walking times: lunch in #dtla

It was such a gorgeous day today that a walk seemed like the perfect way to spend the afternoon. And, of course, food was involved (I feel like all I’ve done the last week is eat!).

We ended up at Korean B.B.Q on 1st street in Little Tokyo. I ordered the half barbecue chicken-half beef plate. My friend ordered the half spicy pork-half chicken plate. Both meals came with a salad, miso soup, rice, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, and potato salad. The portions were more than generous (I’m glad I only tasted the soup and focused mostly on the meat), and the price was great. [P.S. My friend went to extra care to point out the turtle-shaped skillet that the food arrived in. I have to agree that it was a nice touch!]

We ended up sitting in the restaurant watching a Korean soap opera with English subtitles. I wish I knew the name so I could keep up with it!

We pulled ourselves away from the soap opera and headed back out to 1st Street, where we made a stop at Fugetsu-Do to pick up some Kopiko coffee candy. At $1.50 for the bag, it was a steal and a perfect “light” dessert after the huge lunch.

The mile or so walk back home was perfect after our meal, and we made brief picture stops at St. Vibiana’s (where we found that the courtyard was still maintained), California Water Plaza (after a ride up Angel’s Flight), and Bank of America Plaza (where a once public park–a place I’ve eaten often–was fenced off with warnings against trespassing on “private property”).

St. Vibiana's

California Water Plaza

Gated park at BofA Plaza

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running: 13.1

I’m going to start with the absolute truth: running 13.1 miles is hard. Though not impossible.

I registered for this half marathon on May 1st. At that point, I think the longest distance I had run was 5 miles. But when I was talking about it the other day, the conclusion was it’s one of those things that people do because they can.

I will admit that I woke up one Monday morning about 2 weeks ago and just wanted my training to be over. My legs hurt. I was exhausted every day, and I just wanted to cross the finish line and take the recovery week I promised myself.

Now…I can’t wait to do another.

I do want to say that the two things I was most thankful for were:

  • Hill repeats. Quite frankly, as a workout, I find them fun. The steeper, the better. The Rose Bowl. 1st Street downtown (where I could see people shaking their heads in their cars as I would run to the top at full speed and jog back down–over and over). And, even on a treadmill when it rained or I got home after dark (which was more and more often in the last few weeks). When I hit the hills on the course I ran, I was so grateful that I was used to running hills with tired legs.
  • Sprint intervals. I think this is what saved me. As of a month ago, the 8th mile of my long runs was my breaking point. It was absolutely mental. And two weeks ago I did my long run on a track. Every even mile of the ten-mile run had 8 100-meter sprints. This helped out in two major ways. One, it forced me to push through that eighth mile. Two, it was also the first time my legs were absolutely numb while running. I’m extremely glad I felt that before race day.

I will admit that, in addition to the hard, I am extremely, terribly sore. Yoga has helped, but I definitely know I have work to do before the next race!

why #occupy?

One of my coworkers said to me that she doesn’t understand the purpose of the #Occupy movement.

Sigh.

Let’s put it this way…

1 in 7 Americans lives in poverty.

1 in 6 Americans lives without health insurance.

And every day I park my car in a lot filled with Mercedes Benzes and BMWs. That belong to 17-year-olds.

So, you see, I said. People are tired. Tired of people saying that wealthy people deserve to have more. It seems to me that all a 17-year-old did to deserve a brand new $40,000 car was be born in the right zip code.

For the majority of us who were not that fortunate, I wouldn’t say we’re jealous. Just tired. Tired of people losing their homes. Tired of being afraid to go to the doctor because it will cost too much. Tired of feeling that everything being done for our children will never give them enough advantages.

But mostly tired of people with three and four homes, who drive to their jobs in big corporate banks every day, who make $1 million a year, and who never ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, not everyone has it this easy.

So that’s why #occupy.

#Occupy so they can see as they walk to their fancy offices.

#Occupy so that perhaps the drive in the ultra fancy car is a little more difficult because you can’t drive down the #Occupied street so easily.

#Occupy so that “those” people “who should just go find a job” will be faces instead of nameless people–faces you’ll walk by on your way to buy a lunch that costs as much as families of 4 budget for dinner each week.

#Occupy so that we stop thinking in numbers and money and start thinking in solidarity.

See, it’s not about the money. It’s not a Robin Hood scheme. The purpose is not to rob the rich to feed the poor.

The purpose is to exist in common solidarity. So it’s not robbing, but it’s creating–building–community. Where each of us is responsible for the welfare of our brothers and sisters.

reading & writing

No writing. No reading.

At least that’s how it feels. Teaching high school English really means that those are all I do. I’m constantly reading. Constantly writing. I logged 10 hours of those two activities on Monday alone.

Yet, it feels like I’m not reading or writing a thing.

I did manage to squeeze in Paulo Coelho’s new novel, Aleph. But I’ve been carrying around a copy of Moneyball for at least two months now. I have read it in pieces. 15 minutes at a time. Twice a week. Waiting for cross-country practice to start. I’m dying to read The Art of Pitching, which sits on my nightstand, or any of the other books sitting there, waiting patiently to be read.

Instead, my brain is filled with novels I teach. Short stories I filter through. Texts on writing. Texts on reading. Research. Methodology.

And writing? Goodness. The sheer amount of words that have come out of me in the last three days in remarkable. A student sat today with her mouth open and said she didn’t understand how the words just come so easily. But I haven’t written in this blog in … a month? I’m not even sure.

I suppose I should be greatful that I am able to teach what I truly love. But every now and then, it would be nice to have large amounts of uninterrupted time to read and write whatever I please.