What To Do Without the Internet?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For about four hours today almost the entirety of Dublin was without internet.  I like to think I could easily survive without it (and I know I can) but I will admit that I was lost for a while.  Before I let myself get overly frustrated with it, I decided to go for my run.  I've still been sticking with my 1.5 mile loop but I think starting next week I'll take it up a notch.  I've finally reached the point where I feel comfortable running that.  If I had set goals for myself at the start of this I would say that would have been one of them and I'd also say that it has been met!

It's been surprisingly hot in Dublin these past few days.  A year ago I would have laughed at myself for calling 70 degrees hot, but after not feeling that temperature for almost a year it led to a few rough runs.  I proudly wore my red sox t-shirt today because it normally gets some smiles or happy nods and gives me some extra motivation, but I think I was too sweaty and medusa-esque today to receive those.

 I was hoping to do a 5k on July 11th but I think it might be just for this business association thing.  I've sent them an e-mail to see if I can get in but as of now it's up in the air.

After my regular run it was time for my hummus run and I was very excited to see that my local grocery store was having a sale on fruit!  I think I could go several days without eating anything besides fruit but it is generally very expensive in Ireland.  I used this opportunity to stock up.
I'm off to Cork for the weekend tomorrow so, if I don't get to sneak a post in between now and then, I'd just like to say that I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

The Ocean

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The smell of the ocean is one of the greatest things in the world.  I can smell it through my bedroom window right now.   Even though I live about five minutes from the ocean, I rarely smell it over all the other scents of the city.  It's amazing how nostalgic it makes me.  I spent so much of my childhood around the ocean that just one ocean-scented breeze makes me smile.

What is even more surprising to me is how many people actually dislike the smell.  I've heard on more than one occasion about how gross it smells.  I think the exposure to the smell at a young age and the memories associated with it have a huge effect on your feelings towards it.

It's kind of like airports, too.  In actuality it is the smell of fuel and concrete and a lot of things that should be in no way appealing to the senses and yet I associate it with travel which makes me love the smell anyway.
It does make me miss home a bit...


I just realized how many events I currently have countdowns for.

1 Day until I am done with my Project Management class (yay!)

2 Days until a weekend trip to Cork

11 Days until Florence and the Machine / Snow Patrol Concert

30 Days until Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics

43 Days until Patriot's Preseason starts

46 Days until I become an Aunt and Godmother!!!

58 Days until I finish my masters degree

60 (ish) Days until I head back to the States

I'm not necessarily looking forward to that last one, but I am looking forward to getting a job and having a salary again!  Also, knowing that I'll have my new niece waiting for me at home makes it all the better!)

It's going to be a busy few months but I'm going to make sure to enjoy every moment of it!

Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Kinda, Sorta.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last night I kind of saw the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.  Ok, I didn't see them at all but I have a friend that lives next to Croke Park so we just happened to find ourselves in her backyard while they conveniently had a concert.  So, while I didn't see anything,  I did get to enjoy their music along with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and the Vaccines.  I also got to enjoy pizza, beer, and candy that didn't cost me and arm and a leg like it would have if I were in the stadium.

It was a little difficult to hear the words but with the crowd singing along we didn't have any trouble keeping up.  I guess this isn't the most upstanding way to attend a concert but I'm a poor graduate student.  Overall it was a great evening.

If I had actually attended the concert I would now share all of my awesome pictures of the bands, but I didn't so instead here are some shots of my friend's backyard!

Croke Park
The hostess and I in the "garden" 
Mystery Door
The rain wanted to join but we told it no.

Artsy Croke Park

200th Post!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to my 200th post!  Even though I've had this blog for four and a half years I think I've done most of that writing in just the past year alone.  For a while it just covered individual trips I've taken, but I had a feeling you were dying to hear more amazing and exciting stories from my every day life.  I know I thrilled you all with my carrot story from yesterday, and who could forget the day I fought with my duvet, or the time I shanked a wall and saw a proposal in Pizza Hut in the SAME DAY!?  I know you all live for it and don't worry there's much more where that came from!

