Say, 'Cheese,' Long Beach!

The Green Girl entered her first photography contest this weekend, the Say, 'Cheese,' Long Beach! competition.

The contest was sponsored by Justin Rudd's Community Action Team (CAT) organization.

The challenge was open to both amateur and professional photographers. The goal of the contest was to visually record aspects of the Long Beach community life in a 24-hour period.

I've never considered myself to be a photographer and instead have always referred to myself as a picture taker. To me, photographs are less of an art form and more of a documentary of my life.

My very first 'camera' was a Fisher-Price 110 Pocket Camera that allowed me to pretend to take pictures. With each click, the fake flash spun around and a new stock image appeared in the viewfinder.

My parents eventually got me a real camera. It was a giant leap technologically from my static 'A Day At The Zoo' pictures.

I was fascinated by the rolls of 110 film because they looked nothing like my dad's 33 mm cartridges.

I loved when my dad would take me to get my pictures developed. It amazed me that my pictures even turned out smaller than my dad's pictures - I was certain that the dimensions of a picture were directly proportionate to the size of the film.

In the course of the 24-hours, I learned a few things about myself. I discovered I am definitely not a photographer. If you were to apply a label to me, photojournalist would be much more accurate.

I never manipulate my pictures. When I see something I deem worthy of documentation or visually interesting, I will snap a shot. I rarely delete pictures and I never edit or crop.

I learned I prefer to take pictures of inanimate objects. I don't mind taking pictures of family and friends but taking pictures of strangers feels overly intrusive.

I struggled a lot with this challenge on Saturday because I was trying to force myself to capture possibly award worthy images.

I decided to take another approach on Sunday. Instead of trying to find places to take pictures, I just did what I'd normally do and snapped shots - like I normally do - along the way.

I submitted my dozen entries last night. The best photographs will be showcased this Friday in Bixby Knolls at First Fridays and $100 cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.


Good Luck, Sparkin' Hood to Coast!

Sparkin' Hood To Coast by goegirl

The Green Girl wants to wish the entire Sparkin' Hood To Coast team the best of luck at Hood To Coast.

I am so proud that there will be Sparkers out there representing the SparkPeople community on the course.


CasITa-to-5k On The Strand

The CasITa-to-5k ran on The Strand after work yesterday.

The past few days have been unbearably hot so I was thrilled to see it had cooled down by the time we hit the beach.

At the request of one of the CasITa-to-5k members, we repeated Week One of the Couch-to-5k program.

We alternated between running for a minute and walking for 90 seconds. Our run intervals were at a brisk 11:30 minute mile pace.

It was a beautiful evening for a run on the beach. Beachgoers were scattered on the sand. Gentle waves foamed as they brushed the shore.

After we completed our intervals, we did some hill work. The beach path itself is fairly flat but the small streets that dead end at The Strand create hilly offshoots.

I almost made it all the way up without stopping but I got really winded about ten feet short of the top and had to stop and walk to catch my breath.

As we were heading back to the metered parking lot, we spotted a Serta Sheep peeking out at us from a window. Within the same unit, there was a large Jack head from Jack In The Box displayed in an upstairs window. On the front patio stood huge replicas of Sulley and Mike from Monsters, Inc.

I'm proud of our little CasITa-to-5k group and I'm looking forward to progressing through the program with them.


Around The World On Two Wheels

The Green Girl just finished reading 'Around The World On Two Wheels' by Peter Zheutlin.

The author, Peter Zheutlin, is the great-grandnephew of the main character, Annie Londonderry.

The book attempts to chronicle Londonderry's bicycle trip around the world by sifting through fact and fiction.

Annie Londonderry with her Columbia bike by the Crown Studio, Boston, MA
On June 25, 1894, Annie Londonderry, née Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, left her home in Boston with a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver to become the first women to cycle around the world. She left behind her husband and three small children.

Londonderry claimed this journey was set in motion by a wager between two Boston businessmen. The challenge was to circle the globe by bicycle in 15 months while earning $5,000 along the way.

Zheutlin places a great deal of emphasis on Londonderry's ability to forge a unique identity amidst the Victorian notion of female propriety.

The author also draws parallels to the rising popularity of the bicycle among women and the fight for equality. In the book, Susan B. Anthony was quoted in a newspaper as saying 'bicycling had done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world'.

To earn money, Londonderry sold photographs of herself, made appearances, and rented advertisement space on her bike and clothing. She also acquired money through sponsorships.

Advertisement for Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company
She changed her last name from Kopchovsky to Londonderry in exchange for $100 from the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company.

In this regard, she could be purported to have been the first sponsored female athlete.

According to Zheutlin, Londonderry 'never let the facts stand in the way of a good story' and the timeline of her journey was riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities.

The book was certainly a fascinating read but certain passages became tiresome as the author repeatedly insisted on pointing out Londonderry's propensity for telling tall tales and her uncanny ability to charm and influence people.


