trail running

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"

DO

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. 

SMELL

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!

TASTE

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. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - A Reset Week

Have you ever gone on a trip and then felt like you needed a trip when you got back from your trip? We've all been there. I was feeling that way on Sunday afternoon, returning from Joshua Tree, and became determined to not let that feeling carry into the week. This week's list has a little to do with how I managed that.

 

Do:

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Let's start with the trip. This weekend was the first annual #SouthwestCollisionCourse. November Project tribes from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix converged on a plot of land near Joshua Tree for an evening of racing (6pm - midnight, relay style on teams) and camping. The race was so well organized and the contingent was strong (about 130 people). The plot of desert land worked great for cars and camping and the trail was a fun mix of dirt road (which are apparently private drives, whoops) and challenging trail. All is good in the hood and the event is running smoothly right through the finish at midnight. I have to give my team, the Regul8ors, a shout out. They were so fun, raced hard, and had a blast. Special shout out to Angelo for stepping in when my foot started acting up to run my last leg for me. All the positive aside, this is what I took away from the night: I greatly dislike huge group camping. When I go to nature, I want to enjoy nature. Campfire, star gazing (and Saturn gazing in our case), tent sleeping, quiet nights, and early morning sunrises. There was a small contingent of attendees who decided to take the post race party into the early morning. Like 4:30am early morning. I don't like techno ever, but especially not at 3am. Here's my thoughts: it's fine to enjoy yourself and have a few beers, but be respectful. Respectful of the fact that it's not your property, that there are neighbors nearby, that there are 100 other people who may not want to hear your drunk self yell and blast music, that there are kids, that people might want to sleep after running hard, and that they might want to rise early the next day (well rested) to enjoy nature. It's official, in my old age I've run out of patience.

 

See:

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Last week we began real dog training for Arlo. As in we hired a trainer. James from Who's Walking Who will be coming out once a week for 4 weeks to work on the things that we felt were beyond our ability: attentiveness off leash, not jumping on new people (or old people for that matter), recall off leash, and a little possessiveness with toys. James spent two hours with us and the effectiveness of the training is already noticeable. After talking to a good friend of ours who is a dog trainer, and talking to James, we decided to use the mini Educator with Arlo. It's a low powered electronic collar that delivers a variable (controlled by you) vibration/buzz when you press a button. Let me start by saying that the setting at which we've been using it with Arlo is so low that I can't even feel it when I put the collar on my own body. That being said, it's working really well. He hates it (for now), which is to be expected. Having to pay attention to your parents is no fun. It's exhausting for him to think that hard (which is awesome, see photo above). The only thing I don't like? The serious judgement I get from people who don't own dogs when they hear we are using an e-collar. How do parents of real human children deal with all the parenting shame??? Get off my ass people, he's not your dog and I'm sure you'd rather he not jump all over you. 

 

Hear:

I went into full blown podcast mode on my drive to Joshua Tree. My fave of the weekend was a Radiolab episode entitled Anna in Somalia. It was beautifully done and told a fantastic story about love, literature, and imprisonment. Give it a listen.

 

Smell:

Coffee is not a new topic on this blog. But in my mission to relax into this week instead of approach it with stress I slept in on Monday morning, made myself a large mug of coffee, and enjoyed it in the house - not in a travel mug on the run somewhere. Just being able to sit, to smell the coffee, and to drink it leisurely was heaven. But to make it even better, I made my coffee in the french press (as normal) but added ground roasted coconut and some cinnamon. YUM.

 

Taste:

Upon awakening from a much needed nap on Sunday afternoon I took it upon myself to meal prep for the week. Angelo is out of town for a few days and that normally means my nutrition goes to shit. But I'm getting serious about it. I'm unhappy with a few things performance and appearance wise, and I know that nutrition plays a larger role than even exercise, so I'm on it. That means MEAL PREP. The least amount of work I have to do to eat well on a day to day basis, the better. I roasted some sweet potatoes (or are they yams? What's the difference?) with avocado oil, salt and pepper. I cooked up a mixture of lentils and quinoa in some beef bone broth. And I made a little two bean (black and garbanzo) and corn salad with balsamic and olive oil. Toss those together, add some protein and veggies, and I have lunches and dinners all week. 

 

What I'm Into Wednesday - Trail Adventures

Have you ever made plans with friends and been equally excited and scared at the same time? This was my set of emotions going into my long run on Saturday. A few friends and I decided to try out the 5 Peaks Challenge in Mission Trails. This is something I've wanted to do for a while but haven't felt confident enough in my running abilities/injury status to attempt. So Saturday was a big day. And it was awesome.

DO

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Let's just start with the challenge itself: run/hike up all 5 peaks in Mission Trails in one day. Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay, North Fortuna, and South Fortuna. All on foot. No driving. There are a few routes of differing lengths that will take you up all 5. We chose the longest route we could find. We started at 5:30am with headlamps in the rain, vests packed full of hydration and snacks, and ended a bunch of hours later with hungry stomachs, thirst, and sunburns. In total we hit 18.7 miles, almost 4800 feet of climbing, in right about 4 hours of moving time. It was an epic adventure that I'd gladly do again (and again and again). If you're a Strava junkie, you can check our course out here!

