Monday, July 29, 2013

Keep Calm and Job Hunt On - Or Go for a Run

I've been back in California for just under three weeks now - kind of unreal. I am starting week two at the new job, still living in temporary housing, and am dealing with a great bit of uncertainty and "what ifs" than one would imagine after just landing back in her home state. But that's another conversation.

Not always easy, but always done.
What I really wanted to write about, after numerous questions and "Jeezo, how did you do that?" comments about running while on the job hunt. I spent the better part of June on a plane, or in multiple time zones during which red-eyes totally kicked my behind. However, June was also the core month of the #RWRunStreak, a challenge I'm proud to say that I met (even though it sometimes meant doubling up on runs). Whether you're job hunting in student affairs (a pretty taxing, ridiculous interview process) or in some other field, it's still not easy to maintain a regular fitness schedule while also remembering to check in for your flight, make sure you have all your interview materials, and are still mostly staying sane... let alone remembering your socks, shoes, and shorts.

How did I do it? I couldn't really tell you. But I have a few tips, suggestions, and ways to make fitness really pay off during those interviews.

1. Channel your nervous interview energy into a run! Morning interview jitters? Try and jog 'em out, either around the city you're visiting (ask for tips from locals or from the hotel desk), or even on a hotel gym treadmill. Knock out those butterflies, give yourself an endorphin boost to get the day started, and feel motivated and empowered to rock their socks off.

2. Use a run to discover your new (potential) home. There is no better way to get to know a city than to run its streets - for good and bad. I mean, stay safe, get recommendations of places to go and places to avoid, wear your Road ID, but also use that time to discover those hidden trails, parks, and places to check out. You can't see everything from a car window!

Ah, California scenery.
3. Go for a run to learn more about the place you could work for. This heavily applies to student affairs, as we're lucky enough to get to travel to campuses all over during our interview processes. This often includes a campus tour sometime during the day, but if you can talk about places you've already seen, or sights you appreciated during that morning jaunt around campus, why not talk about it? They'll appreciate that you've not only done your research reading that campus historical marker plaque, but that you loved it enough to talk about it! If you're also a student affairs nerd like me, you can even make a to-do list like this one - see how many campuses you can knock off of your "Campuses I've Run" list! (I've only got one that I've actually run on, despite having visited many of them)

4. Pack fitness clothes as if it's second nature. Suit? Check. Dress shoes? Check. Shorts? Check. Shirt, sports bra, armband, Garmin, socks, running shoes, check? Just as you would ensure that you have a full interview assembly packed and prepared, pack your favorite running clothes too! You're more likely to actually put them on if you bothered to pack them and haul them across the country with you.

5. Keep calm (no, there is no 'and...' to close that off). If you are the runner that truly gets outside (or on a machine) just to stay sane, continue to do that! There is no reason that travel or time zones could or should prevent you from maintaining a mental health regimen. If you know that, like me, you are a happier person when your day starts with a run, ensure that you make the effort to do so -- it'll make you happier during a long day, but also contributes to a more pleasant demeanor and likableness during those interviews!

I was lucky enough, despite seriously long flights and layovers, that my trips were all to the west coast this time around. When it comes to getting up in the morning, it was no struggle given that my brain and body were still usually on Eastern time so 5 am Pacific was no sweat (usually).

I put in more treadmill miles in June than I have in the last year, which I hated, but I was more happy to be running, putting in the work, and making the effort, than to be a sitting duck just because I wanted a little more sleep. They weren't always happy miles, and they were usually only in sets of two miles (and less), but it was mo
re than nothing and more than sitting more - especially after long flights, that was the last thing I usually needed. Running sets my days off on the right foot (or left), and I knew that made me a better person, much stronger, and more confident during those interview days.

Other tips or suggestions for running on the job hunt? How many campuses have you run on?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cocktails, Conversation and Chocolate

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I had the really cool opportunity to attend this on Wednesday night:

I was really excited as first, it was my first real bloggers' event and secondly, I'm excited to say that I'm serving as an ambassador (of all things chocolate) for them again -- but more on that in a minute!

