san francisco

Yesterday I went on a run. To be honest, I hadn’t exactly wanted to go, but I was trying to stick to schedule again, and my schedule said I had to.

It was actually a pretty smart thing to do, given the fact that Bay to Breakers is in 3 weeks and I’ve only run over 3 miles 3 times in my life. I need some more quality time with my Brooks and the pavement for sure.

I didn’t have any interest in running my panhandle loop or heading to the Embarcadero, so I decided to do the beach run again. You remember last time, right? Positive experience for sure, so I decided to replicate it.

First I had to walk from my house up to Kezar/the beginning of Lincoln Way.

Despite the gray skies, it was still pretty out. I actually like the winter, but spring is always a welcomed season. Everything feels fresh and new.

And pink. I like pink.

I started running at the corner where Lincoln begins and I ran towards the beach. I was much less satisfied with my run to the beach this time. I felt like I was mentally struggling with it a little bit. As soon as I hit the “30s” avenues, however, it picked up. For some reason, seeing the ocean just makes me so excited that I forget all about how much my legs hurt and I just keep going.

The downward slope at that part of the route doesn’t hurt either.

Once I got to the beach, I paused RunKeeper and took a seat. I can’t ever turn down an opportunity to look at the ocean.

That drop from my feet to sand is a lot longer than you would think. Maybe 7 feet or more. Probably not that big of a deal to jump down into sand, but I am kinda wimpy when it comes to heights…..I climbed down from the other side onto the pavement instead.

There were lots of crazy people out at the beach yesterday, which I found weird given how dreary that day was.

No, no, no. Not me. I’m not that crazy. I’m talking about them….

Um. Guys? It’s like, cold outside. Why on God’s green earth would you want to go out into the ocean?

You couldn’t have paid me to get into that water.

Of course, aside from dipping my feet in, you couldn’t pay me to go out into that water during a heat wave.

***

I postponed heading back home for two reasons:

1) I really like looking at the ocean.

2) Home is slightly uphill. Me no likee. Maybe I should take the N-Judah home instead….

Of course, I didn’t end up taking the bus home. After about 15 minutes of people watching, I started to consider leaving. I went over to the 76 Station to buy a new bottle of water. The guy in there is always really…stern. I took my headphones off when I got to the counter and embarrassingly enough, the silence between me and the mini mart proprietor was being broken by the Jackson 5 singing “ABC”. Awkward. I apologized and said, “Sorry…I can tell you don’t want to be forced into listening to the Jacksons…hahaha..” and paused iTunes. The guy never said anything. Or smiled.

Okay. Whatever. Thanks for the water, guy…

Once I got outside, I dug into my spibelt and realized that I was an idiot. I hadn’t wanted to bring the entire tube of Nuun. I also hadn’t wanted to waste plastic wrap or a baggie on one electrolyte tablet.

Fail.

My speibelt is not waterproof, and apparently, that is a problem.

And yes. I used the sweaty tab anyway. Gross, yet refreshing.

The run home was so much easier than it was the first time I did this route. This really surprised me, given how I struggled during what should’ve been the easy leg of the run. Although I was going uphill, and my legs were on fire (I did a strength training workout on Monday), my mind was clear. I felt reasonably cheerful, glad I had forced myself to get out of my apartment and happy that I had missed stomping on this little lady:

I moved the snail over to the side of the road so she wouldn’t be in the danger zone for any other runners/walkers passing by.

I essentially saved her 3 hours of commute time.

(If you’re wondering about the Russian, it’s an inside joke from high school. I’d like to get into it, including teaching all of you how to properly ask the question, “Do you like snails in your toilet?” по-русский, but really, we’re getting off track…)

I ran back to Haight and Stanyan, slowly but surely, feeling strong and in a good mood. I stopped off at Whole Foods for more chocolate peanut butter, which I think may be the best thing ever invented. Unfortunately, as is Whole Foods’ way, I left with a bag of stuff. I attempted to run home carrying the bag, but after a block or two, I gave up. Running with a bag of groceries isn’t very comfortable.

All in all, an excellent run.

Oh! I forgot to show you something.

I saw these signs at the beach today. I have no recollection of ever having seen them before, but obviously, given the rust, they’ve probably been there for some time.


