bursitis to be gone so I can get back to running full speed ahead.

I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to be doing during the relaxation time. I closed my eyes and tried to relax and breathe, but I kept getting distracted by other people. First it was a phone call from a difficult customer who didn't seem to understand the sliding pay scale, judging from the receptionist's having to explain it multiple times before transferring the call to the owner. Then a new patient came in and was describing all her ailments: sleeping 10 hours a day, being tired all the time, experiencing back and neck pain, getting stomach cramps after eating at the Olive Garden.

By this time, I started to feel really lucky that I didn't have these peoples' problems. My bursitis was looking pretty minor in comparison.

The acupuncturist said the treatment has a cumulative effect so she wanted me to come once or twice a week at first. I made another appointment for Monday, and I am definitely bringing headphones. My hip actually does feel better today, but I don't know if that's due to the Ibuprofen, rest, ice, acupuncture or some combination. I'm just hoping the pain will go the way of socks lost in the dryer or ships vanished in the Bermuda Triangle, never to reappear.

Lyric of the moment: "I don't feel the way I've ever felt, I know. Gonna smile and not get worried. I try but it shows..."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When the going gets tough...

Once I stopped taking Ibuprofen, the hip pain came back with a vengeance. After reading about common running injuries online, I suspected I might have bursitis, which my doctor later confirmed. Or, as he put it after examining me "You have a problem." (Um yeah doc, that's kinda why I'm here). Evidently my problem is trochanteric bursitis.

According to the Cleveland Clinic's website, "Trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sac near a joint) at the outside (lateral) point of the hip known as the greater trochanter."

(Insert string of expletives here)

Ugh! I'm so annoyed at myself for getting injured. My training was going so well and now this crap. I suppose some sort of setback was inevitable, but I'm still irritated. No sense stressing out about it though. Per my doctor's recommendations, I've been taking Ibuprofen, icing my hip and resting. I'm supposed to cut down on running, which I will (albeit grudgingly), but I still want to do enough that I'll be prepared for the race on September 12th. Tomorrow I'm getting acupuncture, because I've heard that can help.

Fingers crossed that I'll be better soon.

Lyric of the moment: "But it was not your fault but mine. And it was your heart on the line. I really fucked it up this time. Didn't I, my dear?"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fitter, happier, more constructive

Change is funny. It can sneak up on you so gradually that you don't even notice it until all of a sudden it hits you and you think "Holy crap, when did I become this person?"

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I find that lately I love running. I mean really love it. In fact, as much as someone like me can be passionate about anything, I would say I have actually become passionate about it. I mean, I always liked running, in the way that I "like" vegetables because they're good for me and all that, but let's be honest, if it provided the same vitamins and antioxidants, I'd choose dessert over vegetables any day. Somehow, running has transformed from the broccoli equivalent of exercise to the peanut butter cup sundae. I get excited about it, I look forward to it and after every run, I want more and more. I just want to keep going for as long and as far as I can.

Everything I see and hear and read gives me new ideas for places I want to go and things I want to do. (Insert Liz Lemon voice saying "I want to go to there.") I wish I could be a full-time explorer/adventurer.

And I think my inner monologue has become a surfer dude. The other day someone asked me what I was training for and I thought "Life, man." (Seriously? Who am I? Why does my head sound like a stoner?) Thankfully I caught myself in time and said "The half-marathon."

Update: I stopped wearing the expensive running shoes when my right hip and left knee started hurting. I can't be certain if the shoes caused the pain or if it's just the inevitable result of increased mileage, but I'm not taking any chances. I took some Ibuprofen, iced my hip with a bag of frozen berries I found in the freezer and bought a new pair of New Balance running sneakers from DSW for $30. I ran 13 miles in the New Balances on Saturday and my hip is feeling better, so I'm sticking with those shoes for the race.

Speaking of stoners...As if I needed any more TV shows to obsess over, I am now addicted to Weeds. I'm up to season 3 (Thanks, Netflix On Demand!). So Hilarious. I love it!

Lyric of the moment: "Oh, this is the start of something good, don't you agree? I haven't felt like this in so many moons, you know what I mean?"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Going the distance

I ran 13 miles (!) during group run on Saturday. It's the farthest I've ever run and I'm super psyched because now I can go into September's half marathon knowing that I've run that distance before.

