BOSTON MARATHON: TRAINING WEEK 16

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Only 4 more weeks to go before race day!

This has been an exciting week with lots of Boston related packages and a run on part of the Boston Marathon course!

Packages – I got my Runner Passport, my finishers jacket (I’m not touching it/wearing it until I finish the marathon), and my Boston Bound shirt! I’ll share pictures of these once we get closer to the marathon.

Boston Marathon Course – On Sunday I got to experience the first 20 miles of the Marathon course. The course itself was really nice and I really enjoyed the new scenery.

Here are the runs I completed this week:

Monday

  • Mileage: 3 Miles
  • Time: 32:16
  • Course: Palo Alto Neighborhood

Tuesday

  • Mileage: 5 Miles
  • Time: 53:29
  • Course: Treadmill

Wednesday

  • Mileage: 3 Miles
  • Time: 31:41
  • Course: Treadmill

Thursday  – No Running, Bootcamp only

Friday – No Run

Sunday

  • Mileage: 20 miles
  • Time: 3:43:21
  • Course: Boston Marathon Course (first 20 miles)

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On My Radar

This week, so far, has been moving pretty quickly. I worked three days and flew out to Boston Thursday morning. My fight was longer than expect, we were delayed for quiet awhile, but it gave me a chance to catch up on some reading and watch a few movies. And now I’m in Boston and I’m loving it!

I’ve got a busy week ahead, but I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and exploring this wonderful city!

Here’s whats been on my radar this week:

ONE // Brewers’ homage to ‘The Sandlot’

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most iconic kid’s sport movies of all time and this has me feeling nostalgic. I may not be a Brewers Fan but I love The Sandlot and the Brewers’ nailed it. Props to everyone involved — but Stephen Vogt as “Ham” is pure perfection.

TWO // How Stage IV Cancer Taught Me to Live

I’ve reread this a handful of times since it was published and I keep going back. It’s really inspiring and I will definitely be picking up a copy of her memoir.

THREE // Meal Prep Strategies

When I decided to join Fit for Life (my 5AM Bootcamp Class) I also started meal prepping. I use to dread Sunday’s because I knew I had to spend 5 hours of my day cooking, but these 5 strategies have changed my whole perspective on my Sunday meal preps.

FOUR // The Feminist Legacy of the Babysitter’s Club

I loved The Babysitter’s Club books when I was growing up. I had the books, the VHS tapes of the episodes, and the movies. The series absolutely influenced me in my life.

FIVE // Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt’s Found Tonight

I love both Lin-Manuel and Ben Platt and they’ve teamed up to do a mashup that benefits the March For Our Lives. Obviously worth a download on both accounts!

Boston Bound: 20 Miler

Currently writing this while on my way to Boston!

This is my first of two trips I’ll be making to Boston (all marathon related). I’ll be here all weekend to run the 20 miler with my fundraising team, The Mass General Marathon Team, to spend some time with my friends, and to explore more of this great city.

My next visit to this city will be Marathon Weekend, where I’ll be joined with my former college roommates who will be cheering me on while I run the marathon. I can’t wait for this reunion!

I am very anxious, nervous, scared and excited to be going to Boston. 20 miles is A LOT of miles to run and , but during this run I’m hoping to throwing all those feelings away and really focus on why and who I’m running this for.

All the hard work I put into fundraising and running isn’t just for me – it’s for all the family members I’ve lost to cancer, it’s for my grandmother, my great aunt, and my godfather who just went through his first round of treatment. I’m also running for the kids fighting cancer at Mass General Hospital, their families, the doctors and researchers who are working hard to one day find a cure for childhood cancer. My family and these kids have inspired me to run 26.2 miles; now it’s time to inspire them in return, so they can continue to fight this disease.

I’ve trained for many weeks, gotten up early for my long runs, and I’ve experienced the first 7 stages of Kelly’s “10 Stages of Training for a Half or a Full Marathon”. Now it’s time to trust the training, run the 20 miles, and get ready to run the marathon because compared to the struggle these amazing kids go through, running 26.2 miles and training through winter is nothing!

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To learn more about my fundraiser you can visit my fundraising page HERE.

PAPD Citizens Police Academy – Part 3

Guess who just graduated from the Citizens Police Academy?!…ME!

If you haven’t had a chance to read about my experience in the academy you can catch up by reading Part 1 (Weeks 1-4) and Part 2 (Sit-A-Long & Ride-A-Long).

