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Archive for September, 2010

A lot to report on here.

First of all, I returned to Santa Cruz and passed my PhD qualifying exams in mid-September (yippee!). I am now “ABD” (“all but dissertation”) and an official PhD CANDIDATE. We celebrated after my exam with cake and I had a long-island iced tea (first time in a while) and passed out on the couch before 11:30. Perhaps a sign of getting older?

Being back in Santa Cruz / SF Bay area was a nice reminder of what I like about it (friends, trails!, extremely vegan friendly, and sports basement) and don’t like about it (must use cars b/c of crappy public transport, too expensive to eat and rent, sketchy people everywhere). Aside from my friends, here are some of the special vegan and sports/outdoors things I love in Santa Cruz and recommend highly.

My favorite vegan food places:

  • The Bagelry. The bagels aren’t as good as east coast, but they have a ton of vegan options (two kinds of tofutti cream cheese; multiple tofu spreads with curries, nuts, etc) and decent (strong) coffee. They also have juices, teas, and fresh salads. The only downside is that sometimes the clientele is sketchy.
  • Dharma’s in Capitola. This place is not entirely vegan, but almost anything on the menu can be made vegan. I recommend dan-dan noodles and do NOT pass up the opportunity for dessert. They buy the vegan double chocolate cakes from Black China bakery (which made my wedding cake, amazingly does not taste vegan) and they make dairy-free shakes in about 12 different flavors. I adore the mint chocolate shake. I don’t what they use exactly, but it’s not soy, and it sure tastes like the mint chocolate shakes I used to eat about 10 years ago.
  • Saturn Cafe. I have a love/hate relationship with this all-vegetarian place, but it basically served as my junk food haven when I lived three blocks down from it for two years. I love their sweet potato fries, regular fries, steak fries, house organic salads, veggie burgers (different kinds, not all vegan so check!), soyrizo breakfast burrito (mixed with roasted potatoes and tofu scramble and sides of guacamole, soy cream). They have a decent brunch menu and are extremely knowledgable on all ingredients in all items served. For dessert: cakes are not so great, but the soy chocolate milkshake was a staple of my grad school midnight cravings. Good thing they’re open until 3 or 4AM every night.

Outdoor parks and trails for running:

  • Pogonip. Start from the Spring Street entrance (and not the sketchier Golf Club drive). This is the single best place to run in Santa Cruz for those doing shorter distances (a few miles) and can easily be extended to connect with Henry Cowell Redwoods, UCSC upper campus, and Wilder Ranch State Park. Lots of scenic views from Pogonip, as it stands at the base of the UCSC campus and includes many beautiful redwoods.
  • Wilder Ranch State Park. The upper and lower parts of this are havens for mountain bikers, trail runners, and general hiking. AMAZING vista from the point where Chinquapin/Eucalyptus trails meet. Really, you can see the whole Monterey Bay, peninsula, ocean, etc.
  • For serious runners, I recommend first looking at how the parks around the UCSC campus all connect. My most common run used to be through Pogonip (which is just cut off in this map, on the lower right side), to the edge of Henry Cowell and/or up the University connector trail (u-conn), a straight uphill climb for about half a mile to behind Merrill college. From there, you can follow the fire road or single track trails (whichever you choose; fire road is obviously much easier to follow) in the direction of Wilder Ranch (Chinquapin road again). You can cross Empire Grade Rd and enter Wilder Ranch (although upper UCSC also has a ton of single tracks, I can’t find a very helpful map of the back trails–which are beautiful and redwood-covered for the most part), and then run until you get bored and turn around. Or you can run all the way down Wilder Ranch, follow the paths back along the coast to Santa Cruz, then to West Cliff if you’d like, ETC ETC. I suggest checking out MapMyRun if you aren’t sure what to do. Search for trails in Santa Cruz, CA and use words like “Wilder Ranch” “UCSC” and “Pogonip”.

