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?

Mermaid Funning

A little over a week ago, several ladies from Santa Cruz Endurance decided to run in the Mermaid East Bay. While none of us were looking to add a race to our schedule, we were all game to support a good cause and through race into our training. The Mermaid Series focuses on supporting women in “fitness and life.” They are also run a great organization to get girls excited about running, the Mini Mermaids. Finally, they tend to have some sweet swag!

Love the shirt!

Love the shirt! See good swag!

This particular race was held in Fremont, about an hour from my house. And since I had to be in San Jose around noon to pick up Elise(!) from the airport, it worked out perfectly. Mermaid Easy Bay has four distances: 5k, 10k, half marathon, and 18 miler. Leslie and I ran the 10k and Gaylia and Sam each ran the 18 miler.

Adding a race into the schedule can be a fun way to mix things up. I also tend to get crazy race nerves and psych myself out on A races, so as Leslie reminds me, these are a great way to get more comfortable in races and practice for my goals. Good strategy!

We also got this cute necklace!

We also got this cute necklace!

I picked up Leslie at the Park n Ride not far from my house and we headed out of Santa Cruz around 6:45am. There was no traffic and we just made a quick stop a coffee shop for a bathroom break. We parked about a half mile from the start, which served as a perfect warm up. When we got there, both the half marathon and 18 mile races had already started, so we were meeting up with our teammates post race.  Before the race started, I ran into Paulette (who, spoiler, got a new PR at the race! Great job Paulette!).

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I had never run in Fremont, let alone the Quarry Lake path, so this was a fun new area to explore. The course was basically a fairly flat (just a few little bumps along the way) trail with some gravel at times. They had generous staggered start times for each event, so the course never felt crowded. Leslie’s plan called for her to treat the run like a tempo run. My plan for the day was actually 14 miles, so I kept my 10k pace conservative (aiming for around 7:30 pace, ended up with a 7:35 pace). There was a little turn around, when I saw Leslie cruising along at her speedy tempo pace. I also saw Paulette again after the turn around. I love having friends to cheer along during the course! Like the Mermaid SF, the course ended with sharp turn on grass. But for my goals, that was no problem. I came into the finish with a time of 47:38 and placed 3rd in my age group. Not too shabby. Leslie won the race (and did so following her training schedule, just 2 weeks after Boston! Rockstar!). After our cool down, we met up with our 18 miler gals. Gaylia took 1st in her age group and Sam won her race. Love these speedy ladies! We hung out to snack a little and pick up our awards.

SCE Fun Runners Post Race

SCE Fun Runners Post Race

After the awards, Leslie joined Sam on their way back to Santa Cruz and I headed to the San Jose airport. Soon after, Elise’s plane had landed and we were back in Santa Cruz in no time! At this point, with warm up, race, and cool down, I had run 8 miles and had 6 miles left to finish up my very disjointed long run. But I didn’t care because those last miles would be with the speedy Elise. We met up with another friend and headed out to the coast, where it was crazy windy! (My visor blew off!) What a great way to start the week with a good friend visiting!

What do you think about using races as training runs? Do you “fun run” races?

Ninja-ing with SFM Ambassadors (and friends)

Yesterday I drove up to San Francisco to meet up with some super cool people – SFM Ambassadors and their friends/significant others. Eleven (twelve if you count Penny the Pup) of us met at the Marin Headlands to run what’s been named the Ninja Loop. It’s about 11 and a half miles of trails with some serious climbs (according to Strava we climbed 2069 feet), a few steep downhills, amazing views, and lots of photo ops. Since I had run 12 miles the day before, I took this route super easy, spending time to catch up with Chris, Alisyn, and Paulette. I also got to know Matt and  Erin. I had never run in the headlands before but I CANNOT wait to do it again! I mean seriously:

up, up, up

up, up, up

Paulette, Alisyn, and I take a break up the hill

Paulette, Alisyn, and I take a break up the hill

Group photo!

