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So you want to go to Oktoberfest?

Posted by Lauren

Last year I went to Oktoberfest with Kyle and 18 friends. It was an awesome trip and I really should journal what we did before I totally forget. However, before I spend 50 hours resizing photos, backtracking, googling, and making sense of ticket stubs, I thought I’d write about the process of getting 20 people into the fest. Because there are some tips and tricks we picked up along the way :)

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1) Read this: http://www.oktoberfest-insider.com/oktoberfest-faq.htm

It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide I’ve found. I learned so much about the festival from that one site. Seriously, go read it!!!! And read this: http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/germany/munich/oktoberfest/best-beer-tents

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2) Pick some tents!

Each tent has a specialty. Some tents have better food, some have better decor, some have better bands, some are for a younger crowd, and some for an older/richer crowd.

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Organize the tent booking information in a spreadsheet. Mark down when people accept reservations. Mark down when you’ve reached out (and how!). Mark down the days/times you requested for each. Set calendar reminders on your phone when reservations open up. Be OCD about it.

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Let’s see what I can remember about the main ones that I visited:

  • Schützen-Festzelt
    • We had a Monday afternoon reservation here, 2 beer vouchers + 1 chicken voucher per person
    •  Known for: good music, red/yellow/green ribbon roof, wine + alc served (rare at Oktoberfest)
    • Recommend? YES

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  • Armbrustschützen-Festhalle
    • We had a Wednesday afternoon reservation here, 2 beer vouchers per person and 2 large appetizer platters
    • Known for: crossbow shooting, animal theme stalls
    • Recommend? NO. It was cold inside, not very busy (during afternoon at least)

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  • Lowenbrau
    • Went here at night with Kyle, Megan, and Paul without a reservation
    • Wiggled up to table in front of band and had a blast!
    • Known for: Heldensteiner house band, roof with 16k lights, beer drinking lion tower out front
    • Recommend? YES!
  • Augustiner
    • Went here after our afternoon reservation ended at another tent, very crowded (but big) on the inside
    • Known for: green ceiling, wood kegs
    • Recommend? Maybe, get there early. Tables didn’t seem as friendly/open to crashers.
    • p.s. Lots of other Augstiner places in Munich so you could check those out instead
  • Ochsenbraterei
    • Went here on our last day for a quick drink after enjoying some rides
    • Known for: ox-roasting tent, blue/white ribbons hanging from garlands on ceiling
    • Recommend? Yes
  • Hacker Festzelt
    • Went here after getting lost with Molly (long story)
    • Known for: blue sky with clouds on ceiling, favorite of locals and international peeps
    • Recommend? Yes (def at night, friendly people)
  • Hofbräu Festzelt
    • Went here at night (sat at table outside) for just a little bit
    • Known for: One of the largest, party-hardiest tents at Oktoberfest
    • Recommend? If you can get a spot inside, go for it! Supposedly good music
  • Honorable Mention
    • Fischer Vroni – looks beautiful with yellow/blue ribbon ceiling but did not visit
    • Schottenhamel – the other 85% of our group went here when Molly and I were lost. Sounded like they had fun.

3) Get a fax number. I used HelloFax‘s 30 day free trial and then 9.99/mo for about 2 additional months.

Why do you need a fax number? Because most of the tents require you to fax a reservation request in. Super archaic, I know. Use this format (below) to create a word document and then save it as PDF. Electronically sign it and then send to the tent reservation fax numbers (or via email in some cases). Of course, don’t forget to change the Tag/Datum and Alternativtermin to your dates! Also, add your company’s logo, name, and website (if you are comfortable doing so) because tents supposedly treat company reservations more favorably.

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4) Learn basic German. Or lots of Google Translate :)

Don’t worry, I got you. Using the example above will get you most of the way there. But then, the tables start faxing you back. And emailing. And snail mailing. And then suddenly you are like WTF does this say???

When emailing a reservation request: Please, I want to make a reservation for twenty. How much does it cost?  >> Bitte, ich möchte eine Reservierung für zwanzig zu machen. Was kostet es?

When specifying the day you want a table:


When you get an autoamted “we received your request” email: Your reservation request is stored by us as follows >> hre Reservierungs-Anfrage ist wie folgt bei uns gespeichert

When you get assigned a Customer Number: Kunden-Nr.

