Sunday, October 26, 2008

My New Favorite Spot

In Saipan my favorite place to be was Bonzai Cliff. I'd watch sunrise or sunset a couple of times a week. Sometimes though I'd find myself going if I was feeling sad or upset about something. It was just a nice place to think and be by myself.

Bonzai always seemed to cheer me up. On many occasions I'd spot a turtle floating below the cliffs. One time I even saw a pod of dolphins making its way towards Bird Island. That place just took my breath away.

Since I moved back to California I have been searching for a similiar place that made me feel at peace. This is a beautiful place called Point Lobas in Monterey. Fall is starting to set in and the air is chilly. I love the cooler weather. As I sit and admire this view I see a bunch of harbor seals playing in the water below. I love this place and am starting to feel at home. Most of all I'm itchin' to start diving in Monterey's cold water. Stay tuned for my dive adventures in Monterey.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Half Way There

I survived my first half marathon! I ran straight until I hit mile 10. My right IT band was really killing me so I had to stop and walk it off a couple of times. Truthfully I was really pissed that I had to stop because I didn't feel tired at all. It was just my right knee that was giving me problems. I finished at 2 hours and 30 minutes at a 11 minute pace. Slower than I wanted but I'm just glad I finished the race.

There were roughly 15,000 runners at the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon this past Sunday. The course took us around downtown San Jose and along beautiful neighborhoods in the city. We had perfect weather and rock bands at every mile to listen to. It was just a great experience overall.

Right now, running is the only thing keeping me sane while I'm still in transition. But I'll keep pushing forward. I'm half way there to a full marathon and I'm more hyped than ever.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Race Pains

Hmmm, what can I say?  Just when I think I'm wonder woman with invincible powers I am proven otherwise.  I am green with envy when running comes so natural to others.  I'm average and I have to work hard at it.  I knew training for a marathon would be challenging but I didn't think it would be this difficult.  I love the challenge though.

As the mileage starts to pile up I start to encounter annoying race pains like chaffing from my sports bra or tightness in my calves.  Worst I've started  to have some symptoms of runner's knee on my right side.  I went down to the the running center and picked up a band to help support my patella.  I ran with it today and felt pretty good with it on.  

This mornings 11 mile run with the Loma Linda Lopers kicked my butt.  I'm trying a new sports drink supplement called Accelerade.  It's supposedly better than drinking water or Gatorade on the long runs because it has a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.  So far I think it's giving me that extra kick for endurance.  

Since I'll be in San Francisco for job interviews next week I've decided to run the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  (sigh) Wish me luck. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Up and Running

Running with the 10:30 pace group in Riverside. Jessica is in the purple top.

Home stretch.  All smiles after 9 miles.   My right knee has been sore lately.  I read on a running forum to try an ice bath.  It works magic! You aren't as sore the next day.

Chasing shadows.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Running Inspiration: 50/50 by Dean Karnazes

Need some running inspiration while you train for your first marathon!? Check out this book 50/50 by Dean Karnazes. . This book is about a guy who runs 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days! Now, I don’t have a desire to run 50 marathons in 50 days but some of the lessons he learned along the way have helped me tremendously with my training.

Along the way, he uses the various obstacles and inspirations he encounters to present a number of running tips. Some of the topics he discusses are: Marathon race day preparation, fueling, hydration, mind games, music, shoes, visualization, strength training, diet, and sleep.

Overall at the end of each chapter he gave me great reasons to lace up and run wild! I just really enjoyed his outlook on running and his positive spirit.

***marathon training update***

I think my middle of the week runs and cross training have been paying off. What also helped me was that I finally purchased a fuel belt. Plus I took a power gel at about 45 minutes into my run and the goo definitely gave me that extra push to finish. I ran 8 miles on Sunday at the 10:30 pace!! Woo hoo!

Friday, August 29, 2008

On Hope

"Once you chose hope anything is possible"-Christopher Reeve

I've been following this presidential race closely and tonight I finally feel at rest for making the decision to vote for Obama. His speech was personal, straight to the point, and moving. I'm just inspired by his spirit and his determination to restore hope in America.

I love that he gave specifics on what his plans are for America's future. He addressed some topics that I feel strongly about like global warming, ending the war responsibly, and on personal responsibility. I'm with Obama when he says eight years is ENOUGH.

