Memorial Day Weekend

After the marathon, I hopped in the car to head back North to Mountain View.  Did I stretch?  No.  Possibly a mistake but I don’t think anything was really going to help with the soreness I’d feel over the next few days.

I hurried back to the hotel and took a quick shower.  SMS and I headed to Santa Barbara where we went to Handlebar Coffee Roasters, where they had great espresso!  Although there are many lovely places to eat lunch in Santa Barbara, we headed to Isla Vista (home of UCSB).  There we went to Woodstock’s Pizza and had wings and Wildebread with cheese.  It was delicious!

After a quick walk, we headed back to the car and drove to Firestone Walker Brewery.  The beers were very…creative.  We had a few we liked (DBA, Parabola) and a few we didn’t.  After a few samples, we drove past Paso Robles to visit his Grand-uncle, cousin and his wife.  We had a delicious dinner and it was really interesting listening to Al’s stories about his time in the military and LAPD.  We hung out for awhile but left reluctantly in order to make it back home that night.  SMS felt great but I hit a wall (second time in a day) and kept drifting off on the way back.  I wanted to keep SMS company while he drove but it was hard!

IMG_1303
A present from SMS!

The next day, we had a low-key day.  We went to Chromatic for coffee, hung out around the house and at 5:30, had an appointment at Watercourse Way!  Hooray!  The hot tub and cold water plunge felt great!  Afterwards, we went out to dinner with our close friends.  It was a really great weekend and we did so!much!  Hooray for three-day weekends and although the holiday is solemn, it is nice to celebrate and appreciate what we have while remembering the context of others’ incredible sacrifice.

2017 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Recap

SMS and I drove down the Central Coast on Saturday.  Why?!?  I had signed up for the Mountains 2 Beaches marathon to try and qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  My time at Boston (4:01) was not great but I knew it was mainly due to the heat.  I had so much fun in Boston that I wanted to run it again so…Mountains 2 Beach it was.  I wanted a marathon that was known for providing BQs (Boston Qualifiers…ack, I’m using the lingo and drinking the Koolaid!) and with a 700 feet net downhill, M2B was it!  Also, I didn’t want to do an extended marathon training plan again so I tried to keep my fitness up for a few more weeks.  M2B had been sold out but right after Boston, they opened up 200 slots.  I signed up for one and kept up my training after the marathon, mostly in the form of long runs and a few interval workouts.

IMG_1258
Papi’s Grill- so good!

So!  On Saturday, we stopped at Papi’s Grill in Pismo Beach and had excellent Mexican food.  We had several awesome tacos- butter beef, chorizo, potato, chorizo and veggies, shrimp- and chipotle chorizo french fries.  Although the fries were written about in a lot of reviews, the tacos were the winners in my book.  SMS thought that I had ordered too much food (truth!) and that chorizo was a bad choice before a marathon (false!) but he went along with it!

IMG_1261
Outside the Expo.  I feel that if the driver got pulled over, s/he would not have an easy time getting out of a ticket!

We went to the expo which was small and efficient.  Parking cost $5, which I was a little annoyed at but hey, parking by the beach is not usually free, I guess.  (Tip: Park near the Patagonia store and walk over).  I picked up my bib, shuttle ticket and shirt in about 7 minutes.  We looked at the vendors but left fairly quickly.  We walked over to the original Patagonia store.  We poked around for a bit and I got ideas for things I wanted to look for on sale.  SMS found a nice pair of board shorts but they didn’t have his size.  They directed us Surfboards by Fletcher Chouinard Designs where several Patagonia suits are carried.  We found the right size and got a 30% military discount!  Yay! [Re-reading this paragraph, I realize like I sound like such a cheap bastard- 3 money-saving tips in one paragraph?   I can’t believe I stopped clipping coupons long enough to even type these words!]

IMG_1265
Missile Park outside Pt Magu

We drove South about 25 more minutes to Pt Magu Naval Base where we stayed at the Navy Gateway Inn.  It was near the beach and the room was really nice.  I would highly recommend the place.  I would like to go back later in the Summer to enjoy the beach (and maybe beach camping!?).

