Work Travel


The cardboard palace, that is. I just moved from Alameda, California back to Portland, Oregon. While it is absolutely glorious to be back in Portland in the summer, can I take just a moment to whine? Moving sucks. My advice? Don’t ever move. (Seriously. The next time I move, it better be because I just bought the house I plan to die in.) All of the best moving advice on the internet talks about moving like you have several months to plan–I’m not sure who this applies to, exactly. When you move in a hurry (especially after living in the same place for more than five years), nothing is organized. I mean, the first few boxes are carefully packed and labeled, and the label matches the contents. Towards the end, you have a crapload of boxes marked “miscellaneous.” What’s  inside? It’s a mystery! At times I feel like I’m shopping in my own boxes…

One of just three broken things (all of which I packed). Two broke because I mistook one box for another and dropped it.


Speaking of which, opening the boxes leads to even more “fun” surprises. This includes the “treasures” (Advil that expired in 2013, expired coupons for San Francisco eateries) and the “interesting facts” (like how my silverware holder thing is about 1/16″ wider than my kitchen drawers, and how the bra I bought a few months ago but hadn’t worn yet has a dud strap that needs repaired).

The Professor, keeping a paw on me so I don’t wander away unattended.

My life is still mostly in boxes, save for me, Professor Nick Sterling, the cat accompaniments (water fountain, litter box, food dishes, cat treats…), and the laundry (from which I am currently dressing myself). It turns out that unboxing in an apartment is a cascading process. So, for example, I can’t unbox the books until I unfold and stack the bookcases; that requires both finding the hardware to stack the bookcases and moving the boxes out of the way, and placing the China cabinet…which can’t move until I clear a path, which requires moving the sofa and dining table, which requires moving some boxes out of the way… When I packed for Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle, I literally could not find my half marathon running shoes and just bought a new pair at the expo. (Brooks Glycerin, size 11. Pulls no punches, fits well, #runhappy.) It’s a little insane. The high point, to date, has been finding the box that had the bed sheets and pillows in it, since nothing beats sleeping in my own bed.

In case you missed it, I moved back to Portland for a shiny, new, full-time day-job.  So far, I’m loving it, and thrilled that I made the move. It’s fairly scary to leap into a new job, especially if you’ve been at the same employment for years, but I’m confident I will continue to love my “new” life. Work has had me very busy and traveling out of town (I’ve been on three out-of-town trips requiring airplanes, and that doesn’t count visiting relatives in San Diego), as I wasn’t in a situation where I could afford to take an extended vacation and my new employer would have loved it if I could have started the day after I accepted the offer. (Which I could not have done, move aside, as I feel it is important to live up to your own integrity when making choices. I wanted to leave my former employer in a good position, all my files/work in order, upcoming events covered, etc. No need to burn bridges or be a jerk–I was there for years, like the people, and do wish the firm well.)

My computer, while found, is lifelessly awaiting the day I open the box containing the power cords. (Meanwhile my computer at work won’t support a browser I can use with Co-Schedule. Not that I’m supposed to be using my work resources to blog, but…) I have partially drafted posts on Hawaii, Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco, The Blue Ridge Marathon (my BEST, ever, DNF)…and I probably should have written about Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle by this point. While I have connect the iPad to the internet, a certain pushy kitty-cat has been making it very difficult to type on the Bluetooth keyboard. (Someone needs to invent a cat snuggle pouch with a built-in petting device for the cat that also serves as a “laptop” desk. Seriously.)

Favorite sign from the 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon

While I feel like I should  be blogging and tweeting and instagramming All Things Healthy Lifestyle, in reality my kitchen is covered in partially unpacked kitchen goods and forwarded mail, any my healthiest meals have been Click for breakfast (and oh yeah, I totally have a post to write about that…and a super overdue book review that I would write now but I’m still trying to figure out which  box it is in, and this great paleo-vegan protein powder). I took a Pure Barre class, but that doesn’t quite balance out the amount of pizza I’ve eaten since moving. If life is an 80-20 proposition, I’ve been eating and living in that 20…and the 80 is asking for payback!

Just to make matters more chaotic, I’m largely working out of Seattle for the next two months or so. This means unpacking happens on the two days I am home, in between loads of laundry and spoiling the cat.