I was so hyped up after listening to him speak. I actually made a donation on his website because I want to support him.

We need a change in direction. I believe that Obama can bring it. I'm encouraging everyone to register and rock the vote.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Road to L.A.

Training for my first L.A. marathon has been really challenging. I usually do really good at the start of the run but towards the middle of the run I start to lose momentum and all of a sudden I'm plagued by thoughts of stopping.  Its those damn hills!  I'm still trying to learn to love the hills.  Most of the time I'm chasing my pace group.

My goal for this race is to finish never mind how long it will take me . We are on mile 6 so 20 more miles to go.  Luckily the Loma Linda Lopers has different pace groups you can train with .  There are several groups ranging from the 7 minute mile group to the 17 minute mile group.  Jessica and I started off in the 10 minute mile group but later dropped down to the 10.5 mile pace group.  So far we are keeping up with are two weekday runs and the one long run on Sundays.

Every Sunday we meet at the Drayson center for our short lectures.  This past weekend was on water stop etiquette!    We stretch together and then off we go to our different pace groups.

Here's a picture of the Loma Linda Lopers.  Jessica and I are in the second row in the front. There is usually a flood of pink people running down the streets in Loma Linda on early Sunday mornings.  What I love about joining a running group is that you get to meet so many cool people! Plus everyone is always giving you great running and motivation tips.

Everyone needs a running buddy to keep you accountable.  Jessica is my running inspiration and I'm so glad she's on the road with me to L.A. 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scattered Thoughts

I'm on overload.  Some thoughts today:

1.  My legs are sore. It's painful running up hills.  
2.  I want to be on  I Survived a Japanese Game Show!
The making new friends in Japan episode is so funny! 
3  I'm changing my blog title and layout in the next couple of weeks.
4.  I'm thinking about getting a dog soon.
5.  Wherever I end up I need to live by the beach.
6.  There's  too many people in this cafe.  I wish I was back at Cafe by the Park in Saipan.
7.  I haven't found a church that I feel comfortable at yet. I prefer a small church vs. a big church. 
8.  I need new loupes.
9.  I need to send some resumes out.
by Jared Diamond is such a great read!
11.  I'm trying to get Jessica to run the L.A. Nike 10k Human Race with me.
12.  Do I really want to go back to school?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Highlights from Belize

Morning walks on the beach in Sarteneja.

Riding our bikes on the streets of Sarteneja.

Drinking fresh Watermelon Juice and eating at Liz's taco stand in Sarteneja. One of our best meals for only $1.

Relaxing in the fresh water pools.

Experiencing Blancaneaux, one of Francis Ford Coppola's hidden retreats in the jungle. I'm having Blancaneaux withdrawal.

The entrance to the Blacaneaux experience.

Cavetubing seven miles in underground Mayan caves at Caves Ranch. The Mayans believed these underground caves were the entrance to the underworld. There were spectacular cave formations and bats!

Exploring another Mayan ruin at Caracol near the Guatemalan border.

Learning about Mayan culture and its gods.

Hiking a two and a half mile trail from Blancaneaux to Big Rock waterfall.

Enjoying a perfect Blancaneaux morning at Big Rock!

Diving in Belize and seeing huge grouper fish!

Sipping on Hazelnut Cafe Lattes at Amor y Cafe in Caye Caulker!

Tasting every flavor of authentic Italian gelato at Tutti fruiti in Placencia! My favorite flavor was mango!

Eating fresh corn tortillas at a tortilleria in Sarteneja. You could get half a pound for less than $.25

Ziplining in the jungles of Belize.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mile 3

I'm back on track and it feels great to start training again. After finishing the Xterra triathlon the intensity of my training went down hill. OK, truthfully I've been a little lazy. Now I feel like I'm starting from scratch! So I've dusted off my mountain bike and bought new running shoes to get me started again.

Aside from my goal to train for the Xterra championship in Saipan next year, Brit inspired me to start training for the L.A. Marathon in March 2009. My running buddy, Jessica, and I joined a local running group called the Loma Linda Lopers. This running group has been around for over 30 years and has over 250 members in the Loma Linda chapter alone. You can't miss us because most of us are wearing our hot pink tank tops and are along the main streets in Loma Linda.

