29 December 2008

argentina, overall impressions

so far, i´m digging argentina. the food here, in my opinion, is atrocious. if you like red meat and bread and dulce de leche, it´s really fantastic. but for a vegetarian who eats mainly whole grain breads, veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts, it´s been a real challenge. i´ve had the occasional good meal.

i started my trip in salta, where i hiked, met new people, and did some pretty good thinking. i went to buenos aires for a few days, where i went to museums, parks, and met some pretty rad people. following, i went to bariloche, where i ate chocolate, explored, and rested after too much partying in buenos aires. i went to el bolson for a few days where i hiked, explored, shopped, talked, knitted, and met some pretty incredible people. back to bariloche where i met up with crista where we hiked, horseback rode, shopped (for your xmas gift maybe!), talked, and relaxed. oh yes, and ate chocolate. we flew up to iguazu where we saw the amazing iguazu falls which completely stunned me with their power and beauty. then i flew and bussed it to mar del plata. so far, i´ve struggled to find food to eat (a theme of my trip), went surfing, chilled on the beach, met some rad people, drank mate, got sunburnt. abt to head on a run now for some ice cream (the main thing i seem to be eating on this trip!), then showering, dinner, a club of some sort. should be fun. tomorrow will be beach, sea lions, and a bus ride back to buenos aires for a few final days of clubbing, meeting rad people, museums, and more. i´m learning to relax, and it´s great. i hope i can continue this amazing feeling of being chill and relaxed once i get back home. if i forget, please remind me.

traveling is about...

  • making mistakes
  • finding yourself
  • losing yourself
  • making new friends
  • meeting new people
  • learning who you really are
  • learning how others see you (and your culture)
  • new experiences
  • new adventures
  • new failures
  • new challenges
  • freezing
  • excessive heat
  • discomfort
  • comfort
  • not enough sleep
  • occasionally, enough sleep
  • new food
  • new pains and stomach troubles
  • realizing how much you miss those who aren´t with you
  • realizing how much you miss those you just met, and how strongly they impacted you despite such a short intense time period you know them in

27 December 2008

i m so sexy i dont stop traffic, i cause car wrecks

on christmas morning, crista and i decided to go for our running. in our street stopping attire of pink running shirts and black t on crista, and pink running skirt and pink running top on me, we had a driver who craned his neck to see us and ended up causing a pretty major crash.

yes, we are that sexyª

19 December 2008

chocolated out

i{m really starting to get into my trip, especially now that i feel as if it is ending (when in fact, it barely started). i was off to a rough, slow start in salta, but am glad i went since i met some amazing people, learned a lot about myself and the world. i fell in love, hard, with buenos aires, and met some amazing people. last night went out dancing and drinking caipirinhas and was not feeling sober until after 730 a.m. seriously.

now i{m in bariloche which has some of the most beautiful scenery. it{s just stunning. as i{m on only 2 hours sleep, i{m starting to feel completely out of it...i feel like i{m on drugs or something. i was invited to this party by these argentine jewelers but may need to just crash instead, esp since i plan on getting up early for a run before i head on the 11 a.m. bus to el bolson (for which i need to be there an hour early, ugh).

heading upstairs to dig through the pack. it{s the point where everything{s wrinkled and maybe even stinky but who cares? bob marley is playing in the background, rad people surrounding me, and i can{t help but smile at how lucky i am.

17 December 2008

buenos aires

really enjoying buenos aires. this city has incredible energy -- it reminds me of nyc, the intensity, but less rush-rush-rush stressfulness. it's full of fantastic fashion, great energy, and good vibes. i love it here.

went to museo del la cuidad today, and the malba, and the japanese gardens. good times. discovered an amazing vegetarian restaurant, which was outstanding. better than any steak place, in my opinion.

the running here is lovely. nice parks. i've been wandering, journaling, chatting with people, practicing my spanish. it's so wonderful not to be at work this week.

16 December 2008

salta la linda

the mountains are quite lovely in salta. i mostly relaxed, walked a lot, met some good people, saw some incan mummies, enjoyed mate and wine, and got back in touch with myself. it´s so nice not to rush-rush-rush all the time like i do in nyc. i´m sick of that rushing around and am hoping things will not be so bad...

off to buenos aires in a few hours, that cosmopolitan land of big buildings, tango, parks, and enjoyable life. looking forward to it...especially i enjoy this time alone as a time to think, relax, and get in touch with myself again.

15 December 2008

melt. down.

i have had various meltdowns while traveling. it´s usually early on, though not always. it involves me feeling overwhelmed, like i made the wrong decision to come to a certain place or to travel at all. i have memories of crying into the phone in the basement of the louvre to t, who listened, and then finally i said to him, ï´m being spoiled aren´t i? i mean, here i am at the louvre...´and he didn´t say no, but he got me to understand that i was lucky.

i had a long ass day of traveling - plane to shuttle to waiting to shuttle to waiting to another plane to another shuttle. i got to salta and everyone at my hostel seemed nice, but not ultra-friendly. i hadn´t eaten anything all day sans a clif bar and i ended up trying to find something vegetarian to eat for over an hour and a half. carnivores delight down here. i know i could never date an argentinian b-c i could never deal with all the meat eating. finally, i ended up eating some empenadas and salad (chopped lettuce, tomatoes and carrots). i had a huge migraine and went to bed at 10pm.

i felt like, ´what am i doing here in this ugly city where every man i pass must sexually harass?´yesterday involved a lot of wandering and thinking. in the afternoon, i met andy, federico, and others. we drank mate and chilled in the shade and i knitted and relaxed. maybe it was the mate, but it put me in the mood. andy made dinner for a couple of us, we had some bad wine, and hung out. it turned out to be all right after all.

so far, have done some hiking, walking around. siesta is over in a few so i´m heading out to the art museum. i´m showered and feeling good, just ate some more ¨salad¨so am feeling okay. if i lived in salta, i would weigh 88 pounds. seriously. tonight i want to head to the vegetarian restaurant for dinner so i can eat good!

tomorrow, museums in the morning, some wandering, and then an early evening flight to buenos aires. should be fun. i´m going to keep my chin up. when i get down for whatever reason, i just need to remember, i´m in argentina, i´m in vacation, i´m speaking spanish, i´m free...

