Tuesday, 21 April 2015

San Francisco!!!

After Greg and I ran our first half marathon in Vancouver last year, Greg wondered if there was a race in San Francisco where you could run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  After some research, he found there were a few and we picked one that worked best for our schedule and so 7 months later, we boarded a plane and headed west.
Greg is one of those people who, when they fly is exactly 2 hours early at the airport.  Normally I hate this because I hate waiting but this time, it really worked out well.  When we got through US Customs we were told that the line ups to get though security were very long and he encouraged us to complain to their supervisors.  He was not exaggerating.  By the time we got through security and bought a starbucks for which there was no line because everybody was still at security, it was time to board our plane.  Watching the sun rise was a pretty spectacular scene.  And we got to San Francisco at 838 PST which was even earlier then expected.  It was turning out to be a great day despite the security mess.
Here is City Hall in San Francisco.  It is stunning.  And it is even more spectacular on the inside.  If I lived in the bay area, I would get married there.  In fact, while we were inside buying our transit passes for the weekend, we saw 4 weddings.  And this was a Friday! 
After checking into our hotel which was quite close to City Hall since that was where our race finished on Sunday, we headed down to the Ferry Building.  We did this the last time we were here too.  However, there was no farmer’s  market this time so not as busy.  It’s full of restaurants and little shops.  It’s kinda like an upscale Farmer’s Market.  Like Eau Claire could be but just somehow can’t be.
Our first meal was at Gott’s which is this great little diner place with great food and drink.  Again, we also visited it last time we were here.  There are also 2 locations in Napa if you are ever that way either.
Koit Tower.  We visited last time.  It’s basically a tower that a rich lady built just because she wanted to have a tower.  It’s a cool place to visit and the views are spectacular.  Last time we could see our hotel near the wharf.
Probably one of the coolest buildings in the city.  It was built back when they had square footage limits when building tall buildings so they improvised and got the TransAmerica Building, which  was a major sponsor of our half marathon.
We took the Trolley Car from the Ferry Building to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Greg loves Trolley Cars and learning about where they come from, when they came here.  I am going to try to find him a history of Trolley Cars book for Christmas.  He would really like it.
Fisherman’s Wharf.  So busy as always.  Theres lots of fun things to do here with kids but as an adult, not a whole lot.  And it is so busy too.
Alcatraz from the Wharf.  We wanted to do a night tour here but it was sold out when we read about it online.  Alcatraz was a super cool place and it was the only place Finley behaved the entire time we were here last time.
A west coast staple.  This is where we refuelled after the half marathon on Sunday.  Greg loves it but I think I just like to eat here because it’s not something that is in Canada or most of the US for that matter.
Waiting to take a Cable Car back to our hotel or at least another transit station but I don’t remember exactly.  We waited a long time to get on it which was not my idea.  The novelty of cable cars wore off when we were last time and I was 7 months pregnant.  I thought for sure I was gonna have Penelope on one of these cars.  Interestingly enough, while we were waiting to board a car, a car with a loud speaker full of dudes pulled up and people went nuts. It was full of WWE stars since Wrestlemania was at Levi’s Stadium that weekend.  The only one I recognized was Jerry “The King” Lawlor but apparently two of the guys in the front were the Rock’s cousins.  There was another one too that had Hulk Hogan and John Cena but we didn’t see that one.  We looked into getting tickets for Sunday as they still had some available but we never did buy any.  Interestingly enough, it was apparently the best one in years.  
On Saturday morning, we headed down to the Running Expo to pick up our race packages and we both bought new running shoes.  I think this shoe will solve all my knee problems but it is too soon to tell.  I will save that for another post.  We walked around downtown before coming to Union Station. This is where people used to come to meet, now it’s a massive high end shopping destination.  
We returned all our goodies back to our hotel room before heading to the mission district.  We were both excited to be going to part of San Francisco that neither of us had done before.  We had brunch at Mission Beach Cafe and it was AMAZING.  Well worth the more then hour we waited.  If I ever go back, I will defintely come here again.  And if you ever are in the area, you really should check it out.  It’s not in a touristy area so it’s all hipster locals.
We then walked through Mission on our way to Delores Park.  I love this photo of these trees.  I love how green everything is and how amazing it smells when you are not downtown.
Probably our favourite part of the whole trip.  Delores Park. It’s basically a huge park in Mission where (mostly) locals go to hang out.  There is a huge playground and basically you bring a blanket, food and your favourite alcoholic beverage and you have a good time. There were cops patrolling the area but as long as you weren’t being stupid then it was all good.  All the parks we saw were like this but on a smaller scale.  We deduced this to the fact that backyards and even front yards are non-existent here and so they lack the things that people do here in backyards.  It was so awesome.
The view as we were leaving.  Such a great thing they got going on here
After we had lunch at the Wharf, we took a Trolley Car down to the street market where I bought a fabulous piece of art that I forgot to photograph and if I wait until I go take a photo and upload to finish this blog, it won’t get done for another week so maybe I will post it on instagram later today.  Last time we were here, we bought 2 paintings which are still hanging in on our main floor living room. 
We had to stop in at Target so I could buy some summer clothes.  It was 10 degrees warmer then it normally is and it was so hot. I got a sunburn on my face and neck.  It was crazy.  Thankfully the US Target had some amazing items for me and some things for the girls to choose from.
We then walked around a bit more and found ourselves in Chinatown.  There were some pretty cool architecture along the street and some pretty weird stuff too. 
Then we figured out where the Painted Ladies were and took the bus to get here after stopping and Le Boulangerie for some vanilla bean scones.  Starbucks in most US states and in Vancouver also carry these delightful treats and other amazing goodies.  If you are not familiar with the Painted Ladies, they are most famous to me because they were featured on the Full House Intro while the family had a picnic in Alamo Park where we were standing as we took this photo.  These houses are also famous because it’s an american term in the US to describe Victorian houses and buildings that are painted in three or more colours that enhance the architectural details.  Painted Ladies was first used in San Francisco in 1978
And yet another spectacular view from Alamo Park. The good thing about all those hills I guess.
After the painted ladies and alamo park, we took transit again back to mission where we perused the hipster shops and eateries.  I find the most amazing thing about this area is how they are so open with booze and weed and not even giving any cares to if people see them.  I think it must be a freeing way to live. Anyways, such a cool area – like Inglewood but different if that makes sense.  Of all the stores we went into, this AV one was my favourite.  They had a wall full of mirrors made out of tv screens.  It was the greatest thing ever.  If I had room in suitcase and it was substantially cheaper, that yellow one would have came home with me.
We stopped at some restaurant for supper and I no longer remember what it was called but for an appetizer we had these brussel sprouts that were fried in asian fish sauce vinaigrette with chilis.  It was the most amazing brussel sprouts ever.  I loved them.  And true story, I had one large glass of wine with my meal and I was drunk.  But to be fair, I had been up since 4:30am, ran a half marathon and walked all over San Fran before sitting down for supper.  I put in a solid 54,000 steps on my fitbit in just that day ALONE.  I deserved that glass of wine. We went back to the hotel and went right to bed as tomorrow we were heading to Napa. 
And that is our trip to San Francisco, the second time around.  Check back later this week for blogs on Napa and our half marathon.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Dinosaurs Alive

