Tinkerbell Half Marathon 2015

I should start by saying that this was my eighth half marathon since I started running long distances in 2011. I should also comment that I went to Disney World once, when I was five, and my favorite ride was It’s a Small World. I’ve lived 1.5 hours from Disneyland for almost three years now and have never been. I’m not anti-Disney, but I’m also not a fanatic. The average pace for my previous seven half marathons has been right at two hours, but I ran the La Jolla Half two weeks ago in 2:07. The past six months have been extremely busy for me so training has not been a priority. So knowing all of that, how did I find myself standing on the streets of Anaheim at 5:30am Sunday morning? It’s simple… my friends asked me to do it 😉

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Ready for my eighth half marathon!

I say that jokingly because back in August… July? September? Sometime in 2014. My friend from high school, Claire, mentioned that she was running the Disney Princess Half at Disney World in February. Not only that, but she was considering doing a “Coast-to-Coast Challenge” and her husband would feel better if she had someone to run or at least travel with her to Disneyland in May, 2015. I’m always down for having running/race buddies, so naturally I said yes! We convinced two other high school friends living in California to join us as well and the cast was complete. Fast forward through moving away from San Diego, through traveling to Argentina, through moving into North Carolina, and finally through moving BACK to San Diego and finally race weekend was upon us. Here’s the basics of our weekend… there was a lot going on, so try to keep up!

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Picking up my bib at the expo

Claire – She arrived from Philly on Wednesday night, ran the Neverland 5k Friday, then completed the Pixie Dust Challenge by completing both the Tink 10K on Saturday and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon on Sunday. She’s a mother of two adorable boys and only started running distance races six months ago. Tink was her third of four half marathons in a month. Crazy, right?! As previously mentioned, Claire was the one that got us all involved and her love for everything runDisney was very apparent as she cleaned out the merchandise tent;) But her enthusiasm was contagious all weekend!

Karen – I arrived from North County, San Diego on Thursday night, got up early and supported the others in their running of the Tink 10k on Saturday and then raced the Tinkerbell Half on Sunday. In spite of not being in conditioned shape, I really wanted to RACE and see what happened. I tend to get complacent during events and I knew stopping and starting (even for Disney character pictures) would kill my legs, which were still recovering from my last race. My “I’ll be happy” goal was to beat 2:07 and my “I’ll be ecstatic” goal  was to break two hours. I also agree to wings and tutus… but only if the other girls picked them out for me.

Kelly – She arrived on Friday night from San Diego, sported her fairy wings and tutu like a champ while completing the Pixie Dust Challenge as well. She also ran La Jolla two weeks ago and is in great shape from aerial yoga and TRX training. Sadly, this was our last race together for a while because at the end of the month she’s moving back to the East Coast where we all grew up. Kelly served as our massage therapist for the weekend and (thankfully) offered to compress, stretch, and de-knot our tired muscles.

Jenny – She arrived later Friday night from Santa Monica from a Flash Mob with her Dancing Classrooms students. She has been battling tendonitis and leg pain for almost two months, but completed all 19.3 miles of the Pixie Dust Challenge with a smile. With the possible exception of Claire, Jenny was the most excited about everything Disney and rocked her custom-made Mickey and Minnie TOMS in between races. She took running guru Jeff Galloway’s advice to alternate running and walking to get her through only her second half marathon ever!

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Jenny (in Minnie ears), Claire (in orange), and Kelly (in blue) finishing the Tink 10K!

Now that you know all about the girls, let’s talk about the actual race and how it went for me. I tried a new strategy this race, just to see what happened. I typically start conservatively and then pick up the pace the last few miles as I gain confidence in my ability to finish. I know I should be past that now, especially after finishing the SF Marathon last July, but it’s still hard for me to really think of myself as a runner. I also tend to “trust my training” but I didn’t really train so much for this race. Before La Jolla I only got up to 6.68 miles and then two weeks ago I had that race as a “training run” for Tinkerbell. So I wanted to go out with 9:00 miles to begin and try to hold those through the park, which we excited around mile six. Then I figured even if I slowed to my usual pace around 9:30/mile, I would still beat 2:07. La Jolla runs up and over Torrey Pines, which is a considerable hill, and I knew Anaheim would be a much flatter setting which should help my legs survive.