If you’re in Seattle, share your best tips on where to eat healthy vegetarian and where to work out?

If you’re not in Seattle, got healthy living tips for the road warrior?

If we’ve met in person, you probably know I travel for work. Sometimes I travel a lot. Usually it is to exciting places like Lakeview, Oregon and Clearlake, California–not exactly vacation-like destinations. Every once in awhile I’m assigned to a more interesting location, and there are some places I will jump at the chance to go. Central Florida is one of those places, in large part because I have family there. (My family isn’t particularly large, and since I’m the only one on the West Coast I take advantage of every opportunity I can to see them.) Central Florida in August isn’t exactly my first choice but hey, sometimes that’s how the chips fall.

This time around, I was in Melbourne, Florida. That’s about an hour from the Orlando area (two hours if it happens to be back-to-school sales-tax-holiday weekend, which it was on my way back). My initial plan was to meet a friend and hang out with Mickey Mouse on Saturday, but when work spilled over into Saturday that wasn’t an option. What’s a girl to do? Sign up for a 5k, of course!

Bib, race shirt (optional), and the Bondi Band I selected (strawberries!)

First, I tweeted Running Zone to confirm their hours. (It was Friday afternoon, I was still in a meeting…so a phone call wasn’t an option. By the way, if you are ever in Florida, this is a great running store, staffed by runners. You need it to run, they have it.) Fortunately they tweeted right back and confirmed I’d make it to the store before it closed.

As soon as the meeting ended, I drove over to Running Zone. (Seriously, why not do a 5k? I had shoes and gear, and the run was football-themed, supported the local cheerleading programs, and advertised pizza at the end. How could I go wrong?) The store has a designated window/counter inside for race registration. When I looked up and saw the Space Coast series medals, I was like “oh! It all makes sense now!”

Is it Cyber Men?!??
Is it Cyber Men?!??

Bib and shirt in hand, as well as a few goodies and a stack of race flyers and some local discounts (standard issue, one per runner, pre-bagged), I headed off to carb up with a calzone. (Yes, I know, no science backing that a runner doing a spur-of-the-moment 5k “needs” carbs. Back off.) Fortunately one of my running tweeps lives in the area, and we met up in person! Unfortunately we were both wiped out from the week and forgot to selfie. So here’s a picture of a lizard instead:

Since the Running Zone mascot is a lizard, it made sense, right?
Since the Running Zone mascot is a lizard, it made sense, right?









Back to the hotel for an early bedtime, since I knew I had to get up early to drive, run, drive, and shower (and coffee!) before the race so I didn’t scare anyone at work. Finally I realized the true benefit of staying in a double-queen room: an entire bed to lay out Flat Bain!

Flat Bain (and yes, I did rock two kinds of sunblock!)
Flat Bain
       (and yes, I did rock two kinds of sunblock!)

The next morning I peeled myself out of bed, plugged the address into my iPhone, and drove off to the race. It was really easy to find, with plenty of parking. Though I initially found the shopping complex confusing–there were cones and signage up for the race course, and I wasn’t sure where to drive–I eventually parked, coated myself in SPF5000 for the pale to glow-in-the-dark skin tones, and followed the crowd over to the starting area.

Sunrise over Runners!
Sunrise over Runners!

Ordinarily I complain about being up so freakishly early in the day. While I was yawning (no pre-race coffee here), I noticed that unlike pretty much every other race I’ve done, I was not at all cold. Uh-oh. I’m about to run in Florida in the summer! I must be nuts!

photo 3 (5)
Otherwise gratuitous palm tree, acting as a lighting post and bird perch

The corral was self-seeded, and people pretty much spaced themselves out appropriately. There were a pretty wide variety of runners and walkers, from the “uber-serious about a PR” to the “just out for a walk” and everything in between. There were also people of all ages, sizes, and experience levels. I was leap-frogged several times by kids who couldn’t have been older than 10.

As we crossed the starting line, there were cheerleaders making a victory tunnel on both sides, cheering on the runners. It was a really fun way to start a race!

