And the search goes on

The job search that is.  Otherwise known as how I spent my summer off.  But with some fun mixed in as well.  While I knew this was going to be an endeavor and wouldn’t necessarily happen right away, there was a small part of me that thought it would all come together and the perfect job would find me and I wouldn’t even miss a beat.  That’s the way it happens in the movies and I’m so a Disney Princess.  Right?

Job searching is a lot like dating.  Weeding through the potentials until one catches your eye and you think maybe, just maybe, there could be some chemistry.  We seem compatible, why don’t we get to know each other?  The application is sent in.

A match is made – you are interested and they are interested so of course you must meet.  Here comes the first date (interview) jitters.  Will they like me?  Will I like them?  Will I say the right thing?  What should I wear?  (Even with a phone interview, the right outfit can help with my confidence!)

You progress past the first interview.  You think its gone well and you wait.  Wait and dissect every aspect – did I say the right thing?  Why did I say that?  Why didn’t I remember to say that?  Are they going to call?  Seriously, I said that?  They aren’t going to call.  No, no, no, they are going to call.

The call.  Perhaps for another date?  Perhaps for another date, but first they’d like to play the field a bit to see who else is out there.  Or perhaps to say thanks, but no thanks and the search begins again.

But while you wait, you start to dream.  I think I can do the job.  I totally can do the job.  I am going to rock this job.  If you are like me, and looking elsewhere you start picturing yourself in your new city.  I think I can live there.  Oh, think of the new running routes!  And restaurants!  And you start searching neighborhoods and apartments.  Don’t forget races!  You’ve completely pictured your new life, starting with accepting your new job.  Which of course will happen any day now.

Then comes the dreaded it’s not you, its me.  Or it actually is you, your experience isn’t quite what we wanted or we found a better candidate.  Just like that, the new life you had been imagining is gone.

There may be a sigh, or tears, or ice cream, or all of the above depending on how far and the depth of your dreaming.  The rejection stings.  Sometimes it more than stings.

All that’s left is to dust yourself off and pick up the classifieds again.

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2015 Great Barrier Reef

Friday

Great Barrier Reef Day!!!  It started out much the same as the day before.  Except at this point, we had to go to the Great Barrier Reef as we were out of time.  We walked down to the Quicksilver offices and were told it was going to be a rough sailing, but it was a go.  Nilufer decided to spend the day at the beach instead (as she gets motion sickness).

We get on the ship and they greet us with motion sickness pills or ginger pills.  Jessica and I both opted for the ginger as neither of us really get motion sick.  Let me tell you, that was one crazy boat ride!!  I love the water, I enjoy boat rides, but that was 90 minutes of huge waves.  There were several employees standing around with barf bags just in case.  And several people needed the barf bags.  Oh boy.  I almost lost it due to the smell of the cleaning solution.  But finally we docked!  We were at a massive pontoon and there was a buffet lunch.  There were several options – snorkeling, snorkeling with a guide, scuba diving, a semi-submersible, and an underwater viewing area.

Our first stop – snorkeling!

Let's go find Nemo!

Let’s go find Nemo!

There was a platform and fairly large roped off area where you could snorkel.  Oh my gosh, the coral, the fish – it was amazing!!  The colors of the coral and the fish don’t translate as well via pictures, but I’ll share a few of my favorites.  Those fish were fast!

Underwater

Underwater

Fishy!!

Fishy!!

 

Coral

Coral

And more coral

And more coral

Fishy!!

Fishy!!

I could have spent a lot of time out there but finally I came back on the pontoon to enjoy the buffet lunch before taking a ride on the semi-submersible where I saw a sea turtle!!

Mr Turtle!!  (not the greatest picture...)

Mr Turtle!! (not the greatest picture…)

Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the boat and head back to Port Douglas.  This time, we bought the sea sickness pill and the trip was slightly more enjoyable.

