Monthly Archives: March 2011

Golden Gate Park 10k

One month ago I went for a run and, after huffing and puffing up a small hill, I realized something: it had been three months since my last run.  I knew that was not the purpose of the months of training and my completing the half-marathon even while sick as a dog and so I was determined to not let all of that hard work go to the way-side.  I quickly went online and signed up for the Golden Gate Park 10k that was coming up in early March and began my training that day.

With only four weeks to train, I only built back up to running 4 miles so I was a wee bit nervous about completing the 6.2 mile race.  But I knew that even if I had to walk across the finish line, I’d finish.  My goal was to finish in 1 hour, 20 minutes (13 minute/mile average).

The morning of Sunday 3/6 I woke up early to a nice little rain storm.  I wasn’t too nervous since I’ve run in the rain before and I was hoping it’d let up a bit.  I showed up to the starting line to register, get my race tag, and warm-up.

Still smiling despite the rain! 🙂

Because of the rain, for the half hour before the start time there weren’t many people there.  And, since I was running a race that was put on by a local running club that was open to the public, the majority of the people there looked like professional runners.  I was getting more and more nervous by the minute, afraid that I would get left behind in the dust and be the last person by a long shot to cross the finish line.  As the gun went off, all I could think was “Well, here goes nothing”.

Warming up

The rain was coming down steadily throughout the entire race so, needless to say, my shoes and clothes were soaked!  But one advantage of the rain was that I didn’t sweat nearly as much.  🙂

Raindrops on the trees

Drizzle over Spreckels Lake

Towards mile 4 I realized I hadn’t yet taken a walking break so I made a goal to not walk the entire race…and I did it!  I was pretty amazed that I didn’t take a single walking break and I still felt pretty good by the time I crossed the finish line.  My finish time was 1 hour, 12 minutes (8 minutes faster than my goal!) and I got a nice little ribbon for it.  I placed 139 out of the total 158 racers, not too shabby.  And luckily I wasn’t the youngest person in the group of the slowest 20.  😉

Soaked to the bone!  But a happy runner nonetheless

I want to sign up for another race in the next couple of months to help keep my running up–who’s with me??  😉  I might do the Bay to Breakers 12k on May 15th–it’s the centennial for the race so it’ll be quite the show!

Hike in Almaden Quicksilver Park

So far we’re 2-for-2 with our goal to hike as many Saturdays as possible!  We went down to San Jose on Sat. 3/5 to meet up with Jessie to explore Almaden Quicksilver Park which isn’t too far from her place.  The total hike was 3 miles and although we could have kept going we had to leave it at 3 miles because Jess had to work that afternoon. We all really enjoyed exploring the small corner of the park we saw and are definitely excited about returning to check out more.

And we’re off! Me, Jess and Lola hitting the trail

Jess and Lola checking out the creek

Kevin got this great shot of the creek

Me and Lola hanging out

The Buena Vista Trail

Jess, Kevin and Lola on the Buena Vista Trail

This led us to the end of our hike: The Buena Vista mining site. We had a good time exploring the remains of this mining site.

Some of the remains of the site, old concrete structures with massive bolts left behind

Creepy look at the long way down the brick wall

Kevin went exploring a little farther as me and Jess took a break and he got this shot of us from the hill across the valley

Then I got this shot of Kevin as he was jumping off the 8 foot brick wall.  Pretty cool!

Here is it zoomed in

Pretty manzanita trees

Berries and blue sky

Lola in flight

Kevin had the day off of work and school on Friday 3/4 so he and Lola came to pick me up from work and we took a little trip to Levi’s Plaza.

This is one of Lola’s favorite parks because there’s a nice, calm river that she loves to run around.  And it’s just at the base of the huge staircase up to Coit Tower so it’s a nice little refuge after the strenuous walk up those stairs.  We only went up about half way this time (see the post from our last trip up to Coit Tower here, includes a video of Lola running around the park) but it was a good little workout nonetheless.

The highlight of the trip was that Kevin took some awesome photos of Lola in flight as she leaped across the river!

I can’t stop cracking up after looking at these photos of her mid-air!  Too funny.

Hike in the Presidio

Kevin and I made a goal to go on a hike as many Saturdays as possible.  So on Saturday 2/26 we went on a 5 mile hike through the Presidio in San Francisco.  The Presidio is a 1,500-acre urban national park at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and although we had driven through it many times when we had visitors in town, we hadn’t explored much of it on foot.  We followed the map in a book we checked out at the library and, although there was a bit of a detour due to construction, we followed it pretty close.

