Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Beaching... but a Little Racing

Gray, gloomy skies
Whomever coined the phrase "Sunny California" definitely wasn't including the month of June.

I've been home for 5 days now. I'm utterly exhausted

My daughter, the 21-year old, needed to get away from life's crazy rat-race for a few days.  She said she'd flip the bill if I wanted to go somewhere with her (score!), so like any running junkie would do, I combed the Internet for some races I could run and then planned "her" vacation accordingly :).  California is stocked full of races; it's suppose to be sunny and warm; and we have some friends nearby that would be fun to visit. Southern California seemed like a great option and Abbey was game so I instantly registered for the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  Aren't all vacations planned around races?  If not, I've definitely been doing it wrong for years.

We arrived on Saturday.  First on the check list was to get to packet pickup so we parked near Seaport Village and walked over to the convention center.  It was the only time during 3 days of San Diego time where we saw the sun - a whole 45 minutes worth.  Abbey managed to get a slight sunburn on her shoulders and I got the flip flop tan line (a nice diversion to the sock tan line).

Having some Marriott points banked, we opted to stay in one in the Mission Valley area.  We picked it based on the fab pool and had great intentions of using it frequently.
Please note the sunny blue sky in the background.  Aka: I did not take this picture
I think I stuck my toes in it one day when I went to the gym to use the treadmill.  That was it...that was all the water time we (*I*) had all weekend.

It wasn't a big deal the sun wasn't out (at least it wasn't raining), it just make the weekend a little more challenging to find things to keep us occupied.  Relaxing at the pool or beach doing nothing is so much easier than doing nothing in your hotel room where we were more restless.  But we managed, just fine.

Sunday was dinner with friends Irene and Mary.  Mary drove 2-hours down from Northern L.A. ... always love seeing that girl, she always makes me laugh and Irene is just a pure gem.  I really wanted to keep the meet-ups while there low-key, I knew Abbey's tolerance for me trying to connect with many blog friends to talk about running with going to be limited...and this weekend was about her, so I didn't contact too many while I was there (sorry for those I didn't :( ).

Mary, Abbey, me, Irene.  I'm pretty sure Mary isn't afraid of Abbey.  But maybe!
Sunday was race day.  I decided the night before that I wasn't going to race this thing.  I just am not "there" with racing right now and while swimming one day last week with Tara, I told her I could push my pace to run a little under 2-hours or relax and run a 2:30 half, both are so far off from where I should be, so I may as well relax and enjoy the course.  Running a relaxed 2:30 definitely is less mind damaging than killing myself for some slightly better crappy time.  So that's what I opted to do.

I was thrilled at the thought.  I decided to tag onto Irene and be her wingman when she told me what her pace was.  I couldn't think of a better way to run this thing..  Aside from that failed 50k I did in March, and the pacing job I did a couple weekends ago, I've never run an entire race with someone (there's actually some psychotic mental reasoning garbage behind this, but we don't need to dive into any of my unstable mental issues right now.)

This race is ginormous - like 35,000 people huge.  I have run races this large before (Boston and Bolder Boulder, come to mind) but I never felt so many people around me.  Irene and I lined up in her corral #10.  It felt great not to have pre-race jitters!

I crack up every time I look at this picture :)

Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi were both running the half (I'm guessing they weren't in my corral 10, just a guess though), but because the course is a point to point with no loop-backs except for mile 9-12 (for which they were well done by then), I never saw them racing.  Would have been cool, but oh well (Meb won in 1:03:11, Ryan was second at 1:05:39 (Hall said he started out too fast.  Be still my racing heart!)).

Ryan and Meb.  Admittedly, stolen pic from the Internet
It's hard to tell what type of foot strike they have when no feet touch the ground
I think that's called flying.  Must be why I'm so slow - I don't fly.
We started off and I instantly felt the muggy humidity and thought it was crazy I was sweating so much so early on for a race I wasn't ... racing.  So I made a mental note to remember to hydrate at each of the aid stations, which was a cluster crap load of people.  I do have to hand it to Competitor and the RnR series, they are well-stocked with frequent aid stations and the volunteers are ALWAYS so nice (price tag for these races are another story, for another time perhaps).  As we got to each aid station, I just told Irene to keep moving and I'd catch up.  Bless her for wearing her easily findable bright orange cap. Who knew there'd be another light blue shirt / orange cap wearing runner at mile 5. I spewed out a few words before "he" turned around and gave me a 'who the hell are you?' look.  Opps.