It was spring  break for the Catholic kids last week, so a friend and I took our girls down to the Calgary Zoo.  It was super chaotic but the kids still had a blast.  I posted a bunch of photos on social media if you would like to see more, but thought I would focus on the updated prehistoric park which is also now called Dinosaurs Alive.
We had Dinosaurs Alive once before.  Finley was just a baby then so we didn’t really see it.  In fact, I am sure we only saw it once before it was gone. 
At the beginning it all seems the same with the exception of new signs and the dinosaurs alive.  I think the hills were painted too but I don’t really remember.  But then you get to the interactive area and that is really cool.  The topic they were discussing was eggs which was to the disappointment of the girls because they wanted to talk about T-Rex and apparently it did not have eggs.  
They have a new rock and sand area where the kids can play.  The rock area has a cave they can climb through and the sandbox is rocks and you pretend you are digging for fossils and they supply all the stuff needed.  Really good addition to the area.
This one was my favourite member of the Dinosaurs Alive.  It was very loud and ferocious for being such a “small” dinosaur.  Some of the other ones sounded like cows mooing which Greg said was what they sounded like.  I don’t buy this but I don’t know enough to argue either way.
And at the end of the path is the dinosaur and it’s egg photo op.  I like photo ops like this.
I am quite happy with the dinosaurs alive and will not be avoiding it like we usually do :)