Surely by now you've heard of the chocolatey goodness that is the Hot Chocolate race series. If you haven't, you're clearly not a chocolate lover and clearly not paying attention. These races span everywhere from San Diego to St. Louis and Chicago to Dallas, and feature both a 5 and 15K at each race, coupled with pretty much the most delicious post-race party ever -- and some sweet swag to boot!

Wednesday night's event was at the super snazzy Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA - it's still a trip to think that I live here now. Beautiful hotel, gorgeous rooms and decor. I digress. I showed just about 6:05, which is rather early for LA time given the traffic, and was one of the first non-RAM racing folks to show up. At first I was a little intimidated, no lie, but soon found Josiah (the awesome ambassador coordinator who does a whole bunch of marketing fun stuff) and connected and got to talking with him and another guy who was just as "early" as I was, from the LA Running Club.

Hangin' with Steve.
Soon people were milling all over, and while I hardly talked to most of the other bloggers or local race directors or other folks, I had a great time meeting the staff from RAM and interacting with a few other local runners. I'll find my niche here at some point!

Steve Ginsberg, one of the founders to RAM Racing, spent a few minutes talking about RAM's history, how it came to be the racing company that it is, and covered everything from their original races (like the Bucktown 5K and the Cinco de Miler) and eventually, how Hot Chocolate came to be! The discussion then turned to the future. Hot Chocolate races obviously provide you with steaming hot chocolate at the end, thus typically holding races during the cooler months (October-April in most locations). What RAM realized though was the opportunity to do the reverse and not necessarily give up some months just because they're warmer. Runners' safety is accounted for, of course, however, there are chances to do other great things! And thus...

Los Angeles is serving as home to the first Frozen Hot Chocolate! I know, I know 'frozen' and 'hot' don't belong together, but as they assured us, it's truly a frozen chocolate drink (the final agreed term was 'malt' but don't hold me to that). And being that the weather is a little too warm for that famous tech hoodie, the swag bags for the frozen race will include both a tech shirt (they are so soft - both in men's and women's cuts!) and one of two choices of sport sunglasses (two color options each too)!. Still a pretty sweet deal if you ask me (pun intended).

Since I served as an Ambassador to the new Atlanta race for 2013, and pending my move (at the time), I was able to snag a spot by serving as an Ambassador for Los Angeles, now that I'm here and settled! Pretty exciting, if you ask me. So what does this mean for you? Extra swag!

use code LAmug1 
when you register to add this adorable travel mug to your chocolate swag collection!

Who will I see there? Will you be doing the 5K or the 10K?

As an ambassador, I do not automatically receive a race entry, merely various RAM racing products and marketing supplies to aid in the recruitment of runners for this event. All opinions and thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect that of RAM Racing. I like chocolate, I like running, and I definitely like running for chocolate and would probably do so without all the extra fun stuff that Ambassadors are privy to!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rave Run: Pittsburgh

For as much as I travel, I wish had always thought to do one single post on the run I'd taken in that city and showcased some of the highlights of the running adventure. Last year in Salt Lake City, interview adventures in various cities, and now most recently: Pittsburgh! While Pitt is not necessarily a new city per se, having kicked off our Ragnar adventures there last September (has it almost been a year?!), I hadn't run the city itself yet.

My sorority's national convention was in downtown Pittsburgh this past weekend, Thursday-Sunday, so I took the time to ensure I got some running time in with Shannon and Cathryn as tour guides. Our hotel was downtown in the Bigelow Square area, not far from Point State Park, Duquesne, and some other really cool landmarks in downtown. Shannon and Cathryn came and picked us up at 6:15 am on Friday to drive to the Point and get in some miles.

Pretty much going to be all photos, but you'll get why I could imagine running here all the time. The river reminded me a lot of Austin's Town Lake area and was a great place to run - minus the fact that it was crazy humid that morning, it was perfect all around.

