100 Days of Difference – Day 14

If you missed my post two weeks ago explaining my summer project, check it out here before you continue reading this post.

Now that you’ve done that, you should know that today (June 7th) is National Cancer Survivors Day. So if you know anyone that has beaten any of the numerous varieties of cancer that currently plague our world, take a minute before continuing to reach out and let them know you’re glad they won! Life after a cancer diagnosis and even after a remission or “all-clear” declaration is never the same as it was pre-cancer. I feel so thankful for each of my family and friends that doesn’t have to fight anymore, at least not right now. And as silly as most “holidays” are these days, I support this one because it recognizes those among us that have been to hell and back.

But this special day also brings up the question of what can I/we do for those still in the trenches, fighting for survivor status? The answer for me was in this #100daysofdifference challenge. I can RAISE MONEY for an amazing organization, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, that helps 18-40 year olds across the nation that have been diagnosed with cancer. No donation is too big or too small and my goal is to raise at least $1,000 this summer, which would be enough to fully pay for a scholarship for one deserving cancer warrior. These scholarships allow recipients the opportunity to not only pay for their treatments, but also to continue living throughout their often long and difficult cancer journey. Check out my donation page on Crowdrise or contact me about other ways to donate financially.

As someone who has worked with charities for a long time, I am fully aware that not everyone is comfortable or able to give money. That’s 100% fine with me! You can share my blog link or my Crowdrise page and help me spread the word. I appreciate any efforts, no matter how big or small.

I also created an Amazon wish list this week to give potential donors even more ways to help support young adults with cancer. So one of my #100daysofdifference goals is to put together 100 “cancer care kits” to take to the North County Oncology Medical Clinic. The idea behind this is that chemotherapy and radiation and blood transfusion are all long, scary processes that cancer patients have to endure. While I can’t change that, I can provide bags of goodies to help entertain or increase the comfort level of patients. The medical center plans to give our bags to new patients during their first day of treatment, just to welcome them to the cancer family and let them know that there are people who care, even during this difficult time.

The way the Amazon wish list works, is kind of like a wedding or baby registry. You click the link I just gave you, decide which items you are willing to purchase, check out, and then they will be shipped directly to my house. I will collect items all summer and hope to distribute the 100 finished bags the last week of August. For those of you that live in San Diego and see me on a regular basis, please feel free to pick up any of the listed items on your own and give them to me when we see each other. Also, if anyone wishes to donate other items I am happy to accept those as well, just send me a message!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting me in the huge summer project. I literally cannot do it without each and every one of you that reads this blog and please know that I appreciate every donation, every encouraging comment, and every spreading of the word. Below is a chart of my progress so far, I’m getting there!!

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100 Days of Difference – Day 1 (The Challenge)

I’ve been brainstorming ideas about fundraising for an AMAZING organization, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, since I finished the San Francisco Marathon last summer. As part of my training, I raised over $1,200 for Hope for Young Adults with Cancer. Instead of focusing on one race this year, I have decided to center my efforts around 100 Days of Difference by using the five love languages. I hope to complete one task (or set of tasks) for each of the categories of love between Memorial Day and Labor Day… which I know is 105 days, but it doesn’t sound as good 😉

So why focus on love when raising money for young adults fighting cancer? Because I witnessed the unconditional love my parents had for one another during the five years my father battled bone cancer. From his experiences, I know that love can be a powerful force for those facing a cancer diagnosis. As a family member I know the importance of love, from family, friends, and strangers alike, when dealing with the loss of a cancer patient. And as someone who teaches young adults, I see the effect love and compassion can have on even the most guarded individuals.

I tried to incorporate my passions into my goals and will post updates on my progress as summer continues. I would LOVE if you joined me in giving HOPE to young adults with cancer throughout the country. How can you do that? The best way would be to donate online on my fundraising page! However, I will also be collecting donations for my “survivor kits”, with more information to come ( but let me know if you want to help specifically with this part of the project!). If you can’t give financially, please consider sharing this post OR share the link directly to my fundraising page (https://www.crowdrise.com/100daysofdifference/fundraiser/karenoliver1) to help spread the word! Here are my five commitments for my summer 100 Days of Difference Challenge:

Words of Affirmation – Send 100 letters of encouragement

Acts of Service – Assemble 100 “survivor kits” for cancer patients

Physical (Touch) – Run 100 miles with Charity Miles app

Quality Time – Spend 100 hours traveling to see family/friends

Giving Gifts – Inspire 100 people to donate to Hope4YAWC

Please contact me directly if you have questions about my project or keep reading for more information about Hope4YAWC!

