Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. I am more than ready for this next chapter!
This trip to San Francisco technically marked the fourth time some of us had met up for a race and weekend of fun, and at least six years that some of us have known each other. Amber, Kyria, Leigh, Lisa and I chose the Berkeley Trail Adventure race to plan our trip around, offering everyone the distance of their choice.
I flew in on Thursday and met up with Lisa who was in early for a work meeting. Kyria (who lives in the Bay Area) was an awesome hostess and let us crash at her place Thursday night and took us to an amazing Korean place.
I've never had Korean food, but they brought out a ton of pickled items and then our meals, which were huge and included soup, rice and a few varieties of meat, which was cooked at our table. I was glad to have done it because it probably isn't something I would have seeked out on my own and the food was delicious.
Friday morning, Lisa and I left Kyria's to head into the city. We hauled our bags around for quite a while until we found a good spot for breakfast (The Grove). Note to self: buy a good carry on roller bag. My duffle was not so awesome to lug around (hello, infrequent traveler).
After brunch, we made our way to the Mission District where he apartment was that we had rented through airbnb. We unloaded our bags and relaxed on the couch a bit before heading over to Dolores Park for some relaxation in the sun.
Soon enough, Amber and Leigh arrived from the airport!
Leigh, Amber, Lisa
That evening, we ventured out to pick up supplies for a simple pasta dinner at one of the local 'hipster' markets.
We happened upon this incredible mural on the way there.
Saturday morning, we were up early to head to Berkeley to run/hike some hills.
If you ever get the chance to run a trail race in a new area, I highly recommend it. Trail races tend to be much more relaxed than road, a lot of fun and have beautiful scenery!
The Berkeley Trail Adventure offered a 5/10K, 21K (half marathon), 35K and 50K. Amber, Lisa and I chose the half marathon and Kyria went for the 35K as she's running a 50 miler in a few weeks. For the first time, I shocked myself by NOT registering for one of the longest distances. But 13 miles of trail ended up being plenty!
Ready to race some hilly miles (minus the preggo Leigh)
Kyria, Amber, Lisa, me and Leigh
The Berkeley Trail Adventure race started at Tilden Park next to this beautiful little lake. The half marathon distance had 2,800 ft of climbing and the 35K about 3,500 ft.
The race start was casual, friendly and informative with helpful course instructions.
At 9 a.m. we were off. Let the hiking begin!
And oh did we hike. I can't even tell you the number of times I switched from running to hiking, but it definitely made a lot of sense on this course.
But at least we were rewarded with some gorgeous views.
The second half was much more downhill than up, which made it fun to speed along when I could.
I finished the race in 2:30, which was what I had estimated I might run it in. I felt like I raced strong, but didn't go ALL out. Still, I ran hard enough to give myself decently sore quads two days later.
Eat all the food
The dinner plan that night was Mission Street burritos and whoa, were they good. These were street style burritos with freshly grilled meat and packed to the brim.
And just when we thought we couldn't eat any more... We walked to get ice cream at Mitchell's. No wonder I gained a few lbs on this trip. ;)
Biking to Sausalito
Our final adventure (before I left) was a bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge ending with brunch in Sausalito.
We rented bikes for $25 for the day from the Sports Basement, which is right near the bridge. The bikes were well maintained and included a helmet and lock.
With the number of times I've been to the Bay Area, I'm a little surprised I had never done this as it was a ton of fun. Luckily, we started our adventure early so that we were really the only tourist cyclists on the bridge. The others we saw were legit cyclists.
The ride over was maybe 6 miles in total. We locked our bikes up downtown Sausalito and walked to Fred's Place (yelp recommendation) for this delicious meal!
Because of my flight time and the logistics of city life, we had to haul it back to the ferry after brunch. We got there just in time and hopped on with our bikes.
And back to the city we went.
We got off at Fisherman's and I sadly said my goodbyes and rode off to return my bike. The rest of the group stayed until Monday, but I had to be back for class.
As trips like these do, I was reminded of how important traveling, trying new things, and hanging out with girlfriends is and how thankful I am for these friendships.
What's your favorite city to visit? Do you consider yourself a country mouse or city mouse?
While I love visiting most big cities, I think I really am most at ease when I have mountains and country roads at my fingertips.