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I was happy to be a proud spectator on Saturday… congrats girls!

From the time Tinkerbell said “Go!”, I felt only okay. I thoroughly enjoyed running through the different neighborhoods of Disneyland, even if I didn’t stop for character photos. Once I break stride in a race, it’s all over. But I spent most of this first hour checking out the scenery, the rides, and the cast members along the course. I was so distracted by my surroundings that I surprised myself by coming through the 10k marker in 55:13, which was 8:54/mile pace! However, I knew that this was when the real race would begin for me. My muscles weren’t used to long distances, I didn’t have cool stuff to look at on the streets of Anaheim, and the people on the sidelines were going to thin out. I ate the first half of my Shot Blocks and reminded myself that I was almost halfway through and that if I needed to slow down, I could.

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Kelly, Jenny, Claire and I before the half marathon 🙂

Miles seven to nine felt SLOW to me. The sun came out, we went through the “quiet please” neighborhood, and my legs were starting to hurt. But each time I passed a mile marker and heard my MapMyRun update my pace, I was still maintaining fairly well! At the 15k (9.3 mile) point, my time was 1:23 which was 8:59 pace. This was when my mind switched gears. I did the math and felt confident for the first time during the race that I would actually beat my 2:07 goal. But now was the question of whether or not I could pull out a sub-2:00 performance. I was definitely not convinced. But I am also fiercely competitive with myself and knew I had to try. So I ate the second half of Shot Blocks around mile ten and kept on plugging. My right hip flexor and the top bones in my right foot were starting to hurt but I tried to focus on not altering my stride for fear of causing pain elsewhere. Luckily, I was trailing two very nice ladies who were in the same running group but didn’t really know each other, so I could eavesdrop on them while distracting myself. I also told myself that if they could hold this pace while talking normally, I could do it while staying silent.

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Daisy and Minnie cheering on the Tink 10k finishers!

Mile twelve saw the second time through an underpass, which served as the only real hill on the course. I love hills and really took advantage of the chance to alter my stride for a short time. My mile split that mile was 8:20… oops? Mile thirteen I was pretty spent. I did appreciate the bands, color guards, dance teams, and cheerleaders that lined the second half of this course and never as much as that last mile. I knew from the mile marker clocks that I had eleven minutes to run the last 1.1 miles and I knew I would do it… but I also knew that I would not be running a PR. This hadn’t even really crossed my mind until that point, as it’s a 1:57:09, and I was totally fine with that. I tried to really enjoy the last straight-away of the race and even remembered to cross over and hi-five Mickey Mouse just before the finish line. My official time was 1:58:55, my fourth fastest half marathon time to date, and I was super pleased. After the race I did get ice from the medical tent and made several trips to the port-o-john’s while waiting for my fellow fairies. Seems like my stomach needs the long training runs more than my legs do, lol.

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Map of the course, according to MapMyRun

I was able to track the other girls the rest of the way in and watched them finish, which was just as fun as crossing the line myself! Overall, I really enjoyed the weekend with these lovely ladies and I was happy with my performance, especially given my training. The race was very well supported from what I saw, with tons of course marshals, spectators, aid stations, and entertainment. While I’m not sure I would sign up for the whole Disney experience on my own, it was nice to have a race where I could start in the first corral and not even have elite runners in front of me. The medal we got with the spinning Tinkerbell was pretty great too! Of course it goes without saying that my favorite part was spending 3+ days hanging out with old friends while being active and achieving our goals. I’m so proud of them and the rest of the women (and few men) that raced this past weekend. Now it’s time for a few weeks of active rest for me before my summer race season kicks off!

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Claire, Kelly, myself and Jenny at the finish… WE DID IT!!

