Food Friday: Discretion

I know … what, not Fit Friday?! Well, I felt like I needed to change it up a bit for at least a couple weeks. So my plan is to post on some of my favorite places to eat on the Central Coast. It took me at least 3 years to realize that there were restaurants that I loved in Santa Cruz… to the point that I miss some of them when I’m in So Cal visiting family. This might not sound very exciting to you but trust me, I dream of food from home and so to have the reverse is impressive. Plus I feel like I’m always telling people that yes, there are delicious places to eat & drink here…so why not share?

So I’ll start with a new/old fave (and if you have been following my instagram, it will be no surprise): Discretion Brewery. Even though it is a bit hidden off of 41st Ave., it’s always busy. When it opened a year ago it served food from Main St. Garden Cafe. I was a big fan of their fish bites and I know many were huge fans of the chili and cornbread. I’m not sure what happened, but that ended sometime earlier this year. For a while, they had guest food show up. The hubs and I liked when the Truck Stop showed up (miss my Sunday morning breakfasts from there when we were close to the Sunday Farmer’s Market). Anyway, then it was announced that the chef from Soif (another fave eatery in Santa Cruz … look you’re already getting so much good food info!) would be coming to Discretion! What! Awesome-sauce!

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On Wednesday, after our group run for National Running Day, SCE team members headed over for a beer at Discretion. And we were surprised to find that the new food was debuting at Discretion! Of course, we had to try. I had the Caesar salad (great fresh cheese and lettuce, deliciously seasoned croutons, and not-to-heavy dressing – so good!), but others tried the mussels, the peach and cherry salad, and the chicken and waffles.

Caesar Salad with a pint of Song of Your Heart, yum!

Caesar Salad with a pint of Song of Your Heart, yum!

I love when a brewery opens a restaurant. This one is great because while there is a good selection, the menu is small. I always feel like a smaller menu equals better quality food. And based on the experience we had on Wednesday this was definitely true! It also looks like this will be a changing menu, as the menu has a date with it too… I like that too! Check out what they offer HERE.

And because I haven’t stated yet, yes the beer is really good! My favorite is the Song in Your Heart Brown Ale. We recently also tried the 4th Conversation, a Belgium Blonde. Very tasty.

Have you been to Discretion yet? What’s your favorite thing about it?

 

SCE Takes on the Capitola Half Marathon & Relay

About a week and a half ago, I ran in the Surfer’s Path Marathon/Capitola Half Marathon race. This was my third year in a row running it and my second year running the relay portion of the half marathon (2012 half & 2013 relay). I had initially not planned to run it, but my running team, Santa Cruz Endurance, was paying the entry fee for four relay teams (one women’s, one men’s, and two mixed teams). I entered my information and thought maybe I’d be a part of a mixed team, as I definitely not the fastest runner in my team. When the teams came out, I found out I was in the women’s team paired with my good friend (and super speedy) Leslie. Challenge accepted.

The race weekend was beautiful. The day before the race, Elise (who had been in town all week visiting) and I headed down to the Expo. The race’s expo is a perfect one in my opinion. It’s the Capitola coast, includes an easy race bib & shirt pick up, and a handful of local companies’ tents. Alisyn and I were hosting a tweet up. While it ended up being just the three of us, we had a blast. (Next time, we need a sign and some fun giveaways – and maybe not compete with the awesome beach weather). After the tweet up, Elise and I headed over to the SCE tent. Our team was hosting a raffle to win a free surfboard. We were neighbors with our sponsors Santa Cruz Core and Santa Cruz Running Company. (If you are in the Central Coast area and looking for a team, SCE is an awesome one – our sponsors hook us up with great deals, Epicenter is another sponsor). I had originally planned to spend just an hour or so at the expo but ended up spending the afternoon. Fun company and beautiful weather was much more appealing than the stack of essays I had at home to grade.