The Green Girl's Motivational Collage

The Green Girl decided the time had come to update her Motivational Collage again.

The first time I created a motivational collage was for a couple of SparkPeople challenges. One activity involved assembling a visual college. The other was the creation of a visual motivator.

As a visual person, I took it upon myself to combine the two activities into a single collage. I felt my visions were synonymous with my motivators.

After I created my first collage, I printed it out on sticky paper and stuck it in places where I felt it would hold the most significance for me.

My updated collage reflects the following:
I like how the collage serves as a constant reminder of my objectives. The visual helps keep me accountable and focused on my goals.

As I reach the milestones, I get a certain sense of satisfaction from being able to remove the completed items.


The Green Girl's Sole Runners Saturday Morning Run

The Green Girl did her usual Saturday Sole Runners run this morning.

In anticipation of the heat, I headed out early to Marina Vista Park and got a couple of miles in before the sun came up.

Coach Steve went over the Sole Runner updates and then mentioned a few of the races that will be going on in two weeks for the Labor Day holiday. He said he is going to be doing Mt. Baldy.

He also reiterated the importance of adequate hydration when running in hot weather.

Like last week, we started out at Marina Vista Park and headed towards the Long Beach State campus.

I felt really strong today. The running came naturally and I didn't have to push myself.

Since I wasn't struggling physically, I was able to concentrate on relaxing my body - especially my shoulders. I was also able to focus on the mental aspects of running.

At one point, I got really hungry and I wasn't in the mood for another energy chew so I stopped at a convenience store and got a hot dog with mustard and onions.

I quickly devoured it and continued on my way.

As usual, the warmer it got, the more my pace slowed but I made a conscious effort to hydrate more frequently.

As I headed out to the beach path, I was grateful for the occasional ocean breeze.

A few fellow Sole Runners commented that I was looking really strong today and it felt good to receive the compliments. It's nice when you can see your hard work paying off.

This week is a recovery week and I'm looking forward to taking it easy.


Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training

The Green Girl is currently enrolled in her local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program.

The CERT concept was developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) to establish a well-trained civilian emergency work force.

The LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division to develop, train, and maintain a network of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). This program is open to all citizens.

As of January 2004, 50 states, three territories and six foreign countries are using the CERT training.

The CERT training covers basic disaster response skills:

CERT Level 1 Syllabus

   Unit 1: Introduction/Disaster Preparedness
   Unit 2: Fire Safety
   Unit 3: Disaster Medical Operations—Part 1/2
   Unit 4: Light Search and Rescue Operations
   Unit 5: CERT Organization/Disaster Psychology
   Unit 6: Terrorism and CERT
   Unit 7: Course Review & Disaster Simulation

Last night, for Unit 4, we had to assess a building and if we deemed it safe to search, enter and look for victims while checking for hazards.

The exercise really demonstrated the importance of teamwork and good communication because we had to describe what we were processing to the person behind us so they wouldn't trip or get injured in the dark.

We also had to routinely report back to the Incident Coordinator with victim counts and any possible hazards we'd identified.

I had my Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp with me as my emergency light source. I was surprised to see how much brighter it was relative to all the other flashlights. A few people noticed the brightness and asked me what it was.

The second drill was to rescue a hose victim that was trapped under a car by lifting the car by using a lever and fulcrum.

I monitored the hose victim's vitals while our team worked together to lift the car.

When the car was raised, it took four of us to pull the heavy hose victim out from under the vehicle.

I immediately saw that one of his legs had been severed so I quickly put pressure on his groin to stop the bleeding.

Next week, we will be having a 'Disaster Dinner' and I volunteered to bring Vienna Sausages for the feast.

Below is a short video clip of me putting out a fire during a Unit 2 exercise.


iFitness Neoprene Double Pouch Belt Review

The Green Girl purchased an iFitness Neoprene Double Pouch at the San Francisco Marathon expo.

I've been running with a Nathan Speed 4 hydration belt for a few years now and I absolutely love it but I was looking for something more minimal for my shorter runs when hydration isn't necessary. My primary requirement was that I could carry my mobile phone, a key, and my camera.

The majority of the runners I know own Spibelts and absolutely swear by them. I was hesitant to purchase a Spibelt because I felt the pockets were too flimsy and I was concerned I would have difficulty accessing my camera on my runs. I'm not exactly the most coordinated Green Girl around.

The iFitness belt initially caught my eye because the pockets appeared more sturdy than those on the Spibelt. The salespeople at the expo were demonstrating the belt's capacity by filling one of the pouches with an iPhone and several gel packets.
The Neoprene Double Pouch consists of two sweat resistant neoprene pockets. The pouch on the right features an internal credit card sized pocket. The outside fabric features two reflective strips.