IMG_1278
Pt Magu beach- the rock Central/South CA divider is on the right.

For dinner, SMS and I decided to drive a little further South to Malibu.  The drive along Rte 1 is really beautiful and there’s a spot where the highway runs between two large rocks that were blasted apart for the road.  We decided that it was the gateway between Central Coast and Southern California.

Malibu didn’t seem to be the most walkable place.  Most of the restaurants and shops were in scattered small shopping centers rather than one central “Malibu” town.  We ate at Ollo, which was really delicious.  We shared several dishes- beef shortribs risotto, grilled artichoke, burrata & peach salad and curried lentils.  The shortribs were amazing and the grilled artichoke was beautifully charred.  The burrata was a bit of a miss- I thought it was going to be more of a baguette & spread rather than salad.  The curried lentils were tasty.  Afterwards, we drove back to Pt Magu and went to bed.  I was pretty tired since I was on East Coast time.

The next morning, I woke up, quickly got dressed and drove to Ventura to catch the shuttle.  Parking was pretty easy and fortunately, I parked on the correct side to get to the 101 without having to cross the course later in the morning.  There seemed to be a few more people than there were buses but fortunately, I made it on the last bus.  We arrived in Ojai about 25 minutes later.  I headed straight for the Porta-Potties which, as reported in other write-ups, have fairly long lines.  I would think a few more are needed but Ojai doesn’t seem like much of  a Porta-potty town so maybe the number is limited.

The start was well-organized and I started about 4 minutes after the official start.  I set out with the 3:37 pace group but I realized that I felt really, really good that morning.  So after the first mile, I had caught up to the 3:32 group and ran with them for awhile.  I didn’t necessarily think that I would finish in 3:32 but I thought that building a time buffer would be a good idea and make the end of the race less stressful.

I felt great for the first 16 miles.  I had my headphones in and really got a lot of energy from my music.  Nothing great, just pop music with a good beat.  At mile 16, I stopped for a quick bathroom break.  This is where I lost the 3:32 group because there was no way I was going to sprint after them.  I slowed down a fair bit after that but it also corresponded to where the course flattened out and a headwind started to pick up.  It wasn’t a terrible headwind (in fact, it was slightly cooling) but it was definitely noticeable.

Around mile 21, my legs really started to hurt.  My quads felt so tight and my calves were almost as bad.  It progressively got worse through the last 5 miles but I just gutted through. The last mile, I had a pretty hitch-y gait but I knew that as long as I kept running, albeit slowly, I would very likely make my time goal.  I thought of SMS and his hard climbs, telling myself that this race was like a 12A climb and “the crux is at the finish,” which means the known hardest move is at the end.  I also thought about my friend Jyotsna and how I really did not want to text her bad news about missing my time goal.  I tried to find internal motivation thinking that it was important to do it for myself, not just others, but my internal motivation was telling me to walk so I didn’t listen.

The 3:37 pacer passed me shortly after the 25 mile marker.  His group numbers had significantly dwindled compared to the start.  I kept him in my sights as best I could through the last mile.  I had a suspicion that he was running slightly faster than a 3:37 finish since my TomTom sportwatch was pretty spot on with mile markers and pace.  I crossed the finish line, fairly confident that I had BQ’d but I didn’t know by how much.  I went through the finishers corral where I was given a medal and a delicious snack plate with watermelon, orange slices, peanut M&Ms in addition to a few other things I didn’t eat.

IMG_1283

I went to the gong line, which BQ-er’s can hit after the race.  In line, a very nice couple from LA was behind me and he looked up my time.  3:37:19.  Yay!  Not only had I BQ’d but I likely have enough of a time cushion to make the cut-off time as well!  A woman joined me in line- I think she was a little out of it since she was completely cutting the line but she was so happy to have BQ’d.  She said she had been trying for over 30 years! She was crying and a little snotty (like from the nose, not attitude) so how could I tell her the line started back there (even though I am usually a mega-line enforcer!).

