SCE Whale to Whale

Just over a week ago, SCE (my super awesome running club) hosted the 3rd Whale to Whale “race” of the year. The Whale to Whale has been our little local tradition. We start at the Long Marine Lab Whale and then cruise the 6 miles along West Cliff and the Boardwalk to finish at the Natural History Museum Whale in the Seabright neighborhood. We don’t shut down the roads and it varies from 10 to 30 (ish) participants. The entry is just $10 and is used for the club or various community involvement (we’ve collected canned food, donated to the Baker/Butler Scholarship Fund last year, etc.) and we have a small prize for the top 3 men and women finishers.

At the start of Whale to Whale (all photos credit of SCE)

At the start of Whale to Whale (all photos credit of SCE)

While I have been to the other two races this year, I haven’t run it in quite some time. This time around I really wanted to run it again but knowing I really haven’t done any speed, I didn’t want to race it. Luckily, another team member and my friend, Sam, felt the same way. We decided to make it part of our long run. We started just past the “finish line” and weaved over to the start, getting in just under 8 miles before we began the race. It was a beautiful run along the water and we even saw a whale in the bay. So this year it was more of a whale to whale to whale 😉

Running as a pack on West Cliff

Running as a pack on West Cliff

After signing our waivers and paying our entry fees, all the runners headed to the start. This time around, there seemed to be more of us “fun running” rather than speeding through the course. This meant lots of time to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while as well as seeing an otter and some dolphins playing in the bay. All the sea creatures were out for this race!

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When we got to the finish, the three women decided to hold hands and all come in for 3rd place together. (I wish I had a photo of this silliness!). We hung out for a bit but after 14 miles, but I was ready for some food and a shower so headed home soon after.

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If you haven’t joined us for one of these events, check out the SCE FB page or our website to find out about the next one!

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Back to School, Time for the Barre

You have probably noticed that the blog has been a little quiet lately. Well, summer for me is over and it’s back to the grind. I am back teaching Monday through Thursdays and also trying to make a real dent in my dissertation progress… Important tip: never ask a grad student when s/he will be finished or how his/her research is going. We don’t know and not as well as we hoped… that’s the answer 😉

Anyway, usually the first week back at work means I have a lot of busy work. I try to have my lectures pretty much outlined and ready to go for the semester, so then week by week I’m making edits and tweaks to them as necessary. But the first week is filled with lots emails and giving out add codes for students as well as following up with students who missed first class meetings. It usually also means fixing what isn’t working on Blackboard (our education website). So blogging doesn’t always happen.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy with other life stuff! Running of course continues (look forward to recaps later this week on the 3rd SCE Whale to Whale and the Dip and Dash). The hubs and I also got some fun new furniture (that the pups have approved!).

Sami prefers to share the hubs's new chari

Sami prefers to share the hubs’s new chair

Gus can't decide which book to use in the new reading chair

Gus can’t decide which book to use in the new reading chair

 

And also, I’ve been training and practicing for the soon-to-be-open Barre Studio in Capitola! My friend is opening it and I am learning to be an instructor for it. Before I ran, I danced. I took classes for about 17 years in tap, jazz, and ballet. So the barre was a second home to me. But after injuries and college, I stopped taking classes regularly and a few years later fell in love with running. But I never forgot how tough all the barre workouts were or how fit I felt during those years. So the barre fitness classes are great for me and I’m really excited for the philosophy that The Barre Studio will be implementing. They have that fitness element, with small, isolated movements to strengthen muscles but do not require the technique (or talent and grace) of dance. Anyone can come in and find the workout to be doable but also challenging. I can’t wait until the Studio opens! But in the meantime, you can check out its brand new website (you might recognize Leslie or me there too!)

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website

Wilder at Sunset

Yesterday I joined the SCE Tuesday evening Trail run for the first time since the marathon. Usually this is a loop through the Wilder hills, just shy of 7 miles. When I showed up at the starting spot, there was chatter of a longer route. Two of the guys are moving into their fall marathon training and wanted something closer to 8-9 miles. Cool. I had no real plans, so I was up to add on a mile or two. The run ended up being closer to 10 miles but included some new trails I hadn’t explored at Wilder yet (and connected some other ones that I did know). I took a couple of photos as we headed down and had to post them here! So without further adieu, pretty Wilder views.

 

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Sunset at Wilder – perfect way to end the day!

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SCE guys enjoy the views too

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Ok, time to finish up this run!

 

Fun Running by the Sea

One of the benefits of fun running (i.e. not training!) is that I can drop into events that would not be great races for me but are really fun. This was the case last week when I ran Race Thru the Redwoods and it was true for yesterday’s Run by the Sea 12k as well. For some, these events are ideal settings but I am just not super fast on trails (whether they include hills or not) and therefore they aren’t great events for me to test out speed training or look for a PR (although since I’ve never run a 12k before it’s an automatic PR 😉 ). But they are great for going out and having a great time while supporting a good cause and being a part of the running community. And sometimes, you surprise yourself and walk away with a spot in the top three in your age group too!