Here’s a recap of the last four weeks in class:

Week 5 – Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Investigations

When people ask me “If you can be anything, any job, what would you want to do or be?” one of my answers is always a detective. So, if you were to ask what my favorite week of the academy was my answer would be week 5.

We had three different instructors this week, all who work in the Investigative Services Division:

  • Detective Agent Aaron Sunseri – financial crimes
  • Detective Agent Joel Hornung – robbery/homicide
  • Property / Evidence Technician Jeanette Bianculli – works with all detectives to support their evidence collection and storage needs

This week, we learned about the life of a detective, their responsibilities and assignments, interviews, interrogation process and we also went over a case study.

I can’t find any articles on the case study we worked on, but it happened in 1999, it was a sexual assault case that occurred in Palo Alto near Sundance, the steakhouse. Detective Agent Aaron Sunseri worked on this case in 2009. He was given the box full of evidence 10 years after the case had occured but he was still able to solve it and catch the suspect. He walked us through the evidence that had already been collected and the steps he took to solve the case. Through out his presentation of the case we learned how the DNA process works and how DNA played a big part of solving this cold case.

The last hour we worked with Jeanette, who led us through an awesome fingerprinting exercise. We used chemical powder, tape, and a brush to collect fingerprints from different items (I used the CD shown below).

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Week 6 – Homeland Security and Disaster Preparedness

We had a pretty interesting session at the Office of Emergency Services. We heard from Director Ken Dueker of the City’s Office of Emergency Services who spoke to us about the risks and hazards of living in Palo Alto (to include flooding and winter storms, earthquakes, and everything else right on up to terrorism), personal emergency preparedness and crime prevention, critical incidents / homeland security as they pertain to Palo Alto.

Week 7 – Officer Safety, Use of Force, and Defensive Tactics

An officer’s decision to use force against someone is one of the greatest responsibilities they have and it’s one they have to make in a split second under extremely stressful conditions. No pressure, right?

In this weeks class we experienced the pressure that officers face everyday. In class we interacted with a video screen (depicting a scenario that is controlled by one of our instructors) were we were faced with a real-life situation. During these scenarios we had to  decide how best to handle that situation. Some scenarios required us to deploy less lethal force (like a taser) or lethal force (like a firearm), but some also require no force whatsoever.

I’ll tell you one thing I learned in class, it ain’t easy to be a cop. The decisions they have to make under pressure like that is not something everyone can do.

Week 8 – Finale and Graduation

Our last class was spent celebrating the completion of the course. We received our certificated from the Police Chief, Robert Jonsen, got some PAPD swag (a hat and a pin), took a class picture, and completed our course evaluation.

Along with the celebration we had an open Q & A session. We got to ask questions about whatever we wanted, comment, on our ride along and on any class or non-related class topics that had to do with the Palo Alto Police Department.

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Overall, I think this was an incredibly valuable class that others should take. The information we learn is not something known to many other citizens. We learned so much about the risks they take everyday to keep us safe, we learned about their thought process, how they make judgement calls, and so much more. What we see on CSI, Law and Order, Blue Bloods and other shows isn’t what actually happens in real life, in fact it’s not close at all and in the class you’ll learn exactly how and why.

The work that police men and women do in our communities is incredible important. They maintain order and protect our community members, they make split-second decisions that may be ethically and legally complex and may call for advanced tactics and coordination. By taking this course I can promise that you will leave with a different perspective and a new understanding on the police department.

Thank you PAPD for this great course and congratulations Class 29!

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Picture from PAPD Twitter Page

 

PAPD Citizens Police Academy – Part 2

Sit-A-Long & Ride-A-Long

I don’t think I mentioned the Sit-A-Long & Ride-A-Long in the PAPD Citizens Police Academy – Part 1 post, so here I’ll talk a little bit about each experience.

Sit-A-Long with Palo Alto Dispatchers

This was a really interesting experience.  The job of a dispatcher is incredibly stressful and complex, and their ability to multitask is remarkable. I sat in a room with four dispatchers, each with about 4-6 screens and saw how they worked; receiving calls, listening to the radio, dispatching police, medics, firefighters, and updating the system. It wasn’t a very “busy night”, but I did get to hear many different calls.