Irene was doing great.  We didn't chat much....as you recall from my past pacing experiences, I'm not a good multitasker talker/runner.  But I asked Irene now and then about the sights we passed and really loved the first half of the course and all the cool things we saw.  I brought my camera since I knew I had time to dillydally, but I was finding it really annoying removing and replacing it from my pack.  Plus, whenever I looked at the field of runners around me, I just saw a sea of purple Team in Training tank shirts.  Nothing against them and their cause, but it was a bit overkill.

How many purple Team in Training shirts can you count?
So I ditched the camera and just enjoyed the run.  I made a classic rookie mistake and wore new shoes having never run in them before and my feet were aching (in my defense, they are the same Brooks PureFlows I've been wearing all spring so I thought I'd be okay.  Um, no). As we got closer to the coast, it got cooler and I was started to get cold from the earlier sweat soaking my clothes. I was having a great time - and not once did I even plug in my iPod, a rarity for sure - but I was pretty much looking forward to being done.

Irene and I crossed, together, in 2:33.01.  Got our medals, met some of her great track club friends, almost froze to death (thanks for the jacket, Irene!) then high-tailed it back to my hotel, courtesy of Irene's friend who came to pick us up.  I had a great time running this race.  The heart resonates in present and playful moments with special people we share our life with.  It was a very fun course and I got to run it in the company of a dear, far-away friend...perfect!!

The dorky girl I am LOVES the sparkly palm tree :)
The rest of our vacation included visiting La Jolla later that day after the race....

LOVE this picture!
Seals ... everywhere.

A quick trip to Sea World (courtesy of complementary tickets with the race registration - sweet!)....

A little window shopping in the Gaslamp District.  And a bit of drooling over the beaches at Point Loma that were way too cold to sit on :(.

We left San Diego on Tuesday morning, bright and early with a long lay-over in San Francisco before our flight home to Denver.  We decided to rent a car since we had a few hours to kill and we hit about everything touristy that we could possibly hit in about 5 hours.  Major bonus points: It was SUNNY.  I've been to San Francisco about a half dozen times - even ran the SF Marathon in 2010 - and never once have viewed the Golden Gate Bridge not socked in a thick cloud.

But not today...

Really simply breathtaking.  We drove up to some lookout point on the other side of San Francisco and wandered through this tunnel (I'm way too lazy right now to Google any official names of these landmarks!) to find this view....

Sooo pretty!  If you look, you can see many trails throughout the hills...I'd love to come back one day and run them.

Lunch at Fisherman's Wharf with the sea lions...

Perusing the Embarcadaro's Farmer's Market...and eating way too many cherries...

Pretty sure there's no such thing as too many cherries.
And a little sugar...

Definitely no such thing as too much sugar!
Driving up the hills of San Francisco
Trolly (duh)
High on my list of "must see" was the Painted Ladies Houses across from Alamo Park.  Not sure why I had to see them other than I've seen pictures of them and love this era of architecture.  Finally found them (thank you, iPhone maps) after a quick trip through China Town.  I have to admit, though the houses are really pretty, I was greatly disappointed.  I guess I expected a vast array of endless Victorian houses for blocks on end.  Not so much.  Just 6 in total, really (and a few sprinkled in here and there), and a few of them were in great need of some repair.  Expectations set too high on my part I guess, but I was still glad we went to see them.

After our super-condensed version of everything touristy in San Francisco in 5 hours, we high tailed it back to the airport and caught our flight back to Denver just in the nick of time, exhausted.

I've been trying to get caught up on life upon my return, utterly failing it seems at times.  Last weekend, some friends and I ran the first section of the Mt. Evans Ascent race, which is this weekend.  I'm registered for this race, courtesy of a free entry I won in a race a couple years ago for winning my age group, which they let me defer to this year due to my inability to run it last year with my foot issues.  A couple weeks ago, I sort of decided to blow this race off, knowing I am nowhere remotely close to the condition I need to be to scale 4000' in the allocated time frame.  So I just thought I'd run it with friends as a training run and see where I landed at the first check point at mile 9 (BTW, the blog header picture is Echo Lake, the start of the Mt. Evans Ascent.  Nice, huh!?!?)