Who Is Hope For Young Adults With Cancer?
Hope For Young Adults With Cancer is a 501(c)(3) organization that is passionate about making the lives of young adults, ages 18 – 40, living with cancer a little bit easier. Our mission is to connect with our peers in the fight to provide direct financial support and a social network and outlet for those battling, surviving and living with cancer. Hope4YAWC is one of only a handful of non-profit organizations nationwide that focuses on providing direct financial support to young adults with cancer 18 – 40.

Over 72,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Survival rates for young adults have not risen since 1975.
This is due to unique factors such as lack of insurance, minimal participation in clinical trials and delayed diagnoses.

How Does Hope For Young Adults With Cancer Help?
Hope4YAWC raises funds through fundraisers and events organized by the charity and through partnerships with other organizations and businesses in the community, as well as through direct donations from businesses and individuals. We in turn provide direct financial support to young adults who currently are battling cancer as well as those who have been in remission for up to 5 years after their treatment. We provide this support to those who need it after a thorough examination and selection process through our “Giving Hope Fund” application.

Hope For Young Adults With Cancer’s “Giving Hope Fund”
The “Giving Hope Fund” allows young adults currently battling cancer, as well as those who have been in remission for up to 5 years after their treatment, the opportunity to help pay for necessities they encounter in everyday life as well as the opportunity to a “want” item that they have had their eye on, but couldn’t necessarily afford. This includes but is not limited to obligations, such as rent and mortgage payments, cell phone and credit card bills, clothing, work and educated related materials, department store and grocery gift cards, as well as laptops and electronic devices. We would of course be remiss if we didn’t include the opportunity to make payments on all forms of medical bills, healthcare premiums, doctor visits and prescription co-pays. The “Giving Hope Fund” is posted on our website and through our social media accounts twice a year, normally once in the spring and once in the fall.

Hope4YAWC Social Meetups & Fitness Programs
Social isolation is the number one concern in young adults with cancer. With this in mind, we organize quarterly meetups emphasizing a fun, stress-free environment where young adults with cancer can connect with other fighters and survivors their own age without feeling judged or embarrassed. We also offer yoga on weekends that is open to anyone, but mainly focus on building up physical strength and stress-relief for those young adults with cancer who are fatigued by the ramifications of their cancer treatment.

To learn more about Hope For Young Adults With Cancer, visit:

http://www.hope4yawc.org
http://www.facebook.com/Hope4yawc
http://twitter.com/Hope4yawc

Final Feedback on February Fasts

I made it! And what’s funny is that I didn’t even realize it until this morning (March 2nd). I think that’s a good thing though, right? Since I obviously wasn’t counting the minutes until the clock turned from February 28th to March 1st. This challenge turned out to be a lot easier than I anticipated overall. Again, I was basically hanging out at home in North Carolina with no friends which helped, but I was also doing a lot of running around town when it’s easy to give in to fast food and sugary treats for energy. Here’s my original post to remind you of my February fasting goals and my mid-month update to show my progress a few weeks ago.

So where am I going with each of these items? Let’s see!

Fizzy drinks – I am going to try my absolute best to keep these out of my diet. Between the sugar and caffeine, they do a number on me now that I’m not as used to them. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a good mixed drink here or there, but I want to set the standard to be less than one a week from here on out. We shall see!

French fries – Only the very best, most delicious fries will be had. Especially if they are sweet potato fries. And especially on special occasions. I want to continue to avoid fries as my “go to” side item in restaurants. The reality is that I can steal one or two from a neighbor and be good to go with fruit or a salad instead.

