Sprinkles On Top

The little things that make my day…

Nike Women’s Half Marathon October 25, 2010

A week ago tonight, I was on a flight back to Portland from San Francisco on a plane scattered with women just like me–exhausted, exhilarated, and proud. We felt this way because 8 hours earlier we had completed our Nike Women’s Half and Full Marathons (half for me).

The fun had actually started 2 days earlier when I walked up Polk St exploring the city to discover Union Square covered by tents, sponsors, and women picking up their event packets for the race looming in our immediate future. The expo was run incredibly, I walked right up to the sign-in, got my pink draw string bag filled with coupons, race number, and timing chip. Then, I continued through the tent where I blended my own creamsicle smoothie on a spin bike, got luna bar and POM samples, listened to olympian advice, and admired those getting foot massages.

Little did I know the biggest surprise was just off the square…the outside wall of Nike Town had been covered with a massive sticker displaying all 23,000 runners names. Awesome.

After a sleepless night filled with race jitters and what-ifs my sister (who I was running with), our boyfriends, and I discovered her car window was shattered on the ground, GPS stolen. Our ride to the start line was out of commission and I instantly lost all my nerves for the race…no reason to be nervous, this is for fun! Real life is harder than an optional athletic adventure.

Luckily, after a few blocks of speed walking, my sister and I hailed a cab to drive us to the start line (instead of adding another mile to the 13.1 we were already scheduled to run). We scurried up to the crowd just in time for the start count down:

5-soaking in the experience

4– realizing its 7 am on a Sunday and still dark in San Fran

3– hands up for the countdown music

2– excited nerves hit

1-ready to run!

0-… twenty minute wait until we actually crossed the start line. hah.

Though we were patient and contained our excitement to burst out the gates for 20 minutes, we couldn’t hold back anymore when we heard Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” on the speakers. We decided we had to cross the start line before the end of the song.

The first three miles all 23,000 women were crowded in the city blocks trying to contain our adrenaline to a nice steady start pace–afterall it WAS a marathon, not a sprint. The streets were quickly scattered with clothes that runners became too hot to bear any longer. I was on the edge of outrage at the people littering new, expensive clothing so thoughtlessly on the streets when my sister informed me all of the clothing was going to be picked up post-race and donated. PHEW.

Just when my sister and I thought we might get a window of opportunity to pass some people…you could say we are competitive…we would turn a corner and see the sea of people ahead of us trudging through streets to the pier.

The race course itself was stunning. We started at Union Square, went down to Embarcadero, and ran along the pier, had incredible views of Alcatraz, The Golden Gate, and my favorite: Ghiridelli.

Six miles in we discovered our first big test: 1 mile, straight up. It was time to live the slogan I was sporting on my tank top and “Just Do It”.

We had already faced a few hills, but this winding death trap was something barely anyone was prepared for. After power walking our way up, we got a burst of new energy after passing some familiar faces in the cheering crowd.

The mile down the sea cliff along the ocean made the mile up well worth it. I let my body reach the brink of being out of control and wanted to throw my arms out to my side because I felt light as a feather. The thought of flying down the hill like a child mimicing an airplane made me smile and appreciate the run…though I didn’t actually do it. That would make me look weird.

At mile 7 I channeled the good advice of my BFF Kayla, to “just go for it, it’ll go by quick!”, and I shifted my mind set from “finishing” to “racing”. The last few miles were filled with some more lovely hills…grrr…and inspirational messages from some of the sponsors. Two of my favorite signs posted on the side of the road, and ON the road, were:

  • A series of 9 “reasons” to keep running with the final one reading “that necklace is mine” – referring to the Tiffany necklace waiting for all finishers at the finish line.
  • A Safeway sign: “Jack & Jill ran up a hill. Jill won.”

Around mile 10 my body started to realize my increase in pace and needed something more than some inspirational signs to keep going. And then I remembered: Ghiridelli mile. Yes, you read that right, awaiting me in the final mile were squares of Ghiridelli chocloate. In my dreams leading up to race day, I imagined tables filled with chocolate in an “all you can grab” scenario…turns out it was a couple girls handing you one square from a cardboard box as you turned a corner. At least it was good motivation! And you know I ripped open that chocolate square 1.1 miles later after the finish line.

Speaking of the finish line, it came out of nowhere. I turned a corner after I had just convinced myself the final mile was going to seem like forever, I saw the “FINISH” banner and tents only a few hundred meters away. I sprinted.

…halfway through the sprint I questioned my decision to sprint after 13 miles…and then I saw her: the lady walking who was going to cross the finish line before me. I DON’T THINK SO. She was my final conquest, I sprinted by her just before crossing the line. Success.

After dropping to my knees to catch my breath, I looked up and saw the little blue box that had convinced me to sign up for this race in the first place. My Tiffany necklace was now just that, mine. The weekends slogan, “I Run To Be,” graced the silver pendant. It hasn’t left my neck since.

Hard to see, but you get the idea.

All in all, my first half marathon experience was incredible. I did not expect anything less from Nike, and am contemplating my next athletic endeavor…

 

Awesome App July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 1:10 pm
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Ever wanted to sit in your bed and change your itunes music without bringing your laptop over? Or wanted to control the music of a party without standing right by the ipod? Or just wanted to mess with your siblings head while they are listening to itunes?

Then you need this app: Remote by apple inc.

You can control your the library on your computer by using your ipod touch/iphone/ipad as a remote. AWESOME.

Apples explanation of the Remote app

 

Ipod Saves The Drive June 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 6:01 am
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Recently, my car was in the shop for an oil problem. It got fixed. But something completely unrelated is not working now….the radio!!