So, while other people give out prizes to celebrate their blogging milestones, I give you... some more randomness.

1.) I hate my freezer.  Anyone who has lived in a college dorm will probably know what I'm talking about.  The little freezer that is really just a box inside the fridge with a slightly lower temperature.  I don't know if I just have bad luck with these freezers, but I've never had one that actually freezes things.  It's kind of ironic because, while it can't keep my ice cream in a solid state, it does have the ability to amass three inches of solid ice all around the inside of the box.  I don't understand the science behind it, but I spent most of the afternoon on my knees scraping the ice out because I bought myself ice cream today and I'll be damned if that ice cream is going to melt!
That's a whole lot of ice for something that can't freeze an ice cube
2.) I think I've figured out why my shins were hurting while running!  I was so focused on not running too hard or fast and tiring myself out that I was actually using a lot of energy to keep myself at a jogging pace.  Not only was this wasting energy but I think I was putting a lot of pressure on my shins by trying to keep my self at the slower pace.  Today I just focused that energy on moving myself forward and I felt so much better and a lot faster, too!

3.) I am in desperate need of a good book.  Over the past few weeks I've started 5 or 6 of them.  I've finally struggled my way to the end of one and I've completely given up on another (which I don't think I have ever done before!). Doing a bit of reading (anything but school work) is usually what I do right before bed and it has been killing me that I haven't found a single book that has kept my interest! I would be happy with ANY suggestions!

Well, I think I've rambled on long enough for now.  Thank you for sharing this momentous occasion with me! 

The Hummus and Carrot Conundrum

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I've been on a big carrot and hummus kick lately.  I've been trying to replace my old snacks with healthier ones and this is a delicious and addictive combo.  My one problem with them is that my bag of carrots and my container of hummus never run out at the same time.  I initially bought them together but the hummus ran out first. I still had carrots so I went out and bought more hummus, but then the carrots ran out so I had to restock them, then the hummus again.  It has become a vicious cycle with no end in sight.  I'm at the store every other day buying carrots or hummus because I don't want to waste either and they taste too good together to just finish one off on its own.  For now this is fine because I'm still enjoying the constant flow of carrot/hummus snack breaks... but what happens when I get tired of it?  I'll either get stuck munching on some raw carrots or licking the insides of the hummus container just to get them out of my life.  I don't see this ending well.
There goes the last of my carrots...

Other than my melodramatic relationship with snacks, I got my run in today before the rain could get me.  It was only 1.6 miles but it felt a lot better than my past few runs have.  I think it helped that I rested yesterday and also had a new playlist which always makes a difference. 

Running, Running, Yoga

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I ran about a mile and a half on both Thursday and Friday.  I was doing more at the start of this challenge but I realized that if I want this to last I had to start off slower than planned.  I know I'm physically capable of running three miles but it's a matter of running it well and enjoying myself while I do it.

I've also been looking at the C25k program.  I've heard some great success stories and, while I wouldn't consider myself a couch potato before, I am going to try to follow their lead in this process.  Basically this program focuses on starting off slowly and alternating jogging and walking.   I'm hoping that by alternating between the two I might be able to get over my shin issues and reach the point where I enjoy the entire run.  I do have a hard time forcing myself to walk when I know I could run it if I pushed myself, but I'm going to see how it goes for the next few weeks.

I took today off from running but did some vinyasa yoga to keep me busy.  I've already felt changes to my body from running these past few weeks, but I haven't done any yoga in months and it was rough.  It's nice to feel like I'm getting back into shape and that is motivating me to keep going... even if it is a slow and painful process to get there.

In other news I finished my group paper for my project management class and other than two more classes and the final I will have that entire class done and then just two more after that!  This semester is flying by already.

I've also intensified the job search.  I've come pretty close to figuring out what it is that I want to do but until I'm positive I'm not going to put anything down in writing!

