Saturday, December 1, 2012

Exploring SF & Wine Country with Minnesota Guests

As they say...better late than never! Boy, I guess I've been slacking on my posts!

My mom, cousin, and aunts from Minnesota came out in mid-October for a long weekend. We had so much fun exploring SF and wine country. Yes, even I acted like a tourist....and loved it! We enjoyed wine, good food & great company. I had such a great was hard to see them leave!

Dinner at Cioppino's

Mom & me in the limo to Napa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa


Sparkling wine at Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon

Before dinner at Alioto's

Monday, October 15, 2012


On my run yesterday, the fog was so thick & wet I was covered in little water droplets. Another runner told me asked me if I'd see the "fog-bow" and pointed upward. I looked up and was amazed. It's similar to a rainbow, but in the fog. I didn't know fog-bows existed!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin

Dad & I. Picking up race packet
 I survived! Almost 2 weeks ago (already!), I completed Ironman Wisconsin, in Madison. When I crossed the finish line, I was overwhelmed by exhaustion, happiness, relief...I was finally done! The lead up to the race & my training had been exhausting, both mentally and physically. I'm not sure why training for this race was harder than my last one. One theory is that I had a training buddy for my last race, where I didn't this one. I did a lot of long bike rides and runs by myself. And, where sometimes, it's nice to go out by myself, I think I didn't realize how much I looked forward to training with my friend and how much I depended on her, and honestly, enjoyed training with her. I'd heard from many people that this race course (bike) was beautiful and the race in general was top notch. So, between my exhaustion and anticipation, I was ready for the race to start (and end!).

Swimming in Lake Monona

Yes, all those "splashes" are people! I'm somewhere in the mayhem.

Mom & Dad waiting for me to finish biking
I didn't panic at all, not once. This is HUGE for me. I've panicked in the swim in every single triathlon I've ever done, regardless of my training. In reality, I was a better swimmer (not necessarily faster!) than a lot of the athletes. So, I got stubborn & wasn't going to let them scare me (or hit me or drowned me, as in my nightmares!). I concentrated on my breathing and every few strokes, looked up for the buoy. I was touched and swum over and was able to keep cool. The course was a huge rectangle (1 loop), so the backside, farthest from the shore, was a mile and seemed long. People afterward mentioned a current against us, but I couldn't really tell, it just seemed long.

I think just about the entire race passed me on my bike! Really. I didn't think I was that slow, but I guess I am! I didn't let it bother me though, I just wanted to finish, I knew if I started "racing," it was going to be a long day. I didn't quite keep to my nutrition plan, but I did eat and drink (maybe too much, see below), knowing I had to fuel for the bike and the run. I was able to stay positive and in-the-moment during the bike. Towards the end, it did get a little long and I just wanted to be done. The course was hilly, but really beautiful. There was a headwind, which did get tiresome, and I think took a wear on me mentally and physically. I just tried to keep positive and concentrate on the next turn where I'd get out of the wind.

Until about mile 16, I felt pretty good on the run. I ran slowly and walked through the aid stations. Miles 11-16 felt really good; I felt I was getting into a rhythm. Then I started to get stomach cramps and had to use several (seemed like every one) porta potties. I walked at least 4 miles. I couldn't keep anything in me at this point and was feeling a little light headed. But, I still knew I'd finish. I just really couldn't wait to finish by this point. I'm not sure if I overate during the bike or I under-ate during all of my training rides...Or, if I just cannot do solid food in events like this. If I do another, I might try liquid nutrition.

Still feeling pretty good here.

Overall, I was able to stay positive and kept telling myself I can do this. It really helped me to have my family there, though I felt badly they had to wait so long for me to finish. But, I just kept reminding myself how lucky I was to be there and my family there with me. I was able (physically, financially) to participate, and I would get through it.
Finish line in the daylight

After the race, I headed to MN for some R&R. And I did nothing! It was so nice to see friends & family and take some time to regroup.

During training, I told myself I wouldn't do another race like this...I think I've started to rethink that...though I haven't signed up for anything just yet!


I finally got to meet Lola! She's cuter in the flesh than in photos.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Newest Carlson Kid

Lola--my brother and fiance's new puppy....I can't wait to meet her.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows the 85-year old owner & his family at Michelin 3-Star Tokyo subway station sushi restaurant. Inspiring film. Next time I'm in Tokyo, I'll stop by...!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bike Ride to Tomales Bay

On Saturday I rode my regular route over the Bridge, through Marin, past Nicasio and Point Reyes Station. I covered new ground and took a ride along Highway 1 and Tomales Bay to Marshall. I would have loved to stop at the famous Hog Island Oyster Company, joining the masses for a picnic in the sun, but I knew oysters wouldn't sit well with the ride I had ahead of me. I finished the ride at a friend's family's house on the other side of Tomales Bay. We took a quick swim at high tide. Then I relaxed in the hammock, smelling the sweet salt water, listening to the waves hit the shore. I could have stayed forever...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 4th in Monterey & Carmel

I went down to Monterey and Carmel for the fourth of July. The weather was warm--"warm" like it is in SF, so it was good I had my layers. But the scenes, beaches, houses, golf courses, shopping were fun way to spend the day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Double Dipsea

I made my annual pilgrimage to Stinson Beach for the start of the Double Dipsea, a trail race from Stinson Beach to Mill Valley and back. It's 14.8 miles of roots, stairs, grass, hills, torture and fun. This is the 3rd year I've run the race, and every year, I forget how hard it is. Boy am I sore! I even talked a co-worker into running with me...He said he had a good time as well...I hope he still talks to me on Monday!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the greatest--fixer, maker, trouble-shooter, griller, tear-drier, advice-giver, knows how to make me laugh like no one else--Dad I could ask for. I love you Dad!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday at the beach

Today, I spent a few hours at Baker Beach reading my book. It wasn't hot beach-weather, per se, but it was sunny and the sand warmed my toes. It was fun to watch the kids run from the waves, the dogs chase seagulls, and the adults take in the rays.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I am so lucky! My mom is such a wonderful example of a woman, mother, and friend. Without her, I don't know where I'd be today. She doesn't always agree with me and my choices (she'd be the first to agree), but she always has my back. She's there to dry my tears when things don't go well, and she's there to high-five and cheer when things turn out. She listens, she gives advice, she laughs & cries with me. I am so so lucky to have her.

Around Town

While walking--on errands or grabbing coffee, if I can remember (!) I try to stop and take photos. Some of the things I see amaze me, make me smile (or cringe). When I no longer live in SF, it'll be a good reminder of what I loved (and sometimes disliked) about the city.

Golden Gate Bridge--view from the Headlands

Public Bikes--cool SF-made bikes

I [heart] Red Wing Minnesota bumper sticker!

Bite Me Sandwiches--Corner of 17th & South Van Ness (if you're hungry!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Google's 8-Bit

Google Maps in 8-Bit...looks kinda like Pong or Atari! My apartment in Streetview. And, just wondering if those people at Google have enough to do!?

Stylized Google Streeview!