Lovely Ladies in my Life

I should start this post by saying that I grew up with TONS of guy friends. I have never been a “girly girl” or a “princess” or stayed up late braiding hair and painting nails… okay, maybe once or twice in college. In college, my friend circle shifted from 80% male to 50/50 male/female. Since college, I have found myself surrounded by amazing ladies and I love it! My core contacts from the east coast are women that I’ve known for 10+ years and I find myself constantly calling, texting and snapchatting them. They are the council members of my life and I couldn’t make it without them. That being said, I have been developing a growing network of girls here in California that I love SO much. Most of us are in a book club together and all of them are amazingly beautiful women, inside and out. Some I’ve actually known from back in Virginia while others became friends through church, kickball, or other friends.

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This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with them! A while back, we bought a Groupon to go wine tasting at Miramonte Winery in Temecula. This is wine country for southern California and I’ve only been to one vineyard once, for a wedding last year. We were excited to taste some delicious wines, get a tour of the grounds, and learn a bit about wine identification. But really just tasting the delicious wines. Our tour director was pretty good, used his canned jokes while he explained the history of the place, and stuck to his automatic pourer for portions. Boo. Luckily most of us had preferences on which wines we liked so we shared the extras around our circle. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the scenery could not have been prettier! We also got to peek into the wine cellar where wine was being aged in $5,000 barrels. Insane!

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After our walking tour with the white wines, we moved inside the tasting room for a lesson on pairings and identification. It was interesting to learn about color circles and legs and clarity in red wines, even though they aren’t my favorite to drink. In theory, I can now tell you how old and from which part of the world they come from! In theory… But we also got hummus and chocolate and cheese plates to go with our wines. I’ll be totally honest though, I never tasted much difference in the wine when paired with the food. But I was glad for the snacks! I enjoyed this tour and mini-lesson, as well as the wines, but to be honest I didn’t think it was anything exceptional. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by wine tastings when I know the barista, but I’d rather just buy a bottle and relax on the patio while drinking it.

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After wine tasting we all went our separate ways for a few hours, before four of us reconvened down in Mission Valley at In Cahoots, a country line-dancing bar. We picked up a few friends and some of the boys along the way, but it still all about the girls and the fun we were having out on the dance floor. I enjoy organized dancing, but it’s so hard to pick up the moves in just one short song! I’ll have to keep practicing and see if I can get any better, lol. All in all though, it was just fun to hang out with some of the girls and catch up on our hectic lives. We all have tons of plans in May, luckily some of them are together, and one of us is moving back to the east coast soon, so I don’t know when the next time we will all be together. I definitely went to bed Saturday night feeling blessed to have such a great group of friends and thankful for the time we got this past weekend!

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P.S. Sunday afternoon saw three of us girls dressing up for Cinco de Mayo while playing in our last regular season kickball game with the guys. So I guess some things will never really change 😉

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Cruising the (Baja) Cali Coast

Last Friday, my two closest friends and I decided that it was time for us to follow-up on our talks about camping in Mexico. We decided to hit the road early Saturday morning, head through Tijuana to Ensenada on the coast, and then (hopefully) pitch our tents on the beach. As per usual, we got a little bit later start than anticipated but that didn’t slow us down at the border. Before we knew it the scenery had changed and we obviously weren’t in Kansas anymore. I’ve been to Mexico half a dozen times, but it’s always been a trip planned well in advance and often to serve the needy. This time, I guess I hadn’t had time to fully process what I would be seeing south of the border and I felt a little shocked at the poverty. I will mention that the TJ (Tijuana) border crossing dumps you out in a lower-income area of the city. I quickly adjusted to the idea that I was really in Mexico and we turned south along the coast.