This is the road to the top of the race, 14,260'.  UGH
I felt like total dog food the first 3 miles.  This is some of the steepest section in the first 9 miles of the race and it starts at 10,300', so I'm not surprised, but I was sucking wind bad and walking way more of this than I have any other time up there.  But surprisingly, I started to feel better around mile 4 and actually make the first check point by the skin of my teeth.

Hummmmm.  Now my brain is teetering back to the possibility of running this thing after-all come Saturday.

You'll be the first to know what happens :).

Until then...

Run strong!!


Chicken said...

I emailed you before I read your awesome recap of your weekend! Looks like so so much fun! We had to do the SeaWorld and touristy stuff before the race since we had to leave by Sunday after the race. Good luck in your decisions on runnin the "Ascent"!!

Paul said...

Wow, you've been busy!

Awesome that Abbey wanted to take you on a trip! Sweet!

Re: Cal wx. Yes, people don't understand that the 'summer pattern' is often FOG. People in SF can not see the sun for 3 months. Places that are shielded by hills from the fog (like the lower bay) are sunny. But coastal areas are often cool and foggy, even down in SD. Best months are late summer early fall.

Glad it was sunny for your time in SF though! Score! 8) You did a TON in 5 hours. Next time you come we can show you a few of the things you missed ;)

There are some fantastic tough trail races over in Marin.

I have a really nice holster I use for my camera which is about as easy as it gets for in-out. But yes, esp once you get tired it can be a chore to take pics.

Lets see, did I forget anything?

Oh yes, have fun on Mt Evans 8) !

bobbi said...

Sounds like a super fun weekend, and a great race with your friend! And I so see you running strong on Saturday :) Can't wait to hear all about it...

Karen said...

1. Sounds like a fun race!!! :)
2. I love the Painted Ladies.
3. Glad you got to see San Francisco without the clouds, kinda funny that San Diego was cloudy---it is almost always the other way around.

Raina said...

Will she do the wind sucking race? Or won's she? Nice way to leave us on the edge of a cliff!

I am really happy that you and Abbey got to spend this time together and see such a big section of California.

Poor Abbey having to go to a blogger meet-up. My dad is one of the few non-runnning people whocan actually find himself at home at a running blogger meet up. He will try to talk the ears off of anyone and embarrass me at the same time with childhood antics I might have already blogged about. But i digress. I hope Abbey behaved herself :)

It's interesting to see that both Hall and Meb did the RnR half. I didn't think that they would necessarily do a competitor race, but i guess if the prize money is big enough...or it's in your neck of the woods...?

Fabulous photos ! I hope you find it in yourself to do the race..maybe in a pair of Brooks Cascadias instead of flows . :)

Kandi said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time despite the lack of sunshine. I haven't been to San Diego but I hear it's rare that the sun doesn't shine. Your pictures are still gorgeous and I'm sure you enjoyed your time with your daughter.
Pacing others in races is so much fun! I paced my mom to her first 15k and had a blast.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

A busy bee you've been!!

At least for the cost of a crowded RnR race that the medals are nice & heavy!

I think you'll do great Saturday!

C2Iowa said...

As if CO is too ugly enough to make you go someplace awesome! Sickening. You lucky dog.

Looks likwe a big score all the way around.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

A free vacation!!! Nice score!!! And a race on top of it!!

pensive pumpkin said...

You're so great- and I love that you had so much fun on your San Fran layover. Layovers long enough for sightseeing are totally the way to go. Exhausting, yes. But awesome.

have fun at your "race" this weekend! ; )

Teamarcia said...

Sounds like just what both of you needed despite the sun's absence ( it was here scorching us to near death in our God-forsaken relay). Yay for seeing Mary and Irene again, lucky you! I'm digging the sparkly palm tree as well.

Tasha Malcolm said...