When you get turned down: We are therefore not able to meet all reservation requests. We regret that we can not therefore confirm your reservation request. >> Es ist uns deshalb nicht möglich, alle Reservierungswünsche zu erfüllen. Zu unserem Bedauern können wir daher auch Ihre Reservierungsanfrage nicht bestätigen.

When you get a table: Enclosed you will receive your reservation confirmation in all the details on… Your reservation are included. >> Anbei erhalten Sie Ihre Reservierungsbestätigung, in der alle Details zu… Ihrer Reservierung enthalten sind.

When you have forms to fill out: Please send us the forms in full >> Bitte senden Sie uns die Formulare vollständig zurück.

But really, you should just befriend someone that knows German and have them help you when you start getting reservation confirmation forms.

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5) Wire money to Germany. Sorry, no Venmo.

This was the scary part for me because I really had no idea which bank to wire money to, although the bank is specified on the form (I’ll explain). And both times I procrastinated so I was afraid that the money wouldn’t get there on time, since wire transfers can take up to 72 hours to hit the books. You’ll need to know the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) & BIC (Bank Identifier Code). At one point, I used this IBAN calculator website which really sketched me out but somehow worked. If you’re lucky, the tent will tell you exactly where to send money: “HypoVereinsbank München, Kto.-Nr. 6 020 162 838, BLZ 700 202 70, IBAN: DE11 7002 0270 6020 1628 38 · SWIFT (BIC): HYVEDEMMXXX”. Sometimes they won’t include the BIC or IBAN and you need to track it down.

6) Know where to collect your vouchers.

For one tent, we had to go to a specific hotel near the train station and pick up the vouchers. For another tent, we were able to pick up the vouchers the day before our reservation onsite. Each tent is different so make sure you bring that German-reading friend of yours along. :)

7) Dress up!!!

There are a few second hand shops selling trachten (lederhosen & dirndl) in Munich and surrounding cities. You can also buy online (eBay, Etsy, etc). Luckily a co-worker who had previously been to Oktoberfest lent me her authentic dirndl. You must wear a legit dirndl and lederhosen. It’s just not the same if you go in normal clothes. It’s fun. Trust me on this.

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8) Ride the rides!

Another thing you’ve got to trust me on. If you are saving money, pick one or two rides that go up high so you can get a bird’s eye view of the whole fairgrounds. Also, walk around at night and take pictures of the rides all lit up. Magical. You’re welcome.

9) Stick with your group. You will get drunk, so have a plan in place.

10) Eat all the food. Drink all the drinks. Sing! Dance! Make friends!

Any questions about Oktoberfest? Who’s been? Who wants to go?

-Lauren

My 50-Week Running Plan for 2015 and some promo codes

Posted by Lauren

In one of my first posts of the new year I said I would share my running plan for this year (because I’ve actually put a good deal of thought into it) but alas, no post yet.

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Time to fix that!

Last year was the year of Rock n Roll. My mom and step dad kindly gifted me the Rock n Roll tour pass, which gives you unlimited access to the RnR races in the US. We did Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas… am I missing one? It was so awesome to travel with my parents, see family, see the sights, dine in fabulous restaurants, and -well- the running was alright.

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It’s no secret that since I started working at my current job, my running quantity AND quality have decreased. Sometimes it bugs me, but most of the time I’m just happy that I have a job that keeps me busy, challenged, and fulfilled. I’ve been actively going to Bar Method classes for 14 months now and although it’s $$$$, the money factor is what gets me out the door and into the studio 3-5 days/week. I’m still happy with my BM involvement and I do feel stronger (especially my “seat” lol).

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But…. (there’s always a but)

I really want to be in better running shape mindset. I say “mindset” because I want to look forward to running and relish the opportunity to either get outside and clear my head or stay indoors (treadmill) and catch up on my favorite shows. Sure, it would be nice to get faster along the way, but that’s not my priority right now.

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The better running mindset won’t happen overnight. I know that I’ve got to be more consistent, goal-oriented, and work hard for it. That’s my long winded, stream of consciousness way of introducing this (loose) plan. It’s mapped out through the end of the year and obv it’s only mid-February but I think I can stick to it.