Gorgeous morning scenery!
Pirates weren't home this weekend, but at least we got to crash PNC Park!

I made a new friend.
North Shore trails are awesome - perfect for the number of bikers and runners we saw. Loved it!

Can you beat this?
Sweaty friends!
 All in all, we got 4.3 super sweaty, humid miles in along North Shore, past PNC, under and around bridges, and past the Andy Warhol museum. Pretty cool sights, and I wish I had had more time to explore. However, this run turned out to be all the sight-seeing I got to do at all this weekend, so I'm grateful for that! All photo credit to Shannon and Cathryn. Thanks guys for a great tour!

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh - ran Pittsburgh? Favorite city to run?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On the Road Again: We're Home!

We made it!

Yesterday's trip was Albuquerque to Phoenix, not terrible, and certainly more scenic than the Texas flatlands up north. The mesas and colors in New Mexico and northern Arizona never fail to astound me!
Please ignore my foot in the photo.
We stopped in Winslow, Arizona, for a fun little side stop:

Last night we got to stop in Phoenix with Jon and Tina, one of my beloved besties and regular road trip stop. When I moved to Georgia, Dad and I got to hang with them for a night (and by night I mean we were there about 8 hours and slept about 7 of them) - and I hung with them in Phoenix for a week on my way out of Texas. Love them and am so grateful! Anyhow, so we met up with Monica and Todd and their cutie pie, Jace, for dinner to catch up - I didn't think to get a photo. I was way too tired!

This morning, we slept in a little bit, knowing we had a fairly short drive ahead of us (shortest drive of the whole trip), and got out of Phoenix about 10:30 this morning. After a stop at the Colorado River for Molly to get a little swim in (check out my Instagram for more road trip fun), we were finally in state #10! Hooray!
State #10 and our final state line!
And now... we're home! We got to my parents' house about 4:45 this afternoon after an easy 5-hour, where sleepiness promptly punched me in the face, so I'm off to bed here soon! Can't wait to sleep in with plans to go nowhere... mostly.

Tomorrow: to nowhere! We're here!

Monday, July 8, 2013

On the Road Again: Days 2 & 3

So sorry I didn't get to post last night - it was a long day, and we actually go out and had a little fun last night in Oklahoma City. Sunday, or Day 2, as I'm trying to keep my days, dates and time zones straight, was from Memphis to Oklahoma City. Not terrible, but a pretty decent drive.

We made it to OKC just about 6:30, and headed down to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum - while the museum was closed, we got to walk around the memorial and listen to a park ranger for a bit. While I was young when this bombing happened (5th grade), and I don't think it resonates with me as hard as say, 9/11 or Columbine, walking around the memorial and listening to all the stories and different aspects of the memorial and why it was designed the way it was made it very real. A beautiful memorial; I would love to get back to see the museum at some point.
After that, we headed over to Bricktown to walk around a bit and grab dinner - our first non-fast-foody kinda food finally! We had a great dinner at Bourbon Street Cafe and enjoyed being outside. Bricktown is a seemingly very mini-version of San Antonio's Riverwalk (which I love), and the weather was decent enough to enjoy it. Being a Sunday, it wasn't super alive, but I can certainly tell this is quite the place to be!
And today I write from...

Day 3! I'm tired. Have I said that yet? This morning we left OKC and headed down to Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma. More student affairs nerdiness at its best! While it was almost an extra hour we were on the road, it was a fun trip and another neat campus to see. I'm grateful for Doug putting up with the nerd in me - I think I keep him amused by making sure we stake out each campus' football stadium. Wins for everyone!

After blasting through Oklahoma, we were finally into Texas (Molly's home state!) and got to stop somewhere I've always wanted to go check out: Cadillac Ranch (more)! I was so excited - and truthfully, not disappointed. You really have to be in to such randomness, but the concept is really quite cool. We signed about four cars, so hopefully our names stay for a liiiiiitle while (they say that if you bring spray paint, also bring a camera because your art will be there less than 24 hours).
{ source - since my photos aren't uploading}

Doug drove all day today (he's the best, have I said that?) and we are chillin' here in Albuquerque for the evening where we were greeted with a pretty substantial summer monsoon. Happy Monday, friends! Good night! Tomorrow: to Phoenix!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On the Road Again: Day 1

Hello from ...