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2015 Chicago Rock ‘N’ Roll

We interrupt this travel series recap for a race recap!  Given my uncertain future (where I would be working or living) I haven’t signed up for too many races this year.  Well, too many for me that is.  However, when I found out Nilufer had signed up for Chicago, I decided to sign up as well.  Chicago isn’t that far from St Louis and most likely I’d still be in St Louis.  And then we convinced Jessica to sign up for the 10K – it was going to be an Australia reunion!

Jessica and I arrived Friday morning, but by the time we made it into the city and dropped off our luggage, it was lunchtime!  We found a burger place close to our hotel which hit the spot.

Expo

We then caught a bus over to the expo.  We picked up our bibs (5K, Half for me and 10K for Jessica).  I do have to say there was some confusion with the 10K.  The big course picture showed the race starting with the half, but there was a handout showing the new start line for the 10K.

Heading into the expo, I was excited to see Brooks Run Happy Island.  Several expos ago, I participated in the Run Happy Island activities to get my tote bag.  The tote bag came with me to Australia but was toast by the end of my trip.  I was sad to see the end of the bag but here was my chance to get another one!

First up was the wild bucking shoe!!  I asked for the easiest speed but I think he sped it up because I flew off the shoe fairly quickly.

Hold on!!

Hold on!!

The gait analysis was next (I’m still neutral, neutral).  The third leg was slightly different – instead of racing up Mt Crackatoa you had to try on a pair of Brooks shoes.  Very smart Brooks!  I tried on the new Ghosts and Glycerins and got my new bag!  Now I can finally throw away the old one.

We had a bit more fun at the expo before catching the bus back to the hotel.

Expo fun

Expo fun

We met up with Nilufer for dinner at Lou Malnati’s to try some Chicago style pizza!  It was pretty delicious!

Mmm, pizza!!

Mmm, pizza!!

5K

Due to some slight confusion I ended up being the only one signed up for the 5K.  I headed over to the start line.  Stepping outside I was greeted by heat and humidity.

The Bean!

The Bean!

I lined up with the expectation of just taking it easy.  And we were off!  The 5K took place mainly on the lake front trails.  The last mile was brutal, but with beautiful views.  It was right next to the lake, with no shade and the sun reflecting off the water.

Along the lake front

Along the lake front

My one sort of complaint was there was one water stop.  Normally for a 5K, that would be perfect or even more than expected.  However, with the heat it would have been nice to have another water stop.  But other than that, it was a lot of fun, and I got a medal!

And then this happened!!

2015-07-18 09.11.32

MEB!!

Half Marathon

It was supposed to cooler for the half.  I don’t know if it was necessarily cooler.  Or maybe that was due to the fact I was out there forever!  Prior to the race starting, the announcer even said don’t expect a PR due to the weather.  Oh boy!  I met up with Nilufer and we got ready to run.

Here we go!

Here we go!

I have been toying with the idea of shortening my intervals and decided to try it – 1 min run / 30 sec walk.  Nilufer hadn’t trained as much as she had wanted but was game to try the intervals.  However, if the run interval came while we were on a grated bridge, it would become a walk because I really didn’t want to trip!

Go go go!

Go go go!

I loved running through downtown Chicago – we zigged and zagged.  The one thing that was missing was bands.  There were no bands in the downtown section, but there were a lot of people on stilts.

Chicago!!

Chicago!!

Remember the 1 /:30 intervals?  Well, with the heat, humidity, and lack of training, we decided to switch it to :30 run / 1 min walk.  That seemed to help and we continued on our way.

The miles continued to click on by as did the water stops.  Every time I thought I needed a water stop, it seemed as if one was around the corner.  They weren’t always manned completely and I found myself having to grab my own water/Gatorade or wait for it to be poured.  But all in all the volunteers were fantastic.

My favorite stop was the sponge station!!  It was much needed at that point.

So close!

So close!

We turned onto Lake Shore Drive and downtown came into view.

So close!

So close!

It kept getting closer and closer and soon the finish line was in view!