I went out last night with friends for some goodbye pints.  It's hard to believe that one by one over the next few months most of them will be leaving and by the end of August I'll be gone, too.  I checked out flights the other day but I couldn't bring myself to book anything just yet.

Have any of you tried the C25k program? How did it turn out?

I don't have any relevant pics to show you
 so here is a memorial to Irish lost at sea

Happy First Day of Summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The sun is shining in Dublin and it's going to get up to a whopping 59 degrees!  Of course at home it's going to feel like 101.  Way to rub it in, Massachusetts.   Most of the people at home I am talking to are complaining that it's going to be too hot.  I'm sure I would agree if I were there, but I would LOVE some oppressive heat and humidity for a day... maybe followed by a nice evening thunderstorm.  Actually, today is lovely here so I wouldn't trade it right now, but on pretty much any other day of the year in Dublin I would.

Of course on the first nice day in about a month I have a paper for my class that I have to get done by 3 pm so, while I would love to go out and frolic, I'm stuck inside working.

I haven't updated on the running in couple of days but I have been good!  I did 1.5 miles on Monday and then did my 10 mile cycle yesterday.  I spent the entire day at school working on this group project and by the time I got home I was both physically and mentally exhausted.  I then realized that it had been over a week since I  took a rest day so I'm taking one today.  Of course today would be the perfect day to do either of those activities.

Also, I just wanted to say that I am SO PROUD of my best friend Alanna who just got a job offer for basically exactly what she has been working towards for the past six years!  Congrats!

This is how happy we'd be if we were both employed.
Don't you want to see me this happy?!
Employ me!

The Job Search

Monday, June 18, 2012

I've reached the dreaded point in my year where I have to start getting serious about finding a job.  I've given myself until July 1st before I have to start applying, however I have a small problem in that I still don't know what it is I want to apply to.

Most people go into a Masters program to increase their skills in a specific area.  My program was basically the opposite.  I've gained a very broad knowledge of a lot of different skills, but I don't know if I could call myself a "master" of any of them.  I'm in a much better position than I was two years ago with my history degree but I again have made the mistake of not setting myself up for a specific job.

While my lack of direction is making this process very difficult, it also is helpful in that I can apply to a multitude of jobs.  There are, in fact, almost too many for me to sort through. I could start in so many different entry level positions, but I need to keep in mind that I'm not just looking for a job for the next year.   I may, dare I say it, be looking for a career. I really need to focus on narrowing down what I would like to do before I start applying to all these random postings.

I can handle writing, numbers, people, computers... I'm really pretty versatile.

There are also only a few requirements that I'm looking for in my future job:

  1. There is room for me to grow.  I want to have something to work towards.  At my previous job I was working as a paralegal.  Unless I intended on becoming a lawyer (which I didn't) there was no where else for me to go and, while that was ok for a year, I couldn't see myself lasting longer than that.
  2. There is a positive atmosphere in the office. I have worked in (unnamed) places in which every day walking into the office filled you with fear and dread.  I hope to work in an office where there are good relationships between employer and employees.  I could handle doing any type of work as long as I enjoy the company of those around me while I do it.  I don't think this is an outrageous request but I've found that it's surprisingly hard to find. 
See?  Look how easy that was.  I guess it's easier blogging about it than it is to actually do it though. 

 So... anyone want to employ me? Yes, I'm looking at you, too... people sneaking over here from facebook! 

Even the roads of Dublin are telling me to get my act together...

My Running Challenge: Day 6

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I went out last night to celebrate the wonderful Inna's birthday.  Drinking, dancing in heels, and garlic cheesy chips at 4am is a great way to end a night but a terrible way to start a morning.  Fortunately, I was able to sleep in pretty late and, aside from a strange man screaming outside my window at 6 am, it was a pretty restful sleep.
Happy Birthday, Inna!
My run today wasn't anything great but it wasn't the worst either.  I was tired from last night but I wouldn't let myself use that as an excuse.  I did, however, probably walk more than I ran.  I've also adjusted my 3 mile loop so I can now avoid O'Connell which makes a big difference in the overall mood of the run.

