north face

What I'm Into Wednesday - Annual San Francisco Trip

This was our fourth consecutive year travelling to San Francisco to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series.


I was a co-leader of NPSD when we traveled the first two years. We stayed on friend's floors (shout out to Paddy for the floor and Orrin for the entertainment the first year) and on couches in overstuffed AirBnbs. We drove all the way from LA and carpooled with other leaders we rarely see. We attended the North Face headquarters and partook in design talks. And we raced the marathon relay. One year as a two woman team with the one and only Voychick and one year as a four man team dressed up as BG.

Those first two years were nothing but fun.

Last year we headed up and many of us competed in the 50k. We ran the most beautiful trails I've ever been on, shared stunning views, and conquered distances that were new to most of us. It was an epic adventure of a completely different kind.

This year, the fourth, was totally new. The courses were different - they now finished over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco proper. Fewer people went up. We all ran different distances. Yet, it was still magic. There's something about getting a big group of excited, positive. motivating, and funny humans together. It brings out the best in people, and in a city. 

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See above. Literally. Go do the North Face Endurance Challenge in SF next year. Any distance. Just sign up. It's a blast.


The day before the race we had a debate/discussion about how to spend our afternoon. It's tempting to want to walk all over the place and sightsee anytime you're in a different city, but especially in SF. There's a never ending list of parks, architecture, museums, shops, and restaurants that I want to check out. But walking the day before running many miles is usually a bad idea. So a group of us chose to venture over to the Exploratorium at Pier 15 instead. Holy crap. It was so fun. The $30 admission price is WELL WORTH IT. We spent almost three hours like little kids running around this museum playing with everything. It's an interactive science museum at it's core and you'll be entertained by the exhibits, the shows, the nerdy stuff, and the fun. Go.


About half of our Airbnb was the same folks that shared one in Boston for SUMMIT 5.0 this year. And for a second time, we ate pretty much the same things as a family: Thai food two nights before the race and pizza the night before. This time the pizza was a star. Tony's Pizza Napoletana was the shit. Specifically the Eddie Muenster - fried kale, smoked bacon, calabrese peppers, muenster cheese, honey, and lemon.


If you're like me, weekends with friends are amazing - but you crave silence. I've been true to my November goal of not hitting snooze, and with that extra 5-10 minutes I'd usually waste on the snooze button I've been meditating. Truly just sitting in silence, repeating a mantra. It's been a centering way to start my day - whether at home or on the road.


No trip to SF, LA, or PDX is ever complete without a trip to SALT AND STRAW. Since the location in SD seems to be taking forever to open (come on guys!) we took full advantage of our last day to eat ice cream. November's specialty flavors are all about Thanksgiving dinner. From a salted caramel turkey flavor to stuffing to mashed potatoes and gravy. But the winner? Everyone was in agreement that Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans took home the grand prize. I'm drooling as I think about it.

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What I'm Into Wednesday - Bonuses

I consider myself to be lucky. I grew up in a well off family, in a good neighborhood. I had a good education and upstanding friends. This has all led to me being able to sit at 32 years old, at the kitchen table in my perfect cottage in one of the most expensive cities in the country, with my puppy underfoot, "working" - aka writing a blog. I find it important to remind myself that I am fortunate. That this isn't the normal reality for everyone. That it's a privilege, not a right, to be able to cavalierly share these random things I'm into with you all - for both me and you.

So in addition to the normal blog, this is also a reminder. A reminder that there are many whom are less fortunate than us. Maybe all the time, or maybe because of circumstances out of their control. We can, and should, help. How? There are so many ways. But this week I have just one suggestion: join us tomorrow. Thursday morning, 6AM, Law Street beach in North PB. Yes, it's a "free" run, but the suggestion is a $20 donation to the American Red Cross and/or that you volunteer or donate in some other way that speaks to you. We don't have to do grandiose things to give to others. We just have to do something. The fact that we can is a bonus for us, but it can literally change someone else's life. 

On to the silly stuff...


Quarterly South Park, the neighborhood in which my little cottage sits, holds a fun event called Walkabout. Walkabout is designed to showcase the neighborhood, it's shops, restaurants, and bars. Places stay open later, offer drinks and discounts, hold art shows, and serve as venues for local bands. People come in droves, complete with kids and dogs, to wander up and down the tree lined streets. To me, it feels nostalgic of a previous time in America. Where neighbors knew each other, people smiled on the sidewalks, and you supported your local businesses instead of big chains. It's a lovely event and those 4 days are some of my favorites of the whole year. Personal fav spots? Graffiti Beach, Kindred, and Cafe Madeleine


Many of you know that I'm currently 5.5 weeks out from the North Face Endurance Challenge Series California 50k in San Francisco. This is an amazing trail race and I'm so stoked to be running it again. For the past few months (since my road marathon in May, really) I've been all about that dirt. Generally speaking, my body does better on trails. Sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans. For the next 3 weekends I have Saturday and Sunday commitments that will keep me from being able to do any more long, long runs. The next week is a taper week. After that I'm running Ragnar Los Coyotes (as an ultra team... 30+ miles each). And the next weekend is the race. Soooo...what's a girl to do? Well, this weekend became about getting in one last long, uncomfortable, and difficult run. I took it to the road. Which sounds weird in prepping for a trail race, but hear me out. I'm comfortable with my climbing abilities. What has been my biggest struggle this training cycle is long, flat runs. They just beat me up. So that's what I went for. It. Was. Brutal. Which I needed. Luckily, many of my miles found me ocean-side through Bird Rock and La Jolla. I've learned to mentally accept tough runs like Saturday. And in turn, that let me enjoy the views (and their toughness). Onward.


