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Showing posts from 2016

Arcadia University Talk

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The first week back from the Philippines as rough. I had a constant headache and my insides were in disorder. I went to bed with my son at 8 pm every night. My husband had to travel for work so I didn’t have help.

I got a text that week from my neighbor across the street. She was in Italy with a class she was co-leading. She asked if I would come speak to the class.
This all came about when we were having wine one night. We got into talking about our backgrounds. I surmised she had always been in contact in one way or another with undocumented immigrants. Me ending up as her neighbor was no exception. She showed me the book she was reading and I talked about Lives in Limbo, reviewed earlier in this blog. I don’t know how it even came up but I got brave with my wine. I told her I would be happy to talk to her class. The class was called “This Sea is Not My Home: Immigration, Migration and Social Justice in the Sicilian Context".  The instructor’s goal in inviting me was to help s…

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I have been literally running around writing this particular post about my trip to the Philippines. I did the tourist thing with my Gemini twin. I did the history thing since my other relatives were kind enough to take me. I ran my first 25k trail race last weekend. This has also been a crazy ass election season. I have been addicted to political news. So danced around this post, my trigger point.  
I knew I would not come back the same person. It was a culmination of my work as a writer and immigrant rights advocate. After the years of self-loathing, self-doubt, and finally self-repair, I made the connection with my family. At first it felt transactional. Then it became something I did not think I could make after 30 years.
The first time I wanted to go my son was too little. I thought it was him that needed me but it was the other way around. It was the longest I had ever been away from him.   
So the morning after my sightseeing adventures I slept in. Later in the morning, my cou…

Rough Trail 25K - Race Report

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As I write this post I am hobbling up and down stairs, aged about 20 years. I completed my first 25K “race” this past Saturday. I say “race” because there were many times there was nobody in front or behind me, which is the nature of trail racing. The longest “race” I had ever done before yesterday was 10 miles at Evansburg State Park in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago. I got back into trail running to heal the pain in my right arch. I also found a great group of women with whom to run. Lastly, I also learned trail running didn’t have to be so messy (I often fell).
I signed up for the Rough Trail in hopes I would find a similar group as we moved ourselves from the Northeast to the Bluegrass (and I did).
My partner Nancy was down with a migraine and stomach flu. I drove to Red River Gorge with another woman from the group. I met her at her hotel in Lexington and we were on the road at 6:30 am.
I learned Kelsey was recruited to do crew for the University of Louisville. She signed up …

15 Mile Thriller at Jefferson Memorial Forrest

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Every time I get to talking with the MRTT ladies about marathon war stories, at some point I always say something like, “I wish I had had a voice during the hardest part of the run, telling me, ‘you got this’”, so I don’t break down and start weeping like a child (which has happened). Last Saturday morning, I had that voice, albeit in my head, her name is Marian.
It was two weeks away from my Rough Trail 25K . I had planned on the longest run 2 weeks before my race, so I could spend the weekend before on a less long run and have a chance to recover. My training plan has become a hybrid of marathon, a 25k trail, UpLift, triathlon and cycling.  (Note to self: Read a book on endurance trail running because this reads like I can’t decide).  Fellow MRTT-er Marian, the one outside my head,  would have led us but has been down with pneumonia for a few weeks.  I became the default front woman having run it before.

Nancy and I met at the donut shop so we could drive down to Jefferson Memorial…

Urban Bourbon Half Marathon - Race Report

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I ran the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon yesterday. I ran my butt off. I did a personal best and broke 2 hours. I felt so beat at the end. At mile 10, I was trying to figure out what could be my slowest speed and still come in under 2 hours. I have never run so hard. For the first 5 miles, I kept up with the crowd. My watch beeped an 8:45 minute mile, which is an unsustainable pace for me. My pace slowed between a 9 minute and 9:30 minute mile.
I usually don’t carry water with me during half marathons. This time, I carried a 300 ml bottle with me. I found this to be more efficient to ensure I am taking sips more often but not stopping. I did stop to fill up the bottle and also to finish an energy gel. My fingers were numb in the cold and it was hard to get it all. I was spreading chocolate gel all over my fingers and the mouth of the bottle.
I found myself having some breathing difficulty. It was a combination of being run down after a couple of 5:30 am runs during the week, baked goo…

Running Safety

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This past weekend while running with my group, we discussed the topic of safety. As running miles increase during training, I have found myself running during the dark in order to add more hours into the day. These are early morning hours so I am not missed by my family or in the evenings after bed time. I wanted to make a list of products/services that I have come to use to ensure my safety. 


