Tuesday, August 03, 2004

It’s the Tuesday after the half marathon on Sunday.

What a great excursion up to the bay area this weekend. It was just a wonderful getaway. Chilly, but a nice change of pace.

We arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon on Thursday. The kids great in the drive up the 5. The portable DVD player has proven to be a worthwhile investment. The hotel we stayed at in the city was a Holiday Inn on Van Ness and California. Turns out it was at the end of the line for a trolley car, so we easily hopped on one of the trolley cars whenever we wanted.

Thursday night we rode down into the city and had dinner at Mel's Diner. We wound up turning in pretty early. That drive can take its toll. We were all bundled up in sweatshirts and pants. Since we've been experiencing one hundred plus degree weather in Santa Clarita, it was refreshing to feel a cool breeze. It really reminded me of Cleveland in late September, in which you wear a sweater in the shade, but have to take it off in the sun because you get too warm.

Friday was spent down at the pier. The marathon expo was there in front of the Ferry building. We all ventured down to check out the free handouts and to get my running number. After that, we got a ride on one of those bicycle rickshaws. The poor man pedaling for us (Australian, I think) earned his money. It was a little expensive, but better than waiting for a trolley and having to be abused by a homeless woman shouting obscenities at Sophie. Poor Soph didn't know what to think when this lady started going off.

They have a merry-go-round, so the kids and I took a turn on it. Jules and I were able to enjoy a bowl of chowder in a sourdough bowl, while Sophie ate cotton candy and ice cream for lunch and Jake stuck to soft pretzels. Hey, come on, we were on vacation. Sophie is a good eater, and we're just happy Jake will eat anything these days. Man, I've never met a more finicky eater, myself included.

After lunch we went to the Aquarium by the Bay. That was really neat. After a couple of tanks, there is a whole exhibit that is below the bay and you get to walk underneath schools of fish and exotic creatures that live in the bay. Sophie remembered the Leopard Shark. Once we left the Aquarium, me made our way back to the hotel. Sophie loved the trolley cars and desperately wanted to ride on an outside bench. S Since we thought this may be our last opportunity to ride the cars, we were happy to get a seat on the outside for the duration of the ride back to the hotel. She had this huge smile on her face the whole ride back and those big blue eyes were so wide-eyed as she took in the sights. Meanwhile, Jake kept us in stitches with his knock knock jokes and his infectious laugh. We ate in at the hotel, ordering too much food that we hardly touched.

Saturday we went to the Bay Discovery Museum, which is geared toward kids Soph and Jake's age. I think they really enjoyed the place. Lots of tactile things to do. There were a couple of neat climbing areas. Sophie loved the arts and crafts part, too. In fact, she said that was her favorite part of the day (and the trip).

That night we drove to see some relatives of Julie's (Bob and Linda Banfiel) for dinner. I thought it was really nice of them to have us over for dinner. They had just returned from a trip and their house is in a bit of disarray due to remodeling, but it was comforting to be around family.

That leaves us with the race. I had a great time running this half marathon. The weather was perfect for running. Mid-60's and drizzling. I woke up, anxious, at 5:45 am. This would have been great if I had to run soon thereafter, however my portion of the race did not begin until 8:45. So, I had to kill 3 hours. Never the less, this allowed me plenty of time to grab a taxi to the buses that would take me to my starting point.

I did not find the "up" hills all that terrible. They were more of a gradual incline followed by some leveling out. The down hills.... that's another story. There were a couple of steep drops that I thought were going to take my knees out. In fact, my left knee (not the one I've been using a brace with) started to ache terribly a couple of times during the run. Nut I thought this was a much more relaxed race than the Honolulu marathon. I was able to take in a lot of the sights and appreciate San Francisco. I fell in with a group that was running a 2:15 pace and a 7/1 run walk. So I stuck with that 7/1 run walk even after that group left me behind. I didn't bring my water bottle, choosing to drink water at each water stop (and walking through those stops as well). This worked out great. At no point did I ever feel dehydrated. By the very end, as I was passing the beautiful baseball park there along the pier, I started to get very hungry. That, and my legs (not my feet) aching were the two big things I took from this race and will address for the marathon.

The course I ran took me through the park by the SF zoo, into Haight-Ashbury and into some of the industrial areas. I would love to someday try the whole run. But it was an expensive trip, so I don't know when that might be.

It was such a great trip. And to come to the end of the race and see Julie, Sophie and Jacob cheering for me, that made everything worth it.


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