Ride-A-Long

The Rid-A-Long experience was my favorite activity! Our ride-a-longs are only supposed to be 4 hours, but I had such a great time with the Sargent that he let me ride for another two hours.

I got to see a great part of how police men/women work and how they put their lives at great risk to keep our communities safe. I arrived at the station just before six and was introduced to all the officers that were working that shift. I was on shift with 3 officers, a trainee, and the K-1 dog. We then went through briefing, where they read and discuss what had happened during the last four days. After that they checked their gear and we got into our cars! I can’t say much about what we did because of privacy concerns, but we did make quiet a lot of stops.

The night shift was a great experience and I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll be able to ride-a-long with an officer (thinking about requesting a morning shift next time).

BOSTON MARATHON: TRAINING WEEK 15

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Last week was rough but this week was so much better. Long run was an easy 13 miles nothing to hard, easy start with the last 4 miles at Marathon Goal Pace.

Less than 30 days until Boston!

Monday

  • Mileage: 3 Miles
  • Time: 33:05
  • Course: Treadmill

Tuesday

  • Mileage: 5 Miles
  • Time: 54:28
  • Course: Treadmill

Wednesday

  • Mileage: 3 Miles
  • Time: 32:56
  • Course: Treadmill

Thursday – No Running, Bootcamp only

Friday – No Run

Saturday

  • Mileage: 13 Miles
  • Time: 2:22:15
  • Course: Palo Alto & Stanford Neighborhood

 

 

On My Radar

It’s been a pretty exhausting week and I still have a long day ahead. This Friday I’m hosting my last fundraiser event. A Loteria (Mexican Bingo) Night for all ages from 6-9pm.

Along with this event I’ve got a 13 mile run this Saturday and do to this crazy weather it may have to be in the rain, but I have to start getting used to this cold weather because this upcoming Thursday I’m flying to Boston!

Talking about Boston – today marks 30 days before race day!!

Here’s whats been on my radar:

ONE // A Year in Space Can Alter Your DNA

Did you ever think that spending a year in space could transforms your gene expression?! My jaw dropped when I read the headlines to NASA’s Twins Study.

TWO// The Brain Changing Benefits of Exercise 

This TED Talk about the benefits that exercising has on the brain was pretty great. It’s short and sweet and the speaker has incredible energy. She is very passionate about studying effects on the brain and clearly brilliant. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

THREE// Hippo Love

Fiona the hippo has an admirer! Timothy, a hippo in San Antonio, just sent Fiona a love letter. Baby hippos are just the cutest, right?

Hope you all have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

26 Things to Do Before 26

Can someone PLEASE tell me how the month of  March managed to creep up on all of us so fast?! Not to mention the fact that I recently turned—wait for it—25! Let the quarter-life-crisis commence. I know you’ve all probably heard the ‘new year, new me’ speech about a thousand times, but before you roll your eyes at me for becoming another clichè: hear me out. I’ve had a particularly rough year and by vowing to transform into a new and improved me, I pledge to A) change my outlook on life and B) begin living my life to the fullest. I have learned that the tough times are inevitable, but your attitude is everything.

This year I’ve put together a bucket list of activities that I am going to physically force myself to partake in before my next birthday.

I’m keeping some items I had from last years list and adding some new ones too.

26 Things to Do Before 26 

  1. Visit two new states in the US.
  2. Travel somewhere alone.
  3. Travel to a different continent.
  4. Try a new workout class. (DYING to try barre and hot yoga)
  5. Ride my bike to the Farmers Market.
  6. Run a race every month for a year. (I’ve already started this goal!)
  7. Take a boxing class.
  8. Go on 5 “new to me” hikes.
  9. Plan a trip with my brother.
  10. Take my family out to dinner.
  11. Take a cooking class. I love cooking, but would love to learn even more dishes to add to my repertoire. 
  12. Read more. Let’s try at least one book a month. 
  13. Go apple picking.
  14. Take a trip to the Garlic Festival. (I always plan on going, but our plans always change.)
  15. Try more new restaurants/foods.
  16. Spend more time with my friends and family, after all that’s all that really matters in life – making  memories that will last a lifetime.
  17. Save more money than I spend.
  18. Go skiing.
  19. See a new-to-me Broadway play.
  20. Do one thing that falls well outside of your comfort zone.
  21. Go one month without shopping.
  22. Go through and donate old clothes.
  23. Donate blood 5 times this year.
  24. Attend a Create & Cultivate Conference.
  25. To be really happy with my body and be at my physical peek.
  26. To make 25, my year! I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a good one!