Road ID – When I first learned how to ride my bike with the clip in pedals, I sometimes found myself at dusk riding home. I had fears of falling. I wanted to be identifiable if I was unconscious. Road ID took my 10 year old canvas band back and replaced it with a silicone band and name tag. This way my skin wasn’t irritated with the increased perspiration in the Bluegrass state. I love that this company stood by their product, a 10 year old product, even when the “defect” was my sensitive skin rather than their wrist band. 

Tracer 360 by Nox Gear – I just purchased this product after friends, trai…

Intramuros - Binondo

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My day at Corregidor and Luneta ended with my cousin running us around Manila. As tired as I was, it was amazing. My cousin called over to the shop in Binondo (Manila's Chinatown) to see if my aunt and uncle were there. They were. I got to meet them again. (I have seen photos of myself as a toddler with them but I have no memory of the contact.) The shop sold eastern remedies. It was started by my grandparents when they left the province for the big city.  My grandfather's photo is still on the wall like a shrine. 



On our way back to our dinner reservation, we stopped by the Manila Cathedral. This structure was wrecked during the battle of Manila. It was wonderful to see it lit up at night. 


 I even got to light a candle at the Binondo Catherdal.


Lastly, we stopped by a bakery for my favorite Chinese/Filipino pastries!



Light Weight Hydration Vest/BackPack with 2 Bottles by SL3S - Product Review

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I consider myself a novice trail runner. This fall coming up might be year since I have started.

This fall I signed up to do the 25K at the Rough Trail Ultra Marathon. It prompted me to look into a hydration pack given the distance. I wanted to carry water but have my hands free in case there is some climbing involved. The race director also told me that each participant is required to carry water despite the water stops given the terrain.

In my Google search, I found the SL3S Hydration Vest/Backpack. I chose a pack because I did not want to clean and maintain a bladder and a tube. (I'm a lazy off trail.) I also did not want to break the bank.

The water bottles are about 300ml each. Each bottle is good for me for about 5 miles. At longer distances I am hoping to be able to refill the bottles.

The chest straps are long so it would suit men and women. I have done 3 long runs with it so far and don't notice the weight. I like the pack since it allows for me to carry all my neuro…

Youth Refugee Adventure – Highland Presbyterian Church Louisville

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I don’t often do off script posts since this space belongs to my writing mind.  She is very much on her own pace despite what is going on around her. 2016 has been a whirlwind! My family and I have moved out of the Philadelphia area to Louisville, Kentucky. It was a combination of my departed friend, a mid-life crisis and some lifestyle choices that favored family. It’s almost the end of a 5 month journey. As much as I love my 9.5 lb. Sir Kitty Poop-a-lot, we can no longer share a bathroom.

We are two and a half months into our life in Kentucky. It’s been wonderful. I have found mom’s with whom to run, more time to devote to writing and a network of close friends and family. This past weekend, I was invited to my friend’s church for a workshop called Youth Refugee Adventure. I attended given my own “adventures”.
The program started at 3pm in the Highland Presbyterian Fellowship hall. We were instructed to write our names on a slip of paper. Children and teens were instructed to writ…

Rizal Park - Luneta

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Earlier in this blog, I reviewed the works of Dr. Jose Rizal.  I also wrote a piece for Ballon-Juice. So you can imagine my joy when our Corregidor tour ended early and we had some time before dinner to see Luneta. Again, mushroom clouds of joy in my little brain.
Here lies our national hero. His remains are guarded at all times. There is a huge scandal that the building in the back is being erected. It photobombs the whole scene. Construction has stopped and I am not sure where things stand at the moment. 
At this point in the day my camera and phone had died. I had taken many photos of Corregidor and didn't have the foresight to bring my charge cords. I didn't think I would need them. These photos came from my cousin. 
I am also seeing the limitations of Blogger since I can't put up too many photos in one post. 



Anyway, not far from Dr. Rizal's remains is the site of his execution. I felt weird about this scene. The only time I have seen an execution depicted in sta…

Corregidor Island

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If there was a time at all when I might have lost my mind during this trip, it was maybe this visit to Corridor Island off of Manila. I reviewed a book called Edge of Terror early on in this blog. It talked about Americans that were held captive in the Island of Panay during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. It also talked about the final battle between the US and Japan before we fell to the Japanese. The battle of Corregidor was was like the Alamo of the Pacific before things just got terrible. After a few years of being completely immersed in Philippine history, it was so gratifying to see the things i had studied. 

Corregidor was about an hour ferry ride to the Island. My cousin purchased our tickets through Sun Cruises. It was a guided tour of the Island with a catered lunch. I recommend tipping your guide. Note: There is a tour for the Japanese and everybody else.