Monthly Archives: September 2011

Day One

After a crazy week of program orientation, today marked the first official day of classes. To be honest I couldn’t tell if I was more eager or nervous going into my first class. As an engineer it feels odd to be taking an Art Studio course, but I’m interested to see how my work benefits from the process. Instead of handing in problem sets, I’ll be turning in drawings and paintings. I suppose now we’ll see how creative I am?

As for my running, this weekend I managed to get a fantastic 8 miler in. The first four miles were tough (my calves were tightening up far too much) but the last four were glorious. I was almost upset that I didn’t have time to go further. Of course right after my shower I had to jet over to my building to clean for eight hours. Being on my feet for ten hours was draining and I’m still making up for it.

On Sunday I’ll be running a Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I don’t want to admit this, but I’m scared. I haven’t run 13.1 in quite some time and with the trouble my ankles and calves have been giving me it may be a difficult time. Renee has graciously offered to pace me and I am so grateful, I just hope I don’t slow her down too much… (Wish me luck, I’ll probably need it.)

And now I’ve got enough homework to keep me busy for the next month. I’d like to get a head start on my projects, but I don’t want to be too over eager. I just pray that I don’t get bogged down and dragged under with all these new responsibilities. Oy gevalt.

Do you like to attack projects head on or stand back for a bit to see the bigger picture?

Note: I apologize that I’m going to be in and out these next few weeks. Life is becoming horribly hectic and soon I’m going to start spending my life behind my new desk. I hope to have the chance to keep up to date with all your lives (I may need an extra nudge to come out of my grad student hole every once in a while).

Orientating Myself

Graduate student orientation officially began this past Sunday. Hurrah? I’ve found that the events are often overwhelming since there are more than 1,000 new students and the rooms for each event have a much smaller capacity. Although I’ll admit that I have skipped many of the (less than necessary) sessions and attended more of the socialization events. I forgot how nerve wracking it is to meet people, but I’m glad to say that I’ve managed to bypass the alcohol and (slightly) overcome my group shyness.

Of course every event comes equipped with free food. I’m trying to stick with my action mantra and remind myself that just because it is free does not mean I need to consume it. (No Free Food!) But it is tough. I must admit that I did cave at one event, but I’m doing my best not to continue the trend. My program orientation provides us with lunch and dinner most days, so I have no choice but to consume their offerings. Planning for the rest of the week, my goal is to select the healthier options and keep my portions down.

This morning my program began with a bang. I had a difficult time determining what to wear and boy was I off the mark. My JCrew chinos and Banana Republic top made me the most overdressed individual in the room. And after a quick round of introductions they sent us off for a scavenger hunt. It was a fantastic time, I even got behind the seat of a cop car, but boy is it hot out! My outfit was a poor choice as I shvitzed through my top. (I’m hoping not everyone noticed…) Now that I know how the other folks are dressing I think I can be more comfortable in jeans and a nice top, no use in overdoing it on a daily basis.

The rest of the week will be intense. They have us scheduled to be in our offices everyday, including the weekends. Unfortunately this means I’ll have to miss out on the Fitbloggin’ Local event that I had been looking forward to, but I hope it helps me become closer with my fellow Loftees (the Loft is my home for the next two years). It seems this year will be a rigorous and rewarding experience, let’s just see if I’m ready for this ride!

How has your week been? What new and exciting things have kept you busy?

Social Lubricant

I came to a realization on Friday, sometimes I hide behind wine to make myself more comfortable in social situations. Not that there is anything wrong with a glass or two, but sometimes it turns into something more. In my current situation I know very few people and I feel like I need to put myself out there. Meet people, make friends, learn more about my area. It is exhausting.

In the past I didn’t have much trouble meeting new people, it is just finding events and groups to spend time with that is giving me trouble. On Friday I went to lunch with a lovely gent and was so uncomfortable that I ordered two glasses of wine. Later that afternoon I met some local hashers and again there was always a drink in hand. After that? Well I want to Shabbos dinner and the wine continued flowing. Somehow I ended the evening in the quad with a group of graduate students who, surprise surprise, were drinking more. Although I could have easily said no and put my glass down at any point, I didn’t.