What will you put on your list? It’s never too late to start thinking of what you can do with the next year.

BOSTON MARATHON: TRAINING WEEK 14

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I’m back! Back home and back to my routine.

Super long run this week, didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, but at least I finished right?

Monday

  • Mileage: 4.7 Miles
  • Time: 57:54
  • Course: Stanford Dish

Tuesday

  • Mileage: 5 Miles
  • Time: 55:13
  • Course: Treadmill

Wednesday – No Running, Bootcamp only

Thursday

  • Mileage: 3 Miles
  • Time: 33:12
  • Course: Treadmill

Friday – No Run

Sunday

  • Mileage: 18 miles
  • Time: 3: 37:12
  • Course: Palo Alto and Stanford Neighborhood

72 Hours in Arizona

I had only made one trip to the southwest before when I went to visit a college roommate, but since then her family has moved, so for this trip I really didn’t have a clear idea what to expect… but let me sum up the trip for you in one word: Awesome! Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Page were great cities with a laid back vibe. They are cities full of personality, beauty, sunshine, and delicious tacos. We were only in Arizona for a few days but managed to fit a lot of fun (and tacos!) into the trip.

Day 1 – Tacos in Scottsdale

All we had was breakfast, some coffee at the airport and we missed lunch, so we were starving by the time we got done at the Scottsdale Stadium.

For Dinner, we went to possibly the coolest restaurant I’ve ever been to, Diego Pops.

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This place was amazing. The decor was nicely styled; a mixture of southwestern, art deco, and modern. In addition to indoor seating, it had a huge outdoor patio that was packed for happy hour.

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We decided to go all out and order muchos tacos and the chips and guac.

As for the tacos, we really couldn’t go wrong. We got the braised green chili chicken taco, the plantain taco, and the shrimp taco, and they were all equally amazing.

Day 2 – Sedona

After our morning 10K we left Scottsdale and drove to Sedona.

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While doing my research for this trip I knew that in Sedona there would be no better way to explore the desert than getting into a pink 4×4 and off roading it. That left  me with only one choice: booking an off road adventure with Pink Jeep Tours Sedona.

I went with Pink Jeep because they offered and exclusive tour that took us through the Cayote Canyon area as well as along the “Scenic Rim” around Sedona.

Our tour began in “Downtown Sedona” where we met our driver and fellow passengers. We were quickly swept into our jeep and headed for the city limits. Within just a few minutes of our tour beginning, we were out of the city and headed towards the scenic rim of rocks that so beautifully surrounds the city.

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View from noll on Airport Rd. we went about 20 minutes before sun set. As we were leaving everyone started pulling in. If you plan on going go early. Also, there’s a $3 charge for parking.

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No words have ever made me happier. It was bumpy, rough, jostling, and awesome!

We didn’t stay in sedona for sunset because we wanted to go explore Jerome “ghost town” but by the time we made it to the town we were realized we were all really tired and ready to just get back to the hotel, but here are some shots I managed to get as we were leaving Sedona.

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Day 3 – Lower Antelope Canyons and Grand Canyon

Early Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel and drove 4 hours out to Page. There we took at a tour to the Lower Antelope Canyon with Ken’s Tour.

I had a fantastic time on this tour. This was a quick, easy, and unforgettable adventure in Page.

It was about an hour and half long but worth every minute. When we got to the lot we checked in and waited about 15 minutes for our group to get called (Each group had about 15 members and a guide).

*the website says they allow backpacks, they won’t allow your backpack unless you have a hydration pack in it (unless your camelback tube is sticking out).

We walked out from the main building and down some stairs the canyon. As we descended below ground, one (terrifyingly small) step after another, I was convinced we’d left planet Earth.

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This was def one of my favorite activities during this trip. The Canyon was incredible, around every turn there was different shade of beauty.

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I can’t tell you enough…if you’re ever close enough to visit antelope canyon, you MUST go. I promise you won’t regret it.

Our last stop on Sunday was to the Grand Canyon National Park.

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During the winter months the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is closed, so we went out towards the South Rim, which has incredible panoramic views of the Canyons.

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We only stayed in the park for about two hours, which was not enough time. I’d love to come back and spend a few days at the Canyon to really explore it, but I thought the South rim was a great first visit.