Thursday, October 30, 2014

Currently: October Edition

I am getting my October currently post in right in the nick of time!  This month FLEW by for me!

Reading: The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris for a local book club that my friend Courtney and I started.  I haven't had an in person book club in YEARS so I am excited that I finally do!  I think it's going to be a great group!

Loving:  the beautiful fall weather we've had lately!  The weather has definitely changed this week but I love that we had so many 60+ degree days in October!

Thinking: about what goals I want to set for myself in 2015.  The end of the year is going to come fast so I'm doing some brain storming now. In the last couple of years I had huge goals like pass the CFA or get out of Charlotte but this year there aren't any huge goals, at least not ones that are easy to define and measure...  so we'll see what I come up with!

Frustrated:  that it is taking so long for the water damage repairs to be completed in my condo.  It's been almost 4 weeks since the pipe leaked and my living room is still not back to normal.  The property manager has been great but the insurance adjuster is taking FOREVER.  Ahh, I just want my organized, clean condo back.  Fingers crossed the work gets done next week. 

Feeling:  like I really need to plan less in November.  I've been feeling over tired and I know that over planning is contributing to that. 

Anticipating: our 6th Annual Julia Child Night which is just over a week away!  It's the most delicious night of the year and I am excited to introduce Phil to the tradition (and more of my family)! 

Watching:  Parenthood and Top Chef on DVR most Sundays (live watching does not happen these days).  I am so sad that it's the last season of Parenthood!  What will I do without my weekly Adam Braverman fix?

Sad:  that the number of hours of daylight is quickly declining.  I am not looking forward to the end of Daylight Savings this weekend as it will get dark even earlier!

Working:   on a new publication at work that I re-designed from scratch.  I was not impressed with what we were doing before and think this new publication will be a big improvement.  I hope the sales force shares that opinion with me.    

Grateful:  that I belong to a Catholic church in the Twin Cities that I really like.  Luckily the parish is just across the river from where I live so it's also convenient for me to attend.  I really love the priest and deacon as they give awesome homilies that really make me think.  

Listening:  to the wind blowing outside my window.  It's been a bit blustery here lately!

Wishing: that I had more vacation time.  Don't get me wrong - I know I have more than many others do, but starting a new job in the middle of the year means it gets pro-rated so while I certainly have a fair amount, it's not as much as I would normally have (and I get 4 less days than I did with my previous employer).  As a result I can't take a day off to help with Julia Child prep and I don't think I will be able to take time off around Christmas but am hoping I can work from the lake 1-2 days.  But I can't complain too much since I am using 4 days to go to Jamaica!

What are you grateful for, loving, and reading?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Showing Lori the City I Love!

I got to host Lori this past weekend and we had the best time!  She had never been to Minneapolis so it was fun to show her some of my favorite sights and introduce her to some of my favorite local restaurants.  Here is how we kept ourselves busy this weekend!

On Friday morning I picked her up from the airport and we headed to Minnehaha Falls which is a pretty waterfall in south Minneapolis that is about 10 minutes from the airport.  It was a beautiful day to see the falls as it was so sunny and warm out!

We had to take a waterfall selfie!
After walking around for a bit, we drove through an area called Uptown so she could see what that area is like, I ran an errand, and then we had lunch at a place I hadn't been to but had been wanting to try called Lagos Tacos.  The food was so good!

After stuffing ourselves with tacos, chips, and salsa, we went for a walk around part of Lake Harriet and then went to Wild Rumpus Bookstore which is this awesome children's book store in the Linden Hills area of Minneapolis.  It's a very unique story and just something I feel like everyone should see!  The store has lots of animals, like chickens, cats, chinchillas, birds, a lizard, etc.  There is so much to see so it's a great place to take kids (and animal lovers). 

One of the chickens walking around the store

There is usually one or two cats hanging out in the window.  The store was all decked out for Halloween!

After all of that exploring, we were pretty tired out so we went back to my place to relax for the rest of the evening.  I made dinner and we watched some HGTV.  We called it an early night as Lori got up super early for her flight that day!

On Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful day.  The weather was in the low 50s which is pretty amazing for this time of year as it could certainly be MUCH cooler!  The sun was shining and the view from my balcony was so peaceful and beautiful.

We opted to go for a run in Phil's neighborhood instead of mine as the leaves in my neighborhood had dropped more than his and I knew of a good 4 mile flat route that we could do by his house.  Plus I had to check in on the cat that he's been pet sitting for as he was out of town for a bachelor party.  The area where we ran was so pretty as it is a wooded area with paved running and biking paths that follows a creek.