What I love about this running group is that you get to train with people who truly enjoy running and the challenges of it. Every Sunday mornings we meet up at 6:30 and have really great lectures on proper stretching, weight control, shoes, motivation . . . Then we break off to our different pace groups and go for our long runs in the morning.

We are following a weekly schedule which consists of two weekly runs on our own and a long run on the weekend with our pace groups. So far we are on Mile 3 of 26!!! A long way to go but I know we'll eventually get there!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Belize Revealed

My Belize trip was the perfect transition after leaving Saipan. Greg and I just spent about four weeks ziplining through the jungles, exploring Mayan ruins, and diving in the second largest barrier reef in the world! Whale Sharks are amazing, but more on that later.

These pictures are from our afternoon trip out to my favorite Mayan ruin known as Xunantunich (Stone Maiden). It's just located a few short miles from the Guatamalan border.

From San Ignacio you can either take the local bus or a cab to the site and it's about a twenty minute commute. On your way to the site you must cross the Mopan River at the base on a hand cranked vehicle ferry!

Without a doubt, this site has great energy and the climb to the top is definitely worth the visit. It's set on a leveled hilltop and is the archaeological pride of Belize.

This view was pretty impressive. I kept thinking I can't believe I'm here!! Did you know that only about 5% of Belize has been excavated. If they could only find a way to get more funds to do more research and uncover more sites like this.

This site once flourished as a ceremonial center and is thought to have been abandoned after an earthquake around AD 900. It's tallest building, El Castillo, rises about 40 m (131 ft) above the jungle.

More posts to come about my other adventures=)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Adieu Saipan

I’m terrible at goodbyes.

Amy, what would I have done without you?!

So I’ll keep this short and tell you how you guys were the BEST part of my every day. Thank you for your friendship and the memories. I’ll never forget the laughter and happiness you brought to my life. Here are a couple pictures of my last week in Saipan.

My Saipan Family

My scuba buddy, Harry! Thanks for coming to the airport to see me off.

The SDA Dental Clinic had a farewell party for me. A favorite patient baked me a yummy Apple Coffee Crumb cake!

My daily sunshine at work! I'll miss Mark and Tammy James. Thank you for throwing me a farewell party at your house! I will also miss Aunt Judy and Uncle Dennis for teaching me how to scuba dive. You introduced a whole new world to me and now I'm ADDICTED!

Ken and Crystal gave me a beautiful lei from Chuk! I have had the time of my life and I'm so glad I got to spend it with them. They were my spiritual mentors in Saipan and have encouraged me to follow my passion and dreams. I'll miss you guys!

My good friends, John Dax and Mai. Always there to listen to me Rant about everything! There's Noah squeezing his cute face in the pic.

Lunch at 360 with Angelo. Thanks for the laughs!

If you have ever read the book Eat Pray Love you’ll understand me when I say that living and working in Saipan was my “India” experience. I came to Saipan on a quest for personal and spiritual growth and left with so much more. This journey changed my life. My heart has awakened and my soul is at ease.

This picture pretty much describes my experience in Saipan: A blast!

My beautiful friends.

And now I’m ready to grab life by its two horns. I hope you will continue to enjoy the ride with me. I’ll keep the same blog address but there will be some changes in the next couple of weeks. I’m still trying to come up with a new title. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Scott and Atsuko Eck baked me this yummy choco brownie cake! Thank you!

What’s Bubbles’ next adventure? Scuba diving and searching for Whale Sharks in Belize this June! Greg found this one just recently in Belize. I hope they come out when I get there. Stay tuned Neh !!!=)

Whale Sharkey! Picture taken by Greg Moretti.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Palau Scrapbook 2008

This year Real Christian Theater's annual trip was to Palau. These are some aerial views of the Rock Islands during my flight into Palau Wednesday morning last week. I flew in early to get in a couple of dives before Real's school and church tour started. The rest of my group were scheduled to come in Wednesday night.

Palau is considered one of the world's natural wonders both above and below the surface of the water. I came here in March 2007 for a week long dive trip with Ken and Crystal Pierson and had a blast. Much of our time was spent underwater. Now I'm not complaining about being underwater at all because I love diving . . . but I didn't get a chance to explore the island at all! During this trip with Real Christian Theater I was hoping to see more of the island, the culture, and it's people. Check out the water! I was itchin' to drop into the deep blue!