There was an annoying rain cloud that I swear was located directly above me and no where else.  I could see blue skies in front of me, behind me, and to both sides but it hovered over me for the entire run.  At one point I thought "Ha ha Mother Nature!  Little do you know that I like the rain during my runs!"  It then proceeded to downpour.  Massive raindrops.  If I looked up I think I would have drown.  Luckily Bono appeared and invited me into his recording studio to dry off.  Just kidding.  Though I did hide out under the awning of his creepy warehouse studio until my fear of getting arrested for trespassing overtook my fear of being washed away by the rain.

There was actually about a minute or two during my run where I felt really good.  Previously, when I have said my run was good, I think what I really meant was that it just wasn't terrible.  For that brief moment during today's run it actually felt good, not just neutral.  Unfortunately, most of the rest of the run was plagued by shin pains.  That has always been my biggest issue.  The rest of my body feels fine, but my shins hurt shortly into my run.  The first thing I always hear from people is "you need to get fitted for shoes!"  I know this is true but I won't be able to do it until I get home.  I have been looking at some running form videos and tips. They have helped with my overall form but not much for my shins.  Luckily the internet is full of information that I'll will probably spend most of the night looking at!
So, overall, not a terrible run.  That little moment I had was really nice.  I'm hoping I find them a little more frequently.  I don't have any drinking and dancing nights planned in the foreseeable future so I shouldn't have to worry about dealing with that for a while either.

Also, I saw this article online about an app that turns your run into a zombie survival game.  I think it sounds awesome!  Has anyone tried it?

My Running Challenge: Day 5

Friday, June 15, 2012

As much as I was looking forward to today's run, it wasn't that great once I got out there.  It wasn't the running itself, but the route I decided to take. It was poor planning and that put a damper on the run.  If I ran along the river to O'Connell Street I could make a perfect three mile route. O'Connell is pretty much as city centre as you can get in Dublin and I knew that it would be crowded but I was hoping there wouldn't be so many people there at noon on a Friday.  Not only was I completely wrong, but I didn't realize that there was construction was going on.  The entire river side of the road was closed down and foot traffic was even more condensed than normal.  There are also several lights in the that area that take over 2 minutes to change to a walk signal.

Overall, it was just frustrating and by the time I was able to run again I think I just lost some of the motivation.  I like being in my own little world while running and that was essentially the complete opposite of what this run was.  Surprisingly, the only thing I did enjoy about the run was the light rain that kept me cool during the times I was actually able to run.

So many cars, people, and umbrellas to dodge.
Looking on the bright side, I've at least established where I should not run... now it's just a matter of making the most of the areas that aren't as busy.

Also, although there were a few opportunities where I could run down a side street and just cut the trip short, I stuck with it and completed the entire run.  I guess I have to take even the smallest successes! 

I Finally Remembered!!

I wasn't having the greatest day up until now.  Nothing bad has happened but my run was sub ideal (I'll go into that later) and I have a small amount of work to do, but nothing to keep me occupied for very long.  That was all until I FINALLY remembered that song!!  You know... this song that I've been trying to remember for over a month now.  I don't know how often other people get like this, but if I can't remember something I will not stop thinking about it until I've just about gone crazy.  It was back in May that I heard this song that I later could not remember and I was just sitting here now and started humming it.  My roommate is taking a nap but I jumped up from the couch and ran down the hall to wake her up because I was so excited... she ignored me but I'll forgive her for that later.  I'm ecstatic that I've remembered the song and it has completely turned my day around.  It's an amazing song and it's almost impossible to not get up and dance while it's playing.

Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke
Now that I've listened to it half a dozen times and documented it via blog, there is no way I'll be forgetting it again!