They’re incredibly helpful. After all, I’d never be smart enough to run AWAY from the ocean when I’ve been alerted to an incoming tsunami. Nope. Without this sign, I’d be a goner….

When you start a workout, is your mental strength to push through best at the start? Or does it improve after you find your groove?

One of the many reasons that San Francisco is completely awesome is that if you are a runner, there is always a race to sign up for.

There are many high-profile races to sign up for throughout the year, but even when there isn’t a huge event going on, you can always count on Dolphin South End Runners for a good race. They are a local running club that puts on a race just about every weekend. The races vary in lengths, the cost is super cheap ($5 for non-member, $3 for member) and they encourage people of all abilities to come out.

(When I say all ability, I mean it….they allow self-timers and once a month they even have a kids race…so cute!)

If you all recall, my very first race back in September was a DSE run and after having such a positive experience, I decided that I would try and do as many of their runs as I could in 2011. Unfortunately, I had already failed at this goal when I skipped out on the Arts & Sciences 5K in January. I could’ve gone, but having just battled two back to back head colds, I wasn’t really interested in running a race in the rain.

So I slept instead. It was awesome.

Yesterday, however, I was much more dedicated to my original plan.

I had been tossing back and forth the idea of doing the Strawberry Hill 5K, but given the fact that the course is essentially running up a big scary hill in Golden Gate Park, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit. What convinced me was the fact that I had been tweeting with Average A (from Diary of an Average Runner) for quite some time about potentially meeting up at Strawberry Hill. I didn’t want to be super lame and not show up (again….we were supposed to meet at Arts & Sciences…my bad…), so on Saturday night I set my alarm.

Come Sunday, I still wasn’t all that jazzed at the idea of running up a hill, but I had some coffee, peanut butter banana toast and laced up my sneakers just the same.

At about 7:45am I headed over to the bus stop, tweeted with Average A, confirming that she was also going and giving her a run down of my wardrobe so spotting each other would be easier. I got to the park way too early…at maybe 8:20am or so? I leave really early just in case I run into any transit issues and normally, this would be fine. On Sunday, however, it was only 39 degrees when I left my house! I paid for my race entry and then stood around FREEZING to death. I decided to head to the bathroom to give myself something to do. I got back and still had 15 minutes to kill. I stretched. I hopped up and down. I blew into my hands, cursing the fact that I am a native San Franciscan, thus a person who doesn’t own a pair of gloves.

When there were just a few minutes to go, I walked over to the start line. I headed dutifully to the back of the pack. Although the club encourages all levels of runners, a lot of people who run these races are super fast, so I didn’t want to be in their way. The announcer made a few remarks….including a “no headphone” rule. Now others were still plugged in, but I felt awkward, so I put my headphones in my pocket. Just a minute or so before the air horn sounded someone came over to me and asked if I was Alexa. That’s right, Average A found me! We shook hands and she wished me luck just as the race began. In two seconds flat I lost sight of her in the crowd. That girl is fast!

The race itself was hard.

Going into the race, I had no idea what the course was like. I looked at the course map and description (you can click on the race link earlier in the post), and still had no idea what to expect. Here is what the race looked like on RunKeeper:

I know, right?

(also, ignore that there is no mile 3. Not entirely sure why RunKeeper thinks this run was only 2.6 miles….Maya’s theory has to do with inclines, and I am…inclined…to agree. Cough.)

Pretty much, we ran up Kennedy Drive and then started a loop around Stow Lake. Then, we ran a loop around Strawberry Hill (that green area in the middle of the lake), then we ran this death incline up to the top of the hill, then we retraced our steps back down and around the hill and finished the loop around Stow Lake and back to the Start/Finish line.

Oh em gee. Hills.

I have only recently started incorporating incline running into my routines and they kill me. I was forced to take several walking breaks, but I followed my “always keep someone ahead of you in your sights” rule. This is for two reasons: 1) It motivates me to not completely wuss out and 2) It’s for my own safety…I have no sense of direction and get lost every single time I go running in Golden Gate Park.

(Unfortunately, the people behind me weren’t following the same rule….as I ran down Strawberry Hill, we saw others still coming up……taking the wrong turn and not running to the top of the hill. Those around me were yelling “LEFT!” at them and I was pointing up the mountain, but a bunch of people went the wrong way….)