I never thought I would run 13 miles and want more, yet here I am. I still don't look like a runner, but after 15 years I'm finally starting to feel like one.

So I'm excited to be going further and further each week, but I'm less than thrilled with my new fancy running sneakers. There was something hard poking out of the inside seam on the left shoe that gave me a blister, so I cut it out and put electrical tape over the seam. As for the inserts, I ended up throwing them away because they felt awful.

I'm reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and he talks about how the "best," most expensive running shoes are actually the worst for you and can lead to more injuries than they prevent. Apparently I was on the right track all along with my cheapo running shoes. I'm going to do more research into the barefoot running movement and maybe check out some Nike Free Run or Vibram Five Fingers shoes, which are designed for running with more of a barefoot stride (landing on the mid-foot and sweeping back) versus "high-tech" cushioned running shoes which encourage landing on the heel and rolling forward.

My immediate concern is to figure out which shoes I want to wear for the race and then once I survive that I can explore some other options for the long term. I'm going to give the new shoes one more week of use without the inserts and see how my body feels. Even if the new shoes don't work out, I'm trying to look at it, not as having wasted $132, but as having learned a lesson about what not to buy in the future. Life is a series of trials and errors. Keep what works, toss or modify what doesn't, and keep going.

Lyric of the moment: "But wherever I have gone, I was sure to find myself there. You can run all your life but not go anywhere..."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dog days of summer

I don't know why I persist in talking to Lucky as if she can actually understand what I'm saying. I'm basically talking to myself when I say things like "No, you can't go in that scary looking van. Didn't you learn anything from Criminal Minds?" and "Do you really have to find the nicest looking flowers to pee on?" Because to Lucky, I probably sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. All she hears is "Won won, won won won." Unless of course I happen to be holding a treat. Then Lucky is all "I will sit, stay and high five like a champ. I will become a monkey typing Shakespeare on this typewriter if you will just give me that hot dog."

Lyric of the moment: "And I want you to know I feel lucky to know you. Cut open my heart and you'll see that it's true..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Galapagos! Days 7 & 8: There's no place like home

Monday, August 2 and Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And so begins the 2 day journey back home. Monday we flew from the Galapagos to Quito, then woke up at 3:00am on Tuesday morning to catch our flight from Quito to Miami, followed by Miami to Chicago and then for me, Chicago to Rochester. Dear travel agent person who booked our flights, I think you may be partially insane because 35 minutes is not enough time in between flights. All day I was worried we would miss our connections. We did make it on time, but only just.

All in all, the trip was simply awesome. I know that I am ridiculously fortunate to have had this experience and I hope there are many more trips and adventures awaiting me down the road. I'm already thinking of the next 20 places I want to visit. It is possible that I have become addicted to travel. Back in the day, I totally would have been an explorer (most of their "discoveries" resulted from simply getting lost, and I have no trouble doing that).

For anyone thinking of visiting the Galapagos, DO IT! Seriously, it's incredible. We chose a land tour and stayed at the Red Mangrove hotels on 3 different islands: Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz. Each hotel was unique and charming and I was very pleased with the food and accomodations. Two thumbs up, Red Mangrove. Galapagos cruises are another popular option, but our guides explained that, with the land tours, the money you pay supports the local economy whereas when you pay for a cruise, the money goes to the foreign companies that own the cruise lines. Something to think about.

Good times, good times, but I'm glad to be back home with Jeremy and Lucky. Part of the fun of going away is coming back to share your stories.

Until next time...with love, from Robot.

Lyric of the moment: "If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now. 'Cause there's too many places I've got to see..."

Galapagos! Day 6: "You have to try it"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our last day in the Galapagos was a little strange. It seems like the tour company doesn't know what to do with Emelyn and I since we're on our last day and the new people coming in are on their first day. We had a funny guide this morning who took us to Los Gemelos ("The Twins"), 2 collapsed lava chambers. We also saw a giant lava tunnel. The guide kept saying "I will take your picture over here!" and "You have to try it!" He was very enthusiastic to say the least.

Later we went with a different group and guide to Tortuga Bay. I had actually run there this morning when I happened to find the road leading to the trail to Tortuga Bay. It was a lot of up and down, but a really nice trail and I ended up running it both Sunday and Monday mornings for a total of 60 minutes each day.

Lyric of the moment: "People are strange when you're a stranger..."