It looks like you had a fabulous vacation. Smart thinking looking for a race while you are away. I would do the exact same thing! My college bestie lived in SD for a couple of years and they always said May Gray and June Gloom. Not the best months to vacation there, but it was always usually nicer than Spokane. I like the race medal too! Looks like a fun new addition to your collection.

ajh said...

Looks great. Thanks for all the nice comments!

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

My two fav cities in one report. You know we stay at the Residence Inn at Mission Valley. We were that close to each other, yet I was in Corral 30 something. Plus, we were at the Birch Aquarium just above La Jolla's beaches. This was a last minute race for me -registered only a few weeks prior.

June is known as Gloom month in SoCal. Yet to be honest, I cannot resist a coastal town on cloudy day. My Pacific NW Ocean upbringing.

Sounds like you had a great time - and yes - where ever we vacay - i look for a race as well.

misszippy said...

Crazy the weather you had in both places! I have yet to see sun in San Fran, but I have had cold, cloudy weather in San Diego before. How nice that Mary came and met you! And how nice that you paced Irene.

I say you go for the race...something tells me you will.

Julie said...

No wonder you are exhausted! That sounds like a crazy busy trip! I'm glad you got a chance to enjoy the race with a friend and some time with your daughter. Love the photos in San Fran!

If you decide not to do the race this weekend you could ride with me at the Denver Century. :) LOL! Not that I'll be doing the whole century...can you say I too am under trained.

brg said...

ok..now how crazy is that when a 21 year old girl wants to go on vacation with her Mom?? That is the coolest thing I've heard all week. Love the pix - what an awesome trip. :)

Irene said...

I've been so busy since the race that I forgot about that pre race goofy picture!

Yep, May gray and June Gloom, but only along the coast. A short drive east and it's suddenly sunny. How Ironic that you had sunny skies in San Fransisco!

Thanks so much for running with me. No one has ever run an entire race with me, ever, ever, ever. It was awesome.

I'm amazed that you and Abbey fit in so much sight seeing during your layover in San Francisco. No wonder you were so tired!

Next time you come out I hope to have one of the rooms done up into a guest room so that you can stay with us.


Terzah said...

You are SO going to run it--I know you well enough to say that! :^)

That sounds like a great trip, and sunny San Fran looks like it made up for the lack of beach earlier in the trip. You sound refreshed--I hope Abbey is too!

Kate Geisen said...

Ha. I know what's gonna happen. :)

What a neat trip, and very cool that Abbey and you got some time together...and that she could spare you for the race. One of my favorite races was the one where I ran it just to be with my friend who (believe it or not) is slower than I am. We had a blast!

Amanda@runninghood said...

So glad you got away on a trip with your daughter. Such a bummer about no sun but looks like San Fran made up for that! Beautiful. And of course...finding a race to run is part of the fun in being a runner. You wouldn't be Jill if you didn't run at least one race during your vacation...you do more events than anyone I know. Excited to see what you decide for this next thing!

Average Woman Runner said...

Wow - sounds like a fantastic trip and love those photos of N Cali. Love that you found a race to do! My friends who live in La Jolla say June is typically bad weather - they call it "June Gloom" but a shame that it didn't perk up for your trip.

Char said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your pictures. I was in the States about twenty years ago and went to San Diego and San Francisco. The seals were one of the things I enjoyed the most - especially down at Fisherman's Wharf. You photos brought back so many great memories. I think I'll be pulling out my photo album later on and getting all nostalgic.

Liz said...

How great to pace your friend in a race! Your photos are amazing - I'd love to go to San Francisco, it's been a dream of mine since I read the 'Tales of the City' books as a teenager!

Johann said...

Glad you had such a great time in San Francisco! I would die in a half with that many runners! Very high on my bucket list is San Francisco and the bridge and of course Zombie Runner store in Palo Alto. The zombies are the reason I started running on trails. One day you, Mary and me will have coffee in their shop.

Matthew Smith said...

Well, it's obvious that Colorado is much more beautiful than California. At least you've got sun there! What a bummer to be cloudy all the time except for San Fran. Isn't that a cool city? I love it there.

Great job on your race! I know you were out there to just enjoy it, and it sounds like you did! I like your medal.