“Fourth meal” – I anticipate this to become a problem again… especially once I start work. Namely because I will go back to eating breakfast earlier in the day and lunch earlier, so I will want dinner earlier. I’m going to try to avoid this by scheduling a healthy snack in the afternoon to help push dinner back later. Most of my Cali friends wait until 7 or 8 to eat anyway, so this will allow me to wait for them without getting “hangry”. And if I’m eating dinner that late, then there isn’t much time for a “fourth meal” after that!

Frozen treats – Again, I just don’t need them and I don’t want to stock them in my house. I’m sure I’ll make a trip or two to the local froyo store, but I want to limit frozen treats to once or twice a month. I can pick other ways to get a bit of sweet at the end of the day. And if I do go, I am going to really try to stick to fruit bowls instead of chocolate bowls. What the heck does that mean? Basically that when I go to put toppings on my delicious frozen yogurt, I’m going to put fruits instead of candy. Not a huge difference, but a difference nonetheless.

Fast food – The reality is that I will need to eat out while on the road in the future, but I plan to avoid going to fast food in San Diego County. There is no reason to, especially when such great stores as Whole Foods and Jamba Juice exist. The food tastes better and is way better for me. Again, we shall see how that works out 🙂

Those of you curious about my health/fitness results will be interested to hear that while maintaining a similar weight to the middle of the month, I have lost another 2.5 inches off of my body! This is thanks in large part to my half marathon training picking back up and my Piyo workouts continuing to kick my butt. I’m excited to keep them up while adding in kickball and long, therapeutic walks with my girlfriends back in SD.

Thanks for reading about my health and nutrition progress and let me know what you’re trying to do to change your eating habits!

February Fasts Update

I just looked at the calendar and realized that we’re already over halfway through February! This month has been crazy busy so far. I’ve been spending a lot of time helping get the Edge Church ready for launch THIS SUNDAY! Oh, and I went to Big Sky, Montana for skiing with two of my best friends. I’ve also been spending a lot of time thinking about and then making the decision to move back to California. And I’m now frozen into my apartment by 2-3 inches of snow/sleet. Because this is North Carolina and they aren’t super used to the white stuff. But all this stuff isn’t what my post is really about tonight, it’s about my five fasts in February!

Let me first remind you what I chose to eliminate from my diet for this month: fizzy drinks, french fries, “fourth meal”, frozen treats, and fast food.

Fizzy drinks has been way easier than I thought! I did cave and have soda while in our box at the UVA vs. NCSU men’s basketball game. Mainly because I was tired and it was there and I was feeling spoiled. That night I didn’t sleep well AT ALL. I was totally wired. Note to self, caffeine makes my mind crazy. It’s all really dry in my apartment and I feel like I’m constantly thirsty, so not drinking soda has helped slightly with that. I will most likely continue to omit soda from my diet except for rare occasions.

French fries is not a problem when I eat at home, which I’ve been doing a lot of. French fries are a huge temptation when I’m eating out, especially because I really like ordering sandwiches which often come with fries. In Big Sky, I swapped my side of french fries for brussel sprouts and was disappointed in them. So I stole a few fries from the boys. But it was much better than having my whole plate full! I would love to say french fries will be gone forever, but I know that’s not the case. I will try to get a healthy side and just split fries with people in the future… because a half of serving is better than a full serving, right?

“Fourth meal” hasn’t been too bad… mainly because I’ve been delaying my meals and not having my Shakeology shake until about 10am after my Beachbody Piyo workout, so then lunch isn’t until 2pm or so, which means I wait until 7pm to eat dinner. There isn’t a ton of time after that to eat more. And I’ve already eaten most of the snacks in my house 😉 I’m trying to just drink a container of water instead to help fill my stomach. I’ve occasionally had a square of dark chocolate as a dessert to my dinner. But again, that’s way better than the foraging through the pantry I used to do! I plan to continue limiting late-night snacking because I know I sleep better when I haven’t just eaten!

Frozen treats again has been easy since I haven’t eaten out too much. The dark chocolate squares have quenched my sweet tooth and I just haven’t been craving cold milkshakes or ice cream since it’s been in the teens and 20s here recently. Brrr! There are also not delicious frozen yogurt shops on every corner like in California. I predict the frozen treats will be creeping back into my diet soon 😉 I know I do better when I don’t keep it in the house though, so I’ll continue to resist buying them for the house!

