Monday, February 28, 2011

Back on the Rock

My two weeks in Fiji flew by. I'm not at liberty to go into details as to what exactly I was doing there, but it was conservation related. In the little free time that we had I managed to stick my face in the water and took this photo.  It may not be the crispest, most in focus photo ever, but man is there a lot of color.  Just look at all that life fighting for every inch of available space.  What an amazing place!

I've been out in the Pacific since the middle of January.  I initially came out to help someone on Guam develop a conservation plan, with hopes of spending a few days on Saipan before going back to Washington, DC.  Those plans got postponed when the Guam Senate introduced the shark fin ban bill.  I ended up sticking around Guam for a couple of weeks so that I could help muster local support.  Then I went to Fiji, and now I'm back on Saipan spending a few quiet day with Edz and the dogs before I get back to the hustle and bustle and traffic of the East Coast.

I took about 1200 stills and videos of Fiji while I was there, and I would be failing my readers (both of you) if I didn't get some of them onto this blog in the next few days (sort of the way I failed you by not making enough posts of the Philippines last year.  Sorry.)

So anyway, now that it is March it means that the third month of 2011 in 2011 in kicking in.  I'm getting pretty close to this being my longest stretch of continuous exercise since I was in college.  Go me.

That's not to say that I'm exactly keeping up with the goals of 2011 in 2011.  I am a little behind.  I missed a lot of running days early in the month while in Guam and while in Fiji I only managed a run about every other day (or was it every other other day?).  Still, I got in 72.3 miles of running in February, just a few miles short of what I ran in January.

Since getting back to Saipan I've gotten in 3 straight days of six-miles runs and if I can keep this streak going I will be back on pace to hit 2011 on time.  I knew going into this that the earlier months would be the toughest, even if the miles run per day were lower.

And it has been hard.  But it is also rewarding.  I can feel my health improving and if I squint I think I can see a difference when I look in the mirror.

So I ran 6 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 154.5. With 305 days left in the year, I have 1856.5 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Men in Sulus

I am in Fiji this week. I've been kind of busy and haven't had much time to blog. However, I have some great photos and will post some up here soon. Perhaps next week when I get back to Saipan.

2011 in 2011 has suffered a small setback. Like I said, I've been very busy here. I've only gotten in three runs in eight days and as a result I've fallen a bit more behind in my goals.

So I ran 2 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 127. With 312 days left in the year, I have 1884 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011. Right now I am 55 miles behind on overall goals -- so I'd better get running.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scratching Back

Edz: Don't give Oreo chicken. It makes his hair fall out.

(10 days later)

Edz: I told you not to feed him chicken.

Angelo: (shame)

February's big fat Saipan adventure (all three days of it) is coming to an end. I went to a wedding, ate some chicken kelaguen, and got to play with my two manly dogs.

Oreo says, "Hi," by the way.

I also kept up with my running while on Saipan. Friday morning I ran four miles on Tumon Bay, but Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I ran along Beach Road from Garapan to Oleai and back. I haven't mapped it out exactly, but it is about 6 miles. I ran the course in 69, 64, and 66 minutes, respectively. It feels great being able to knock out six miles without dying.

I haven't weighted myself since I left Washington, DC, but I feel like I might have dropped a couple of pounds. I also feel like I'm seeing some definition in my calves that hasn't been there in a while, but maybe I'm imagining things. I also noticed that I have back fat. How gross is that! When did that get there?

So anyway, I have running goals mapped out for every day this year, culminating in 2011 miles by December 31, 2011. By skipping 11 running days I put myself behind by 42 miles, meaning that I have to run my daily goal and then some in order to get back on track. My daily goal every day from now until March 31 is only 4 miles, so tacking on a couple of extra miles each day should get me back on track in no time. That's assuming that I don't fall off the wagon again -- which I'm sure I will.

Even so, I managed to run 34.8 miles last week when my goal was only 28. So I'm scratching back.

So I ran 6 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 117. With 320 days left in the year, I have 1894 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011. Right now I am 33 miles behind on overall goals -- so I'd better get running.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Milestone: 100 Miles

saipan coconut tree
The Saipan Blogger is on Saipan today to celebrate the nuptials of Thelma Cabrera and Adam French. I'm just here for the weekend, though. Monday afternoon I'm off on a new adventure.