In addition to all of the killer inclines, very little of the course was paved. That would be fine, except for the fact that it rained for most of last week…..that’s right, we were running in mud. My poor Brooks were filthy after finishing. It also made making up time on the downhills hard because I was afraid I was going to fall to my doom.

Despite the difficulty of this course, I finished.

Did you really think I wouldn’t?!

As I saw the finish line in front of me, I noticed the clock was heading towards 35 minutes.

My reaction: “Oh hells NO!”

I booked the last little bit of the race and Average A was nice enough to snap my picture as I crossed the finish line with an official time of 34:53. I felt pretty good about that given the amount of walking I did and how difficult a course it was. I felt even better after the following announcement was made:

Announcer: In true DSE fashion, this course distance wasn’t calculated correctly….it isn’t a 5K.

*everyone groans*

Announcer: It was 3.3 miles! So if you were thinking your times were a little high, that’s why!

*everyone cheers*

As per usual, everyone receives a finishing ribbon, so Average A asked someone nearby to snap a couple of pictures of us together, showing off our bling.

We hung out and chatted for a bit and A introduced me to one of her other DSE buddies. We talked about maybe meeting up again at the St. Patrick’s Day 5K….it’s all flat, baby, all flat! I can’t wait!

I get the majority of my physical activity in by walking.

I know it doesn’t seem like walking is much of a workout, but it can be, depending on how you approach it. For instance, if you walk mostly flat streets in San Francisco, such as Van Ness Avenue or Market Street, it doesn’t require much physical exertion.

However, if you decide to tackle a mountain…

…then it absolutely can be a workout.

Last weekend I was feeling particularly glum. My normal instinct would be to hide inside of my apartment underneath the covers and never ever come out, but unfortunately, it was a work day. Boo. The only way I was able to make it through the day was to think of what I was going to do after quitting time. I had no special plans. No dinners. No movies. Just an intense need for a smoothie. So my plan was to walk over to the Chestnut St. Jamba Juice and get a heavenly smoothie right after work. It’s about a 30 minute walk to this Jamba location from my job, and sure, it would’ve been faster to get on a bus and get one elsewhere, but I just wanted to walk. The entire 30 minute commute was spent debating my order. One of the reduced calorie smoothies? Or an all-juice smoothie? Or should I go classic and get the “Aloha Pineapple” like I used to in high school?

The debate on which item to order….

…was completely in vain.

Seriously?! I was just at this location the week before! Argh!

With no Jamba Juice anywhere in the vicinity, I grabbed an iced tea lemonade at Starbucks and stood around. Now what?

I decided to walk home….the hard way.

(which if you hadn’t guessed, meant walking up that gigantic hill in the first picture)

I had only walked Steiner Street home from work once since I moved back in March of 2009. All I remember from that walk is me thinking to myself, “OMG. I am going to die. I am never going to do this again. Ever.” Truth be told, it wasn’t so bad this time. I find this incredibly peculiar, as I probably weigh about 20 pounds more now than I did when I last walked that hill. I think I’m less fit as well. Strange.

Anyway, when I hit Steiner and Broadway, I spotted a familiar sight:

Not familiar to you? Don’t worry. I took a pretty lopsided shot and it’s been nearly 20 years since you’ve had to think of this house.

It’s the Mrs. Doubtfire house.

After the thrill of seeing the Mrs. Doubtfire house, I knew that I didn’t want to take Steiner Street all of the way home. There was in fact another famous house that I was dying to see. A house that I had always meant to see, but had never found the time for. A house, also made famous 20 years ago.

Which house?

You guessed it.

The “Full House” house.

Now most people screw up their expeditions to see the famous Victorian that the Tanners used to call home. They think that because the Tanners had a picnic at Alamo Square park in the opening credits of the show, that the Tanner’s house is one of the Painted Ladies (pictured above) adjacent to the park.

This, however, is not the case.

The full house Victorian is actually not on Steiner, but on Broderick. 1709 Broderick.

Unfortunately it was nearly dark by the time I had hoofed it to Broderick and Pine. I had to boost the ISO on my point and shoot pretty high, so the photo is quite grainy. Nevertheless, this is the “Full House” house.

My life is complete.

After snapping this shot, I walked the remaining 1.5 miles home. Due to my famous houses detour, the walk was substantially longer than my normal walk home, which is nearly 4 miles to begin with. Between that and the choice to hike up Steiner Street like some kind of mountain goat, I actually felt the burn….