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 9.25.36 AM

So, yes!  It was a great course and I met my goal.  My legs have never hurt so much in a marathon but I think it’s a result of low-mileage training.  I would not recommend that type of training, but it’s just what happened after recovering from Boston and not running enough.  I don’t think the leg soreness was from going out too fast, but I don’t know.  Would I have been able to keep up with a steady 3:37 pacer?  I don’t think so since I usually slow down a bit at the end of every marathon.  I was glad that I built the time cushion up early and I think that a positive split marathon is what works for me.  Next up, Boston 2018 (cut-off time allowing)!

 

Switzerland Travelogues!

IMG_8441

Hello, faithful reader!  It may seem to have been dead around here but I have been working very hard, I promise!  Over the past two weekends, I have been working on my Switzerland entries from our vacation in July 2016.  I like having my vacations in proper order so rather than having a bunch of #TBT-style entries, I backdated all of them to their proper date in July 2016.  So, you can either search by month over there in the right column or just click below to any day that interests you.  The vacation was amazing but I am fully aware that this may be as boring as a long slideshow so never fear, I’ll have some more current posts soon!

Day 1: Arrival

Day 2: Luzern and Melchsee-Frutt

Day 3: Luzern

Day 4: Bern to Vevey

Day 5: L’Etivaz and Gruyere

Day 6: Vevey to Zermatt

Day 7: Blüemlisalphütte

Day 8: Bundalp – Griesalp – Interlaken- Mürren

Day 9: Via Ferrata (Murren – Gimmelwald)

Day 9 (cont): Gimmelwald – Grindelwald

Day 10: Grindelwald – Luzern – Lucarno

Day 11: Valle Verzasca- Orselina

Day 12: Ascona- Bellinzona- Lugano

Day 13: Lugano

Day 14: Lugano – Zurich

Day 15: Zurich

Day 16: Zurich – Home

Boston Marathon 2017 Recap

The Boston Marathon was a dream experience.  Seriously.  My love for running is renewed and I am so happy.  I feel so effusive that if I kept typing, I’m sure the average (sane) person would think, “Is she for real?”  Yes!  There are some reality checks in this recap so I promise, it is a balanced perspective with several highs and a few lows.  Also, I don’t know why I’m finding it now, but this article has the best mile-by-mile analysis of the course itself if you want a more “objective” overview.

Ok, but I’m going to stick to Marathon Monday.  I slept until 6:45 and then I was awake!  My training partner had noted the day before that, as Wave 3, we didn’t have to get on the buses until 8 a.m.  Sweet, sweet sleeping in….yeah right!  Too excited!

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard downtown, which was about a 1/2 mile from the bus loading area.  I went to the Hilton around the corner, picked up to Starbucks, picked up Jyotsna and then headed over to Charles St.  Jyotsna had a gear check bag, which was about a 1/4 mile in the other direction on Boylston St.  The gear check was very smooth, both drop-off and pick-up since at the finish, you just kept walking ‘till you reached your stuff.  The Adidas plastic bags were fairly thick and had drawstrings, making them pretty secure.

We both had our little plastic baggies approved for the start line area/Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, filled with snacks and water.  There were freebies in Athletes Village (Clif, Gatorade, bananas, water, sunscreen) but we felt better having our own stuff, especially our breakfast of choice.  There were donation boxes for castaway gear which filled up fast because, unfortunately, it was very warm.  Very, very warm. 

Oh, the weather.  Forget heartbreak hill, the weather was the heartbreak.  The average course temp was 74 degrees and I know!  It makes me sound like such a whiny baby to say it was hot!  But I once read that in long-distance running, a runner should dress for 20 degrees warmer because that is how it feels.  I would definitely agree with that ballpark estimate.  Continue reading “Boston Marathon 2017 Recap”

San Francisco Sunday

FullSizeRender

On Sunday, SMS and I headed up to San Francisco after sleeping in.  Our main event was going to Beowulf, an immersive theater performance by the We Players, who strive to connect “people with place through site-integrated theatre.”  I was so impressed and excited that SMS had bought tickets to the show.  I had only just heard about immersive theater experiences the weekend before in Charleston when we talked about the NYC show Sleep No More.  So I was really excited to see a new-to-me type of performance that night.