12 December 2008

every sport i love seems to be in the "other sports" category of the NY Times

Running. Yoga. Surfing.

At least one of them got some good coverage recently, and about women! This women's surfing article was a breath of fresh air. I really hate the super masculinized "dude" culture of surfing.

10 December 2008

san francisco north face challenge 50 miler

sometimes, the things you want, despite being difficult or expensive, are really what you need to do in the end. i wanted so badly to do this race after meeting brad who told me about the beauty of the course, and the easy footing. i was so glad i did it.

i spent the day before the race wandering around san francisco, one of my favorite cities. i went to the knitting store to get some new knitting needles in the mission, had lunch in dolores mission park, went to city lights bookstore, picked up my race packet, carbo-loaded, and went to bed at 8:30p.m. i woke up at 2:45 to get ready for my second 50 miler.

i was freezing at the starting line, and gathered around a heat lamp with several other runners. my main goals were to finish, and to (if possible) finish with a faster time than vermont. little did i know how difficult the latter would be.

we started at 5 a.m. with headlamps. i was nervous, and went out with brad and john just behind me. we were chatting, going at an easy pace. it was pitch black, but you could see the progression of lights ahead and behind. it was really cool.

after only a few miles, the trail hit another trail, and we followed the other runners without looking -- only to have someone yell at us that we were heading the wrong way. i yelled at the runners ahead of us, and ran quickly to make up for lost time.

my headlamp began to bother me, as i was wearing a visor and to properly light the path, i had to crane my neck down. i eventually took my visor off, and began to loathe wearing my headlamp, and was glad when the sun came up.
as we ran down some amazingly beautiful trails (that were technical, incredibly steep, and i ended up losing brad and john for a few minutes as they sped ahead), a woman passed me running incredibly fast. that incorrect turn-off i had made earlier was made by her and others, and she ran an extra 40 minutes. she was upset, and ran quickly passed me. i wished her good luck.

it was a really beautiful race. i ran with brad and john, and they both knew the course incredibly well -- they told me where the ups were, where the downs were, where the tough parts are (everywhere), where the great views were. it was fantastically fun!

john hadn't been running much over the past few months (years?) but he was kicking butt on the hills. he ran ahead of brad and i as we trudged up the hills -- they were some of the hardest hills i've ever run. luckily, the views were amazing at the top.

i fueled up on strawberry banana gus (a total of 6 or maybe 7), pretzels (i ate multiple handfuls, and at aid stations, slathered peanut butter on pretzels for easily digestible and highly caloric snacks), two of my mom's monster cookies, an orange slice here and there, water between aid stations, and a cup of accelerade at each aid station. so yummy! my stomach hurt me a while after we got to the very top of this hill (which took forever, and which was incredibly windy and chilly), and then when i peed (which seemed like for abt 20 min!), my stomach felt MUCH better. don't hold your pee. unfortunately, i can't walk and pee like some people...ahem, brad...other ultrarunners....

i ran downhill stronger, and felt great. at the aid station at the bottom, i celebrated with one of my favourite poses.

while the race started out chilly (in the high 40s, windy, and i wore my thin long sleeved shirt until around mile 15), it got up to the lower 60s. it was sunny, and i was mostly exposed, but there were some fantastic covered periods (including my favorite section through muir woods, which had tons of downhill and i barreled down the hills, feeling great). the downhill sections were where i felt strongest.

i thought a lot during the race. while i often ran next to or very near to brad and john, i had a lot of thinking going on. this is the toughest race i have ever run in my entire life, but i have never felt so great. i had runner's high much of the race. this race ultimately defined for me my life and my love for running.
and the incredible views caught my breath.

a woman passed us, and we slowly caught her. "get her, cherie," brad urged me, and i took off. i passed her, fast. brad and john met me at the aid station a half a mile later, and we took off before she caught up. it felt good to be competitive.

the last few miles i felt great. i ended up leaving brad and john as i struggled to try to complete the race in a personal best. i ran as fast as i could, passing runners, pushing myself as much as i could. people were running slow, struggling, and i felt so strong. i had a huge smile across my face. i couldn't believe how happy i was.

i finished just a few minutes slower than my vt50 miler. this course was WAY harder, with 20,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. i felt happy with my time, and couldn't wait to do it again. it was an amazing, fun, and beautiful race; very well-organized; great volunteers; great aid stations. i highly recommend it to any ultrarunner. i am so tempted to move out to the bay area so i can run those trails every day...

02 December 2008

just because

just because i like to dance and i like to sing and there is good music and there are cookies in the oven and there is a pile of clothes and energy gels on the floor and i don't care, i'm going to pick up that hula hoop and forget that any kind of stress every existed in my life and just be.