…and a little sad that the 90s have passed.

Are there any highly recognizable buildings where you live?

I had meant to post last night when I got home from work, but unfortunately, something happened that really freaked me out. Lately, there have been a lot of crimes (both minor and high-profile) in my neighborhood. None of them have directly affected me in any way, other than by raising my alarm, slightly.

To be honest, having been a city dweller for my entire life…raised in The Mission, pre-gentrification, I am a little jaded. I hear about seedy things so often that sometimes they just wash over me. The stuff going down recently, however, has definitely caught my attention. I’ve reminded myself that it’s stupid to wear headphones blasting loud music when I’m walking home at night. It’s also stupid to walk down the street reading a book, or fidgeting with my phone.

I know those are “duh” kinds of things, but I won’t lie, I’m guilty of them quite often.

So I’ve been on high alert lately and have attempted vigilance.

Last night, a serious crime took place near my job. Once again, although I was at work during the incident, I was in no way in danger. I didn’t know the people who lost their lives, nor the suspect. Just the same, having two people shot and killed just a block away from where I was….in a shop that I walk past all of the time….it just really freaks me out.

Last night I didn’t even know where the shooting was, other than in that block. There were emergency vehicles EVERYWHERE. Crime scene tape. I had no idea what was going on. I went home and spent the evening scouring the news and internet, trying to find out what exactly had happened, but I didn’t find out until today. While I’m glad that this was an isolated incident, it’s still just so awful. Needless to say, after all of that, I didn’t feel much like writing.

Though I don’t know them, my thoughts are with the victim’s families. Things like that shouldn’t happen.

—————–

Today itself hasn’t been too bad of a day. Almost everything I’ve eaten has been green. No. Really.

I had an egg white omelet with kale pesto for breakfast. Didn’t snap a picture, unfortunately.

For lunch, I decided to tackle the kohlrabi from my recent CSA box. I had never had kohlrabi before, so I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I found a recipe on SparkRecipes for Creamy Mashed Kohlrabi. Being the huge mashed potatoes fan that I am, I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with a recipe like that. It came out really great. I used nonfat milk and Chobani 0% Plain Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream. The only thing I regret is that when I cut back the recipe (I didn’t have as much kohlrabi as the recipe called for), I didn’t cut back on the garlic and green onion. I love those flavors so much that I didn’t think it was possible for me to have them be too strong in a dish.

I was wrong!

Still delicious though…I would recommend it!

For dinner I decided I wanted to use up the last serving of kale pesto. I didn’t really feel like having pasta again though, so I went through my pantry and waited for creativity to hit me. I waited for quite some time. Finally, I spied a can of tuna. Tuna mixed with kale pesto instead of mayo? Why not!

It is in no way attractive, but it actually tasted pretty good.

I had the tuna pesto with some sesame corn tortilla crackers from Trader Joe’s. Pretty darned tasty. The only problem with me and canned tuna is that I often get heart burn after eating it. I seem to be having a little of that right now, but hopefully it will go away. Don’t know what it is about canned tuna that does it to me. Maybe it’s because the ONLY seafood I eat at all is canned tuna, and I only eat that about 3 or 4 times a year? Don’t know…

Been playing with custom white balance on both the DSLR and with my PowerShot. These are with the point and shoot. Same table. Different settings. I’m still learning all of what I’m supposed to be doing, but I feel progress in the fact that I’ve taken both cameras into manual mode and am making honest attempts to actually comprehend all of the terms I’ve been trying to stuff into my brain.

Ok. Time to finish up here at work. Hope you all are having a wonderful, safe night.

 

So there has been a thing called the Dialect vLog or Accent vLog going around the web.

I’ve seen a couple of examples of this on blogs that I read, such as Maria’s and Caitlin’s. Watching their videos was really interesting and made me really excited to do my own.

I have a sweet spot for the study of language. My favorite class that I took in college was “Intro to Linguistics”. After a couple of weeks in class I started to deeply regret having been a Creative Writing focus, as Linguistics seemed way more exciting. If I hadn’t already been in my final semester of study, it may’ve been enough to make me change majors.

So, the only problem with me doing this video log thing is that I hate being recorded. I’m kind of a lousy public speaker. An entire semester spent trying to break me of saying “um” every 5 seconds and I never managed it. I also ramble.