His neighborhood is so pretty right now.  When we were walking back to his house, this tree was seriously raining leaves - it felt like a magical fall day!

After our run, we stopped by his house so I could check in on Ted, the cat.  Phil LOVES this cat so much, I don't know what he will do when this long-term pet sitting arrangement ends (his owner is working on a contract out in LA and has been gone at least 80% of the time since January).  I also have fallen in love with Ted as he is the sweetest cat. 

Our next stop was Victor's 1959 Cafe for brunch!  It is a tiny little Cuban place close to Phil's house that has awesome food.  I started off with a sweetened cafe con leche which was so good!  Lori and I both had the hardest time picking our meals as there were so many good, interesting options!

After brunch we headed back to my condo, got ready for the day and then walked into downtown Minneapolis so I could show her what our city center is like.  We grabbed some coffee at Starbucks and then did a little browsing at some of the stores.  It was nice to be able to show her what our downtown was like.  Yes, it is smaller than other large cities but I think it has a lot to offer for its size (Banana Republic, Gap, Macy's, Target, Barnes and Noble, etc).  She could see why I missed living here as I can pretty much walk to most of the places I tend to shop at.

On Saturday night we went to church in my neighborhood and then went to Brasa for dinner, which is my favorite casual dining restaurant in Minneapolis!  Almost the entire menu is gluten free so it's a great place for me to eat as I can really order what I want instead of choosing from a limited number of options.  We ordered a selection of small plates to share and the food was SO good!

We had roasted pork, smoked beef with BBQ sauce, romaine and mozzarella salad, crispy yucca, and rice and pigeon peas with ham sofrito.  It was all delicious!
On Sunday we started off the day by going to a yoga sculpt class at the yoga studio by my house.  I love this class because it's a combo of cardio, strength training and stretching.  After the class, I made breakfast for us and we did a little exploring in my neighborhood.  It was fun to walk around and show her all the views in my neighborhood!

We capped off the weekend by going to my running club annual party.  I am on the board so needed to be there so was glad that Lori was up for coming along!

It was such a fun weekend and I think we struck a great balance of being out and about and having down time in the afternoons to read and chat.  I am also so glad that the weather was so nice as it made exploring on foot so much more enjoyable.  Lori came at the perfect time as the weather has shifted this week and it's much cooler!

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TLC Book Tour: The Lost Tribe


Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.
Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island  is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.
My Review:
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island was an interesting read. Sometimes non-fiction books feel like a synopsis of dates and events with little color in between but this was not the case with Prentice's book.  I learned a lot while reading this book but there was also enough of a story to keep me interested and engaged in the book.  It's about a tribe of natives from the Philippines that is brought to America. They are told that they will be there for a year and the opportunity is painted as an opportunity to achieve prosperity for their family.  Unfortunately, they were misled, exploited and abused by Truman Hunt, the American they had placed their trust in.  
It's hard to imagine a time in our country when "human exhibits" were in vogue.  It was sad to read about their exploitation.  They were cheated by Truman Hunt every step of the way and I can only hope that Truman Hunt eventually had some sort of karmic payback down the road.  
I recommend this book for other non-fiction readers.
Do you read much non-fiction?  What was the last great non-fiction book you read?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Out with a Bang

Happy Monday!  I had a great time hosting Lori this weekend and will show you what all we did later this week!!

October has been a blur. A cursory glance at my planner shows why it's been a blur. 

It's been a really fun month, but a busy one.  I've had 3 friends visit and have had lots of other social obligations plus a work trip to Charleston.  My free nights have been few and far between and Phil and I haven't had as much one-on-one time as we'd like.  But I did have a really fun month and I know that life will slow down when winter hits as we tend to hibernate in this part of the country when it gets cold.  I am not looking forward to the decline in temperatures, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to a quieter schedule!  But for now, I am embracing my busy schedule and soaking up all the time with friends.

October has been a busy month but we are ushering it out with a bang as we have a week full of fun activities. Here are some things I'm looking forward to!

Tomorrow Phil and I are hosting a pumpkin carving party at his house with some of the other couples we are friends with.  I haven't carved a pumpkin in many years so I am looking forward to it!  I'm making a couple of appetizers, an apple crisp, and this pumpkin ice cream.  I'm really excited to eat the roasted pumpkins seeds!

On Wednesday I have a video chat date with Allison.  We are long overdue for a chat so I can't wait to catch up.  Thank God for Google hangouts; video chats make me feel more connected to my far away friends.