Just A Bit of Cycling

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So today actually isn't the day where I test out my bike/run combo.  I did do my 10 mile cycle to and from class which is a workout in itself, but I decided it was best to not add a run onto that.  Normally that is what I would say when I just didn't want to run but this time it actually was a conscious decision to not run.  I've been reading a lot of running blogs and tips these past few days and it seems to be the general consensus that one of the biggest mistakes beginners make is pushing themselves too hard at the beginning.  I don't think I have over exerted myself at any point so far, but I think by not running today it has increased my desire to get out there tomorrow.  Plus after 10 miles on the bike I can't say I wasn't a little bit tired.

Also, it started pouring as soon as I got home from class.  Definitely helped my decision a bit.

I did put some final touches on my blog revamp though! I'd say that makes the day a success.

My Running Challenge: Day 4

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I was exhausted yesterday after class from traveling all weekend so I took the day off from running but I was back at it today.  I think I did well considering I hadn't run in four days.  While there was a lot of eating this past weekend there was also a lot of walking which I think helped me. I forgot to stretch before going out so I was a little nervous about that but it didn't really seem to be a problem today.

I also was going to try a slightly longer route and then ended up missing my bridge which just extended it even more.

Route for the afternoon
I've been looking up a few races in the Dublin area.  The blog-pressure is doing a good job of keeping me running but I think doing a race will give me a little more motivation.  I think I'll start with a 5k and see how I do with that before I think about anything else.  There's one at the beginning of July that will be just a few blocks from my apartment.   Anyone want to join?

Tomorrow will be the first day I cycle to class and try to run in the same day but I've already got my run mapped out and, as of right now, I'm looking forward to it!

Edinburgh, Scotland: Day 3

Monday, June 11, 2012

For no real reason we stayed up until 4:30 the night before which meant waking up for our 10am check out was not going to happen.  It only took us an hour and a half longer than it should have, but we struggled the rest of the day to not fall asleep on our feet.  We had to drop our keys off at the office which was a bit of a walk but it gave us a nice view of the city.
View of Arthur's Seat

After getting breakfast we walked along the Royal Mile until we reached Holyrood Palace.  This is where the Queen stays when she is visiting Edinburgh.  The palace was beautiful but what I loved the most was the gardens.  Wishing for a garden like the Queen is a bit a of a stretch, but I do hope that I can someday have something that nice on a much smaller scale.

A snazzily dressed Scottish lion on the Royal Mile
The Queen's Dining Room

Because we were all so exhausted we spent the rest of the day sitting on benches and in tea shops just enjoying each other's wonderful company.  Our flight left Edinburgh around 9:20 and by 11:30 I was back home and in bed.  Not bad for a weekend getaway!

Edinburgh, Scotland: Day 2

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Normally when I travel I'm up and out first thing in the morning but since we had our own apartment we definitely took our time getting moving in the morning.  After a delicious breakfast of fruit and berry pancakes we made our way back to the city center to visit the Edinburgh Dungeons.

The Edinburgh Dungeons are kind of hard to explain.  It reminded me a bit of Medieval Times however it was more of a walking tour.  You would go through these rooms with live actors who acted as if you were living in Edinburgh's past.  We faced the judge, visited a torture chamber, got kidnapped by cannibals, and were hanged in Grassmarket.  There were also a few short rides that, although simple, were terrifying and hilarious at the same time.  I wasn't sure what to expect going into the attraction but we had a great time and I left laughing (and nursing a near broken hand from the vice grip of one unnamed friend of mine!).  I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Edinburgh.

After the dungeons we stopped at the Scottish National Gallery.  It was closing shortly after we arrived but we were able to make a quick lap of the place and saw some beautiful art.

A pretty walk on the way to the Gallery.

