Run Post

...the most I have ever run in my life.

It was hecka funny to see a Filipino, middle-aged mailman along the route; he pumped both fists in the air to cheer us on.



Running Post #2

My friend and I went for our (my) first long run yesterday. I was so excited that I was already thinking about it as of Thursday. No joke. Friday night, I could barely sleep. Saturday morning, I woke up hours early. I killed time by having breakfast (and, I'll admit, coffee), playing with Charlie, and even cleaning the apartment.

We started off with a warm-up by walking for 10 minutes. It seemed like a bit much to me, but I surrender all running-related decisions to my running partner because she's been there and done that. Quite literally.

I suggested that we explore North Berkeley.Even though I've lived in this city for 4+ years, I don't really get out much, so many of the sites we we saw were just as new to me as it was to her. That helped keep me going.

We did a 10-minute run, 1-minute walk pattern. I'm so glad that I had her there with me because that schedule can get pretty boring to stick to. We talked about everything under the sun (well, we talked about a lot of things and we were under the sun).

When surroundings started to become a little familiar, that too helped me keep going. I kept thinking to myself "I can't believe I made it here. Me. Me. The girl who can barely run a mile to save her life."

We ran up Grant St., down Hearst, followed Ohlone Greenway for a short while, strayed off the path and ran up Peralta (it was a bit steep, but we conquered it) to Solano Ave. After a quick pit stop to Safeway, we continued down Solano until we found Ohlone Greenway once again. We followed the path back down to Hearst. In keeping with our search for fresh sites, we chose a slightly different path home: we headed south on California and swung left onto Channing Way.

Our goal was to run 4 miles for the day, but we ended up going 5.6 mi according to Google (8 mi according to my un-calibrate-able step counter).

Google also reports that if we had walked the same path at "average speed", it should have only taken us about 10 minutes longer than it actually took us to complete the trip. Womp womp.

Anyway, that's how much of a n00b I am at running, but I don't care about admitting this all out in the open because I feel so happy for me! La la la...


Going the Extra Mile

I went for a run in Berkeley today for the first time... ever. I think.

How running in Berkeley compares to running in Hawai'i:
1. 30 deg F. That is, it is 77 deg F in Honolulu right now and it is 47 deg F in Berkeley right now.
2. I still ran with the threat of rain.
3. In Hawai'i, I ran along the beach -- it was beautiful, and also, there were a lot of bums. In Berkeley, it is beautiful and there were just as many bums.
4. In Hawai'i, all I could think about was jumping into the ocean after my run. In Berkeley... this did not occur to me at all.

= = =

Some thoughts about me + running:
1. I learned that I do not at all like running with music blasting in my ears. Fast music stresses me out and leisurely (slow) music makes me feel like time is coming to a standstill. I prefer to run headphone-less.
2. Neither do I like running on a tread mill even when it's in front of a TV and even when it is in a lovely air conditioned room. I prefer to feel the natural elements on my face: wind, water vapor, sun... OK, maybe not dirt.
3. Mind over matter. My legs get kinda tired and my lungs kinda heave and wheeze, but mostly, I need to conquer this mental block that keeps me from going and going and going. I know that whenever I feel tired, I always have a little bit of energy stored up somewhere: I just gotta push. That extra surge of adrenaline will come. With time, my legs will strengthen and my heart and lungs will pump and breathe, but I need to work on focusing my thoughts. Right now, my trains of thought go something like:

"Duuuude. I suck. I've barely been running for a few minutes, and I'm already tired? My younger sisters run better than me. My mom runs better than me. Everyone runs better than me. How long has it been? Has it even been a mile? There's no way I'd be able to finish a half marathon. I wouldn't even be the last person to finish, because I wouldn't be able to finish. I'd just suck. Damn, I suck."

For real.

I need to focus my thoughts to be more like:

"OK, keep going. Just get to that corner right there, then slow down a bit. OK, now let's pick up the pace. Now slow down. Don't stop. Even running slow is better than walking. Just keep going. You can do this. I can do this. Keep breathing. Keep breathing."

Now that I think of it, this is the thought process that should be on repeat in my mind no matter what I'm doing. Slow down. Keep breathing. Keep going. I can do this.

= = =

During my run today, an old man called after me "you run an extra mile for me, you hear?"

So I did. I feel pretty good about myself.


Books to Kickoff 2011: Water for Elephants and Fifth Chinese Daughter

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This book was a real page-turner. Very risqué. And delicious. I highly recommend it to fiction-lovers. I don't recommend it to elephant lovers -- turns out it's not really about elephants. It's actually about a young man who finds himself out of luck and out of work until he suddenly gets picked up to work for a ragtag circus. It's the typical rite of passage, white boy hero can't-do-no-wrong kind of book. Now, I've never worked for a circus, but Gruen's got me convinced the line of work is crooked, hard as hell, and full of surprises.

Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong

I randomly picked this book up at a used bookstore in Oakland (or South Berkeley... Actually, I don't remember at all where I picked it up)

It's a memoir told in the third person (in true Chinese literary form) about a young Chinese girl who grows up in San Francisco during the 1920s. I felt particularly connected to young Jade Snow for her experiences growing up with immigrant parents -- you know: strict rules, high standards, conflict between one's own values, that of her parents, and that of her friends, yadda yadda. Wong's descriptions of San Francisco are so beautiful and detailed that it makes me want to walk through the city, book in hand. And -- spoiler alert! -- Wong ends up going to Mills College for her bachelor's degree. Yaaaay, Go Mills! She describes walking through Richards Gate for the first time in 1938 (or 1940... sorry, fact check please). Her description is almost identical to a video that I have of myself as I drove onto the campus for the first time. Maybe I'll post it some time. Jade Snow Wong's story is truly inspiring. She skipped several grades when she was younger because she was so smart, she worked through high school in order to save up for college, she attained several scholarships that put her through Mills, she worked in the shipyards during the war front, she became an author, potter, and salesperson...

Anyway, read the book. It's good.

That's all for now!


A Man Prays to Win the Lottery...

A lot of folks have posted their New Year's non-resolutions, alternatives, reasons for not making resolutions, etc. It really would be more novel of me to write up a list of resolutions here since it seems that no one else is doing it.

Why are y'all giving up before even trying? So what if you miss the bar each year after setting new resolutions -- at least you still had the guts to dream up some goals for yourself! You've gotta show up for the race even if you don't know if you're gunna finish. You've gotta buy a lottery ticket to win the lotto. Haha.

Anyway, here are mine:

1. Improve my running -- namely, my endurance.
2. Save up money to go to Cuba in July.
3. Write down a few sentences about each non-school-related book that I finish.
4. Write down the negative things that I think about myself as they occur to me, allow myself to think through why I think that about myself, and then scratch it out and replace it with a positive thought about myself. This year is all about positive self image.
5. Learn how to meditate. Meditate.


F- YOU Trisha!!

After several attempts to retrieve my password for my Southwest Rapid Rewards account, I finally called Southwest to speak to an actual person. I was put on hold right away, of course, so I waited... and waited... Finally, a woman came on the line; I believe her name was Trisha. I explained my situation to Trisha. I gave her my Southwest 9-digit account number (no easy feat, as my brain struggles at looking at long series of numbers and then reading them out loud correctly), my full name, and my birthday, all of which matched up correctly with her records. For some reason, this was not enough; she wanted my address:

Trisha: "What's the address on the account?"
Me: (I give her my Berkeley address)
Trisha: "No..."
Me: "Oh, sorry, I've moved around a bit and I'm in a military family so it's kind of confusing." (I give her my parents' old San Diego address)
Trisha: "No..."
Me: "Hmm.."
Trisha: "Do you live in Hawaii?"
Me: "My parents do..." (I give her my parents' current address)
Trisha: "No...
Me: (I think for a moment. My parents have moved around within Hawaii in the year since they've been here, but I can't think of any of their previous addresses...)
Trisha: "...(in an impatient, sarcastic tone) what, you don't even know where you live?"

omg omg F-YOU TRISHA!!! (**&(!*&(!@ # askf jalwij flakjflaksn dlkjfgkaue hroiweroie

Gerrrahhhhhh I'm seeing red.



Shaving Cream, Paper Airplanes, and Pinhole Cameras

Dads are so difficult to shop for. Don't get me wrong, it's also difficult to think of appropriate presents for brothers, boyfriends, and male friends, but present-shopping/making for fathers is another beast.

One Christmas, when my sisters and I were about 5, 6, ad 10 years old, we bought my dad disposable razors, shaving cream, and deodorant from Rite Aid. -___-

About 6 years later, I bought my dad a paper airplane book because I remembered how he and I would make paper airplanes when I was a kid. The gift was intended to be both useful and sentimental. He laughed when he opened it because he thought it was a joke; he never used it. -_____-

This year, I got my dad a pinhole camera kit. It was slightly outside of my spending range, but it seemed too good to pass up, so I bought it. When we opened out presentes (on Christmas Eve-Eve this year, because we had an early morning flight to catch on Christmas Eve), he seemed to like it... he acted appropriately surprised and delighted and all that good stuff.

Yesterday afternoon and all evening, my dad sat for hours at the kitchen table assembling the pinole camera. I was flushed with pride and happiness (of course, I was also sick, so I might have just been flushed with the flu). I tried my best to sit at the table with him and help him build the camera. I didn't want to miss that opportunity just because of a stupid flu. As we carefully read the instructions, I was reminded of how he and I used to work on projects together. When I was younger, he used to take over while I became a bystander. This time, I found myself wanting to take over. I fought the urge, though, since my dad seemed to be enjoying himself. He became frustrated at times as he read the instructions and as he turned pieces of the camera over in his hand; at these times, I feared that I failed again at picking out a present.

After several hours, he completed it! My help was minimal, unfortunately, but I think that he still had fun... and anyway, we can work together on looking for things to take pictures of.