Almost there!

Almost there!

And done!

Done and done

Done and done

We found Jessica and basked in our finished races!!  Hooray!!

Winnahs!!

Winnahs!!

 

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2015 Port Douglas

Wednesday

One of the reasons we stayed at a hotel at the airport was that we had an early morning flight to Cairns (which is pronounced more like Cannes).  It was so nice to wake up not as early and walk across the skywalk to the airport.

We arrived in Cairns with signs everywhere for Ironman Cairns!  I saw that they even had a mini triathlon and it made me wish (for a second) we’d still be here on Sunday so I could participate (or spectate).

Almost to Cairns

Almost to Cairns

But Cairns?  Isn’t the title of this post Port Douglas?  Why, yes it is!  Port Douglas is about an hour north of Cairns.  In reading about the different places, Port Douglas sounded a little more what we were looking for (beach, closer to the Great Barrier Reef, laid back).

We arrived at our hotel and immediately noticed the change in weather.  Goodbye jacket!  Hello humidity!

While we had been getting our suitcases, our tour company had notified us that our trip to the Great Barrier Reef was cancelled, due to weather.  Really?  No Great Barrier Reef??  We had originally booked with a smaller tour company so we walked into town to talk to one of the bigger tour companies.  They were still running tours.  Crisis averted!

By this time we were starving!  Not a lot was open, and what was open was serving more appetizers.  It was still delicious and look at this view!

Lunch with a view!

Lunch with a view!

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Port Douglas before dashing back to our hotel before the rains came.  We weren’t completely successful in avoiding the rains.  And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down in rushing, rising, rivlets.  It didn’t appear that it was going to end, so we ordered pizza and watched my new favorite show – Master Chef.  I had never heard of it before, but got totally sucked in.  It may have had something to do with the Australian accents because I’m not sure I’d get that excited about the American version.

Thursday

Great Barrier Reef Day!!  We walked over to the tour company and were told while we could go out today, tomorrow most likely would be the better.  Well okay then.  What to do today?  Breakfast was the first order of the day.  The coffee wasn’t quite as good as Melbourne, but the designs were still fun!!

Ooh pretty!

Ooh pretty!

After a stop at the tourist information center, we decided to head over to the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat.  It ended up being a great idea!  We got to hold a koala!

Koala!

Koala!

I was slightly worried the koala would freak out, but he didn’t.  Whew!  Our next stop was to feed kangaroos!!!

So cute!!

So cute!!

But watch out for the ducks!  They were super aggressive!!

Kangaroos!

Kangaroos!

It was so much fun!  Both a koala and a kangaroo?  So cool!

We headed back to town for lunch and spent the rest of the day wandering.  Oh!  And getting a Thai massage, which my body was so happy about.  The rain started again so we high-tailed it back to the hotel to watch some Master Chef and order in food.  Oh yes, we are party animals!

Stay tuned for the Great Barrier Reef (did we or didn’t we?)!!

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2015 Great Ocean Road – Road Sign Edition

While driving along the Great Ocean Road (and the inland roads), we saw a lot of great road signs.  I thought I’d share a few of them!

Watch out for rocks

Watch out for rocks

Remember to drive on the left

Remember to drive on the left

Watch out for cows

Watch out for cows

Watch out for kangaroos!

Watch out for kangaroos!

Skidding when wet

Skidding when wet

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2015 Great Ocean Road

When last we spoke, we were about to get back on the road after Phillip Island.  Our plan had been to get on the road earlier and see a little bit of the Great Ocean Road today.  That didn’t quite happen.  Instead, we detoured to the Mornington Peninsula to check out a few more bathing boxes!

On a gray(ish) day, these colorful bathing boxes made my day brighter.  I thought these boxes had a lot more personality and character.  A few of these were in use today and it was neat to surreptitiously peek inside as we nonchalantly strolled by.  I would have loved to spend more time exploring but we still had a way to go to get to our hotel.