Finally, fast food. Again, I’ve been home alone most of the month and in an environment where I’m not being invited out to a ton of meals. But I have been running tons of errands throughout the days, which is when I’m always most tempted by fast food. I think I had fast food once on the way to Montana in the Chicago airport, which was to be expected. Again, I hope to continue this without too much problem while still in North Carolina!

So basically, I’m happy with how I’ve done so far and I feel good about finishing out the rest of the month. I am still trying to figure out how all of these will or won’t continue once I’m back in California. I will say that all of these diet adjustments, plus adding in healthier alternatives, and doing Beachbody six days a week with half marathon training… I feel great! I have also lost six pounds this calendar year and, more importantly, 2.5 inches from my body! Most of that was from my arms and waist, which have definitely become more toned from workouts and managing my food. I hope the next 11 days will help solidify my routines and remove the few cravings I still have.

On the spiritual front, I have been working through my weekly devotionals which had given me a greater focus on my life. I’ve worked through a lot of frustrations and mental blocks that have been building and I’ve dealt with some issues I’d been suppressing. I’ve felt really fulfilled working the launch the Edge Church and because I feel so great about my nutrition and fitness, I can use my time being positive and supportive of others! Overall, this has been a great month and I’m excited to see how the rest of it plays out 🙂

Five February Fasts

As y’all know, I have really focused a lot recently on leading a healthier and happier life, both physically and mentally. A huge piece of that is nutrition. I mentioned in a post last month that I’ve started a Beachbody workout program and I’m rolling into another season of half marathon training as well. In order to fuel myself, I need to really buckle down on healthy eating. It’s easy for me to add fitness but it’s harder for me to alter my eating. Especially living alone, there is no one in the house holding me accountable… although there’s also no one in the house buying Oreos either 😉 But the temptations, especially of restaurants and fast food are right here and it’s on me to stop myself. I really, really want to work on this though. And I want to work on cooking healthy, delicious meals that make me WANT to just eat in, even with friends!

So I had already decided going into this year that in February I would really kick into high gear. I’d in theory be settling into life here on the East Coast and be ready to buckle down. So far I’ve just been doing a lot of research into clean eating and portion control and nutrition in general. But before I can really focus on adding tons of healthy stuff, I want to eliminate certain things for this month. I know realistically that I can’t (and don’t want to) eliminate some of these for the rest of my life, but I do want to force myself into healthier options by refraining from unhealthier ones. So for the month of February (which is the shortest month of the year, how convenient!) I will be fasting from the following five items:

– Fizzy drinks (aka soda)

– French fries (including sweet potato fries, sadly)

– “Fourth meal” (which really just means late night snacking after dinner)

– Frozen treats (aka milkshakes, ice cream, chocolate chunks, etc.)

– Fast food (which I’m defining as anything from a window or place that has a drive-thru)

Those of you that know me, know that I don’t frequent most of these things. And I’m certainly not eating out every day or drinking gallons of soda a week… but do I need them at all right now? I don’t think so, at least not for the short period of 28 days. These are some of my comfort foods and I default to them. I want to retrain my body to be satisfied with healthier snacks and “treats”. As a side note, I don’t love what soda does to my mind at night. Because my body isn’t used to caffeine, it keeps me up and gives me really weird dreams sometimes. I’m hoping that by removing these things, I can focus on the better choices I should be eating instead!

Another, smaller goal is to continue shaping my body and fueling it to help me perform to the best of my ability. I have a few athletic goals for this year and I’ve been really working on strength and flexibility as well as endurance. A less central thought is also that one of my best friends gets married six months from today (YAY!!) which gives me a great long-term goal for building tone and transforming to a healthier version of me! Again, my focus is not so much on physical appearance or the scale, but more on feeling healthy and being confident that what I’m putting in my body is actually good for it.

An additional piece of this fasting in February decision was added a few days ago when the couple leading our church posted about fasting and praying leading up to the big launch day. I’ve done a few “30-hour famine” weekends back in grade school, but I haven’t really applied nutrition to my spiritual life before. I’m excited to see what God can do this month while I eliminate some of these foods. And I look forward to praying and thinking about the health and strength of the church while focusing on the health and strength of myself! One of my biggest snacking times is in the evening while I’m winding down and boredom or fidgeting sneaks in. I’m going to try to take that time to stay on track with my devotionals and prayers, instead of heading to the kitchen for a snack. This spiritual part feels like something that’s been missing from my previous attempts at healthy eating and a fully transformed healthy lifestyle.