Robin said...

To bad it wasn't sunny but looks like you had a great trip and an enjoyable race! Congrats! I love San Fran too, was only there once over 20 years ago...but loved it.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

How fun!!!!!!! So jealous! I do remember going to CA and wishing I had a wetsuit for the water.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

You squeeze so much into everything you do! I love that you and Abby got to share things together. They get to an age where they don't want to do much with us anymore.

Great race! I can't imagine running with that many other runners. Crazy!

Black Knight said...

I am very glad that you met and ran the half with Irene. Congrats for the race and the finishing time. Another half now is under your belt.
Beautiful places, I visited San Diego long time ago. Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

Adrienne Langelier, MA said...

Coming back from basically a "runcation" myself (although just of the training variety:)) at the beach I loved this post. Pretty epic, despite the temps!

I look forward to hear if you take the challenge or not...altitude fascinates me since I live practically below sea level!

Tricia said...

I've heard it called June Gloom and that is spot on in my opinion.

SF has had some fantastic weather lately -- my daughter and I were in the city on Sat and Sun and had temps of over 80 which is almost unheard of this time of year there. I think SF is one of the prettiest places when the sun is out -- it is so beautiful. I'm very impressed by the amount of things you did in 5 hours! If you ever come back to run those hills be sure to let me know so I can come too. You guys did

Sounds like a great weekend and some lovely mother/daughter time.

Ransick said...

What a great weekend get away! Your race sounds like a ton of fun too. Running with a friend for fun sounds great.

Great pictures! The first one of the Golden Gate bridge looks like a post card.

Coy Martinez said...

Ok, there are literally a million things I want to comment on here! The pic of Meb and Ryan had me cracking up! Clearly i don't fly either! HAHAH! Also, I totally blew it on my vacation I'm on. There was a trail half marathon the day after i arrived and somehow I missed it. WTF? Your race sounded like fun. I've never run a RNR but it's on my list to do! That's cool that they give you Sea World tickets with the sign up! Can't beat that!

funderson said...


NY Wolve said...

Wow that is one busy trip! A cool one too. Last time I was in San Diego, I had a business meeting, and the Navy Seals were traiing on the beach. A different kind of seal sighting than yours. And, SF. favorite place in US to travel to. And if you get a chance a fantastic city to run in!

On the Right Track said...

Wow...what a trip!!! I too LOVE that pic of the two of you in adirondacks...and the seals????? so cool!

It's funny how taking a "vacation" makes you need one upon your return....so nice your daughter wanted to spend this time with you ;)

Lindsay said...

when are you taking me on a vacation?!? this looks like a super fun time all together. i loooooove point loma. so pretty. went there every evening for a week when i was out there visiting a friend/sort of boyfriend (technically it was never defined haha) to get a sunset but every time there would be clouds on the horizon. but those cliffs are just fun (we obv dont have any over here on the east coast).

so one day when i can afford a plane ticket to colorado, i can totally stay with you for like a week and you will take me around to see all the cool stuff in the parks?

Mark said...

Yeah...what Lindsay said!!! Great post!

Kristin Bradfield said...

I was at that race too! I just posted yesterday about it. I had so much fun! They call it June Gloom in Southern CA, it's always covered in a marine layer. But it made for great race weather. I, too, was sweating like a beast in that humidity, but thank god for the zero sun. Love your pics. I made it more inland to Mira Mesa and such and it was gorgeous and sunny there, apparently the whole coast is fogged in for the month!

Jenny said...

So glad you took this trip with A - how much fun! Just sorry SoCal disappointed with crap weather. Boo!
You're such an inspiration! Good luck today! xo

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

How great to take a trip with your daughter. Love the pics. Sun no sun, you look like you had fun. Plus, a trip is not complete without a race. Well done!

Sarah said...

It sounds like a great time. This is what life is all about living healthy and well.

The Green Girl said...

Oh, Jill, I'm so glad despite all the crazy scheduling we were still able to meet up.

It was awesome to finally meet Abbey and I swear I'm not scared of her!

Everyone loves the Lexa necklace - I've gotten lots of compliments on it. Thanks for helping me to decide to buy it.