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Our first stop was the smaller town of Rosarito. We drove the strip before pulling over to find a bathroom and check out the beach. It was actually a really nice beach, especially since it was still before 10 am so it was fairly empty. There were peddlers throughout the town but everyone was cordial and left us alone once we said, “no, gracias”. We wandered our way into a good market that I could have spent  hours in, but limited myself to just a few colorful minutes. It was time for a snack so the guys got their first authentic Mexican tacos and I settled on a Coke light. I mistakenly took the bottle with me to finish the beverage in the car, but was politely asked by the shop employee at my car window to pour the liquid into a Styrofoam cup so they could keep (and recycle) the bottle. On the way out of town we saw the Baja studios where Titanic was filmed… bonus! I’d definitely recommend a stop here instead of TJ because it’s smaller size makes it a much more manageable place to explore.

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We continued to wind along the coastline, enjoying the scenery and practicing our (mostly) terrible Spanish. About halfway to Ensenada, the toll road was closed and we were forced to turn inland. We later found out that a section of the road slid into the ocean a few months ago and was still being repaired. The detour actually gave us a chance to see more of the countryside, which I appreciated. We rolled into Ensenada in time for lunch and wandered until we settled on a seafood restaurant, Mariscos Bahia de Ensenada. We all split two plates, one of boiled tilapia and one of octopus, squid, and shrimp tossed in a light garlic sauce. SO GOOD! It would have been a little pricey for lunch if we had all gotten a dish, but splitting two made it very affordable. A quick stop across the street at Cafe la Churreria for a small plate of churros and our bellies were quite happy!

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From downtown, we drove an additional 10-12 minutes south to find the campground that sounded most appealing in our Camping Mexico’s Baja book. El Faro Beach Motel and RV Park had it all from RV hook-ups to cabanas to the flattened sand camping spots shown above. Xavier had rocked it out driving the whole day, so he took a nap in the car while Sean and I explored the beach. We climbed a rusted lifeguard stand, walked along the seawall, and even swam in the ocean! Brr! For pictures of these adventures, and the rest of our trip, check out my 30 Before 30 photo album on Facebook. Once X woke up, we set up our tents by the seawall so we wouldn’t have to attempt that in the dark. Then we went back up to Ensenada for dinner and more exploring!059

We walked and walked and walked throughout the town, through the fish market, past the monuments of important historical figures, and around the main shopping district. Once we walked up an appetite, we settled on a Mexican restaurant… not even sure what it was called. Which stinks, because they had the most incredible flavored margaritas on the planet. I’m not even exaggerating and Sean/X can vouch for me. I had a mango and a guava while X had a “melon” or cantaloupe. They were so smooth and had zero ice chunks. Delicious! We also split a Mexican appetizer plate with quesadillas, enchiladas, and flautas. After the drinks, we settled on splitting a beef fajita plate that was so delicious and so warm. It was a several hour dinner, embracing the Latin American culture. After that, we wandered back to the car and then headed to our tents. We sat and talked on the seawall for a while before playing a quick card game and then crashing into our sleeping bags.

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076Before getting in line to return to the States, we used up our pesos on Mexican candies and cookies. Those who know us can probably guess who picked which snack, but we all enjoyed them while sitting in line at the border crossing. We ended up crossing at Tecate and sat in line for an hour total. It would’ve been a bit faster but five cars in front of us had a problem… aka the border patrol pulled the passenger out of the car, frisked him, and then searched the car before moving them out of traffic. Yikes! We were happy to make it back onto American soil, but it was a refreshing trip with two of my best friends. We didn’t plan much, we didn’t do a lot, but we just enjoyed exploring a new area and spending time together. The trip also reminded me to stay grounded and be grateful for all I have in my life. I’d recommend this drive to anyone in San Diego and I’d love to continue down the Baja peninsula to Cabo one day. But for now… Hasta luego, mi amigos!

 

 

 

Borrego Springs #30before30 Adventure

This trip was an adventure for sure, and one that is technically still going on right now. My fellow adventurer, Xavier, met at my house and we hit the road about 9am. Ish? Our first stop was for coffee and donuts! The last time we hit up a donut place was Peterson’s in Escondido and we had high hopes for this second shop after that overwhelming success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Danny’s Donuts in Vista quite lived up to the hype. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true. Danny’s made my 30 Before 30 list because of their blueberry cake donut.  It was ranked #6 in blueberry cake donuts in the country! So obviously, I had to true it out since those are my favorite donut. I also got a sugar-raised twist, which is my other go-to. We got our donuts (and coffee for X) to go and hit the road east. While driving (safely!) I had the sugar-raised twist first. It was okay, not spectacular. I thought it was a tad dry. But not too bad!

