san francisco

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.

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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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DO

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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.

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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.

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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.

HEAR

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.

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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 - The "Fall" Edition

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EDIT: This post was written prior to the events that happened in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, October 1st. It feels weird to post just another normal Wednesday blog but being able to live our normal lives without fear is one of the things that makes being an American special. So before we get to that normal Wednesday post, let me just say this: do something. Stop reading this blog, open another tab in your computer or on your phone. Schedule an appointment to donate blood, search for a non-profit that you'd like to donate to, send a quick email or phone call to your local representative and lobby for mental health or gun control or DACA or women's rights, go to the store and buy supplies for a hard hit area like Puerto Rico. Just take a moment, quit with all the thoughts and prayers baloney, and go do something. This blog (and everything that you do on the computer or your phone) will be right there waiting for you when you return. Because you're lucky. I'm lucky. We're all so very privileged. We can read and write these silly little blogs and go about our normal days. Not everyone can right now. So let's do something, collectively. 

End plea.

Onward

"Fall"

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One of my all time favorite meals is soup and grilled cheese. It's warm, comforting, and delicious. But nobody wants to eat soup in the summer heat. So we finally have had a chilly (I use that term lightly) evening or two and I took full advantage. My choice? Baron's Market. Not only do they have absurd brownies (with samples out, always) but they have a whole soup bar! I went with vegetarian chili - corn, beans, slightly spicy. Just perfect! These days I'm off the dairy so I replaced the grilled cheese with avocado toast. I don't care how "basic" that is. It will always be yummy. Do you have a favorite soup and sandwich combo?

HEAR

Time to spread the podcast love around. I just finished up How I Built This with Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz. We're all familiar with the current iteration of Starbucks but it was fascinating to learn the beginnings. I had no idea that it originated as just a store to buy coffee beans or how innovative they were with things like employee healthcare. While many of us (myself included) tend to poo poo Starbucks these days in favor of local, small roaster coffee joints - it was a fantastic reminder that none of the coffee scene as we know it today would exist without Starbucks. 

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While we may have a few hours during a few days that feel reminiscent of fall, it certainly doesn't smell like fall in San Diego. Saje to the rescue! Their diffuser blend called Mountain High fixes all of that! Mountain High has pine, balsam, and spearmint to make your home feel woodsy, fresh, and invigorating. 

SEE

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Another weekend, another long run. In the prep for the North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50k in November we've been putting in some serious weekend miles. This weekend we took to Mission Trails for another shot at the 5 peaks and we were met with an unexpected friend: clouds and fog! It was perfect running weather for about half of the run and made for some incredibly stunning views. Yay for cooler temps!

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Trader Joes has done it again. They absolutely nail the fall and winter themed specialty food products. I'm not a pumpkin spice fan, so I usually fare well and come out unscathed during October. They tend to get me with the gingerbread and peppermint flavored items in November and December. But I did discover a new favorite item out now: Apple Cider Jam. Chunks of apples in a cinnamon-y jam. Reminds me of apple pie filling (not quite as sweet) and is absolutely delish with peanut butter on some toast! Get yourself some.