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

Mornington Peninsula

Since it was winter, daylight didn’t last too long.  We debated driving along the Great Ocean Road to our hotel.  However, the whole driving on the wrong side of the road, in the dark, on a twisty road with the ocean to our left, at the bottom of a cliff, didn’t quite appeal to us.  Instead we decided to drive the twisty, windy inland road.  And then it started to rain.  And the wind started blowing.  Then there was the kangaroo off to the side of the road (at least it stayed on the side of the road!).  Lets just say, it was an interesting drive.

We were very close, oh so close, when it happened.  A car coming in the opposite direction flashed its lights at us.  Hm, wonder why?  But we slowed down, thankfully!  Around the next corner was a downed tree, blocking almost the entire road.  We came to a stop and tried to figure out what to do.

Let’s back up a second.  Remember back a couple years when we were in Italy and hiking in Cinque Terre?  We came across part of the trail that was washed out and instead of turning around, we tried to get through it and I ended up falling off the cliff and tearing my MCL.  Makes for a fantastic story (remember that time I fell off a cliff?) but we weren’t sure we wanted to repeat the story.  Even though we were SO close to the hotel, we decided to turn around and backtrack (probably adding another hour or so to our drive time) and not drive under the downed tree (as we didn’t want it to fall on us).  We had even turned around when another car came and was able to make it under the downed tree!!  We took that as a good sign and decided to turn around again and we inched our way under the tree.  Hallelujah we made it!!!!  And 20 minutes later we were at our hotel!

We woke up early the next morning to take advantage of as much daylight as possible.  How early?  Well, we watched the sun rise prior to getting on the road.

Sunrise Selfie

Sunrise Selfie

Our first stop was Cape Otway Lighthouse.  The long drive to the lighthouse passed by gum trees where a few koalas were taking a nap!

Koala in the gum tree

Koala in the gum tree

Cape Otway Lighthouse was the oldest operational lighthouse (until it was decommissioned in the early 90’s).

Cape Otway

Cape Otway

We made our way back to the Great Ocean Road.  Our next stop was Gibson Steps.  Sadly, due to the high winds and waves the steps were closed.  Boo.  So we gazed out at the ocean at the top before continuing on.

View from the top

View from the top

Just up the road was the 12 Apostles (due to erosion, there are not quite 12 Apostles left).  The sun and the rain kept playing tag.  Always present was the wind!  It was still an amazing view, and I loved hearing the waves crashing.  Honestly there is something so soothing to me about listening to the waves.

12 Apostles

12 Apostles

We decided to make one more stop before heading back to Melbourne – London Bridge!  I was excited about this, well because I love London and also since Jessica and I would end the trip in London I thought it would be fun get one London Bridge picture in Australia (and later pair it with a Tower Bridge picture in London).

Just slightly windy

Just slightly windy

While it would have been fun to continue exploring the Great Ocean Road, the wind and the rain were starting to take a toll on us, plus we didn’t want to be driving in the dark on the windy roads, so we headed back towards Melbourne.

But we had a few more stops to make!  The first one was Anglesea Golf Course (or at least the road up to the golf course).  Why a golf course?  Because we had read this was a great place to spot kangaroos!  And it was!  They were still fairly far off, but it was fun to see them.

Kangaroos!!

Kangaroos!!

And our last stop was Lorne, as we had read we could find really good seafood there.  However, most of the restaurants weren’t open until 6.  Since it was still an hour or so drive back to Melbourne, we found a hole in the wall fish place which turned out to be delicious!

Mmm, fish!

Mmm, fish!

And so ends our very quick trip along the Great Ocean Road.  Next up – Port Douglas!

 

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To Princess or Not to Princess

Princess Half 2015

Princess Half 2015

We interrupt this travel recap to bring you breaking news!  After a lot of back and forth, should I or shouldn’t I, I signed up for the 2016 Princess Half Marathon.  Hope to see you there!

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