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I was really, really excited for the blueberry cake and it did not disappoint. It was SO delicious! Xavier immediately regretted not getting one himself. He got… two other donuts… maple? apple? I don’t know, I was driving and focused on the amazing flavor in my mouth… BLUEBERRIES!! The donut to jammed full of them and it had a nice glaze with a hint of maple or caramel or something amazing. I wish I’d just gotten two of those and not wasted time with the twist. So I guess I recommend Danny’s Donuts in Vista, but only for their signature blueberry cake!

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With our bellies full of sugar and sweets, we continued east towards Borrego Springs, CA. This is an inland town in the desert about two hours from the coast. Why was I choosing to go to the hot desert? To see the sky art! What the heck is that? It’s a collection of 129 larger-than-life statues scattered throughout this town. Dennis Avery and Ricardo Breceda partnered to bring these exciting works of art to this sleepy town. They were installed in waves from 2008 to 2012 and span a five mile area along the main corridors leading into and out of town. We didn’t know much more than that going in, but we luckily stopped at Gringo’s Gas Stop for fuel and drinks on our way into town. An extremely helpful gentleman pumped our gas and gave us a visitor’s guide that included a map and brief description of the sculptures. He also recommended the best route to see them all and we were off!

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One of the first statues we found along the side of the road was this duo of ground sloths. Look at the texture and detail! At this point, I was REALLY excited to continue the journey. We wandered throughout Galleta Meadows Estate and were pleasantly surprised at every corner. Most statues were right off the road and we could follow the hard-packed sand trails of our fellow adventures. For this section of the post, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking… So enjoy the photo tour below of some of our favorite statues!

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046The T-rex shown above was a little further off the paved road, so we had to do some off-roading along the sand trails. Unfortunately, on the way back from this guy we kicked up some rocks under Funshine. After a quick pause to check for damage (photo below), we were on our way. Little did we know that the damage was already done… I insisted on driving in to see the wholly mammoth statue as our last one of the day. Isn’t that always how it goes? The last one? Anyone, on the way to see the wholly mammoth we hit a patch of deeper sand. And got stuck. So we got out, scooped out, and spun out… but we were making progress! Unfortunately, we noticed that the sand was wet… and smelled like oil. Uh-oh. After a few park rangers helped tow us as far as they could before spinning themselves, we gave in and called AAA.

052This is when the real adventure began… I was going to let it all out in my description, but I think I’ve expressed enough concern through supervisors, surveys, and Yelp reviews at this point. I’ll give you all the short version here, lol. After my call at 1:20pm, the first help came in 40 minutes and winched us out of the sand and back on the side of the road (truck shown below). Unfortunately, this shop’s flatbed tow truck was out of commission, which they hadn’t told AAA. So we were abandoned on the roadside. And back on the phone with AAA around 2:20pm. By 2:40 they had found another tow truck that could come in 60-90 minutes. Woof. We were in the middle of nowhere, but still! We settled in for the long wait after confirming that there were no other options in Borrego Springs. Ugh. Thank goodness for Xavier at this point because misery loves company.

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067Around 4pm we heard from the second tow truck that he was still 45 minutes out. Meaning just over two hours from our second call. I was NOT happy. I’d already called AAA several times about the first mix-up and was now back on the phone with a second supervisor. Our concern at this point was the new ETA of 4:45pm. That is dangerously close to closing time in small towns, but we knew Mac’s Desert Auto Center (attached to Gringo’s) was open until 6pm and they had been expecting us… for three hours. When our second tow truck arrived, we quickly hooked it up and hustled into town knowing at this point it would take a small miracle for us to get home last night. Luckily, Xavier had already planted the seed in our best friend, Sean, that we might be needing his rescue efforts. Ugh.