So anyway, this morning's run took me along the once-pristine Saipan Lagoon, from Garapan to Oleai and back. My right ankle started screaming as I passed Hard Rock Cafe. That's not good. It only hurt when I landed on my heel, so switching to a flat footed style made it easier to run. As I type this it is a little sore depending on how I try to stretch my ankle. I had some really bad achilles tendon problems about three years ago, but this isn't my achilles, it is the sides.

Here's to hoping that I'm just a bit tight today and that it ends up being nothing.

As I ran along Beach Road for my first Saipan run of 2011, I thought back to the first time I ran this course. In 1995 I ran the Silver Streak road race organized by DFS. I think I got fourth and the next day I was in the newspaper. Pretty exciting times, let me tell you. And I'm a few months away from being in that kind of shape.

This run felt really good. A few days ago during a run along Tumon Bay I was feeling all depressed about being out of shape, but I was able to keep up a good pace today without feeling too winded. In fact, these last two days I've felt really good in general. I've dropped a few lbs since I've started this thing (not really sure how many), and I think that not having to carry out that extra weight improves my attitude. Or maybe it's just that I'm in the Marianas while everyone is Washington, DC is buried in snow.

The big high five for today is that I passed the 100 mile mark for the year. And since I've run 6 days in a row, I'm not on my second longest running streak of the year.

Go me!

So I ran 6 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 105. With 322 days left in the year, I have 1906 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011. Right now I am 37 miles behind on overall goals -- so I'd better get running.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

More Tumon Friends

I could probably identify these all for you, but it's a lot easier to just post pretty photos. I haven't been able to get in any dives during my latest stay on Guam, but I have had a few chances to go snorkeling. I haven't seen any sharks, but there are plenty of tiny, colorful reef fish.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Just a Little Behind

The last week has been kind of busy, mostly due to my travel schedule. I got back on track today, running 4 miles in about 40 minutes. I felt like I could have gone a little longer, maybe a lot longer, but I had to get back to work. Plus, I have a wicked sunburn and running with a sunburn sucks.

I haven't given up on 2011 in 2011. It was meant to be a long term running plan, and I knew I would have a few hiccups along the way. I managed to run 76.2 miles in January, which is 76.2 more miles than I ran in December. I won't be winning any marathons any time soon, but I'm at least seeing progress.

I have been spending some time in the water, though. Yesterday and on Friday I spent about two hours snorkeling in Tumon Bay, hence the blog with the fish photos.

So I ran 4 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 80.2. With 327 days left in the year, I have 1930.8 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011. Right now I am 41.8 miles behind on overall goals -- so I'd better get running.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pacific Fisherman Lawmaker: World Needs Moratorium on Shark Fins

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands – Before he was the Speaker of the House and Lietenant Governor, Diego T. Benavente was a fisherman.  Today Benavente is the minority leader in the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives, and is making a name for himself for his conservation efforts.

“Twenty years ago I could go out in my boat and catch enough fish to stock my market,” explains Benavente.  “I can’t do that anymore.  My market is closed and I’ve sold my boats.”

Benavente believes the disappearance of fish is partly due to a severe decline in global shark populations.  The issue was first brought to his attention by a fellow fisherman and confirmed by State Senator Clayton Hee of Hawaii as well as global shark conservation groups such as WildAid and Shark Savers.

Benavente is now championing shark conservation efforts in the Northern Mariana Islands and introduced the Shark Fin Prohibition Act last year, which prohibits the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins.  Governor Benigno R. Fitial signed the bill into law on January 27, 2011.  The shark fin ban is only the second of its kind and is modeled after a similar shark ban implemented in Hawaii in 2010.

Rob Stewart, producer and director of Sharkwater, was on Saipan to film the signing of the legislation as part of an upcoming documentary. According to Stewart, sharks are targeted globally for their fins, which are used as an ingredient in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy. 

He says that 73 million sharks per year are killed to supply the global shark fin trade.Stewart says, “Sharks have been on earth for over 400 million years and have survived five major extinctions. As the apex predator, they ensure the health of the ocean ecosystems, keeping fish stocks healthy, maintaining balance on coral reefs, and ultimately safeguarding the future of the oceans upon which we depend.”

“The world’s oceans are in trouble,” says Benavente.  “All nations, small and large, have a definite role to play in our oceans recovery.”

Benavente would like to see more governments, from national legislatures to local municipal councils, tackle the issue of shark finning and has made a challenge to governments across the world.

“A global moratorium on the sale of shark fins is a good place for all of us to start,” he says.