There was rumor that it might snow in San Francisco the day of our hike but, as you can see, it was a super clear day over the Golden Gate Bridge!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

There were lots of old canons and army memorabilia out for people to see.  We thought this beautifully decorated canon was quite the sight:

Then we came upon an old army hospital:

Lola went galloping up the stairs…and ended up on the balcony, looking down at us:

So I ran up to join her for a photo opp on the balcony of the old army hospital. 🙂

Around the back of the hospital we found these two cottages which were built after the 1906 earthquake for refugees:

Nice little set up they had there!

I took a photo of Lola from the inside of the cottage and it wasn’t until later that I realized what she was doing at the time.  Nice way to show your respect for a piece of history, Lola!

Lola on the back steps of the hospital

Officer’s Row

Then we got stuck for a few minutes due to construction.  We were going to try to bypass the construction by zipping through the national cemetery but because dogs aren’t allowed we had to come up with another plan.  We decided to hike through the forest behind the cemetery to try to meet up with the path again (instead of taking the 2 mile detour back the way we just came!)  Luckily, it worked out perfectly and we saw some cool sights along the way.

Me and Lola hiking through the forest

We saw a couple of cool churches:

And here’s part of the national cemetery with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background:

Then we happened upon this weird pile of wood.  After contemplating what its purpose was and after Lola climbed on top of it (typical), we finally saw a sign describing it.  Turns out it’s a gray fox habitat!

Then we saw these huge block letters on poles out in the middle of a field.  One line we were able to make out said “resolve conflict with song” and we had no idea what the heck the purpose of it was.

Then we saw another sign which said that it’s a habitat for a bird.  Here’s a close-up of some of the letters, they were filled with straw.

I guess there are a ton of these artistic habitat displays that people can check out and they’re part of the Presidio Habitats Exhibition.  They’ll only be up through May 15th of this year so we gotta check out the rest!

Beautiful old brick building

“I live on the corner of Upton and Upton”–good lord.

A lone crane out in the field

Fallout shelter: Cool, now we know where to go.

Lola found this random mini castle out in the middle of the Presidio. So I had her pose in front of it since she’s like our little princess.  🙂

At the base of Golden Gate Bridge

View of the coast

The last third of the hike was along the Bay Trail which took us through Crissy Fields and along the beach.

Kevin made me and Lola go through this 4 foot tunnel that was filled with about an inch of water instead of taking the long way around. Crazy guy.

I can’t get enough of this view! And the bridge looked even more amazing on such a gorgeous day.

Monterey continued…

So I realized that I didn’t upload any of Kevin’s photos from our trip to Monterey (and there were some good ones!) so I thought I’d dedicate a short post to some of his photos.  🙂  Enjoy!

At the beach in Carmel…

On the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail…

Okay, it’s official: this is where we’re retiring.

Amazingly clear blue ocean

Waves crashing.

Kevin’s friend the squirrel

This photo cracks me up, the squirrel looks like he’s spying on someone.

My wind-blown look.

One of my favorites that he took, gorgeous rocks, ocean and sky.

My second favorite of his, the seagull is perfect in this photo!

Seagull in flight

Valentine’s Week & a trip to Monterey

Like I mentioned in my last post, I arrived at the SFO airport late at night on Sunday 2/13, the day before Valentine’s Day.  Kevin picked me up at the airport and he suggested, since we weren’t going to be able to spend any time together on Valentine’s Day itself, that we do a crazy late night dinner after picking me up.  So at 10:30pm we got seated for dinner at BJ’s in San Bruno and enjoyed a nice dinner together (and shared a yummy pazookie as well!)

We’ve never been big on V-Day or anniversaries either, but Kevin sure pulled out all the stops this year.  In addition to suggesting this cute late night dinner idea, when he picked me up at the airport he gave me a King size box of Junior mints (my favorite!) and the card game Skip-Bo that we had been talking about getting for a while.  Then on Monday (V-Day) I had to go to work but he had the day off so he suggested he meet me at the office for lunch before he drove to class.  He surprised me with some of the most delicious, homemade (from scratch) devil’s food cupcakes I’ve ever had (and even had a few extra for some co-workers).  And lastly, he got me a frame with spots for four photos: he put one of us from our wedding, one of us about 2 years into our marriage, one of us and Lola living in SF, and he left one spot empty for when we have a baby.  What a sweetheart!  Okay, enough of the mooshy stuff.  🙂

The following weekend (President’s Day weekend) we decided to get away for the night and take a trip down to Monterey!  We realized we hadn’t taken a real vacation (just the two of us, and no Long Beach doesn’t count) since we went to Australia in 2008!!  Yikes, we gotta do a better job of getting away more often.  Carleigh and Scott graciously volunteered to watch Lola that night, so we packed up her bag and dropped her off at their place on the morning of Sunday 2/20 for 36 hours of play time with her best friend Bailey!