Small writing on a wall during our ghost tour.
After some drinks and appetizers we headed up to the Royal Mile where we were meeting up with our Auld Reekie walking tour.  This tour took us around the area of Cowgate which, back in the day, was essentially slums.  A bridge was built over the area and under it were built over 120 storage vaults for local shop owners to use.  The bridge, however, was built  from limestone which allowed water to simply seep through it into the vaults.  After the shop owners stopped using them, some of the poorest people of Edinburgh started moving in.  There were no windows and the area was always dark and wet, but most of these people had no where else to go.  After the poor came the criminals.  A lot of dark things happened in the vaults until finally they were all filled with rubble and all entrances closed off.  It wasn't until the late 1980's that someone found their way back inside. Excavations found a lot of old tools, utensils, toys, shoes, etc.  They also found more ghostly things, too.  There have been a lot of stories and sightings down in the vaults even though they've only been open to the public for the past 20 something years.  We heard some of these stories and they were definitely scary.  They are smart and at the end of the tour they give you a free whisky and shortbread to help calm the nerves a bit.

Down a narrow alley

Into the vaults
Celebrating the survival of our ghost tour!

Edinburgh, Scotland: Day 1

Saturday, June 9, 2012

As much as I love traveling, I still struggle with the whole rising-before-the-sun-to-catch-a-flight thing.  I was up and out at 5 am to meet my friends Inna, Claire, and Ciarán at the airport. This was my first experience with Ryanair and, while I've heard some horror stories about it, it really isn't bad if you just play by their rules.  We had barely reached cruising altitude before it was time to come back down again and land in Edinburgh.  We were renting an apartment which had everything we needed and was just a short walk from the old town center.  It was still only around noon by the time we had settled into the apartment but with only a weekend to explore we had to start going pretty much right away.

Scott Monument
After a nice lunch in a nearby café, we started our walk to Edinburgh Castle.  I had been to Edinburgh about 12 years ago but I had little to no memory of the number of hills that covered the city.  It was also surprisingly sunny and hot so we had to stop to stock up on sunglasses and t-shirts at H&M to get us through the day.

The castle was a little too pricey for us so instead we visited Camera Obscura.  I wasn't really sure what to expect in there but according to their pamphlets they were one of the top rated attractions in the city.  I was a little skeptical but it ended up being a great time.  The camera obscura itself is essentially a giant periscope located at the top of a tower.  Through a series of lenses it reflects an image down into a wooden bowl.  The operator is able to control the lens so you can get a 360 degree view of the city. When it was first installed in the 1850's many people were terrified of it.  They had never seen moving pictures before.  It's amazing to see such a simple device and imagine how much controversy it caused in its earliest days.

Image from the Camera Obscura
While it is that device that gives the place its name, there is also a four floor museum.  There are all sorts of tricks using lights, mirrors, and optical illusions.  A few of their tricks I had seen before but some were entirely new and I think we enjoyed them as much as the children running all around us.

 I could spend this whole post listing all the awesome things we saw, but I think my friends will agree that our favorite part was the Vortex Tunnel.  It was just a metal grate walkway that passed through a rotating tunnel that had lights on it.  Although you didn't not move in any way, while walking through it your mind convinced you that you were spinning and that you were going to fall.  At one point we stepped out and then back in and we were instantly "thrown" up against the wall.  It's amazing how easily your mind can play tricks on you!

After our vortex experience we decided we needed some recovery time which, if you didn't know, is best with cake and beer.
Delicious way to end the day!

My Running Challenge: Day 3

Friday, June 8, 2012

I don't want to get my hopes up this early in the game, but there is a slight chance that I actually enjoyed my run today.  The rain from yesterday hasn't stopped and, while I heard about several flooded roads in the city, I found myself getting antsy to get out and run.  I don't think that it was so much that I  wanted to run but more that I knew the sooner I got it out of the way the sooner I could take a shower and get back into warm clothes.

The rain had no pity on me but I found that I enjoyed running in it.  It kept other people off the sidewalks and out of my path and you can't help but feel pretty badass when you're fighting against the elements with Lose Yourself blasting in your ears.