  • Hal’s 12-week Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan
    • Start: Week of January 5th
    • End: Week of March 30th
    • Total: 13 weeks (one week to botch)
    • Race: April 4th – Marin 1/2 (link)
  • Week of April 6th: Ragnar Relay: SoCal on April 10-11 (link)
  • Week of April 13th: REST!!
  • Week of April 20th: Rock n Roll Nashville 1/2 (link) SO, SO, SO EXCITED FOR THIS TRIP!
  • Hal’s 8-week Intermediate 10k Training Plan
    • Start: Week of April 27
    • End: Week of June 15
    • Total: 8 weeks
    • Race: June 21 – Marina Bay 1/2 (link)
  • Week of June 22nd: REST!!
  • Week of June 29th: REST!!
  • Hal’s 8-week Hard 10k Training Plan
    • Start: Week of July 6th
    • End: Week of Aug 31st
    • Total: 9 weeks (one week to botch)
    • Race: TBD (Richmond 1/2 and Alum Rock Trail Hog 1/2 on my radar)
  • Week of September 7th: REST!!
  • Week of September 14th: REST!!
  • Hal’s 12-week Hard Half Marathon Training Plan
    • Start: Week of September 21st
    • Mid-Cycle Race: October 25th – Paso Robles 1/2 (link)
    • End: Week of December 7th
    • Total: 12 Weeks
    • Race: December 12th – Walnut Creek 1/2 (link)
  • Week of December 14th: REST!!
  • Week of December 21st: Figure out next year’s plan……

So far, I’m registered for Marin, Ragnar SoCal, Nashville, and Marina Bay. Registration hasn’t opened up for Walnut Creek yet and I’m looking for a coupon code for Paso’s race.

Speaking of codes!

Have you heard of the Cal Half Series? One year I did like 10 races in their series and quickly fell in love with the smaller scale, more local races. If all goes according to plan, I’ll complete 4 of the CHS races this year (aka the minimum for a challenge medal). I’m on their mailing list and they just sent out a bunch of coupon codes today. Take advantage of them if you’re interested!

ACTIVE COUPONS FEB 16th

  • 15% OFF – http://marinmarathon.com – Code: CAL15
  • 15% OFF – http://novatohalfmarathon.com – code: CAL
  • 15% OFF – http://marinabayhalfmarathon.com – Code: CAL
  • 15% OFF – http://www.tiburonhalfmarathon.com – Code: CAL
  • 10$ OFF – http://www.slomarathon.com – Code: CALSERIES – Valid through April 6 2015
  • 10% OFF – http://www.clocowhalf.com – Code: CAL2015
  • 5$ OFF – http://citytothesea.org – CAL5OFF
  • 20% OFF ALL elite sports CA series events – http://www.elitesportsca.com – Code: CALHALF1520 – After Early Bird Pricing
  • 10% OFF – http://zoomarun.com/napa-valley – Code: CAL – Valid through June 15 2015
  • 25% OFF – www.runwalnutcreek.com – Code: WCHM25POFF – Valid through Feb 28 2015

Are you signed up for any races in 2015? What’s your favorite race everrrr?

-Lauren

Getting nerdy, quidditch pong, and skipping a week

Posted by Lauren

Alrighty. So, after dressing up as a superhero on Thursday for work, it was time to dress up as a nerd on Saturday for funsies.

Our friend Kevin (aka Combo) turned 30 last week and his super creative, smart girlfriend Savannah (< her instagram is awesome) threw him a “Nerdy Thirty” party and asked everyone to “come dressed in your nerdiest gear for a night to remember.”

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On our way to the party, Kit, Adrienne, Sallie, Kyle, and I stopped for dinner and drinks in Menlo Park. It was SF Beer Week and the restaurant had a special Ommegang (NY brewery) flight available. Kit and Adrienne both chose flights, whereas I opted for a whole glass of the Hennepin Farmhouse Saison. Pretty tasty!

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Savannah (and Kevin) had amazingly nerdy decorations all over their apartment!!!

Like, the bathroom transformed into the Chamber of Secrets. How about that toilet?!

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And Savannah as Dobby the House Elf…. carrying shots in test tubes of course.  nerdy-thirty-04

NERDY sidebar: I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but our high school dance team did a Novelty Harry Potter-themed dance in 2005. And we ended up on the internet…. Someone at the party asked if I have any HP costume materials, I said “Yes” (duh). I asked “guess which character?” and they said “Ron” and I was like, yepppp. So then I googled the Hogwarts Dance Team (to show him the dance and my Ron-ness) and for the first time I saw that we were on VH1’s website like 10 years ago. (OMG, 10 years ago!!)

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Speaking of Harry Potter, Savannah made snitches out of cake balls and white chocolate!