On Friday we are going to a murder mystery party that another couple in our group of friends is hosting. I have never been to a murder mystery party so it will be fun to do something new! 

On Saturday we are going to a Halloween party that Phil's coworker throws every year.  I am not a huge fan of Halloween as I suck at coming up with costume ideas but I am looking forward to this party as it's a fun group of people.

Are you doing anything this week to celebrate Halloween?  What kind of candy will you hand out on Halloween?  I'm hoping we get some trick-or-treaters at Phil's before we head to the murder mystery party as I love seeing kids in their costumes! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Playing Tour Guide!

Happy Friday!  It's an especially happy Friday today because my friend Lori flies in from Charlotte this morning!  She has never been to Minneapolis so I can not wait to show her around!  I love hosting friends, especially those who haven't been to Minneapolis before as it's fun to play tour guide and show them my favorite parts of the city.

We have a loose agenda for the weekend as I don't want it to feel over planned, but some of the things we plan on doing are:

- check out Minnehaha Falls
- go for a walk around one of the local lakes
- eat ice cream at my favorite local place
- go for a run in my neighborhood along the Mississippi
- have brunch at Victor's and dinner at Brasa
- check out my favorite local bookstore (their website needs some TLC but trust me when I say it's the coolest kids bookstore I've been to!)
- spend some time in my neighborhood taking in the views!

Depending on how our schedule shakes out, we might also do a day trip to one of the local state parks to take in some fall foliage but we'll see how things play out!

I'm excited to host Lori, but I'm also looking forward to getting lots of one-on-one time with her.  She was a great support system for me when I lived in Charlotte and one thing I really appreciated is that despite the fact that she loves Charlotte, she never once made me feel bad about not liking it there.  She always made it clear that she understood why I wasn't happy there and she offered up a lot of prayers that I would find my way home.  Now I am excited to show what exactly I was missing when I lived down in Charlotte.  And luckily, mother nature is giving us the gift of beautiful, unseasonably warm fall weather!

When is the last time you hosted visitors?  What are some of your favorite things to do when you have visitors?  My favorite thing to do when I have visitors is go for walks in my neighborhood and take them up to the observation deck of a local theater as it has great views of the area!  Oh and getting ice cream at Sebastian Joe's is a must, too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Working Out While Traveling

I was in Charleston last week for work.  Depending on my schedule when traveling, fitting in workouts can be really hard because the days are long and air travel just seems to make me extra tired.  But my schedule was pretty reasonable on this trip so I was able to fit a workout in each day.  Here's how I got my workouts in while traveling on this trip!

1.  Hotel Room Tabata

Sometimes my day starts too early to fit in a long workout, and that was the case on Wednesday, so I did this Peanut Butter Runner 20 minute tabata workout.  I know 20 minutes is a short workout but it kicks your butt and I figure it is better than nothing.  It only requires your body weight so it's an easy one to do in your hotel room.  Jen from Peanut Butter Runner has lots of great workouts, so if you are looking for some inspiration or are bored with your current workouts, check out her workout page.

2.  Find a local class

When I was walking to get coffee on Wednesday morning, I noticed that there was a spin studio 2 blocks from my hotel.  To offset the shorter workout I did on Wednesday, I decided to do a spin class on Thursday morning.  They offered a 60 minute class at 6 am so I was able to do that and get to breakfast by 7:45.  It was a great workout and well worth the $15 drop-in class fee I payed.  I ended up having conference stuff from 7:45 am until 10 pm that night so at the end of the day (and after eating ice cream twice during the day - once at lunch and again at dinner) I was glad I fit in an intense workout in the morning!

3.  Go for a run!

Of course my favorite way to exercise when traveling is to go for a run.  I think it's the best way to see a city.  It's not always easy for me to fit it in, though, as some cities aren't very runner friendly (like downtown Los Angeles, in my opinion) and I will not run in the dark in an unfamiliar city.  Luckily my breakfast didn't start until 9 on Friday so I was able to do a sunrise run.

The Cooper River bridge just before the sun began to rise

I love running by the water, but it's even more special to run by the water when the sun is rising!

The homes in Battery Park were glowing!  This is my favorite area of Charleston.

One last sunrise photo before I headed back into the heart of Charleston
I'm not always this good about fitting in workouts while traveling but I am glad I was able to make it work on this trip! 

