Friday, June 27, 2014

Life Decisions and Lapidaries

Happy last day of June! When the heck did that happen?!

It's been a whirlwind of a spring, and I'm glad this trip is coming up sooner rather than later! Lots of details, changes, and life decisions to ponder. Interested? Read on!

Life Decision #1:
I delayed my departure by about 2 weeks so I could take the GRE, for which the preparations have been expectedly tedious, albeit secretly fun. I've already taken the test {some 5+ years prior} and am currently in a graduate program at CSU, but in order to get into a grad program I've been eyeing for 2015, I need to un-expire my scores {aka- take it again}.

Studying/exploring graduate programs that are not online has made my heart soar with motivation and inspiration of what my professional future might hold. In any event, I've spent my summer "break" memorizing the most random and underused words in the English language {such as rococo, which is a style unique to the 18th century and recognized by intricately ornate decoration; or my favorite; or jocular, which I assumed related to some unfortunate athletic-based rash in the nether-regions, but really refers to joviality, humor, and playfulness. Awww. Can't wait to use these in any future social context}, as well as re-learning the everyday skill of finding the area of special triangles. Good times.

It's natural to feel cupidity, avarice, or rapacity when you hear about my summer days.
They have been generously sponsored by Kaplan and Starbucks.

{Sidenote: I should also mention that this time has been really wonderful to spend with Steve and my Boulder friends and much less rushed than my intended June 19 departure.}

Life Decision #2: 
In addition to starting it later, I also shortened the end of my bike trip because an awesome opportunity to be a research assistant on a sea turtle project in the Caribbean came up. Hard to say no, eh? More on that in a few weeks.  Anyway, the bike trip will start in Seattle and end in San Francisco. When all is said and done, I will come in at about 1,000 miles-ish for the whole shebang.

I'm starting the trip with my beloved best friend, Anika. We have never had a successful time biking together, or in any endurance-based activity, for that matter, so I'm expecting the first few days to be nothing short of unforgettably fun, life-threatening, and hilarious {don't worry, Mom... I'm 1/2-kidding about life-threatening}.

Anika and I get so enamored with one another that we forget to take care of our basic needs {such as eating} and we end up hitting the wall, starving to the point of blurred vision and slurred speech, stumbling only half-upright into any door that looks like it may have sustenance behind it, clawing for the first available thing that looks edible enough yet typically lacks any real nutritional value {i.e.: lemons, red pepper flakes, oyster crackers, packets of artificial sweetener, gum under the table, etc.}, and shoving it as close to our oral cavities as our impaired dexterity will allow. This scenario seems hyperbolic, but indeed, it's not and has happened more than once. West Coast, stock your condiments. Sara and Anika are coming for you!

If you don't know Anika... here she is! My partner in endurance and unintentional VO2-max.
{From L to R}: Record-shattering 5k • Anika after she got her hair-did • Throwback to age... 18 (?) judging by the facial baby fats.

To Recap:
Trip: Seattle to San Fran
Dates: July 4-25
Anika. Fun.

General Life Reflections: 
With some logistics out of the way, we can move on to the mushy stuff!
I'm pumped to have my bestie with me to send me off, and I'm truthfully equally pumped to be alone for almost 3 weeks. This trip more and more is becoming something I look to as a symbolic ride (cue mushy coming-of-age music; does that exist? Avril Lavigne is probs the closest thing.).

Flyin' solo!?
Just think of all the pensive sky-background selfies I can take in 3 weeks!

I'm not really looking to "find myself," but I am looking to mature and build some confidence into this aging soul of mine. Recently, I've realized I rely on people a lot-- not necessarily for money, drugs, or crap like that, but rather for my own energy. When people around me are happy, I'm excited! When I'm with people who couldn't give two poops, I feel lachrymose and lugubrious (hello, GRE). I'm fairly extroverted, so in some ways, this social energy transfer makes sense. I generally enjoy being around people and find my energy from connecting and learning from others. But, I want to rely on myself for my energy, my happiness, my {fill-in-the-intrinsic-value-blanks}. I want to trust that I can be in charge of how I feel and that my confidence comes from me-- not my students, not my friend, not my manfriend {but gosh, he's wonderful, nonetheless}, not my boss. All of those people are great, sure, but I'm ready to take the reins and balance my emotional spectrum a bit.

And you know what? NOBODY shows the heart and internal drive I'm talking about better than athletes. Outside of my own selfish desires to know thyself, this ride is a fundraiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. These are athletes who practice what I'm trying to preach myself: self-confidence, perseverance, and relentless forward progress. Totally inspiring organization, and I would love for you to read about their cause and even donate a few dollars {or a thousand} on behalf of this ride.

I've got a fundraiser page you can check out here: Sara's Fundraising Page!!
Right now, I'm #11 for amount of money raised for CAF's Ride for a Reason campaign. Make me #1?  I'm sending a personalized postcard to every person who donates!

Photo stolen from Challenged Athletes Foundation Website

This trip will rock!
I have close to zero expectations for it, other than what will be will be.
Packing has begun.
Re-packing is my weekend plan.

Packing, taking inventory, testing out the weight, spending money like I have it...
Look at that BEAUTY to the right!! She's going to be in love with the West Coast.

And speaking of preparing, you might be wondering about training?
My training has been.... non-traditional, I would say. I get so excited about Colorado mountains that truthfully, I've spent more time on foot the last couple of weeks hoofing it to scenic high-altitude vistas outside of my daily bike commute. I'm {perhaps foolishly} not worried about the endurance needed for a 3-week ride. But, while perhaps I could have been preparing my {already enormous} calves more, I have spent time with beautiful people in beautiful landscapes, and that's not to be regretted. Here's a smattering of moments from my iPhone:

Colorado summer highlights:
Chautauqua, BOLDERBoulder, Climbing, Biking, Mountains, Trail Running, Piggy-Backs, Jumps for Joy

With respect to my trip, my butt will probably be sore the first few days, but my itinerary, inspired by "Crazy Guy on a Bike," will be manageable.  It will {maybe} look something like this schedule below:

- Days 1-3: Seattle to Portland, OR
- Portland to Seaside, OR {via bus. rest day/recuperate from lack of Anika in my life}
- OR Seaside to Cape Lookout
- OR Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach 57 miles
- OR Beverly Beach to Jesse Honeyman 60 miles
- OR Jesse Honeyman to Sunset 55 miles
- OR Sunset to Humbug 57 miles
- OR - CA Humbug to Harris Beach 56 miles
- CA Harris Beach to Elk Praire 70 miles
- CA Elk Prarie to Eureka 46 miles
- CA Eureka to Marine Club Grove 51 miles
- CA Marine to Standish Hickey 48 miles
- CA Standish to Mackerriker 39 miles
- CA Mackerricker to Manchester 42 miles
- CA Manachester to Bodega Bay 65 miles
- CA Bodega to Golden Gate

I'll update my packing list and some other details. Thanks for taking time to read!!


What's your summer been like?

Will you be anywhere from WA to CA this summer? 

Want to meet up? Let's connect!