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

Tweeting at the Tweet Up

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

SCE Tent at the Expo (photo credit: SCE Instagram)

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin's mini-me & myself

The raffled off surfboard modeled by Charmin’s mini-me & myself

For race day, I had specific instructions from the Coach. Since I still needed to get in my long run, the race was going to be incorporated into my 15 miles. I had a 2 mile warm up with some strides. Then the race (my portion was a 10k) to be run at my current  tempo pace (7:05-7:15) and then run the remaining miles to get in 15. My plan was to run the second half the half marathon with some friends who were fun running the race – perfect.

I jogged an easy mile and then met back up with Elise and Hillary to jog down to the start line. (I love races that start a mile from where I live!) I ended up only running 2 strides instead of 4 but I felt fine. Then I found all my SCE teammates. In addition to the four teams, SCE had 6 runners in the half marathon. (Spoiler: three of those runners scored major PRs! Woot!) Before we knew it, the race was about to start and we separated into our various zones.

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Race start (photo credit: Laura or Bob)

Laura, our consummate phototog

Laura, our consummate phototog

My plan was to run the first two miles conservatively – 7:15-7:20 pace (there is a good climb right after the first mile) and then pick up the pace for the last 4.2 miles for a nice negative split. My goal was to average a 7:05 pace, which would have been a PR in the 10k distance. Well, you know how it goes… I started the first mile way too fast: 6:52. Whoops. The climb out of the first mile sobered that pace a bit. I ran the next mile around Jeremy, who was running the half. It was fun to hang with him for a bit. Miles 2 & 3: 7:16 (much better!), 7:09. Despite some stomach issues pre race, during the race I was feeling really good. This course is basically the Wharf to Wharf course and a route I have run hundreds of times. I know each climb and each turn really well. I think that this meant that after the first mile, I ran a very smart race. I knew I just had to hold on until about 5.8 miles because the final .4 miles was all downhill. Miles 4-6: 7:04, 7:07, 7:03. I ran the final .2 I ran at a 5:53 pace. And that was good enough for a 10k PR (yes, I realize this isn’t a real 10k race but I’ll take it!): 44:13 official (44:05 by my watch, not sure why there is such a big gap).That’s a 7:05 pace (and with my watch running the course a little long, a 7:02 by Garmin). I came across the line to hand off to Leslie and yelled “I PRed for you!” Ha :) And off she went.

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Keeping up with Jeremy on the hill out of Twin Lakes Beach (photo cred: Bob)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

Coming into Opal Cliffs (Photo cred: Rebecca)

In what seemed like less than a minute, three of the SCE half marathoners (Elise, Gaylia, & Charmin) came through and I had to scream at them. There was some mixture of sharing my PR excitement with knowing that Elise was on route to score a massive PR. I was just super excited! Then came my two teammates fun running the half. I joined them to run the remaining 6.7 miles I had to get 15 miles. I was having way too much fun with them (see photos) and we stopped for water and bathroom breaks. We picked up Benoit with a few miles to spare (he was also running back from running the first leg of the relay). As we approached the final half mile of the race, I saw my teammate Leslie and Elise (who was in post PR glow – I’ll let her share her awesome PR story). And we all finished up our runs together.

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

Having WAY too much fun on my fun run back to the finish (photo cred: Bob)

We're done running, thank you :)

We’re done running, thank you :)

The team hung out for the awards and we dominated the podium. First Women’s Relay Team: Leslie & I. First Men’s Relay Team: SCE Benoit & Casey. First & Second Mixed Relay Teams: SCE Jenn W. & Dan V; Selena & Dan M. Gaylia, Elise, & Jeremy all took age group wins, as well as their own PRs. Charmin also took a nice AG win. So much fun! (In other awesome news, Alisyn was volunteer extraordinaire, Paulette ran the longest distance since January, and her Kevin PRed in the marathon – good day all around!)

SCE hanging on the beach

SCE hanging on the beach

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Winners!

And then, I had to drive Elise to the airport as she had to go back to DC, tear. It was a great weekend to share with her even if she had to leave at the end of it all.

Awesome team!

SCE Post Race Love

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Awesome race, awesome team. 1st place finish! (I need Leslie as a relay partner more often!)

Central Coast Runners – Awesome Upcoming Races!

