Thursday, October 30, 2008


Good times this week in Sarasota, FL.

My mom, dad, sister, and I went down to my grandparent's condo for a week of beach time. we got two perfect days, two decent days, and two not so good beach days. Buddy wasn't able to come, so that was a bummer but all in all, it was a good trip. Here are some highlights:

QT with the family: lots of time playing cards and cranium and other family-bonding activities as evidenced by this picture. Ha Ha. Good Times!
Allison Goodson: my roommate from Semester at Sea. She lives in Tampa, and I had to go to Tampa a day before my family because I had a super early flight out on Wednesday morning, so Allison picked me up from Sarasota and we went out to dinner and then she took me to the airport in the morning. I haven't seen her since 2004, so it was awesome to catch up.

Islands of Adventure: on day two it was rainy in Sarasota so we decided to make the two hour drive to Orlando to go to Universal's parks: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. It was an awesome day. Islands of Adventure has some really awesome rides, including one of my all time favorite roller coasters, The Hulk. The park is divided up into different areas with various themes (Marvel Comics, Jurassic Park, etc.) and the best one is Dr. Seuss. The whole thing looks like your in a Dr. Seuss book. Its freeking awesome.

So that was super fun, except for two things.

(1) it was $90 / person to get in!!! WTF!!! that's for one day! its freeking RIDICULOUS!
(2) we spent $10 extra so that we could go to both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. the two parks are distinct and located walking distance from each other. We bought the tickets at the Islands park so it was obvious that we were going to be spending our time there first. So we spend about 5 hours there and then head over to the other park with 2 hours remaining in the day. and what happens!? THE FREEKING PARK IS CLOSED!!!
Universal closed two hours earlier than Islands because they had a Halloween thing going on and NO ONE TOLD US!!! A waste of $40, but more importantly, a major let down! My parent's were awesome when I was growing up and we went to Universal and Disney a lot when I was younger. All day I was looking forward to going on some rides that I have really fond memories of from those vacations and if we knew that the thing closed early, we would have went over there first.

Everything in Orlando is a ripoff. (How about $1 / hour for a locker!!!) I was LIVID. How could they sell us a pass to two parks and then not even tell us that one closed two hours before the other one. What a bunch of assholes.

And to top it off, I didn't bring my ID into the park and after being locked out of Universal Studios, I couldn't even get a margarita to settle myself down!

Anyway, thats all for now. It was a good week and I feel nice and refreshed... and lazy! good thing its almost the weekend.

I'm Back With a Cute Video!

Hello There.
I was on vacation for a week and didn't have internet access... but now I'm back.

My mom took this video of my nephew so that he could say hi to my sister and me. He's sooooo cute! so i wanted to share it with you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Amy Pohler is Awesome!

Sarah Palin drew the biggest crowd to watch SNL in the last 14 years! She wasn't allowed to say very much, but the fact that she was there made for a very entertaining show.

Weekend update was awesome so if you haven't seen this yet, it is a must-see!

Post-Marathon Post

So, the big event is over! I signed up for the Denver Marathon in January and finally completed the 26.2-mile run yesterday around 12:30.

After the run I was getting a free 10-minute massage and I was trying to decide which was harder, the 26-mile marathon or the Penn State Dance Marathon (which I did twice in college, it is 48 hours of no sitting and no sleeping to raise money for kids with cancer). I think I have come to the conclusion that running for 26 miles was much more difficult. Although, I did the dance marathons four years ago… so maybe the perspective is a little skewed.

So, how did it go? Well, I woke up just before 6am and woke Jess up (she slept over) and we ate some oatmeal and jogged down to the start line which was only a couple blocks from my apartment. Jess was part of a team of her, Aimee, Nick, and Ashley who ran the marathon as a relay along side me (Jess ran 6 miles, Aimee 4, Nick 9, and Ashley 7). I was ready to go in the morning had tons of energy. For the first 10 miles i felt awesome. I was keeping a great pace and felt like I would have no problem finishing.

Then at around miles 12-13 I slowed down significantly. I was at sea level for most of last week (Boston, for work) and for the first time I could really feel that my lung capacity wasn’t what it should have been. This really upset me because before the marathon I had run up to 18 miles and had never in any of my runs had a problem with breathing. But summer wasn’t a busy travel season and I spent most of my time up here at 5,280 feet. After I started struggling with my breathing, I lost my stride and rhythm and it was an uphill battle for the rest of the race. Typically, my breathing is consistent for my whole run, and I get in a groove and have no problem just going forever. But that was definitely not the case for the marathon. I had to stop several times to walk (mostly when we came to water stations I would walk while I drank) and I was just really dragging.

I would say that the middle 10 miles (13-23) were the longest 10 miles I have ever ran. But as we got closer to the finish line, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Then, with about a 1/2 mile left, I saw my friends on the side of the road (aimee skipping along side me for a bit!) and that was just the boost I needed to get me to the end. As I came around the final corner, I turned off my IPod so that I could take in all of the cheering down the shoot to the finish line and heard the announcer over the microphone chanting "Rachel, Rachel, Rachel..." I looked up and saw the announcer standing with all of my friends and Kevin chanting into the microphone for me. It was awesome. A perfect finish.