The single pouch model featured elastic loops on the belt for stuffing gel packets. Unfortunately, the double pouch belt didn't come with those loops. I asked the salesperson if they were going to offer that in the future and they suggested I get the single pouch if I wanted that feature. I was also disappointed that there wasn't an attached lanyard for a key but I figured I could stuff my car key in the internal pocket.

I ultimately went with the double pouch belt because there was no way I could fit anything besides my camera in one of the pockets.

After wearing the belt on a few runs, I became accustomed to having to use both hands to put my camera back in the belt. Truth be told, I would have preferred for the inner pocket to have been on the left side so my camera would be on the right side but it's not a huge deal.

In conclusion, I really like my iFitness Neoprene Double Pouch belt. You can tell a lot of thought was put into its design. The soft neoprene conforms easily to your body and is comfortable. The wide belt is easy to adjust and keeps the pack from bouncing.


CasITa-to-5k Goes Moccasin Trail Running

The CasITa-to-5k went trail running in Rolling Hills Estates after work yesterday.

I was anxious to try out my new Dirty Girl Gaiters.

One of the runners at the Rockin' The Coto Trail Half Marathon had recommended Dirty Girl Gaiters after I mentioned having to stop numerous times to dump rocks and even a small branch from my shoes.

The gaiters shipped with Velcro to affix to the back of your shoe. I had carefully cut the strip to match the pattern on the back of my shoe so it would be more aesthetically pleasing.

The gaiters were surprisingly easy to put on - you simply put them on with your socks and then when you put on your shoes, you clip the hook to your laces and you stick the Velcro to the piece on the back of your shoe.

Rolling Hills Estates is a gated community located atop the hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The city includes 25 miles of bridle trails and 10 miles of bicycle paths.

We decided we'd run along some of the horse trails so we parked and started down the Moccasin Trail.

I enjoyed running up and down the gentle rolling hills. The ground consisted of loosely packed sand and rocks. Freshly fallen horse manure created somewhat of an obstacle course for us.

Moccasin Trail led us past the South Coast Botanic Garden. This 87-acre garden was once a landfill.

A white fence lined the soft-packed equestrian trail which led us by numerous horse stables.

Markers labeled each fork in the trail. From the Moccasin Trail, we ventured onto the Botanic Gardens Trail.

The abundance of trees offered ample shade for us to keep cool on a warm evening.

Given the loose terrain, I was thrilled to have my new camouflage gaiters on. It was a relief to be able to run without having to wiggle my feet to move rocks out from under my soles.

The gaiters were surprisingly comfortable. The hooks and Velcro held them firmly in place.

By the end of the run, the gaiters were thoroughly coated in dirt, my shoes were rock-free, and I was one happy Green Girl.


OC Fair Closing Celebration 5k Race Report

The Green Girl represented Team Jamba Juice at the OC Fair Closing Celebration 5k this morning.

The race registration area was clearly marked and very well organized. The volunteers were enthusiastic and helpful.

I was also very pleased to receive a technical shirt for a 5k race.

While I was waiting for the race to start, I handed out some Jamba Juice coupons.

I also ran into some other Team Jamba Juice athletes. We all chatted about our respective race schedules and wished each other luck.

After my long run yesterday, I wasn't sure how my body was going to react to a race so I figured I'd take it easy and went to the very back of the line.

When the race started, I immediately regretted my decision. I had positioned myself behind a wall of walkers. Along with a number of strollers, I tried my best to weave past them.

I finally managed to break away and I eased into a comfortably fast pace.

I loved running through the fairgrounds. It was so cool to go by funnel cake stands and cotton candy while running a race.

After I hit the Mile 2 marker, I realized I had a chance to PR. I dug deep and pushed myself as hard as I could. That last mile was rough. I got a side stitch and I got really tired.

When I finally crossed the Finish Line, Mr. Green Garmin read 34:49:12.

I knew my 5k PR was 34-something but I couldn't remember the seconds so I called my friend, Dan. He looked it up and let me know it was 34:48. Unfortunately, my official tag time was 34:50. I missed a PR by two seconds - well, I guess technically, three.

Regardless, I had a really good time and the medal was awesome.

Our bibs granted us admission to the OC Fair, so I handed out the rest of my Jamba Juice coupons and headed inside.

I stopped to get a roasted corn on the cob and then I headed for the exhibits.

They had an Ice Exhibit featuring elaborate ice sculptures.

Going inside the chilled room evoked memories of visiting the Harbin Ice and Snow Art Hall in Northern China. Since I had missed the outdoor Harbin Ice Festival, I was thrilled to have been able to view a handful of ice sculptures at the hall.

After I'd visited all the exhibition halls, I hopped on the Skylift for an aerial view of the fair.

I stopped to snack on a couple of mini cupcakes before heading home.

I'm happy to report my third race representing Team Jamba Juice went exceptionally well.
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