Hey my local friends (and those who want to run in this awesome part of the state), I have two super exciting events to share with you!

The first is coming up soon, on March 9. Remember when I told you all I am now a part of Fleet Feet Santa Cruz Racing? Well this race is put on by them as part of series of local events. I won’t be running this one but I will be volunteering! So you’ll get to see me along the race course – isn’t that reason enough? ;) The Off Road Ramble 5k & 10k is part a 3 race series and yep, you want to race them all!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.16 AMThis race starts with a Bagpipe serenade and then brings you into the scenic Pinto Lake County Park, look at these views!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.23 AMYou can register now, its only $35 for the 5k, or you can register for all three of the Fleet Feet races here. (If you register by Feb. 28, you’ll save a little cash too!)

Ok, maybe a March 9 race date is a little too soon? Or maybe you need more local racing in your life? That’s good because I have one other race to share with you. It’s presented by a good friend of mine and will benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Spring it On 5k takes place April 12 and not only does it have an awesome race, it has a pancake breakfast, a bounce house and Easter Egg hunt for the kiddos, live music, and a photo booth (fun!). The entire community is pitching in, donating services and goods for a really awesome cause.

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You can sign up for this super awesome event HERE. You can also download a PDF and mail in your registration here. Local sponsors of the race include Fleet Feet Aptos, Santa Cruz Track Club, Buzzword Productions and our local Whole Foods. I really can’t say enough good things about this race, it’s just a great opportunity to run some miles and support an amazing cause. (A little shout out to Trinity for putting it all together, you rock woman!)

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So will I be seeing you at either of these events (or even better at both!)??

Calling Central Coast Ladies!

Hey my local running friends! As you know I love the new running/athletic clothing, Graced by Grit. Well, now you have a chance to come check out their gear in Santa Cruz. They are coming to visit us and bringing their new winter line with them:

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Here’s the info to download: Santa Cruz Sunday Trunk Show

If you want to come, RSVP by commenting to this blog post or emailing heygirl@gbg.com.

 

I hope to see you there!

Wharf to Wharf 2013

This past weekend I ran my third Wharf to Wharf (W2W). For those of you who don’t know about “the best little road race in California,” it’s a 6 mile race along the Santa Cruz coast, starting just past the Santa Cruz Wharf and ending right before the Capitola Wharf. 15,000 registered participants race, run, jog, and walk the course along with an estimated 5,000 bandits who jump in on the fun along the way. The course also includes tons of bands, awesome spectators, and even the house or two who is friendly enough to hose down the runners. Not only was this my third year running, it was also my fastest Wharf to Wharf!

2011 – 52:52
2012 – 45:10
2013 – 42:39

My goal this year was to run the race in 42-43 minutes and clearly, I did it! I’m not going to lie, it was not easy – it was HARD! This was the longest distance I’ve ran a 7:06 pace. And after weeks of travel with little running on real hills, those W2W rollers really felt tough.

The plan was to start out conservative, my goal was a 7:15 first mile. The first mile of W2W is notoriously fast, especially if you are in the elite corral. You have to make sure you don’t blow out in the first half of the course (which by the way is NOT flat, lots of rollers!). Then I wanted to stay in the 7:05-10 range for the next 2-3 miles. Finally, in the last 2 miles, I wanted to see if I could really push myself and maybe even finish with a sub 7 minute mile.

The day before the race, Elise and I did a little shakeout run and confirmed we had similar goals. We decided we’d stick together but in the end, still run our own races. Then later in the day, I learned another good running friend (who is super speedy), Jenn, had gotten the ok after an injury to run (but not race) W2W. She was generous enough to agree to pace Elise and I would reap the benefits!

SCE ladies pre-start

SCE ladies pre-start

Race day, I headed out to the start. I live practically right in the middle of the course, so I ran an easy warm up run from home to the start. I was supposed to run the last 3 minutes at tempo pace, but as I got closer to the start it was getting pretty packed with people so that didn’t really happen. Then I bumped into some of the SCE ladies about to head out on their warm up runs.  We took a quick photo and they were off jogging while I headed over to the start line and found my other running ladies as well as a few of the guys. Before we knew it, the gun was shot and we were off!