Hard to see here but the Liffey was the highest I have ever seen it.
I tested out my new route today.  It's about the same length as the old one and goes around the same general area but instead of just running back and forth along one side of the river, I cross over a few bridges and change up the scenery a bit.  Even with the rain I felt good running today.  I haven't been sore at all these past few days so I think that means I need to step it up a notch... either in distance or speed.  Also I realize I set out on this "challenge" without creating any guidelines or parameters.  It seems to be working ok for now but that's something I might have to think about in the future.
Had to stop and take a picture of the pretty ship!

I'm off to Edinburgh, Scotland tomorrow for a long weekend so chances are I won't be running again until Tuesday.  Hopefully I'll come back eager to start running again!
A soggy but happy runner (and sox fan)!

My Running Challenge: Day 2

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I really wasn't sure that Day 2 of my running challenge was going to happen today.  It was raining pretty heavily all day.  I know, I know...  I live in Ireland and I should be used to the rain by now.  It is different here, though.  It rains often, but it rarely downpours.   When it does rain heavily the country doesn't handle it well.  Here's a few examples of what happened last October:

So as you can see I really didn't see my run happening today.  Fortunately, around 5:30 the rain stopped. I wasn't sure how long it was going to stay dry because, according to weather.com, there was a 100% chance it was already raining.  I used that as my motivation to get my sneakers on and get out the door.

A few things I learned on Day 2:

  • Running during rush hour in the financial district of a city is not a good idea.  I was dodging more pedestrians than puddles today.
  • I need to remember to charge my ipod during the day.  It drains even when it's off and a dead ipod = a dead Erin trying to run.
  • A truck can still splash you with street puddles even if you are 10 feet from the edge of the sidewalk.
  • My cell phone will not lock when the stopwatch is on so, instead of timing myself today, I just pocket dialed a bunch of people instead.
  • I need to get a watch (see previous point).

On the bright side it was the perfect temperature to run and there was a light breeze to cool me down (aka dry the sweat dripping off my face).  I did the same route as yesterday which feels like a good distance for now however I've been using that route for a while now and I'm getting pretty tired of it.  I think its time to look for something new.

Overall it was a good day.  I didn't get to cycle to class as I normally would because of the rain but I pushed myself to get out and run so I feel like I did accomplish something!

My Running Challenge: Day 1

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm going to try something new.  As I said a few posts ago, I've been feeling a little down about not having a strong passion to do anything and the extra time I've had between classes has just made it all the more apparent.  I've also gained too much weight since coming to Dublin and that needs to change!

One thing that I've always wanted to get into was running.  I was athletic when I was younger. Karate, swimming, lacrosse, frisbee... I was always doing something.  Running has always been something that I've done when necessary, but I generally find myself bored out of my mind after just a few minutes.  I ran a 3.5 mile race about a year ago and I never felt the motivation to push myself during it.  I really want to feel that runner's high, though.  Even more importantly, I want to want to run.  I would love to reach the point where I look forward to running like so many of the runners I know.  At this moment I feel like I'm not capable of feeling that way but this is my attempt at it!

I've decided that the only way that is going to change is if I actively try to make the changes myself.  No one else is going to do it for me.   I figure that if I make it public I will feel a little bit more pressure to stick with it... feel free to peer pressure me!

I started with my first official run today.  It was just a little less than 2 miles down by the quays.  I intended to time myself but stopped at the grocery store on the way back and forgot to check my time.  I thought it was colder out than it actually was so I over dressed and found my self wishing I could strip a layer off.  Overall it was a fine run.  I had a new playlist and I was highly motivated since I had officially decided to take on this whole running thing but I still felt that boredom creeping up.

Aside from finding the motivation to get myself running regularly, I think the hardest part about this will be finding good routes to run.  I live in the middle of a city and the frequent stopping at intersections really ruins any good running vibe I might muster up.  I could do laps up and down the quays, but as I said before I think the boredom is what generally prevents me from sticking to running in the first place.

So, any tips on how to stay motivated and keep up this new routine?  I really think talking about it online might be the key to changing my relationship with running around but we'll see if this works!