Are you good about working out while traveling?  I try not to take more than 1 rest day when traveling but sometimes I choose sleep over working out. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My 4th Fix

When I got back from my San Francisco trip (which was over 3 weeks ago! Where has the time gone?), I had another Stitch Fix waiting for me.  In this fix, I had asked for some fall items and I specifically requested a denim jacket.  Here is what they sent!

Item #1 - Dark Green Fitted Pants

I am all about colored pants so when I saw these in the box I was excited!

They are a dark green color, which is a color of pants I don't own and they go great with the new boots I bought this fall so my verdict was to keep them.

Item #2 - Cropped Sweater

When I pulled this next item out of the box I thought, "ooooh, a sweater!"  Then I saw that it was sort of a sheer knit material with a cropped front and I thought - "oh, not my style."

And trying it on confirmed it.  I do not care for cropped sweaters, or sweaters with different lengths in the front and back (at least on me, I think they look better on those with a shorter torso) and I really didn't like the sheer knit fabric so my verdict was to send it back.

Item # 3 - Jean Jacket

I had specifically asked my stylist to send a jean jacket so I was glad she sent one!

The color of the denim was different than what I had envisioned as it's sort of a gray denim but I liked the fit and loved how soft and comfortable the denim was.  I sent it to a friend for her opinion on the color of the denim and she liked it so my verdict was to keep it!

Item #4 - Pencil skirt

I had asked my stylist to also send a pencil skirt and instantly knew I'd like it when I pulled it out of the box.  It's hard to tell in this photo but little geographical shapes create the stripes.

I tried it on and loved it so my verdict was to keep it!  I actually ended up wearing it to work the next day and got some compliments on it.

Item #5 - Green Blouse

The last item in my box was a silky green blouse.  I have more than enough bottoms in my closet but don't have enough tops so I was hoping to like this.

Unfortunately I did not care for it.  It felt a little bit too billowy and I didn't like how it look when it was tucked or un-tucked.  Plus I did not care for the green color so my verdict was to send it back.

So in total, I kept 3 pieces and sent back 2.  Each fix does seem to get better so it's good to see that they are incorporating my feedback.  I will get another fix later this month and I asked my stylist to include a dress for the wedding we'll attend in Jamaica so hopefully I like what she sends.  After that fix I am going to take a break for the rest of the year as I want to cut back on my spending as the holiday season approaches.

Have you added any fall pieces to your wardrobe recently?  Besides the 3 items I kept out of this fix, I also bought brown boots, a brown leather purse and skinny jeans in September.  

The thoughts in this review are my own and I was not compensated by Stitch Fix to post this review.  However, I will receive a $25 credit if you sign up for Stitch Fix using the referral link included in this post. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Falling Back in Love with Fall

I love this quote by Anne of Green Gables!

I've struggled to really embrace fall this year.  I usually love this time of year but this year I wasn't quite ready to let go of summer.  But over the course of the last two weekends, I started to fall back in love with fall.  I think I came to the realization that ready or not, fall is here so I might as well embrace it.  After all, it is a stunning time of year in the Midwest, and it can be a brief season so I might as well make the most of it!

I just have to look out my window to be reminded of how beautiful this time of year is.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - I feel so lucky to live where I do.

The last two Sundays, I've gone on long runs along the mighty Mississippi.  It's a beautiful area with paved running and biking trails lined by trees.

The trees in this residential area along the river seem particularly beautiful this year.

I recently rediscovered a running path that I hadn't ran in over 2 years which takes you closer to the Mississippi River.  The fall colors are stunning. I can't wait to run this path with my friend Lori when she visits this coming weekend!

The sun was shining and the reflection off the water was beautiful.

The path I ran features a bridge that runs parallel to the shore of the river.  I love the juxtaposition of the great outdoors and urban life in this photo; it's a peaceful wooded area but you can see the Minneapolis skyline in the distance.

This running path is probably 5 miles from the center of the city but it feels like a different world. The 2 pictures show how the fall colors have begun to peak over the last week as they were taken in the same area!

This past Saturday, I also had the chance to go for a nice long bike ride with my friend Courtney. We covered about 24 miles and saw lots of beautiful fall colors along the way. 
Biking is so much more fun with a buddy!

After fighting the transition into a new season for awhile, now my mind is saying:  "OK fall, I'm ready for you."

Have you greeted fall with open arms or have you struggled to embrace the change of seasons? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Miscellany

Happy Monday, and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!  I actually have today off as the bond market is closed for Columbus Day.  Hooray!  I heart long weekends.  Here's a hodge podge summary of what's going on in my life these days.