Day 1 in the books. Athens to Memphis isn't a terrible drive, goes pretty quickly (we did it in about 8 hours) and thank goodness for how green the south is! I just love it and it certainly makes the southwest part of this drive be more bearable with all the greenery we get to experience prior to that. The desert is dull.

Today started with a fairly early alarm to ensure we got the last bit of furniture (ahem, the mattress) down to the POD and locked up and ready to go when the POD movers arrived. They got to the complex about 12:30, with an estimated time of 1-2 pm. We were just fighting with the mattress when the truck arrived and the super awesome dude helped us finish getting our stuff together.
Just about on the road!
Today's drive was mellow, just over seven hours down to Atlanta, through Alabama, Mississippi, and up to Memphis. While on the way, I made sure we had some fun though. It's mandatory, especially on such a long drive. I've always wanted to visit Ole Miss's campus so I made sure we made a slight detour (but still on the way) to Oxford to check things out. Gorgeous campus! 
After that, it was a quick buzz up to Memphis where we're staying down here near Graceland.We are beat - we fought rain almost all the way through Alabama and that threw Molly for a loop for quite a bit. She spent the last half of Mississippi in my lap, and then from Oxford to Memphis slept in my lap - she was fighting sleep for a while, so hopefully that calmed her down for a bit. She's already passed out here on our hotel floor.

For now, friends.. I am wiped. It's bed time here in Memphis! Tomorrow: to Oklahoma City!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Race Report: Peachtree Road Race 10K

I'm so excited I got to run Peachtree again - because Heather accepted a new job in San Francisco and just got her way out there, she decided to give up her bib and gave me the opportunity to snatch it up. Thanks, lady! Last Georgia run and it's the coveted Georgia runner's race. US/world's largest 10K - and such an incredible experience, both from the runners' and I imagine the spectator's point of view. I swear that all of Atlanta comes out just to watch. It's amazing. After running last year, I just knew I wanted to run it again - so again, thanks HP! Much like last year, this was also the last day of the Runner's World Run Streak challenge - what better way to end it than with a race?

On Wednesday after work, I headed down to Kayla's place - many thanks to her and her hubby, Michael, for hosting me for a night! We headed out to Mellow Mushroom for dinner and the fabulousness that is carb-loading -- and an unexpected game of trivia! And, as every other Atlantan did, we stalked the weather. By the time we went to bed, the rain had been pushed back until 10 am, so we figured, Sweet! We'll be done by then! It was the first time I had gone to bed before midnight all week and it was such a great sleep, it was really hard to get up. Really, really hard. But regardless, race morning gets me pumped like no other and it was go time!

We brought along trash bags just in case, and I'm glad we did, even if it was only for a warm up. After hopping on the madness that was MARTA (really, on the way there it wasn't terrible) and getting to Lenox, it started sprinkling a bit, so we were really glad to still have our bags then. Kayla and Michael were in upper corrals, and decided to wait nearby in a parking deck with tons of other folks. I was a little farther back, so decided to head back in that direction and get caught up with Liz, Christina, Heather, Kara and company.

The corrals and roads were so empty - it was almost eerie, compared to the busyness of last year's corral areas! Our corral was empty until practically start time. So bizarre - but it was nice to have room to stretch out! We were still there about an early, as corral P didn't head out until 8:30, but with the rain hardly even spitting at this point, it was nice. Cool, not
miserably wet, and we could at least breathe with the seemingly little humidity.

Last race as a Georgia resident! Lucky #27!

