Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ashley: 1, San Francisco Half Marathon: 0

Today was the day of the San Francisco Marathon. I never thought I'd say this after 13.1 miles, but I had a blast! Our day started off less than spectacular, though. Permit me to explain.

I set my alarm for 4:30 am, just so I could get up, get ready, make sure I knew my Bart stop, etc. Well, I wake up on my own after seeing some sunlight slip in between our shades. My alarm hadn't gone off! I woke TJ up in a panic, telling him it was 5:50 and we had to go in five min. He rushes around, grabbing an apple and a yogurt for me to eat while I pull my hair back and get my running outfit on. We make it to the Bart station with plenty of time to spare, thank goodness! However, I run to the door of the station...and it's locked. Someone tells me that the Bart doesn't open until 8:00 on Sundays! I turn to see if TJ's left yet, and sure enough, I saw his little Chevy six blocks down. I started to panic. Weighing my options, I realize that, since I chose to leave my phone behind (having nowhere to put it), I have no choice but to run the mile and a half home. I start going, trying to pace myself so I don't blow all my energy before the race, and was halfway home when I saw TJ's car going back to find me! I wave my arms to stop him, but he passed right by. Poor TJ - he was so worried when he realized the Bart station wasn't open until eight. I ran the rest of the way home, waiting by the house for TJ, praying he'd come back to find me. About five min later, he pulled up and started apologizing profusely. He took me all the way to Golden Gate Park, not trusting the shuttles that were supposed to get me there. He said he wouldn't be satisfied until he saw me at the starting line. Haha - oh Teeje!
I had plenty of time to relax and warm up before the race. TJ needed to go home and pack, since his flight back to Cleveland was at 2:00 pm. My goal for the race was to just have fun and start slow. I really wanted to have negative splits, since my first marathon experience was horrendous - I ran nine min miles for the first five and petered out at mile eight - with 18 miles to go. So dumb. This go-around, I wanted to do it right. The weather was perfect and the course gorgeous. I started off slow, watching people pass me and thinking "I'll see you at mile 8..."

I felt so great the whole way! I picked up my pace at about mile eight, as I had thought I would, and did indeed see people who had passed me earlier - tatoo guy, dreadlocks guy, etc. I only really started to "feel it" at mile eleven. I still gave it everything I had. Turns out my last two miles were my fastest. I accomplished my goal of running negative splits! My time was 2:12, which is a ten min mile the whole way. Considering I thought I'd finish in 2:30, I was very pleased. What was even better (although the free Jamba Juice at the end was awesome) was celebrating with TJ. He was so proud of me. :) I really feel that I gave it all I had. I could barely walk afterward, but in an odd way, it's a really satisfying feeling.

Here are a few pictures of us at the expo! This was on Saturday. The expo is where all the runners get their bibs and fill their goody bags with all kinds of free treats. It was really fun. TJ's wearing a Giant's headband in one of our pictures ;) After the expo, we got fish tacos at a place called Gott's. It was great! What a fun weekend. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I like California, BUT......

.....there are quite a few things I could do without. Especially the traffic. It's like an annoying solicitor....always around at the time of least convenience. There is no such thing as simply hopping on the freeway anymore. I need a plan of attack for every outing - namely, Google maps.

Luckily, I usually have TJ and his iPhone with me when we drive. "Teeje," I say, "it's all red going this way - we need to cut across Grand, take a right on Fern, do a u-turn onto Elm and zip over to the on-ramp against oncoming traffic.... Just trust me!" We usually end up alright, except traffic sneaks up on you out of the blue...and then you're stuck for hours. Literally! Before you even realize what's happened, you've just passed the last exit off the highway and are heading for a one-way ($6) ticket over the bay bridge! Cars are bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see. I'm normally a calm person, but traffic just gets to me. I could never commute to the city for work - forget it! My job gives me a reverse commute, for which I am eternally grateful.

A couple other things that need to go in California....
1. Ridiculously overpriced traffic tickets. Since when is running a red light $500?? (TJ did it, not me! On our way to church, no less...)
2. For that matter, overpriced everything! Oh, you pay $250 for your two story condo in Vermont? I pay $1500 for a 100sq foot tool-shed in some random guy's backyard (that does not include water, garbage, parking, or property tax).
3. Basically everything that bugs me about this place has to do with expenses - paid parking, $15 blocks of cheese, $3.30 gas, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I love it here. I love the beautiful weather and all the fun things to do. I love the people and the restaurants and the shows and sights. I just don't like the pricetag that comes along with them. All the more reason to make my millions selling my delicious whoopie pies. :) That way I can live here and not gripe about the cost. I'd post the recipe but it's a closely held secret! Sorry. Just look for Ashley's Whoopies, coming to a Whole Foods near you!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

LA, Cleveland, and Pulled Pork

This past weekend, the ladies from Provo got together one more time in LA to celebrate the union of Erin and Jonny. Everyone who knows them understands the significance of this day, since they've had to endure one year of long-distance engagement. My heart goes out to them! TJ and I were only long-distance for five months. A year would've killed me :) Kudos to Erin and Jonny for being amazing and keeping their love strong. There is no doubt in my mind that these guys will go far in life. Jonny's in medical school, Erin's got her master's in Educational Technology.... can you say power couple? Thanks, Katherine, for the pictures. I hope she doesn't mind my using them :)

TJ's been in Cleveland for the last two weeks - and still has another two weeks to go. Life's been interesting for me since he's been gone. A broken-down car, riots in Oakland, and a two mile walk to and from the Bart station do not a happy girl make. Oh, well! Everything is fixed now and TJ was able to visit this past weekend. We had a ball as always :)

I made a delicious pulled pork sandwich on Saturday out of the pork chops I'd slow-cooked on Friday. Here is the recipe!
BBQ Pork Sandwich

Sauce: Over medium heat, mix together 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 T worchestershire sauce, 1 t hot sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, squirt of mustard, splash of vinegar, 1 t garlic powder and 2 T butter. Cook until simmering, let simmer for five min. Meanwhile, shred your leftover pork (7 hours in a slow cooker with salt and pepper will do the trick if you don't have pork lying around :) ). Mix pork into sauce and place on buns with provolone cheese and a pickle. Enjoy!