- The weekend before last one of my best college friends, Heidi, flew in from Austin for a girls weekend.  It was so much fun to spend a weekend with some of my closest college friends.  On Saturday we went to an apple orchard that also had a vineyard and that evening we hosted some other college friends that lived in the area for a girls night in (which is my kind of Saturday night).  I also got to introduce Heidi to Phil and he got a chance to spend more time around my friends as we ordered in pizza on Friday and included the boys and the kids.  I think the quote of the weekend, though, happen on Saturday morning.  My friend Brooke's little boy who is almost 4 was snuggling on my lap at breakfast and he said, "You smell like my grandma."  Hahaha. This is actually a compliment because my friend's mom is pretty much more fashionable than me (I am not kidding) and according to Brooke she wears nice perfume.  ;) 

Cheers to drinking at 11 am on a Saturday morning!

- Last week was not a great week.  A pipe in my wall leaked and flooded the carpet in my bedroom and damaged some of the wood floors in my living room.  I didn't discover the wet carpet until 10 pm on Tuesday night, which meant maintenance came at 11:45 pm.  I ended up driving to Phil's at midnight to spend the night as they said they'd be my unit for 2-4 hours.  My apartment is still torn up because they have to replace the carpet padding and that won't happen until later this week.  Then they have to replace some of the wood floors.  And patch the big hole in the wall that they cut to fix the pipe.  And hopefully they will clean before they leave because my wood floors are disgustingly dirty.  The timing of this wasn't great because I was already feeling overwhelmed by my schedule and I suck at handling chaos/disruptions to my life.  I just hope all the repairs are made and my home can return to looking clean and organized by the time my friend Lori arrives on October 24th for her weekend visit.

- On a positive note, Phil and I celebrated the 2 year anniversary of our first date on Friday!  The anniversary of our first date was actually on October 2nd but Heidi flew in that night so we had to push back our celebration.  We both prefer casual dining restaurants so we celebrated by going to this cute Cuban place called Victor's.  The food was awesome and it was fun to reminisce about the early days of our relationship.  It's kind of crazy to think about all that has happened over the last 2 years...  However we focused on the early days and did not travel down the memory lane of 2013 because that is not fun for either of us to reminisce about.

- I also got to host Iowa Amber last weekend as she came up for a book fair in Minneapolis. We were drawn to this event because Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss (and 2 other books) was speaking.  It was fun to listen to her speak!  After the book fair, we went to two independent book stores in the Twin Cities (Micawbers Books and Magers and Quinn). I am shocked that I did not buy any books!  We capped off the day by meeting up with Phil, Lesli and her husband and Allison and her husband for dinner and a game of trivia at Chatterbox Pub, which is a fun restaurant with lots of board games. It was fun to host Amber and get a chance to really catch up.  We had great talks about books, careers, relationships and friendships.

Amber and I having some fun with the props in the Teen tent where Stephanie Perkins spoke!

- I leave for Charleston tomorrow to attend a conference put on by one of the bond issuers we work closely with.  I am hoping I have some down time to do a little exploring or at least some walking around but these conferences tend to involve dinners every night so we'll see what I can fit in.  At a minimum I want to go for some runs as the morning temps will be so mild!

What's on your mind today?  I won't be posting while I am traveling so have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2014

San Francisco Trip: Part 3

Now for my 3rd and final installment of my San Francisco trip recap!  After the race on Saturday, Kyria took us to a great local breakfast place in the Berkeley area.  It was awesome to have Kyria as our hometown host because she had great restaurant recommendations and it was so nice to have a local with us as she knows the Bay Area so well!  Anyways, after over 3 hours of running, I was starving, so I was definitely in the clean plate club.

Mmm, the asparagus in my eggs was so good!
After brunch, Kyria brought us back into the city.  We got cleaned up and took a walk to see the "Painted Ladies" which were about 1.5 miles from our apartment.  I love the architecture of the homes in San Francisco!

Not the best picture or lighting so trust me when I say these homes are cool/pretty!
Kyria came back into the city to spend the night with us.  The Mission District is known for its burritos, so we HAD to go to a taqueria.  I can't have burritos since I can't have flour tortillas due to my gluten intolerance, so instead I had 3 tacos on corn tortillas.  They were ah-mazing.  This was probably my favorite meal of the weekend - and the cheapest!

I had 1 carne asada and 2 carnitas tacos.  Next time I would get 2 as 3 was TOO much food!
After our big Mexican dinner, we took a walk to a local ice cream place.  Like my grandpa Rudy would say - there is always room for ice cream!  So despite the fact that we were all stuffed, all of us except Leigh made room for some ice cream.  I got 2 small scoops of Mexican chocolate and a chocolate ice cream with caramel pieces in it.  Yum!

