Doing the Tourist Thing in Santa Cruz

On Monday, my best friend and Maid of Honor in my wedding, drove down with her family to spend a few days visiting us in the Cruz. I have known Monica since I was 14 years old and even though we only live 2 1/2 hours apart, it had been forever since we had last hung out and this was the first time she and her fam had made it to Santa Cruz. And we had jam-packed activities, including things I rarely do in my town.

On Monday we took the Santa Cruz Trolley from downtown to the Boardwalk. (Have you ridden it yet? It’s only a quarter and takes you from downtown to the Boardwalk and vice versa. It runs every 15 minutes on the weekends and 20 minutes on weekdays. Four year old Andrew said it was his favorite ride!)

Selfie on the Trolley with the Davis fam

Selfie on the Trolley with the Davis fam

After we got to the Boardwalk, we alternated adult riding duties for a variety of rides including the Giant Dipper, the Looff Carousel, Undertow, the ferris wheel and some kiddie rides (including the super weird Cave Train Adventure…). The kids had some good Boardwalk food and ice cream. The Boardwalk has lots of $1 options on Mondays and Tuesdays, so you can be pretty frugal even with 3 kids in tow. Then we dragged some super tired kids back downtown to meet my hubs for dinner at Betty’s.

Selfie on the Cave Train ... before entering the Cave

Selfie on the Cave Train … before entering the Cave

Tuesday we had another full day. This time we drove down to the Boardwalk to hop on the Roaring Camp Railroad. Even though I live along the train route and have been in Santa Cruz for nearly 5 years, this was the first time I had ridden the train. It takes about an hour to get from the beach to Roaring Camp (just outside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park). And the hubs even came out with the pups to wave as we passed our house. That was pretty awesome of him to do! At the Camp, we got some lunch and toured the shop, blacksmith spot, the printing press (with some questionable “history” given to the kids…), and then walked across the tracks to take the small redwoods loop in Henry Cowells. I thought this was way more fun than the actual Camp since the kids could run around a bit more and it’s just so pretty.

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Looking up at the redwoods

Looking up at the redwoods

After we rode the train back, we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the beach. Sadly, I think this was the first time I’d actually hung out at the beach this year (except for taking the pups down for a walk). It was great weather and we hung out for a few hours to wear out the kiddos and catch up with each other. Then it was back to the house.

Last week, my parents surprised the hubs and I by getting us an early anniversary gift: a Weber grill! And it was perfect timing since Monica was coming up and we got to grill up some salmon and burgers. Monica made some good sides and it was a perfect dinner. Add in some good beers and it was a perfect end to the day.

Grilling up!

Grilling up!

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is always a good choice!

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is always a good choice!

Wednesday morning Monica’s family packed up and headed out. I was sad to see them go, but I think they’ll be back in Santa Cruz again soon!

This weekend I’ll be missing out on another Santa Cruz local treasure: the annual Wharf to Wharf race. (I’m running the San Francisco Marathon, which sadly falls on the same day). But you can keep up with the race and get a great recap from my friend’s brand new blog: laps.lunges.leather.  (I’m so excited for Leslie to be joining the blogging community!) Check out her first post on her expectations and history with Wharf to Wharf.

What’s your favorite “tourist” activity in your town? Are you racing Wharf to Wharf or SFM this weekend?

A Little Trip to the City

When I was in fourth grade, my parents took me to San Francisco. I remember driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting Pier 39, eating chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, and getting a souvenir from China Town. But what I remember most is falling in love with the city. Ever since that trip, I’ve loved San Francisco. Back in southern California I cheered for SF teams (the hubs is still frustrated when I say I’m a Giants and a Padres fan), including cheering for the 49ers at the preseason San Diego game following their defeat of the Chargers in 1995. When we moved to Santa Cruz, I was so excited to be just 90 minutes away from SF. For a brief time, we considered moving to the city but we decided to stay put in Santa Cruz (good decision, love our town and its fun to have SF as a place to visit still). Anytime I have an excuse to make it up the city, I take it. So for the second year in a row, I joined the hubs for part of his time in the city attending WWDC. Last year, I came up for 2 1/2 days, this year it was just a day and a half. But still, so much fun!