Looks like Lola on her first day of school!  Her bag was packed with lots of goodies to share with her friend Bailey.

We were recommended by C&S to drive down Highway 1 and we were glad we did.  Such a gorgeous drive along the coast.  Sure makes us appreciate this amazingly beautiful state of ours!  We stopped off for a quick visit to Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Somebody’s a major fan of the lighthouse with their “I Love Pigeon Point Lighthouse” license plate frame

I love old, run-down buildings

Thar she blows! Unfortunately you couldn’t go inside the lighthouse itself.

View off the coast

Ahoy matey!  Kevin sporting his binoculars.

Me sitting on a nicely decorated Pigeon Point Lighthouse barrel (aka a trashcan with a lid, gross).

Before checking into our hotel we drove down to Carmel to get some lunch at Carmel Belle (yummy food but super small portions and a pretty hefty price tag).  We did some window shopping and then walked down to the beach.  There were TONS of doggies out and about and it was such a gorgeous day.  We enjoyed walking along the beach and taking a break to soak in the sun.

Then it was time to check into our hotel!  Our hotel was just a block up from Cannery Row so it was nice to be so close to all the action.  Although working across from Fisherman’s Wharf in SF and knowing that I would never recommend anyone stay in a hotel out that way, I couldn’t help but get excited about being in the middle of this tourist trap in Monterey!  Haha.

Gorgeous mural of a whale around the corner from our hotel

Random old-school scuba gear on display

When Kevin saw this banner of John Steinbeck he jokingly asked me, “Why do they have a picture of Saddam Hussein up?” Hahah.

A really neat mural of fishermen along the beach.

No, we didn’t spend our money at the wax museum (they were closed, haha).

After the mandatory stroll down Cannery Row, we ate dinner at Paradiso Trattoria (pretty yummy food, especially the cilantro spread they have for their fresh baked bread…amazing!)

This was our view from the restaurant.  Gorgeous.

On Monday we woke bright and early, ate the continental breakfast at the hotel, and then checked out to go out and enjoy a drive and a walk along Ocean View Blvd. and the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail–by far the highlight of our trip!

Lots of breathtaking views to be had…

It’s a long way down!

And then, as we were looking out at the rocks and crashing waves, we spotted a furry thing scurrying across the rocks…who knew squirrels lived in the rocks along the beach?

They came up really close to us, probably looking for some eats.

Not only did we see lots of squirrels, we also saw harbor seals basking in the sun on some rocks!

Beautiful rock formations

Kevin taking a photo of the ocean

And tons of seagulls to look at and take photos of…

Seagull in action, leaping across the rocks!

Kevin taking a photo of a squirrel. They became good buds that day.

It was so so so nice to get away, just the two of us.  This being the year of our 5th anniversary of being married and our 10th anniversary of being together (!!!!) we have to take more time to celebrate our relationship and this was a perfect start to that!

Weekend in LA

I flew down to LAX on Fri. 2/11 for a work retreat at our LA campus and decided to stick around for the weekend to see some family!  My mom and her boyfriend Steve came to pick me up in Alhambra and we went straight to one of my favorite restaurants out that way: Noodle World.

I spent most of my time with Mom and Steve out in San Pedro.  We took a 2 mile walk down Paseo Del Mar and when we were looking out over Royal Palms beach, we happened to spot a mermaid!

But then we realized she wasn’t alone.  Alas, she and her three friends were with a full crew taking photos.

We then enjoyed breakfast at the Lighthouse Deli (yummy batter-of-the-day pancakes!)  That afternoon me and my mom went to visit my aunt in her new digs in Garden Grove.  For those of you that know my family well, I’m happy to report that Tina is doing GREAT!  🙂

Then we made our way back to San Pedro to The Corner Store for a wine tasting benefiting the Marine Mammal Center of San Pedro.

Lots of incredible desserts like these fudgy, red velvet cake pops dipped in chocolate.  AMAZING!!

