Running my way through California

Its no secret here on the blog – or to anyone in my life – that I miss all my friends in Santa Cruz, like a lot.  So much so that half the time I day dream about quitting law school, selling all my stuff, and hopping on a plane and inviting myself to live in one of my friends’ spare bedrooms.  And trust me, there were a few times it was so close to happening I’m almost surprised it didn’t.

But, as luck would have it I was able to find my way back to Santa Cruz in mid-May after second semester finals were over, AND will be finding myself back there in August – and I’m pretty sure that’s what allowed me to get back on the plane last Sunday was knowing I would be going back…

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There’s no place like home…or Leslie’s home for a get together 🙂

Of course, in true runner form, the first thing I did when Meg picked me up from the Airport May 10, well after catching up of course, was head out with her and another one of the running wives for a few miles of my long run.  I finished it out solo b/c Meg had already run a 10k race that morning, and I needed to get 10 on the books on the Santa Cruz rollers to boost my confidence for Capitola Half Marathon on May 18.  And then we had Verve coffee…because we had to.

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Later, we headed out for delicious dinner + drinks downtown.

Meg & Me

Meg & Me

Sunday morning we had a late morning run with some of the running wives on the hills of Santa Cruz and a new-to-me path. We refueled in the evening with some delicious BBQ foods later a la casa de Leslie – who, btw, throws the best house parties around!

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Some of my running wives at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

I will admit the fact that I was in California, running in some of my favorite places made taking the rest days I was supposed to take very very difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that I wasn’t sure that my half marathon race was going to go well?  Usually I like to have 2-3 rest days during race week – and like to be about 10ish miles total shorter (including the race – w/ the exception of a marathon race week) of my previous few weeks’ total mileage.  But that quickly went out the window.

Monday I did take a rest day, and just hung out in Santa Cruz with the pups at Meg’s house while she taught or something ridiculous like that – I mean, what’s work?

Sami.

Sami.

And Monday night I got to have tacos (we don’t have real tacos in Virginia/DC) with a good friend, and see the Santa Cruz sunset. I had forgotten how beautiful it was.

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Santa Cruz sunset at Pleasure Point

Tuesday morning, it was back to running with Meg & Leslie before heading to San Jose to meet my nephew and hang out with my family for a few days.  Got in a couple solid runs, spent plenty of time loving on my niece and nephew and helping out my brother and sister-in-law and got to even go to the Giants game with my brother, sister and niece!

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Cutest little man in the world (I’m biased)

Hanging with my niece

Hanging with my niece

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Melting at the Giants game w/ my sister

Then it was back to Santa Cruz to hang out with PhD friends and run/eat some more good food on Thursday.

Drinks w/ PhD friends

Drinks w/ PhD friends

I also got to experience RecoveryPump…

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RecoveryPump insanity.

Friday it was more miles along the coast with the girls, chased with an evening of sushi and wine for girl’s night out!

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All the ladies – fancy and not.

The fancy ladies

The fancy ladies

After what felt like a solid week of eating, drinking and running nonstop, it was time to start getting mentally ready for the half marathon on Sunday…but since this post is already like longer than any post I’ve ever written, I’ll leave it here for now.  I’ll leave it on a high note from all the friendship, family fun, food, wine, and of course running that happened over my post-finals week in California.  It was easily the best week of 2014 so far.  And it finished with a wonderful race weekend at Capitola Half Marathon…

What is your best week of 2014 so far?  Or best day?

Año Nuevo

For some reason last week I got the great idea to go on a long bike ride.  I went on my first one a few weeks back through the redwoods, and while the hills KILLED by legs, I truly enjoyed every moment of it.

I spent Friday afternoon trying to repair my bike with one of my PhD friends, and while we were able to make the chain switch gears (some of the time) without the chain falling off, I foresee a large investment in a new chain and crank system in the near future (so if you have any recommendations for 21-speed road bike, let me know!).  Regardless, I awoke at 7:30 am on Saturday, ready (yet dreading) to go.

After a banana and some cocoa roasted almonds (if you haven’t tried these before – YOU MUST!), I hopped on my bike to the meeting point of our (gulp) 50 mile bike ride.  This was TWENTY miles further than I have ever ridden in my life! 

It was an out-and-back route that we took straight up California coast on Highway 1.  It reminded me why I love living where I do.

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The ride was done with two of my PhD friends, and we had a great ride through the rolling hills (though it was kind of a friends wait for Elise kind of ride – I’m slow on the bike!)

Eventually we got to our destination – 25 miles out, Año Nuevo!  It’s a beautiful California State Park on the coast, and its free if you arrive on bike!  Two cheers for two-tire transportation!  We stopped here for a snack and to enjoy the views.  Its known as being one of the location where the elephant seals come to mate, and as a good surfing and easy hiking location.  There’s beaches, paths, etc – I am definitely looking forward to coming back!

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And then we headed back south on Highway 1, stopping at Roadhouse in Davenport for a much needed break and brunch (no photos of the food – I didn’t want to weird my cycling companions out Winking smile)!  I had the two eggs meal with goat cheese and avocado – excellent combination.  And the breakfast potatoes were delish!  I would definitely go back for brunch…hopefully sometime soon on another long ride.

Afterwards I tried to nap, and then spent EIGHT, yes eight, hours holed up in a coffee shop, attached the espresso machine studying.  I haven’t drank as much espresso as I did on Saturday in a week’s time in years – and I did it all in one day.  It was intense.  But, I was super productive, and it allowed me to not feel bad about my 2 hour nap turned 14 hour slumber I took last night (whoops!)

Where is your favorite place to hike/cycle?  Why?  I’m loving the California coast, but I’m not sure its my favorite – there’s something about the woods in Northern Minnesota/Canada that make my heart sing, that only Patagonia in Argentina has been able to top.