069After looking at our poor Funshine, it was determined that the rocks we ran over after T-rex had scraped open a hole in the oil pan. That’s not good. Then we were informed that the part would have to be ordered, which would take three days to get to tiny Borrego Springs. Perfect! Xavier launched Operation Rescue with Sean, who graciously got in his car and started heading our way. While he was doing that, I was talking to the mechanic about any possible temporary fixes that could be done to get us home. He finally agreed to try welding aluminum bars (which he had to get from home) onto our aluminum oil pan. I gave my permission and we watched the gas station while he ran home right quick. Fortunately, after a minor fire problem… and some sparks… and then a topping of silicon, we were good to go! The gushing oil leak was now a slow, slow drip and with a few extra quarts of oil for good measure, we were cleared to drive home. We stuck to major-ish roads and booked it as safely as we could. It was 6pm when we rolled out of Borrego Springs, CA and after a quick stop in El Cajon for Taco Bell (X’s choice, for his good attitude all day) we got back to Encinitas around 8:30pm.

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See that sand in the undercarriage on the left? Or the dark spot on the scraped oil pan? That was the issue… But I managed to add oil this morning to get Funshine to an auto repair shop in Encinitas and hopefully they can replace the oil pan. Then Funshine will be as good as new! Just like the first time I ventured into the desert, that time for a Megaslide, Funshine came back slightly bruised and broken, but not down for the count. Anyway, thanks to my best friends Xavier and Sean for helping get Funshine and I through this exciting day! And thanks to Borrego Springs for having amazing sculptures for us to visit!

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Esprit de She Triathlon 2014

Yesterday I raced a sprint triathlon around Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. It’s my third time racing there, two years ago when it was called SheRox and last year in the inaugural Esprit de She. This is one of my favorite races because it’s all women and its main benefactor is Girls on the Run. It’s a sunny, flat course with a half mile swim in the bay, a double loop on the bike for 12.4 miles, and a double loop run for a 5K. I don’t typically prefer loop courses, but because this race is so short, it’s kind of nice to get to see all the other competitors. I’m not going to lie, I don’t feel like writing a lot about this race. But I will say that I was happy with my swim section, I wish I’d gone faster on the bike, and I was pleasantly surprised by my run time. I finished in 1:29:16 without really properly training and my swim was 16:47, the bike was 43:58, and my run was 25:04. My transitions were a bit slower than the past races because I had to switch shoes between biking and running for the first time and because I apparently sliced open my big toe after the swim, but again I was overall very happy with my time! Here are some pictures, thanks to Brian who came out to watch me 🙂

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30B430 – Balboa Park Edition

Now that the cat’s out of the bag about my big move back east, I can admit that my “30 Before 30” project has secretly been a “30 Things To Do Before Moving” list. I turn 30 on December 2nd, but I hop in a car to leave California (at least for now) on November 24th. This cuts right potentially critical days off my 90 day project, yikes! But I’ve been making great progress in the last week and have managed to cross four items completely off, as well as two taco shops.
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This post is the Balboa Park edition because last Tuesday I spent the day exploring the greenest space in downtown SD, home of most of our museums. Unlike Washington DC, you have to pay to enter the majority of museums here. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t mind taking advantage of deals offered either. Every Tuesday, certain museums in Balboa are free to residents of SD County. Conveniently enough, the Model Railroad Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center were both on my 30 Things list and are both free on the first Tuesday of each month. So I hopped in the car and headed south last Tuesday afternoon!
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My first stop was the science center and it was full of excited children. They had an interesting exhibit on illusions set up, which I enjoyed walking through, as well as a weather section and DNA exploration. I enjoyed this museum and appreciated that everything was extremely hands-on, but I will admit that most of it was geared for younger children. There were a few IMAX films coming out that looked interesting though.