I said all morning I wasn't sure what I was running - being that I was #moonlightingasHP she told me just to get her a PR (1:25:xx) which I knew I could at least guarantee. After this really tough run streak, and moving boxes up and down stairs all week, I wasn't sure what my legs were really capable of - my knees were tired and I felt just meh. I figured I'd see how it went come the actual start time and go from there. This was Christina's first race ever (!) so Liz was going to hang with her and I thought maybe I'd do the same, and just run for fits and giggles. I tried - really - but managed to feel pretty good once I got moving. The first mile was slow, 10:20ish, but I knew I had a little something in me to keep moving and moving faster - so I did. My second mile was somewhere in the 9:20s! Ha!

I ran the whole damn thing. I felt amazing! Clocked almost every mile under 9:30, except for Mile 4 around 9:40, and pushed hard. Cardiac Hill, the last sneaky hill, through the bobbing and the weaving, and sprinted into the finish. Truth be told, I'm not sure how, as I felt so tired just standing around waiting for the start, and voila! Magic happens.

Final chip time was 59:57. The key phrase and common knowledge is that you don't run Peachtree to PR; you run Peachtree to run Peachtree. However, considering my previous standing 10K PR was just 28 seconds faster at 59:29 - I'm calling this a win and essentially a PR, considering all the weaving and bobbing you've gotta do. I won't call it official, but it may as well be! I was alive after that run and seeing that I managed to clock in under an hour. That coveted Peachtree shirt is mine - and with a stellar time to boot. Happy day!

My legs were definitely tired all the rest of the day, so I knew I ran and raced hard, and I feel really good about that. Doug flew in in the afternoon, landing at 5, and after visiting with some friends in north Atlanta for a few hours, we headed to the Braves game - we'd been watching on TV, saw no rain, and so ended up at the stadium somewhere in the sixth inning. Doug's trying to collect all the baseball stadiums, and so we figured we had tickets, we had to at least in get some of the game to make it count. And what better all American Fourth of July festivities than baseball and fireworks? Duh.

We hit the road Saturday - I'm going to try and post each evening along our adventure, so please feel free to follow along our visits in Memphis, OKC, Albuquerque and Phoenix, and... eventually LA!

What did you do for the Fourth? Did you race anywhere - how did it go?


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Halfway There (Livin' on a Prayer)

Pardon the title. You're welcome for getting it stuck in your head.

Friends, we are just over halfway through year - can you believe it? While I feel that every year goes by faster and faster, it never fails to surprise me or catch me thinking, "Where did the time go?" "Wasn't it just Christmas" because in my head yes, yes it was just December.

With that, I am now down to having half the year to accomplish the things I set out for myself. Admittedly, I'm a to-do lister to a fault - while it certainly helps me stay focused, it also really frustrated me when I leave things unfinished or unattainable. The joy of crossing something off is uncanny to me. Yes, I'm a little OCD with my lists (let's not even talk about how many lists I'm operating on this week thanks to the move).

But I set myself up for some pretty big goals in 2013 - some that I'm en route to, and some that I can't honestly say I'm certain I'll achieve. Part of me really struggles with that and part of me says "It's okay. Do what you can." With that, we're going to re-review some of these 2013 goals and see just which ones I think I can do - six months to go!

Health | Fitness
- 1,000 miles: Last year I ran 664 of those with a goal of 800. From where I stand now (351 as of June 30), I'll need 100-mile months for the rest of the year, something I've only achieved once. While I intend on being on a marathon training plan beginning in October, I am not 100% that this is do-able. B goal: 850. 
- Sub-2 hour half marathon: We all know how my dream sub-2 race turned out for me. And while it still stings a little, I can't lie, I also know now just how achievable this is. I can make this happen. The only race I'm signed up for in the fall is the Las Vegas RnR, and with moving throwing my life budget out of whack, I am not sure what else is in store. But I'm still determined to make 2013 my sub-2 year. B goal: there isn't one. Bam.
- Sub-26 5K: Current 5K PR is 27:10, on legs that ran after 11 hours after Disneyland. This is sooo do-able. B goal: not allowed.
- Sub 1-hour 10K: Completed!
- Finish that marathon standing upright:  Completed!
- 13 in 2013: 10 races down, number 11 is tomorrrow, 12 is Vegas, and number 13 will fall in there somewhere. B goal: will just be more than 13!
- VOLUNTEER with at least 2 races: 1 done, Georgia Publix Marathon. 2, I actually just signed up for volunteering at the Long Beach Marathon finish line! Excited to be at the end of a race and see all the folks meeting their goals. B goal: volunteering at more than 1 more and giving back to an amazing community!