Sports clothing and running shoes:

  • Sports Basement. Without a doubt, the best place on earth for almost all running, triathlon, skiing, cycling, swimming, camping, yoga, ETC clothing, accessories, nutritional and other items. This is a huge outlet/warehouse-style store with some discounted prices (not HUGE discounts, but North Face for $38.00-60.00 is cheap). They have every nutritional made in the U.S., and I’m convinced it’s one of those stores where companies like Clif and Luna market new products. They even have everything Hammer makes and they stock Ultima (both can be hard to find brands elsewhere). My only beef is that while they stock lots of awesome shoes (Merrill, Salomon, ETC), their running shoe selection varies. Sometimes it stinks. Finally, the front of the stores always have bulletin boards and lots of information about local events, sports teams, sometimes discount ski passes, free classes, services, gyms, and anything else related to sports and outdoor activities in the Bay area. Bottom-line: do not underestimate the store itself based on the website. Go see this place in person! I recommend Crissy field and Sunnyvale over the Bryant street location (the first two are much bigger locations with more in stock); I’ve never been to Walnut Creek.
  • Running Revolution in Santa Cruz. I can’t say enough good things about this place. The manager and employees are super nice, helpful, really know the shoes, and do the treadmill test in addition to the infrared foot size/weight bearing tests. They let you run outside in the shoes, they’ll video tape the play-by-play on the treadmill of your running, they give you zero attitude or pressure on buying (will even refer you elsewhere), and there’s free coffee while you wait. When I returned after half a year to get a pair of shoes for my husband in the same size/style as a previous visit, they had all his information stored in the computer from my previous purchase and gave me the exact pair in about two minutes flat. They hold lots of New Balance, Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, and they have those silly five finger shoes everyone raves about. One downside: they don’t carry my trail runners. 😦 I had to order those from Road Runner Sports.

All in all, I basically did a lot of shopping while back in the SF bay area. I needed to stock up on GUs (vanilla) for the Berlin marathon and I bought three new pairs of New Balance shoes (two pairs of New Balance WR 904 – trail runners and one pair of NB 759 road shoes). In the next post I’ll provide a review of the Berlin marathon and its insanity (including the expo and the little chat I had with the New Balance reps at the expo regarding their marketing women’s shoes in Berlin). Short story: it rained during most of the marathon, but the larger problem was running with 40,943 other people. Nevertheless, my husband completed his first marathon in a great time–3:43!

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We decided to join a gym. We’d been talking about it for some time now, particularly given the weather situation in Berlin in the winter months. I’m definitely no wuss when it comes to cold or brutal weather – I’ve run in 9F/-12C weather, as well as the early stages of hurricanes and typhoons and snowstorms – but I draw my line at black ice (and some severe thunderstorms with lightening or high winds). Luis told me that sheets of ice covered some of Tiergarten and surrounding streets last year, making it virtually impossible to walk, let alone run. Luckily, I have a lot of experience joining gyms, so I started researching on the internet. I have some very simple criteria for joining a posh gym, and I’ll pay a slightly higher price tag for these items, but it needs to have all these or I won’t even consider joining:

  • Must have decent treadmills since I could likely end up using them frequently. By decent I mean: I should be able to put my speed up to the same as I can on an outdoor track (6:45 miles during interval sessions) and it must sustain my bouncing without sounding like it’s going to break (at ~135lbs/60kg you think this wouldn’t be difficult, but I’ve encountered some gyms with very old treadmills). The treadmill should also be easily adjusted and count my every 100 meters or so. Finally, the treadmill (this is key) should be well-placed — good ventilation (windows, fans, and not crammed into a corner) with some sort of entertainment nearby (preferably several TVs for variety, or treadmills with individual TVs in front of or built-in).
  • The gym needs to offer other courses. I’ve never been a gym rat or cared much about weight machines, but if they have a course schedule with cycling, kickboxing and yoga or pilates, I’ll join. I started going to these types of classes when I lived in the D.C. area (Lifetime Fitness) and found they really were a good substitute for winter training I couldn’t do outside, such as riding my bike long distances. In Santa Cruz, I didn’t need these classes but took them for variety. But the year I lived in Taipei and it rained hard for 6 weeks straight in the winter (as in, every day it rained) the schedule of classes at California Fitness (Da’an location) helped keep my sanity. I would often run on the treadmills too, butI could only stand the treadmill for up to 1-1.5 hrs max, and no more than 3-4 times per week, without getting bored. Having cycling and yoga saved me. I expect to look for a similar gym in Beijing once I get there. (I belonged to a gym in Dalian I liked called Nirvana (English name) and they have locations in Beijing.)
  • The locker room and shower facilities: I need a gym to have clean facilities with working bathrooms and showers and roomy lockers I can safely store my things for 2-3 hours at a time. This is key because I often go to the gym before or after work, classes, and other things and carry way too much stuff with me. In Taiwan, I used to carried my gym bag and book bag and ride my $30 bike between home, the university, and the gym. Sometimes I would need to quickly change before or after and meet someone and the California Fitness gym had towel service, decent soap in the (really nice) showers, clean hair brushes, and hair dryers to borrow. Lifetime Fitness in the D.C. area also had these amenities and I really, really think they’re worth it if you don’t live next to the gym.
  • Proximity and access to the gym: OK, the gym we just joined in Berlin is 1.3 KM from the apartment, perfect for walking or a light jog, or I can take one of the many buses just one stop down. In Santa Cruz I lived < half a mile from Toadal Fitness, which was extremely useful for Saturday mornings when I would wake up at 10:15AM for the 10:30 kickboxing class. I'd change and jog over. However, I've found that having a gym close to home hasn't always been necessary, and that having a gym near everything else you do in your life can be just as beneficial. In Taipei the gym was not well located for taking public transport from my apartment, but I had that bike (which I road in the rain, poncho and all) to/from the gym in about 20 minutes (all on flat sidewalks). The gym was actually closer to the university and classes, as well as cafes where I could get coffee, food, and do homework, so I often would go to the gym and then shower and head back to one of these locations (this is why the showers, soap, + towel service were so key in my gym decision). Lifetime was close to home so it basically served its purpose with the classes and relaxation perks (like indoor pool and AMAZING hot tub).
  • People who teach the course and know what they’re doing. It annoys me to no end seeing some personal trainers at all the gyms I have mentioned giving crappy advice or minimally training their clients. Not every gym has been like this, and I can honestly say that I think the people at Toadal Fitness in Santa Cruz really know what they’re doing and care about their clients (it’s a very small gym with a personal feel that the others don’t / didn’t have). But I don’t care much about PT since I almost became one 8 years ago and know how difficult it can be. I did go on to become a cycling instructor, however, and know what a good fitness class entails. If a gym has unqualified or crappy fitness instructors, I am not a happy camper. For example, Toadal Fitness had some trouble keeping some of their classes regularly staffed on the schedule (high turnover), while others were amazing — Michael’s “kick-bo” (cardio kickboxing class) was tough, fun, and literally NEVER the same. But most importantly, it’s a multi-level class that could be varied and adjusted even for hardcore people like myself who run 3 hours on the weekend. And he got me to do lots and lots of tough ab workouts. The only other classes that compare to these were Lifetime Fitness classes with Chris G., a man who made sure every cycling, core, or aerobics workout was like boot camp (actually, I believe he did teach “boot camp” class for a while). Fun, varied, multi-level, and sure to be loved by all endurance athletes. I don’t know if this is going to be possible with the gym in Germany, but I sure do hope to find some similar instructors here. In Taiwan, I liked the yoga and pilate classes, and some of the cycling instructors (e.g., Jenny Li) but I found it difficult to get a good workout with any of the other cardio classes.