The course itself was nothing fancy, just an out-and-back that left the mall property and went past this lake/pond. There were exotic-to-me birds, including what sounded like (but were most likely not) peacocks. I imagine I looked rather strange photographing these things (the birds managed to evade).

photo 4 (7)
This is the lake/pond/thing we ran past. The birds flew away before I could get a proper portrait.

Of course stopping to take a picture or two also gave me a chance to catch my breath. It was super-duper humid out there. (Or as Floridians call it, August.) It had rained a little on Friday, and enough on Thursday night that the local run club had cancelled the run. I spent most of the rain looking at the window and wishing I could pack it up and take it back to California.

The course had sufficient hydration stations, well-stocked and staffed, and some people also carried water. Overall, it wasn’t too bad, even though it was definitely heating up by the time I finished. Despite my total aversion to getting up before the sun, I started to see the wisdom of getting up and starting to run (heck, finishing the run!) while it is still dark.


Did I mention it was hot? Hot temps = I’m a hot mess. (So sorry. It’s proof I was there though, right?)

So after the race, I got an email with a link to the photos. Check it out, an unexpected race perk: free downloads! (There were also good deals on prints.) Unfortunately I hadn’t packed any super running outfits and I was sweating sweating sweating, so this is about as cute as it gets.

Finish line rules: always run, and always smile at the camera! #orangeisthenewfast


Part of the cheerleader line
Part of the cheerleader line

As the runners came back through the chute, the cheerleaders cheered us back in! (This is one of the Running Zone download photos. I kinda wanted to take a picture while they were all cheering, but then it occurred to me that it might be creepy to have some random adult who does not have a kid in the cheer program snapping pictures.) Immediately at the finish line, more water!




Big Box o' Bondi Bands
Big Box o’ Bondi Bands


Every finisher also got a Bondi Band. (There was an email about that too.) It’s a nice perk–a sweatless stretchy hair-tamer. There were volunteers lined up with bands on both arms, and a giant box so you could pick exactly the one you wanted. If you’re not familiar with Bondi Bands, some of them are solid colors, others are prints, and others have cute runner sayings on them. It was fun to see the kids wearing them like ninja-style headbands after the race.

The "normal" post-run food
The “normal” post-run food


In addition to water, there were also cups of Gatorade. Planet Smoothie dished out dixie cups of something cold and icy–it tasted good too, but the temperature was divine!–and there was a genuine runner buffet set up right in front of Pizza Gallery & Grill, conveniently alongside a shaded courtyard-style gathering space.  Of course the spread included the usual “normal” runner foods, such as sliced oranges and bagels.

As runners walked past the breakfast food side and passed the center piece, there was a pizza buffet!  As a vegetarian I was really only interested in the cheese pizzas, but there were a variety of different types of pizza toppings available. Even though I came in towards the end of the pack, the Pizza Gallery continued to dish it out, slinging hot pizzas until all the bellies were full! Since I wasn’t the last to finish, and I’m sure those adorable cheerleaders were hungry, I thought that was pretty cool.

P is for Pizza, that's good enough for me...
P is for Pizza, that’s good enough for me…

No, I did not eat an entire pizza pie. There was plenty of pizza to go around, so I did eat more than one slice. By that point I knew I had time to shower, and I’d decided that grabbing a fancy coffee drink (we don’t have Dunkin’ Donuts out west) was going to take priority over getting the hotel’s breakfast before work. I continued to drink water, and had planned ahead (I had a waterbottle and Nuun waiting for me in the car).

Since I had to get back to get to work, I didn’t hang around for all of the festivities. I did see the stage set-up for the awards ceremony (which happened after all the runners finished–something I find really fantastic, as I am usually running when the awards ceremony happens!). There were a few vendors in the area too, including the mall owner/manager who had a table with maps and other information. I picked up a mini football from this table because it was cute, and then I set it right back down. (Part of my goal to NOT bring home All The Things.) A girl, maybe 10, who had run, came over and picked one up, thanked the lady behind the table and turned to leave. She then turned around and said, “May I please have one for my little brother, too?” How awesome is that?

The Running Zone lizard!

Have you ever been on a work trip (or other non-runcation) and signed up for a run? Have you run any of the other Running Zone races? I looked at the flyers, and I have to say, I’m a little jealous of how much awesome is going on down there!