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From there, I detoured into the Natural History Museum, another free option for the day, and took a quick loop. Stuffed replicas of ancient animals aren’t super exciting for me, they fall into the same category as wax museums for me, but there was an impressive shark hanging from the ceiling! A portion of the museum was closed as they set up a large King Tut exhibit, which looked promising. But I didn’t spend much time there this week. Since I was waiting for X to join me in the Model Railroad Museum, I popped into the Timken Museum of Art. At the risk of sounding uncultured or difficult to please, I have to say that art museums don’t do it for me either, lol. I enjoyed the small museum and even saw a few paintings that were pleasing to my eyes (and understandable to my brain) but again, I’m not sure I would go out of my way to go again 🙂 Luckily after a short rest by the lily ponds, X arrived and we could go see the railroads!

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This was my favorite museum of the day by far. Not only were there many train setups, but each one had elaborate scenes around them. Some were designed to reflect trains and locations in the local area from the past while others were fictional scenes, but I loved them both! We had trains growing up and the smoke pellets brought back pleasant memories. The museum did a nice job of explaining differences in sizes of trains and tracks, as well as describing the history of the museum and its creators. There were conductors operating each section that was being run and the older gentlemen were more than happy to answer questions or explain the layouts. These volunteers were all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their craft, which I always love to see! This museum isn’t overly large, but I would recommend it for all ages and groups. It’s cute and informative and well-done.

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After the trains, I had a few errands to run elsewhere in the city. Then I circled back to Balboa for a musical performance at the Old Globe Theatre. I saw Allegiance here a few years ago and more recently saw a Shakespeare performance in the open-air theater attached to the Old Globe, but I was back for more. My friend, Aswin, has a SD list of his own and on it was to see a performance in the Old Globe. So he told me to look at the upcoming shows and pick one that looked good. I settled on Bright Star, which is a new musical produced by Steve Martin, and added it to my 30 Before 30 list. I’m not sure Aswin was too sure of my choice going in, but he’s a trooper and agreed. We were able to buy $20 under 30 tickets, which allow younger adults to see performances for cheaper on weeknights. All we knew from the quick synapsis was that a soldier was returning from World War I to a small town in America. And there would be singing, lol.

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I won’t spoil the story for those of you in the area who might be interested (you should be!) but I will say that it was an outstanding performance. The general plot was a twisting of stories and tales of various members of the soldier’s hometown. But they were intertwined and told in such a way that at intermission, we had no idea how the pieces were all going to be connected. How awesome is that? And the singing was not constant, but was very folksy when it was happening. The most interesting part to me was that all of the characters moved the set constantly. The scene changes were incorporated into the storyline and everything flowed together. Also, a portion of the live band was on the stage in a house frame on wheels. Again, they went from being in the background just playing to the foreground where they were subordinate characters in the story. Props to Steve Martin for keeping us entertained and engaged throughout the entire performance! And if you live in San Diego, I recommend you check it out before it moves on in mid-November!

As mentioned in my previous 30B430 post , I’ll save all of my taco shop reviews for one big post. I’m down to only two left to try! I will briefly mention that I went to Casa de Bandini last week as well, but I wasn’t blown away. All of the food our group tried was GOOD… which isn’t what I should be saying after all of the hype. So I’m glad I went, but I waste more of your time describing the mediocre meal I had. As a teaser, I’m planning on hitting 3-4 more items on my list within the next week so check back soon for that post!

Dr. Oz Three-Day Detox (the Sequel)

In May 2013, I tried Dr. Oz’s Detox  and blogged about it. Since then 8,985 people (and counting!) have read that post, due in most part to Pinterest. This past week, I decided to try the cleanse again and compare my thoughts/results. My eating habits have changed considerably since last May, so I was curious what I would think! I should admit that I’ve also been slacking off a bit since my marathon in August and it felt time for a reset!
IMG_4167Proof of my altered eating habits was evident as I went down the shopping list and crossed off almond milk, flax-seed, cayenne pepper, mango (we use frozen), coconut oil, Epsom salt, almond butter, green tea, Stevia, omega-3 (I used chia seeds), multivitamins, spinach, and cucumber. Why did I cross all of these items off? We already had them at our house because they are frequently used items! Granted, we eat tons of berries and bananas too but those have to be bought fresh. Last time this cleanse cost me $63, this time I only needed $37 worth of ingredients. Again, because I already had the rest in my house.