My little vacay included good food (Tropisueno, GhirardelliSuper Duper Burger, 21st Amendment Brewery, and The Grove), window shopping (ok a little real shopping too), and some runseeing (my word for sight-seeing during a run, perhaps I could start a business doing this…). On Sunday night we had to enjoy margaritas and Mexican food since we were so close to Tropisueno. But then we were super bad and indulged in a sea salt caramel sundae from Ghirardelli. On Monday, we headed to 21st Amendment Brewery and restaurant. I am a big fan of their beer so I was excited to it out. I decided to try a blonde ale, since its not available outside of the brewery. The Conventional, name of the blonde ale, was really good. I don’t normally seek out blonde ales, so that was a nice surprise. Our table enjoyed several different beers (several of the hubs’ co-workers joined us) and we agreed that the Conventional was good, the IPA fans liked Gigantes IPA, but we did not care for Saison de Voile.

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Danger!

Danger!

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So many choices!

So many choices!

I only had a 6 mile run on my schedule for the time I was in the city. It was an easy run, so I decided to make it fun and take photos along the way. If you follow me on instagram you saw them all but here are some of my faves.

Always a good route for a run

Always a good route for a run

Saving the run over the bridge for the SF Marathon

Saving the run over the bridge for the SF Marathon

Not everyday I see a gold dude walking down the street

Not everyday I see a gold dude walking down the street

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This was my fave photo of the run

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

Cupid's Arrow

Cupid’s Arrow

The hubs did the Apple thing, getting up SUPER early (this is the one time of the year that he’s getting up before 5am and not the other way around) to get into the keynote. (Side note, the Apple fangirl in me is really excited about the new OS, Yosemite, and some of the cool things that will be connecting between Apple devices, and of course the Health integration, let’s hope Strava gets in on that!) For the rest of the week, he’ll be busy learning all the new stuff about iOS 8 and learning a new programming language (that sounds hard!).

But my little trip to the city is over and I made it back in time to vote!

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Don’t forget, today  June 4, is National Running Day! If you are in the Central Coast, join Santa Cruz Endurance and Santa Cruz Running Company for a 6 mile fun run (all paces welcome!). We start at SCRC at 6pm and then will head to Discretion Brewery for some beer to celebrate.

From John, the Running Joke Cartoon artist & SCE member

From John, the Running Joke Cartoon artist & SCE member

What’s your favorite big city? How are you participating in National Running Day?

A Little Tahoe Escape

If you follow me on Twitter (@megatha), you know I did something crazy this weekend: I didn’t run. Not one step. I think the last time I had a run free weekend was following a marathon (after LA try to take about a week off of running to recover post marathon). Don’t fret, I still got in all my miles (I ran 40 miles in 5 days so I could enjoy the weekend). Why did I shove all my runs together and not run this weekend you ask? Well, for a fun mini-vacay in Tahoe of course!

The hubs and I drove up to Tahoe late-ish on Friday night (we both had work and didn’t leave until around 6pm). After piling in our bags and pups (who I believe had more things coming with them for the weekend than we did), we enjoyed a romantic dinner from In N Out on the way (seriously, this was what I wanted to eat more than anything and the strawberry shake kept me happy through the crummy traffic – not like I could complain, I didn’t drive…).

Saturday morning temps

Saturday morning temps

Our weekend was quick, but it was fun. We laid around our condo on the lake, I read pretty much all of this month’s book club choice (Let’s Pretend it Never Happened by The Bloggess is my new favorite book – I hope our discussion of it goes something like this: Wasn’t this funniest read ever? Yes! Let’s just read our favorite passages and drink wine! Yes!). We played some slots at Harrah’s on the Nevada side (another important piece of information: I find slot machines entertaining, I find slot machines with a Wizard of Oz motif way more entertaining). And we ate delicious Italian food on Saturday night at Scusa. I even came home with a fun bear mug from the place we had breakfast on Sunday.And while it wasn’t as cold as the last time we went to Tahoe, it did lightly snow late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

Manhattan in the casino

Manhattan in the casino

Newest addition to the mug collection.

Newest addition to the mug collection.