Present for father, Christmas 2010: success!

Nyquil Dreams

Oh my gulay... I've been sick with a fever and all kinds of cold symptoms for the past couple of days, so I took Nyquil last night. The Nyquil knocked me out for a good 12 hours and gave me some of the gnarliest dreams.

I need to spend a few minutes detangling reality from fantasy.

1. My iPhone did not shatter in my pocket and its screen is not stuck playing white noise like an old TV.
2. I did not not get invited by PCN choir to sing the Pilipino National Anthem in front of thousands at HP Pavillion to open for the Backstreet Boys.
3. My friends from middle school and high school do not know my college friends and they did not purposefully hang out without me in the city.
4. I do not normally bring an entire rice cooker full of rice as my baon to school...
5. ...nor do I frantically hop fences and break into people's houses at night to use as short cuts in order to get from one side of Berkeley to the other.

OK, sounds good.


Fathers and Daughters

When my dad was crazy about basketball and the Lakers, I was right there with him. I took up the sport, joined a rec team (did terribly), and tried to keep up with him in conversations about basketball. I remember asking him what his favorite football team was when we still lived in Japan and I knew nothing about American sports. He said the "Niners". I had no idea who they were or where they were from, but I unquestioningly touted them as my favorite team if anyone happened to ask me. My dad is a huge techie and knows everything there is to know about computers; I in turn took part in a middle school program that afforded me the opportunity to build and program a computer. My dad was into cars, so, of course, I was too.

My dad used to talk to me about cars. During car rides, I'd ask him about various makes and models, the benefits of economy cars, the luxury of sports and, well, luxury cars, and so on. I looked forward to the annual San Diego Auto Show every year and secretly hoped that my mom and sisters would opt out of attending so that I could have my dad's attention to myself. Furthermore, we'd be able to stay longer because he and I were more interested in what the auto show had to offer than did my mom and sisters.

This all took place sometime in my late elementary, middle, and early high school years. I was not old enough to drive, obviously, but I was old enough to dream. I still remember standing before a prototype of one car in particular. It was a red drop-top which spun on a rotating platform. As the show case lady described its features, I had to fight from dropping my jaw to the ground. This prototype had a built-in computer -- one which would allow the driver to navigate and even find restaurants according to cuisine.

Two years earlier, when I was in the 5th grade, I imagined up a dashboard computer in cars which would help drivers do the very same thing.

I dreamt of growing up one day and buying a car that would make my dad proud. I don't know why at the time I believed that this was what it would take to win my dad's attention and approval; nevertheless, I dreamt of two-seater sports cars, luxury sedans, and the occasional convertible. I subscribed to Car and Driver magazine in hopes of learning even more about cars in order to impress my dad and continue to have something to talk about with him.

Then, my junior year of high school, my dad was deployed to Iraq.

I didn't have anyone to take me to the auto show that year. My mom didn't want to drive me because the traffic was crazy in downtown San Diego at the convention center. My friend at the time bragged that he and my then-boyfriend went to the auto show, and to everyone's surprise, I started to cry. My then-boyfriend swooped in and confessed that our friend was just messing with me because he knew that I wanted to go so bad. I don't think any of us quite understood why the auto show meant so much to me. I ended up not going that year.

Eventually, my dad got home from Iraq. I barely recognized him when he returned -- though he was only gone for 8 months, he seemed to have aged 15 years. He was tired. He lost a lot of weight. He was quiet a lot of the time.

When New Year rolled around again, I made plans for the family to attend the 2006 SD Auto Show. I was excited out of my skin. Even my sisters were looking forward to the occasion -- they planned excitedly about the various foods that they wanted to buy once we got there. When we pulled up to the convention center, to all of our surprise, my parents said good bye and asked us what time we wanted to be picked up. My heart sank. My sisters and I looked at each other. One of us -- I don't remember who -- asked my dad, "you're not coming?!" He only shook his head. He said it would be too tiring.

I don't remember anything about that visit, except that it was the last time that I've gone. I was too embarrassed to invite my dad to the 2007 and 2008 shows; I guess I didn't want to seem uncool to him by being excited to go to something that he didn't care about anymore. In 2009, 2010, and now 2011, our family has been overseas.

I'm not sure when my next visit will be, who will be with me, or what it will be like. Was I only into the show and cars for my dad? Now that my dad has lost interest in these things, have I as well? At any rate, none of my friends care much about cars; it's difficult for me to keep an interest alive when I have no one to share it with.

= = =

On a lighter note, my dad has recently taken up a new interest, one in which I am currently educating myself: guns. Such a strange thing for me to get into considering how I am at times afraid of my own shadow. I went shooting with my dad a few months ago and I actually did very well. My dad was so proud of me; he taught me everything I know and eased my fears when I was at first afraid to pick up the heavy, black hand gun. He lightly bragged about me to the other guys at the range. They congratulated me for starting with such a large caliber.

= = =