Last time, the breakfast smoothie was my favorite and that still ran true. I did limit the lemon the second two days because I’m not a citrus person and it seemed to overtake the smoothie. The rest of the smoothie is something I’ve had consistently for the last 15 months so the morning didn’t feel too different. I will mention that instead of taking an omega-3 supplement, I take fish oil already so I just added chia seeds to the morning smoothie. According to MyFitnessPal, my favorite calorie tracking app, this smoothie was 361 calories WITH the chia seeds, so 291 as prescribed by Dr. Oz. I usually eat about 400 calories for breakfast so this seemed right on.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time. Ugh. Those of you who read my May 2013 post know that this was my least favorite by far. This time around I was ready. I got a ripe apple so it was softer. I peeled the cucumber and the apple. I diced both of them and the celery. I plucked the stems off of the kale. I even added a bit extra almond milk… It didn’t help. I just don’t like celery. I do have enough experience with kale now to know that it’s a little bitter but that wasn’t the unpleasant part of the drink for me, the celery was. By day three I had cut the celery back to one stalk. Sorry, Dr. Oz but it’s still not happening. After those adjustments it was completely drinkable but still never my favorite. I clocked it right at 300 calories, perfect. I also drank a 32 oz. Nalgene of water both before and after lunch to hit my hydration goals for the day.

Dinner time was exciting for me the first day because I didn’t have much memory of what even went into the dinner smoothie. I knew from my shopping that blueberries, coconut water and avocado must. I’m a huge fan of blueberries and avocado and a hater of coconut water. I’m happy to report that I couldn’t even taste the water over the other flavors! And the cayenne pepper was a surprising twist too. It made the smoothie seem less sweet and more savory, something I’ll remember for future smoothies. I didn’t end up altering this smoothie at all either, which proves that I’ve accepted kale into onto my palate. By the numbers, this smoothie was 351 calories.

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Hunger wasn’t an issue for me throughout the days, so I never had the fourth smoothie. I had the tea in the mornings and still thought it was fine, nothing special. I even tried the Epsom salt and lavender bath two nights! I can’t say I was that successful as I reported in a text to a friend, “I made it 13 minutes and through one chapter of my book. Not bad!”. I did feel relaxed and liked the smell of lavender… I just can’t sit in warm/cooling water for that long, lol. Oh, and because I’ve been drinking 132 ounces of water daily for training, I was more adjusted to drinking this much in a day. This meant less trips to the bathroom and less feeling stuffed.

After the first day, I looked at the caloric total for the day and saw 932.  That is too low for me to maintain with my workouts. Then I did the breakdown of the macro and micro nutrients. I was concerned about the extremely low level of protein in this menu (23 grams). I usually aim for 100 grams each day, so on the second and third days I added a scoop of protein powder to the lunch smoothies. It added a vanilla flavor and some smoother texture, as well as 100 calories. Cholesterol and sodium were at all-time lows (no processed foods!) and fiber was just above were I want it (30g a day, this was 44g). After adding in 70 calories of chia seeds and 100 calories of protein powder, the last two days were 1,112 calories. This is within my reasonable range, so I was happy.

All said and done, I’m glad I did this three-day cleanse again. If anything, it reminded me how much I snack during the day and how I can sustain myself with junk food. I reminded myself of some great smoothie techniques and I had the chance to reflect on how far I’ve come nutritionally in 15 months!  As far as weight goes, I did lose 2.4 pounds in three days. But like I said before, I had been slacking in the previous weeks so it really just got me back to where I should’ve been all along. I hope y’all enjoyed this second edition of Dr. Oz’s Three-Day Detox and I’d love to hear from any of you that have tried it or something like it recently!

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