Friday, 17 April 2015

Rock N Roll Half Marathon - San Francisco

Finally race day arrived! After being in bed by 730 the night before, getting up at 430am didn’t seem too bad.  Because transit wasn’t really running where we needed to go when we needed it go, we just walked to city hall which wasn’t too far.  Lots of others were doing the same.
Because the start and finish of this half was in two different locations, there were buses that took you from the finishing line out to the starting location.  You can kinda see the buses in back photo and behind them by the green lights were all the homeless people were displaced with the setting up of the half marathon.
Waiting for the race to start.  It was getting a bit lighter and you were able to see the ocean a little bit better.  It was a 630am start time but it took awhile to get started as they did a section at a time based on your expected finishing time.  Greg was supposed to be in the third heat but stayed back with me  because I think he was worried about my knee and me making it to the bridge in time.  
This was a very nice neighbourhood we were running through.  I think they are probably the only houses in the city that are not attached and have yards.  You can see the golden gate bridge in the distance as the sun rose.
The view from behind us.  Seriously could you imagine getting to run along here everyday?? I am full of jealousy.  As much as I love running in Fish Creek, this would be pretty nice.
Me with the bridge in background.  You can tell that this was a popular photo spot for those touristy runners like myself.  I never once did this in Vancouver but this was just too cool not to. And to be honest, it was a nice break for my knee/it band.
Getting so close to the bridge.  Only 2 lanes were closed for part of the run.  The other lanes remained open.  I don’t remember what the cut off for making the bridge was but we made it with plenty of time.  It would have sucked to have gotten to the bridge and you were forced to turn back.  
The distance of the bridge is 2.7km each way but we ran a bit further then that and then through a parking lot before coming back on to run back.  This is where my knee started to really give out on me, which was almost at the halfway point I believe.
It felt like we were never going to get to the end of this bridge running there but coming back was pretty fast.  It was a bit more downhill which helped a lot.  I found that if i did a combination warrior pose with a quad stretch, it loosened up my knee but it still sucked.
You know it is a big deal when Greg makes you stop to take a photo of him on the bridge.  Because this NEVER happens!!
Here is me standing on a lane of traffic on the golden gate bridge.  Seriously it was worth every ounce of knee pain I felt that day and all the pain that followed in days to come.
The bridge behind us. What a perfect day for a run.  
Another view of alcatraz.  This was near Fort Mason which I have no idea what it is as I just happened to see a sign on the building.  This was the last photo I took on the run.
Trying to refuel myself post race.  I was so tired.  I was like jelly no joke.  And so hot.  
  It was a tough run and the hills were way worse then I imagined.  There were times while I was running that I wondered why I did this to my body, why I thought suffering so much pain was worth it and it even crossed my mind if I would ever run again.  The pain I felt in my knee/it band was some of the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  And I am not even exaggerating.  But I finished the race and I finished strong too which I was proud of and did it in a time of 3:02.  Definitely not my best race but given all that I went through to get here and during the race,  I am sure proud of myself.
Greg relaxing watching American Authors
American Authors.  I don’t really like them but the vibe was fantastic and the perfect way to end the race day.  
Now if you are wondering, I did not give up running.  In fact, I signed up for a 15K on May 2nd and a half marathon on May 31st.  I bought new shoes while in San Francisco that seem to be helping with my knee.  My it band is no longer tight but I still get pain in my knee in the location where the band meets.  Greg thinks it’s just recovering from the race, but I am not sure.  I go back to Shari next week to take a look at it.  I don’t think I would ever run in San Francisco again but I look forward to travelling somewhere else to run with Greg in the near future.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sweet + Spicy Pork Tenderloin

I made this for supper last week and it was so good I thought I would share it with you.  Everybody enjoyed this one very much.
Recipe adapted from here: Baker By Nature
Sweet + Spicy Sriracha Pork Tenderloin
1lb Pork Tenderloin
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sriarcha sauce (I don’t measure, just squirt a lot in + hope its not too spicy)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp seasoning salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ cup olive oil
**it is basically the same as the original website but I eliminated the orange juice because we didn’t have any and unless it is a christmas orange, I don’t like it.
1. Preheat oven to 350
2.  Rinse and dry pork
3.  Spray 9×13 pan
4.  Using a knife, make splits in the pork tenderloin but don’t go all the way through.  Put a slice in garlic in each slit.  I think I used 8 (large) cut up pieces of garlic.  But we love garlic.
5.  Whisk together all of the wet ingredients and pour over the pork.
6.  Bake for 55 minutes, basting the pork every 20 minutes with the marinade in the bottom of the pan. 
7.  When finished, drain the sauce from the pan into a pot and tinfoil the pork so it doesn’t cool off.  Cook the sauce for about 8 minutes as it thickens into a glaze and pour over the pork and enjoy.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter + A Return To Normalcy

Here are the girls with their basket full of Easter Eggs after a hunt in our house that was harder then normal because I am not exaggerating when I say it looked like a bomb went off.  The girls were spoiled by the Easter Bunny and many relatives who love them.
Easter Sunday was spent in Red Deer at the home of my cousin and his family.  It was a good time visiting with the family we don’t get to see very often.  My Aunt + Uncle, Mom + Sister both returned back to Saskatoon this morning.  
It’s been a long time since it was just the 4 of us here.  My mom has been visiting since March 25th as she watched the girls while Greg and I were in San Francisco.  As much as I love having my mom and my sister here visiting, I was equally happy to wake up this morning and know that a return to normal would now begin.  Finley is on spring break this week while Penelope is in school so it’s not too normal but it’s a start.  We spent the day cleaning the house and catching up on laundry so that we can fill the rest of our week with a movie, zoo visit and a few play dates before ending off with a day at Aggie Days.  Now to go start supper and get ready for bootcamp.  So happy to be back in the swing of things!