Well, that’s the most important list of things I need in a gym. I will update with the situation and impressions once I get to Beijing. I belong to Nirvana gym in Dalian for a month in the summer of 2006, and it most closely resembled California Fitness in Taipei. (I joined because the pollution bothered my lungs, and I used the treadmills and went to the cycling classes. They had a fancy locker room I used often for my showers because it was much nicer than the one I had in my dorm room.)

In the future I think I’ll write a post about pools in each of these places and elsewhere. I have looked for pools more times than I’d like to count and had enough variation to make a full post (for example, some places make you wear swim caps and flip-flops, while others forbid flip-flops but allow you to go without a swim cap, and other similarly random rules).

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I began today with one mission: to locate a pair of New Balance women’s shoes 700+ series that fit my feet. I came up short and will set off on another mission tomorrow. So far, this is beyond annoying not only because they don’t have what I want, but when I checked the New Balance Germany website earlier tonight (http://www.newbalance.de/home.php) they actually have a picture of a pair of women’s 759’s across the front page, next to the Brandenburg gate! Ironic since we live 2 miles (!!!) from the gate and I have been unable to locate these shoes at ANY running shop in the city thus far, and they are not for sale on the German website as far as I can tell. (I tried calling the NB Germany customer service number when I got home, but it was Friday at 5:25PM, so as you can well imagine no one answered the phone.) My backup plan is to order several discounted pairs on U.S. websites ($58-80 USD beats 100-125 euros, the prices I saw today) and mail them to a friend in San Francisco, then pick them up next week while I’m in town and drag them back to Berlin. After all, I already know it’s unlikely to even find my size in Beijing (U.S. women’s size 9.5, or 41 in EU sizes), so I’ll need a couple of pairs to last me through the next year. (When I lived in Taiwan the largest women’s size in running shoes was 40.5, or US women’s size 9. I bought men’s shoes instead, which is sort of problematic because men’s shoes run wider and my feet are naturally narrow. Furthermore, I had few options and ended up running in Brooks shoes for a while–they had a shop in Tianmu–and developed knee problems, which I had never ever had before. No more Brooks for me!)

So anyways, as promised, this will be a post about running shops in Berlin and looking for my replacement New Balance shoes. It will be edited and updated as I find out new information.

[A note on all the German websites below: it really helps to use Google translate on them in a separate tab and toggle back and forth — sometimes the translated page misses links or royally screws up a translation.]

First of all, here’s one of the main links to most the running shops in the Berlin area:

http://www.laufszene-berlin.de/laufshop-berlin.html

And here’s what I know about them from first-hand experience and impressions:

Long Distance
http://www.longdistance.de/
It’s unfortunate this store does not sell New Balance for women (it does for men) because the rest of the shop is a long distance runner (and triathlete’s) paradise. They have several shops, although I have only been to the one near the zoo. I went there on a weekend looking for non-gross energy drink powder and they had Powerade in several OK flavors (better than Karstadt Sport could do!). But they also have all the triathlete stuff, like random gear (e.g., fluid belts, bento boxes for the bike, aquasphere ETC), publications with info on all the local races, a knowledgable staff, and a huge screen TV that was broadcasting the ITU World Cup in Hamburg when I visited. (I was psyched because one of my friends was doing the race.) Anyways, this place is the resource for all triathletes and endurance athletes, which made me all the more disappointed to not see my particular shoes available there.

Lang and Laufladen
http://www.lang-und-lauf.de/
We picked up our race packets for the Airport run (August, 21KM run) at the Augsburgerstr location. The place itself was not as big as the Long Distance shop (that one’s a nice size), but L&L is well-stocked with all running gear and random running gear accessories (night reflection, specialty running clothing, and a shoe selection that contained what I consider to be only “real” running shoes–this place did not have any fashion gear type of feel). I will return to this place and update on whether or not they have the New Balance shoes for women. They did have a lot of Asics, but I don’t like those.

