Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. Thank you to those who have served. I read somewhere today, "honor the warriors, not the war." Well said.

This morning, I took full advantage of the day off and walked around the neighborhood. I don't remember the last time I did this....went for a walk without an agenda or some destination. I guess my only "destination" this morning was coffee! I used the opportunity to take a few photos. A friend of mine always says she wants to start recording the city in photos. She's lived in SF most of her life, so she has definitely seen it change. Like any city, over the years, parking lots become condos, the pet store on the corner becomes a barber shop, the Chinese restaurant welcomes a new chef, becomes a hot-spot, and is written up in the New York Times (and consequently requires a 3-week in-advance reservation!)--All of these have happened within 2-blocks of my apartment. These changes happen slowly and subtly, and we don't even notice the neighborhood changing.

I also wanted to record my neighborhood for the quirkiness, art, and the fact that is has changed in the 3 years I have been here. Here is a walk around the neighborhood:

Sidewalk art on Cumberland St

Women's Building mural
Dr. Suess-ish building mural!

2 Months to Go!

So today marks 2 months to my race. Wow. It still feels so far away, yet way too close. I have feelings of anticipation, fear, humility, excitement

Some days, I feel ready. This usually happens after a good run or swim. Maybe it's the endorphins, I don't know!?

Some days, I feel absolute panic. I am not going to be ready. What have I gotten myself into? It's so, so far.

When I am really tired, I make "deals" with myself. Ok, 2000 meters, and then, if you're tired, you can get out of the pool. Run for 20 minutes and turn around; if you feel good, run 30 minutes. Just get out on your bike...go get a coffee in Fairfax (30 miles). These "deals" get me out the door and then, I usually end up going farther since I feel pretty good when I am finally out. I think the huge motivator is that I don't want to be mid-race and think, I shouldn't have skipped those swim workouts or I was being a wimp when I didn't go the entire bike ride.

I also have come to realize the importance and power of positive self-talk. I probably sound like a quack. But it's amazing; if I keep telling myself something over and over, I start to believe it...."you feel fine, you feel fine. you're strong, you feel fine." Crazy, but it works. Maybe it's the depleted glycogen-stores in my body, and my brain not having enough "energy" to argue! And I just don't give myself another option. I will do something, not "if" or "maybe."

I have been wearing my Boston Red Sox hat on my brick runs (30 minute runs after a 5-6 hour bike; helps get legs used to the transition), pulling it really low on my head, over my eyes. And as crazy as it sounds, I feel like no one can "see" me (maybe it's because I can't really see them!), but I feel like it gives me more energy and a little "push" when I'm feeling terrible. The first 15 minutes are usually pretty painful since my legs have been used to cycling for so long. I know, it sounds completely bizarre...that I think this hat is somehow helping me get through a run. Yes, I realize, especially after I type it! But at this point, I have to play a lot of mind games with myself because I am so tired and I have (only!) 2 months left.

Maybe others have similar "games" they play with themselves. Like: Ok, I'll clean the living room during Jack Johnson's "To the Sea." Or I'll wash the car and then get an ice cream cone! I am for whatever works!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Today, as I turned the corner to 18th St (my Street), only about 4 minutes left to go in my run, I noticed the yarn store on the corner, and a woman, walking on the sidewalk ahead, wearing a very pretty knit sweater. Maybe she came from the yarn store. As I was passing her, I tripped and totally wiped out. Like a sliding wipe out. Ouch.

Every few months, I fall on my runs. It's embarrassing and sometimes painful but more embarrassing. I am not exactly sure why it happens; it usually happens near the end of my runs, and maybe I am not paying enough attention to the cracks and unevenness. Of course, it always happens around people. In the past year, I have fallen 3-4 times (this is the 2nd fall on 18th St). I have NEVER seen another runner fall, or even anyone fall, for that matter, when I am out. I think no else falls. Besides me. Embarrassing.