Just about to start

Just about to start (photo cred: SCRC)

Yesterday was the second annual running of the Run by the Sea. Last year, I couldn’t run it because it was the same day as the Santa Rosa Marathon but this year I had no conflicts. The race wants to raise both awareness and funds for the Santa Cruz Rail Trail project. It follows the trails through Wilder State Park, including a little off-road adventure down to the beach (another reason I wasn’t interesting in “racing” this one). My morning started with a few texts from family members checking to see if we were ok from the earthquake… so then I had to go figure out what earthquake they were talking about since I slept right through it. (We are about 2 hours from the epicenter but some did feel the quake here, including the hubs and one of our pups). Then, of course, I spent a bunch of time reading about the early reports of Sunday’s 6.0 earthquake and trying to determine if my friends running SRM would be ok (they were!). Then I just wanted to go back to sleep… forget the race (especially considering the several glasses of wine I drank the night before…) But somehow I still managed to head out.

In the pack, starting the race

In the pack, starting the race (photo cred: SCRC)

This was definitely not a “race” morning for me. Besides the wine the night before and the atypical wake up, I didn’t run any warm up or cool down miles and I didn’t wear my normal racing singlet. This, I wanted to remember, was just fun miles to support a good cause. I found my teammates Sam, Josh, and John right before the start. I positioned myself a few people deep and started out on the trails. I encouraged a gal to pass me since she clearly was in race mode (she came in 3rd overall) and happily ran toward the water. I took it easy climbing down the rocks and across the sand. I happily took the volunteer’s hand to help over the rocks on the way back up to the trail. At the first water station, a volunteer cheered her friend behind me – telling her to pass me. Fine by me. I let her go and continued toward the turn around. There I saw the first woman (who went on to win) and Sam looking strong. I counted the women and realized I was 6th woman. Cool, I thought, it would be fun to end up in the top 10 women but still no pressure.

Wilder views are the best!

Wilder views are the best! (photo cred: SCRC)

I felt really good after the turn around and unintentionally picked up a little speed but nothing too crazy. I passed the 5th woman and was back at the beach. I saw Jason from Santa Cruz Running Company, SCE’s sponsor and said hello. Then I saw the gal who has passed me back at the water station. She was a few minutes ahead of me and I didn’t expect to catch her, but I felt good and caught up to her. There was less than a mile left, so I just cruised along to the finish line. I finished with an official time 58:27, a 7:51 pace. Good enough for 3rd in my age group, 4th woman, and 16th overall. Not too shabby. All age group winners got chocolate (nice!) and a medal.

I promise I wasn't running a race by myself!

I promise I wasn’t running a race by myself! (photo cred: SCRC)

This was a really nice, low-key event. If you’re in Santa Cruz during August next year, I definitely recommend it. While you will do a little climbing for the beach portion, the Wilder bluffs are on of the best running spots around. And this race, unlike other races, is ran entirely on them. For those into swag, the shirt is nice – I wouldn’t run in it but it will be good for the gym. There are two water stations and helpful volunteers. There is both a 4k and a 12k (instant PRs for uncommon distances) and this year, just over 150 runners.

Shirt for all participants, medal and chocolate for finishing in top 3 in AG

Shirt for all participants, medal and chocolate for finishing in top 3 in AG

Post race: Sarah (1st woman), Sam, and me

Post race: Sarah (1st woman), Sam (2nd woman), and me (photo cred: Sarah)

Food Friday: Pono

Before the hubs and I bought our house, we lived on the east side of Santa Cruz near Aloha Island Grille. It was super dangerous because it was a few minutes away (walking) and we could smell the food cooking all day. Whenever we didn’t feel like cooking, we ate Aloha. The menu was limited, but the mahi mahi was always good and it was the only place that had macaroni salad I liked. We were sad to leave it behind when we moved… but then we found we were just as close to another delicious Hawaiian spot in Santa Cruz: Pono Hawaiian Grill.

Photo cred: Pono Website

Photo cred: Pono Website

I first head about Pono when I was teaching at the Scotts Valley campus. I mentioned that I liked Aloha our administrator and she said I had to try Pono. She also told me that it was owned by the same awesome people who run Aloha! And when we finally checked out Pono – same delicious mac salad and a WAY bigger selection. When I went to Aloha I usually ate mahi mahi with rice and mac. But at Pono I had that option, plus fresh poke bowls, and so much more! The food is always tasty and fast. The prices are reasonable (although Poke varies based on the availability of fish) and there is something for the hubs and me.

So much goodness! Photo cred: Pono FB

So much goodness! Photo cred: Pono FB

Have you had Poke before? It’s a typically a raw salad served as an appetizer in Hawaii. It’s commonly made with sushi grade ahi tuna. But at Pono, you can get it in a bowl with rice and chose from whatever fish is fresh. I usually a salmon poke bowl with avocado – so good! But recently I had scallops with spicy sauce. It was a nice little kick to my favorite. And of course, I have to order a side of mac salad (with a lot of siracha!).

Poke deliciousness! Photo cred: Pono FB

Poke deliciousness! Photo cred: Pono FB

The restaurant is very low key and casual. It’s the type of restaurant where you walk up to order and they bring you your food. But they almost always have live music – a variety of bands and musicians play. They also share the space with Reef Bar, so you can get your drink on while you’re there too. But most of the time, the hubs and I just get our food to go. Plus where else can you get some good Guava juice… or even better (but really worse for you) POG from Hawaiian Sun? 😉

So if you’re the only Santa Cruzian who hasn’t tried Pono, better get on it! Aloha!