Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Second Half

Me and my nephew right after crossing the finish line

This past Saturday I ran my second half marathon. It was cold and pouring rain pretty much the entire time, but I enjoyed myself, and I'm a lot more proud of myself this time around than I am with my first one. Even though I didn't PR I still feel pretty good about how I finished and I'm definitely not giving up on the running this time 'round!

My times for both were 2 hours 49 minutes and 36 seconds, yeah, down to the second. Not great times, I'd really like to try for 2 hours next year (yup, I'm gonna do it again). However, despite the same times there were some definite differences between the two races. For my first race, in 2010, I had trained a bit differently. I used the same training plan from The Running Company's website for both races, however for the first one I didn't really do any cross training at all (besides walking home from the U every other day, which is over 1 mile, but I don't know that I'd consider that adequate cross training), and I really didn't push myself at all during my runs or during the race. And although I only started major cross training a few weeks before the race the second time around I can say that it has made a huge difference.

I've never ran any other races, not even a 5k, so I'm not sure how to compare, but in my opinion running a race is at least 50% mental if not more. And, I think for my first half I just wasn't in it. I dunno, but when I compare the two it seems like I should have ran my first race much quicker because I was about 18 pounds lighter and had done more running, especially outdoor running. Honestly, this time around I wasn't great about keeping my running schedule. I had a hard time motivating myself to get out of bed early on Monday mornings. And, I didn't do very many long runs outside this winter (and treadmill running is very different than running outside, even if you're running on flat sidewalk).

During my first race I walked, a lot and I didn't push myself very hard. I really didn't. When I got tired I stopped to walk, and I walked at every water station. I probably walked just under half of that race. Whereas this time around I walked maybe 1/5 of the time. I still walked at every water station (I just can't drink and run at the same time) and I walked up the two small hills at Sugar House Park and 2 more time for about 2 minutes. I'm really disappointed that I didn't push myself harder the first time around. This time, the longest run I had done was on a treadmill and was only 10.5 miles, and I hadn't done as many runs either. But, I was able to push myself to run almost that whole time, and while I may have been running really slowly I was still running and in cold temps and in the pouring rain. I was seriously soaked to the bone and it took me about 5 hours to warm up after I stopped running (including a 40 minute boiling hot shower). This second race has really taught me a lesson. I mean it. I have never pushed myself so hard before, so close the absolute limit, and I liked it. I couldn't believe what I was capable of doing. At one moment during the race I stopped to walk and after about 10 seconds I thought to myself, why am I walking? Yeah, I'm tired but I wasn't about to fall on the ground and die, so I started running again and it was a great feeling.

So, all in all, I'm really happy that I was able to push myself so much more this time and even though it sounds like a horrible thing (and some moments were not fun, like the first half of the last mile when I thought I wasn't sure it would ever end), it was a really fun experience and the spectators are really awesome. Not that there are very many, but they are hilarious and can really lift your spirits. This year my older sister ran it as well, and while we didn't run together the whole time I am so impressed and inspired by her. I can't say that I ever thought she'd run a half marathon, but she did! She is also participating in the Wasatch Ragnar which totally freaks me out, but I couldn't be more excited for her.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

San Fran Spring Break

This Spring Break Jason and I debated between going to Disneyland and San Francisco. San Fran won, and I think that was probably the better decision. The trip went off without a hitch (except that we didn't make it to every restaurant we wanted to, just not enough hours in the day). I don't think I can say that for any trip. But, we had amazing food, great weather and went to some amazing places. Needless to say, I am completely smitten with San Fran. Here is an overview of our trip with some pictures.

We arrived on Tuesday night and had just enough time to go to dinner at one of the best places we had found on our last trip, House of Nanking. It's probably the best Chinese food I've ever had. Consequently, we ate there twice during this trip. It's almost always busy and you often have to wait in a line outside the restaurant. My favorite things we had this trip include the calamari, the pork pot stickers (shown above with awesome peanut sauce) and some noodles we had. 
Our hotel was pretty great. We stayed at Hotel Kensington and even though our window faced another building there was small sliver of a view and it was fantastic. Our hotel had a great location, it was sort of downtown and close to public transport and getting around was super easy. 
On our first day we hung out around downtown and Chinatown. Here Jason is eating a fabulous sandwich from a sandwich stall called Sentinel. The sandwiches were great, and they have a rotating menu, so you don't know what they have that day until you get there. It was started by a former iron chef (not sure who, can't remember) and the sandwiches really were great. Jason had a roast beef with a lot of horseradish (too much for me) and I had a lamb, eggplant and curry sandwich. 
This is probably the least impressive picture of Britex I could have possibly taken. But, this store was amazing. Four floors of floor to ceiling craft supplies. One floor was pretty much devoted to buttons, another to ribbon and the other two mostly for fabric. I was in heaven. When I walked in I kind of gasped and Jason said we should walk back in and he could record it.
Chinatown was fairly quiet when we walked through, but it was delightful. Good photo ops (Jason took with his fancy camera) and then we stopped at Ten-Ren tea house for some bubble teas. Jason chose a thai tea, it was...interesting to me. It was sweet, but not super flavorful. He enjoyed it, and I enjoyed mine :) 
Here's Jason on a trolley. I wasn't the greatest picture taker on this trip. So, it's blurry and I didn't take a picture of a full on trolley, but you should know they were fun.