At this point it’s probably needless to say, but I’m REALLY looking forward to the next 28 days and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted throughout the month. And please, please, please help hold me accountable! Texts, emails, Facebook posts, cards, comments, anything… I can do it, but I can do it easier with each of you supporting me 🙂 And if any of you are on similar journeys, I’d love to hear about them as well so I can support you too!

The Great Taco Quest 2014

This will be the last of my blog posts about my 30 Before 30 goals… even though I have another week before my birthday! I have already blogged about 24 of the items, so be sure to check them out through links on the above post. This post will be all about item number 24 from my original list, Ten Best SD Fish Taco Places. This item was really a ten-part item since I followed the article’s suggestions for fish tacos based on surfers’ suggestions. Before my 30 Before 30 project, I had already been to four of the listed restaurants. This left six new fish taco places to find and enjoy in San Diego County! I’ll start with a quick ranking for those of you who want the cliff notes. In parenthesis I’ll include the article rankings (I don’t agree with them completely).

1. Blue Water Seafood Market in Mission Hills (1)

2. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in Pacific Beach (4)

3. South Beach Bar & Grill in Ocean Beach (2)

4. PB Fish Shop in Pacific Beach/Encinitas (4)

5. Rubio’s in… Everywhere (8)

6. Kotija’s Jr. Taco Shop in Leucadia (8)

7. Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma (8)

8. El Zarape Restaurant in University Heights (4)

9. Brigantine in Del Mar (2)

10. Mariscos German in South Park (7)

My first issue with the article and rankings was that out of ten fish shops, they listed eight as being “in a tie”. Really? Your ranking system is flawed. But I digress. The biggest disagreement was with Brigantine in Del Mar. They raved about this place and its fish tacos. I don’t agree with either. In my opinion, it is an overpriced restaurant that has an excellent location but rests on its laurels. None of the food is that incredible and the fish tacos are definitely not the best thing on the menu. They come in a unique stand, but that’s it. So why isn’t Brigantine #10 on my list?

Because I really didn’t like Mariscos German. It’s a food truck, which is unique. But I got the Baja Trio as recommended and didn’t love any of the three tacos. The shrimp and fish were both fried in a thick dough that didn’t have enough crunch. The marlin was tossed with veggies in a stew-like concoction… no thank you. Obviously, these rankings are based on my personal preference and I didn’t love it. My dining buddies had meals that looked… okay? I guess? It was cool to sit in a parking lot with a stool as a table!

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Rubio’s ended up higher on my list than the article’s because I love Rubio’s. It’s fast food, I get that. But they claim to be the original fish tacos and I love them. I get the shrimp verde tacos which have an amazing green sauce on them and cabbage and no cheese. Cheese is actually a negative in my book for fish tacos. They also have a really good mahi mahi fish taco that is grilled with corn and a delicious white sauce. I’ve taste tested it before, check it out! Rubio’s also has churros for dessert… and if you get a kid’s meal, it comes with a mini churro. Bonus!

So why do I like Blue Water Seafood the best? Because the fish is FRESH. Like FOTB (fresh off the boat) fresh. And it’s a big honking slab of fish. SO good! And there are tons of choices of fish, not just one. And they come grilled. And the sauce is good but not too much. And there isn’t cheese. And it’s delicious, did I mention that?! Oscar’s Seafood was a close second because it also has healthy portions without cheese (they sub avocado!). I had the surf and turf taco and a spicy grilled shrimp taco. I’m not a spicy girl, so this was just enough kick without making it unpleasant. It might have also helped that we took the tacos to the beach to eat them!

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South Beach Bar & Grill was the first fish taco place I tried in San Diego County, and I still love it. There’s an awesome view overlooking Ocean Beach from the top floor and tons of tacos to choose from. My favorites are the mahi mahi and the wahoo. They are fairly small tacos, but cheap! And they come with a white sauce and cabbage and a salsa that I don’t get. The other places that I mentioned were exactly how the article described them… all were good and some were cheap and all were eaten. I will say that this list was fairly comprehensive for fish taco places in the county… I can’t think of too many places that were left off, but can any of you?!