And in this video I look like I don’t have a chin.

Oh well.

Enough complaining.

(well, for the moment….I ramble about hating being recorded in the video…..yeah….I have problems…)

In case you’re interested in giving it a whirl, here is the list of words/questions for The Accent Vlog: Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped
  • body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry
  • groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

 

Have you done the Dialect/Accent vLog? Leave me your link!

It is nutzos like this that make San Francisco seem like weirdo central:

Truth is, this episode of “You Bet Your Life” may’ve aired 50  years ago, but there are still people exactly like Boots, roaming the streets.

Just so you know,

we are not all crazy out here.

Well.

Not entirely.


After Monday’s run, I was pretty sore and the soreness continued on into Tuesday. I wasn’t sure I’d be up for my planned Wednesday run, but as it turned out, my legs felt slightly stiff, but solid. I decided to walk to Kezar and do a track workout, in order to mix things up a bit.

No big lofty goals, just a few laps around the track and a running of the stairs. It was all going pretty well until the effects of this took over my body:

On the walk over to Kezar I got really thirsty for a flavored beverage. I thought Vitamin Water might sit well in my stomach. I was wrong. It made me want to puke! My bad. Luckily, I neither hurled or gave up. I just pushed through the stomach cramps and completed 2 miles of distance between the track itself and the bleacher running. I really need to run the stairs more often. I get so winded and usually start to allow myself to walk the down flights about halfway through.

After the running I stopped and did 10 burpees. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I had done a burpee since Ms. Sides’ 6th grade physical education classes at Everett Middle School. That would’ve been the 1993-1994 school year. Trust me, it felt like I hadn’t done a burpee in nearly 20 years. A measly 10 of them got my heart rate up to near jogging heart rate levels! I need to work on these too.

One thing many people may not know about me is that I am really into San Francisco history and architecture. I haven’t studied it, or anything, but I love looking at pictures. The other day I found myself surfing the San Francisco Public Library’s Historical Photo Collection. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of my old schools. I learned that my elementary school had actually had a different building back in the day and that it was later torn down to erect the building that I went to school in. The original building was way more substantial and traditional. I also looked up pictures of old schools that don’t exist anymore, such as San Francisco Polytechnic High School.

Poly was a very prestigious school and quite a few famous folk went there. It closed down in the 70s and in the 80s the block was re-zoned for condos and the school was torn down except for the boys’ and girls’ gymnasiums. Since I was there, I decided to go look at them a little more closely.

Note the condos.

I didn’t go across the street to investigate fully, but I think this gym is some kind of art place.

The other gym (which was being taken over by the sun) had some sign that looked like it had been turned into some kind of clown school. For serious.

I just found other pictures of the interior of the girl’s gym online. What’re all of those girls doing resting on cots? How come they got nap time in high school? It’s all I ever wanted! Not fair!

Another one of my favorite San Francisco related pastimes is surfing Craigslist and various real estate sites for houses on the market. Not for me to buy, of course. San Francisco property prices are crazy expensive. Despite it being my dream, I will probably never be able to own anything here. Hell, I can barely pay my rent now, and I just live in a studio! Nevertheless, I enjoy the dream, so I spent time snapping pictures of residences on my walk home.

I love old Victorians, and if I ever had the opportunity to buy, I almost certainly would go for a Vic. I’m all about character and buildings with creaky, uneven floors with beautiful architectural embellishments are where it’s at. When I look, I also like to guess which buildings used to be single residence homes in the early 1900s vs. the split structures they are now. It’s pretty common for San Francisco homes to have been chopped up into multiple unit apartment buildings/condos.

That’s some doorway!

I can never figure out why the owner of this place painted it that shocking shade of blue. Drives me crazy every time I go by the place. As an accent color, fine…but the whole darned thing?!

No tour? Sad.

I also walked past the Park Branch Library. By looking at the historical photo archive, I learned that it opened in 1909 and is the oldest library building in San Francisco.

And it’s closed for renovation until…next month! I can’t wait for it to reopen…I want to check it out!

All this library talk is getting awfully close to a post I plan to make in the near future, so now I’ll stop. I just think it’s really fun to walk around San Francisco, learn about its history and spend unnatural amounts of time trying to decide what colors I will paint my non-existent Victorian home.

Ever notice interesting things when you’re walking?