A picture of the bridges that led into Koror, Palau's main center where most visitors stay and eat. We were staying at Palau Mission Academy about 30 mins away.

Real Christian Theater is about sharing our belief and love for an amazing God. We perform skits with underlying themes about forgiveness, dependance upon God . . . We strive to not only perform the skits but to actually LIVE what we perform. Sometimes its easier to talk the walk than walk the walk. I'm definitely not perfect. I know that sometimes I struggle alot with what I believe and what I do. But I learned and grew a lot during my stay in Saipan and during this Palau trip.

Sean preached Saturday morning at the Airiri SDA Church. He talked about whether you have a relationship or a religion. I think that sometimes you can get discouraged when you try to keep all the rules and fail. Sometimes when you focus on doing everything right you start to lose sight of what is really important. I've often felt that religion can suck the life out of you if it becomes to legalistic. I think that what God is seeking is my heart not perfection.

Different members from our drama team took over parts in the divine service. Some performed special music, read scripture, or prayed. Miss Veronyka below read and directed the children's story.

A picture of our team with the kids at the SDA Elementary School. They were all so friendly. Some even prayed with us after our skits. They just felt really blessed and it made us feel like God was really speaking through us.

I remember how tired we were starting to get towards the end of our trip. We woke up at 8 am and didn't go to bed till 11 pm every day. School tours can be tiring because you are constantly on the go. One of the highlights of this trip was being able to perform last minute for the local prison. Here's a picture of Joy, Xian Xian, and Tali performing a skit entitled The Big Question. The prisoners were so thankful for our visit. It was a really touching experience to see them on fire for God. This visit to the prison was the perfect way to end our year.

*** Diving in Palau***

Last time I went diving in Palau the weather was perfect! We had sunny skies and the water was like glass. Unfortunately this time around in Palau it was a bit stormy. Actually there was a typhoon just passing over Palau so the water was rough. I have learned from past experiences that just because its gray skies doesn't mean you'll have a bad dive. You just have to make the best of every situation.

The first day I went diving by myself with Sam's tours at Saies Tunnel just west of Ulong Channel. The current was strong and the visibility wasn't too great. When I first dropped into the water at Saies Tunnel I looked down and saw a Manta Ray!! How lucky am I to see that when I first got in. I was so shocked that I was fumbling with my camera to take a picture but by the time I turned on my camera the Manta was gone=( But I saw turtles, sharks, and all kinds of marine life on this dive. The Second dive I went on was at a shipwreck called Chuyo Maru. Plenty marine life and coral that has grown on the wreck! I had such a great first day of diving.

The following day on Thursday Sean, Mai, Jess, and I headed out for a two tank dive with Sam's tours. Unfortunately the weather got worst and the dive boats weren't allowed to go outside the reef because of the strong current conditions. That was bad news because outside the reef are were the great dive sites like Blue Corner, German Channel, Blue hole, and Ulong Channel. We couldn't even go to Jelly Fish lake.

So you can imagine that we were all pretty bummed that we weren't going to see everything that we had heard about. We ended up diving Pincher's cove and the shipwreck Chuyo Maru. We didn't see any turtles or sharks on the second day like they were hoping=( I guess its just another excuse to make a trip out here again because the underwater show at Blue corner is truly amazing. I'll never forget that experience on my last visit. The second day of diving was heaven for me since it was mostly macro diving. I was looking for Nudibranchs and other cool things.

The famed rock island Arch.

A huge clam I found on the beach where they filmed Survivor Palau.

Diving around the shipwreck Chuyo Maru. The tops of the masts are gardens of corals and sponges that attract schools of fish.

Giant Sea Fans

Cotton Candy Corals blooming on the sheer walls that drop. You can't even see the bottom when you are diving!

Tomato Clownfish

Hawksbill Turtle!!!!

Plenty Sharks!

Siaes Tunnel


I have no idea what this is! Anyone know?

Tridacna squamosa (Giant Clam)

Overall the dive wasn't a total disappointment for me. Seeing big things like Manta's, sharks, and turtles are exciting. Sometimes we forget that the small macro stuff is just as fascinating as the big stuff. I have a feeling that I'll be back to conquer Blue Corner and hook into the reef on my next visit! What a great trip and a great way to kick off my year in Micronesia.

Real Christian Theater girls on the bus ride to Koror

Tres amigas: Mai, Me, and Jessica