Hiking, Biking, Boarding, and… Brewing?

Here’s a long overdue update about my 30 Before 30 project. I’m getting down to the wire as my actual birthday is less than two weeks away and I roll out of SD this Sunday… yikes! But I’ve been fitting in lots of sports related things in the last few weeks. Enjoy!

1. Go to a Chargers Football Game

A few weeks ago, right after my Esprit de She Triathlon, we went to a Chargers game! Now, when I say right after… I mean Brian drove from Mission Bay to a 24-hour fitness so I could shower and then we drove to the stadium to tailgate. My race had been at 7am and we were settling in to festivities at Qualcomm by 10am. It wasn’t just Brian and I standing around in a parking lot though, I had sent a message out to a larger group asking who was interested in a game. My restrictions were that I would be purchasing nose-bleed seats that were as cheap as possible. And I had three possible dates I could go. We voted on the game versus the Kansas City Chiefs and I bought the tickets! It ended being thirteen adults and one adorable baby that converged on the tailgate. The guys did not mess around with the meat selection, see below, and everyone else brought an assortment of snacks and beverages. Enough for a feast!

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Unfortunately, my stomach wasn’t feeling too great after my race and I barely got down a sausage with my Gatorade and water regiment. But everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves and the food! Come game time, we all headed into the stadium and began the long, long walk up the ramps and then the steps to our seats. I’d gotten tickets in two rows so we weren’t all strung out in one big line. This helped us communicate and interact more throughout the game. The best part for me was seeing how all of these friends got along. They didn’t all necessarily know each other before the game, or didn’t know each other very well. But everyone swapped seats, talked to everyone, and seemed to have a good time 🙂

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As far as the actual football game went, the Chargers played well at the beginning but were overcome in the dwindling minutes of the game. It was a disappointment but I was just glad to have had an interesting game with turnovers, scoring, and excitement! After the game we hung out in the parking lot again to let a good deal of the traffic clear before I drove Brian and I home, unpacked my gear from that morning, and took a nap!

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2. Hike Cowles Mountain

Last Friday, I woke up full of energy and with a long laundry list of items to complete. I knew I’d be sitting most of the day working on my laptop so I made the last second decision to get in my car, drive to Mission Trails Park, and hike Cowles Mountain. I knew from research that this was a three-mile, up and back trail that was extremely popular with San Diegans. I have been having a decent amount of knee pain from running, so a good hike seemed just the ticket! It took about 35 minutes to drive down in minimal traffic around 8:30am and I was on the trail by 9am. This hike is uphill the entire way. It gains 933 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles, which isn’t flat by any standards! A few nice things about this trail are that the dirt is hard-packed and there are mileage signs every 1/4 mile. A lot of people were using these to gauge their workouts, either running between some or walking further than before.

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I wasn’t sure what my pace would be, but I set off up the hill at a pretty good clip. I had my iPhone tracking my hike and music playing through my headphones. It was quite nice to power walk and not feel too winded. I stopped occasionally to drink some water and enjoy the scenery but kept moving for the most part. The views of the surrounding area were absolutely stunning. You could see all the way into downtown and all the way over to the ocean. There was a light cloud cover, which was keeping the morning cool, a nice change from the hot temperatures of the previous week. I made it up to the top in 28 minutes, which was faster than I’d anticipated! After walking around the check out the views and observe my fellow hikers, I turned around and headed back down the trail. I was trying to be really cautious about going too fast on the way down. One, I didn’t want my knee to flare up. Two, I didn’t want to mis-step on the rocky sections and twist and ankle. Three, I wanted to enjoy it!

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I got down with no problems in 22 minutes, which logged me right at 50 minutes for the 3.17 mile hike. Not too bad! I was not the fastest person on the hill but I wasn’t the slowest either. This hike reminded me that I can find alternate ways to workout while enjoying nature and feeling comfortable with my surroundings. It would be a great hike for any level of athlete because you can easily make the trail easier or harder for yourself. After a quick stop in the restroom after finishing my Nalgene, I hopped back in the car to drive home. Traffic was a little lighter this way and it only took me 30 minutes to cruise home. After a quick shower, I was ready to start my day by 10:45am. Not too bad for an unplanned adventure on a Friday!

