Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bay to Breakers vs. Half Moon Bay hike

I woke up this morning to my roommates and a visiting friend prancing the house in wrestler and superman costumes. They were in rare form for 6am, but fittingly so. Today was Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. It's an annual run that takes throngs of runners, walkers, beer guzzlers, and exhibitionists from the Bay to the Beach.

Despite the fact that I am usually up for running events in any shape or form, for example, I LOVE the Hash. Particularly in random foreign countries. I had a craving to take advantage of our *finally* empty house and one of countless gorgeous hikes in the Bay Area on such a beautiful day. A quick Google search later, paring down potential hiking routes by length (wanted 7 miles), difficulty (wanted it tough), and location (nowhere near a beach because of traffic), I came across this one:

It was absolutely wonderful ... once I got over my fear of mountain lions - there was a warning sign at the trailhead. Within my first half mile of descent into the North Ridge Trail, I asked another lone female hiker if I should worry. She was blonde and weathered in that I've-been-on-a-million-hikes and eat-only-what-I-grow-in-my-garden way. I loved her multicolored compression pants, mostly because they didn't seem to fit her "look." Her response:

"It's more dangerous to drive on Skyline to get here ... or to sit on your couch and become a couch potato. Don't worry about the lions, I've lived here for 21 years and never seen one in my life. Nor has my husband and he's an ultramarathoner, so he's seen a lot. That said, I do carry a knife as a last resort."

I thanked her and went on my way, imagining what it would be like to pull out my knife while being mauled by a mountain lion. I didn't like the thought. It was one that entered my mind periodically through the 2.5 hour walk, between taking photographs of rocks and flowers, when everything became a little too silent for comfort.

Monday, April 27, 2009


After ten weeks of intense training with training buddy Jeremy Carr, I'm proud to say we've both completed the Big Sur Marathon. I'm now lying awake in bed at 5:30AM writing this because my joints are in excruciating pain, but I'm still very happy that we did it.

A few weeks before the marathon, I came down with an awful cold that impacted my training. I was ready to throw in the towel, and just support Jeremy through the race. I went back and forth on the decision for days, even up to the day before the marathon. Then finally, I realized it was inevitable, I couldn't let my training partner down, and I couldn't NOT do this for Meimei.

We woke up at 3am on the day of the race, drove the buses that would take us to the starting line after driving the full length of the Highway 1 course in the pitch black darkness of the early morning. At the starting line we waited in the cold for two hours, huddled together to stay warm, for our 6:45am start. We looked so cold that some girl came up and gave us two extra pairs of gloves.

Luckily I had those gloves because just as we were running to the start, minutes before the race, some woman TRIPPED me and I fell flat on my face, ripping my gloves and bruising my knees.

Moments later, we were off, grouped together with the 3:40 pacer. We stuck with him until Hurricane Point, 13 miles into the race. Following hurricane point, we were behind by only minutes, managing our pace so as to make it through the hardest parts of the race - rolling hills and canted roads between miles 19 and 23.

We broke it down by mile. At this mile we'll eat a Gu Pack, at this mile we'll walk for 10 seconds, etc. In what seemed like magic, mile 15 turned to mile 19, and gradually through the twenties. We picked up pace for the finish, and crossed the line together.

3 hours and forty five minutes.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Why make limiting resolutions when you can resolve to do more of the things you love to pursue? For me, at least, it's easier to do more than to do less.

A couple posts ago, I wrote about my Chinese sister's funeral. Meimei was a person with an amazingly kind soul and thirst for adventure. She pushed me to do the things I loved to do the most - run, travel, cook, meet new people, learn Chinese, spend time with my family and her own. She was always disappointed by the fact that I had never run a marathon, and, honestly, so was I.

Meimei and Me in Beijing one year ago:

Meimei died of leukemia, an illness that I am sure was a result of China's polluted environment. While I'm glad I didn't train for a marathon in China - where would my lungs be? I know that I can help her live on by training for one now, and hopefully kicking some serious marathon butt in San Diego in early June.

Wish me luck. Here are some photos from one of my first early morning training runs.

From Potrero Hill looking at Twin Peaks just post-sunrise:

Potrero Hill from Glen Park:

The city:

The sunrise from Potrero Hill:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Conundrum

I went to the grocery store with one objective in mind: to buy a jar of peanut butter. Little did I know that buying peanut butter in this country is an art of the highly mature American consumer. Or so I'd like to think.

HALF the aisle was a monstrous display of peanut butter - crunchy, smooth, reduced fat, salted, unsalted, maple syrup infused, premixed with jelly, organic, not organic, skippy, Jif, Peter Pan, Martha's, pre-swirled with chocolate, and even ... crush it yourself!

I stared at the plethora of peanut butter, examined a few jars of the pre-swirled stuff (amazing!!), paced up and down the pb&j aisle a few more times, then, naturally, pulled out my camera, took a picture, and promptly fled the grocery store.

Mission peanut butter failed.