I happened to catch a video clip on my Facebook feed of two girls talking about sage-ing and palo santo-ing their apartment. If you don't know, both of these practices are thought to cleanse the energy of the room or space that you clear with them. With both, you light them on fire (either a bunch of sage or a palo santo wood stick) and then use the smoke the fire creates to cleanse a room. We use palo santo frequently to clear out yoga studios between classes and I love the smell. I remembered that I had been given palo santo as a gift and hadn't used it. So I set to cleansing my whole apartment. I loved it. It smells great and the act of setting positive intention into a space was very meditative. Who didn't love it so much? The dog. He just kept looking at me like I was a weirdo. I might be, but I'm okay with that. 


Podcasts galore this week! I knew my long run was gonna be rough from the beginning, so I had prepped a few podcasts. Yes, I listen to podcasts instead of music when I run long and solo. Why? I feel like I'm having a conversation (or getting to listen to people having a conversation) without having to actually talk. And I get to learn something. This week I listened to a This American Life episode titled DIY.  It's from 2005, but it chronicles the story of a young man who was imprisoned in 1980 for murder. He spent 21 years in prison for this crime. But, here's the kicker, he was innocent. How did this happen? And who finally helped him get out? It was a fascinating story, with intriguing people, and painted a layered portrait of American in the 80s. Definitely worth a listen.


 I. Love. Grocery Outlet. Did you know a new one opened on 54th? Near west College/east City Heights. It's a good one! I frequent the "NOSH" aisles, which are where the Whole Foods overstocks (and other organic, GF, vegan, etc. items) can be found. Lately I've been stocking up on boxes of Mary's Gone Crackers. These babies retail for between $4-6 in the store but GO has been stocking them for $1.99. When a deal is that good, you have to stock up (since you never know how long things will last). Yesterday I also grabbed a box of Mary's Gone Crackers Ginger Snaps. Holy yum. Without being too unhealthy for you either! It's always an adventure at GO...and something good always ends up coming home!

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Boston Edition

If you didn't already know that the 5th annual November Project Summit was this past weekend in Boston than you've been living under a rock (metaphorically speaking, of course). 

I'll take any good reason to spend a long weekend in Boston, as it's one of my favorite cities of all time. And this was a very good reason. 

So I present to you, the Boston Edition of WIIW.


In my almost 8 years being a resident of Boston there are still a few places that had been unseen by my eyes. I took advantage of having nothing on the schedule for the majority of the day on Friday to meander my way around the city, on my own time, at my own pace, and with my own two feet. Many hours (and 16 miles of walking) later I had come across two of my favorite sights yet - the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Center and the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street near the marathon finish line. The $6 admission fee to the Mapparium was well worth it. This glass globe has a walkway through it and you're literally surrounded by the world as it was in 1935. A great light and sound show accompanies the tour and it's just a gorgeous piece of art. The public library was a fascinating combination of old world and modern architecture that was visually stunning at every corner. Same city, new experiences - always. 


Between attempting a full tour (running all 37 sections of Harvard Stadium) and running my portion of the marathon relay at Wachusett Mountain - I was pretty pooped. And so, so, so happy. This weekend was a great reminder of how much I like to push myself to my physical limits and that I'm ready to do so again. The past 5-6 weeks since the OC Marathon have been a struggle but it feels as though my body and mind have recovered (finally) and are ready to rock and roll!


Have you ever heard 1000+ people scream at the same time? Or that scream echo off of a concrete stadium? Or emanate in the woods nest to a mountain? No? Well you've clearly never been to a November Project summit. North of a thousand spandex clad humans converged upon the famed Harvard Stadium for a beatdown of epic proportions and then turned right around the next morning and took on one of the hardest trail races I've ever seen. The vibe, the energy, the heart of these people is amazing. I'm proud to be a part of it. 


Nothing beats the smell of waffles in the morning. Or any other time of day, if we're being honest. And no trip to Boston is complete without my favorite of all waffles - Saus. This gem in touristy Fanueil Hall is known for (yup) it's sauces - and my favorite carrier for a sauce is a liege waffle. These uber sweet desserts do nothing for your daily nutrition but everything for your daily happiness. Worth it, 100%. 


Many of you know that I'm kind of a lactard (I say kind of because I ignore this fact about myself very often). For months I've been told that when I'm in Boston I need to get "ice cream" at FoMu. So during my solo day on Friday I made sure my walking adventures took me down Newbury Street and did just that. Holy crap. The only bad part of my experience was having to decide upon 2 flavors instead of being able to eat them all. I settled on the homemade Oreo flavor and the peanut butter fudge. Heavenly.