Life in the Real World.

half marathon #2.

after i found out i was going to be moving out to the bay area after graduation, my sister suggested that i sign up for the nike women’s half marathon. it would be my sister’s third half and my second and i figured it would be fun! i was also able to convince my new roommate, who had never run a half before, to do it too. besides, i liked the schedule of having a training plan for a distance to run every day and i knew that the nike half was a pretty big deal so i decided to sign up (plus, you get a necklace at the end!) so i registered, moved to a new city and had to find a good running path! living in the suburbs proved difficult when looking for a variety of scenery for a run but at least i was able to finish (most) of the distances i had written for myself in my calendar. i got into a routine of running every day after work, which was quite nice under the cali sun. since there were some days i didn’t have time to do the long distances, i tried to work on speed this time around in hopes that the sf hills wouldn’t kill me.

the race started at 6am before the sun had come out (running in the dark is kind of weird) but as the sun rose, so did the fog and mist. there were moments where i felt like it was raining but the entertainment (cheerleaders, drums, music, etc.) along the way made it extra fun! 13.1 miles later, i finally made it to the marina! there were a couple of big hills – at mile 2 and 10 – but i somehow managed to PR and beat my time from last year! hills at mile 10, however, are not my friend. in the end, i finished at 1:54:07 with an 8:43 pace. and my sister achieved her goal time too so it was a great day for all!

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at the finish! i was very excited to receive a silver cape!!

i also wore the exact same outfit, with different sneakers though, as i did at my first half marathon last year. maybe these are my lucky half marathon clothes! not sure what the next step in my running escapades may be – i’m still hoping to run a full marathon one day. but for now, i’ll just have to pretend that running two halves…is essentially like running a full.

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13.1 miles later – we did it!

california musings.

it’s been a little less than a month since i’ve moved to california. the days seem to go by slowly yet, in a way, i can’t believe it’s already almost the end of july. i recently started my job at the pacific autism center for education (PACE) and continue to be amazed at all the work a single non-profit organization can do. their name represents just one set of services they provide to the autistic community in the bay area. in addition to the School for moderate to severe autistic students, PACE also offers early intervention Children’s Services and a Residential program for adults and children. during my first couple of weeks, i’ve had a chance to tour the pre-school and a couple of the residential homes and while the work that all the staff does is extremely hard, it’s inspiring to see so many people who care for this cause. while i am helping the organization in various avenues, my main project is working on their newest project- an online module and resource which can help educate parents about autism and some of the behavioral challenges involved. this project has given me the opportunity to dive deeper into the autism research that is out there and has allowed me to better understand this disorder. i have spent time exploring other online autism resources, reading about the newest research finding and blogs written by parents of children with autism. this has all been an eye-opening experience for me to really understand how difficult and confusing autism is to the community. with the most recent reports saying that 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with autism, there are increased questions about what causes it, how best to provide treatment and therapy and what happens to these children after they are no longer supported by the school system. as many autistic individuals age out of the school system, it’s difficult to know what the next best steps are. for some that require 24/7 care, what happens next? for others, there are adult day programs that continue to help them with therapy and social skills to help integrate them into the community. it’s been so interesting to see the work that PACE does with the community and realize that there is still so much work to be done. PACE only represents a small subset of all the organizations that are working with austistic individuals in the bay area, yet the daily work of all the staff members is extremely meaningful.

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one of the residential staff members made this amazing cake! even the inside was tie-dyed. 

other than work, california life has been very good to me! i’ve been cooking pretty basic meals for myself everyday and have been able to spend a lot of personal time to reflect and do things that i enjoy. i’m in the process of training for my second half-marathon and definitely enjoying the sunny weather for my daily post-work runs! weekends have been fun to hang out with other people in the bay area and explore all that northern california has to offer. there are still so many places i want to see and eat, but luckily i still have so much more time here!

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beautiful california beaches and reunions with college friends!

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fisherman’s wharf deliciousness with the best of friends. (:

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optical illusions the facebook headquarters!