The next day we went to the Ferry Building (I am standing in front above). It was probably one of my favorite places. Just full of stalls of food and shopping. We had the most amazing brisket sandwich from Il Cane Rosso. I also spent a lot at Miette, but honestly, I maybe should have spent more. ha. Their macarons were to die for. And their caramelized, chocolate covered hazelnuts were amazing. Probably the greatest treats I had there. Truly. If I could afford to mail order their treats every week I so would. Oh man, now I'm craving the macarons....I also bought some chocolate from Recchiuti, the most I have ever spent on chocolate, ever. But soooooo worth it. The fleur de sel caramels are to die for (and probably the cheapest thing they sell, in case you are interested).   

After the Ferry Building we visited Alcatraz. We tried to get tickets for a night tour, but to no avail. It was still awesome, totally worth checking out. The top pic is me while we were waiting to get our audio tour machines, the bottom left is me next to a picture of what their library looked like (I am in the library, but it is now empty. Jason said that since I work in a library he had to take my pic next to the sign.) and then the right is me at alcatraz with san fran in the background. 
After Alcatraz we went to the SFMOMA. It was fabulous. I took a lot of pictures of art, but this was the most interesting to me. A skinned boars head in formaldehyde. Pretty creepy, but the kind of creepy where you can't stop staring. Also, the gift shop was awesome and I found this book. I probably should have bought it. Maru is probably my favorite famous cat. If you don't know him, just google. His silly antics get me every time. We did visit a bunch of museums while we were there and the moma was probably one of my favorites (I enjoyed the de Young as well). 

Here is Jason at the base of Coit Tower. We didn't pay to take the elevator to the top, it's $7 and the view is from tiny windows and we decided it wasn't worth it. Just being at the base provides for an amazing view (which you can clearly tell here from the one shot I took :) The walk up was steep and fun, and I am so envious of the neighborhoods surrounding the tower. They were so cute, and I'll probably never be able to afford to live there in all my life, but a girl can dream right? 
The next day we visited Golden Gate park. But, prior to the park we ate breakfast at Zazie (close by the park) and it was probably the best breakfast I've had in awhile. Jason ordered a chai and it was very yummy and my scrambled eggs with cheese and avocado were perfect. It was pretty busy, and there was a large party sitting next to us and they had a little baby that couldn't stop staring at Jason (it happens with young kids every so often) so natch Jason started making faces at the baby. And, a few of the adults noticed the child staring at something, they looked over and saw Jason making his monkey face (puffed out cheeks) and the whole table burst into laughter. I don't think the baby laughed at all...
Anyway...so, like I said, after breakfast we went to Golden Gate park and visited the de Young museum and the Academy of Sciences. We didn't take any pictures at the museum but we found the most amazing ice cream truck right outside (I'd actually bookmarked it and promised myself that if I saw it anywhere I'd immediately get something). We got two different things to share. We tried their waffle, chocolate dipped cone (vanilla bean ice cream, waffle cone, dark chocolate dip with salt on top) and a mint lemonade popsicle (which jason is sampling above). They were both so great. (I know I keep saying that for everything, but these treats were almost on the same level as macarons from Miette). I really wish they would bring a Twirl n Dip truck to slc, I'd go everyday.

After the park we ventured to the bridge. Always fun, with fun views. After we went to Fisherman's Wharf and got some crab from a street vendor. 

My Favorite meal was from Town Hall. It was also the most expensive, but totally worth it. It was pretty dark there, so the pictures aren't great. It was AMAZING. What can I compare it to.....It was like Eva's (if you've been there) but bigger portions. That's the scale it was on for me. Eva's is my favorite in SLC, but it's mostly tapa sized portions, these were much larger (hence more expensive). We pretty much went all out here, bbq shrimp appetizer (one of the best tasting things ever, and not traditional bbq-y), buttermilk fried chicken with collard greens (which I've never had before, but hello!!), short ribs with cole slaw (the best cole slaw ever, EVER) and butterscotch and chocolate pot de creme. And, then pictured is Jason eating left overs in the morning.

I can't say enough about San Fran, it's really an amazing place. I feel as though it combines so many things, it's a big city without a big city feel (except for maybe when you are in the financial district), it has the ocean right there, lots of parks, great public transportation, and the best food I've ever had. I don't know what else to say except, when can I move there? I am pretty sure that while in each neighborhood I wondered how much it would cost to live there. I also couldn't have found so many awesome recommendations without Oh Happy Day's blog and Cup of Jo who pointed me in the direction of Il Cane Rosso. I don't know if anyone is going to read this far, or if I know anyone who will be going to San Fran anytime soon, but I do have a few tips. If you are going to be there for at least 4 days the city pass is a good purchase, you get public transportation for a week (bus, and trolley, just not the bart), admission to the de Young, Academy of Sciences, the aquarium, a ferry ride around the bay or the ferry ride to Alcatraz and much more. I suggest buying it online and not at one of the sites. Also, my favorite places include the Golden Gate park (I kind of wish we could have spent more time there, like going to the Japanese Tea Gardens), the SFMOMA was awesome, and the Ferry Building. I truly should have spent more money at the Ferry Building. And, I should have spent some money at Britex. It is one of those places where once you start spending you don't stop so I didn't spend any money at all, but I love craft supplies. And wish I had bought some buttons and some silly ribbon.

Reason's My Son Is Crying

This tumblr is hilarious. Enjoy.

Reasons My Son is Crying