I remember how I was after moving to Columbus. A shy young woman looking to meet new people who managed to gain friends. And fifteen pounds. I don’t want that to happen again (ever). Why is it that all the social events I manage to attend involve alcohol? I’ve been looking to attend more athletic activities, but I get so nervous going into these settings. When I’m stone sober I become so much more concerned about how others are judging me.

One day I’d like to be comfortable walking into a new group without a beverage in hand. I don’t know if that day will be coming anytime soon, but I have to start learning since orientation is about to begin in full force. I reviewed the events and each evening activity is sponsored by a bar. This does not bode well. Would someone please come here and be my wing person?

What tips do you have for curbing your enthusiasm drinking? How do you get yourself through awkward social situations?


Hill of doom!

For the past few weeks I’ve been all to friendly with my treadmill. It was a great learning experience and I’m proud to say that I managed to stay on the darn thing for more than an hour. But once I arrived on this gorgeous campus, I realized that running outside would be so much more exciting.

Yep, that is right, be jealous. This is legitimately the most gorgeous campus I’ve ever step foot on. You drive up to the main building and are surrounded by palm trees. The other great fact? The area is mostly flat! Most people assumed it would be hilly since I’m close to San Francisco, but that is a horrible misconception.

Although I love being on the flat ground, there is one reservation where it is nothing but hills. I’d driven past the entrance a few times and saw my new Hill of Doom. I wasn’t initially planning to run the route, but somehow I got sucked in. I stopped a woman on my way up to the entrance and she mentioned that there were “a few hills” but she thought they were doable.

Doable, maybe, but it was brutal. My time fluctuated like you wouldn’t believe. You’ll notice that miles two to four were a constant incline, I’ll admit I took plenty of walk breaks trying to get to the peak. It was well worth it. From the top you can see the most amazing view of campus. And that hill on the way back to my apartment was quite the treat (and my fastest time for the whole run).

As I was hoofing it up I passed a larger woman who was struggling. I stopped to talk with her about the terrain and she was the sweetest. She warned me that the hills wouldn’t be over for a while; we had a nice time commiserating about the difficulty before she sent me on my way. Is it odd that I want to high five everyone I see that is kicking butt? She gave me a major boost and I continued on with a huge grin on my face (I’m a nerd).

I’ve decided that I want to attack these hills once a week. My goal for the year is to improve enough to jog 90% of the trail. It is going to take a lot of dedication, but hopefully it will help me prepare for the Big Sur marathon next April.

How frequently do you run hills? Do you have a hill of doom that you like to conquer?

Settling In

As I’ve mentioned a few too many times, I’ve finally moved to California! Surprisingly this entire process was easier than I had expected.

On Friday my friend picked me up from the airport and shlepped me and my heavy luggage back to campus where I was given my room assignment. Entering my apartment I realized my roommate had been living there for quite some time. It was messy. After a slight nervous breakdown I came to terms with the situation and began unpacking. Even though I purged a good amount of clothing before I arrived, there is little room in this place for all my crap. Oh well.

Saturday began with a quick 4.75 mile run around my area. I have to note, it is gorgeous here. Most of the paths are flat and there are plenty of routes to choose from. Unfortunately without sustenance for before, during, or after my run so my body wouldn’t let me push much further. Initially I had planned to go food shopping in the afternoon so that I didn’t have to scour campus for something to eat (no food in apartment = famished Michelle).

That plan quickly changed when Courtney convinced me to take the train into San Francisco. She and Beth were at the farmer’s market and happy to meet up with Renee and me at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. They gave me a great tour of the city and filled me in on some fantastic places to see and visit in the area. It was quite the impromptu blogger meetup, but those ladies are fantastic. I’m hoping that one day I have the opportunity to run behind with them. If you live in the area, make sure to contact Courtney about the huge October blogger meetup.

Returning to my apartment I found that I had nothing to consume but chocolate covered espresso beans. Not the dinner of champions. Sunday I was determined to make it to the supermarket.  So after a coastal drive (man is it gorgeous) and strawberry picking expedition, I made sure to get to Safeway and Whole Foods. I have to thank everyone who contributed to my healthy shopping list. My pantry and refrigerator are now stocked with healthy food options. Hopefully that this will jump-start my healthy lifestyle…

How was your weekend? Did you explore anything new?

Please check out Jessica’s bake sale this Friday to help raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. A very good friend of mine was deeply affected by colitis, so this cause is near and dear to my heart.