Then we zipped on over to Busy Bee (a famous sandwich shop that I had heard so many good things about but had never tried before) to buy a boatload of sandwiches to enjoy with Brianne & Brian and my brother Derek who were coming over to Steve’s for dinner and games!

Mmm…check out that greasy goodness on the sandwich wrappers. 🙂

Brianne and Brian and Catalina Island in the background

Not the best photo, but the three of us enjoying the sunset

Gorgeous view, eh?

We spent a good few hours laughing our rears off playing a game called The Game of Things (highly recommend this game for groups, so much fun!)  Kevin even joined in on the fun in SF via Skype!  He was my partner during a few rounds and it was great to have him join in on the game for a bit. 🙂

The next morning we were up bright and early for some yummy breakfast (egg, muenster cheese and honey mustard paninis with cottage cheese/oranges and a piping hot cup of joe).

Then we drove down to Long Beach and I spent a whopping 2 hours in LB the entire weekend.  I went to visit with my in-laws, Dorothy and George, and we had a great little visit.  George cooked up some yummy and slightly spicy chicken salad sandwiches for us to enjoy too. Yummy!

After the short visit with the Edmonds family (and an even shorter appearance of my bro-in-law Thomas) we drove down to pick up my brother Derek to get some lunch at Portillo’s Hot Dogs in Buena Park and then made another visit to my aunt Tina.

Derek, a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, made a visit to the windy city last year and found out that Portillo’s (a Chicago-based restaurant) had a chain out in Buena Park.  Here he is enjoying a dog covered in goodness (as you can see, he’s not the biggest fan of the Lisa blog paparazzi).

We then made our way back up to San Pedro to make a visit with Steve’s grandson Christian who is an adorable kindergartner.  We spent a good amount of time drawing mutant animals…

And then as the sun was setting, Christian insisted on taking me on a flashlight tour of Steve’s backyard where he showed me, amongst other things, the place where his cat is buried.  Haha!

After that we rushed off to LAX and I was home around 10:15pm on Sunday. I had a really fantastic whirlwind of a trip and can’t thank my mom and Steve enough for the hospitality!  🙂

It’s true what they say about Dolores Park…

Don’t know what I mean?  Well then take a gander at this Dolores Park Bingo card:

On Saturday 2/5 we were lucky enough to spot some of those wonders: speedos, dog crap, ice cream cart, tiny dog, giant dog, tightrope walkers, and the “cold beer, cold water” guy.  Not enough to make a Bingo, but pretty darn close.

Documentation follows:

Giant happy dog (AKA Lola)

Happy yogis doing crazy stunts in the park

Disco Stu walking the tightrope

And an extremely intoxicated anonymous dude making a fool of himself

And there’s this young lad named Kevin being entertained by all of the sights of Dolores Park

Rainy day at Golden Gate Park

On Saturday 1/29 we decided to spend the gloomy, rainy day at Golden Gate Park with Terri, Scott and their two pups Madeira and Ihna!  We had a yummy picnic with meats, cheese and crackers along with fruit, veggies and homemade hummus.  And what picnic in the park could be complete without red wine drunken straight from a plastic mug!  🙂

Terri opening up the bottle of wine

Scott getting some kisses from Ihna

Madeira relaxing after a good round of fetch

Me and Kevin’s mandatory photo opp 😉

After lunch and playing fetch with the dogs we went on a nice little hike on Strawberry Hill.  Terri and Scott are quite the hikers (we went and hiked Mt. Diablo with them back in July, see the post here) and although Strawberry Hill isn’t much of a hike, it was nice to enjoy the fresh air and the gorgeous views amongst the occasional cold raindrop.  🙂

Terri, Scott and the pups after the hike

Day hike in Saratoga

On Monday 1/17 I had the day off in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day so I took the opportunity to make a trip down to San Jose for a visit with my favorite sister Jessie! 🙂

After some mandatory cuddling with Marzipan (her kitty and my furry nephew)…

We ran off for a day hike at the Sanborn County Park in Saratoga.  The park was almost completely empty so except for a couple of park rangers we had the park almost exclusively to ourselves.  It was pretty chilly and the park itself is really shady so not much sun came in but it was a gorgeously lush park with green everywhere you looked.

Jessie took this lying on the ground looking up at the canopy of trees

Can you spot Jessie in this photo??

We then did some window shopping in the super cute town of Saratoga and enjoyed some Middle Eastern eats at Rose International Market which is a huge market with deli counter.

It’s always so nice to get to spend some seester time with my Jessie!