Group photo!

Chris, Erin, and I

Chris, Erin, and I

Heading back down the hill required more photos

Heading back down the hill required more photos

Just before we finished our last mile :)

Just before we finished our last mile :)

After our awesome run, we cleaned up and headed into the city. We met at Southern Pacific Brewing for some food and brews.

No photos of food - I ate that WAY too fast!

No photos of food – I ate that WAY too fast!

After running in the sun all morning, the patio felt mighty chilly – so I had to break out the super warm jacket!

brr!

brr!

Those who conquered the headlands were joined by several other ambassadors and their friends/siblings/etc: Becky, Andrew, Tricia, Taylor, and Scott. It was so fun to chat with old friends and meet some new ones as well, especially those who I have chatted with over Twitter and finally got to meet in person.

Food, brews, and runners - what could be better?

Food, brews, and runners – what could be better?

Overall it was a great day! Thanks Chris for organizing such a fun day!!

Good looking group of ambassadors!

Good looking group of ambassadors!

Want to get in on the fun? Register for the SF Marathon (marathon, 2 half marathons, and a 5k) and save with discount code: DSC10TSFM2014A59.

(Thanks to Paulette, Alisyn, Chris, and Erin for some of these photos)

Fun Run: Color Me Rad

This weekend I ran the Color Me Rad 5k for the second year in a row. This year I ran it with a few more friends and the hubby to celebrate our friend (and planner extraordinaire Leslie!). This was a fun run, so no real race report, just lots of fun photos!

The Birthday Girl! (Look at the cute shirts we had :) )

The Birthday Girl! (Look at the cute shirts we had!)

All clean before the race (Thanks hubs for photographing)

The ladies all clean before the race

Before long we were running into dust clouds of color

Before long we were running into dust clouds of color

A typical race experience...

A typical race experience…

Crossing the finish line as a team!

Crossing the finish line as a team!

We got a little colorful!

Birthday girl with some color!

Birthday girl with some color!

Color attitude from yours truly

Color attitude from yours truly

Kevin, uh I mean Steve, rocking post race.

Kevin, uh I mean Steve, rocking post race.

The hubs & I have hops! (check out that blue powder coming off Kevin!)

The hubs & I have hops! (check out that blue powder coming off Kevin!)

Post race mimosas, yum!

Post race mimosas, yum!

Do you run in fun runs? What has been your favorite one?

Encyclopedia of Meg: F

F is for FOOD! And especially food with good friends. I love food, I love to cook and bake. And I love to eat food. I don’t eat meat (except fish) but that doesn’t mean that I eat less! (I wish I did, I’m kind of a pig!) Nope, I love to eat and no description of me would be accurate without including my love of food.

I especially love to go out to eat. I really do love to cook and bake, especially when we have friends or family to share it with, but nothing tops going to a tasty restaurant with a group of good friends. One of my favorite things to do is have a night out with friends at I Love Sushi (which is aptly named because 1. it serves sushi and 2. I do love sushi!!). And nothing beats having a good meal with good friends and a great glass of wine.

 

Pannikin's

 

Therefore, here are some of my favorite restaurants (both around where I live now and where I grew up):

Breakfast Food/Coffee: Beach Break Cafe (best breakfast food, EVER), Walnut Cafe, Pannikins (you MUST also try their pie!), Vinaka’s, Kelly’s Bakery, and Mocha Marketplace (yes, I know that’s not its name anymore, but it will always be Mocha to me!)

Lunch: Alejandro’s, Taqueria Santa CruzFalafel, Charlie Hong Kong, Betty Burgers, In N Out (they have killer cheese sandwiches for us veggies), Pizza My Heart, Pho Saigon Express

Dinner: I Love Sushi (see above link), Love Boat Sushi, Burger, Saturn Cafe, Malabar, Blanca, Nobo

I know I’m forgetting some places, so what are your favorites?