RUNNERS POINT Berlin (“Das Schloss” mall)
OK, this place reminded me a bit of Footlocker in the U.S., where they have real running gear (seriously good Asics, Brooks, Nike selections, plus some nice Nike dri-fit gear for women) mixed in with streetwear fashion (i.e., shoes made to look like running shoes that will actually kill your feet or knees if you try to wear them for running, with the price tag of < 30-50 euros to prove it). I went here today and, despite their website telling me they have New Balance shoes, was told that none of the Berlin stores actually have NB shoes. Sigh. Waste of time!

Lunge Lauf- und Sportschuhe
http://www.lunge.de/wp/category/filialen/
This was the most promising of the day because they had TWO different New Balance shoes for women (yay!) except that the 800 series I tried on fit my foot funny (d’oh) and I wondered if it was because it had been made in UK and thus had a different shape from the one in the U.S.? Anyways, I was disappointed, but only half-heartedly since the price for the thing was 125 euros. The other pair, a 700 series, was 120. For that price I could buy two pairs in the U.S., so I decided I should wait if I couldn’t find the perfect shoe at 120 euros! (And running shoes really should feel like the perfect shoe from the first time you try them on.) On the positive side: this shoebox-sized store had a knowledgable staff member and the best collection of serious running shoes I have seen thus far in Berlin (especially given the size of the place). They also had a lot of Asics.

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Luis and I went for a 3-hour (20mile-ish) marathon training run on Sunday and on Tuesday, after resting for just one day, I decided to go out for a run with him despite the slight twinge of something I felt in my calf. I felt OK during the hour-long run, and we ended up doing tempo for the second half of the run, the part that runs mostly through Tiergarten (the big park in the middle of Berlin) and along the Spree river next to the Hauptbahnhof and Reichstag. (It’s a lovely view, especially while the sun sets, and my favorite place to run outside of Grunewald Forest.) My calf felt a bit stiff after the run, but I ignored it and stretched. Well, Wednesday it was sore most the day. I had an upper body deep tissue massage for my “problem” areas (shoulders, neck muscles, etc) but didn’t have her address the calf. We went out for a shorter run last night and this was a mistake. I was stiff again immediately after stopping — fine while running, stiff afterwards. The interwebs tell me I should take some time off and give it a rest, and likely these are the things I have been doing wrong that would have provoked said injury:

  1. Not stretching much before or after running. Time to start going to yoga again… (we’ve almost joined a gym here, I’ll post on that when we do)
  2. Wearing worn-out shoes for a 3-hour run on pavement. I guess it’s time to cough up 80-100 euros for new shoes.
  3. Overtraining. What, me?

So, today I took that opportunity to re-visit the pool again for a serious workout–what, you didn’t think I’d REALLY take the day off, did you?

In the summer months the Berlin pool options are limited (http://www.berlinerbaederbetriebe.de/). Last summer’s pool option (http://www.berlinerbaederbetriebe.de/index.php?id=76) decided to renovate until September. However, in the meantime, I discovered a pretty nifty place at Spreedwaldplatz:

The lap swimming pool at Spreewaldplatz (http://www.berlinerbaederbetriebe.de/67.html) is only 25 meters long and it only has two lanes roped off (and I wish someone would explain to me why they don’t rope off all the lanes in a designated LAP swimming pool… the kiddie and relaxation pools are elsewhere marked clearly with “nichte schwimmen”), but it does the job. It costs 4 euros for one hour or 5 for two hours, so it’s a bit pricer than the other pools I mentioned (which after 8PM cost a mere 2,50 to enter and close at 10 or 11PM). Nevertheless, I found that going at 4:30PM gave me plenty of time before the evening crowd arrived, which in Germany is anytime after 6PM or so. As almost always in non-U.S. locations, I was the only person swimming freestyle consistently for long periods of time, without stopping, and at a semi-decent pace. I may be slow as a freakin’ snail in California and a mere turtle in the Washington, D.C. area, but here in Berlin I’m *moderately fast* (!!!). This means I am usually passing people in the pool, which is fine except when they do stupid things like swim diagonally into me or push off from the wall at the exact same time I come to it and turn around (sigh).