Not having music in your car really changes the driving experience. For a couple days I drove around silently trying to fill the silence by thinking to myself & more often, bursting out into song to fill the silence. Then, I had a grand solution: my ipod touch.

So…I have been driving around playing songs through the headphone speaker in my ipod. And yes, it’s ridiculous. I really need to get back to that mechanic…

 

End of Spring Concert Series

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 2:42 am
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The Spring concert series ended for me 2 weeks ago. The last 2 concerts of my 4 concert series? LCD Soundsystem and MGMT.

 

Not originally on the concert series calendar, LCD soundsystem was a last minute attendance.

Having more interest in Shanghai Tunnel’s basement bar than the opening band, we arrived later than usual to this concert. We entered The Roseland, passed through the metal detector, and rocketed up the steps when we realized the main event had already begun (oops)!

The floor & balcony was packed but we found a portion of dance floor open near the front left of the stage…directly in front of band’s incrediblymassivemakeyourearsbleed speaker system. This was the first concert I actually plugged my ears for part of the set…and wasn’t the only one!

 

The band itself has great dance/punk rhythyms that are accompanied with vocalist James Murphy’s singing/storytelling. They play prime dance music and don’t mind doing so themselves. Drummer Pat Mahoney has resorted to wearing only a bathing suit during the show to combat the heat associated with their beats. 

Though they are most closely associated with New York City, Murphy’s right hand girl, Nancy Whang, had her mother in the audience that night. After checking on how her mom was doing, Nancy invited the entire crowd to the after party bar. When she was trying to give directions, Murphy kept the concert rolling by telling everyone the bar was “at the corner of iphone and google”. . . to which I took a moment to recognize the truth in that statement and applaud his cleverness with a hearty laugh.

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It was only fitting that the final concert of the series was at one of Portland’s great venues: Mcmenamins Crystal Ballroom.

Arriving an hour late, we still happened to be a half hour early to the opening act. We made our way up to the balcony and relaxed until MGMT took the stage. By far the most packed concert, we squeezed our way as close to the stage as possible.

The band came out and was greeted with the roars of Portland’s finest hipsters. The bands first album, Oracular Spectacular, has received a greater response than their newer release, Congratulations, but in this town, MGMT can do no wrong.

 

A few songs into the concert lead singer, Andrew VanWyngarden, reminded us all of the Crystal’s best feature: the bouncy floor. Immediately following that statement they played their first major hit of the night, Time to Pretend, which drove the crowd wild.

The 2 hour concert was a non-stop dance party that was sprinkled with hit songs and screaming fans. When they played my ringtone, Electric Feel, I couldn’t help making the floor bounce even more.  After the shortest plea for an encore ever, the band played the one song the set list had been missing: Kids. 

Ending the concert with one of their biggest hits may be the best concert move ever. They designed the concert perfectly so the climax was at the very end–forcing everyone to leave excited and singing *literally* their praises down the streets of Portland.

Now onto summer concert planning…Suggestions??

 

Best Concert Outfit June 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 5:26 pm
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Quite possibly my best purchase for spring was my Mossimo capri leggings from Target for $6!! At concerts they are perfect–keep you cool and they are black so you can pair with all sorts of tops!

 

Broken Bells May 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 5:59 am
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Concert #2 of Spring/Summer: Broken Bells. Venue: Wonder Ballroom.

I admit that going into the concert I did not know many of the songs and was nervous for my inability to sing-a-long. They are a group that sings so smoothly you can’t quite make out what they are saying, unless you are a cool kid that learns the lyrics (aka NOT ME). My fears drifted away when the 7, yes SEVEN, regular dudes came on the stage, beers in hand.

Of course their this-guy-could-totally-be-my-friend vibe is just that. Not only do their musical abilities range from guitars and keyboards, to tambourines and trumpets, their lead singer is James Mercer–lead singer of The Shins & Portland Native–and drummer/keyboardist/guitarist is Gnarls Barkley’s Danger Mouse. Sometimes it seemed even the band was in awe of these two.

Mercer pleasantly greeted the crowd with a “Hello Portland, Hello Home” which kicked the night off right. An intimate venue, with easy to find free parking, complimented the feel of this lead singers homecoming well. Being only a short distance from the stage, there was a point when I thought Mercer was looking right. at. me. . . only to realize later that he was searching for his toddler daughter who was standing behind me in her oversized protective headphones and fairy wings, FAIRY WINGS!

The group played a solid hour, which may be too short for many, but was the perfect length for me on a Monday night. Their light graphics were basic and almost unnecessary to back up their great sound.Their music was not too loud, not too soft, it was juuuust right. I didn’t leave with ringing ears, but instead left with the tune of The High Road stuck in my head.

They were an impressive flannel-clad bunch, which is no wonder they sold their show out in a week. I highly recommend seeing these guys the next time they are in town, and in the least checking out some of their songs.

 

I change shapes just to hide in this place… April 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Erin @ 6:44 am
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First concert of Spring-Miike Snow.

Venue- The Hawthorne Theatre,  very intimate, 550 Max. http://www.hawthornetheater.com/

The opener- Delorean, funny awkward guys who made sure to thank the crowd after every song, good starter.

Delorean

The main event- Miike Snow, AWESOME! A solid hour and a half of non stop beats, with a room filled of 20 somethings. The band came out in white masks, with the lead singers cut to show off his signature beard. Lights were flashing and the fog machine was filling the room of The Hawthorne. These guys could have played a much bigger venue, but it’s always nice to be in a smaller audience.

The night peaked with “animal”, every person in the crowd was jumping to the same rhythm, yelling the lyrics. I like all of their songs, but I would’ve been happy with them playing animal over and over too. The night ended with a 20 minute encore that made it seem like the band didn’t even want to leave.

I’ll try to post a video later. If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend downloading the album.