Puffin Picks 5.4

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This is ostensibly a running blog, and the original idea of this feature was to have picks that are in some way running related. But that has presented a challenge in April.

April and May are my running off-season. I take a break in between training cycles. I do maintenance runs of shorter distances, but nothing to write home about.

So while I often have many non-running picks, my picks this week are even less running-related than usual.  


Note: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links where I may be compensated if you purchase items or click on the links. Read my full affiliate policy. I only link to items I have, use, or want and would recommend regardless of potential reward.

My personal affiliate link guideline: Would I recommend this to my mom?

puffin picks 0504

My Puffin Picks

Volunteering For Races

I love volunteering at races. I think all runners should do it at least once.

It’s a good activity for my off-season. I can stay involved in the running community, increase my race and running karma, and make myself useful.

Volunteering also gives me an entirely new view into an otherwise well-known activity, or in the case of my overnight volunteering shift at a local night marathon (yup, a full marathon, run in the middle of the night in the Marin Headlands), a view into a race that is a fun experience, but one that I don’t have much interest in doing myself.

Added bonus that many of the races near me give race credit for volunteer hours, so a few volunteer shifts in April means and I can race free all summer.

My April tally:

  • Races run: 0
  • Races volunteered at: 3 (volunteer hours at said races: 21 hours)

That’s a lot of good running karma!


SPI Messenger Bag

I got this messenger bag when I became a SPI ambassador this year. I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for, but it caught my eye, and I’m getting better about noticing and honoring things that catch my eye.

I’m finding all sorts of uses for it. And I love it.

When I go to the weekly (free!) stretch class at Truve, it is the perfect size for a small water bottle, towel, and wallet. It’s been to all of the races I volunteered at this month.

It expands to fit a ton of stuff, and it has a low profile that fits perfectly under my warm jacket at the night marathon.

Plus, it looks so much classier than drawstring bag.

The Americans

I resisted watching The Americans for years. Critics loved it. Friends, whose opinion I trust, love it. But I just couldn’t get excited about it.

A TV show about Russian spies in the 1980s? It did nothing for me.

But I awhile back I was looking for a new show to watch and the 5th season of The Americans was just about to start. Oh, what the heck I thought, I’ll watch the first episode and see what the fuss is about.

I was hooked immediately. The Americans is about Russian spies who have lived in the US for decades and live as seemingly normal American citizens.

The 6th (and final) season just started on FX, prior seasons are on Amazon.

I was going to include a trailer, but the only ones I could find are for the 6th season and contain major spoilers for the prior seasons.


I’ve been spring cleaning lately.

After an afternoon of cleaning and re-organizing, I ended up with a pile of stuff to get rid of.

Most of it, I put in a Goodwill pile. But there were a few things that seemed too nice or not appropriate for Goodwill.

Enter eBay.

I know I’m super late to Ebay. This is largely because in a former life I worked in fraud investigations at a bank. At the time, most of the cases involved some sort of online sales fraud. Very few, if any, of these frauds involved eBay, but since they are the biggest name around, I was scared off and left a touch paranoid.

But that was a long time ago, and after looking at my pile of stuff, I thought I’d (finally) give it a try.

So I snap a few pictures, and now my crap is someone else’s crap and I have a few extra dollars!

It’s like magic!

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