All in all: I did an OK swim of 2800 meters (or so) and mostly had the lane to myself.

Now, here’s the best thing about this particular pool — when Luis and I went last week, we discovered that its location in Kreuzberg is across the street from Yellow Sunshine restaurant (http://www.yellow-sunshine.com/) which has an entire veg menu, most options being 100% vegan.  I had a seitan gyro plate with organic green salad and he had a “chicken” burger. We shared some pommes frites, a bitter lemon bionade, and also had vegan chocolate muffins for dessert — total cost? ~14 euros!!! Crap. Why didn’t we find this place earlier?

Tonight after the workout I met Luis at the U-Bahn near the pool and we walked to another place I’d read about online called Veni Vidi Vegi (http://www.veganladen.de/), which according to reports and I am happy to verify sells vegan mozzarella cheese! Along with the vegan salamni we found next to the cheese, and some veggies, we had pizza success for dinner tonight!

I have two disclaimers to make about this store, which overall seems like a place we’ll be visiting more often since they also have non-dairy cream cheese:

  1. It is really freaking small. As in like the size of a shed. On the other hand, it’s almost spitting distance from the pool and U-Bahn stop, so I’ll likely be dropping in and stocking up on my dairy-free cheeses regularly. The staff was very friendly, or well, the one hippie dude who helped me out… which brings me to the next point
  2. Why must veg places outside of Santa Cruz and San Francisco always feel like dirty hippie havens? I mean, look, I know some places like this exist in SC/SF and Berkeley (of course) but then there are normal places like New Leaf Market, Rainbow Grocers, and Staff of Life, where more than just “dirty hippies” shop. The closest I can get in Berlin are bio stores which, unfortunately, still only stock normal dairy cheeses. Those are more like Whole Foods — expensive produce and products but WITHOUT the quality and care of a place like New Leaf.

Anyways, the more important thing is that we came home and made the pizza and the “cheese” semi-melted. Now, this “cheese” does not compare at all to the Vegan Gourmet “cheese” I regularly used in Santa Cruz (http://www.followyourheart.com/products.php?id=25), which always melted, but it will do the job for when I need that cheese fix. (I actually haven’t been able to eat real cheese in years so this isn’t so new, and I don’t miss cheese because of the numerous memories of getting incredibly sick from it.) I will write a follow-up post on how the cream cheese goes, but somehow I doubt it will compare to Tofutti’s Herb and Chive (http://www.tofutti.com/btcc-herbs.shtml) on a toasted bagel from The Bagelry… I practically lived at this place my last 6 months in Santa Cruz. (Entire vegan menu for the bagel, complete with organic coffee and juice options–free wifi and 3 blocks from my house!)

Also, next up: I need to replace my running shoes ASAP. We’re training for the Berlin marathon and have one more long run this weekend, if my calf is up for it. Tomorrow’s mission is to find a running store that sells New Balance women’s shoes, preferably 700+ series, and even more preferably 905’s, 738’s, 768/9’s, or 856. Will this be possible or will I be forced to order shoes online, or suck it up, not run, and then wait until I get to San Francisco next week (for a one-week visit)? Stay tuned to find out, along with some running store reviews. (Oh, how I miss Sports Basement, Running Revolution, and cheap online ordering options.)

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Hello! Welcome to the start of something new and experimental: a blog that finds everything and anything an almost-vegan* and somewhat-competitive** long distance runner and Third Culture Kid*** needs or finds useful in travels/living on three continents.

So, how exactly does this all connect and why the blog now? Well, my life keeps getting more complicated. Not with the running so much as in the moving around, my studies, and now the eating. I’ve been a crazy long distance runner for some time now (since around 2004 when I did my first marathon) and I’ve dabbled in about 15-20 triathlons and duathlons. (Highlights include: Boston marathon, some half-ironmans, and duathlon worlds in Australia in 2005.) In the meantime, I went back to school for a PhD in 2006–in East Asian history (modern China) in Santa Cruz, California. In 2005 and 2006, I spent summers in Beijing and Dalian, where I learned more about fancy gyms in China than anyone cares to know and in 2007-2008 I lived in Taipei, Taiwan, where I also discovered lots of runs and a fancy gym to visit during the 6 weeks straight of rain. But I also did a 290KM cycling race on the east coast that was amazing.