Elise, me, Jenn, Emmy, & Hillary hanging out after the race.

Elise, me, Jenn, Emmy, & Hillary hanging out after the race.

We started off well, slightly faster than I had planned though (my Garmin had 7:07 for the first mile and I think Elise’s watch had 7:13). I felt the hills after having little access to hill running for the past few weeks. I knew Jenn was keeping an eye on the pace, so I turned my watch to the clock function so I wouldn’t keep checking my pace. Before I knew it we had finished mile 2 (7:01) and were running down by the harbor and Twin Lakes Beach. I tried to enjoy the bands (I had my iPod with me but didn’t use it) but we were cruising past them. We climbed up to East Cliff and 17th, passing the mile 3 marker (7:03). Kevin, the pups, and a few of our neighbors were out cheering. I was stoked to see Kevin, it’s always nice to have support and hear that “Go Meg!” And then we were back hugging the coast and running those hills that I run so often. As we cleared the second downhill, Elise dropped back to use the bathroom right before the mile 4 marker (7:07, hills!).

Then it was just Jenn and me. I was tired and hurting, I really felt I was pushing my hardest. Jenn kept me going those last two miles. I might have accused her of yelling at me, but really she kept me motivated and focused on my goal – thanks so much Jenn!!!! I could not have run this race without you! Mile 5 is a hard one, while it doesn’t really have the hills like the previous two miles, it starts uphill and then has tiny elevation changes as you race through Pleasure Point and come into Opal Cliffs. I finished mile 5 in a speedy 7:01 minutes. Jenn had started pointing out runners for me to pick off. At the time I thought, “I can barely keep this pace and you expect me to pass people!?” but I pushed through. In hindsight, this was actually really helpful and did give me little goals in the last mile.

yep... this photo shows exactly how I felt coming out of Opal Cliffs!

yep… this photo shows exactly how I felt coming out of Opal Cliffs!

Opal Cliffs is a hard part of the race, you have a nice downhill to look forward to at the end of it but its a hard little road and can mentally really beat you up. Thankfully there are tons of spectators in this section and they cheer on all the runners. In this stretch, we saw a team member having a tough time and looking like she might drop off. Jenn peeled off to help her out and then I was on my own. I had a hard time keeping the push in this section and was passed by a woman or two. I caught at least one of them on the last downhill, heading to the finish. While the last mile is hard, it does have a sweet downhill as a reward. I pushed as hard as I could down that hill! Last mile was 7:07 (so much for that sub 7 final mile!). When I finished I really felt like I gave it my all (a feeling I always want to have at the end of the race but I have to admit I often don’t have).

Coming up to the finish

Coming up to the finish

SCTC and Fleet Feet Racing team member Michelle saw me and gave me a big hug! That was awesome! I also heard Laura cheering me on. These ladies knew this was a big PR for me and it was great to have their support. Then I found more and more of my team, including Leslie who also secured an amazing PR (39:20!!). I saw my coach and was so excited to be able to tell him I actually hit my goal! My official finishing time was 42:39, 135th overall (not top 100 but I’ll take it!).

Jenn, me, and Trinity post race

Jenn, me, and Trinity post race

This year was a great Wharf to Wharf! They really improved the race by adding corrals to the start (elite plus 4 waves) and having a staggered start. I think their corral system will only get better year after year. I’d love to see less people jumping in along the course as that just makes it feel crowded in the middle, which is no fun! But I think as the race continues to improve like the corral system and accurate timing, more people will take it a little more seriously and actually start at the start! (Ok probably not, but a girl can dream!)

 After the race, Julie, Hillary, and I jogged back toward my house as a cool down. Kevin and I hosted a post party. Many of the SCE runners and other friends came by to celebrate their strong races and also send a farewell to Elise before she moves far, far away from us. It was a perfect way to end the morning.

Any of my readers run Wharf to Wharf this year? How did it go for you?