- Student loan paid off: Pending life and living situations that are still TBD as of today, despite the fact that I'm Cali-bound in three days, this could be achieved. It would be an amazing accomplish to have this done in just five years instead of the default (and still fast) ten years. B goal: March 2014, still only three months later.
- Increase savings: That's been rocky at best, and moving certainly it won't help. But much like the above, pending life situations, this can happen. B goal: just an increase. Period.
- Make time for those I love: I was a little better at making regular calls to my grandparents, which I am okay with, but knew I could be better. Now that I get to live close to them again, this will be easier and I am really looking forward to that (as I know they are). B goal: Lunch/dinner with just me and the grandparents at least once a month.
- Journal: Major fail area. I've journaled maybe once since January. B goal: once per month, minimum.

And now... as promised... our Power Ice pack winner! Congratulations  Danielle - I've emailed you with the information I need to send your prize off. Please respond no later than Friday, July 5, at 10 am EST or I will pick a new winner.

Where do you stand with your goals for 2013? Have you had to make adjustments to any of them? 

Monday, July 1, 2013

An Adventure Awaits

Campus sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Hello. <3

Well, friends, after lots of vague comments about traveling lately, I can finally share some exciting news...

I'm moving back to California!

I know Sandy's been waiting for this, but now it's finally true! I am really excited to get back to the left coast and to my home state.

So... whatcha doing over there?
I've accepted a new position at a college in the LA area. Fancy pants, right? So I'll be working with their student government, intramural programs, student organization, leadership development programs, and some parts of alternative spring break trips and orientation programs. A random mix of a lot of really awesome programs that you couldn't find into a combination position like this anywhere else! I am so stinking excited, it's not even funny! Being that the school is so close to downtown LA (25 miles or so), I'm in primo racing place - can you say finding a race in LA every weekend? Yeahhhh, me too. :) 

So when does this adventure start?
Ha! There's the fun part of this whole story. So my last day here at UGA is on Friday - yes, as in this Friday! And then we depart Saturday morning. Seriously. So Doug arrives on Thursday afternoon, after I'm done with Peachtree, and we'll be going to the Braves game to celebrate the Fourth and check out the firework spectacular (because you can't miss fireworks on the Fourth!). On Saturday morning, my POD gets picked up, and we hit the road for a four-and-a-half day across the country through ten states (unfortunately no new states) in the middle of summer. Woo!

First Georgia 5K and race!
Half that fun adds to the fact that while I get back to the LA area on July 10 or so, I'll be moving into a temporary apartment in their housing they're able to provide me for a few weeks on July 15. On July 17, I have first aid/CPR training all day and HR paperwork, and at midnight I hop on a flight to Pittsburgh for my sorority convention from July 18-21. I get home late in the day on the 21st, gave myself the 22nd to recuperate from, well, everything, and then start the new job officially on July 23! Can you say whirlwind month?

I am sad to be leaving Georgia in some regards - it's been a whole new place to live, that has definitely given me loads of new experiences. I really became a runner in Georgia - my first half marathon was here, as were the majority of races I've done in my life now. It's helped me become a little more confident in who I am and what I want out of my career and my life. And now it's time to move on to that!

I'll have some posts next week once we hit the road and share the I-40/former Route 66 adventure. Here comes the fun! 

Who wants to visit!? 

PS. Don't forget! Power Ice giveaway ends Wednesday, July 3, at midnight!