Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brookfield Zoo RunRun

I'm so excited that I'm going to do the Brookfield Zoo RunRun again this year!  Last year it was the first 5k I had ever done, this year it will be the third time I'm doing such a thing, and I'm hoping to beat my time from last year's.  I'm also hoping to beat my fundraising from last year.  I raised $40 for the CZS Conservation Fund last year, and this year my goal is to raise $100. 
The reason I think this is a worthwhile cause, can best told as a story about something that happened the first year I was a member at Brookfield Zoo.  One day, as I wandered through the Habitat Africa Forest, I noticed this beautiful animal standing in her habitat. The okapi is a graceful member of the giraffe family, who looks like a cross between a zebra and a gazelle.

The signage was very clear that she is a shy animal, in fact so rarely seen that she is a symbol of cryptozoology (the search for animals whose existence had not been proven). I stood watching her for several minutes while she just stared at me. I whispered how beautiful she was and talked to her for several minutes, and slowly she walked up to the edge of her habitat and began rubbing on her cage as if she wanted me to pet her. Obviously I could not, in fact, pet her, but at that exact moment I fell in love.  Sadly, the okapi is on the endangered animal list.
From when I first read that she was endangered by habitat destruction, I knew I wanted to do something to help these beautiful animals thrive in the wild.  They, like most zoo animals, aren't meant to be confined to the small areas that zoos are forced to accomadate them in.  One of the interesting things about the okapi is how they protect their young.  The mother actually spends very little time with her young as she hides her infant and then leaves it so that predators are more likely to follow her than to find her young.  But in order for her to behave as she does in the wild, she needs a large space so she isn't to close to her infant. 
For a long time I didn't really know what I could do to help with conservation.  I didn't know that the Chicago Zoological Society had a conservation fund.  I read about the Zoo RunRun in my membership magazine several months later.  It probably wouldn't have stuck in my head as something I could do, except that by then I was walking on a regular basis with my friend Leah as part of my weight loss efforts.  Leah had mentioned to me on one of our walks her desire to run a 5k, just days before I read about the Zoo RunRun, and so events collided, and together with our friend Pirate Dr. Nurse Katie we walked the 5k last year in 45 minutes.
Please help me save the African habitat of the okapi, as well as the habitats of the more than 16,000 animals on the endangered list by donating to the CZS Conservation Fund on my fundraising page http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/tinazastrow/brookfield-zoorunrun-2012.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grown up park day

Normally Leah, Sarah M and I have plans to go walking on Saturday mornings.  But yesterday morning Sarah M had other plans, so Leah and I were on our own.  Just as we were getting ready to head out, Leah asked me how I felt about going to the park instead of going for a walk.  which sounded awesome to me because don't really like walking that much.  so we drove to the closest "big" park to our house, but they really only had equipment for little kids and I wanted to swing.  Although we did notice that it might be a nice place to go for walks on Saturday mornings in the future.  (Sarah M., if you read this, we'll talk about this at trivia night!)  So then we had to drive to a whole other park.  Where we proceeded to spend half an hour riding on the "spinny wheel 'o' death" which is supposedly a safer equivelent of a merry go round, but definitely seems more like something that will kill you if you slip, the swings, and slide.  Then we really did go for a nice walk around the park.  It was awesome, and I totally think that we got at least as good of a workout from that as we do from our normal walk.  Therefore, I am adding grown-up park day to my list of fun things to do when bored and/or broke.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One of the quotes I've been trying to focus on this is year is "Don't compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yesterday".  So I was trying to think about improvements I've made in the last year.
Last March someone took this picture of me-
Last time I went roller skating, Sarah Mason took this picture of me-
So, although I'm still not really where I want to be yet, I have made progress towards losing the weight I want gone.  So that's one improvement.  Also, note that in the first picture I'm sitting down on the beach, because that's the awesomest kind of thing I used to do.  In the second picture I'm out of my comfort zone, roller skating, because that's just how I roll now.  I also went rock climbing.
Did TWO awesome 5ks (btw, I'll be signing up for the zoo run again soon, and then I'll be asking for donations for the conservation fund!).
I hugged a guy dressed up as Bane at a Batman marathon (alright, going to the marathon might not really be getting out of my comfort zone, but hugging the hot dude in costume certainly is!)
So I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the me of today kicks the me of yesterday's ass.  And that is a comparison I should be able to get behind!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hanging out with friends

The other night Sarah cancelled our Monday night walk in favor of dinner out with Rachel (that's me, Rach, and Sarah above).  It was an amazing night. Rachel is a super fun lady with no sense of embarrassment.  I can tell because she kept helpfully informing people that Panera had closed early, at the top of her lungs.  It was hilarious.  It was also fun because Rachel apparently thinks I'm a fun person, as evidenced by the fact that she called me "Fun Tina" a few times (Sarah, I know that's not exactly right, but I didn't want to post my last name).  Thinking about it, she has a point.  I have some great friends, and together we do awesome things.  I plan on keeping that in mind in the fu ture when I'm thinking about how much I suck.  Hopefully that will help keep me a little less crazy :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dirty girl

Didn't I promise pictures from the Dirty Girl?  The professional ones are very expensive, but here's one someone took before, and a freebie from after.

I swear, I'm just ase dirty as the other girls, I just wore a special moisture wicking shirt that guided the dirt away from me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good News

I feel I'm out of my funk, at least temporarily.  Saturday I had my birthday party, and so many of my friends came, and pretty much did what I wanted.  I couldn't help but feel special.  Especially since  my best friend had heard me say that no one ever brought me flowers and I really wanted that, so she brought me some.  And my roommate brought me daisies.  And another friend brought me flowers and a real lei (my party was a luau).  Every time I see or smell the flowers I grin like a moron.  It's nice to know that so many people cared so much about me.
 Doing the hula
 A group photo with me (notice the amazing lei!!)
 Leah in a coconut bra
Chris and John scoring major scavenger hunt points wearing a coconut bra

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Unicorn Success Club- The Dirty Girl

Sunday Katie and Leah and I did the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  It was a fantastic experience.  I can't wait to do it again next year actually.  The basic idea of the mud run is that it is a 5k with a variety of obstacles to be completed during the course.  There were professional photographers taking pictures, they'll be available for me to view on Friday.  I probably won't purchase them for you to see because they are very expensive.  But I do have a starting picture that we took.

That's Katie, me and Leah about a half hour before we started the run.  From the starting line we climbed hay bales, army crawled through muddy water pits, climbed up a wall, used a rope to get up a dirt "mountain", and went up and over a huge cargo net obstacle among other things.  Here's a picture as we crossed the finish line.
Basically, the best thing I could have done for the last weekend of my twenties!

(P.S. Leah and I saw Jenny Lawson, the orginator of the Unicorn Success Club, in Chicago recently and when we told her that was our running team name she told us we would be in Double Unicorn Success Club when we made ten miles- three down, seven to go!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!!

Yesterday a four year old told me a riddle.

Child: Do they have a fourth of July in Mexico?
Me: I don't know, do they?
Child: Of course they do, they call it Cinco de Mayo

Not exactly the way the joke is supposed to go, but pretty cute anyway. 
Celebrate the holiday by watching my favorite Fouth of July video, posted below.

and in case you've already seen that one, here's another.