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She also had (Hunger Games) Peeta chips & hummus…

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Everyone nerded up (check out the Quidditch pong)

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I wore a tech conference shirt, a skirt with comfy sneakers, and my conference badge. I also had a swag bag from a previous tech conference. Sad part is, I dress like this all the time.

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So, I was supposed to be finishing Week 5 of my training plan, but I slacked a lot and decided to do Week 5 the following week (spoiler alert: I slacked a lot, again). For the most part, I did something kinda active every day?

Day: {{Week NOT 5 Hal’s 1/2 plan}} >> {{actual}}
Monday: 3 mile TM run + 5 mile stationary bike, after work watching The Bachelor
Tuesday: 6:15 am bar method
Wednesday: 1 hour walk at treadmill desk
Thursday: standing all day at tech conference
Friday: 7 am bar method
Saturday: 7:30 am bar method, 4 mile TM run
Sunday: 4:30 pm bar method, no long run

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I’ll be back soon to get fully caught up on blog/life, including how I spent Valentines Day!

-Lauren

My blue superhero jumpsuit, wacky coworkers, and The Melt.

Posted by Lauren

Doesn’t Super Bowl Sunday seem like decades ago? Remember left shark? And Missy Elliott? And the crazy 2 minute ending??

Where I last left off, our family had enjoyed a crab feed and I was about to do my “long run” before the BIG GAME.

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I mapped a 7 mile loop around Stanford and Palo Alto. It took me exactly 1 hour including two red light stops (and that photo op). I enjoyed every minute of the run and even explored some new streets with gorgeous homes. I need to run around outside more, especially near Stanford.

Post run I think I showered (?) put on a Sharks shirt & 49ers leggings (team spirit!) and drove with Kyle up to SF to watch the Super Bowl at our friend Rob’s apartment. Over 20 people gathered, snacked, watched, ooh & ahh-ed… mostly at Katy Perry and the commercials. LOL

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The ending was crazyyyyy. What a great game! So much better than last year’s Seahawks blow out.

Then, it was back to work. And time for jumping jacks. Clearly.

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One thing I love about the job: The People… we are a wacky, wacky bunch.

Exhibit A: Joe’s charging cord monocle.

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Exhibit B: Razor scooter tricks.

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On Tuesday night (this was lasssst week peeps), I went to my mom’s house since I was already in the South Bay following a meeting. Shirley made dinner and while we ate we shared our rose & thorn for the day (such a good table topic). Then, Nicole and I drove to the grocery store to get ice cream. Pretty rad night.

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On Wednesday we had lunch catered and a big cloud CRM company *cough* gifted us Kara’s Cupcakes. Talk about a sweet treat!

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We also had Arts & Crafts hour while prepping for an event happening the following day.

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Wednesday night, we all went offsite for a happy hour at St. James Gate. Who knew this random place near auto repair shops would be so big? They have live music multiple nights a week, a huge outdoor patio, and space for ping pong, billiards, and karaoke. Definitely a good spot!

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And if enough stuff hadn’t already happened on Wednesday….. Kyle and I walked to his favorite Mexican spot, La Morenita, for a late bite to eat. Their (rotisserie?) chicken tostadas are super good!

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Thursday morning (after like 2 hours of sleep, blerg) I drove up to SF for a SaaS Exec event. Our company had a pretty big presence (insert ginormous booth) and our CEO spoke on a panel.

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They had great food too…. My absolute favorite jalapeno chips ever (TIM’s!!!) + salmon + they brought out whole candy bars during the afternoon.

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And I had an opportunity to reprise my role as Sally the Customer Success superhero.

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Gotta fight churn, ya know?

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Although it was a great event, it was SERIOUSLY lacking female representation. As a sponsor of the event, we had ~7 women present. I only saw maybe 15 other women the whole time. (Side note: my coworker Sam shared this NYT article about the lopsided perception of men & women who offer to help in the workplace. Great read!)

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Last Friday was fairly basic, minus dinner at The Melt in Stanford Shopping Center.

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For some reason, they sent us a “Buy $20, Take $10 Off” coupon so Kyle and I trekked over during the rainstorm and shared a cookies & cream shake + cheese fries. We both ordered chicken sandwiches (mine with mushrooms & mustard, his with buffalo sauce). Once we got home, we watched two episodes of Silicon Valley and hit the hay.

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The following day (Saturday) was super fun and deserves to be the highlight of it’s own post so I’ll save that for next time.

-Lauren

If you could describe your coworkers in one word, what would it be?