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SEE

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Post run all I wanted to do was nap and watch something. I logged onto Netflix and came across GLOW. The premise: it's 1985 and Ruth is a broke actress trying to make it in LA. She finds herself auditioning for a women's wrestling show called GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) alongside an amazing cast of characters (including her former BFF - there's serious drama there). It's smart, hilarious, visually stunning in all it's 80s glory, has a fantastic soundtrack, and will hook you. Bonus: Marc Maron plays the director, and he's funny AF.

 

HEAR

In preparation for Saturday's adventure, I took a Friday night yoga class. I (try to) take Nikki Krause's 5PM class at Core Power in North Park (this is an open invite) every Friday. She's a gem. Smart sequencing, great music, and perfect theming. This week she talked about how we are our own best teacher. We have an inner wisdom that exists inside us all and sometimes our work is in quieting the outside world and listening more closely to ourselves. I loved that thought.

 

SMELL

Have you ever smelled a freshly prepared burrito after a 18 mile run? No? Well it's the most delicious smell ever. I hit up Panchita's in North Park for a vegan burrito post peaks. What's in it, you ask? Potatoes, soy chorizo, avocado, tomato, cabbage, peppers, and beans. And it was bomb diggity.

 

TASTE

This is a weird one. Have you ever tried Nutritional Yeast? It's like the best kept secret of the vegan world. My pre-race or pre-long run meal is always pizza, but I've been off of the dairy for a while now. So I went with an Amy's Vegan Margherita pizza with non-dairy Daiya cheese on Friday night. Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on that bad boy and it gave it the salty/savory quality of parmesan. I mean, nothing replaces the real deal, but it was close! My current brand? Trader Joes. 

Maximize My Month - September, 2017

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September is here. Kids are back in school, tourists from Arizona have gone home, and it's still feeling hot as ever in San Diego. With a new month comes a new challenge. And this is a simple one, but one I'm excited about. 

However, first we review August. The goal for August was to be more present: meditate daily, practice more yoga (even if just at home), and leave my phone while doing things like walking Arlo. I'm pretty pumped to say that I knocked this month out of the park. 

I made time to meditate (thanks Headspace!), I had the honor of leading my second retreat of the year (all about yoga and meditation - and a little wine), I spent lots of QT with Arlo, and I practiced more yoga (mostly at home). It feels great and this is a kick I will not come off of any time soon.

So on to September...

A few weeks ago I ran a 15 miler with some trail running friends (hi Lou, Megan, and John!) and we got in a convo about hydration. I fessed up that I'm terrible with drinking water before bed and in the morning. And that I felt like it might be inhibiting my exercise abilities to start my day off dehydrated. 

So this month I pledge to drink a glass of water before bed every night and one first thing upon awakening. I started this a few days early (overachiever, I know). I already feel better and even though I've been waking up once during the night to pee, I think it's totally worth it. 

So join me? Let's fight dehydration together!

PS John Nagib, this one's for you. I know you're in. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - Sore Muscles, Full Hearts

Do you ever come off of a good weekend on a serious high and someone asks you why your weekend was so good and you can't really articulate it? Nothing was extra-ordinary about this weekend but it was exactly what I wanted/needed it to be. And here I find myself in a brand new week with sore muscles and a full heart - just the way I like it.

See

A few months ago we were lucky enough to have gotten some serious (for SoCal) rain in San Diego. And that led to a blooming of wildflowers like nothing I've ever seen here. Places like Tecolote and Mission Trails transformed into bright yellow fields. Trail running was magnificent. And now we're back in more of a normal climate and those wildflowers have died off... but it's left something unique in its place. These chest height reminders sparked a conversation about the life cycle of plants - and how special it is that these plants (that are no longer serving a visual purpose of beauty) will soon fall and decompose to provide nutrients to the plants that will grow in their place. Nature, man. It's special.

Smell

The weekend started on Friday afternoon with a dinner par-tay of sorts with some of my favorite humans. Our friends, Lou and Amanda and Napoli, hosted Puerto Rican night at their house. It was part to just spend time together and part to christen their brand new (and beautiful) picnic table (that was built by my brother in law!). It started with homemade sourdough bread (thanks to the bread queen, Allie) and chorizo and tostones (fried plantains) and then moved to pork shoulder and a rice dish and finished with pineapple rum upside down cake. All deliciousness was washed down with a rum and passionfruit cocktail. To say the house smelled good would be a very serious understatement. And the vibes were perfect for kicking off a weekend!

Taste

This is one of those weeks where I couldn't be happier that smell and taste are under two categories - because I kind of get to double dip. Here's a dirty little secret about me - I LOVE Souplantation. And I love it even more because my trail running friends love it too. From giant salads to chili and cornbread to the gluten free coconut muffins, I'm in heaven. It's extraordinarily mediocre, and there's something special about that. Our NPSUMMIT house reunion on Sunday consisted of Tecolote trail runs for breakfast and Souplantation for lunch and it was bomb diggity. 

Hear

If you've ever taken a yoga class with me, you know I love me some Sylvan Esso. A while ago I was introduced to a new song of theirs, but kind of forgot that with new songs eventually (usually) comes new albums. So I was pretty pumped to come across their 2017 album last night. Give it a listen.

Do

Less. Do less. Plan less. Go with the flow more. While I did have some specific things planned for the weekend (workouts, classes, etc.) I largely left this weekend unplanned. And that was part of what made it so perfect. It left time for wandering, exploring, hitting snooze, chatting a little longer with friends, cracking more jokes, eating extra food, and just generally choosing activities based on what I wanted to do, not what I had to do. So when you can, do less and experience more.