We were up early on Sunday morning so we could fit in one last adventure - biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito - before Lauren flew back home on Sunday afternoon.   We picked up our bikes at a sports store close to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Leigh was 24 weeks pregnant on this trip but you wouldn't have guessed it!  I was impressed by her energy levels and ability to keep up with our go go go schedule!

It was a beautiful morning for a bike ride.  We took a quick detour before crossing the bridge to snap some photos!

Amber, Kyria, Lauren and Leigh
The views on the bike ride were beautiful!  I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone visiting San Francisco.  The bike ride was about 6 miles total and it probably took us about 90 minutes when you factor in time for taking photos, etc.

When we got to Sausalito, we went to a great brunch place.  It was SO good and I was once again in the clean plate club!

We took the ferry ride back to San Francisco, said good bye to Lauren and biked over to the Ferry Building.  Then Amber, Leigh and I said good bye to Kyria and biked back to the bike rental place.  We were pretty tired out after this so spent some downtime in our apartment before heading to the North Beach area for dinner.  We went to a cute Italian restaurant and treated ourselves to gelato afterwards. 

On Monday morning we woke up without an alarm which was awesome, and went to a breakfast place that had gluten free pancakes (I was craving pancakes which is random as I usually don't eat that kind of breakfast food).  We walked around the Noe Valley and Castro areas.  As usual, it was a very hilly walk!

Amber at the top of one of the hills we climbed!
As usual, there were lots of neat houses to look at!

We snapped once last selfie in Dolores Park and then it was time to head back to the apartment to grab our bags so Amber and Leigh could head to the airport.

I was so sad to say good bye to Amber and Leigh (and to Lauren and Kyria on Sunday) - our running trips always seem to go way too fast. But I feel lucky that we've been able to keep up our tradition of these running meet-ups.  I definitely value the friendships I have with these girls and look forward to future meet-ups!  I wonder where our running adventures will take us next?

So...  what city/area of North America should we hit up next?  So far we've visited Portland, Victoria, BC, Chicago, and San Francisco!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

San Francisco Trip: Part 2

The second installment of my San Francisco trip will be all about the trail race that we ran in the Berkeley area.  I'll let the pictures mostly do the talking!  

We woke up to beautiful weather on Saturday morning!  I heard the race director say it was the first sunny race they'd had so I guess we got lucky!  The race started in an area that was close to a lake so it was very pretty!

This race was HARD.  Here is a picture of the elevation profile.
I enjoyed the race, but dang it was so hard.  I trained hard this summer and could have cranked out a strong road half marathon (and probably PR'd) but I was totally ill prepared for a trail run as I only did 3 trail runs over the course of the summer.  The thing is - I am all about convenience and trail running is not convenient for me as it requires long drives (and I dislike driving).  So as much as I enjoyed the race, I don't know that there is going to be much trail running in my future so long as I live in Minneapolis due to the inconvenience factor.

Since I knew I wasn't trained to push myself out there, I took it easy and put no pressure on myself to finish by a certain amount of time.  We walked all of the hills and stopped to take pictures as neither of us was really focused on time.  We ended up finishing in 3:07, which I was happy with because I thought it might have taken longer since it was so hilly!  I ran every step of the way with Amber, which was awesome.  We chatted during the entire race which made the time go by very fast.  I'm very thankful that she stuck with me for the whole race!

Here are some pictures from the race!

This picture probably doesn't do it justice, but this was one of the steep climbs towards the beginning.

Stopping for a photo on the way up!  It was nice to have no goal because that meant I could stop and take pictures as much as I wanted.  That would never happen in a road race!
We were rewarded with beautiful views at the peak elevation point!

This picture was taken towards the end of one of the really long climbs.  It's hard to see on the computer, but you can vaguely see some white shirts at the bottom of the hill which shows how far we had to climb!

Lauren, Amber and I at the finish.  You can see I am a little beat up because I totally bit it around mile 11.  I guess that makes me a legitimate trail runner!

All in all it was a fun run and it was nice to do a race where I put absolutely no pressure on myself regarding my time.  Not pictured is Kyria, who ran the 35k and Leigh, who was our awesome cheerleader!

Have you ever tried trail running?  If so, what did you think?  I think I would do more trail running if I lived closer to some trails as I do enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of trail running and the lack of focus on pace/splits!