I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed because I was hoping to just be able to run the whole thing and I never thought for a minute that I would fall apart and run so pathetically during the second half. BUT I did do it. I completed a marathon so I am very proud of that.

I want to give a shout out to “Team Raz,” my friends running the relay alongside me and Kevin for carting them around to the various relay exchange points. I really appreciated every minute that they were with me. Especially Nick and Ashley who where with me from mile 13 on, when I was really struggling. I know they both could have run much faster, but they just trucked along next to me the whole time encouraging me and for that I am very grateful. I really don’t know if I would have made it without them.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll ever do a marathon again. I’m sure I’ll do more ½ marathons, but full marathons are a completely different beast. Maybe I’ll run one more so that I can redeem myself and actually run the race the way I should have yesterday. But I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of this!

Here are my splits for anyone who’s interested:

Mile 1: 10:23
Mile 2: 9:57
Mile 3:10:10
Mile 4: 10:18
Mile 5: 10:44
Miles 6 & 7: 20:52 (combined)
Miles 8 & 9 : 21:13 (combined)
Mile 10: 11:12
Mile 11: 10:43
Mile 12: 10:49
Mile 13: 11:04
Mile 14: 12:46 (bathroom break!)
Mile 15: 11:29
Mile 16: 12:10
Mile 17: 13:14
Mile 18: 13:36
Mile 19: 14:26
Mile 20: 14:45
Mile 21: 15:06
Mile 22: 15:46
Mile 23: 15:50
Mile 24: 14:16
Mile 25: 14:16
Mile 26: 14:03

Average = 12:23

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pre-Marathon Post

Less than 12 hours till the marathon! holy crap!

its almost 8:30 and i'm exhausted because Nick made me get up at 7am this morning so that i would be used to it tomorrow morning... ok i guess a good idea, but i was pooped all day.

spaghetti for dinner last night and probably some more tonight before i hit the hay. and at this time tomorrow i will hopefully have completed the first (and possibly only) marathon of my life. very exciting.

Wish me luck!!

Also, Happy Birthday to my best friend in the world, Chelsea Simon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lefty for President!

So i'm currently sitting here watching the final presidential debate... and i realized that both of the candidates are left handed (like me)! This is fantastic! Way to go South Paws! Maybe they will enact a Title IX-type law for furthering lefties in society. whoop whoop!

Here are some more fun facts from Wikipedia about Left-Handedness:

-Approximately 7 to 10 percent of the adult population is left-handed
-It is more common in males than females.
-It occurs more frequently in both identical and fraternal twins (hey, that's me!)

and here's an interesting one:

-Left-handedness is also more common in several groups of individuals with neurological disorders (such as people with epilepsy, Down's Syndrome, Autism, Mental Retardation, and Dyslexia!)

ahhhh such is the company that I keep (along with 60% of U.S presidents in the last thirty years)

And, while left-handedness appears to be more common in people with mental disabilities, apparently it is also associated with brilliance (as in my case, haha).

Chris McManus of University College London says that left-handed people have an as above-average quota of high achievers. And in 2006, researchers at Lafayette College and Johns Hopkins University found that left-handed men are 15 percent richer than right-handed men for those who attended college, and 26 percent richer if they graduated..... Quite interesting! (Unfortunately for me, this doesn't appear to hold true for women!)

And this is what I'm doing instead of paying attention to the debate... because I'M SICK OF IT ALL!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New - Old Posts

Hey guys,

Ok, so now that I have a blog, I have decided to use it to publish my old travel writings. I've just posted my first one which is about a road trip I took while I was studying abroad in South Africa (2006). The posts will mostly be slightly altered versions of the emails that I sent out to my friends and family while I was traveling. (I'm trying to take out all of the !!!exclamation points!!!) I hope to include stuff from both South Africa and Semester at Sea.

They are typically pretty long, but I've added pictures to them to make them more fun to read. I just thought it would be cool to have them up online as a history of my travel adventures. As time goes on, hopefully I'll have new travel posts to put up as well!

So, as an FYI, my archives will be building, possibly even faster than my current writings, for a while.

You can check out my NEW back-dated travel posts in the years 2003 and 2006!

Enjoy… or don't. But i just wanted to let you know that they're there.



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poppin My Cherry!

Hey there people.

This is the first of what will hopefully be many successful blog posts. I hope that whoever decides to take the time to read what I write will enjoy it! And I hope that I will actually keep up with this thing and make it at least a little interesting.

I decided to make a blog for two reasons:

(1) I wrote a couple on MySpace, enjoyed it, and wanted to make it public so non-MySpacers could read it
(2) It will be a good way to keep in touch with my friends and family across the country.

So, here we go!

::FYI:: "My So Called Life," "Sarah Palin," and "Lucky Plate Day" were my previous MySpace posts, that I am transferring to this blog and dating them with the original post date