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9. Bike Camp Pendleton to San Clemente

Okay, so this one I am going to cheat on a little bit. But let me explain! When I added this to my list, I wanted to bike from the gate of Camp Pendleton, through base, and up into San Clemente to enjoy a reward of Pizza Port before heading back south. Back in September, X and I set off to just bike the base and see what happened. I wasn’t used to longer distances on my road bike yet, so we decided to play it by ear. We parked at the gate of base, showed our IDs and biked on through. It was really nice biking along the abandoned roads in base, there were very few cars and wide open spaces to enjoy (see below). We made it all the way out the other side and went under the highway then continued on another access road of sorts.

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I was starting to get sore and tired, and both of us were hot and thirsty. So we paused at San Onofre State Beach for bathrooms, water, and a snack. After resting for quite some time, we made the decision not to push on into the town of San Clemente this time, but to use this as a training ride for the long haul. We’d be just over 13 miles and had another 6-7 to go. So we turned around and headed back the way we came, over the hills and around the curves of Camp Pendleton. I knew about halfway back that this had been the right decision because my legs were starting to protest as well as my butt. We made it back with no problems though, and I really enjoyed the ride! Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out with our busy schedules for X and I to go all the way into town. But, I decided that since riding through base was the main goal and because San Onofre is technically part of San Clemente, that I could check this item off of my list anyway 🙂

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12. (Night) Paddle Board in Mission Bay

This item again has an adjustment to it, but this time it was out of my control. I originally planned to paddle board in Mission Bay at night, because I had a Groupon that advertised that as an option. However, after adding this to my list I learned that night rentals are only available in the summer months. Bummer. Regardless, my friend Kelly had reached out to me about joining me on the adventure since she’d never been before. Perfect! We met up on Monday morning this week, rented our boards and headed out. I let Kelly decide how long we wanted to stay out since she’d run a half marathon the day before. We ended up circling almost the entire section of the bay, going over a mile!

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My core, arms, and legs were starting to ache by the end of our two-hour tour, but it was worth it. Since it was fall and a Monday, the bay was fairly quiet so we could paddle uninterrupted. This allowed us time to talk and catch up on each other’s lives while getting a light workout in too. Paddling back was mostly upstream, which meant that the end of our workout was more intense than the beginning. But we had no problems and even managed to stay on our boards the whole time. Paddle boarding is something I will absolutely miss about San Diego and I may have to find a lake near me in Raleigh to keep this hobby alive. We didn’t take any valuables on the boards with us in case we tipped, but the photo above shows the bay where we went!

23. Alpine Brewing Company

Finally, I crossed this item off my list this past Sunday for lunch. If you read my last post, I had been in Mexico with Sean and Xavier for the weekend. We decided to travel inland to cross the border at a less popular spot, which put us near this restaurant in the Inland Empire of San Diego. Why was this place even on my list since I don’t love beer? It’s simply really, I’d heard them talk so much about it over the years as an amazing place to refuel after long hikes they’d been on in the desert. This place is fairly small but welcoming and known for their beans and their beer. I was craving carbs and went for a grilled cheese (with two kinds of cheese!) with a side of beer-battered fries. That was as close as I could come to ordering a beer, lol. The boys had drinks and both ordered some kind of BBQ meat… I think one had beef brisket and the other had chicken. I won’t embarrass them by using names, but I will say that one got a side of fried pickles while the other got two sides of beans.

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As you can see, my meal was extremely cheesy and delicious! I crushed this meal and was glad that I’d ordered what I did. You can see one of the servings of beans in the top left corner, just to give you a feel for those. Anyway, I do recommend this place if you’re out near Alpine and I did enjoy my WARM meal on a chilly(ish) fall day in San Diego. Well, that’s all of the items I’ve crossed off for now. I’m up to 24/30 items complete, with 9/10 taco shops visited. That’s not too bad! Happy Thursday 🙂

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