And now it’s Monday, President’s Day. No work! Ok let’s be real – I don’t have to teach but I have a huge stack of papers to grade. And some mile repeats to run later today.

Did you take a mini-vacay over this long weekend? Do you ever take a weekend vacay from running?

Hanging in Boulder

This past weekend, the hubs and I ventured out to Boulder, Co. (if you read my last Fit Friday post, you already knew this). We visited Boulder partially because I had the opportunity to present at the Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference at the University of Colorado. But we also have several friends in Boulder and were excited to visit them. In fact, we saw one of them as we were boarding the plane from San Jose (he had been in town briefly for work). This meant we had a buddy in our row on the flight (and I shared one of my Southwest drink coupons with him and Kevin).

Standard travel gear.

Standard travel gear.

Uh, Denver Airport has some interesting murals...

Uh, Denver Airport has some interesting murals…

... and saw this guy when we were leaving the airport.

… and saw this guy when we were leaving the airport.

Once we landed, our good friend Pat picked us up and we had an uneventful night since it was pretty late. But the rest of our weekend was all about good friends, good beer, good runs, and a good presentation (and excellent panel on engaging students) at the conference. I was able to see several, but not all of my friends, in the area. We visited the Aquarium in Denver and hiked a couple miles of the Chautauqua trails near the flatirons (much of the trails were closed due to the recent floods but we did get in a little exploring). We saw the Boulder History Museum and the Google offices. And we enjoyed some good BBQ and homemade pizza.

Yum!

Yum!

Our friend Ryan & his family have a great view!

Our friend Ryan & his family have a great view!

I had been a little worried about my presentation. My paper had gotten some tough critiques that I received the day we left and I wasn’t super excited about presenting it anymore. But it ended up going really well. The commenter provided some excellent feedback with some questions I hadn’t yet explored and that I think will really strengthen the essay. My co-panelist had a really interesting topic and helped me think of some new ideas for a lecture I need to give later in the semester.

Great running views

Great running views

Hiking in Boulder

Hiking in Boulder

I got in some excellent runs. While the elevation definitely made its impact, the runs were beautiful and varied. I joined one of Pat’s friends for the first one, explored an out and back route solo on Saturday, and got Pat’s girlfriend to show me a different loop on Sunday. Finding people to run with while traveling definitely makes the runs more fun!

Was happy to be reunited with this sweet little lady :)

Was happy to be reunited with this sweet little lady :)

Kevin and I had a great time in Boulder and for the friends we didn’t get to see, we will definitely be back!

More Traveling, More Training

This past week, less than a week after returning from Hawaii, I left home again.

Traveling with Runner's World

Traveling with Runner’s World

This time I took off to Kentucky to get some research done for my dissertation. I flew into Nashville and then drove into Kentucky. I spent most of my days in archives reading documents over a hundred years old (super cool!). On Thursday, I headed to the Pleasant Hill Shaker Village to complete some more research. I was lucky enough during this time to get help from some great archivists and historians who helped me find the information I needed. After hanging out at the village, I took the river boat down the Kentucky River, which made a nice way to finish up the day.

Sweet ride for the week

Sweet ride for the week

Berea College

Berea College

My coffee break stop

My coffee break stop (photo compliments of Google)

Research!

Research!

Shake Town

Shaker Town

Shaker House (East Family)

Shaker House (East Family)

 

Big Furry Friend

Big Furry Friend

Shaker Path

Shaker Path

 

River Boat!

River Boat!

 

Kentucky River

Kentucky River

This trip wasn’t all work. I also got in a lot of running. While my first run in town was hard and slow, the rest of my runs went well, despite crazy humidity! And I even logged my longest treadmill run (a whopping 6 miles! ha!). I got in some solid mile repeats and a sweaty track workout. This was hard and really tested my ability to run in heat & humidity, but it ended up helping me score a new PR this weekend (see upcoming post).

Intense running conditions!

Intense running conditions!

Mile repeats powered by Graced by Grit

Mile repeats powered by Graced by Grit

Before flying home, I stopped back in Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry and get some new cowboy boots!

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Look forward to an upcoming post recapping my Wharf to Wharf race.