When I returned to Santa Cruz in 2008, I was happy to be back on the redwood trails and happy that it didn’t rain most the year–but mostly I was happy that shortly thereafter I met my future husband. 🙂 Unfortunately, he moved to Berlin, Germany several months later for work and we had to spend 1+ years mostly apart (aside from the summer months). 😦 Last November, we both decided to stop eating meat. I did it for stomach and ethical reasons (stomach because I had a lot of digestion problems and ethical mostly pertaining to the corporate control of the meat industry in the U.S.). We had a lovely wedding in Santa Cruz in March, complete with vegan food provided by the local Thai and Afghani places, and Black China bakery did our dark chocolate vegan cake!

In July 2010, I moved to Berlin, and realized how incredibly lucky I had been in Santa Cruz with vegan eating options out the door. I think I had at least half a dozen vegan options within walking distance, including the diner that served only veg options like soy chocolate soyshakes with extra chocolate syrup—-until 3-4AM every night. Berlin has some great options too, and I hope to blog about them here–but the community is not as supportive for vegans as it was in Santa Cruz. I have been adjusting. Luckily, running is terrific here: other people on the trails and in the parks,; miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) of trails and bike lanes; races that are run by extremely efficient people and that are held at normal people times (like 9-10AM start times); running and sports shops with all the goodies I need for triathlon equipment or running. It seems like people in Germany really love to be outdoors (or indoors, doing sports) as much as people in Santa Cruz!

Meanwhile, however, I’m supposed to take off in approximately a month to go back to Beijing, China for a year. What can I say — I’m nervous. The research piece is, of course, part of this nervousness, but a larger part of me is likewise worried about not being with my husband (the other veg runner around here!) in a place where I know for a fact that running and veg-eating options are limited. After doing research on the internet, I decided that I might in fact be the ONLY veg-eating runner in Beijing once I get there. It was bad enough last time with the long distance running (not many people there are into this) and now with the food (last time I was there and told people I was a vegetarian I got served fish, shrimp, and sometimes top-grade sirloin – they thought I meant I didn’t eat “pork” or “low quality” meat). So I guess this will be an experiment for me: how will I eat and run while I live in Beijing?

So, I thought I’d start a blog as I move to my third location and third continent in the last year, but I’ll also add notes about Santa Cruz and Berlin while I’m at it, and if something relates to when I lived in Taiwan then I’ll post on that too. I thought I’d share my discoveries on the web in the hopes that someday, someone will find them useful.

Here’s a list of some topics I will likely cover on this blog:

  • places to eat out in each locale and my impressions
  • places to buy groceries at when eating vegetarian and vegan (I can’t eat raw dairy, but cooked butter or eggs in a cake /cookie is something I don’t always ask about, so I’ll note here whether or not it really is vegan!)
  • recipes and foods I make at home (note: must rent apartment in Beijing with wonderful kitchen like our one in Berlin, and must bring 1,000 vegan recipes book along)
  • places to run or workout, including parks, gyms, trails, swimming pools, or wherever I could find that day
  • how my research is going and how, if at all, any of this pertains to it (I should have been an anthropologist)
  • races my husband and I are doing, training that we’re doing, and things we have cooked/baked together
  • my Third Culture Kid experiences, which seem to be a frequent occurrence, such as learning German but speaking to my classmates from around the world in French, Chinese, or Spanish instead of German :/

Without further ado, to the first post!

*it’s the butter in croissants

**Boston-qualified x2 (pb: 3:30) and frequent top 10 OA female at races… but not like the Olympics or anything.

***It means I don’t have an answer to the “Where are you from?” question. Look this one up for more explanation.

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