This one today really hurt. It was all I could do not to cry. The woman in the pretty knit sweater said softly to me, "take your time getting up, dear." I did too. Then I just got up and walked (hobbled) down the sidewalk, telling myself not to cry. I didn't even thank her, which I feel badly about now. Though, at the time, I couldn't really talk. Luckily, only scrapes and bruises. So, yes falls happen. I need to pay better attention.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Go Giants!

MJ, RC and I ventured to the Giants game this week. We bundled up in our puffy vests and scarves for the SF "summer wind!" The Giants ended up losing, but we had a great time, enjoyed ballpark hot dogs, beers, and people-watching. Just off first base, we were waiting for a high foul ball, and had our mits ready...We didn't see one!

Bundled up for the game!

Trampled by Turtles

MN-based band Trampled by Turtles made a stop at The Independent in SF last week. I went with a few friends & we had a blast.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


San Francisco is ranked the No. 1 destination in the U.S. by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.

So, it may seem that I frequently complain about tourists, have been known to hit one with my bike (hey, not entirely my fault!), and I might claim that I *never* act like one, when I actually am...But here in San Francisco, tourists are everywhere. I don't go to Fisherman's Wharf, because there are too many tourists. I have never been to Ghirardelli Square. I ride my bike over the Bridge early in the morning to avoid the tour-bus-unload of Boy Scouts or retirees. I'd rather go to Sonoma County than Napa because of the lines. I never understood why people lived in the North Beach neighborhood (City Lights bookstore and Italian restaurants are magnets), until I actually discovered the most amazingly quaint side streets with cafes and local clothing designers (which I don't think are highlighted in Frommers, so we might be safe for a bit).

Does this make me a bad person because I admit this? Do I sound snobby? I hope not. After all, I am a tourist from time to time, and I guess I was even one at one point here in SF.

But tourism IS a big deal here. A $8.6 billion dollar per year "big deal." Of course every restaurant, trinket-selling, "bike the Bridge" renting bike shop thinks it's a big deal. Since the locals like me stay away, these folks wouldn't exist if not for the "I (heart) SF" sweatshirt wearing (and buying) crowd. Annually, there are 15,920,000 visitors to SF. According to a 7x7 article, "more than half of the 14 percent hotel tax goes straight to paving our roads, hiring our police force, maintaining our parks, and supporting our social services." Whoa! I might argue (just for the sake), that one more percentage could go to the roads--every cyclist and motorist here would likely agree!

So, while I know the economy of SF depends on tourism, and I am one myself, and I am trying not be be such a crab about it. I've created a few rules to follow when visitng a new place:

1. The same traffic rules apply when you're on vacation. If you want someone (car, bike, bus) to stop for you, please use the crosswalk. Don't be mad if no one stops for you when you're jetting between parked cars in the middle of the street. And don't be surprised if you get hit. Also, depending on the country, traffic flows in a certain direction--follow it.

2. Do not walk with your head pointed upward, mouth open, completely oblivious to any one/thing around you. Don't do this as you hold your camera in front of you. Don't do any/all of this on a bike while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

3. Remember, you're not the only person/group visiting. Don't be rude.

4. Other people actually live there. Treat it like you'd want people to treat your town.

5. Don't litter.

6. Don't forget your manners.

7. Ask the locals for advice on restaurants, shops, neighborhoods to wander through; likely they'll be your
best source of information, and you'll get the gems of the city.

8. Try the local cuisine.

9. Wear appropriate clothing for your vacation. Heels probably are not a good idea for NYC. Yes, Carrie does it, but she's a local and she's fictional. Check the weather before you go. San Francisco is not warm. Yes, it's California, but it's not warm. Bring a sweater. Or, you'll have to buy a "I (heart) SF" sweatshirt--you'll never wear it again and everyone will know you're a tourist.

10. If ever in question, see number 6.

So, that's it. I know, I'll stop being so crabby about tourists. Just follow my rules! Please.