IMG_0811

We decided to make a day of it and headed up a little after lunch and headed to Andytown Coffee, home of my favorite coffee drink, the Snowy Plover!  It is an amazing concoction of espresso, bubble water and decadent whipped cream.  I think it’s delicious, SMS thinks it’s a little less so but we went and I was very happy!

IMG_0809

Then we headed over to the Presidio for a Picnic at the Presidio food truck event.  We weren’t super hungry, but it was fun to walk around.  Then we walked to the waterfront where the show would start.  We went to Buena Vista where I got an Irish Coffee, then we went to In & Out to get a burger for an early dinner before the show.  It wasn’t the most glamorous choice but hey, people are always craving In & Out when they go to California.  Plus, the wharf area is so touristy that we would have otherwise paid a fair bit of money for so-so food so fast food it was! Continue reading “San Francisco Sunday”

California Birthday Weekend!

SMS planned an amazing birthday weekend for me!  We celebrated the weekend before since I was going to North Carolina the next weekend.  Although I love celebrating on my birthday day, it is also a lot of fun to extend the celebration!

I took the day off on Friday and walked into the best birthday card in the world, combining my two favorite C’s- California and Coffee!  SMS free-cut the California outline and then put three bags of coffee from our commonly visited spots.  Love Potion #9 from Cafe Calabria in San Diego, Portola from Alchemistic in Orange County, and Gamut from Chromatic Coffee in Santa Clara.

Since SMS was working that afternoon, I decided to treat myself.  First, I got a gel manicure and pedicure at Top Over Base in Mountain view.  My nails looked great although I peeled the gel off two weeks later, which completely trashed my nails.  My fault, yipes!  But that weekend and the week after, they looked great.

Then I went to Stanford Shopping Center to check out one of the largest Anthropologie stores.  It was huge!  I loved the beauty supply section.  The clothes are cute, but I never feel amazing in them and considering the price tag, I would want to feel amazing before spending that kind of money!  Also, some of the trends this year are not cute.  I think culotte pants are some of the ugliest around.  Who looks good with wide leg pants that cut off at the widest part of the thigh?  No one.  Not even models.  If you need any more strong opinions, you know where to find me.  But.  The store was absolutely beautiful.

That evening, I made a lamb ragu on top of mascarpone polenta.  It was pretty tasty.  Next time, I’d buy a more shreddable cut of lamb as I bought a sirloin so it was cubed rather than fall-apart meat.  But the sauce was tasty so the recipe just needed a little tweak.

Beautiful blooming trees seen during my run

The next day, I went out for my 20 mile long run.  I ended up running at an average 8:49/mile pace.  It didn’t feel hard but I’m not sure if I will be able to run that much faster in the upcoming marathon.  I’m really looking forward to the Boston marathon.  My training motivation was nothing like last year but I’d like to run, do my best and then probably transition to other workouts with some running during the Summer. Continue reading “California Birthday Weekend!”

Washington DC New Year’s Weekend!

Happy New Year!

SMS and I went to Washington for the New Year’s weekend.  We arrived Friday evening and met Mom and Dad at the Old Ebbitt Grill.  SMS and I split half a dozen oysters, yum!  I had a delicious Nicoise salad for my main course and overall, it was a great dinner and fun to spend time with Mom and Dad.

The next day, Mom and Dad headed off to Wintergreen for a wild and crazy New Year’s Eve.  SMS and I went into the city.  First, we went to Eastern Market where we ran into a friend of mine from freshman year of high school.  It’s a little hard to catch up on 20 years in the course of 15 minutes, but it was really cool to see her.

Art!

We went to 7th Hill pizza which was…ok.  Not great but it did the job.  Afterwards, we drove over to the Mall.  We looked at the Hirshhorn sculpture garden on the way over to the Sackler.

Red
The Sackler had some great exhibitions.  We saw the Art of the Qur’an, Turquoise Mountain and Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko, a visual dialogue on the immensity of the color red (sure).  There was also a modern installation inspired by Whistler’s Peacock Room, which is currently undergoing renovation in the Freer.  Although I didn’t love the modern take, it was pretty cool to see

Continue reading “Washington DC New Year’s Weekend!”