Side Note:  I also just discovered that today is National Running Day (in the US).  I think that's a sign!

Here we go!  Day 1.

Olympic Torch in Dublin!

The Olympic Torch came to Dublin today!  I didn't realize what a once in a life time experience seeing the torch in person could be, but I realized that chances were very slim that I would ever be living within walking distance of another Olympic torch route again.  I was able to watch the earlier part of the relay on tv and then walk out my front door and around the corner to see it pass by in person.
The Olympic Torch!
The man carrying the torch when I saw it was Mark Pollock.  I didn't know who he was but I came home and immediately googled him.  He is an Irish man who, after having problems with his eyes since childhood, became completely blind at the age of 22.  Instead of resigning himself to some lesser fate, he worked towards a life of extreme adventuring as a blind man.  He spent 43 days racing to the South Pole in sub-zero temperatures, completed a marathon at the North Pole, and completed six marathons in a week in the Gobi Desert... just to name a few of his accomplishments.  Unfortunately, he had a terrible fall out of a window two years ago and has since been paralyzed from the waist down.  Through all of this, however, he has maintained great spirits and is pushing every day to get better and continue his adventuring.  Reading his story and catching up on his blog was amazing.  So many things have worked against this man throughout his life and yet they have all just made him push harder and become stronger.  He is a truly inspiring man.

Mark Pollock
I was surprised at the effect seeing the torch had on me.  I love the Olympics.  As one of my Irish friends pointed out "it's easy to love them when your country wins everything!", but it's really so much more than that.  As cheesy as it sounds, I love seeing so many countries come together to celebrate this event every four years.  Having studied the histories of many of these countries and having an understanding of the conflicts that have existed in the past and may still exist today, it really is a profound feeling to see everyone together competing in such a good spirited way.  Also, the amount of hard work all of the athletes put into their training is both impressive and motivating.

The torch bearers from earlier in the day
What would an event in Ireland be without a little Jedward action?


Monday, June 4, 2012

Having a lot to write about but not having the time to do it is terrible.  Having the time to write but being unable to think of anything to write is even worse.

I'm coming off of a busy week of 9-6 classes but it is a long holiday weekend and I've reach the point where I've gotten most of my work done and now I do not know what to do with myself.  Most of the weekend has been rainy so my days of lounging out in the sun are over.  (Goodbye Irish summer!)  I know there are plenty of things for me to do but I am struggling to come up with even one good solution.

I've done a half hearted run around the block, I have 5 books all started that I'm struggling to continue reading, and two different stories that I just cannot find the motivation to continue writing.  Actually, doing a load of laundry has probably been the most productive thing I've done in the past 3 days.

 Do you ever feel like the more time you have to do something, the harder it is to get the simplest things done?

I relish my free time, however I feel so much more productive and driven when I have a limited amount of time to get tasks done.  Now that I have an excess of free time I don't know what to do with myself.

I've started following a lot of new blogs lately and they've made me realize that I am sadly passionless.  Whether they are writing about running, cooking, spirituality, fashion or reading; all of these people have such a strong passion for something.  I could set my clock by the time my neighbor comes home every day to begin his two hours of guitar practice.  Where does he find the drive to do this?  Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of things.  I have a strong interest in pretty much everything I just listed above.  I love traveling, reading, writing, watching tv, music, photography, exercise (to an extent), food (when I get to eat it), I've played instruments and several sports, I've studied languages and history and yet not one of these stands out to me as a "passion."

One of the biggest pieces of advice people often give is "do what you are passionate about."  I firmly believe that whatever it is I choose to do I will enjoy and excel in, but I'm struggling to figure out what it is that I would actually love to do.

Are people just born with these passions or do they grow into them? If anyone has any excess passion I'd be happy to take it off your hands!

Side note:  I'm very proud of neighbor-man.  It seems like just yesterday he was working on mastering the scales and today he is giving me a beautiful rendition of "What Child is This".

Here's a picture of clouds to make up for my woe is me post.